10 Jan 13. Britain has ordered a French-built anti-sniper system to help protect troops in Afghanistan, even as spending on military equipment to defeat the Taliban is in decline as the drawdown of combat troops gathers pace. The U.K. Defence Ministry revealed in late December that it was spending around £5m ($8m) on an urgent operational requirement (UOR) to provide troops with equipment that uses a laser to detect the glass lenses used by the Taliban on sniper rifle sights. The purchase coincided with the MoD’s first public breakdown of how it had spent billions of pounds over the past four years equipping the military in Afghanistan and Iraq with UOR kits. French company Cilas is due to begin deliveries of its SLD 500 system this week, having beat three other contenders for a deal signed Nov. 26, a company executive said. The system is designed to spot snipers using optical sights by shining a laser in the direction of potential opponents. The system detects refraction when the laser hits the glass surface of a scope or binoculars. The past year has seen a number of British troops killed or wounded by Taliban small arms fire.
The award to Cilas follows the MoD’s cancellation last year of another UOR small-arms detection program using lightweight acoustic systems carried by individual soldiers capable of pinpointing the location of rifle fire. The program was axed midyear before a contractor was selected. France’s Direction Générale de l’Armement procurement office funded much of the development of the SLD 500 but did not order it for the French Army. Several other countries have bought the system, the Cilas executive said. The U.S. Marine Corps purchased systems for evaluation but, as far as is known, did not buy the equipment for fielding. News of the Cilas success follows an announcement by government officials during a trip to Afghanistan by British Prime Minister David Cameron just before Christmas that a further £230m would be spent on military equipment ahead of the withdrawal of combat troops by the end of 2014. The funding includes £29m pounds for counter-IED equipment; a £10m pound upgrade of vehicles; and a £5m pound improvement to ISR capabilities at Camp Bastion, the main British base in Afghanistan. (Source: Defense News)
08 Jan 13. Russian Army to conduct state trials of future soldier uniform. The Russian Army is set to begin state trials of a future high-tech soldier system in April 2013, Russian Defence Ministry ground forces spokesman lieutenant colonel Nikolai Donyushkin has revealed. Also known as Ratnik, the military equipment sets completed preliminary testing
at the Alabino Shooting Range in Moscow, Russia, in September 2012, as reported by RIA Novosti. Conducted by the soldiers from 27th Motor Rifle Brigade, the successful testing featured 40 different elements of the equipment, marking its entry towards the implementation phase. The Ratnik infantry soldier system comprises more than 40 components, including firearms, body armour, optic, communication and navigation devices, life support and power supply systems, as well as knee and elbow pads. Available in summer and winter variants, the lightweight system is adaptable to a multitude of combat situations; it can be used by regular infantry, rocket launcher operators, machine gunners, drivers and scouts. The system provides protection against environmental threats from weapons of mass destruction and non-lethal weapons, according to the news agency. Russia’s Defence Ministry had initially negotiated sale of Sagem-built Felin future infantry system with France for evaluation purposes in December 2011, but later decided to pursue domestic development, as part of the soldier military equipment (BES) programme. (Source: army-technology.com)
11 Jan 13. US Army range shot detection system completes government testing. The US Army’s new location of miss and hit (LOMAH) system has successfully completed government acceptance testing (GAT) at Fort