27 Aug 12. Legal trade in small arms has grown to at least $8.5bn a year, and if the illicit trade were added, it would come to more than $10bn, a weapons research group said. The Small Arms Survey had estimated the global trade in small arms, munitions and spare parts at more than $4bn four years ago. The research group said the market had grown — because of the wars in Afghanistan, Iraq and elsewhere — and it also has more accurate information as European countries and the United States are more transparent about deals. The Small Arms Survey 2012 said the countries that export more than $100m of small arms were the United States, Italy, Germany, Brazil, Austria, Japan, Switzerland, Russia, France, South Korea, Belgium and Spain. (Source: Defense News)
17 Aug 12. China tests MIRV-capable DF-41 ICBM. Concerns are emerging that China will build up its nuclear warhead count at a faster pace following reports that on 24 July the Second Artillery Corp of China’s People’s Liberation Army (PLA) tested its long-anticipated DF-41 multiple independently targetable re-entry vehicle (MIRV)-capable intercontinental ballistic missile (ICBM). Although the reports, which appeared on conservative website Washington Free Beacon and cited unnamed “US officials”, were disclosed via a ‘leak’ – as was the January 2007 test of China’s anti-satellite interceptor – this nonetheless seems to be the first United States confirmation of China’s DF-41 ICBM programme.
(Source: Jane’s, JDW)
28 Aug 12. 101st Airborne Division Female Soldiers 1st to Test Prototype Body Armor. Cartoonist Bob Thaves once said, “Ginger Rogers did everything Fred Astaire did, except backwards and in high heels.” This quote is applicable to the Army’s female Soldiers of today, who now make up 14 percent of the total force. These females are now closer to combat than ever, fulfilling essential roles both stateside and during deployment. However, these women are often still issued equipment originally designed for males. While advances in female Army Combat Uniforms are already available, the 101st Airborne Division (Air Assault) first suggested changes be made to Improved Outer Tactical Vests, or IOTVs, for women in 2009. These IOTVs hold a Soldier’s body armor plates. Much of the need for specific changes comes from the fit of the IOTVs on women, who are generally shorter and curvier than their male counterparts.
“They ride up on the female’s hips, and it’s very hard for us to move,” said Spc. Arielle Mailloux, with 1st Brigade Combat Team, 101st Airborne Division (Air Assault). “During PT we’ll have to wear it and then go running, and it gives bruises on our hips.”
As a result of the suggestions of the 101st, officials from the Project Manager Soldier Protective Equipment Office and Natick Soldier Research, Development and Engineering Center came together to design a better-equipped vest for women. With more women from the 101st Airborne Division scheduled to deploy to Afghanistan later this year, Mailloux expects the redesigned IOTV would help these Soldiers perform their jobs better — especially in the case of Female Engagement Team members like herself. (Source: ASD Network)
28 Aug 12. Textron Defense Systems has entered into a cooperative
research and development agreement (CRADA) with the U.S. Special Operations Command (USSOCOM) Program Executive Office (PEO) Fixed Wing for development of standoff precision guided munition capability. Initial activities will focus on Textron Defense Systems’ Guided Clean Area Weapon (G-CLAW), a cost-effective, lightweight, guided precision unitary weapon providing anti-personnel and anti-material capabilities, as well as features for low collateral damage and hazardous unexploded ordnance (UXO) prevention. Under the CRADA, the organizations intend to integrate the G-CLAW into PEO Fixed Wing’s common launch tube dispenser and complete the required testing to secure flight and weapons safety certifications. From there, Text