Wind tunnel testing moves AMRAAM-ER missile closer to production

Wind tunnel testing moves AMRAAM-ER missile closer to production

Raytheon Company successfully completed more than 1,700 rigorous wind tunnel tests on the newest, extended-range variant of the combat-proven AMRAAM air-to-air missile. Testing is a major step in the missile’s qualification for integration with the NASAMS™ surface-based system. The AMRAAM-ER missile is a ground-launched weapon that will intercept targets at longer distances and higher altitudes. The missile’s bigger rocket motor and smarter flight control algorithms give it a boost in range.

“During these tests, we put AMRAAM-ER through a full range of potential flight conditions to validate the missile’s future performance on the battlefield,” said Kim Ernzen, Raytheon Air Warfare Systems vice president. “Raytheon is developing this missile to enhance ground-based air defense for our customers worldwide.” Raytheon engineers will now analyze data from the wind tunnel test runs to verify and update the AMRAAM-ER missile’s aerodynamic models to maximize its performance.

Raytheon engineers recently completed wind tunnel testing on a new, extended-range variant of the AMRAAM air-to-air missile. Testing is a key step in qualifying the missile for the NASAMS launch system.

Raytheon engineers recently completed wind tunnel testing on a new, extended-range variant of the AMRAAM air-to-air missile. Testing is a key step in qualifying the missile for the NASAMS launch system.


The AMRAAM-Extended Range missile is a new, ground-launched solution that will intercept targets at longer distances and higher altitudes. The AMRAAM-ER missile gets its boost in range from a bigger rocket motor and smarter flight control algorithms. Designed specifically for ground-based air defense, the AMRAAM-ER missile will be integrated into the NASAMS launcher to provide increased air defense protection in the medium range air defense market. NASAMS is deployed by seven countries, and is on contract for two more, and has been integrated into the U.S.’ National Capital Region’s air defense system since 2005. The AMRAAM air-to-air missile packs unprecedented performance into a lightweight, cost-effective package. Because of the weapon’s ongoing modernization and proven performance, it continues to deliver the highest dependability and versatility.

The National Advanced Surface-to-Air Missile System (NASAMS™) is a highly adaptable mid-range solution for any operational air defense requirement. The system provides the air defender with a tailorable, state-of-the-art defense system that can maximize their ability to quickly identify, engage and destroy current and evolving enemy aircraft, unmanned aerial vehicle and emerging cruise missile threats. NASAMS is owned by nine countries and has been integrated into the U.S. National Capital Region’s air defense system since 2005. In addition to the U.S., Norway, Finland, Spain, The Netherlands, Oman, Lithuania, Indonesia and one undisclosed country have chosen to depend on NASAMS for homeland defense and the defense of critical assets. Together with Norwegian partner KONGSBERG Defence and Aerospace, AS, Raytheon continues to integrate new capabilities into NASAMS to develop and field highly capable and fully integrated solutions.

Norway fired an AMRAAM®-Extended Range missile from a NASAMS™ high mobility launcher during an international flight test.

Norway fired an AMRAAM®-Extended Range missile from a NASAMS™ high mobility launcher during an international flight test.

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Japan certified its Amphibious Rapid Deployment Brigade (ARDB) in joint exercise with US marines

Japan certified its Amphibious Rapid Deployment Brigade in joint exercise with US marines

Japan Ground Self-Defense Force amphibious assault vehicles approach the amphibious transport dock ship USS Somerset (LPD 25) during Exercise Iron Fist 2019. (U.S. Navy photo by Mass Communication Specialist 2nd Class Devin M. Langer)

Japan Ground Self-Defense Force amphibious assault vehicles approach the amphibious transport dock ship USS Somerset (LPD 25) during Exercise Iron Fist 2019.


The Iron Fist 2019 multilateral training event concluded earlier this month, which included the certification of Japan’s first amphibious assault force. Japanese Ground Self-Defense Force soldiers with the newly minted 1st Amphibious Rapid Deployment Brigade took part in the Iron Fist exercises, which included tasks in sharpshooting, amphibious reconnaissance and landing missions, and other areas. The 14th installment of Iron First also marked the first time Japanese Ground Self-Defense Force soldiers brought their own amphibious assault vehicles. Classes at Forest Light 19.2 covered material on unmanned aerial systems and improvised explosive devices
Japan Ground Self-Defense Force soldiers load a combat rubber raiding craft aboard a CH-53E Super Stallion, assigned to the “Flying Tigers” of Marine Heavy Helicopter Squadron (HMH) 361, on the flight deck of the amphibious transport dock ship USS Somerset (LPD 25) during Exercise Iron Fist 2019.  (U.S. Navy photo by Mass Communication Specialist 2nd Class Devin M. Langer)

Japan Ground Self-Defense Force soldiers load a combat rubber raiding craft aboard a CH-53E Super Stallion, assigned to the “Flying Tigers” of Marine Heavy Helicopter Squadron (HMH) 361, on the flight deck of the amphibious transport dock ship USS Somerset (LPD 25) during Exercise Iron Fist 2019.


Iron Fist, held in Southern California, was one of two training exercises between the U.S. Marine Corps and the Japan Ground Self-Defense Force this month. The other, Forest Light 19.2, will conclude Friday in Japan’s Aibano Maneuver Area and has included roughly 400 U.S. Marines based in Okinawa, the Marine Corps said in a separate release. Making matters more difficult in Southern California, soldiers had to contend with rain during many of the exercises this year Separated by nearly 10,000 miles of the Pacific Ocean, these exercises are taking place at the same time. U.S.-Japan exercises like these are vital for rapid expeditionary response to support regional security.
A Japan Ground Self-Defense Force amphibious assault vehicle drives downhill during Exercise Iron Fist 2019. (U.S. Navy photo by Mass Communication Specialist 2nd Class Devin M. Langer)

A Japan Ground Self-Defense Force amphibious assault vehicle drives downhill during Exercise Iron Fist 2019.


The training builds on longstanding military ties between the two countries, which have been treaty allies for nearly 70 years. It is designed to improve the ability of the U.S. Marine Corps and Japanese Force to plan, communicate and conduct combined amphibious operations. The Japan Ground Self Defense Force was established to protect the country, uphold security and maintain peace. Japan continues to have concerns over China’s increasing military strength and an ongoing conflict between the two countries over the Senkaku Islands in the East China Sea. In 2012, Japan nationalized the islands, which are near rich fishing grounds and untapped natural gas.
 A Japanese amphibious assault vehicle enters the well deck of the amphibious transport dock ship USS Somerset (LPD 25) during Exercise Iron Fist 2019. (U.S. Navy photo by Mass Communication Specialist 2nd Class Devin M. Langer)

A Japanese amphibious assault vehicle enters the well deck of the amphibious transport dock ship USS Somerset (LPD 25) during Exercise Iron Fist 2019.


(U.S. Navy photo by Mass Communication Specialist 2nd Class Devin M. Langer)

India navy seeks to short list bidders for 111 naval utility helicopters

India navy seeks to short list bidders for 111 naval utility helicopters

The Indian Ministry of Defence has issued Expression of Interest (s) for shortlisting of potential Indian Strategic Partners and foreign OEMs for the ‘Procurement of 111 Naval Utility Helicopters (NUH) for the Indian Navy on 12 Feb 19. These helicopters will replace Chetak Helicopters and will be utilised for albeit SAR, CASEVAC, LIMO, passenger roles and torpedo drops. 95 helicopters out of 111 will be manufactured in India by the selected Indian Strategic Partner. The case was approved by DAC on 25 Aug 18. The project is likely to provide major boost to Govt’s ‘Make in India’ initiative and fillip to manufacturing capability for helicopters in India.

The Request for EoI from Indian private companies for participating in the project has been hosted on the MoD/Indian Navy website on 12 Feb 19. However, the Request for EoI from foreign OEMs has been forwarded to companies that participated in the RFI deliberations. The OEMs have been mandated to set up dedicated manufacturing line, including design, integration and manufacturing processes for NUH in India and make Indian Manufacturing Line as a global exclusive facility for the NUH platform being offered. Whilst Indian companies have been given two months to respond to the EoI, the foreign OEMs have been given three months for responding due to the nature of inputs required. High level of indigenisation i.e about 60% of the helicopter is desired through the NUH project.

India navy seeks to short list bidders for 111 naval utility helicopters

India navy seeks to short list bidders for 111 naval utility helicopters


India invited expressions of interest for 111 helicopters to be made in the country in collaboration with foreign partners, the defence ministry said, in a deal estimated at nearly $3 billion. Lockheed Martin, Airbus Helicopters and Bell Helicopters are among those expected to participate in the bidding, the ministry statement said, to replace the navy’s ageing Soviet-era helicopters. The Indian companies likely to participate in the bidding are Tata Advanced Systems, Mahindra Defence, Adani Defence, L&T, Bharat Forge and Reliance Infrastructure, the defence ministry said. India has been trying to modernise its military to narrow the gap with China but defence expenditure has been largely stagnant, making for slow procurement.

Royal Danish Navy - Ivar Huitfeldt Class frigates

Royal Danish Navy – Ivar Huitfeldt Class frigates


The Iver Huitfeldt class is a three-ship class of frigates that entered service with the Royal Danish Navy in 2012 and 2013. The class is built on the experience gained from the Absalon-class support ships, and by reusing the basic hull design of the Absalon class the Royal Danish Navy have been able to construct the Iver Huitfeldt class considerably cheaper than comparable ships. The frigates are compatible with the Danish Navy’s StanFlex modular mission payload system used in the Absalons, and are designed with slots for six modules. Each of the four stanflex positions on the missile deck is able to accommodate either the Mark 41 8-cell Harpoon launcher module, or the 12-cell Mark 56 ESSM VLS. The Peter Willemoes passed the British Flag Officer Sea Training test in 2015. While the Absalon-class ships are primarily designed for command and support roles, with a large ro-ro deck, the three new Iver Huitfeldt-class frigates will be equipped for an air defence role with Standard Missiles, and the potential to use Tomahawk cruise missiles, a first for the Danish Navy. The ships were constructed in blocks in Estonia and Lithuania. These blocks were then towed to Odense where they were assembled.

Most of the weapons for the three ships were reused from the previous Niels Juel-class corvette and the Flyvefisken-class patrol vessel. Other components were reused as well to keep the cost at a minimum. These ships share their Anti-Air Warfare suite with the Royal Netherlands Navy’s De Zeven Provinciën-class frigates and the German Navy’s Sachsen-class frigates. The sensors of this suite include the long range surveillance radar SMART-L (passive electronically scanned array) and the multi-function radar APAR active electronically scanned array. The SMART-L and APAR are highly complementary, in the sense that SMART-L is a L band radar providing very long range surveillance while APAR is an I band radar providing precise target tracking, a highly capable horizon search capability, and missile guidance using the Interrupted Continuous Wave Illumination (ICWI) technique, thus allowing guidance of 32 semi-active radar homing missiles in flight simultaneously, including 16 in the terminal guidance phase.[17] The primary anti-air weapons are the point defence Evolved Sea Sparrow Missile and the area defence SM-2 IIIA. The Mk 41 Vertical Launch System is used to house and launch these missiles. Depending on the number of Harpoon launchers installed, up to 48 Evolved Sea Sparrow Missile and 32 SM-2 IIIA may be carried.

Royal Danish Navy - Ivar Huitfeldt Class frigates

Royal Danish Navy – Ivar Huitfeldt Class frigates


The seven-deck monohull design features 15 watertight sections. It has been designed to reduce radar signature, infrared radiation, underwater noise and magnetic signature to make the ship as invisible as possible to an enemy. The exterior is easily distinguished from Absalon Class as the Iver Huitfeldt is one deck lower, and lacks an internal multipurpose deck (flex deck). The chimney’s design has been changed to prevent excessive steam impact of SMART-L radar. The design protects the crew from contamination. The frigate is divided into six hazard zones. All the zones are equipped with separate filters to protect the crew against chemical, radioactive or biological weapon attacks and airlocks are provided between them.The frigate is powered by four main MTU 20V 8000 M70 diesel engines, placed two and two each, in a combined diesel and diesel configuration. The propulsion system provides speeds more than 28k. The ship is equipped with two Becker rudders and a bow thruster with an output of 900kW. A set of active stabilisers provides stability to the frigate. Four generating sets comprising two Caterpillar engines and Leroy-Somer generators are provided. Each pair includes a CAT3512 and CAT3508 generating 1,360kW and 920kW respectively.

The builder’s successor, OMT, suggests the type for the Procurement programme of the Royal Australian Navy’s frigates, but built in Australia and modified for anti-submarine warfare. (along with the RNZN as they have a preference to operate the same type of frigate as the RAN). However OMT was not among the three warship designers shortlisted by Australia for the SEA 5000 frigate program in April 2016. The Iver Huitfeldt class frigate was a contender in the Canadian Single Class Surface Combatant Project. However, it is believed that due to concerns over the fairness of the bidding process, two European shipbuilders, possibly Germany’s ThyssenKrupp Marine Systems and Odense Maritime Technology, declined to submit bids. In late May 2018, Babcock , partnered with BMT and Thales Group, announced the “Arrowhead 140” design, based on the hull of the Iver Huitfeldt frigates, for the Royal Navy Type 31e frigate program.

Royal Danish Navy - Ivar Huitfeldt Class frigates

Royal Danish Navy – Ivar Huitfeldt Class frigates

Rabdan 8x8 IFV Infantry Fighting Vehicle

Rabdan 8×8 IFV Infantry Fighting Vehicle

The Rabdan is a new 8×8 wheeled infantry fighting vehicle developed by Al Jasoor, a joint venture company between Tawazun and Otokar UAE, which is a subsidiary of Otokar. The United Arab Emirates military announced during the IDEX 2017 defence show in Abu Dhabi that it had ordered 400 Rabdan 8×8 armored wheeled vehicles fitted with Russian BMP-3 combat turret. The new RABDAN 8×8 IFV Infantry Fighting Vehicle is now in service with the UAE (United Arab Emirates) armed forces. During the live demonstration for the opening ceremony of IDEX 2019, the defense exhibition in Abu Dhabi, the RABDAN was showed for the first time to the public fitted with a Russian-made BMP-3 turret. The UAE is the largest international operator of BMP-3 vehicles. Between 1992 and 2000 about 600 BMP-3 were delivered.

Rabdan 8x8 IFV Infantry Fighting Vehicle

Rabdan 8×8 IFV Infantry Fighting Vehicle


The Rabdan is a modified Emirati version of a Turkish Otokar Arma 8×8 8×8 wheeled infantry fighting vehicle fitted with the BMP-3 turret with 100mm 2A70 gun capable of firing ordinary HE-FRAG projectiles, as well as 9M117 Bastion laser-guided anti-armor missiles. The 9M117 missile has a maximum range of 4 – 5.5 km. It penetrates up to 550-750 mm of rolled homogenous armor equivalency after ERA, providing this IFV a considerable anti-armor capability. Ordinary HE-FRAG rounds have a maximum range of up to 7 km, though these munitions are typically used on closer ranges. The 30 mm cannon fires at a rate of 330 rpm and has a maximum range of 2 km against ground targets and 4 km against low-flying helicopters. There is also a coaxial 30mm 2A72 automatic cannon and 7,62mm PKT/PKTM machingun .
Rabdan 8x8 IFV Infantry Fighting Vehicle

Rabdan 8×8 IFV Infantry Fighting Vehicle


Protection of the Rabdan is equivalent to that of the tracked BMP-3 infantry fighting vehicle. The Rabdan has a welded steel armor hull. It offers all-round ballistic protection for the crew and occupants against 14.5 armor-piercing rounds. Front arc withstands hits from heavier weapons. Vehicle withstands explosions of 155 mm artillery shells detonating 30 m away. This wheeled IFV survives mine blasts and improvised explosive devices equivalent to 10 kg of TNT anywhere under the hull or under any wheel. Most likely that NBC protection and automatic fire suppression systems are fitted. The Rabdan is fully amphibious. On water it is propelled by two waterjets. Amphibious speed on water is up to 10 km/h. It has been reported that all Rabdan IFVs will have amphibious capability as standard. Though on other armored vehicles of this family this capability will be optional.
Rabdan 8x8 IFV Infantry Fighting Vehicle

Rabdan 8×8 IFV Infantry Fighting Vehicle


According first specifications released by the UAE Company Al Jasoor Heavy Vehicles Industries, the Rabdan has the capacity to carry a total 12 military personnel including driver and commander. It has gross vehicle weight (GVW) from 28,000 kg to 30,000 kg. The Rabdan is powered by a Caterpillar 12.5-liter turbocharged diesel engine, developing 600 hp. It could be a Caterpillar C9.3 diesel engine, which is used on some of the latest 8×8 armored vehicles. Engine is located at the front of the hull. It is mated to an Allison automatic transmission with 6 forward and 1 reverse speeds. Vehicle is fitted with a central tyre inflation system and run-flat tyres. The Rabdan can be airlifted by a C-130 Hercules or larger military transport aircraft.

Argentina signs contract with France’s Naval Group for Four OPVs

Argentina signs contract with France’s Naval Group for Four OPVs


French shipbuilder Naval Group on Thursday announced it is starting work on the Argentine Navy offshore patrol vessels (OPV), thereby officially confirming the four-ship contract with the South American country. Naval Group’s €318 million contract with Argentina for the delivery of four offshore patrol vessels (OPVs) has come into force. Altogether, the four ships will cost 319.03 million euros, that Argentina will pay thanks to a financing package put together by French banks Crédit Agricole Corporate and Investment Bank and Natixis, together with Spain’s Banco Santander. Contracts generally come into force when the seller receives a down payment.

Argentina signs contract with France’s Naval Group for Four OPVs

Argentina signs contract with France’s Naval Group for Four OPVs


Signed during December’s G20 meeting in Buenos Aires, the contract covers the refit and delivery of L’Adroit, an innovative OPV built as a private venture by Naval Group and leased by the French Navy to explore and validate its design concept. Her delivery to Argentina is planned for 2019, after a general refit and specific modifications requested by the Argentine Navy. Argentine Foreign Minister Jorge Faurie was quoted as saying: “The technical offer has been accepted, and now we discuss the financial arrangements for these vessels. The final price, which was decided after the Naval Group’s trip in Argentina, was much closer to that of other shipyards”.
Argentina signs contract with France’s Naval Group for Four OPVs

Argentina signs contract with France’s Naval Group for Four OPVs


The other three OPVs Gowind OPV-87 design will be constructed in France. The shipbuilder did not provide a timeline for the ship deliveries. OPV87 vessels built for Argentina will measure 87 meters in length, displace 1,650 tons, and have a flight deck capable of accommodating a 10-ton helicopter. They will have increased autonomy due to an improved fresh water production capacity on board. The three OPVs built in France will be ice-strengthened, to allow navigation in cold waters in the southern seas. All units will be equipped with a tele-operated 30mm cannon. The OPVs can stay at sea for more than three weeks, reach a speed of 20 knots and operate a helicopter. Operated by a crew of 40 people, they can also accommodate thirty passengers.
Argentina signs contract with France’s Naval Group for Four OPVs

Argentina signs contract with France’s Naval Group for Four OPVs


Engaged in several military missions as well as in fishery policing and maritime security, notably the Atalante operation to combat piracy, L’Adroit has already demonstrated its efficiency and the significance of Naval Group’s innovations developed for the benefit of navies, commandos and coastguards.The Argentine Navy offshore patrol vessels will benefit from the innovations proposed by Naval Group and proven by the French Navy. This range of vessels also benefits from Naval Group’s expertise in information systems and command, allowing for greater maritime expanse surveillance capabilities and the automatic detection of suspicious behaviour. L’Adroit is fitted with the Polaris® mission system specifically developed by Naval Group for state action at sea missions, and approved by the French Navy.

Successful first launch for MBDA Marte ER anti-ship missile

Successful first launch for MBDA Marte ER anti-ship missile


MBDA’s Marte ER anti-ship missile has completed its first firing, successfully passing a major phase in its development. The firing trial was carried out on 9 November in an Italian test range. The Marte ER missile flew for more than 100 km on a planned trajectory that included several waypoints and sea skimming flight, successfully testing all flying phases. The Marte ER programme is progressing at full speed in order to meet customers’ requirements. Having completed the 18 months System Definition Phase, the full integration of Marte ER on the Eurofighter Typhoon platform is proceeding at pace in order to implement an anti-ship capability onto the fighter.

MBDA Marte ER anti-ship missile

MBDA Marte ER anti-ship missile


Pasquale Di Bartolomeo, Executive Group Director Sales & Business Development and Managing Director MBDA Italia, commented: “This test is a further confirmation of the robustness of the ER version of the Marte family of multi-platform anti-ship missiles that can be launched by ships, helicopters, coastal batteries and fast jets. The Marte family has a strong and successful history both at domestic and international levels: most recently with Marte ER being ordered earlier in 2018 by the Qatar Emiri Air Force (QEAF) for their new NH90 helicopters. Marte is a single product family that can cover several missions, offering our customers a high level of operational flexibility in the area of maritime superiority, a domain where MBDA in Italy has been able throughout its long history not only to maintain but also to grow as well as further develop competencies and know-how”.
MBDA Marte ER anti-ship missile

MBDA Marte ER anti-ship missile

Marte ER represents the 3rd generation within the Marte family of missile systems and is derived from Marte MK2/S which is already in service with the Italian Navy on its NFH90 and AW101 helicopters. The main difference between the two lies in the introduction of a turbo engine in place of the rocket motor. This missile is going to be integrated on Eurofighter TYPHOON and other fast jets. Marte ER design takes into account that MARTE MK2/S is already qualified and installed on these two platforms. This offers the following advantages:

  • Same mechanical, functional & electrical helicopter interfaces
  • No platform hardware changes required to manage the MARTE ER missile, only software changes to the Store Management System (SMS) are required to manage longer range performance
  • The helicopter, with the new version of SMS software, is able to operate both MARTE MK2/S and MARTE ER missiles
  • Same logistic support, in terms of benches, trolley and most handling & maintenance tools and schedule
MBDA Marte ER anti-ship missile

MBDA Marte ER anti-ship missile