Procurement, Science and Technology Q1-2014

After not including a “Science / Technology and Procurement” section in the last newsletter, this issues report is longer than normal.   As the news in recent months has focused on the Russian / Crimean / Ukrainian events, the search for a missing commercial airliner, and nations struggling with their budgets; there is  also significant relevant information highlighted in the two following categories. The first, Procurements, identifies some of the more pertinent procurements and contracts of interest , as well as business mergers and  alliance changes within the defense industry. The second, Science/Technology, provides highlights of technology developments related to munitions and munition safety. This section also includes major weapon development events and other technology topics of interest. We hope you find the information of interest. At the end of each excerpt is the hyperlink to the news source where you can find the entire article.



Navy Awards General Dynamics Bath Iron Works $643 Million Construction Contract for DDG 51 Class Destroyer
The U.S. Navy has awarded General Dynamics Bath Iron Works a contract valued at $642.5 million to construct an additional Arleigh Burke-class destroyer. The award brings the total number of ships to be constructed under the multi-year procurement to five, and the total value of the contract to approximately $3.4 billion.
There are currently two DDG 51 destroyers in production at Bath Iron Works, Rafael Peralta (DDG 115) and Thomas Hudner (DDG 116). DDG 115 is scheduled to be delivered to the Navy in 2016 and  DDG 116 is in 2017.  Bath Iron Works is also building the three ships in the planned three-vessel Zumwalt-class of destroyers, Zumwalt (DDG 1000), Michael Monsoor (DDG 1001) and Lyndon Johnson (DDG 1002). All three ships are progressing in construction with the christening of Zumwalt (DDG 1000) scheduled for April 12, 2014, in Bath, Maine.


BAE Systems has been awarded a £16.8 million contract to produce 105mm illuminating artillery shells, L43A5, for the U.K. Ministry of Defence (MoD).
“This award builds on more than 45 years of 105mm Illuminating Shell development,” said Lena Gillström, managing director of Weapon Systems, Sweden at BAE Systems.   Upon completion of this contract, BAE Systems will have delivered more than 60,000 rounds of 105mm white and infrared illuminating artillery shells to the U.K. MoD.  Series production starts immediately and the rounds will be delivered from 2014 through 2016. Final assembly will occur at BAE Systems facility in Karlskoga, Sweden. The L43A5 can be fired from the 105mm Light Gun, currently in service with the United Kingdom and many other armed forces around the world.


Raytheon awarded first international contract for Paveway IV
HARLOW, England, April 11, 2014 -- Raytheon Company received a contract from an international customer for Paveway™ IV precision guided bombs valued at more than $200M. As part of the sale Raytheon will deliver hundreds of the advanced munitions, which are regarded as the 'weapon of choice' for the Royal Air Force. The contract represents the first sale of Paveway™ IV outside the U.K.
The Raytheon's Paveway IV precision-guided bomb is flown on the UK's Tornado and Typhoon jets. (Raytheon)
Raytheon UK’s Paveway IV precision-guided bomb has secured its first export customer, following US congressional approval for a deal to supply weapons to Saudi Arabia.
Export of the Paveway IV to the Saudis has been held up for several years by the refusal of the US State Department to give clearance for US components included in the weapon.  John Michel, the weapons business director at Raytheon UK, said the contract was signed in December and approved by the US Congress in February.  Michel said weapons would be produced over the next two years, with the first bombs handed over in about 18 months.|nextstory

Raytheon receives $350 million SM-3 Block IB contract
TUCSON, Ariz., March 6, 2014  The Missile Defense Agency awarded Raytheon Company $350 million to increase its procurement of Standard Missile-3 Block IB missiles from 8 to 44.   The SM-3 is designed to destroy incoming short-, medium-, and intermediate-range ballistic missile threats by colliding with them in space, a concept sometimes described as "hitting a bullet with a bullet."  The work will be performed in Tucson, Ariz., and Huntsville, Ala., through September 2016.


Raytheon awarded $655 million contract for Patriot: from Kuwait
TEWKSBURY, Mass., March 3, 2014 Raytheon Company has received a $655 million contract for new-production fire units of the combat-proven Patriot Air and Missile Defense System for Kuwait. These units are an addition to the Patriot fire units Kuwait currently owns to counter current and evolving threats.
Awarded by the U.S. Army Aviation and Missile Command, Redstone Arsenal, Ala., as a Foreign Military Sale agreement, the contract includes new Patriot fire units with increased computing power and radar processing efficiency, improved man-machine interface and reduced life-cycle costs.


Raytheon awarded $123 million Phalanx contract from Republic of Korea:  Systems to go aboard FFX-, AOE II-class ships
TUCSON, Ariz., Feb. 24, 2014 -- Raytheon Company signed a $123 million contract to deliver nine Phalanx Block 1B Close-In Weapon Systems to the Republic of Korea Navy.   Under the direct commercial sale, the largest ever for the Phalanx program, Raytheon will deliver the Phalanx systems for installation aboard the FFX Batch II frigate-class ships and AOE II-class fast combat support ships.
Deliveries will begin in 2016 and are scheduled to be completed in 2022. The contract was signed during the fourth quarter 2013.


Raytheon receives $31 million Maverick missile contract from South Korea
SINGAPORE, Feb. 10, 2014  Raytheon Company was awarded a $31 million contract from the Korean Defense Acquisition Program Administration for additional AGM-65G-2 Maverick missiles. Under the direct commercial sale, Raytheon will supply the missiles to the Republic of Korea Air Force.


Rheinmetall wins multi-million euro contract for mortar ammunition 04-Sep-2013
Rheinmetall AG of Düsseldorf has booked a major order for mortar ammunition. A customer in the Middle East/ North Africa (MENA) region has contracted with Rheinmetall Denel Munition of South Africa to supply ammunition for a mobile 120mm mortar system. The contract, which runs for several years and will be completed in partnership with a local company in the customer land, is worth around €50 million.
Delivery of the ammunition starts in September 2014. The order encompasses tens of thousands of service, illumination and smoke/obscurant rounds. They are developed for a modern 120mm mobile mortar system, with ballistic characteristics specifically adapted to its advanced fire control unit.


General Dynamics Receives $15 Million U.S. Navy Award for Common Missile Compartment Development
GROTON, Conn. - The U.S Navy has awarded General Dynamics Electric Boat a $15 million contract modification to procure long-lead-time material and continue development of the Common Missile Compartment for the Ohio replacement submarine and the United Kingdom's Successor ballistic-missile submarine. Initially awarded in December 2012, the five-year, $1.85 billion contract calls for Electric Boat to perform research and development work for the Navy's next-generation ballistic-missile submarine, which is scheduled to begin construction in 2021. Along with contract mods in Nov, the potential value of the overall contract is $2.9 billion.


Dec 2013  The French DGA (Direction Générale de l’Armement) has notified MBDA of an order for the development and production of the MMP (Missile Moyenne Portée) weapon system which will equip the French Army as of 2017.
The MMP missile will provide a successor to MILAN (the anti-tank system currently in service with the French Army and sold to around 40 other armies around the world). Thanks to its modular concept, MMP will have the capability of being fired from portable firing posts, battlefield vehicles and army aviation platforms.
MMP’s entirely new concept takes into consideration the experience gained from recent conflicts where the need to master the delivery of military effects without collateral damage has been shown to be a major operational requirement. As a result, it offers both  a “fire and forget” capability (which allows the operator to move to another position immediately after having fired the weapon) as well as a “man in the loop” capability (for engagements which could pose the risk of collateral damage). MMP is effective against a wide range of ground targets (including tanks, armoured and non-armoured vehicles and infrastructures). The missile can be fired from confined spaces and directed against non-line of sight targets.


18/11/2013   The MoD is investing £35 million to sustain the RAF’s stockpile of Brimstone missiles.  A contract with British defence firm MBDA will guarantee the supply of weapons for the next five years.
Carried by RAF Tornados, Brimstone has been used extensively on operations in Afghanistan. The air-to-ground weapons provide unrivalled capability to pilots who are able to engage moving and static targets at both day and night.  With a small warhead and precision guidance capability, Brimstone significantly reduces the risk of collateral damage.  Manufactured and assembled by MBDA in the UK; at their facilities in Henlow, Bedfordshire and Lostock, Bolton.


17/11/2013 Bourges, France : MBDA has just completed the integration and factory acceptance test of the first Multi-Purpose Combat Vehicle (MPCV) vehicles designed to operate the Mistral surface to air missile. Built for export, these vehicles represent the first production batch. In the next few days, they will be shipped for delivery to the customer country before the end of the year, as announced at the contract signing in February 2011.
In parallel, MBDA is completing the installation of a final assembly line in the customer country so that the customer will be able to carry out the final integration of its own combat vehicles using MBDA provided MPCV kits.  In Bourges, MBDA personnel have also trained the customer’s technical staff during the integration of the first MPCV’s.
With this first version in full production, MBDA is now ready to move ahead with a land combat version of the MPCV. This will deploy the totally new MMP surface attack missile which is currently being developed by MBDA.
The MPCV, developed by MBDA in cooperation with Rheinmetall Defence Electronics (RDE) of Germany, has been designed to meet emerging requirements for a highly mobile weapon system which can be adapted for different missions, either air defence or land combat, depending on the type of missiles it operates. The first development, which is now being delivered, is aimed at air defence and comprises a motorized and stabilized turret that includes electro-optical sensors, a small caliber gun and four, ready-to-fire Mistral missiles with four more missiles stored in the vehicle for re-loading. Additional versions dedicated to land combat are planned for development.
 © MBDA D Lutanie  

 Mistral is a short-range (6 kmclass) surface-to-air missile capable of intercepting a wide variety of aerial targets including those with even a low infrared signature. It is characterized by an outstanding success rate (96% from more than 4,500 live firings), a high effectiveness against maneuvering targets, and has demonstrated its capabilities against fixed-wing aircraft, nap-of-the-earth helicopters, unmanned aerial vehicles, cruise missiles as well as moving land vehicles and Fast Inshore Attack Craft at sea.


27/03/2014  MBDA welcomes the signature of the Demonstration and Manufacture contract for the FASGW(H)/ANL (Future Anti Surface Guided Weapon (Heavy)/ Anti Navire Léger) missile on 26th March 2014. This jointly funded Anglo-French contract, valued at more than £500 million (€600 million) has been awarded to MBDA by the UK DE&S (Defence Equipment & Support) on behalf of the French and UK MODs and will be managed as part of MBDA’s Team Complex Weapons Portfolio. The work will complete the joint assessment and missile design work funded by the two nations in cooperation since 2009.
By working in concert and bringing together their respective strengths, Britain and France will not only achieve a more cost effective solution to their military needs, they will also help to strengthen MBDA’s position in confronting worldwide competition. Similarly this will also benefit the capability and export potential of those European helicopter platforms which will integrate the FASGW(H)/ANL system over the coming years.
Antoine Bouvier, CEO of MBDA said: “This programme initiates a new era of cooperation that will allow significant efficiencies on future programmes. Instead of combining their efforts programme by programme, as has been the case up to now, France and the UK will coordinate their development and acquisition approach to eliminate duplication in the missile sector. The benefits in terms of competitiveness and performance, which MBDA has already demonstrated with its principal cooperative programmes (Aster, Storm Shadow/SCALP, Meteor), will accrue in due course to more and more of our French and UK products. A decisive step has been made towards the reinforcement and sustainability of the missile industry sector in Europe. This development also ensures a long-term commitment to our armed forces customers with regard to their security of supply based on mutual access to sovereign technologies”.
FASGW(H)/ANL will equip the Royal Navy’s AW159 Lynx Wildcat helicopters and the French Navy’s maritime helicopters. Weighing around 100kg, this modern primarily anti-ship missile will destroy from safe stand-off ranges vessels ranging from FIAC (Fast Inshore Attack Craft), through medium sized FAC (Fast Attack Craft) up to large vessels such as Corvettes. This missile also has a surface attack capability against coastal and land targets.

 © MBDA UK 2014
This joint programme will deliver an enhanced capability to replace existing and legacy systems such as the UK-developed Sea Skua and the French-developed AS15TT anti-ship missiles. It also puts into practice the new cooperative principles agreed by France and the UK during the summit meetings held between the countries’ governments in November 2010, February 2012 and the Brize Norton summit on the 31st January 2014. These principles extend to the creation of Centres of Excellence common to the two countries.


James Fisher Defence Acquires Swedish Mini Sub-Maker
Mar. 18, 2014    Sweden-based Special operations mini-submarine maker Defence Consulting Europe (DCE) has been acquired by Britain’s James Fisher Defence (JFD).
Under the deal, initially worth £3.7 million (US $6.1 million), DCE will become the Swedish arm of James Fisher Defence, a company best known for its submarine rescue technology.
The two companies have been working under a marketing partnership and last year launched a range of swimmer delivery vehicles aimed at the special operations forces market.  The largest, Seal Carrier, can carry eight passengers and crew more than 150 nautical miles at a depth of three to 12 meters. On the surface the craft has a top speed of more than 30 knots.  The vessels can be launched by submarines, surface warships or aircraft.


Saab Maneuvers To Buy Swedish Submarine Maker
Mar. 2, 2014 - 03:45AM   Three years after selling its national submarine-maker Kockums to Germany’s ThyssenKrupp — is now fighting to wrest control of its indigenous sub-building capability from the German giant.
ThyssenKrupp Marine Systems, formerly Kockums, is developing Sweden's A26 next-generation submarine. Sweden may support a drive to put the shipyard back in Swedish hands by backing a takeover bid by Saab.
The clearest sign of deteriorating relations between Sweden and ThyssenKrupp emerged on Feb. 27, when Sweden’s defense procurement agency FMV announced that it had allocated $3.84 million to investigate Saab’s ability to design and produce Sweden’s next generation submarine.  The move drove speculation that Sweden might support a bid by Saab to take over Kockums, now called ThyssenKrupp Marine Systems (TKMS), which would put ownership back in Sweden.
Along with Saab’s fighter production capability, submarine warfare represented the two biggest strands of Sweden’s indigenous defense industry.


Saab and ThyssenKrupp sign MOU on Sale   14 April 2014
ThyssenKrupp Industrial Solutions AG and Saab AB today signed a non-binding Memorandum of Understanding concerning the sale of the Swedish shipyard ThyssenKrupp Marine Systems AB (formerly named Kockums) with operations in Malmö, Karlskrona and Muskö to Saab AB.


Sweden-TKK Relations Sour
Apr. 15, 2014 The deteriorating relationship between the Swedish government and German industrial group Thyssen-Krupp-Kockums (TKK) hit a new low last week. The state defense procurement agency, FMV, confirmed on April 11 that it had “visited” Kockum’s headquarters in Malmö on April 8 and “secured for transport” certain sensitive and defense technologies and equipment vital to the A26 submarine project.
FMV officials and transport vehicles were escorted by a unit of the Armed Forces’ P7 Military Police branch.
The action occurred amid a formal decision by the Swedish government to abandon all submarine modernization program cooperation with TKK. Moreover, the government is encouraging Saab to strengthen its company’s underwater capacity by offering to acquire part or all of TKK’s submarine expertise and construction units in Sweden.
Against this backdrop, the Swedish defense group has used lucrative salary and financial packages to lure more than 100 top division managers and engineers from TKK since mid-March.
Saab may be known globally for its aircraft-building expertise, but the company does have a growing and profitable underwater segment, said Luuk Strootman, a defense industry analyst based in The Hague.
“Aircraft gets Saab the headlines, but the group earned over $450 million from the sale of ship- or submarine-launched autonomous underwater vehicles, sub sonar, control systems, torpedoes and other naval equipment in 2013,” Strootman said. “It already has some capability. While it can hire in the expertise, as it is doing now, it still lacks shipyard capacity.”|nextstory

Saab´s man-portable weapon system Carl-Gustaf has been chosen as the standard issue for the U.S. Army 20 February 2014
Defence and security company Saab´s man-portable weapon system Carl-Gustaf has been chosen by the U.S. Department of the Army to be a Program of Record within the U.S. Army. This means that the shoulder fired weapon system, with a long service record with the U.S. Special Operations Forces, will now become standard issue to the U.S. Army’s Light Infantry units.  The Carl-Gustaf system will provide the U.S. Army with a capability that units using disposable shoulder fired munitions currently lack. (M3 MAAWS in the U.S.)
As true multi-role, man-portable shoulder-fired weapon, the Carl-Gustaf weapon system is currently in use in more than 40 countries worldwide.  Anticipating future operational needs, Saab is constantly working to make a great system even better. A new, lighter weight, version of the Carl-Gustaf is currently under development.    Furthermore, advances are also being made to the Carl-Gustaf ammunition family with the recent release of the new 655 CS (Confined Space) High explosive anti-tank (HEAT) round. This is the first in a new generation of munitions for the Carl-Gustaf designed to reduce back blast. This will allow soldiers to safely employ the weapon in confined spaces, minimizing the hazardous effects of traditional shoulder fired munitions.


US offers to co-develop new Javelin missile with India
US Deputy Secretary of Defense, Ashton Carter, who arrives in India on a two-day visit on Monday, has masterminded a proposal that could dramatically boost US-India defence relations. The US department of defense (Pentagon) has written to India’s Ministry of Defence (MoD), proposing the two countries collaborate in jointly developing a next-generation version of the Javelin anti-tank missile.
India has a successful co-development project with Russia for the BrahMos cruise missile, and with Israel for the long-range surface-to-air missile (LR-SAM) and medium-range surface-to-air missile (MR-SAM).
In June 2012,  US Defense Secretary Leon Panetta nominated Carter to break down the bureaucratic barriers in Washington that impeded the US-India defence relationship, which Washington had determined was pivotal to America’s future in Asia. A formal mechanism called the DTI — tellingly, the US called it the defence trade initiative, while India referred to it as defence technology initiative — was set up. Carter co-chairs the initiative, along with Shivshankar Menon.
A close watcher of the Pentagon says Carter has pushed the US bureaucracy hard to change its approach towards India. Earlier, US officials regarded India as just another non-NATO (North Atlantic Treaty Organization) country, one with which America did not even have a formal alliance and which was unwilling to sign cooperative agreements with the US. “Before Carter got to work, releasing technology to India required a comprehensive justification to be made out. By April 2013, Pentagon officials needed to justify why a particular technology could not be released to India,” said the Pentagon watcher.


Safran Hammers Dassault on AASM export  
IHS Jane's Defence Weekly  10 April 2014
Sagem is hoping that the AASM PGM will be approved for export on platforms other than Rafale. The chief executive of Safran, Jean-Paul Herteman, has warned that unless the firm is allowed to export the Armement Air-Sol Modulaire (AASM) precision guided munition (PGM) independently of the Dassault Rafale fighter aircraft, then production of the munition will come to a close. Source: Sagem  
"The Rafale is not exported at a sufficient rhythm to allow us to maintain production of the AASM. A non-decision concerning an agreement to sell the AASM on its own signs its death warrant," said Herteman on 8 April. Also known as the Highly Agile Modular Munition Extended Range (Hammer), the family of munitions is currently only in service in the French Air Force and Naval Aviation's Rafale and Mirage 2000 fighters. The AASM is a family of PGMs, weighing 250 to 1,000 kg. All versions feature a rocket booster and INS/GPS guidance, and can also include semi-active laser and imaging infra-red guidance.


MBDA opens its doors for business in Australia
MBDA has opened an office in Canberra, Australia in line with its strategy aimed at placing Australia firmly at the hub of its current and future Asia-Pacific operations.
Heading up the office is Andy Watson who explains the rationale behind this important step made by MBDA: “We are looking at the potential of expanding our industrial activities in Australia and this will require a network of industrial partners with whom we can work to provide through-life solutions for certain products that we feel are highly relevant to Australia’s current and future requirements. MBDA’s fire-and-forget CAMM missile for naval and land based air defence has great potential in the Asia-Pacific region, especially given the missile’s suitability for the widely used MK 41 naval launch system. The MK 41 currently equips nearly 60 ships in this region, a figure which includes ships within the Royal Australian Navy, so our future customer base could see increasing levels of support work needing to be carried out in Australia”.
MBDA already has a long history of working with the Australian armed forces, having supplied and supported weapon systems such as Rapier (ground based air defence) and Milan(man portable anti-tank). ASRAAM, MBDA’s advanced short range air-to-air missile is currently in service with the RAAF on its fleet of F/A-18 combat aircraft.


Giat Industries completed the acquisition of SNPE
Versailles, December 13, 2013 – Giat Industries, parent company of the Nexter Group, today confirmed the acquisition of all the equity of the SNPE.
This operation will allow to bring together, within a same group and while respecting their respective strategies, customers and markets, their activities in the ammunition field and to rationalise the management of the land and property affairs stemming from the history of the two groups.
About GIAT Industries
As the holding of Nexter Systems, GIAT Industries' mission is to meet the requirements of the French Army as well as other armies worldwide. GIAT has expertise in all the components of modern air-land systems: protection, command, mobility, fires, and support. GIAT Industries generated revenues of 736 million euros in 2012. GIAT Industries equipment and customer's services (MBTs, armoured vehicles, artillery systems, munitions, information terminal systems, product support and upgrades) is in service in over 100 countries.


Nammo enters Spain and broadens the Group’s product portfolio and market opportunities.
Palencia - After signing an “Asset Transfer Agreement” with General Dynamics-ELS/ Santa Barbara Sistemas in November 2012 and recently receiving approval from the Spanish authorities, Nammo effectively took over the Palencia ammunition factory in Spain from 16 October 2013.

The Nammo Group with its technologically advanced ammunition products is convinced that the Palencia products will be an important supplement to Nammo’s current range of specialty ammunitions within the Small and Medium Caliber product range.   The Palencia factory has been a supplier of medium caliber cartridge cases to Nammo for a long time already, and our two companies have cooperated closely to deliver medium caliber ammunition to the Spanish Armed Forces.
Luis Asensio, newly appointed President of Nammo Palencia, added: “We feel that this acquisition will add stability to our current workload as well as increasing the opportunities for future growth”.
Published: 8 November 2013


Official celebration of Nammo’s acquisition of Palencia facility holding official Reception in Madrid    17 March
Ambassador Johan C. Vibe, CEO Edgar Fossheim, State Secretary Øystein Bø, S-NAD Juan Manuel Garcia Montaño, N-NAD Morten Tiller.


The Norwegian State Secretary of the MoD, Mr. Øystein Bø, was present together with the Norwegian and Spanish Armament Directors.
"It is Nammo’s intention to continue and to further develop the Palencia operation as a competitive ammunition supplier both to the Spanish Armed Forces as well as to international customers, fully integrated and supported by the other operations and capabilities of the Nammo Group.


Nexter Systems signs acquisition agreements for the companies Mecar and Simmel Difesa with Chemring Group
Versailles, 24 April 2014 – Nexter Systems signed acquisition agreements with Chemring Group for all the shares of the companies Mecar (Belgium) and Simmel Difesa (Italy). These two transactions will enable Nexter Group to strengthen its ammunition division and establish its position among the European leaders in this area.
Based on its solid past performance and on its strong balance sheet, Nexter has developed a growth strategy and intends, when opportunities arise, to actively participate in industry consolidation. The two acquisitions constitute a unique growth opportunity for Nexter group, which will enrich its range of ammunition products in three domains - land, air and sea ammunition - and extend its commercial footprint on key export markets.
This strengthening of the ammunition division will enable accelerated development of new products and expansion of the customer base; ammunition design and production facilities will also be strengthened.
These acquisitions remain subject to the satisfaction of conditions precedent, of which the agreement of the shareholders of Chemring and approval from the Italian authorities.


Partnership agreement signed between the Nammo Group and the Finnish Ministry of Defense
Nammo signed a partnership agreement with the Finnish Ministry of Defense. The agreement covers security of supply and a long term partnership within the area of ammunition and propellants.
This agreement is related to the recent acquisition by Nammo Lapua Oy of the propellant plant in Vihtavuori, which is today named Nammo Vihtavuori Oy.  Nammo Vihtavuori Oy has been and continues to be an important supplier of propellants for Nammo’s civil and military products.
“Patria owns 50% of the Nammo Group. Finland has always been one of the most important home markets for Nammo. This partnership agreement will strengthen our position and responsibility towards the Finnish Defense Forces even more than before. We are really looking forward to a long lasting and fruitful cooperation, says Edgar Fossheim, President & CEO of the Nammo Group.”


Rheinmetall Nitrochemie and Nexter Munitions sign long-term supply agreement for ammunition components   04-Feb-2014
Rheinmetall Nitrochemie and the French defence group Nexter have entered a long-term supply agreement for ammunition components. Set to run for ten years, for Rheinmetall the agreement represents sales volume in the nine figures. The long-term supply agreement makes a material contribution to capacity utilization at Rheinmetall Nitrochemie’s Aschau and Wimmis plants. Rheinmetall Nitrochemie is one of Europe’s largest producers of propellant powder.
The agreement covers the supply of tried-and-tested Rheinmetall Nitrochemie propellant power for existing types of medium- and large-calibre ammunition in domestic and international markets. Furthermore there is also a special focus on new types of ammunition for new markets. In cooperation with Rheinmetall Nitrochemie, state-of-the-art propellant technologies are to be developed and readied for full-scale production.
For over 15 years, Rheinmetall Nitrochemie has served as a partner of both Nexter and DGA, the French procurement agency.. The recently concluded long-term supply agreement is thus the logical outcome of a longstanding relationship.
With locations at Aschau in Germany and Wimmis in Switzerland, Rheinmetall Nitrochemie constitutes the Propellants division of Rheinmetall Defence. The Nitrochemie group is jointly owned by Rheinmetall and RUAG.
Rheinmetall Nitrochemie’s core competencies are the development and manufacture of propellants and propelling charges for military and civilian requirements. Besides charge systems and propellant powder for large-, medium- and small-calibre ammunition, the company also produces combustible case parts such as the Modular Propelling Charge (MTLS) for artillery systems.


Russian Threat Re-Energizes Sweden's Push To Join NATO, Boost Spending
Sweden’s government is examining a proposal to boost military spending to defend its own territories and the strategic Baltic Sea area in the face of renewed Russian aggression in Ukraine. There is also a movement among high government officials to re-examine the long-running issue of joining NATO.  In a direct response to Russia’s military actions in the Crimean Peninsula, Jan Björklund, the Liberal Peoples’ Party leader and Sweden’s deputy prime minister, is pushing for a “comprehensive strategic military re-think on capability.” Björklund also wants Sweden to “set the wheels in motion” to join NATO.
“What the crisis in the Ukraine shows is that we need to return to our original defense doctrine of having the capability to defend our borders,” Björklund said at a March 12 news conference. “The crisis highlights our vulnerability in the Baltic Sea. We need to strengthen our presence and capability here. NATO membership is the best long-term option.
Sweden’s defense capability has been seriously weakened by more than 10 years of low spending by governments on defense, Björklund said. The armed forces’ budget for 2014 amounts to $6.2 billion, equivalent to 1.05 percent of gross domestic product (GDP) and down from 1.5 percent of GDP in 2006.
Finance Minister Anders Borg has promised the government will revisit defense spending.  “It is no longer acceptable that Sweden spends less money, as a ratio to GDP, than any other Nordic country,” Borg said in a statement.
 “We have a powerful and unpredictable neighbor which is not behaving according to international structures developed after the Cold War. This unpredictability creates uncertainty in our neighborhood, and this must be a starting point for revising defense spending needs,” Reinfeldt told the Riksdag on March 11.



US Pentagon on watch for disruptive technology worldwide
Concerned about the potential military consequences of a surge of high tech innovation in China and other nations, the Pentagon is creating a program to track and analyze emerging technology research and patents, military records and interviews show.
China has long been considered a threat to U.S. manufacturing because of its low wages and huge population, but now the nation is seeing a boom in innovation as well. Patents for new technologies in China have taken off, and a graph showing the rise in new patents looks like a "hockey stick," said Patrick Thomas, a principal and director of analytics for 1790 Analytics.
In September 2012, China's defense ministry reported that military-related patents there had increased by 35% a year over the previous decade. U.S. national security policy has shifted in recent years to a greater focus on Asia, and Pentagon policymakers have developed plans to counter China's growing influence.
"The rapid rise of China ... is focusing minds on the geopolitical power balance again and leading to a small revival of military-centered long-term strategic studies," said a 2013 analysis of government "foresight" programs around the world by the European Union Institute for Security Studies.
The Pentagon has launched a new project called Technology Watch/Horizon Scanning, which aims to track developing technologies around the world that could either aid U.S. military efforts or seriously disrupt existing military plans. Thomas' company — based in Haddonfield, N.J. — is one of the chief contractors for the project.
Brian Beachkofski, director of the Pentagon's Office of Technical Intelligence, said the program is meant to keep the military ahead of technological developments 10 to 20 years ahead of time. "When you look at particular data," he said, "it's a long time before it becomes reality."
That program, which follows similar efforts in the United Kingdom and elsewhere, focuses on two elements that can dictate future policies:
• Technology Watch tracks key technology buzzwords to see where they are being used, Beachkofski said. "We look at them and find out what is being developed and whether there could be any future uses for the Department of Defense."
• Horizon Scanning was designed to look for 'the emergence of new scientific concepts and technology applications with disruptive potential," according to a 2011 Pentagon document outlining the program. A 2008 report for the U.K.'s Ministry of Defense defined horizon scanning as the ability to "identify technologies which have not previously been considered relevant, and to propose the possible value of developments that are being made for non-defense applications."
Beachkofski said the program, which is still in development, can mine university and other research journals, as well as patent filings, to track new technologies "on the university level or in early stages of research and development at private companies."  Analysts can then look deeper into each category to determine if there are so-called "emerging clusters" of technological development that need further examination, Thomas said.
Concern over China has been mounting for years. A December 2006 study for the Defense Threat Reduction Agency highlighted China's gains and the implications for U.S. military policy. "Globalization is an irreversible process," the report said. "High technology is no longer the sole domain of the United States and other western countries. In order to avoid military surprise from Disruptive Challenges we must be increasingly vigilant of states such as China and India, who are well positioned to become leaders at the nexus of nano-, bio-, information and materials technology, from which will likely emerge the future disruptive challenges to U.S. national security."
(Photo: STAFF AFP/Getty Images)
New military technologies, expensive or otherwise, can force armed forces to radically shift their priorities.
The rise of the improvised explosive device in the wars in Iraq and Afghanistan showed how a cheap weapon can eradicate the U.S. technological advantage on the battlefield. IEDs devastated the military's flat-bottomed vehicles, like Humvees, forcing the Pentagon in 2007 to start what became a $50 billion program to develop the Mine Resistant Ambush Protected vehicle, featuring a hull that is blast-resistant.    


Williamstown, Australia: NUSHIP CANBERRA, one of two Landing Helicopter Dock (LHD) ships being built for the Australian Defence Force (ADF), left BAE Systems Williamstown this morning bound for Sydney on the first period of sea trials.
Director of BAE Systems Maritime, Bill Saltzer said sea trials were the final stage of the project for BAE Systems before acceptance by the ADF later this year. He said the journey to Sydney would take approximately 12 days.
“The ship will undergo a series of tests before we hand it over to the ADF which includes both platform tests as well as testing the ship’s combat and communication systems,” he said.
“Once back in Williamstown we will commence the final trials which will cover communication and combat systems,” he said.
The second LHD, NUSHIP ADELAIDE arrived in Williamstown on 12 February and preparation works for the consolidation of the superstructure are well underway.
The LHDs are the largest ship ever to be built for the ADF and operated by the RAN. BAE Systems is the Prime to deliver the project with subcontractors Navantia, which constructed the hulls in Spain, and SAAB and L3 which supplied the combat and communications systems respectively.


Australian Munitions and Diehl to Develop new Insensitive Muntions (IM) Hand Grenade September 16, 2013
Thales-owned Australian Munitions and German company Diehl have signed an agreement to co-develop an insensitive munitions variant of the Australian in-service fragmentation hand grenade.  The project follows on from work undertaken by Australian Munitions during its rapid development of a blast variant of the current Australian in-service fragmentation grenade to meet an urgent operational requirement in 2011.
Kevin Wall, Australian Munitions Executive General Manager, said: “Dismounted close combat is the right place to start with the introduction of IM products. We have listened carefully to our customers’ requirements, and it is clear that by working with Diehl we can produce a very effective grenade that increases soldier safety and meets the required performance.”    Frank Kienzler, Head of Diehl’s Land Forces Business Unit, said: “We appreciate being able to contribute our many years of experience in developing and producing insensitive ammunition to the corporate cooperation benefiting the Australian Armed Forces. This is a further step in expanding our strategic cooperation between Thales and Diehl.”


Turkey Tests Long-Range Anti-Tank Missile
Mar. 10, 2014 - Defense News
Turkey’s state-owned missile specialist Roketsan has successfully tested a long-range anti-tank missile it has been developing, the country’s procurement agency has announced.
The first guided firing test for MIZRAK-U was conducted from a Cobra AH-1S helicopter and hit a target at a distance of 3.5 kilometers. MIZRAK-U has a maximum range of eight kilometers, and its serial production will start in 2015. The missile has a homing imaging infrared seeker with radio frequency data link and with tandem-high explosive warhead and a laser-seeker option. The missile’s medium-range version, MIZRAK-O, has a four-kilometer range and similar characteristics to MIZRAK-U.


Navy to Hold Contest for New Anti-Surface Missile
March 13, 2014
An artist’s concept of a Lockheed Martin LRASM fired from a U.S. Navy VLS tube. Lockheed Martin image.
The US Navy plans to hold a competition for an anti-ship missile that could be used from the air or ships and possibly submarines to beef up the service’s ability to take on surface threats, service officials told USNI News this week.  Towards the effort, the service will update an existing analysis of alternatives for the new weapon to deal with, “the advanced 2024 threat.”  The analysis will be used to guide the Navy’s investments in Fiscal Year 2016 and beyond.
The Pentagon authorized the Navy to put the LRASM into production for the OASuW/Increment 1 requirement on Feb. 3.  The Navy will complete the development, test and integration of the Increment 1 weapon onto the Boeing F/A-18E/F Super Hornet and the U.S. Air Force’s Rockwell International B-1B Lance strategic bomber.
 “Production of air-launched LRASM is planned to commence in FY 2017 to support employment of an early operational capability to both the Air Force and Navy,” Navy spokesman, Lt. Rob Myers, told USNI News in a statement.
The Pentagon was forced to embark on developing the LRASM as an urgent capability because the existing Harpoon missile does not have the range or survivability to defeat emerging surface threats.  The Navy had not prioritized defeating enemy warships at sea since the collapse of the Soviet Union until the Chinese People’s Liberation Army Navy began a rapid modernization program in the late 2000s.
But LRASM is merely a stopgap for the Navy until it can develop a more comprehensive solution in the form of the OASuW Increment 2—which will be used by aircraft, surface warships and possibly submarines. The OASuW Increment 2 would be a follow-on to DARPA’s Long Range Anti-Ship Missile (LRASM), which is based on Lockheed Martin’s AGM-158B Joint Air-to-Surface Standoff Missile-Extended Range.


USNI News polled its writers, naval analysts, and service members on what they consider the most important military and maritime stories in 2013.
By: USNI News Editor   December 30, 2013


•    Aegis Ashore  An artist’s conception of an Aegis Ashore battery. Lockheed-Martin Photo
The U.S. Navy and the Missile Defense Agency began construction of Lockheed Martin’s Aegis Ashore installation in Romania in October. The ballistic missile defense (BMD) site will be the first of two facilities as part of the Obama administration’s European Phased Adaptive Approach (EPAA) to BMD. The first site will go online in 2015 and a second site in Poland will be ready by 2016. The land-based sites will work in tandem with patrols from Aegis BMD capable destroyers and cruisers, The program has drawn the ire of Russian officials who say the EPAA unfairly targets Russia.

•    UCLASS Requirements Shift
A June overview of requirements for the Navy’s planned Unmanned Carrier Launched Airborne Surveillance and Strike (UCLASS) presented an system that differed from the Pentagon’s original vision. As part of the 2006 Quadrennial Defense Review, the Department of Defense outlined a stealthy long-range unmanned intelligence, reconnaissance and surveillance (ISR) penetrating strike aircraft. The aircraft was to have with an equivalent weapons payload of a F-35C Joint Strike Fighter (JSF). Instead, draft requirements for UCLASS had a system that had a quarter of the weapons payload and would operate when the rest of the carrier air wing was offline.    Since June, an internal Pentagon debate has delayed the release of a draft request for proposal for UCLASS to industry for several months — delaying bids from likely contenders Lockheed Martin, Northrop Grumman, Boeing and General Atomics.

•    AMDR Award and Protest    An artist’s conception of the Air Missile Defense Radar (AMDR). Raytheon Photo
The years-long competition for the Navy’s next generation Air and Missile Defense Radar (AMDR) didn’t end with an $386 million October contract award to Raytheon from the Navy to build the S-band AMDR and radar suite controller (RSC). Shortly after, competitor Lockheed Martin filed a protest with the Government Accountability Office.
“Lockheed has supplied radars for the Navy’s guided missile destroyers throughout the Aegis program — primarily with its SPY-1 line of radars — back to the early 1980s. Given Lockheed’s longevity with the program, the protest did not come as a surprise,” wrote USNI News in October.  The AMDR is to be the centerpiece of the service’s Flight III Arleigh Burke guided missile destroyer (DDG-51).

•    Mobile Landing Platform/Afloat Forward Staging Base
An artist’s conception of the Afloat Forward Staging Base. USMC Photo
General Dynamics NASSCO delivered the first Mobile Landing Platform (MLP) to the U.S. Military Sealift Command (MSC) and began construction of the first dedicated Afloat Forward Staging Base (AFSB). The two ship types are designed to help U.S. Navy and Marine Corps amphibious forces better operate in the open ocean. The MLP acts as an open ocean transfer point for vehicles and equipment from MSC cargo ships directly to Navy landing craft. The scheme enhances the effectiveness of Marine and Navy Amphibious Ready Groups without placing additional material on the amphibious warships. The AFSB serves as a low cost refueling and logistics hub for mine countermeasures (MCM) helicopters and special operations forces.

•    Ohio-class Replacement Program
In 2013, Chief of Naval Operations (CNO) Adm. Jonathan Greenert declared the Ohio-class Replacement Program (ORP) “the top priority program for the Navy”. The yet-unnamed next generation nuclear ballistic missile submarine will replace the 14 Ohio SSBNs starting in 2031 with construction to start in 2021. The 12 boat program has an estimated cost of almost $100 billion. The Navy asked for an additional $30 billion in additional funds to buttress the Navy’s shipbuilding budget to fund the ORPs over the 15 years the Navy will be buying the boomers.

•    Zumwalt Launch
General Dynamics Bath Iron Works launched the first of the Zumwalt-class guided missile destroyer in October.   The ship is scheduled to commission in 2015.  The class was originally slated to be a replacement for the Arleigh Burke destroyer (DDG-51) before the class was truncated to three hulls. The Navy plans to have the ship serve in a surface fire support role. The offensive centerpiece of the ship is the 155 mm Advanced Gun System (AGS) that will fire a rocket assisted guided projectile from more than 60 nautical miles away.
 (DDG-1000) at General Dynamics Bath Iron Works shipyard in Maine.

•    Destroyer Multi-Year and the First Flight IIIs
USS Michael Murphy (DDG 112) is moored at its homeport at Joint Base Pearl Harbor-Hickam. US Navy Photo
Naval Sea Systems Command awarded $6.1 billion in contracts to Huntington Ingalls Industries and General Dynamics Bath Iron Works for nine Arleigh Burke guided missile destroyers (DDG-51s). HII will build five ships for $3.3 billion and BIW will build four for $2.8 billion. The deal could include a tenth destroyer pending fiscal juggling due to sequestration cuts.
The deal will include the first ships in the Flight III configuration that will field the new Air and Missile Defense Radar (AMDR).

USAF, LLNL and Aerojet Rocketdyne Receive Prestigious Defense Industry Award From Precision Strike Association (for BLU-129/B)
March 18, 2014 -- A team consisting of the United States Air Force (USAF), Lawrence Livermore National Labs (LLNL) and Aerojet Rocketdyne received the William J. Perry Award from the Precision Strike Association (PSA) for its work on BLU-129/B Precision Lethality MK-82 munition for the USAF.
BLU-129/B was developed and fielded in response to a Joint Urgent Operational Need and in collaboration with the USAF and LLNL. It is a carbon-fiber composite body air-to-ground weapon that provides very low collateral damage, thereby reducing risk to friendly ground troops and non-combatants. The recognition event took place this afternoon during the 2014 Precision Strike Annual Review (PSAR-14) in Springfield, Va.
The William J. Perry Award is named in honor of former Secretary of Defense Dr. William J. Perry and recognizes exceptional contributions to precision strike systems in the private or public sector by an individual or team. Criteria for selection include level of contribution to the defense of the United States; industry leadership; impact felt by the warfighter; effectiveness as a team; innovation or technological advance; and affordability.


Navy’s X-47B  Unmanned Carrier Landing Wins Collier Trophy
April 10, 2014
“We are honored the X-47B program was selected to receive the most prestigious award in the aviation industry,” said Rear Adm. Matt Winter, Naval Air Systems Command’s (NAVAIR) program executive officer for unmanned aviation and strike weapons in a statement released by the Navy on Thursday.
The joint NAVAIR-Northrop team was among nine finalists in contention for the award. The Collier Trophy was setup to recognize outstanding achievements in aeronautics.  The X-47B was considered a favorite to win the trophy because of its achievements during 2013, which included the first catapult take-off and arrested landing by an unmanned aircraft from an aircraft carrier.


Remotely Piloted Aircraft Systems - a Key Future Capability for the UK
MPI - 28 March 2014 As part of UK’s Strategic Defence and Security Review (SDSR) 2015, the MoD is in the process of clarifying the future direction for remotely piloted air systems (RPAS). It is clear that RPAS is going to be a big part of UK’s defence and security architecture in the future.
The UK’s RPAS capabilities are established and, potentially, expanding several systems including the armed Reaper aircraft. Domestically, in recent months, test flights to prove the technology for civilian unmanned aircraft have been carried out by the ASTRAEA consortium. The aim of the programme is to enable the routine use of Unmanned Aircraft Systems (UAS) in all classes of airspace without the need for restrictive or specialised conditions of operation.
Lessons identified from the much delayed Watchkeeper system would inform and aid development of trials of all future RPAS and associated weapons systems. Studying options of new and increasingly accurate weapons systems, including the Brimstone missile, on UK armed remotely piloted aircraft.
Among other areas of research, the report explored partnering strategies to better develop UK’s RPAS strategy out to 2020. It appears that the UK is keen to explore the potential for new systems to be researched and developed with allies should the UK decide to develop a strategic partnership. Over time, UK would likely decide on whether it seeks to establish strategic partnerships with nations, as well as manage existing bilateral partnership projects.
The report identified the role and importance of European nations, in order to share experience and seek economies of scale for the delivery of training and maintenance. “Post-Afghanistan, a commitment to the existing partnership arrangements with the USAF, including a continuing presence at Creech Air Force Base, would provide the RAF with access to future upgrades to the Reaper platform and training opportunities for UK Reaper aircrew which would be likely to prove problematic in the UK given the airspace restrictions which exist presently”. Involvement with European NATO nations, including France, Italy and the Netherlands that operate Reapers is an advantage in this area.
Below are excerpts from the tenth (and most recent) report of the Defence Committee report, published on 25 March 2014:
118. In its memorandum, the MoD told us that as part of the requirement to examine the options for the next generation of combat aircraft systems, the UK and France were considering unmanned combat air systems and work had commenced scoping a co-operative demonstration programme. It also explained that the investment in Taranis would be exploited in a “Future Combat Air System” (FCAS) “which will offer more advanced capabilities compared to the current generation of aircraft”.
119. The MoD explained that as the UK must make a strategic capability decision on FCAS as part of the next SDSR, the next phase of the programme was important to “de-risk critical technologies”, and would underpin SDSR 2015 decision making.
120. Following the UK-France Summit held on 31 January 2014, it was announced that the two governments had agreed to launch a two year £120m Feasibility Phase to develop the concepts and technologies to provide their respective Armed Forces with an unmanned combat air vehicle. This would build on preparatory studies conducted since the last Summit by six industry partners - Dassault Aviation, BAE Systems, Thales France, Selex, Rolls Royce and Safran. A decision would be taken in 2016 whether to collaborate on demonstration and manufacturing phases. A formal Memorandum of Understanding is expected to be signed at the 2014 Farnborough Airshow. We understand that this will also build on the French led multinational “nEUROn” UCAS demonstrator project with Dassault Aviation as prime contractor.
121. The Declaration on Defence and Security issued following the 2014 UK-France Summit also provided an update on co-operation on MALE remotely piloted air system capabilities, including a proposed “joint user group” for Reaper, “to exchange lessons learnt and work together on air certification, training, through life support and interoperability”. This group would be set up in consultation with the United States, and would be open to the European nations operating Reaper.
123. The European Council of 19-20 December 2013 held a thematic debate on defence and identified priority actions for stronger cooperation. In its conclusions, the Council stated that it remained committed to “delivering key capabilities and addressing critical shortfalls through concrete projects by Member States, supported by the European Defence Agency”. As part of this the Council committed to: the development of Remotely Piloted Aircraft Systems (RPAS) in the 2020-2025 timeframe: preparations for a programme of a next-generation European Medium Altitude Long Endurance RPAS; the establishment of an RPAS user community among the participating Member States owning and operating these RPAS; close synergies with the European Commission on regulation (for an initial RPAS integration into the European Aviation System by 2016); appropriate funding from 2014 for R&D activities.


First flights of UK-built Taranis unmanned aircraft surpass all expectations
Taranis, named after the Celtic god of thunder, made its maiden flight at an undisclosed test range on Saturday 10 August 2013, under the command of  test pilot Bob Fraser.  The demonstrator aircraft made a perfect take-off, rotation, ‘climb-out’ and landing on its 15 minute flight.  A number of flights took place last year, of up to one hour in duration and at a variety of altitudes and speeds.  The details were revealed at a briefing held in London today.
The Taranis demonstrator is the result of one-and-a-half-million man hours of work by the UK’s leading scientists, aerodynamicists and systems engineers from 250 UK companies.
The aircraft has been designed to demonstrate the UK’s ability to create an unmanned air system which, under the control of a human operator, is capable of undertaking sustained surveillance, marking targets, gathering intelligence, deterring adversaries and carrying out strikes in hostile territory.
Costing £185 million and funded jointly by the UK MOD and UK industry, the Taranis demonstrator aircraft was formally unveiled in July 2010 but only a very limited number of scientists and engineers have ever been given full access to the top secret aircraft.

Neuron UCAV flying in formation with Rafale, Falcon 7X
On March 20, 2014 Dassault Aviation has performed a unique formation flight in which the nEUROn unmanned combat air vehicle (UCAV) was flown in formation with a Rafale fighter and a Falcon 7X business jet, both produced by the company.
A challenge was being able to control the pilotless aircraft flying near four other aircraft – all manned (Rafale, Falcon 7X and two chase aircraft for photography). Engineers had to plan ahead to take into account the risk of interference, including aerodynamic turbulence between the aircraft. Preventing unexpected electromagnetic interference (EMI) with communications between the nEUROn drone and its ground control station was also a concern.

This was the first time in the world that a combat drone flew in formation with other aircraft. The entire operation lasted 1 hour and 50 minutes and took the patrol out over the Mediterranean to a range of several hundred kilometers. Photo: Dassault Aviation by Katsuhiko Tokunaga


MBDA's Brimstone Demonstrates its Precision Low Collateral Capability from Reaper  
21/03/2014  MBDA has successfully demonstrated its Dual Mode BRIMSTONE missile on an MQ-9 REAPER Remotely Piloted Aircraft (RPA), scoring nine direct hits against a range of targets including very high speed and manoeuvring vehicles.
Dual Mode BRIMSTONE is the combat proven weapon for the engagement of moving and manoeuvring targets, and targets in high collateral risk / urban environments. BRIMSTONE can now provide REAPER crews with a weapon that reduces collateral damage risk and demonstrates first pass, single shot lethality against high speed manoeuvring targets on land and at sea and in complex environments.

MQ-9 Reaper carrying six Dual-Mode Brimstone missiles. Photo: MBDA
Conducted in December 2013 and January 2014 at US Naval Air Weapons Station China Lake, the trials were undertaken on behalf of the UK Ministry of Defence by the Royal Air Force’s (RAF) Air Warfare Centre Unmanned Air Systems Test and Evaluation Squadron, Defence Equipment & Support Weapons Operating Centre, United States Air Force’s BIG SAFARI Organisation, General Atomics Aeronautical Systems Incorporated and MBDA. All of the RAF’s primary and secondary trials objectives were met.
The firings were taken from realistic ‘middle of the envelope’ profiles; typically 20,000ft release altitude and 7km - 12km plan range, with the platform being remotely piloted in operationally representative beyond line of sight (SATCOM) conditions, with tracking and designation of targets being conducted in a mixture of manual-track and auto-track modes.  BRIMSTONE scored nine direct hits in a range of very challenging scenarios including static, accelerating, weaving, fast and very fast remotely controlled targets. Two of the more challenging scenarios were against trucks travelling at 70mph in a crossing target scenario. At times, the targets were manually tracked by the REAPER crews, showing how the integrated Semi-Active Laser and Active MMW radar seeker works in tandem to ensure direct hits, even while tracking and designating targets manually over SATCOM.
© Big Safari

In October 2013 BRIMSTONE further demonstrated from Tornado GR4 the ability to engage from a high off-boresight, targets travelling at up to 70mph, from longer ranges and without the need to revert to straight and level flight, whilst operating from a Close Air Support (CAS) wheel.
Combined with ongoing and contracted RAF trials against maritime Fast Inshore Attack Craft, these trials further demonstrate the unique capability to deploy a single truly multi-role missile family for land and maritime attack from fast jets, remotely piloted aircraft, multi-mission and maritime patrol aircraft, rotary wing platforms and surface platforms.

Raytheon, French Air Force complete Enhanced Paveway™ II GBU-50 demonstration
PARIS, Jan. 21, 2014  -- Raytheon Company and the French Air Force completed a demonstration of a penetrator variant of a Paveway™ GBU-50 from a Mirage 2000D multirole fighter jet. The weapon met all flight objectives and scored a direct hit against a reinforced concrete slab.
"Raytheon is committed to delivering GBU-50's unique capabilities to our French customer, " said Mike Jarrett, vice president of Air Warfare Systems. "Raytheon offers a proven, cost effective dual mode solution that is fully compatible with the MK-84 and BLU-109."
Each Enhanced Paveway™ II guidance and control section is compatible with warheads ranging from the 250 pound MK-81 to the 2,000 pound MK-84 and BLU-109. Offering a range of smart fuze settings from air burst to post impact, along with selectable terminal impact angles and angle of attack control, the GBU-50 takes the capabilities of both the MK-84 and BLU-109 to a new level.

MBDA Presents The Marte Coastal Defence System
21/03/2014    At the DIMDEX exhibition in Doha, Qatar (25-27 March 2014), MBDA is presenting for the first time ever a new coastal defence system based on the Marte missile family.  This system, the Marte Coastal Defence System (MCDS), guarantees maritime coastal traffic surveillance and interdiction to hostile ships in territorial waters.
The MCDS is available with different and flexible configurations depending on customer requirements. This system can operate in either a stand-alone mode or integrated within an existing surveillance radar network.
In addition, MBDA can offer two different missile options for MCDS; the Marte MK2/N for the control of brown waters and Marte ER, for the control of a more expansive sea area.  The all-weather Marte MK2 is a fire-and-forget, medium-range, sea-skimming anti-ship weapon system. It is equipped with mid-course inertial and radar-based terminal guidance and is capable of destroying small craft and seriously damaging larger vessels. The missile weighs310 kgand is3.85 metreslong. Marte was first developed in the 1980s with the 30km range MK/2 version being deployed on helicopters. Subsequent models followed for integration on different platforms and thus a family of missiles came into being.
The Marte MK-2/S, where “S” stands for “Short” and indicates shorter munitions in order to enable simpler on board integration, has already been integrated on AW101 and NH-90 NFH helicopters (Naval/Nato Frigate Helicopter) in service with the Italian Navy. The Marte MK-2/A was then developed for launch from fixed-wing aircraft (fighter or patrol aircraft). In response to the growing interest for a lightweight, rapid-response surface-to-surface naval missile system for littoral operations, Marte MK2/N was developed.
The new version of the missile, called Marte ER (Extended Range), keeps the basic characteristics of the Marte family, but extends its range. The new product is different from previous versions thanks to two main features: turbojet propulsion (leading to a four-fold increase in range compared to the rocket motor version), and the new ISO-calibre cylinder cell. The new missile has a range that now exceeds 100 km and a much increased speed, both in the cruise and final attack phases. However, it is shorter than the previous model. Logistic systems, such as the transport and stocking canister in the helicopter version and the trolley for moving and hooking the missile to aircraft, are the same as those used in the Mk2/S model.


The Sea PROTECTOR MK50 supporting the U. S. Navy
(Sept 10th 2013) The U.S. Navy announced the order of a marinized version of the M153 Common Remotely Operated Weapon Station (CROWS) from Kongsberg Protech Systems to fulfill requirements for its remotely operated Stabilized Small Arms Mount (SSAM) weapon systems program.
The Sea PROTECTOR MK50 has been undergoing testing this fall and features the latest technology from KONGSBERG, such as the VIS95 day camera providing enhanced situational awareness, as well as compatibility for an array of ammunition and weapons
On Interceptors and small patrol boats, the Sea PROTECTOR serves as the main armament. On ships, it provides self-defence and increased capability to counter asymmetric threats while at sea or in harbors.


US Navy achieves initial operating capability - Griffin Missile System: New capability will counter swarming boat threats
March 25, 2014 -- The U.S. Navy has achieved initial operational capability (IOC) on the MK-60 Patrol Coastal Griffin Missile System that includes the Raytheon Griffin missile.  The milestone comes as the Navy continues to conduct littoral security operations in areas that require an immediate and precise response to confirmed threats.
The Griffin AGM-176A is an aft-eject missile designed for employment from platforms such as the C-130 aircraft. The Griffin BGM-176B is a forward-firing missile that launches from rotary- and fixed-wing aircraft, ground-launch applications and maritime platforms. The Griffin missile is 43 inches long, weighs 33 pounds, has a 13-pound warhead, and is in production today.


Raytheon demonstrates Griffin Block III missile:   New variant provides improved performance, accuracy
CHINA LAKE, Calif., Feb. 19, 2014  -- Raytheon Company demonstrated its latest variant of the combat-proven Griffin® missile, the Griffin Block III, throughout a series of test shots culminating in several direct hits against a variety of static and moving targets.
"The Griffin is already well known for its ability to destroy targets with pin-point accuracy using an advanced GPS and semi-active laser guidance. The Griffin Block III introduces an improved semi-active laser seeker and a new Multi-Effects Warhead System that maximizes the weapon's lethality against a variety of targets," said Mike Jarrett, vice president of Air Warfare Systems with Raytheon Missile Systems. "Block III's enhancements will improve the warfighter's ability to engage a broad set of static and fast-moving targets with assured confidence and greater performance."
The Griffin missile's new seeker adds enhanced electronics and signal processing to improve performance in the most challenging scenarios and expands the employment footprint. Production of the Griffin Block III missile is currently underway and the company expects it to serve as the core weapon for current and future Griffin users.


Navy Axes Griffin IIB Missile In Favor of Longbow Hellfire for LCS
April 9, 2014  
Longbow AGM-114L Hellfire
The Navy has traded Raytheon’s Griffin IIB missile for Lockheed Martin’s Longbow Hellfire AGM-114L for the surface-to-surface missile for early increments and testing for the surface warfare (SuW) mission package for the Littoral Combat Ship (LCS), the outgoing program manager for LCS Mission Modules (PMS 420), Rear Adm. John Ailes told reporters on Wednesday.
The choice between the missiles — roughly equivalent in size, range (about five miles) and warhead size — came in part from the ability of the Army’s Longbow to take targeting information from Saab’s Sea Giraffe radar and use its onboard millimeter wave seeker to find a target. The Griffin uses a semi-active laser seeker that requires the ship’s crew to ‘paint’ a target with a laser, limiting the number of missiles that can engage targets at once.
“We have these 10,000 [Longbow] missiles, there’s no cost risk at all, it’s vertically launchable and you can shoot lots of them at same time and you don’t have to do that thing where you keep the laser on it,” Ailes said.  “That’s why we’re excited about Longbow Hellfire.” The selection of Longbow for early SuW mission will not preclude a competition for a follow on surface missile for LCS, Ailes said.   “I believe we’re going to have a competition for the follow-on to Longbow,” Ailes said.  “But we have these ones in inventory and we’ll just use those [until then].
The Navy plans to test the missile aboard a LCS — likely USS Freedom (LCS-1) — next year. In 2013, the Navy tested the Longbow at Eglin Air Force Base, Fla. against simulated small boat targets successfully. The Navy had selected Griffin in 2011 to be the follow on missile after the failure of the defunct Non-Line of Sight Launch missile system (N-LOS) that Navy officials initially planned to put onto the LCS.  The SuW package is designed to fight the so called fast attack craft/ fast inshore attack (FAC/FIAC) or small boat swarms that could threaten larger ships.  Though the selection of Longbow will improve the number of targets LCS can engage, it would be of little use against a large naval vessel.


Raytheon's Excalibur Ib demonstrates production maturity and effectiveness in milestone test event
Feb. 7, 2014 -- The U.S. Army and Raytheon Company successfully fired 30 GPS-guided Excalibur Ib projectiles during an extensive First Article Test series at Yuma Proving Ground, Arizona. This test series validated performance and reliability of the Excalibur Ib production configuration, and moves the program toward full-rate production.
During the testing, gunners fired Excalibur Ib projectiles from the Paladin and M777 howitzers to various targets at ranges from 7 to 38 kilometers. Average miss distance for the 30 projectiles was 1.6 meters.
"These tests and other recent trials clearly demonstrate Excalibur's ability to deliver true precision to any 155mm howitzer and the decisive advantage Excalibur provides the warfighter," said Michelle Lohmeier, vice president of Raytheon's Land Warfare Systems product line. "The first round effects demonstrated by Excalibur provide an all-weather, immediate response, precision strike capability for the maneuver force.  Its efficiency increases operational effectiveness, reduces the unit's logistics burden and can improve deployability of the force."


06/11/2013   The Medium Extended Air Defense System (MEADS) intercepted and destroyed two simultaneous targets attacking from opposite directions during a stressing demonstration of its 360-degree air and missile defense (AMD) capabilities at White Sands Missile Range, N.M. The flight test achieved all criteria for success.
All elements of the MEADS system were tested, including the 360-degree MEADS Surveillance Radar, a networked MEADS battle manager, two lightweight launchers firing PAC-3 Missile Segment Enhancement (MSE) Missiles and a 360-degree MEADS Multifunction Fire Control Radar (MFCR). The test demonstrated over-the-shoulder maneuverability of the PAC-3 MSE Missile in engaging the targets.
MEADS is a next-generation, ground-mobile AMD system that incorporates 360-degree radars, netted and distributed battle management, easily transportable launchers and the hit-to-kill PAC-3 MSE Missile.

The first target, a QF-4 air-breathing target, approached from the south as a Lance missile, flying a tactical ballistic missile trajectory, attacked from the north. The Surveillance Radar acquired both targets and provided target cues to the MEADS battle manager, which generated cue commands for the MFCR. The MFCR tracked both targets successfully and guided missiles from launchers in the Italian and German configuration to successful intercepts.
“Today’s successful flight test is the culmination of three countries working together to design, develop and build the most advanced and capable air and missile defense weapon system in the world. No fielded ground‐mobile AMD System can intercept targets from two directions at the same time, as MEADS did today,” said NATO MEADS Management Agency General Manager Gregory Kee. “MEADS technology can now be leveraged as mature, network-ready battle management, sensors and launchers to achieve the networked AMD capabilities envisioned by Germany, Italy and the United States.”  © MBDA


Raytheon delivers ninth AN/TPY-2 ballistic missile defense radar to Missile Defense Agency ahead of schedule
March 19, 2014   Raytheon Company delivered its ninth AN/TPY-2 ballistic missile defense radar to the Missile Defense Agency, six months ahead of schedule.
AN/TPY-2 is an integral element of the Ballistic Missile Defense System.  It is a mobile X-band radar that helps protect civilians and infrastructure in the U.S., deployed warfighters, and allied nations and security partners, from the growing ballistic missile threat.  U.S. public intelligence estimates indicate there are more than 6,300 ballistic missiles not controlled by the U.S., NATO, China or Russia, with that number expected to reach almost 8,000 by 2020.
The radar will be integrated into the U.S. Army's fourth Terminal High Altitude Area Defense (THAAD) missile defense battery, serving as the "eyes and ears" of the system by searching, detecting, tracking and discriminating threats, and guiding the intercepting missile. Raytheon is currently under contract to provide three additional AN/TPY-2 radars for the MDA, and is in the process of building two radars for a U.S. ally in the Arabian Gulf.

India test fires Brahmos supersonic cruise missile
Apr 7, 2014  India carried out a successful test firing of the BrahMos supersonic cruise missile yesterday. The missile was launched from a land mobile launcher, at the Pokhran test range in Rajasthan in the northwest of India
The missile flew the maximum range of 290 kilometres on this test. The Brahmosis in service with the Indian military since 2007. Two variants of the missile are currently in service, the land mobile launchers deployed with two missile regiments of the Indian Army, and a naval surface-launched variant deployed on Indian Navy frigates.
Some of the Indian Su-30MKI fighter jets will also be equipped with the missile, the first test flight of the airborne variant is expected to be held later in 2014. A submarine-launched variant is also in development.


Latest success for MdCN MBDA’s Naval Cruise Missile
On 8th April 2014, the French DGA (Direction Générale de l'Armement) successfully carried out the second qualification firing of the naval cruise missile (MdCN or Missile de Croisière Naval) currently under development by MBDA. The firing, which took place at the DGA’s Biscarrosse missile test centre, was representative of a firing from a frigate and demonstrated the missile’s flight capabilities at high altitude.
This success, which once more confirms the advanced technical nature of the missile, is the result of intense activity and the coordinated efforts of a number of state bodies (notably, the DGA’s Quality Control Department and its Test and Evaluation Centres as well as the French Navy) and industry (MBDA France).
Towards the end of 2014, MdCN will equip the French Navy’s multi-mission frigates (FREMM) and, in around the 2018 timeframe, its Barracuda submarines.
Featuring a range of several hundred kilometers, MdCN is intended for strikes against targets deep within enemy territory. It complements the SCALP air-launched cruise missile from which it is derived.


Saab and Ashok Leyland Team Up for SRSAM February 5, 2014
Saab and India’s Ashok Leyland have joined forces to compete for the Indian Army Short Range Surface to Air Missile (SRSAM) air defence programme.  Saab and Ashok Leyland are teaming to meet the SRSAM requirement with a new solution that combines the Saab BAMSE missile system with Ashok Leyland high-mobility vehicles.
The Saab BAMSE SRSAM is an all-weather, all-target, air defence missile system that can be deployed to protect fixed and mobile assets. The BAMSE SRSAM is a purpose-built ground-based air defence missile and is the latest in a long line of successfully developed and deployed Saab missile systems.  Ashok Leyland will deliver high-mobility vehicles to transport the BAMSE SRSAM solution. All sub-units within the BAMSE SRSAM are being integrated with the Ashok Leyland Super Stallion 8x8, a high-mobility vehicle capable of operating in all types of terrain under all weather conditions.
The complete SRSAM system includes the GIRAFFE AMB, a powerful 3D surveillance radar and command and control system intended for short and medium-range ground based air defence and the BAMSE MCC missile launcher with six ready-to-fire missiles.


3D printed metal part flown for first time on UK fighter jet     
6 JANUARY 2014
Whilst the first 3D printed metal part took to the skies at Warton, we also have engineers designing and producing 3D printed functional components at RAF Marham to support the aircraft when it is being maintained on the ground.  The parts are made from a plastic material and include protective covers for Tornado cockpit radios, support struts on the air intake door and protective guards for Power Take-off shafts.  Use of these parts will cut the cost of repairs, maintenance and service to the Royal Air Force to the tune of more than £1.2 million over the next four years.    3D printing has already resulted in savings of more than £300,000.
Mike Murray, Head of Airframe Integration at Warton said: “You are suddenly not fixed in terms of where you have to manufacture these things. You can manufacture the products and whatever base you want, providing you can get a machine there, which means you can also start to support other platforms such as ships and aircraft carriers.

“And if it’s feasible to get machines out on the front line, it also gives improved capability where we wouldn’t traditionally have any manufacturing support.”

A film of their 3D printing machine can be viewed on YouTube here:


17 DECEMBER 2013
Mark Potter, a member of the ALM team at BAE Systems with long titanium spar section
One of the largest 3D printed metal parts to be produced in the UK has been made, demonstrating how this cutting edge manufacturing technique could revolutionise the way aircraft are produced in the future.
The part, measuring 1.2m in length was produced in just 37 hours from digital model to a complete 3 dimensional part.  The part is the result of a research project led by Cranfield University to develop processes for the manufacture of large structural parts using the 3D printing process, otherwise known as Additive Layer Manufacturing (ALM).   
Stewart Williams leads the Cranfield team behind the initiative and said “It’s crucial that we work together on projects like this to bring together the best knowledge and skills across academia and industry.  It’s that collective power that ensures that we, in the UK stay at the cutting edge of this exciting new technique for manufacturing.”
The large titanium component, known in the industry as a spar section was designed by our engineers in Lancashire.  Manufacture of the part took place at Cranfield University using a specific kind of 3D printing known as the Wire and Arc Additive Manufacture (WAAM) process.
Matt Stevens was one of our engineering leads on the project and said “What we’ve been able to demonstrate from this project is that we have the ability to manufacture titanium parts on this scale.  The next stage is to continue working together to produce more parts and to develop a robust set of processes so that we can take this technology and apply it safely and seamlessly into the aerospace industry.”
There are several benefits to producing parts this way, cutting costs and saving time being two of the key ones.  To date we have already flown a number of flight cleared 3D printed non-metallic parts made out of materials such as ULTEM and Polyamide12.  At RAF Marham, where the Tornado squadron is based, we have helped to install the capability to produce protective covers for Tornado cockpit radios, support struts for working on air intake doors and protective guards for PTL shafts.  The protective covers are made through 3D printing in a day for less than £100 each, meaning savings to date of £300,000 with a projected four-year reduction in manufacturing costs of £1.2million.  And given that a replica repair plate, guaranteed in its accuracy, can be turned round in a day, as opposed to nearer a month, the time benefits of the technology are apparent.
With one of the largest UK manufactured metal aircraft parts now produced successfully, the Cranfield led project team will continue to invest in this cutting edge technology, developing more parts and undertaking detailed analyses of the parts produced.


And for those that haven’t see it before, here is youtube video from the SLO Mo guys showing Cold Spray Technology   Click here



Date: 4/7/2014
Navy engineers are making final adjustments to a laser weapon prototype that will be the first of its kind to deploy aboard a ship late this summer.  The prototype, an improved version of the Laser Weapon System (LaWS), will be installed on USS Ponce for at-sea testing in the Persian Gulf.

"This is a revolutionary capability," said Chief of Naval Research Rear Adm. Matthew Klunder. "It's absolutely critical that we get this out to sea with our Sailors for these trials, because this very affordable technology is going to change the way we fight and save lives."

Navy leaders have made directed-energy weapons a top priority to counter what they call asymmetric threats, including unmanned and light aircraft and small attack boats that could be used to deny U.S. forces access to certain areas. High-energy lasers offer an affordable and safe way to target these threats at the speed of light with extreme precision and an unlimited magazine, experts say.

"Our nation's adversaries are pursuing a variety of ways to try and restrict our freedom to operate," Klunder said. "Spending about $1 per shot of a directed-energy source that never runs out gives us an alternative to firing costly munitions at inexpensive threats."

Klunder leads the Office of Naval Research (ONR), which has worked with the Naval Sea Systems Command, Naval Research Laboratory, Naval Surface Warfare Center Dahlgren Division and others to make powerful directed-energy weapons a reality.

The Navy already has demonstrated the effectiveness of lasers in a variety of maritime settings. In a 2011 demonstration, a laser was used to defeat multiple small boat threats from a destroyer. In 2012, LaWS downed several unmanned aircraft in tests.

Over the past several months, working under the ONR Quick Reaction Capability program, a team of Navy engineers and scientists have upgraded LaWS, and proved that targets tracked with a Phalanx Close-In Weapon can be easily handed over to the laser's targeting and tracking system. The result is a weapon system with a single laser weapon control console, manned by a surface warfare weapons officer aboard USS Ponce who can operate all functions of the laser-and if commanded, fire the laser weapon.  Using a video game-like controller, that sailor will be able to manage the laser's power to accomplish a range of effects against a threat, from disabling to complete destruction.

Data regarding accuracy, lethality and other factors from the Ponce deployment will guide the development of even more capable weapons under ONR's Solid-State Laser - Technology Maturation program. Under this program, industry teams led by Northrop Grumman, BAE Systems and Raytheon Corp. have been selected to develop cost-effective, combat-ready laser prototypes that could be installed on vessels such as guided-missile destroyers and the Littoral Combat Ship in 2016.  
The Navy will decide next year which, if any, of the three industry prototypes are suitable to move forward and begin initial ship installation for further testing.


Lockheed Martin Demonstrates Weapons Grade High Power Fiber Laser
Jan. 28, 2014 – Lockheed Martin has demonstrated a 30-kilowatt electric fiber laser, the highest power ever documented while retaining beam quality and electrical efficiency.
The internally funded research and development program culminated in this demonstration, which was achieved by combining many fiber lasers into a single, near-perfect quality beam of light—all while using approximately 50 percent less electricity than alternative solid-state laser technologies. The unique process, called Spectral Beam Combining, sends beams from multiple fiber laser modules, each with a unique wavelength, into a combiner that forms a single, powerful, high quality beam.


Navy to Deploy Electromagnetic Railgun Aboard JHSV
4/7/2014  The U.S. Navy plans to install and test a prototype electromagnetic railgun aboard a joint high speed vessel (JHSV) in fiscal year 2016, the service announced today.  This test will mark the first time an electromagnetic railgun (EM railgun) has been demonstrated at sea, symbolizing a significant advance in naval combat.

EM railgun technology uses an electromagnetic force - known as the Lorenz Force - to rapidly accelerate and launch a projectile between two conductive rails. This guided projectile is launched at such high velocities that it can achieve greater ranges than conventional guns
High-energy EM railguns are expected to be lethal and effective against multiple threats, including enemy warships, small boats, aircraft, missiles and land-based targets. The Navy is using JHSV as a vessel of opportunity because of its available cargo and topside space and schedule flexibility. Because JHSVs are non-combatants, there is no plan to permanently install a railgun on any ship of the class. A final decision has not been made on
which ship classes will receive a fully operational railgun. The final operational system will be capable of launching guided, multi-mission projectiles to a range of 110 nautical miles against a wide range of threats. The series of tests are designed to capture lessons for incorporation into a future tactical design and will allow the Navy to best
understand needed ship modifications before fully integrating the technology.
(U.S. Navy photo by John F. Williams/Released)
"The electromagnetic railgun represents an incredible new offensive capability for the U.S. Navy," said Rear Adm. Bryant Fuller, the Navy's chief engineer. "This capability will allow us to effectively counter a wide-range of threats at a relatively low cost, while keeping our ships and sailors safer by removing the need to carry as many high-explosive weapons."

EM railgun technology will complement current kinetic weapons currently onboard surface combatants and offer a few specific advantages. Against specific threats, the cost per engagement is orders of magnitude less expensive than comparable missile engagements. The
projectile itself is being designed to be common with some current powder guns, enabling the conservation of expensive missiles for use against more complex threats.


Nammo announces their partnership with the BLOODHOUND SSC Project.  
19 December 2013
The BLOODHOUND SSC Project is Britain’s latest attempt on the World Land Speed Record with a car capable of 1,000mph.    Nammos role will be to supply its hybrid rocket technology for use in the BLOODHOUND Supersonic Car which is now being constructed in Bristol, UK.
BLOODHOUND’S Chief Engineer Mark Chapman said, “Nammo is a great addition to our team.  Their technology is outstanding, as are their test facilities. Most important, though, is their enthusiasm for being part of this unconventional, high profile, engineering adventure.  They share our passion for inspiring the next generation of engineers and innovators.”
The mission of the BLOODHOUND Project is to inspire future generations to pursue science, technology, engineering and mathematics by showcasing these subjects in the most exciting way possible in schools, colleges and universities.
One of Nammos main strategies within its sponsorships guidelines is to focus on technology and education within science and engineering. The BLOODHOUND engineering adventure is just a perfect project that matches this strategy.


African SKA precursor inaugurates its first antenna in the Karoo
27 March 2014, South Africa – The first of 64 antennas that will make up SKA’s African precursor telescope – MeerKAT – was officially launched today by South Africa’s Minister of Science and Technology. The Minister also officially opened the specialised MeerKAT Karoo Array Processor Building – the cutting edge data centre for the telescope that has been built in an underground bunker at the Karoo observatory site.  
The Square Kilometre Array (SKA) project is an international effort to build the world’s largest radio telescope, with a square kilometre (one million square metres) of collecting area. The scale of the SKA represents a huge leap forward in both engineering and research & development. As one of the largest scientific endeavours in history, the SKA will bring together a wealth of the world’s finest scientists, engineers and policy makers to bring the project to fruition.
Artist’s impression of the SKA dishes. Credit: SKA Organisation
When the SKA is completed, it will collect Big Data from deep space containing information dating back more than 13 billion years. The project constitutes the ultimate Big Data challenge, and scientists must produce major advances in computing to deal with it. The impact of those advances will be felt far beyond the SKA project–helping to usher in a new era of computing, which IBM calls the era of cognitive systems. The aperture arrays and dishes of the SKA will produce 10 times the global internet traffic*, but the power to process all of this data as it is collected far exceeds the capabilities of the current state-of-the-art technology. The SKA will be developed over a phase timeline. For SKA Phase 1, Australia will host the low-frequency telescopes with more than 900 stations, each containing a bit less than 300 individual dipole antennas, as well as a 96-dish ‘SKA1-Survey’ telescope, incorporating the existing 36-dish ASKAP, whilst South Africa will host an array of 254 dishes, incorporating the 64-dish MeerKAT precursor telescope.
First night for the first MeerKAT antenna against the backdrop of the Milky Way and the Magellanic Clouds. Credit Photowise


Lockheed Martin and the Office of Naval Research Demonstrate Airborne Autonomy Technology
April 7, 2014 – As autonomous technologies continue to develop and grow within the U.S. Marine Corps and the U.S. Navy, Lockheed Martin and the Office of Naval Research (ONR) successfully demonstrated the Lockheed Martin OPTIMUS mission system’s ability to accomplish an autonomous approach and landing in an unprepared environment. The system enhances the onboard intelligence of the vehicle and provides an advanced mission planning capability that can be applied to current and future helicopters and rotary wing aircraft.
The Autonomous Aerial Cargo/Utility System (AACUS) demonstration tested Lockheed Martin OPTIMUS technology aboard a K-MAX unmanned helicopter, which served as a test bed for the system. During the demonstration, an active duty Marine interfaced with the mission system’s handheld flight control device to complete a resupply mission. The system successfully planned, routed and executed the mission without requiring user input.
Lockheed Martin OPTIMUS primes aircraft for operations in austere environments or terrains, and allows users to execute missions day and night, in all weather conditions. Additionally, the system adds a multi-layer world model and active sensor control to enhance onboard perception and understanding for missions in which operators have limited or no knowledge of the location.  In addition to military applications, Lockheed Martin OPTIMUS can be used on commercial platforms for forestry and construction, pipelining, and firefighting missions because it can reach areas without improved roads, work around-the-clock, and provide valuable situational awareness to its operators.


Army Assistant Secretary Visits Radford and Holston 31 March 2014
NOTE: In last MSIAC newsletter, at least our Steering Committee wore white!
HON Heidi Shyu, United States Assistant Secretary of the Army for Acquisition, Logistics, and Technology, and her colleagues were onsite to learn about Radford’s and Holston’s modernization efforts. Both plants were built during World War II and are still producing vital products for today’s warfighter.
The visitors began the day with a tour of the Radford plant, including stops at the nitrocellulose production line, acid area, and solvent manufacturing line.  That afternoon, Katrina McFarland, assistant secretary of defense for Acquisition, joined the group to tour the Holston plant. The tour highlighted the plant’s chemical processes and modernization successes – including the insensitive munitions manufacturing line and the nearly completed, $147 million acids modernization project.



From multiple sources, we also have this:   


Analyst: Iran's Carrier Replica Unlikely To Be Movie Prop  
Iranian media reports that Iran is building a replica of a US aircraft carrier for a prop in an upcoming movie strain credibility, a naval analyst told Military Times.
The New York Times first reported that satellite photographs show the Iranians are building a non-working replica of the USS Nimitz that is two-thirds the size of the actual ship. Iranian newspapers have subsequently reported that the mockup is a prop for an upcoming movie about an Iranian airliner shot down by a US cruiser in 1988, according to The Guardian.
But the costs of building such a big model of a ship make it hard to believe that it would be used for a movie, said Christopher Harmer, of the Institute for the Study of War.
“It only makes sense to build a two-thirds model of a ship for movie if you are making a major commercial success movie,” Harmer told Military Times on Monday. However, Harmer acknowledged it is possible the Iranians are making a lavish propaganda film along the lines of Nazi epics late in World War II.  “It would be an utterly ridiculous waste of money, but it’s just barely possible that the Iranians are that stupid,” he said.
It is far more likely that the Iranians are building a replica of a U.S. aircraft carrier to practice their swarm techniques, Harmer said. After losing battles with the US Navy in the 1980s, the Iranians realized that they could not defeat the US. Navy in a conventional fight, so they have adopted Kamikaze tactics in which hundreds or thousands of small boats armed with rocket launchers or machine guns would launch suicide attacks against US warships.
“What they need is a big ship that looks roughly like an aircraft carrier so they can practice attacking it so they can see what they think would be the vulnerabilities,” Harmer said.
An overhead view of the Nimitz-class replica being built by Iran.  (DigitalGlove via Navy)


And finally, have you noticed that UAVs and Drones now have many names: In just this short sample of articles, beyond calling them UAS, UCAS and UCAV, in the UK they can be called remotely piloted air systems (RPAS) or RPA, and the USN can call them Unmanned Carrier Launched Airborne Surveillance and Strike (UCLASS), Which makes me wonder what would we call a pilot without a plane?