Sponsored by Blighter Surveillance Systems
28 Oct 22. Netherlands MoD receives first tranche of ISR UAVs. Quantum-Systems and BSS Holland have delivered unmanned aerial vehicles (UAVs) to the Netherlands Ministry of Defence (MoD).
According to a Quantum-Systems announcement on 27 October, the MoD has received its first tranche of Vector intelligence, surveillance, and reconnaissance (ISR) UAVs.
The company was unable to provide further information on the number of systems being delivered or the delivery timeframes.
Vector is an electric vertical take-off and landing (eVTOL) 2-in-1 UAV that is suitable for ISR operations, including for border patrol, search-and-rescue, and battlefield surveillance. The 2-in-1 design enables the system to be reconfigured to a tri-copter known as ‘Scorpion’ by removing the wings and attaching copter blades.
With a 2.8m wingspan and a 7.4kg maximum take-off weight, Vector is capable of operating at speeds of up to 25m/s. It also has a flight time of up to 2 hours and can be fitted with either a NextVision Nighthawk2-UZ or a Trillium Engineering’s HD40-LV electro-optical payload, Quantum-Systems added. (Source: Janes)
27 Oct 22. UK Spearhead plans accelerated capability insertion for Sonar 2087. The UK Ministry of Defence (MoD) and the Royal Navy (RN) have unveiled plans to fast-track a series of enhancements into the Sonar 2087 low-frequency active/passive variable depth sonar fitted to the RN’s eight anti-submarine warfare (ASW)-optimised Type 23 frigates. A Request for Information (RFI) released on 24 October has outlined a capability insertion project (CIP), which, as part of the RN’s wider ASW Spearhead programme, will seek to deliver performance and operability improvements to maintain Sonar 2087’s performance against a qualitatively improving ASW threat. The Spearhead innovation initiative is intended to transition new functionalities to the front line much faster than traditional processes allow. (Source: Janes)
21 Oct 22. Defexpo 2022: DRDO displays improved AEW&C system. India’s Defence Research and Development Organisation (DRDO) displayed an advanced airborne early warning and control (AEW&C) system being developed for the Indian Air Force (IAF), at Defexpo 2022, being held in Gandhinagar, Gujarat, from 18 to 22 October.
The system, which is known as the AEW&C Mk 2, is being developed by the Centre for Airborne Systems (CABS), a lab of the DRDO.
CABS said that work to finalise development of the new mission systems is continuing. The systems will be integrated with the Airbus A321 narrowbody twin-engined jetliner platform.
According to K Rajalakshmi Menon, director of CABS, six A321s have been procured from the airline, Air India, for adaptation as AEW&C aircraft.
Menon told Janes that the system offers improvements compared with existing AEW&C mission systems deployed on Embraer EMB-145 Netra aircraft. Janes data specifies that two Netras are operational with the IAF. (Source: Janes)
21 Oct 22. Defexpo 2022: TASL displays new land and naval surveillance systems. Tata Advanced Systems Limited (TASL) has been developing a stabilised gimbal for land platforms to enable “stabilised sight, both for the gunner and commander”, a source at TASL told Janes at Defexpo 2022 being held at Gandhinagar, Gujarat, from 18 to 22 October.
The product – named Rajak TGC-DNL-2 – has been developed in the last one year, and TASL intends to complete the research and development (R&D) process by the end of 2022, the source said.
“We [TASL] intend to take this product to the Indian Army for trials in 2023,” the source added.
The source said that the Rajak TGC-DNL-2 can detect a tank-size target at 8 km, can recognise a target at 4 km, and identify a target at 2.5 km. The system has a day thermal imaging channel and laser rangefinder. (Source: Janes)
25 Oct 22. Spyglass short-range surveillance radar, a product of Numerica Corporation, demonstrated as part of JCO-recommended Counter-UAS as a Service solution. Numerica Corporation, a provider of advanced air and missile defense solutions, announced that its Spyglass™ short-range surveillance radar was demonstrated as part of SAIC’s Counter small-UAS as a Service (CaaS) offering that was recently recommended by the Department of Defense’s (DoD’s) Joint Counter-small Unmanned Aircraft System Office (C-sUAS).
Spyglass short-range surveillance radar, a product of Numerica Corporation, was included in SAIC’s demonstrated solution for CaaS offering, recently recommended by the DoD’s JCO.
The SAIC CaaS offering was one of only three recommended by the JCO after demonstrations were held at Yuma Proving Ground in Arizona last month. Spyglass radar was included in SAIC’s demonstrated solution as part of two Liteye Systems’ SHIELD™ C-sUAS platforms. During the demonstration, Spyglass radar performed long-range small unmanned aircraft systems (sUAS) detection and precision tracking to support threat mitigation by SHIELD’s directional RF defeat and the Aeroguard drone capture system.
“We are happy to see this recommendation made by the JCO and this recognition of the value delivered by the SAIC-led team,” said Nate Knight, Numerica vice president for air and missile defense. “Spyglass did what it was built to do, providing precision tracking for precision sUAS mitigation throughout the event. We learned an enormous amount from the multi-week test and the Government’s feedback. That critical input, combined with the Numerica team’s energy and expertise, has resulted in an even more capable product today. One that’s ready to support C-sUAS missions across the DoD.”
Spyglass radar provides long-range detection and tracking of Group 1 and 2 UAS, delivering high-precision tracks through its Ku-Band phased array technology and advanced signal processing. Earlier this year Spyglass radar was tested as part of the U.S. Army Rapid Capabilities and Critical Technologies Office’s (RCCTO) C-sUAS High Energy Laser (HEL) prototyping program and was also demonstrated to support engagements of sUAS by a precision high-power microwave weapon.
For more information about the Spyglass radar visit www.numerica.us/spyglass.
About Numerica: Founded in 1996, Numerica creates innovative solutions to the most pressing technical challenges faced by customers in the areas of air defense and missile defense. Headquartered in Fort Collins, Colo., Numerica’s growing team of talented research scientists and engineers tackle data science problems by developing advanced algorithms to power mission-critical national security software. With over 25 years of developing state-of-the-art technologies, Numerica’s innovations have been deployed around the world to integrate networks, fuse data, precisely track targets and quantify uncertainty. Learn more at www.numerica.us. (Source: PR Newswire)
25 Oct 22. MQ-9 squadron ‘to ensure a free and open Indo-Pacific,’ Air Force says. The U.S. Air Force is deploying MQ-9 Reapers in the Indo-Pacific for the first time under a newly reactivated squadron on the edge of the East China Sea.
The 319th Expeditionary Reconnaissance Squadron at Kanoya Air Base in southern Japan formally began operations Sunday under the command of Lt. Col. Alexander Kelly, the Air Force said Tuesday.
It’s the latest iteration of a unit that was first created as a fighter squadron in New York in 1942, and last served as a training squadron in Florida until 1977.
Now, the 319th will provide eyes in the sky over east Asia in support of joint U.S.-Japan intelligence objectives and “to ensure a free and open Indo-Pacific,” the service said.
Its patrols could help collect information about Chinese military activity in the area — including signs it may be preparing to invade Taiwan — and that of North Korea, which recently fired a ballistic missile over Japan.
“This will enhance the joint ability to respond to threats and emerging situations, while strengthening the alliance,” the Air Force said. “MQ-9s can be used to cooperatively address regional challenges such as humanitarian assistance and disaster relief, and other issues affecting the Indo-Pacific.”
Reapers are typically used to conduct airstrikes as well, but will not be armed for reconnaissance missions.
The Air Force has struggled to chart a path forward for the MQ-9 fleet outside of U.S. Central Command, where the drones have redefined modern war as a pivotal counterterror asset in the past two decades.
After multiple attempts to convince Congress to let it cease MQ-9 purchases from drone manufacturer General Atomics, the Air Force may get its wish in the coming year.
The service hopes to shrink its Reaper fleet from 351 to 276 aircraft by the end of fiscal 2023, and stop production altogether. It fears the aircraft could become easy targets for Chinese air defenses in a potential war, and wants to funnel that money toward higher-priority acquisition programs.
“The most recent briefing to the committee indicated that the Air Force intends to remove well over half of the existing aircraft from the MQ-9 fleet by fiscal year 2027,” the House Armed Services Committee wrote in July.
Despite earlier disagreements with DOD, lawmakers appear willing to curtail the MQ-9 program in the defense policy and spending bills now moving through Congress. But some still want more information about what the fleet has to offer outside of CENTCOM.
The Senate Armed Services Committee has asked the Pentagon’s cost assessment office to produce a financial outlook for the MQ-9 program, including the price of its current and future missions, by Feb. 1, 2023.
“Some have suggested that the MQ-9 still has a role in great power competition,” the panel said in its report accompanying the fiscal 2023 defense policy bill. “Supporters of continued MQ-9 employment have asserted that the MQ-9 possesses similar survivability as other fourth-generation aircraft, and there is no reason that they could not operate in threat environments similar to F-15s or F-16s.”
The House Armed Services and Appropriations committees are also looking for more transparency on efforts to modernize the current fleet with upgraded communications and electronic warfare technology, among other gear.
The U.S. has included Reapers in its training exercises in the Indo-Pacific for years. The experiments help gauge how well the drones — which are far more vulnerable to bad weather and battlefield threats than manned aircraft — could perform in the region.
The MQ-9 schoolhouse at Holloman Air Force Base, New Mexico, in 2020 rewrote its syllabus with a greater focus on the tactics needed for more challenging missions in the Indo-Pacific.
“It incorporates maritime interdiction capabilities, it incorporates a lot more major contingency operation capabilities, air interdiction,” 29th Attack Squadron Commander Lt. Col. Brian Davis said at the time. “It reinvigorates our strike coordination and reconnaissance capability, and it also increases our combat search and rescue capability.”
More recently, the MQ-9 has appeared at major exercises from the Navy’s massive Rim of the Pacific event to the biennial Valiant Shield.
It’s been tasked with maritime surveillance and target tracking, among other missions, in a shift away from its usual training over remote strips of land.
“The data that we have in a simulator feeds off of real-world engagements like [sinking exercises],” Air National Guard Capt. Phillip West, the MQ-9 maritime force integration lead at RIMPAC, said in a press release. “They’re trying to build a database of what ships look like. … Then they can fit it into a simulator so we can practice it and have more efficient training.” (Source: C4ISR & Networks)
25 Oct 22. Liteye SHIELD™ to Provide Services and Solutions as Part of SAIC CaaS System-of-System Architecture.
Liteye System’s Inc. in partnership with SAIC was recently selected by the Joint Counter-small Unmanned Aircraft Systems Office (JCO) to provide approved Counter UAS services and hardware to the US Government. Liteye was chosen as an important part of the SAIC team to protect fixed locations under the Counter-UAS as a Service (CaaS) model. CaaS is defined as Contractor Owned Government Operated (COGO) or Contractor Owned Contractor Operated (COCO) solutions enabling the Department to effectively Detect, Identify, Track and Defeat adversarial UAS’ while meeting critical affordability and funding realities.
In partnership with SAIC, Liteye successfully demonstrated its Counter Unmanned Arial Systems (C-UAS) capabilities and is now eligible to compete for future CaaS contract opportunities. Throughout the demonstration, the Liteye team was praised for its professionalism and performance.
The Liteye SHIELD system consists of the Spyglass™ radar system developed and manufactured by Numerica Corporation, along with HD EO/IR optics and RF Detection, Take-Over, and Defeat capabilities. The SHIELD system can operate as a stand-alone system, be remotely operated, or be integrated into a higher-level Command and Control solutions.
In response to the proliferation of small unmanned aerial vehicles (sUAS) coupled with the threats to service members and critical infrastructure, the Department of Defense (DoD), in partnership with industry, is looking to acquire C-UAS via a CaaS model.
COL Greg Soule (US Army Retired), in an Army.mil article entitled “Counter-small Unmanned Aircraft Demonstration returns to Yuma Proving Ground (army.mil)” (27 Apr 2022) said, “The DoD normally buys things and owns it for the life cycle: you have to put it to rest at the end, and in between, you have to maintain it and upgrade it as necessary…we could potentially pay an industry partner to perform this as a service to the DoD with the responsibility to maintain and upgrade it, and to a certain extent operate it.”
“Liteye is honored to be part of the SAIC team to provide a layered C-UAS solution to the DOD,” said Kenneth Geyer, Liteye CEO and Co-Founder. “As unmanned platforms proliferate the air and ground in the battlefield assuring these defensive systems, and the teams that sustain them, are operational 24/7 and continuing to advance to meet the ever-evolving threat is mission-critical.”
As one of the DoD’s first C-UAS Technology Readiness Level (TRL) 9 companies, Liteye’s counter-drone systems have been protecting lives on the battlefield since 2016. Liteye has fielded cutting-edge solutions for over 20 years that enable the protection of critical infrastructure at home and around the world and the DoD’s CaaS model enables the DoD procurement models to evolve at the speed of the threat.
24 Oct 22. Ontic, the leading licensor and manufacturer of complex engineered parts for the global aerospace and defence industries, has licensed the RDR4A/B Weather Radar Systems product line from Honeywell on an exclusive licensing agreement.
The deal includes repair manufacturing, spare sales, repairs and support for the complete product line.
The weather radar platform line is an essential system for aircraft, and comprises of a receiver/transmitter, antenna, antenna drive unit, control panels and mounting trays.
The product line is fitted to an array of platforms, including the Boeing 737 family, 777 and 757, as well as the Airbus A320-CL, A330 and A340, serving some of the world’s biggest operators of these platforms.
Ontic’s global capabilities, stretching from the US through Europe and to Asia, mean the company can provide critical global support when and where it is needed.
Initial transfer from Honeywell to Ontic will take place at Ontic’s Singapore facility, covering the Asia Region, followed by the Chatsworth facility for the US.
The final transfer will see the UK stood up to support European operations, with additional support expected in France from early 2023.
Ontic’s existing radar capability means experts are on hand around the globe to support this product line – this will help reduce aircraft downtime and ensure the continued safety of aircraft, crew and passengers.
Gareth Blackbird, Ontic Vice President and Chief Commercial Officer, said: “We’re delighted to be commencing work on this product line and utilizing our existing radar support capability.
“Adding to this, our recent multi-m dollar investment across our facilities is testament to the fact we have the infrastructure and expertise to deliver. We are delighted to provide a global solution for this licensing agreement.”
Ontic’s team of experts have global reach across three continents, and have been supporting the commercial and military aviation industry for more than 45 years. The firm is based at Cleeve Business Park, Cheltenham. (Source: Google/https://www.businessinnovationmag.co.uk/)
24 Oct 22. Australian Army launches Quantum Next Generation Radar Challenge 2022. The Australian Army’s Quantum Next Generation (QNG) Radar Challenge is open for entries. Army is challenging Australian industry and academia to identify the most disruptive applications of quantum technology. Team Nominations opened on 5 October and close on 2 November
The Challenge is open to teams of undergraduate and postgraduate students and early career researchers (within 6 years of higher degree award) associated with Australian institutions, and current Defence personnel or APS members.
Teams must consist of 2 – 4 players. Players must be current Defence personnel or APS members, undergraduate student, postgraduate student or early career researcher enrolled at an Australian institution (will be required to nominate with your institutions email address.
The first 50 teams will be selected to participate.
The Challenge is part of a push by the Army to build sovereign capability and leverage Australian research to gain and retain an early quantum advantage. The Army Quantum Technology Roadmap outlines Army’s aims.
The 2022 Challenge is “To find the optimal technique for employing quantum sensors in radar”. Army uses radar in variety of ways, including mobile radar systems to detect and target land and air threats, including enemy artillery fire, aircraft and tanks.
As military technology evolves and threats diversify, Army wants to know if quantum microwave sensors can enhance existing radar systems to detect smaller and weaker scattering targets that are moving faster and are further away, while emitting less power.
Quantum sensors operate completely differently to existing sensors. Finding the optimal employment technique is critical to accurately assess the advantages of quantum sensors.
QNG Challenge teams will explore the optimal sequence of radar pulses and quantum sensor configurations that estimates the range, velocity and cross-section of target objects with highest precision within a given amount of time and radar power.
Teams will require an intermediate knowledge of programming and data analysis. Possible solutions might involve the application of machine learning techniques.
Teams could be made of any of the following mix of skills and disciplines: Mathematics, Physics, Engineering, and Computer and Data Science.
The solutions pitched by QNG Challenge teams will help Army assess the advantages offered by quantum-enhanced radar and will frame future opportunities to develop the technology.
The QNG2022 winning team at Pitchfest will receive a special invitation and admission to Army Quantum Technology Challenge 2023 (QTC23 – subject to security and admission policies); and an invitation to submit a proposal to further develop and exhibit their solution at Army QTC23 up to $50,000.
- 5 October – 2 November – Team nominations open
- 4 November – Teams registered and provided with login details
- 7 November – 7 December – The 2022 Radar Challenge
- 8 December – Results published and shortlisted teams announced for PitchFest
- 9 – 16 December – PitchFest and winner announced
Click here to nominate
https://forms.office.com/pages/responsepage.aspx?id=GU5i_LU-u0uHril7jkukjXwnWWTBCM5Gk5WyPCsZZjVUM1I1NDcwUFFHVENGMlVXU05CSFlRN05GTS4u(Source: Rumour Control)
21 Oct 22. Euronaval 2022: Hensoldt prepares Quadome multimission 3D radar for production. Hensoldt is readying its new Quadome lightweight, affordable, multimission 3D radar for production, with the objective of being able to deliver the first units in 2024 once orders are received, Hensoldt told Janes at the Euronaval 2022 maritime exhibition in Paris.
First unveiled in September 2021, the new radar has an above-deck weight of less than 850 kg and is intended for offshore patrol vessels and corvettes. The Quadome radar operates in the C-band (NATO G-band), features a solid-state active electronically scanned array, has a maximum range of 200 km, and can track more than 1,000 targets. A secondary identification, friend-or-foe (IFF) antenna is integrated and can be specific as NATO Mode 5 or Mode 4, depending on the operator.
The radar features a surveillance mode for air and surface surveillance with a four second (15 rpm) refresh rate, and a self-defence mode with a two second (30 rpm) refresh rate. In the latter, the radar can complement the fire-control loop, particularly for naval gunfire support and surface-to-air missile engagements. Helicopter control can be performed in parallel in both modes. (Source: Janes)
20 Oct 22. India to benefit as Centum joins hands with Indra Sistemas for manufacturing Space Radar Systems. Centum Electronics Limited, India, and Indra Sistemas, S.A., Spain, have signed an MoU to exclusively collaborate in high-end futuristic Radar systems and technologies for the Government of India. The MoU envisages manufacturing and commissioning of the radar for space applications.
Long-range radar is intended to detect, track and analyse objects and debris in space at a distance of thousands of kilometres.
Manuel Temes Giménez, International Director for Defence, Indra Sistemas S.A. sign the MoU
The MoU was exchanged between Mr. Nikhil Mallavarapu, Executive Director, Centum Electronics Limited, and Mr. Jaime Manuel Temes Giménez, International Director for Defence, Indra Sistemas S.A. at Gandhinagar on 20th Oct 2022 during the ‘Bandhan’ event in DefExpo 2022.
During the event Mr. Nikhil Mallavarapu said, “The country would benefit by filling a key technology gap that exists. This exclusive cooperation would also serve the Hon’ble Prime Minister’s vision of Atma Nirbhar Bharat by manufacturing most of the high-end microwave, digital and power electronics hardware within the country.” Mr. Jaime Manuel Temes Giménez, International Director for Defence, Indra Sistemas S.A., indicated that Indra is aligned with the ‘Make in India’ vision and is pleased to collaborate with Centum.
Mr. Vinod Chippalkatti, President and Cdr Subhash Ahlawat IN Retd, Director from Centum Electronics were also present in addition to other senior officials.
This MoU will enhance Centum’s indigenous Radar technology capabilities in addition to generating additional revenues in the coming years.
Centum has a strong R&D/indigenization policy for developing, qualifying, and delivering Military grade electronic systems and subsystems for Radars, EW systems, Missiles, and Aerospace/Space platforms.
Centum was founded in 1994 in Bangalore, India. Since then, Centum has rapidly grown into a diversified electronics system design and manufacturing company with more than 2000 employees operating in North America, EMEA and Asia. The company offers a broad range of products and services across high reliability segments of defence, space, aerospace, transport, industrial and medical. It has continuously invested in strengthening its design and product development capabilities while developing deep domain knowledge in the segments it operates in. Centum has also established truly world-class manufacturing facilities with cutting-edge infrastructure as well as a global supply chain capable of delivering products with high quality and reliability.
A key contributor to Centum Group’s growth has been the strong relationships forged with international customers and partners. This customer-focused approach coupled with Centum’s culture hinged on the core values of Technology-Teamwork-Trust has resulted in a track-high-quality products & services and excellent execution ability. (Source: PR Newswire)
20 Oct 22. OpenWorks Engineering unveils next generation SkyTrack drone detection system.
OpenWorks Engineering has introduced a new optical tracking system for the company’s SkyTrack configurable air defence and counter uncrewed aerial system (CUAS) camera.
Designed specifically for CUAS, dynamic air targets and air defence applications, the optical tracking system includes the following features:
- Built-in twin-AI modules for fast classification and tracking,
- dynamic positioner,
- a full range of HD cooled MWIR optics with matching EO, with focal lengths from 162-900mm,
- modular plug-and-play optical units and upgrades (LRF, IMU, INS, GPS,
- mounting power and control for easy integration,
- mounting for third party sensors and effectors,
- fully autonomous slew-to-cue from radars and RF sensors,
- AI enabled false alarm rejection and ID, and trained Sky AI to classify and track non-UAS targets.
See a video of key features here
Further technical information or demonstration can be arranged by contacting the OpenWorks team.
For more information visit: www.openworksengineering.com
18 Oct 22. Ukrainian app aims to fill gaps in low-level radar coverage by reporting drones. Ukraine is rolling out an app that that allows citizens to report sightings of drones, cruise missiles and anything else they might see flying overhead, says a report by sUAS News. The app is in response to Russian air attacks over Ukraine. The app is available from the Google play store. The app was built by the Technari Design Group, in conjunction with the South Air Force, with the aim of filling gaps in low-level radar coverage, says the report. It adds a similar concept was used during WWII when the Royal Observer Corps detected German aircraft on their way to targets in England and telephoned in their details to command centres. For more information visit: www.suasnews.com; www.quick.ua
18 Oct 22. PIT-Radwar includes opto-electronic tracking device to OSU-35K weapons system. Polish manufacturer PIT-Radwar has included an opto-electronic tracking sensor as part of its OSU-35K ship weapon system. The OSU-35K naval weapon system was exhibited for the first time at MSPO 2022 in Kielce, according to a report by Jane’s. The system is capable of engaging both naval and aerial targets with various types of ammunition.
The prototype OSU-35K is under factory trials and is scheduled to be mounted onboard the Polish navy’s mine countermeasures vessel (MCMV) ORP Albatros (602) later this year. During the factory tests, the OSU-35K engaged aerial targets at a maximum distance of 5,500 m and an altitude of up to 3,500m, says the report. Jane’s understands that the system has demonstrated an accuracy of one-metre dispersion at a distance of 1,000m. For more information visit: www.pitradwar.com; www.janes.com (Source: www.unmannedairspace.info)
Blighter Surveillance Systems is a world-leading designer and manufacturer of best-in-class electronic-scanning ground-based radars, surveillance solutions and Counter-UAS systems. Blighter’s solid-state micro-Doppler products are deployed in more than 35 countries across the globe, delivering consistent all-weather security protection and wide area surveillance along borders, coastlines, at military bases and across critical infrastructure such as airports, oil and gas facilities and palaces. Blighter radars are also used to protect manoeuvre force missions when deployed on military land vehicles and trailers, and its world-beating multi-mode radar represents a great leap in threat detection technology and affordability for use in a variety of scenarios.
The Blighter range of radar products are used for detecting a variety of threats, from individuals on foot to land vehicles, boats, drones and low-flying aircraft at ranges of up to 32 km. Blighter Surveillance Systems employs 40 people and is located near Cambridge, UK, where it designs, produces and markets its range of unique patented solid-state radars. Blighter prides itself on being an engineer-led business committed to providing cost-effective and flexible solutions across the defence, critical infrastructure and national security markets.
MISSILE, ARTILLERY, HYPERSONICS, BALLISTICS AND SOLDIER SYSTEMS UPDATE
26 Oct 22. Mobile Land Anti-Ship Capability for Australia?
An important but easily overlooked piece of Australia’s Army Land Project modernization has been Land Project 4100 Phase 2.
This is part of a broader series of efforts announced in September 2021 to field long-range precision strike weapons for not only the Royal Australian Air Force and Navy (SEA4100) which previously held such capability but for the Army as well.
Under Project Land 8113 the land forces had pursued acquiring the US Lockheed-Martin M142 truck mounted HIMARS which can currently address ground targets to 100 km with the GLMRS rocket and 300 km with precision accuracy using ATACMS. The country is also a cooperative partner in the US Army Precision Strike Missile (PrSM).
However, neither of these systems can strike maneuvering ships. Land Project 4100 Phase 2 is to acquire this capability, thus, allowing ground forces to interdict and destroy maritime surface threats. A mobile ground based anti-ship capability offers specific advantages in that they can be deployed to key areas, be easily concealed and would be able to engage and relocate enhancing their survivability and effectiveness.
Although a formal tender process has not yet been initiated some companies have potential solutions and could have interest. The government has programed around $500 million for the acquisition. The objective is to find a “low-risk” supportable solution.
A local in-county team of Thales Australia and Kongsberg are attempting to establish a favorable position for their candidate early on. The companies have jointed to independently develop the StrikeMaster. The system combines the proven and in Army service Bushmaster protected 4 X 4 vehicle with the Kongsberg Naval Strike Missile (NSM). The team unveiled a demonstrator of the StrikeMaster at the Land Forces 2022 exhibition in Brisbane in early October. The system which has two containerized launchers would be domestically produced in country.
A factor that supports the StrikeMaster offer is the July 2022 announcement by the Royal Australian Navy of its selection of the NSM to replace the Harpoon anti-ship missile on its surface combatants with fielding in 2024. In fact, Kongsberg indicates that the Launch Mission Module being used shipboard is adaptable to StrikeMaster. The NSM is in service with nine countries including the US, Japan, Malaysia, and Canada. The missile has a range of over 185 km and is compatible for both ground and ship launch. An air-launched NSM version is also being considered by the RAAF for its F-35A Lighting II.
Lockheed-Martin is proposing its AGM-184C Long Range Anti-Ship Missile – Surface Launched (LRASM-SL) which it suggests launching from the HIMARS. It is derived from the AGM-158 in development for F/A-18 aircraft and has been ordered by the RAAF for 2026 introduction. initially but which could be used from other platforms. It has a range of over 370 km.
The projected timetable for Land Project 4100 Phase 2 initiation remains unclear, however, it is evident that minimizing risk is a primary consideration.
28 Oct 22. Royal Thai Army unveils upgraded L70 AA gun.
The Royal Thai Army (RTA) has released the first images of its upgraded Bofors (now BAE Systems) 40mm L/70 Anti-Aircraft (AA) guns on its social media account on 21 October, featuring new a new optoelectronic system and integration work by local firm Armisys Supply Company.
The enhanced AA guns, designated the L70 OES (Type A Improved) were shown being operated by personnel from the RTA’s 2nd Anti-Aircraft Artillery Battalion, who underwent a company-supported training exercise from 18-20 October. Accompanying literature stated that troops were able to control the weapons either manually or via remote control.
The 40 mm L/70 AA gun has been in RTA service in the 1950s and has been upgraded several times during the intervening years. The latest update, worth 446.5 million baht (US$13.9 million), was awarded Armisys under a sole-source contract in February 2020.
The towed L/70 AA gun is tied to the Thales Flycatcher dual-band fire-direction radar.
Bofors L70 AA gun displayed at Thailand Defense & Security 2022
The RTA earlier highlighted other local enhancements to the weapon at the latest edition of the Defense & Security exhibition in Bangkok in late August, which centred on local efforts to update the weapons with new servomotor systems and a modern digital controller, as opposed to the original hydraulic motors to enhance traverse and elevation performance. Reliability and maintainability has also been improved as a result of this work.
Earlier upgrade work to the venerable weapons included LVS fire-control systems (LVS FCS) supplied by Saab Dynamics (now Saab) in the late 1990s, which were aimed at improving first-round hit probability. The LVS FCS was developed as a private venture and measures the 3D target trajectory independently of the gun movements, computing the aim digitally and controls gun direction automatically.
The standard system has a day sight which incorporates a laser rangefinder, and is provisioned for night-time engagements with the addition of an optional image intensifier or thermal imager. (Source: AMR)
28 Oct 22. UK Armed Forces to benefit from £45m contract for life-saving explosive devices protection system. Soldiers, vehicles and UK military bases to receive innovative digital protection against Improvised Explosive Devices (IEDs) through a £45m contract.
- UK Armed Forces to receive crucial protection system against improvised explosive devices
- £45m contract supports British Defence industry
- Project supports cutting edge UK skills and capability development, laying the foundation for long term growth
Soldiers, vehicles and UK military bases around the world will receive innovative digital protection against remote and radio controlled Improvised Explosive Devices (IEDs) through a £45m contract with British industry.
Under the contract awarded to Team Protect, the work – called Project CRENIC – sees UK military experts collaborate with small and medium businesses during the next five years.
Team Protect compromises of PA Consulting, Leonardo, Leidos Innovations UK, and Marshall Land Systems. This contract will sustain more than 50 jobs around the country, including in the North-West, East and South-West of England. The project aims to support and create further jobs through contracts with small and medium enterprises.
The project will develop equipment designed to be carried by soldiers, fitted to vehicles and protect military bases by detecting and disrupting explosive devices using advanced techniques across the electromagnetic spectrum.
Defence Procurement Minister Alex Chalk said: “Our Armed Forces dedicate their lives to protecting and securing our nation. As the technology used by our adversaries to threaten our people and operations evolves, we are innovating to stay ahead of the challenge.
This project brings together pioneering UK technology and industry to create a world leading protection system for our Armed Forces.”
The new system will be supported by the Defence Cyber and Electromagnetic Activities (CEMA) Architecture, which uses a common set of hardware and software open technology standards, equivalent to desktop computers and cellular phone software, to allow for wider industry participation and support reconfiguration for other military uses. This will allow the Armed Forces to modify the solutions in the future and allow for greater collaboration with allies.
Major General Robin Anderton-Brown, Director Capability Strategic Command, said: “Incorporating cutting-edge technology and adopting an agile acquisition approach, CRENIC will deliver a world-leading capability to protect our forces deployed on global operations.
Using the Defence CEMA Architecture, Project CRENIC will enable information to be shared across multiple domains, making it the first capability to directly support Multi-Domain Integration. This means information only needs to be collected once and can then be used many times. The project is expected to support electronic warfare in the future, including countering remotely piloted air systems.”
On behalf of Team Protect, Peter Lovell, Global Head of Defence and Security at PA Consulting said: “We are delighted that Team Protect has been selected to be the System Integrator (SI) for this project. The work marks a strong progression of the collaborative approach between industry and the Ministry of Defence to deliver innovative solutions to keep UK forces safe. The team has deep and extensive experience across vital capabilities, including complex programme delivery, engineering, agile software development, and digital transformation. We will deliver this project and keep UK forces safer by leveraging our relative strengths – using ingenuity to help deliver a positive human future.”
A cutting-edge integration laboratory facility will also be established to support the development of the system. The laboratory will promote innovation and experimentation as the new capability evolves against emerging threats.
First deliveries of the new equipment for vehicle and soldier carried systems for use on operations are due to take place in 2026. Equipment will be incrementally deployed and will evolve to meet the needs of the British Army, Royal Marines and Royal Air Force land forces long into the future. (Source: https://www.gov.uk/)
27 Oct 22. Nexter and MBDA Present the New NARWHAL Turret Equipped With the AKERON MP Missile System. The NARWHAL is a remotely operated 20mm naval turret that can be integrated just as easily onto small patrol boats as onto frigates. Equipped with state-of-the-art optronics, including a day/night sight and a laser range finder, it is effective at more than 2,000 metres thanks to its 20M621 gun.
The NARWHAL is already a commercial success, in service with six different navies. To meet their needs and those of future customers, our engineers are working to add new capabilities and options that enhance its operational effectiveness.
The NARWHAL turret presented on the Nexter stand is paired with a manual target designator: the Short Range Pointer (SRP), designed by the German firm Hensoldt. With this easy-to-use tool, an onboard operator can quickly designate a target to the NARWHAL by pointing a laser beam.
The AKERON MP missile (formerly known as the MMP) has been available to French forces since 2017 and has already been selected by five countries, including three in Europe. It is the only latest-generation land combat missile in service to have been successfully engaged in operations on multiple occasions. With more than 150 test and training firings to its credit, the AKERON MP is capable of dealing with all battlefield threats in all types of environment: extreme heat and cold, urban spaces, maritime areas, and mountainous terrain. Finally, a naval capability is being implemented on the AKERON MP missile to facilitate the acquisition of small targets and signatures from naval platforms, including with a mast-mounted configuration, and provide these platforms with an enhanced self-defence capability in coastal environments against sea- or land-based asymmetric threats. AKERON MP offers both “fire-and-forget” and “man-in-the-loop” capability (for engagements where there is a risk of collateral damage).
The integration of MBDA’s anti-missile system on the NARWHAL turret means that the AKERON MP is now available on a new naval platform, as the system also comes in a dismounted version on a light firing post, as well as on a range of other platforms, such as armoured vehicles, light vehicles, ECUME semi-rigid commando boats, fast patrol boats, or larger ships for close protection needs. (Source: ASD Network)
28 Oct 22. Turkey’s First Kamikaze Drone on Show. The Turkish defense industry has added a new product to the kamikaze unmanned aerial vehicles (UAVs) developed domestically. The new drone, named Deli, was developed by Titra Teknoloji and was exhibited for the first time at the SAHA Expo defense and aviation fair in Istanbul.
Titra Teknoloji general manager Davut Yılmaz told Anadolu Agency (AA) that the Deli Project was started about two years ago.
He said they set out to develop a fixed-wing kamikaze UAV that can be launched manually or from a catapult, which is as cost-effective as possible, adding the testing process near end and that they expect the product to reach a level where it can be added to the inventory by the end of this year.
With its autonomous and manual operational capabilities, Deli can be easily transported with its modular structure and is ready for use in less than 15 minutes. Deli, whose safety level has been increased with anti-jamming devices, can reach a cruising speed of 80 kph (50 mph) and a maximum speed of 180 kph.
Deli is preparing to enter the battlefield with a maximum altitude of 3,500 meters (11483 feet) and an operational altitude of 150-500 meters. It has a warhead of around 3.1 kilograms (6.8 pounds).
The warhead to be used on the kamikaze UAV was developed by the Defense Industries Research and Development Institute (SAGE) of the Scientific and Technological Research Council of Turkey (TÜBİTAK).
Yılmaz further noted that their product has three basic advantages compared to similar products on the market.
“First, it is cost-effective. This kind of kamikaze drone is preferred to be cheap because you will not use it twice,” he said.
The second advantage is the drone’s warhead, according to Yılmaz while the third advantage is its autonomy capability.
“Thanks to the algorithms we developed ourselves with its autonomy features, we think Deli will make a big difference,” he said. (Source: UAS VISION/The Daily Sabah)
26 Oct 22. Brazil to add 81 mm mortar to Guarani AFVs. The Brazilian Army plans to progressively convert 182 of its more than 550 IDV VBTP-MSR Guarani 6×6 amphibious armoured fighting vehicles (AFVs) into 81 mm mortar carriers. The effort intends to increase fire-support troops’ mobility and protection, while also safely transporting mortar and related equipment inside a vehicle, the army said. The kit must be easy to install, utilise, and remove, according to the requirements.
The project, run by the Manufacturing Directorate, would develop and then produce, at the War Arsenal of Rio de Janeiro (Arsenal de Guerra do Rio: AGR), an adaptation and transport kit to accommodate the army’s Morteiro Médio Antecarga (Mrt Me Acg) 81 mm medium muzzle-loaded mortar.
A total of 182 VBTP-MSR Guarani personnel carriers equipped with the W&E Platt MR550 ring mount with protection shield could be converted to transport the mortar and a minimum of 60 high-explosive rounds by 2026, according to the army. The vehicle’s crew will be composed of a driver, commander, gunner, and two ammunition loaders. (Source: Janes)
27 Oct 22. MBDA’s Cyber-Secure Multi-Mission Firing Control Unit.
During Euronaval, MBDA presented its Multi-Mission Firing Unit (MMFU), MBDA’s new cyber-secured firing unit designed to operate all MBDA’s weapon systems.
“Currently, on ships, each weapon system is linked to its own firing unit, a large cabinet that places certain constraints on a ship’s architecture,” Bruno Moretti, MMFU Chief Engineer, said during the press briefing organised in the context of Euronaval. Beyond the footprint on the ship’s architecture, this approach also means that when a weapon system is changed, the whole unit needs to be changed as well. “A resource-intensive process in terms of time, money and human resources, especially when one considers that weapon systems now evolve much faster than they did before” Moretti added.
To offer its customers more flexility throughout the lifetime of their capabilities, MBDA has designed the MMFU, a digitalised firing unit that manages all onboard weapon systems and communicates directly with the ship’s Combat Management System (CMS).
“The MMFU has been developed following a Lego Brick approach,” Moretti told journalists. It is based on three key bricks. The CBOX is the software operating all the systems, and has been designed following what MBDA refers to as a ‘ring approach’: “Every time a new weapon system is added, it is integrated into the ring of softwares, as though one would be adding a bead to a beads neckless.” The SIMBOX is the hardware interfaced with ammunition. Finally, the SEQBOX manages the launchers.
At the heart of this Lego Brick approach is the idea that when a new – or simply additional – weapon system is added, only the SIMBOX needs to be changed – or added. The customer can then simply update the software in order for the weapon system to be operational on the ship. “The result is a system that offers customers much more flexibility for ship design, since only two – for redundancy – CBOX are placed on the ship rather than a large firing unit for each weapon system,” Moretti told journalists. The whole system is cyber secure.
The first MMFU will be delivered on board the first French – in 2024 – and Greek FDIs. It will be the ITR-A and ITR-E, named after the French acronym for the MMFU (Installation de Tir Reconfigurable), A for Aster and E for Exocet. ITR-A has also been offered for the PANG, while the ITR-A and E has been offered for the Horizon frigates. “Currently the system is designed to work with French missile systems only because this is where the original need came from, but evolutions are part of the roadmap,” Moretti concluded. (Source: Armada)
27 Oct 22. German Armed Forces conduct first operational tests of high-energy laser weapon against drones. It was a big step in the direction of fully operational laser weapons. For the time ever, the German Armed Forces fired a shipboard laser weapon. On August 30th 2022, the German frigate Sachsen successfully engaged drones at short and very short range in the Baltic Sea near Putlos Major Training Area. The laser weapon demonstrator was developed by the High-Energy Laser Naval Demonstrator working committee (“ARGE”), consisting of MBDA Deutschland GmbH and Rheinmetall Waffe Munition GmbH. Future high-energy laser (HEL) weapon systems for the Navy will be especially useful in defending against drones and drone swarms as well as engaging attacking speed boats at close and very close range. But the system can also be designed for greater output, enabling it to destroy guided missiles and mortar rounds.
The joint integration and test phase of the naval demonstrator started in November 2021, which the ARGE integration team concluded with a successful factory acceptance test at Rheinmetall’s Unterlüß proving ground. The demonstrator was then installed onboard the frigate Sachsen in Kiel. In July 2022 the first test campaign took place in Eckernförde Bay near the Bundeswehr’s Technical Centre for Ships and Naval Weapons, Marine Technology and Research, WTD 71, in Surendorf. During the trials, the capabilities of various sensors, including the electro-optical sensor suite from the ARGE and the radar, were verified. In addition, the interplay between all the components and procedures in the entire operational sequence from target acquisition to engagement was put to the test. The trials included multiple highly realistic engagement scenarios. The test planning and the provision of various types of targets on land, at sea or from the air were carried out and organised by the Federal Office of Bundeswehr Equipment, Information Technology and In-Service Support (BAAINBw). The test management was carried out by WTD 71.
Daniel Gruber, naval demonstrator project manager at MBDA Deutschland, and Dr. Markus Jung, in charge of laser weapon development at Rheinmetall Waffe Munition GmbH, were on hand to observe the test campaign with the frigate. Looking back on the integration and test phase, they drew a positive conclusion.
For everyone involved, the historic live fire test from a German Navy warship was a special moment. The team succeeded in proving the demonstrator’s capabilities in full. “Solid teamwork between the two ARGE partners played a key role in helping us integrate a fully functional, high-performance demonstrator onboard the frigate”, reports Gruber. “Close cooperation with the command team of the Sachsen enabled direct communication with the future user. This way, ideas from the Navy could be directly incorporated or implemented during subsequent development.”
Dr Thomas Baumgärtel, project manager for the naval demonstrator at Rheinmetall Waffe und Munition GmbH, was also satisfied with the outcome: “The principal components of the demonstrator are truly high tech. This is the result of long years of research at both the participating companies. Many of the demonstrator’s system components were developed specially for the project and combined in this form for the first time. Moreover, given the extremely short integration phase for a system of this complexity, we’re very proud of the results achieved thus far and of how well the trials went. The impressive performance of the HEL effectors in protecting surface combatants from short- and very-short range threats can be credited to the joint efforts of everyone involved in the project – defence industry experts, government officials, and of course the men and women of the frigate Sachsen.”
Both Doris Laarmann, head of laser activities at MBDA Deutschland, and Alexander Graf, in charge of programme management for laser weapons at Rheinmetall Waffe und Munition GmbH, emphasized how the current trials have now set the basic stage for introducing laser weapon systems and capabilities into the Bundeswehr – capabilities whose relevance is by no means restricted to the Navy. The defence industry is pressing ahead with laser systems that will help to protect troops deployed in harm’s way in multiple applications.
Testing of the high-energy laser weapon will continue until mid-2023. In subsequent test campaigns, new scenarios will challenge the demonstrator’s capabilities. Not least, the results will determine what still needs to be done on the path to a fully functional, operational laser weapon.
Effector-related tasks in the ARGE are basically evenly divided. MBDA Deutschland is taking care of target detection and target tracking, the operator console and linking the laser weapon demonstrator to the command-and-control system. Rheinmetall is responsible for the slewing system, the beam guidance, the demonstrator container as well as mechanical and electrical integration of the demonstrator onto the deck of the Sachsen, and finally for the high-energy laser source, including its periphery.
24 Oct 22. Hanwha Rolls Out 24 ‘K9PL’ Howitzers for Poland.
Hanwha has proven strong production capacity to deliver products to customers on time Hanwha is expanding their partnership with the Government of Poland to secure additional executive contracts under the Framework Contract The K9PL is expected to help enhance the security of Poland with the artillery solution’s proven firepower, mobility and survivability. The initial batch of 24 K9 Thunder Self-Propelled Howitzers (SPHs) for Poland were rolled out on October 19 as part of the first executive contract signed in mid-August this year.
The roll-out ceremony was held at Hanwha Defense’s Factory 1 in Changwon, some 300 kilometers southeast of Seoul. This proves Hanwha’s robust production capacity to deliver customers with the best-quality products at speed since the roll-out of 24 K9PL howitzers comes less than two months after signing the executive contract to provide K9 SPHs by 2026. Under the Framework Contract, hundreds of K9 SPHs will also be manufactured in Poland from 2026, in partnership between Hanwha and Poland’s state-funded defense group, Polska Grupa Zbrojeniowa (PGZ).
About 150 distinguished guests gathered at the ceremony with the attendance of high-ranking officials from the two countries, including Eom Dong-hwan, Minister of the Defense Acquisition Program Administration; Lieutenant General Eom Yong-jin, commander of the ROK Army Logistics Command; Major General Maciej Jablonski, Polish Army Inspector of the Land Forces; and Piotr Ostaszewski, Polish Ambassador to South Korea.
During the event, all the 24 K9PL vehicles were lined up on the site, as a K9PL led the parade of advanced combat vehicles, built by Hanwha Defense. These include the K10 Ammunition Resupply Vehicle; K77 Fire Direction Center Vehicle; K21 Infantry Fighting Vehicle; Korean Amphibious Assault Vehicle; and Arion-SMET Unmanned Ground Vehicle. On top of these ground vehicles, Hanwha’s guided missiles and aerospace engines were also on display, showcasing the company’s wider range of defense capabilities through the upcoming merger of defense and aerospace affiliates of Hanwha Group.
“Today’s rollout of K9PL Self-Propelled Howitzers represents our firm commitment to satisfying the needs of Poland,” said Lee Boo-hwan, Executive Vice President of Hanwha Defense’s Overseas Business Division. “We are very confident about our strong production capacity to deliver best-quality products on time.”
The 155mm/52-calibre K9 Thunder is the world’s most popular tracked self-propelled gun with over 1,700 units are already in service with nine countries. The howitzer can deliver consistent, accurate, rapid effects at +40km range with high rates and volumes of fire. In particular, the K9 is optimized for “Shoot-and-Scoot” capability to fire multiple rounds and immediately move to a different location to avoid potential counter-fire.
The K9PL is based on the K9A1 variant that features improvements such as automatic fire control, driver night vision periscopes, and auxiliary power units. Hanwha plans to upgrade the K9A1 to A2 version equipped with a fully automatic ammunition handling system. The autoloading K9A2 can fire over nine rounds per minute, with just three crewmembers.
“Hanwha will be the best and most reliable partner for Poland, contributing to the Polish defense capability and industry growth,” said Son Jaeil, President and CEO of Hanwha Defense. “Moreover, we will take the lead in the globalization of South Korean weapons systems and continue efforts to develop global too-class defense products to meet the expectations of our customers around the globe.” (Source: ASD Network)
17 Oct 22. Teijin Aramid offers a sustainable future for ballistic protection. ‘At Teijin Aramid, we design better, more sustainable materials for ballistic protection. We’re the biggest aramid manufacturer in the world, and Twaron, our para-aramid, is used in various soft and hard ballistic protection solutions – from body armour and ballistic helmets to shields, armoured vehicles, and more. Many of today’s protective vests are made of Twaron, which provides enhanced protection, comfort, and an excellent performance-to-weight ratio. In vehicle spall liners, the material forms protective layer to defend passengers from secondary fragments.’
Join us at Future Forces 2022: We’re determined to improve the circular economy in the ballistic protection value chain and have critical insights to share. At our Future Forces 2022 presentation, ‘Setting the circularity turnaround in motion’, Teijin experts will describe how partnering with supply-chain stakeholders for circularity can give products new lives. They’ll explain how focusing on product (re)design, take-back logistics, and cleaning and recycling technologies provide routes for recycling end-of-life para-aramids.
Are you interested in discovering how Twaron can be used in solutions for various threat levels? Meet us at Future Forces 2022 in Prague to discuss how our solutions can add value to your ballistic applications.
18 Oct 22. Hanwha has signed a framework contract to supply 288 K239 Chunmoo MLRS (Multiple Rocket Launcher Systems) to Poland. Hanwha Defense and Poland entered into a Framework Contract on October 19 for the delivery of 288 K239 Chunmoo Multiple Rocket Launcher Systems (MRLS). The contract was signed by Son Jaeil, President and CEO of Hanwha Defense, and Polish Deputy Prime Minister M. Błaszczak in Warsaw. Among the attendees were Yoo Dong-joon, Deputy Minister of Defense for Force and Resource Management of the Ministry of National Defense; and Sung Il, Deputy Minister of the Defense Acquisition Program Administration.
“I would like to thank you for the very fruitful defence cooperation between Poland and South Korea,” Błaszczak, who also serves as defence minister, said during the signing ceremony. “The analysis of the war in Ukraine war underlines particular value of the artillery. Hence, we decided to strengthen Polish artillery, emphasising rocket artillery.”
The K239 Chunmoo is a self-propelled wheeled MRLS capable of firing various calibres of shells. The launcher vehicle carries two missile containers, each of which can contain up to six 239mm guided missiles with a range of approximately 80 kilometres or one ballistic missile with a range of approximately 290 kilometres.
Under the framework agreement, the first batch of 18 Chunmoo artillery systems and ammunition will be delivered to the Polish Armed Forces in 2023, complimenting the large buy of K9 Self Propelled Howitzers announced in July this year. The first batch of 24 K9 howitzers were rolled out on October 19 at Hanwha Defense’s factory in Changwon, about 300 kilometres southeast of Seoul.
The Polish version of Chunmoo MRLS, in particular, will be integrated with Polish subsystems such as JELCZ trucks manufactured by the Polish Armaments Group, and TOPAZ automated fire control systems built by WB Electronics. The sets will also be equipped with Polish means of communication and the battlefield management system. It is planned to award contracts to Polish industrial entities for the supply of command vehicles, technical support vehicles, ammunition, and technical evaluation vehicles.
“Based on close cooperation with PGZ, Hanwha is committed to maximising the benefits to the Polish industry,” said Lee Boo-hwan, Executive Vice President of Hanwha Defense’s Overseas Business Division, referring to efforts to jointly develop next-generation weapons systems and conduct joint marketing activities with Polish partners.
“Chunmoo is a key asset of South Korea’s self-reliant defence capability, and the advanced artillery system will be taking the roles of defending the Polish border, and the Polish Chunmoo MRLS will be supplied as fast as possible to contribute to the military build-up of Poland,” Son Jaeil, President and CEO of Hanwha Defense said. “Moreover, Hanwha will make utmost efforts to build a stronger and more reliable partnership with Poland by exploring areas where both sides can cooperate in addition to the defence sector.” (Source: www.joint-forces.com)
18 Oct 22. General Robotics of Israel, an advanced systems developer, has unveiled the SHARK Naval RCWS smart weapon station for light boats.
~Naval commandos rely on stealth and surprise to get close to the enemy, strike swiftly, and disengage. For these attributes, they rely on submersible vehicles or Rigid Hull Inflatable Boats – RHIB, small and fast boats, to bring them close to the target with the firepower they need. However, due to the size of these boats, naval commandos cannot use many of the sophisticated weapons employed on larger platforms. That is precisely where General Robotics’ new SHARK Remotely Controlled Weapon Station (RCWS) comes into effect.
SHARK addresses the need for SOF to operate their weapons on small boats. These compact boats move at high speed and agility. Yet, the constantly moving platform degrades fire accuracy with conventional weapon mounts, requiring operators to get dangerously close to the enemy to deliver the desired effects. Crews on larger boats often operate stabilised weapon stations to improve fire accuracy, but these systems are much larger and heavier for RHIBs. To meet this challenge, General Robotics has introduced the SHARK, a unique RCWS that applies to naval roles, from special operations to law enforcement interception, including interception, coastal security, counter-terror, and anti-piracy activities. “We designed SHARK to meet the specific requirements of naval commandos and SEALS,” Shahar Gal, General Robotics’ CEO, said.
Addressing the most demanding needs of Naval Special Warfare (NSW), SHARK was designed and tested with users and experts from the local and international NSW community. SHARK fits on small manned and unmanned naval vessels, NSW boats, and raiding crafts to deliver versatile and accurate firepower. At a net weight of 85 kg (without weapon and ammunition), SHARK is much lighter and smaller than other naval weapon stations. Built as a rugged, robust, seaworthy system, it is versatile enough to operate remotely on a cluttered deck, scoring direct hits at a sea state up to 3, where the platform and targets constantly move.
General Robotics PITBULL RCWS [© General Robotics]
The new SHARK is based on General Robotics’ combat-proven Pitbull RCWS. “We developed the SHARK prototype as a robust yet lightweight system offering seamless remote operation by a single operator with some special adaptations for naval use and NSW concepts of operation,” Gal said, adding that the prototype was further refined based on feedback from our customers and partners following extensive field trials, further maturing SHARK for fielding. SHARK uses dual-axis electro-mechanical stabilisation coupled with automatic tracking, video motion detection, and fire control for accurate weapon laying to deliver fast and precise firepower. This feature improves its capability to compensate for motions induced by the sea waves, platform, and target movements to engage moving targets. But that isn’t all. When the operator presses the trigger, the AI-driven fire control runs a target prediction algorithm to align the projectile’s path and the target’s expected location and points the weapon in that direction. Only then is a burst fired. This technique has demonstrated hit accuracy of about 70 percent. This unique capability enables SHARK to be used as a naval Counter-UAS weapon. The SHARK can be mounted in this role with an optional Anti-Drone Jammer used as a ‘soft kill’ C-UAS.
Weapon control is done locally or remotely through an intuitive touch screen tablet encased in a jacket providing the intuitive operating and safety buttons for the “Point & Shoot™” control. Another feature added to SHARK that benefits remote operators is the rear camera, providing the operator with a point of view to assess the weapon status and overcome malfunctions associated with the ammunition, weapon, or mount. The integration on USV poses additional challenges since the boat’s cluttered deck and constant movement add to a situational awareness complexity, restricting the sectors of fire the weapon can use. SHARK is built for platform-independent operation; it maintains an autonomous situational awareness that includes built-in Anti-Collision functions and multiple Fire Inhibiting Zones (FIZ) and is integrated with other systems onboard. Optional integration with onboard radar enables SHARK to detect and alert hostile fires aimed at the unmanned platform and take responding measures accordingly.
The system’s size, weight, and power (SWaP) make SHARK particularly suitable for Naval Special Warfare (NSW) crafts, RHIB, and other manned or unmanned raiding crafts. It enables the crew to maximise the effect of small caliber weapons such as the 40mm automatic grenade launchers, 0.5″ heavy machine guns, and 7.62mm light machine guns. As a veteran of Israel’s navy, Gal is accustomed to the marine environment, a knowledge that shaped the system’s design optimisation to increase operational flexibility, reduce the size and weight saving, and improve reliability. “At the bottom line, the reduced weight and size derive significant benefits,” said Gal, “It means SHARK can be mounted on smaller boats and handle the recoil loads with less weight and energy. As a result, SHARK consumes less power and delivers higher accelerations, resulting in better accuracy and agility. It can be used as a stand-alone system with its sensors or integrated with other sensors onboard. In this way, we offer tailor-made combat solutions to meet the unique requirements of our customers.” (Source: www.joint-forces.com)
21 Oct 22. Defexpo 2022: India set to locally produce Russian AK-203 rifles. Indo-Russian Rifles Private Limited (IRRPL) – a joint venture between Russia and India to manufacture AK-203 assault rifles for the Indian Armed Forces – has initiated the process to produce the rifles in India, it has been confirmed to Janes at Defexpo 2022, being held in Gandhinagar, Gujarat, from 18 to 22 October.
Rajeev Sharma, general manager, Advanced Weapons and Equipment India Limited (AWEIL), which is one of the stakeholders in IRRPL, told Janes that the modalities to manufacture AK-203 are already out and the process of producing AK-203 in the Ordnance Factory, Korwa, has started.
In September the president of the Kalashnikov Group, Alan Lushnikov, told Russian state-affiliated media agency TASS that the Russian-Indian joint venture for the production of AK-203 assault rifles has started its work.
IRRPL said that the rifle is chambered for 7.62×39 rounds and can use ammunition and magazines that exist within the Indian Army supply chain.
21 Oct 22. B-21 Bomber to Be Unveiled Dec. 2. The USAF confirmed Oct. 20 it plans to reveal the B-21 Raider Dec. 2 during an unveiling ceremony hosted and sponsored by the Northrop Grumman Corporation at its production facilities in Palmdale, California.
The B-21 is a long-range, highly survivable, penetrating strike stealth bomber that will incrementally replace the B-1 and B-2 bombers, becoming the backbone of the U.S. Air Force bomber fleet.
“The unveiling of the B-21 Raider will be a historic moment for our Air Force and the nation,” said Air Force Chief of Staff Gen. CQ Brown, Jr. “We last introduced a new bomber over 30 years ago. As we look to the threats posed by our pacing challenge; we must continue to rapidly modernize. The B-21 Raider will provide formidable combat capability across a range of operations in highly contested environments of the future.”
The Department of the Air Force is investing in the aircraft’s long-range strike capability as part of its seven Operational Imperatives as it develops the advanced communications, sensors, and a broad mix of weapons and supporting systems needed to deter our adversaries and prevail in combat.
We must invest in long-range strike in a highly contested environment by integrating the B-21 bomber with advanced communications, sensors, and a broad mix of weapons and supporting systems.
After unveiling, the B-21 program will continue its rigorous testing campaign with a combined team of professionals from the Air Force Test Center, Air Force Operational Test and Evaluation Center, and Northrop Grumman. Their work will verify performance and identify areas for improvement for the weapon system.
“The B-21 program is a powerful example of America’s long experience with fielding advanced military technology through an innovative, adaptable and efficient defense industrial base,” said Andrew Hunter, assistant secretary of the Air Force for Acquisition, Technology and Logistics. “The Air Force made the decision early in the life of the program to make the flight test aircraft production representative, which is paying dividends as we look towards first flight.”
The B-21 weapon system is manufactured under the Air Force’s contract with Northrop(Source: Defense News)
Grumman. It is designed with an open systems architecture, enabling rapid insertion of mature technologies, and allowing the aircraft to remain effective as threats evolve over time. (Source: ASD Network)
21 Oct 22. IRGC unveils manportable loitering munition.
Iran’s Islamic Revolution Guards Corps (IRGC) unveiled the Meraj-521 tube-launched loitering munition during an exercise held in northwest Iran from 17 to 20 October.
Iranian media coverage showed three munitions and launchers with a configuration similar to the AeroVironment Switchblade 300, which is launched from a tube like a mortar using compressed air and then unfolds two sets of wings, vertical stabilisers, and a pusher propeller. Unlike the tubular Switchblade, the Meraj-521 has a square cross-section.
The Iranian media coverage also showed a mannequin holding the system’s ground control system, which had a flip-up screen, presumably for the feed from a camera carried by the unmanned aerial vehicle (UAV), as well as control sticks so the operator can steer it into a target.