The German army has finalized its annual training in firing of Rafael’s SPIKE LR ATGM missile. Spike long-range (LR) missile, designated by the Bundeswehr as the Mehrrollenfähige Leichte Lenkflugkörpersystem (Multirole-capable Light Anti-tank Missile System: MELLS). The firing was performed in Germany under adverse weather conditions, and included the firing of as many as 54 live SPIKE LR missiles by German Army gunners from the new SPIKE ICLU launchers (Integrated Control Lunch Unit), which includes a new digital user interface. During the training, German personnel launched SPIKE LR missiles in complex firing scenarios, including engagements in BLOS (Beyond-Line-of-Sight: targets hidden behind cover), retargeting midflight scenarios, firing in total darkness in IR (infrared) mode, as well as firing in day mode under harsh conditions of intense rain and strong winds. Both launchers and gunners performed flawlessly and all 54 missiles hit their targets successfully.
Eurospike SPIKE LR ATGM
The SPIKE LR is a 5th generation precision guided missile system designed for the modern warfare with multiplatform, multipurpose capabilities including F&F / Fire, observe and update capabilities as well as abilities of third party target allocation (launch to grid coordinates in no line of sight) based on an internal IMU. The SPIKE LR2 light weight, enhanced lethality and great standoff of 5.5 (ground) to 10 (air) km makes it the ideal munition for infantry as well as light attack helicopters. The SPIKE LR2 was originally designed to be launched by the existing 29 nations SPIKE LR launchers. SPIKE is in production in Europe by EUROSPIKE, through major EU defence OEM‘s as well as numerous EU SME‘s and is already integrated and qualified to a large variety of terrestrial and aerial EU armed forces platforms, including armored vehicles, attack helicopters and naval vessels. Their lofted trajectories enable the warhead to strike the target at its most vulnerable location with pinpoint precision. All of the SPIKE Family members have a low life-cycle cost, due to high reliability and operational, logistic support and production commonality between members.
Eurospike SPIKE LR ATGM
SPIKE missile family is an Israeli fire-and-forget anti-tank guided missile and anti-personnel missile with a tandem-charge HEAT warhead, currently in its fourth-generation. It was developed and designed by the Israeli company Rafael Advanced Defense Systems. It is available in man-portable, vehicle-launched, and helicopter-launched variants. As well as engaging and destroying targets within the line-of-sight of the launcher (“fire-and-forget”), some variants of the missile are capable of making a top attack profile through a “fire, observe and update” guidance method (essentially lock-on after launch (LOAL)); the operator tracking the target, or switching to another target, optically through the trailing fiber-optic wire (or RF link in the case of the vehicle-mounted, long-range NLOS variant) while the missile is climbing to altitude after launch. SPIKE missile family sold to 31 countries around the world, with over 30,000 missiles supplied, consists of missiles suited for land, air and naval platforms, multiple ranges and a variety of targets.This is similar to the lofted trajectory flight profile of the US FGM-148 Javelin.
The Indian Air Force (IAF) is set to equip its fleet of Sukhoi Su-30MKI multirole fighters with the Rafael Advanced Defense Systems I-Derby ER (extended range) beyond-visual-range air-to-air missile (BVRAAM) once the service phases out its ageing Russian-made Vympel R-77 (AA-12 ‘Adder’) AAMs by 2021-22. An earlier version of the Rafael Derby, which can be configured as a surface-to-air missile, is also part of the IAF’s 18 Spyder-SR air-defence systems acquired from Rafael in 2008-09 for an estimated USD1 billion. Delivery of the Spyder-SR systems, which included 750 Derby missiles, began in 2012 and was completed three years later.
Rafael Advanced Defense Systems I-Derby ER (extended range) beyond-visual-range air-to-air missile (BVRAAM)
The Rafael Derby also known as the Alto, is a beyond-visual-range air-to-air missile (BVRAAM). Though technically not part of the “Python” family, the missile is an enlarged version of the Python-4 with an active-radar seeker. In June 2015, Rafael confirmed the existence of the I-Derby-ER, an extended range version of the Derby that increases range to 54 nmi (62 mi; 100 km), after a “Python 6” version based on an air-launched Stunner missile was abandoned. To achieve greater range, a dual-pulse solid rocket motor is added, where the secondary pulse of energy as the missile nears the target extends flight time. It also combines the seeker and fuse into an integrated sensor and fusing system to make room for the new motor.
The I-Derby ER has been selected by India to equip the Tejas LCA light combat supersonic fighter.
The Indian Air Force is in talks with Rafael to acquire the active radar-guided I-Derby ER BVRAAM, which has a range of 100 km, adding that the procurement process for the missiles could be finalised “imminently”. The latest developments come after the fire-and-forget I-Derby ER missile, which features a software-defined radar seeker and a dual-pulse solid rocket motor, was selected to be the primary AAM to arm the Indian Air Force’s indigenously designed HAL Tejas Light Combat Aircraft (LCA) fighter following successful test-firings in July 2018.
The US Defense Security Cooperation Agency (DSCA) has made a determination approving a possible Foreign Military Sale to the United Arab Emirates of air-to-surface missiles, additional Javelin anti-tank missiles, RQ-21A Blackjack small tactical unmanned aerial vehicles (UAVs), and United States Marine Corps (USMC) training that are together estimated to be worth nearly USD1.2 billion. The Defense Security Cooperation Agency delivered the required certification notifying Congress of this possible sale on May 24, 2019. By far the largest deal outlined in the four DSCA notifications was for the Advanced Precision Kill Weapon System (APKWS). Estimated to be worth USD900 million, it covers 20,004 all-up rounds, meaning it will include the rocket motors and warheads as well as guidance kits.
Advanced Precision Kill Weapon System (APKWS)
The BAE Systems Advanced Precision Kill Weapon System (APKWS) is an add-on semi-active laser guidance kit for 70 mm air-to-surface rockets. . APKWS will complement the Hellfire II missile as a secondary precision munition with lower collateral damage potential. Suggesting the plan is to replace the Talon on the UAE’s Apaches, armed Black Hawks, and possibly its Bell/Northstar 407 MRH helicopters. The UAE currently uses the rival Cirit and Talon weapons. The Turkish-made Cirit would be used with the UAE’s Air Tractor-derived strike aircraft. The UAE also use Talon guidance kit, making it the only user of a weapon that it jointly developed with Raytheon. Talons have been seen in rocket pods carried by Emirati AH-64 Apache and UH-60 Black Hawk helicopters operating in Yemen.
Javelin Guided Missiles
The Government of the United Arab Emirates (UAE) has requested to buy three hundred thirty-one (331) Javelin Guided Missiles with container. Also included are System Integration & Checkout (SICO) service; Field Service Representative; U.S. Government and contractor technical, engineering and logistics support services’ tools and test equipment; support equipment; publications and technical documentation; spare and repair parts; and other related elements of logistics and program support. The estimated total case value is $102 million.
RQ-21A Blackjack Unmanned Air Vehicles
The State Department has made a determination approving a possible Foreign Military Sale to the United Arab Emirates of RQ-21A Blackjack Unmanned Air Vehicles with support for an estimated cost of $80 million. The Government of the UAE has requested to buy twenty (20) RQ-21A Blackjack Unmanned Air Vehicles (UAVs). Also included are forty (40) Global Positioning Systems (GPS) with Selective Availability Anti-Spoofing Module (SAASM) Type II (MPE-S); air vehicle support equipment including eight (8) Ground Control Stations (GCS), four (4) launchers, and four (4) retrievers; spare and repair parts; publications; training; and technical support services.
The U.S. Air Force Space Fence system detected the breakup field from an anti-satellite test conducted by India during a scheduled endurance exercise of the new space surveillance radar. As MICROSAT-R was expected to pass through the un-cued surveillance fence, Space Fence automatically issued a “breakup alert” indicating there were multiple objects within close proximity. Space Fence observed a significant amount of debris tracks surrounding the time of the event crossing labeled as uncorrelated targets. Long-arc tracking was initiated within the orbital debris cloud to form accurate initial orbit determinations. With this information, the system was able to automatically predict and correlate the next crossing time.
Lockheed Martin system operators then prepared for the next crossing by setting up an enhanced sensitivity task volume ahead of the normal un-cued surveillance fence to increase the low altitude track duration. Although the Space Fence is currently in its test phase and not yet operational, the Space Fence un-cued surveillance coverage showed its unique ability to observe these events unfolding at different altitudes in real time. Although the anti-satellite test was conducted at approximately 300 kilometers, the debris cloud extended beyond the original parent object orbit.
Aerial view of Lockheed Martin Space Fence facility in Kwajalein Atoll
“Although the Space Fence system is still under test, it continues to demonstrate its advanced capabilities providing operationally-relevant information in all orbital regimes from Low Earth Orbit through Geosynchronous Earth Orbit,” said Dr. Rob Smith, vice president and general manager of Radar and Sensor Systems for Lockheed Martin. “The criticality of space assets to both national defense and the world economy cannot be understated. As multiple new mega constellations consisting of thousands of satellites become a reality and the space domain continues to become more congested, the demand for more accurate and timely space situational awareness data will be of the utmost importance to the warfighter.”
The Space Fence system continues to track objects from the anti-satellite event through the government-led testing phase which began in early April. Colonel Stephen Purdy, Director of the Space Superiority Systems Directorate, Space and Missile Systems Center, Los Angeles Air Force Base, who oversees the Space Fence program said, “Space Fence is already proving itself as a capable system even before becoming operational. The Indian test showcased Space Fence’s capabilities in a real-world event. The system was able to quickly respond to a highly dynamic situation providing critical data. Space Fence is the latest in a long line of capabilities we are collectively bringing to the warfighter as we continue to build out space capabilities for the United States.”
MD Helicopters, Inc. (MDHI) has enhanced the military capabilities of its powerful light twin-engine MD 969 Combat Helicopter with the addition of a custom, 7-shot Common Launch Tube (CLT) System designed by Systima Technologies. Able to deploy a range of guided munitions, sensors and small UAS/UAVs, the MD 969 CLT System can be configured with up to 7 lightweight AGM-176 Griffin missiles, making it one of the deadliest, precision-strike attack helicopters in its class. Subsequent CLT payloads, including a range of munitions and tactical off-board sensors (TOBS), will further expand the operational profile of the MD 969 Twin Attack Helicopter. The CLT is part of a flexible, roll-on/roll-off launch system that is easily integrated into existing platforms. The highly capable launcher has already allowed SOCOM forces to rapidly field a wide range of precision weapons and sensors necessary to support their people.
MD Helicopters MD 969 Attack Helicopter with Common Launch Tube (CLT)
MD 969 Combat Attack Helicopter represents the next evolution of MDHI’s iconic MD 900/902 series helicopters. In a weaponized configuration the MD 969 Combat Helicopter represents the future assault and attack capabilities of this proven and powerful light twin-engine aircraft. The MD 969 Combat Helicopter also features a proprietary, MDHI-designed integrated composite weapons plank that allows for greater operational flexibility and expanded mission capabilities. The integrated plank allows for up to 6-station, fixed-forward weapons installation while maintaining unimpeded, full-cabin access to support simultaneous forward fire, crew-served weapons, and personnel transport missions.The up-to-8-seat MD 969 Combat Helicopter is single-pilot IFR certified, and safely and effectively executes a broad range of military, para-military and utility missions including Fast Attack, Combat Search & Rescue, CASEVAC/MEDEVAC, Command & Control, and Personnel Transport.
The Tornado-G multiple launch rocket system (MLRS) is designed and manufactured by SPLAV Scientific Production Enterprise, a company based in Russia. It is an upgraded variant of the BM-21 Grad MLRS, the new MLRS will provide improved tactical capabilities over its predecessor. Even though it looks remarkably similar to the BM-21 500-series Grad rockets, there are significant design changes especially in terms of the rocket motor and warhead. The Tornado-G rocket system is designed to destroy enemy fortifications and artillery systems with a high degree of precision. Equipped with automated targeting and navigation systems, the MLRS offers superior target engagement capabilities.
Tornado-G Multiple Launch Rocket System (MLRS)
Development of this artillery rocket systems commenced in the 1990s. It was first revealed in 1998. However due to funding problems first order for 36 units was made only in 2011. The weapon system underwent a number of tests and successfully completed official testing by the Russian Armed Forces in January 2017. Splav Spa JSC revealed details of three upgraded 122 mm Grad rocket variants for the Tornado-G multiple launch rocket system (MLRS) at the 21–26 August 2018 Army International Military-Technical Forum in Kubinka, Russia. It was announced that by 2020 the Tornado-G will completely replace ageing BM-21 Grad in service with the Russian Army.
Tornado-G Multiple Launch Rocket System (MLRS)
The range of Tornado-G MLRS firing these rockets is up to 20 km, less than the 30–40 km range achieved by the ‘500-series’ Grad rockets. The Tornado-G 9M538 HE Frag (high explosive, fragmentation) rocket is slightly shorter at 2.64 m when compared to the earlier 9M521 HE Frag (2.84 m in total length); although the warhead section is increased to 1 m in length. The Tornado-G 9M539 has a larger warhead that separates from the motor section and descends on to the target under a small parachute. A proximity fuze enables the spread of preformed and naturally-formed fragments in a circular pattern around the burst point and greatly improves lethality. The Tornado-G 9M541 ‘cargo’ rocket now has 70 dual-purpose HE/high-explosive anti-tank (HEAT) submunitions instead of the previous 45.
Tornado-G Multiple Launch Rocket System (MLRS)
The Tornado-G multiple launch rocket system is referred as 2B17. The launcher vehicle is based on Ural-4320 6×6 army truck is powered by a turbocharged YaMZ-238M2 diesel engine, which is rated at 240hp. The launch rocket systemn module is rectangular in shape and has the capacity to accommodate 40 launcher tubes, which can carry 122mm-calibre rockets weighing 70kg each. The rockets can carry a 40kg warhead, which is capable of penetrating through rolled homogeneous armour (RHA) with a thickness of 60mm to 100mm. The weapon system is capable of firing all artillery rockets simultaneously within a duration of 20 seconds. The artillery rockets carried by the escorting truck are reloaded manually by the onboard crew into the weapon system within seven minutes.
The SeaRAM is an anti-ship missile defence system against supersonic and subsonic threats including cruise missiles, drones and helicopters. designed and manufactured by Raytheon. The weapon system allows naval vessels to effectively engage high-performance, supersonic and subsonic threats including sea-skimming, anti-ship missiles, high-speed incoming vessels, rotary and fixed-wing aircraft, helicopters and other surface targets. Raytheon delivered an engineering model of the SeaRAM anti-ship missile defence system to the UK’s Royal Navy for suitability testing in 2001. Raytheon and the US Navy conducted test-firing of four blast test vehicles for measuring launch forces of the weapon system in late 2001.
SeaRAM Anti-Ship Missile Defense System
The innovative SeaRAM system is an evolution of the MK15 Phalanx close-in weapon system (CIWS) and and the RAM™ guided weapon system, which entered service in 1980. The SeaRAM system combines the superior accuracy, extended range and high maneuverability of the RAM missile with the high resolution search-and-track sensor and reliable, quick-response capability of the Phalanx Block 1B system. An 11-missile RAM system launcher assembly replaces the Phalanx system’s 20 mm gun. An affordable capability upgrade, the SeaRAM above-deck system fits the exact footprint of the Phalanx system, uses the same power and requires minimal shipboard modification.
SeaRAM Anti-Ship Missile Defense System
The low-risk SeaRAM anti-ship weapon system can be fitted to any class of ship and is designed to offer superior protection for marines and ships. The system is fitted with the same above-deck system and mechanical hardware as Phalanx CIWS and requires minimal shipboard changes. The above-deck system weighs 16,901lb. The SeaRAM close-range protection weapon system is equipped with a latest rolling airframe missile (RAM) guided-missile weapon system. RAM provides superior accuracy, extended range and high manoeuvrability. The SeaRAM self-contained system also employs Phalanx Block 1B CIWS’ high-resolution search and track radar and electro-optical sensor suite, which provides the RAM missile with reliable radio frequency, infrared (IR) detection and tracking capabilities to defeat both air and surface threats.