03 Oct 11. The U.S. Department of Defense has ordered 70 BAE Systems lightweight M777 howitzers to begin equipping the U.S. Army’s Infantry Brigade Combat Teams (IBCTs). Valued at $134m (£87m), the order takes the U.S.-UK production programme to October 2013 and a total of 1071 guns. The order follows a $21m (£13m) contract in July to design, develop, qualify and manufacture an improved Power Conditioning Control Module (PCCM). This is the battery charging system that provides stable power to the Digital Fire Control System. Over the next four years, 1049 units will be produced for fitting to in-service guns. The improved PCCM must be lighter but deliver better reliability and accommodate future accessories, such as electronic thermal management and laser ignition. It will also allow the use of lithium ion, as well as the current lead-acid, batteries. Mike Smith, managing director of BAE Systems’ Global Combat Systems Weapons business commented: “Bringing M777 to the IBCTs will enhance their ability to carry out an ever-expanding range of missions. This latest order reinforces the system’s credentials while the focused development underlines our determination to keep M777 the howitzer of choice.”
16 Sep 11. Turkey’s Stand-Off Missile revealed. Tübitak-SAGE, the defence industries research and development institute of Turkey’s scientific and technological research council, has unveiled the Stand-Off Missile (SOM) at the Defence and Security Equipment International (DSEi) exhibition in London. The weapon, which has been in development by Tübitak-SAGE since 2006, made its first guided flight on 9 August
16 Sep 11. US plans Phalanx upgrade. The US Army is withdrawing its Raytheon Land-based Phalanx Weapon Systems (LPWSs) from Iraq and is understood to be drawing up a roadmap for their future upgrade and use. This process is being conducted from mid-September and may see the counter-rocket artillery and mortar systems – which were once known as Centurions but have now reverted to LPWS at the army’s request – drawn into the army’s core capabilities. (Source: Jane’s, IDR)
16 Sep 11. Maritime Fireshadow under review. MBDA has begun a concept study to assess the feasibility of applying the Fireshadow loitering-munition system to a maritime fire support role. Study leader Chris Procter told Jane’s at the Defence and Security Equipment International (DSEi) exhibition that the company has identified a potential capability window for a system to provide long-range fire support ashore and engage mobile target sets with a high degree of precision. (Source: Jane’s, IDR)
26 Sep 11. Rheinmetall Electro-Optics premieres at DSEi 2011. Rheinmetall Defence has welded its electro-optical activities into a new division.
Known as Rheinmetall Electro-Optics, the division has now made its international debut at DSEi. Along with the electro-optical and fire control solutions supplied by the Group’s Defence Electronics division, Rheinmetall customers can now build on the new division’s innovative array of state-of-the-art electro-optical components and expert technical support too. Moreover, with a whole host of powerful technologies at its disposal, Rheinmetall Electro-Optics is already a market leader in important product categories. Rheinmetall Electro-Optics consists of previously separate units of the Rheinmetall Group active in this segment, which have now been amalgamated to form a self-contained division. Specifically, it comprises:
o Rheinmetall Nordic, the former Simrad Optronics ASA, which has been a member of the Rheinmetall Group since June 2010. Headquartered in Nøtterøy, Norway, together with Vinghøg, the biggest subsidiary, it is an internationally operating supplier of components for remote control weapon stations, electro-optical devices and fire control modules for crew-served weapons.
o Vingtech Corporation in Biddeford, Maine, USA, a leading mechanical and electro-optical company which produces components for,