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Issue N° 28 July / August 2016

Eu r o p e a n D ef en ce R e v i e w

European Intelligence also has to cross borders! (Editorial) Arrowheads and stingrays : the shape of things to come Under Barrel Grenade Launchers and their munitions European Trainer Options


THE A400M CAN TAKE JUST ABOUT ANYTHING TO JUST ABOUT ANYWHERE. Our strategic airlifter can land on short and unpaved runways, meaning it’s ready for some of the most difficult military and humanitarian missions in the world. It’s able to carry up to 37 tonnes of cargo over long distances at high speed and is also capable of lowlevel and low-speed flight, should your mission require it. It can even be re-roled in less than two hours as a frontline tanker. Whatever your mission, the A400M delivers. Find out more at

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Eu r o p e a n D ef en ce R e v i e w 

Issue n o. 26



European Intelligence also has to cross borders! – By Joseph Roukoz


Arrowheads and stingrays: the shape of things to come – By Jean-Michel Guhl


COGES expands its Worldwide Footprint By David Oliver



The FusionSight project was launched in Eurosatory 2016 – By David Oliver


Polish Ministry of Defence Closing in on Kruk Attack Helicopter Decision By Andrew Drwiega



Under Barrel Grenade Launchers and their munitions – By Paolo Valpolini


European Trainer Options– By David Oliver

Publisher: Joseph Roukoz Editor-in-chief: David Oliver European Defence Review (EDR) is published by European Defence Publishing SAS

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European Intelligence also has to cross borders! By Joseph Roukoz


he political situation in Europe is bad. The latest terrorist attacks that hit Brussels have revealed the gaps in the European safety and security nets, despite the efficiency and velocity of Police services to arrest part of the implicated terrorists. The fragility of the security system was already stressed by a European Council report on protection from Islamic terrorism. In reality, Europe suffers from major problems in the management and sharing of information between its Member States. All the databases of Interpol, Europol Frontex, or local information and security services are completely disconnected. Numbers of registered suspects vary from a database to another in quality and quantity, and might not even be cross-referenced. The European reality is that we face a multifaceted enemy, with very integrated measures and assets. ISIS aims three main objectives: Creating a situation of large scale panic: Since Europe is still battling with the aftermath of the euro crisis and a stagnation of its growth, among which France, these attacks have lasting effects on tourism (including business tourism) and have an impact on local consumption of goods and services. This can have catastrophic consequences on an already difficult economic climate. Investments on punctual security will cost a fortune to European states for very little results: This concentrated action on the local scene can alleviate the pressure on ISIS on the ground and focus on internal matters only. ISIS takes advantage of the complicated migrant situation in Europe to divide the social and political opinion on Islam, and more generally, the European population of immigrant descent. By doing so, ISIS is planting


the seeds of internal conflicts in the EU and strengthen populism and extremism in Europe, as the result of elections in various European countries have recently shown. Facing such threats and indications that Islamic States militants are not only sneaking in with the flow of refugees but are already present on our soil to plot attacks in Europe, calls are growing on the continent to reinforce intelligence-sharing and global safety as a complement to the existing security measures. It is obvious that the latest Passenger Name Record (PNR), a European commission counter-terror plan, that requires the storage of personal data records of passengers flying in and out of Europe is one more complicated bureaucratic nightmare for very limited results. In reality, European countries remain loyal to their paradoxical anti-Europeanism. This project will not allow the creation of a shared European super-file like the Schengen Information System, but rather to create 28 different national databases that will operate independently to establish a list of potential threats based on the recollection of 19 personal information on passengers. The measure could be helpful on a national level to monitor and trace organized crime within the borderfree zone for example, but the obtained data will not be automatically shared among the European countries. Each country has to request specific data to obtain an information. It appears clear that the bureaucracy and time-length of this process is incompatible with the emergency that require measures of counter-terrorism. With 28 European countries fighting to validate their own way without consensus on the methods and ways to handle terrorism, progress is unlikely. July / August 2016 – EDR

The urgency to find a solution has risen in the aftermath of the ISIS suicide bombings at Brussels Airport and subway before three month, which killed more than 30 people and injured almost 400. Tracking terrorists have taken place in Belgium, France, Italy and Germany, which puts into perspective the emergency of finding a collective response to boost inter-European policing and intelligence, especially in the Schengen area, which border controls have been eliminated. Today, travelers can pass freely among 26 countries. The lack of cross-border security force or intelligence agency limits the possibility to systematically make sure that an investigation in a country is flagged in others. Good vows for more cooperation among national intelligence agencies have started since the January 2015 Charlie Hebdo attacks in Paris, way through the November 13th attacks, and up to the Brussels attacks. Sure, pan European databases already exist, but they are inconsistently maintained, although they have considerably increased of 8-10% since early 2015, after the Paris attacks and as a consequence of the consistent number of young Europeans flying to Syria for Jihad. The problem is that there is absolutely no obligation for European countries to deposit information in the database or even any agreement on a single definition of a threat. Therefore, it appears to us that the only solution is to agree to create a Single European database, with relevant information, and managed by a pan-european security agency whose power would be shared among nations. The idea of a European FBI was already raised by some leaders. Europeans have to make a revolutionary move and agree to establish a single European database accessible to all, with a similar assessment of threat, and an information that could be available at every control point in Europe. Of course, this remains very tricky among European nations because despite the enlarged cooperation between services since the recent attacks, the matter remains a matter of National Security, in which every country defends their own right to information and control. EDR – July / August 2016

Europe should be able to make the difference between the imperious necessity of a common response and its outdated debates on national sovereignty. Playing the sovereignty card inflates the ranks of populism and extremism in Europe, who feeds on security breaches and economic discontent. Everybody knows, including antiEuropeans, that any debate or change within the Schengen zone takes a long time to be implemented and effective. Therefore, the response can only be collective, and should also be coupled with a smart ground intervention to fight the root of the problem in Syria and Iraq, under the authority of the United Nations. It is very easy to complain about the horrendous humanitarian condition of Aleppo in Syria while letting only one party solve the problem by creating new ones, hitting equally ISIS and any other opponent to the regime. The west should intervene to liberate these countries, knowing that ISIS has been weakened on the ground by the western coalition, Russia, the Syrian regular troops and their Iranian allies. A similar coalition can be established with the help of Morocco and Algeria or the African Union to fight against terrorism in western Africa, despite the political differences between the implicated countries. Finally, political pressure should enhance on countries like Turkey, Qatar and Saudi Arabia, whose nationals have a history of unclear relationships with extremist groups on the ground, despite the direct threats (and attacks in the case of Turkey) these countries have on their own soil. These countries are our political and economic partners, but our security as citizens and as international players should not be compromised by any political arrangement or by the fear of the consequences it could have on their massive investments in our economies. This process will be costly, financially, politically, militarily, but it will only be of short term. Only a combination of political, economic and military measures will help up get rid of a longstanding threat, that costs us in internal security measures and in lives. 5

Probing into the future of air combat: a Rafale fighter escorts a Neuron unmanned air attack drone headed for the penetration of a highly defended airspace. Due to the extreme lethality of new generation ground-to-air missiles, only such very stealthy UCAVs (with a low RCS) will be able to approach and destroy a ground target with a high success probability, and return home to fight another day.

© Dassault Aviation

Arrowheads and stingrays: the shape of things to come By Jean-Michel Guhl

Looking like giant manta rays, Unmanned Combat Aerial Systems (UCAS) or UCAV (Unmanned Combat Aerial Vehicles) are highly complex remotely controled attack drones which are among the strangest aircraft invented by man. They are the next ascending step in the art of war as they will certainly soon account for the spearhead of any modern air force, so plenteous are their lethal advantages in frontal combat, particularly when dealing with a powerful symetric opponent.


From the expandable drone and on Essentially conceived as a means to keep aircrews out of harm’s way in a densely defended zone where chances of survival are scarce, UCAVs are essentially the brainchild of nations with a strong defence industry and hefty annual budgets, and often with high ethics regarding the life value of one’s soldiers. In 2016, the USA, Europe and Russia are among the developpers of low-observable subsonic UCAVs, followed by Communist China, always prompt to copy and adapt anything invented elsewhere in the world. These new weapons are totally different from the MALE drones everyone sees on 24 hour news television and which have made Israeli and U.S. companies, like IAI and General Atomics, today quite expert in a domain well explored by the Ryan Aero Company with its BQM-34 Firebee jet-powered RPV… already some 60 years ago! Unmanned Combat Aerial Systems (UCAS) are not as it may seem just “weaponised” or Unmanned Aerial Vehicles even if it is common today to refer to such UAVs, like the armed MQ-1 Predator or MQ-9 Reaper for example, as UCAVs. This is a total misuse of the term. Singularly as besides being used for offensive actions in a safe or friendly controled July / August 2016 – EDR

were no small thuggish fry like Daesh or the Taliban, they were well-trained and shrewd professional soldiers capable of adapting themselves to new threats. They proved it. Military aviation is just one century old and already rife with spectacular inventions ; Unmanned Combat Aerial Systems or attack drones are among the latest. During this hundred-year period the notion of air combat has completely changed in nature, especially since the end of the Vietnam war. The dogfights of WW1 and WW2 using machine guns to destroy an adversary are now well behind us, the advent of the second generation of air-to-air missiles having made the gun quite obsolete for this task and only useful for ancillary airto-ground actions. This fact is even more founded today with long-range BVR hypersonic agile interception missiles which, fired in numbers and in tandem with those of a wingman for example, leave practically no escape zones to any high altitude approaching of fleeing foe. This situation is the same with modern ground-to-air weapons controled by a millisecond reactive computer network centric system. Indeed, such is the level of lethality nowadays achieved by 21st Century missiles, that penetrating a well defended airpace has now become almost impossible, to the sole exception perhaps of aircraft and cruise missiles with a reduced RCS (radarcross signature) or extremely low-flying attackers using nap of the earth (NOE) navigation modes. In the early years of the millenium, the U.S. aviators imagined what could be done anew with remotely piloted aircraft which had become quite fashionable after their expanding use in military operations. As penetrating a highly defended airspace with a manned

The Northrop Grumman X-47B Unmanned Combat Air System Demonstrator takes another historic step as it conducted its first touch-and-go landings on the nuclear aircraft carrier USS George H.W. Bush off the coast of Virginiaon 17 May 2013.

© U.S. Navy

© U.S. Navy

airspace, UAVs are totally unable to fight their way against any properly manned adversary forces. A detailed visit of Belgrade’s Aeronautical Museum in Serbia acts as a true eye-opener in that field. In 1999, during the NATO attacks on Yugoslavia, no less than 17 U.S. RQ-1 Predators were downed either by MiG fighters or Strela shoulder-launched ground-to-air missiles. Even discreet, once detected MALE drones are doomed and likely to be destroyed on the hour. Let’s just remember that in that same campaign, the Yugoslav army destroyed a USAF F-117 Nighthawk “stealth” fighter-bomber. This was the first time a radar-evading aircraft — thought to be invulnerable — was shot down in the history of military aviation. And the only time an F-117 was ever downed during its operational service, being detected and knocked out during a moonless night – just three days into the 5-week long war – by an antiquated Soviet-made SA-3 “Goa” (S-125) surface-to-air missile. But the Yugoslavs

In April 2015, not only the X-47B did demonstrate a sound ability to operate from an aircraft-carrier, but it also proved capable to refuel in the air, using a leased Boeing KC-707 from Omega Tanker over the Chesapeake Bay. A real premiere for an UCAV as this test marked the first time an unmanned aircraft ever refueled in flight. EDR – July / August 2016


Shunting the anti access and area denial “A2/AD” philosophy Having created the F-117 Nighthawk and B-2 Spirit, two very advanced “stealth” aircraft revealed amid a storm of hype —the first in 1988 and the second a decade later— DARPA and the USAF were instrumental in making this new technology come through and demonstrate its value in combat. Even if the F-117 has since been abandoned, part of the technological advances gained with this outlandish fighter-bomber — guaranteed to rile the aficionados of aesthetics— , are being funneled into new designs like the F-22 Raptor

and the F-35 Lightning II, and even more in the future B-21 (LRS-B) bomber under development. Among the “blackest” programmes the U.S. has underway, one of the most confidential relates to the further development of an operational UCAS family using new radarabsorbing materials (RAM) and advanced active verylow-observable (VLO) technologies. Derived from the Boeing X-45 and Northrop Grumman X-47 J-UCAV demonstrators, which achievements and conclusions have remained mostly classified, both Boeing’s Phantom Works’ and Northrop Grumman’s secret projet division are continuing today in the development of attack drones. Shrouded by mystery, in particular, is the RQ-180 UCAV thought to be developed by the latest to penetrate denied airspace and persistently provide ISR coverage while filling the electronic attack role for a wave of attacking manned aircraft… Same with Lockheed Martin’s hypersonic SR-72, the Skunks Works’ own solution to the problem of operating an ISR Unmanned Aerial Vehicle in defended airspace by using both speed and modular active radar-absorbing material. Future UAVs made to kill (Russian) advanced integrated air defence systems are also being invented by General Atomics with its new Avenger, aka Predator C, which includes many innovative stealth features. As a matter of fact, for the Pentagon today and like ever before, it remains vital to keep an edge over what Russia can invent to mitigate the present military unbalance in favour of Washington. And the attack drone spearheads U.S. efforts.

© Dassault

aeroplane was becoming more and more hazardous and fraught with umbearable danger for combat pilots, even those flying the latest jet fighter-bombers, the only way to dodge this problem was to use “stand-off” weapons and/or to design very low-observable (VLO) high-subsonic attack drones capable of concealing themselves in the air by using specific radar-evading techniques, including RAMs and adapted progressive jamming modes. Remotely controlled, using enhanced encrypted frequency hopping tactical data links, attack drones of this new nature should be able to enter a defended “bubble” and challenge sophisticated air defence systems without risking the lives of an aircrew. Their high-G air evolution modes (up to +/-15 times the gravity !) providing them even with a measure of invulnerability against manned interceptors…

The Dassault Neuron pictured returning at Istres air base from a night sortie in 2014. Tested in flight in France, but also in Italy and Sweden in 2015, the Neuron has demonstrated excellent flight and discretion characteristics, all of which have remained classified. A fully weaponized drone, the Neuron is the only European programme which can go under the UCAV designation along with the Taranis,  a BAE demonstrator programme for Unmanned Combat Air Vehicle (UCAV) technology of almost similar design and using the same RR Adour engine.


July / August 2016 – EDR

© Saab © BAE

In 2015, the BAE Taranis development UCAV pictured in Warton, England, along with a Typhoon from the same stable. With almost the same size and proportions of the Neuron, the Taranis is however more bulbous and devoid of weapon bays.

© Saab

Loaded with a pair of 250kg bombs nicely tucked in its modular ventral bomb bay, the Neuron is seen taking off from the Vidsel runway in Swedish Lappland during the summer of 2016 where the capacity of this UCAV as a bomber was evaluated with success by Saab under the aegis of the Swedish FMV. Of note is the rarely seen F-ZWLO registration (LO for low RCS) painted inside the front wheel door!

To give things a name, what the U.S. UCAV developers call today a “defended airspace” is the type of “anti access/area denial” (A2/AD) or integrated air defence system network deployed today with success by the Russian Air Force, both at home and beyond its borders in order to provide cover for its expedionary forces. No less clever and alert than the current U.S. military research, although with much less money, are the Russian researchers from the Nizhny Novgorod Research Institute of Radio Engineering (NNIIRT), the inventors of the P-18 or 1RL131 Terek “NATO Spoonrest” 2D low-frequency radar (UHF/VHF - 30MHz to 1 GHz), which specific bandwith emissions used on later models could detect F-117 and B-2 bombers from several hundreds kilometers distances, all this unknown to the Pentagon’s experts! EDR – July / August 2016

A 250kg bomb being released by the Neuron over the Vidsel test range in Sweden during the summer of 2015. Five bomb launches were actually performed there, proving the validity of the Neuron as a stealthy attack drone. This part of the live testing was done under the control of Saab, which along with Dassault, Alenia, Airbus DS, Ruag and HAI, are the six European firms partnering in this very advanced UCAV evaluation programme likely to culminate in the FCAS (Future Combat Air System) envisaged by France and the UK for 2030. Begining in 1975, NNIIRT developed in turn the first 3D VHF radar capable of measuring height, range, and azimuth to a target. This effort produced the 55Zh6 Nebo VHF surveillance radar, which passed acceptance trials in 1982. Later, after the demise of the Warsaw-Pact, NNIIRT designed the 55Zh6 Nebo U (NATO “Tall Rack”) radar, which has been integrated with the S-400 Triumpf (NATO SA-21 “Growler”) anti-aircraft weapons system now deployed around Moscow along with newer S-500 anti-balistic systems. In 2013, NNIIRT announced a further development of the 55Zh6UME Nebo-UME, which combines VHF and L-band radars on a single module. With this true “anti-stealth” capability now well known, the Russian industry is very actively marketing digital upgrades to its P-18 to its allies – a radar which often 9

ground-to-air missile systems like the S-300, S-400 and S-500 with incredible agility, accuracy and lethality against all targets, but the VLO attackers flying in the nap of the earth. As a reminder, a single S-400 integrated air defence system deployed recently by Russian forces in Syria was able to forbid Allied aircraft to access a circular zone of some 400 kilometres around Aleppo with a mix of no less than 48 missiles (from long-range 40N6 to medium-range 9M96 models) capable of handling up to 80 targets at the same time… Incidentally, it is still keeping Turkish F-16s from looking into a replay of their Su-24 downing of December 2015, as the S-400 IADS’ reaction zone overlaps well into the south border of Turkey ! In France, studies made public by Onera as early as 1992 with the 4D radar RIAS (Synthetic Antenna and Impulse Radar), based on the use of a transmit array (simultaneously radiating a set of orthogonal waveforms) and of a reception array (delivering sampled signals to a processing equipment, dedicated to Doppler filtering, including time-space beamforming and target extraction) came as a total surpise in the USA. This 4D principle allows for the use of fixed sparsed arrays, operating at metric wavelengths, thus providing an excellent Doppler separation through long term integration. A big advantage of the low frequency RIAS is that it produces a stable, irreducible RCS of targets, as well as a better radar coverage and radiation pattern analysis, improved accuracy in 4D localization and 4D discrimination between targets. Just enough to counter VLO attackers from this side too…

© A. Lupin

can double as an efficient air traffic radar – , and new ­production digital 55Zh6 Nebo UE and Nebo SVU VHF radars, all include a dedicated «counter-stealth» capability. Such integrated air defence systems (IADS) have been since exported to China, providing Beijing with some means of challenging the U.S military, and they are expected to be deployed in Iran to protect against any Israeli surprise attacks against its fledgling nuclear industry. All new Russian radars are solid state AESAs, with the capability to operate in an agile beam sector search/track regime, or in a conventional circular scan regime, with the antennas mechanically rotated. The Russian idea of integrating three radars, each operating in a discrete band, is novel and clearly intended to provide a counterVLO capability. As such, the Nebo M is a radical departure from previous Russian designs as it is entirely mobile. Conceived as a means to evade surprise “blitz” destruction in standoff mode by USAF F-22A Raptors (armed with GBU-39/B SDB bombs or JASSM cruise missiles) intended to obliterate Russian IADS low band detection systems in the opening minutes of an engagement, the self-propelled Nebo M is a package of three discrete radars and a single processing and command vehicle. The Nebo M combines derivatives of three existing NNIIRT 3D radars, the VHF band Nebo SVU, the L-band Protivnik G and the S/X-band Gamma S1. The system uses modern Digital Moving Target Indicator (DMTI) or digital pulse Doppler techniques as well as Space Time Adaptive Processing (STAP) which provide such


China, for long the world’s champion copier of Western and Russian technology, has produced a nice copy of and advanced UCAV mixing much of the Taranis’ and Neuron’s external features. First flown in late 2013, the Sharp Sword (Li-Jian) has been developed jointly by the Shengyang Aerospace University and Hongdu (HAIG). It is obviously one of the two models of the AVIC 601-S which has progressed further than an exhibition model. The Sharp Sword is jet-powered (using what is thought to be an Ukrainian turbofan). It has a wingspan of some 15 metres.

July / August 2016 – EDR


Whatever the mission, wherever, whenever

Designing very-low-observable UCAVs Well informed of the new adversary A2/AD that would oppose the U.S. manned aviation in time of war, the Pentagon selected, at the turn of the century, for the creation of a new generation of VLO jetpowered flying wing attack drones. The new air vehicles would thus be of a very stealthy nature, tailess with a blended-wing body, stingray shaped, roughly 10-metre long, 1-metre high and have a wingspan of some 15 metres (to fit the standard U.S. aicraft-carriers for the naval variant). It could either perform 12hour long surveillance missions or carry up to 4,500 pounds of munitions up to 650 nautical miles, cruise at some 450 knots and thus be ideal for SEAD or first strike missions. A few years before, the USAF had quite brilliantly pioneered the use of armed drones, First flown in 1994, the RQ-1 Predator medium-altitude long-endurance (MALE) UAV powered by a single piston engine was the first-ever weaponised unmanned aerial system featuring precision air-toground weapons delivery capability. Armed with two AGM-114 Hellfire anti-tank missiles, introduced in USAF service in 1984, it was successively deployed to

the Balkans, Iraq and Yemen as well as Afghanistan as a mature killer drone. Undeniably too, a permanent sword of Damocles over the heads of terrorists worldwide ! If Boeing was the first creator inline with a flying UCAS able to launch a bomb, the X-45, the U.S. Navy did not commit to practical UCAS efforts until 2000, when the service awarded contracts to Boeing and Northrop Grumman for a 15-month conceptexploration programme. Design considerations for a naval UCAV included dealing with the corrosive environment, deck handling for launch and recovery, integration with command and control systems, and operation in an aircraft carrier›s high-electromagnetic-interference environment. The Navy was also interested in procuring UCAVs for reconnaissance missions, particularly for penetrating protected airspace to identify targets for following attack waves. Northrop Grumman›s proof-of-concept X-47A Pegasus, which provided the basis for the X-47B›s J-UCAS development, first flew in 2003. The U.S. Air Force and Navy proceeded with their own respective UCAV programmes. The Navy selected Northrop


© U.S. Navy

The X-47B Unmanned Combat Air System (UCAS) demonstrator about to be off-loaded from a side elevator aboard the aircraft carrier USS George H.W. Bush (CVN 77) in May 2013. Like any other U.S. Navy fighters, the X-47B has foldable wings. July / August 2016 – EDR

IM17_ExhibitorAdA4_EDR_210mmx275mm.pdf 1 6/13/2016 9:11:54 PM

© U.S. Navy

Grumman›s X-47B as its unmanned combat air system demonstrator (UCAS-D) programme. To provide realistic testing, the company built the demonstration vehicle to be the same size and weight as the projected operational craft, with a full-sized weapons bay capable of carrying existing missile systems. The X-47B prototype rolled out in December 2008 with the aircraft taxiing under its own power for the first time in January 2010. Capable of semi-autonomous operation, the X-47B first flew in 2011. It was later involved in full active sea trials on-board aircraftcarriers next to USN F-18F Super Hornets and for air refuelling tests as well with a leased KC-707. A complete premiere in both fields. While the U.S. industry was testing its first UCAS models, other countries joined the fray, albeit with a ten-year delay. It included Russia’s OKB MiG with the Skat (Manta Ray in Russian) and China’s CATIC with the very similar Dark Sword. In Europe, if the UK went its own way with the BAE-designed Taranis, others joined forces to develop the well-named nEUROn. The nEUROn made its first flight in December 2012 in France. Flight trials to open the UCAV’s flight envelope and evaluate its stealth characteristics were

Seen from below the Northrop Grumman X-47B shipborne UCAV displays its very geometric and futuristic lines. Powered by Pratt & Whitney F100 turbofan, this remotely piloted aircraft has a wingspan of some 19 metres. It constitutes a first feasibility step towards a fully operational naval attack drone (UCLASS) expected to appear in the U.S. inventory after 2020. 14

s­ uccessfully completed in March 2015. These tests were followed by sensor evaluation trials in Italy, which were completed on August 2015. The last leg of flight trials took place in Sweden at the end of last summer and included live fire trials. Results were positive… and confidential ! The nEUROn contract valued at €405 million, is a multinational endeavour (France, Greece, Italy, Spain, Sweden and Switzerland). It has allowed the European industry to begin a three-year system definition and design phase with related low-observability studies and improvement in high speed tactical data transmissions. This phase was followed by the development and assembly phase, and by a first flight in 2011. The 2-year flight-test programme (2010–2012) covered some 100 sorties, including the launch of a laser-guided bomb. The initial €400 million budget was increased by €5 million in 2006 due to the addition of a modular bomb bay including a designator and a laser-guided bomb. France provided half of the programme’s overall €405 million ($480 million) budget.

Potential combined Franco-British follow-on UCAV Already, in November 2014, a two-year feasibility study for an improved attack drone was announced by the French and British governments. This could lead to a VLO UCAV programme combining the experience of the Taranis and nEUROn into a future unmanned aerial combat project. Indeed, at the Anglo-French Summit held at RAF Brize Norton in January 2014, Paris and London signed a statement of Intent for a Future Combat Air System (FCAS). A two-year joint feasibility launch phase of €146 million (£120 million), that will see British and French industries working together, was financed. Previous studies into this topic focused on various aspects recorded with the BAE Systems Taranis and the Dassault-led nEUROn initiatives. As it happened, since 2010 Dassault Aviation and its partners Alenia, Saab and Airbus Defence & Space, and BAE Systems have worked discreetly on the FCAS Demonstration Programme Preparation Phase (D3P) collaborative study. Both are stealthy tailless flying wing designs powered by a non-afterburning RollsRoyce Turbomeca Adour turbofan. The two prime partners are collaborating with several partners, ­including Safran, Rolls-Royce, Thales and Selex. To ensure the success of this ambitious R&T programme, a further boost was given not long ago to the FCAS programme July / August 2016 – EDR


© Dassault Aviation

A depiction of what could be the Future Combat Air System (FCAS) to be developed jointly by Britain and France, in the wake of the two countries’ advanced research with the Taranis and Neuron UCAV demonstrators. The new radar-evading combat drone could see the light before 2030.

The Boeing X- 45A was the first true UCAV to take-off over more than a decade ago. Developed on secret DARPA funds it is pictured here launching for the first time a GPS-guided weapon in April 2004.

EDR – July / August 2016

when President François Hollande and the British Prime Minister David Cameron, gave an official green light to the future combat air system. This decision, which follows on from the Lancaster House Treaties of November 2010, gives a new dimension to the joint studies already undertaken in this field. This is also a major step forward in Franco-British military aeronautical cooperation, something which could possibly develop into another first-hand Concorde-type achievement. It is certainly paving the way for the future in a very strategic field as the FCAS will help maintain technological expertise in defence aeronautics at a world-class level. The European FCAS programme and parallel United States advanced UCAS programmes meanwhile face some other kind of hurdle, with defence budgets on both sides of the Atlantic under severe pressure, it may be more than a decade before operational VLO UCAVs begin to take over from manned combat aircraft for specific dangerous missions. At this time for sure defence experts do not expect to see an air arm fielding an operational VLO attack drone before 2030 to the most. 15

COGES expands its Worldwide Footprint By David Oliver

© David Oliver

EDR interviewed General (Ret) Patrick Colas des Francs, the Director General and CEO of COGES, at Eurosatory 2016.

General Patrick Colas des Francs announcing COGES Africa’s involvement with ShieldAfrica at Eurosatory 2016.


sked about h is background, the General said that he attended the Army Officer Academy of SaintCy r and was commissioned into the Armour (Recce). He took part in many operations in Chad, Central Africa, Djibouti, Democratic Republic of Congo and Kosovo. He was assigned as the commander of the French Army Training Centre. In 2007, he decided to leave the Army and became the Chief Executive Officer of COGES, a GICAT company that organizes the Eurosatory Exhibition and 16

federates French industry overseas in national pavilions at different exhibitions throughout the world. General Colas des Francs said that this year’s Eurosatory Exhibition attracted 1,572 exhibitors from 56 countries and more than 57,000 visitors from 151 countries as well as 1,018 journalists who received accreditation to take part to this well-balanced exhibition between Defence and Security. “This world leading event continues to develop with an increase in attendance of Asian exhibitors, especially from China and South Korea, and a high expansion in cyber, unmanned global systems and robotics sectors. An important growth of highprofile visitors has been recorded.” A total of 213 official delegations from 94 countries, and almost 1,000 VIP, visited the exhibition. Eurosatory also received the visit of 13 Defence ministers, 23 Defence Vice Ministers and State Secretaries. 25 National Armaments Directors and 19 Armed forces and Army Chiefs of Staff were also welcomed. The General added that despite the disappointment of one or two large companies choosing not to attend Eurosatory 2016, including Airbus, a five percent increase in growth had been achieved over the 2014 exhibition. “Eurosatory is the world’s number one defence and security exhibition that attracts the right people.” General Colas des Francs and his staff of 34 are also promoting COGES’s involvement in spreading the Eurosatory pattern to other parts of the globe. COGES International July / August 2016 – EDR

operates in Asia-Pacific organizing Asian Pacific Homeland Security (APHS) 2015 in Singapore, and in Latin America with Expodefensa 2015 in Bogota, Colombia. “The 2017 APHS conference and exhibition will be devoted to disaster and humanitarian response. We have taken on Jimmy Lau, former organizer of the Singapore Airshow, to raise the profile of the show which will offer solutions to the security of States, cities and populations, prevent and combat natural and industrial disasters, similar to the Fukushima nuclear disaster in Japan, and mobilise and co-ordinate responses to emergency situations. “For future Expodensas, which we will coorganise with Corferies, we are working with Colombia’s Ministry of National Defense to expand the exhibition’s coverage of the security sector for South America which has to address drug trafficking, local mafias, and company

and infrastructure security. I think it will take two or three years before this can be achieved. “We have also announced COGES has becomes the prime contractor of ShieldAfrica Exhibition to brings its expertise and skill to make the latter the leading fair of the African continent for Security and Defence. The 4th edition of ShieldAfrica will be held in January in Police Academy facilities at Abidjan in the Ivory Coast. In 2015, for its third edition, ShieldAfrica brought together 46 international exhibitors and 25 Official Delegations, several of them at ministerial level. COGES Africa is looking to grow the exhibition’s profile bringing together all African countries,
 an international event for worldwide manufacturers offering what Africa really needs. The General added that the country is stable, and it has good hotels and infrastructure. ShieldAfrica is a show Africa for the Africans.

Issue N° 25 January / February 2016

EDR Magazine was designed with a view to promoting European and Western defence and security dialogue throughout the world. The magazine is written and managed by award-winning authors, it is distributed at the major industry exhibitions and has a solid mailing list that allows it to reach decision makers throughout Europe and the rest of the world, including South East Asia and the Middle East. Created from the folds of the European Defence and Security Press Association, EDR Magazine has matured into one of today’s premier sources of defence industry information covering the tri-service arena. 2015 no more (Editorial) Gliding bombs UK Flight training Remote-control weapon stations Combat helicopters against terrorism

EDR – July / August 2016


The FusionSight project

© Bertin/A Dalivoust

FusionSight, the world-first digital night vision device launched at Eurosatory 2016.


July / August 2016 – EDR

was launched in Eurosatory 2016


The French Optronics industry had an estimated annual turnover of 2.5 billion euros in 2012, representing 10 percent of the global market, and ranks second after the USA and at Eurosatory 2016 world-first digital Night Vision Device providing smart fusion for threat and target accurate detection was launched.

© Bertin/A Dalivoust

The FusionSight project is part of a newly established Night Vision Technology Innovation alliance, forged between BERTIN TECHNOLOGIES, PHOTONIS and OPTSYS.

FusionSight has been trialed by the French Army.

EDR – July / August 2016

By David Oliver

ERTIN TECHNOLOGIES, a CNIM Group subsidiary, has a long history of innovative engineering to develop, produce and market systems and instrumentation while PHOTONIS is a global manufacturer of electro-optic components used in the detection of ions, electrons and photons for a variety of applications such as night vision optics, digital cameras and mass spectrometry. OPTSYS, a subsidiary of Nexter Group, offers a very broad range of protected vision equipment, including day, night, day/night and video periscopes. The hand-held FusionSight is the world-first compact monocular that combines a colour low light sensor with a thermal image sensor. When combined, these sensors enhance situational awareness and provide users with the option of using a thermal image, colour optical image or a fused thermal and full colour image that can also be recorded. To have the ability defeat the enemy in close combat missions under increasing global terrorist threats, the capability to use the night as your ally has ­become a priority. Infantry commanders and Special Forces require reliable and easy to use devices that are highly efficient in the field during night operations, when facing hidden or camouflaged enemies. FusionSight assists by drastically enhancing the detection, recognition and identification capability, making it a key device for Police and Homeland Security to quickly investigate or for longterm surveillance. Even under limited visibility and low light conditions, FusionSight provides substantial visual support for search and rescue missions, locating missing persons and casualties. The combined view of thermal and colour imaging is especially critical in urban environments or structures that provide little ambient light and have multiple barriers behind which a potential threat can conceal them selves. FusionSight is the industry’s first hand held device that features smart colour fusion of images. Its ergonomic design has been inspired by user’s needs. The first image is recorded by a state-of-the-art colourimaging sensor powered by PHOTONIS that provides a colour image in extreme low light conditions (~10 mlx) without additional illumination. The second image is recorded by a high-resolution thermal imaging sensor that can detect in any night condition down to 1 mlx. The em19

bedded real-time image processor automatically selects key information from each sensor, allowing users to see in the dark even better than in broad daylight, and can record and be saved as a digital file. The smart digital fusion also overcomes the traditional limitations of each individual sensor. FusionSight can detect through smoke, fog, all weather conditions and other obscurants and in deep night conditions with a thermal sensor, while providing an optical colour image that can detect through windows with sufficient resolution to allow positive identification thanks to the colour imaging sensor. FusionSight’s assets include all in one with three viewing modes, colour low light, thermal image mode and a combined smart fusion mode with night and day threat and camouflage with a detection range of up to 3 km. Image recording and HD video output for proof collection can be downloaded. 
Project partner PHOTONIS provided its Kameleon Colour Image Sensor for the FusionSight. The sensor uses a Complementary Metal Oxide Semiconductor (CMOS) similar to mobile phones, which by itself, cannot distinguish colours. To identify colour, a patented innovation allows two raw images and a reconstruction algorithm to reproduce the final image in colour, in real time. 
In 2015, PHOTONIS received the prestigious French Army “Prix General Chanson” award for their innovative digital night vision sensor. An added advantage of the Kameleon sensor is the ability to use it under daylight and at night, up to night level 3, equal to quarter moon with cloud cover. In lower light levels, the sensor will revert visible images to black and white. “Our collaboration with PHOTONIS began nearly three years ago, when both companies allied to jointly 20

The hand-held FusionSight digital night vision device with image and HD video recording downloaded to ground control station. © David Oliver

© Bertin/A Dalivoust

Photonis provided the KAMELEON Colour Image Sensor for FusionSight.

develop cutting-edge solutions to meet National Defence’s needs more closely,” said Bruno Vallayer, Managing Director of BERTIN Systems and Instrumentation. “Together we decided to take the lead in building on the latest fully-mastered optronics innovations to offer 100 percent made-in-France solutions. This approach would also allow to benefit from the unique agility that characterizes small, medium-sized enterprises (SMEs) in order to provide powerful, competitive and scalable devices brought to market in the shortest time as possible”. 
Casper Dekker, Managing Director of PHOTONIS Digital Imaging said: “We are pleased to partner with BERTIN on such an innovative project. It is a perfect match for our award winning technology. The expertise of both companies has resulted in a high performing sight that provides dismounted users the ability to rapidly Detect, Recognize & Identify (DRI) targets in all conditions and environments. The uniqueness of DRI at low light conditions and recording capability for evidence purposes is a great fit for modern warfare requirements”. The FusionSight project supports the scope of the decision by the French Direction Générale de l’Armement (DGA – French M.O.D.) and Centre National d’Etudes Spatiales (CNES) to support the French Optronics industry and to define a joint R&D roadmap. FusionSight has been extensively trialed by the French Army and BERTIN TECHNOLOGIES claims that the first production devices will be available of delivery by the end of the year.

July / August 2016 – EDR


• Fully digital, all-in-one device with 3 viewing modes: colour low light, therminal, smart fusion • Night and day detection, recognition, identification, up to 3 km • Image recording, HD video output, wireless up & down communication • GPS & Inertial Measuring Unit (IMU) allowing accurate designation

manufactured by THE UNFAIR ADVANTAGE

powered by

www. p h o to n i s .co m

Polish Ministry of Defence Closing in on Kruk Attack Helicopter Decision By Andrew Drwiega

Any national defence requirement centred on attack helicopters, especially if it is in Europe, will bring OEM solicitations flooding in from every quarter. So it has been with the Polish military’s Kruk (Raven) Combat Helicopter Procurement Programme. The Kruk procurement is part of the Polish government’s military modernisation programme that seeks to fund a wide range of projects to be completed by 2022.



he Polish Army currently operates Russian Helicopters Mil ‘Hind’ Mi-24W/D versions in two attack squadrons of 12 helicopters each, some of which have been fitted with western mission systems such as Danish company Terma’s A/S MASE (Modular Aircraft Survivability Equipment). Poland’s Kruk programme was launched officially launched by the country’s government in 2014. Although Poland had been looking at a longer term replacement of its attack helicopters, the intent was given added momentum after Russia’s direct embroilment in the Ukraine separatist movement and subsequent heavy handed foreign policy towards the Baltic states. The initial value of the programme was announced at USD3.8 billion which triggered the interest of all manufacturers with an attack helicopter to offer. This included Leonardo-Finmeccanica/Turkish Aerospace Industries T129 ATAK, Airbus Helicopters Tiger, Bell Helicopters AH-1Z Cobra, Lockheed Martin’s Sikorsky Battlehawk and naturally Boeing with its latest version of the Apache, the AH-64E. In fact latest events seem to indicate that Boeing is moving towards becoming the option of choice for July / August 2016 – EDR

©US Army

A US Army AH-64 Apache attack helicopter flies overhead during a bridge crossing operation in Chelmno, Poland, June 8, 2016, during Exercise Anakonda 2016.

the Polish government. A draft cooperation agreement embodied in a Letter of Intent (LoI) signed on 20 May between Polska Grupa Zbrojeniowa, the Polish Armaments Group, and Boeing set the framework of potential cooperation over helicopter projects including the AH-64E Apache as well as CH-47 Chinook, V-22 Osprey, as well as other aspects of related capabilities including aviation intelligence, surveillance and reconnaissance programs as well as space and satellite systems. Any commitments would also be expected to include engineering, long-term support and training packages. According to Polska Grupa Zbrojeniowa (PGZ) the LoI encompasses a programme of industrial engagement between the two parties which prioritises the requirements of the Polish Ministry of Defense. The announcement stated that it provided for “the development of competences, transfer of technologies and know-how, collaborative research, development of technologies and supply chain as well as support services within the wide range of Boeing platforms

Poland is looking to replace its fleet of 30 Soviet-era Mil Mi-24 Hind attack helicopters. and programs in aviation and defense.” This lays the groundwork for Boeing to establish relationships with Polish third party suppliers within PGZ. Taking a familiar line regarding laying the foundations to establish new defence manufacturing and technological development facilities within his country, Radoslaw Obolewski, vice-president of the Board of PGZ stated that such an agreement fulfilled a strategic goal. By establishing this cooperative link he said , it would allow “the transfer of innovative technologies with their subsequent implementation in EDR – July / August 2016

production plants of the Polish Armaments Group.” This policy is intended to also stimulate national industry and its supply chain, a long stride ahead from the Cold War requirements of accepting Russian designed and manufactured defence equipment such as the Mil Mi-24. From Boeing’s perspective, the LoI laid the foundation for a long-term partnership with Poland, which a number of its rotorcraft rivals, have already secured. State owned company WSK PZL-Mielec was created in October 1998 but then sold to the Sikorsky Aircraft Corporation (part of United Technologies Corporation) on 16 March 2007. It was then positioned as the European final assembly line for Sikorsky’s S-70 Blackhawk utility helicopter. In similar fashion, PZL-Świdnik, which was already the biggest helicopter manufacturer in Poland, was bought by Leonardo (then AgustaWestland, part of Finmeccanica) in 2010. It already had a history of helicopter design and manufacturing, research & development, and system integration. Following the signing of the Lol, David Koopersmith, vice-president and general manager of Boeing Vertical Lift announced: ‘We are looking forward to the possibility of cooperation on AH-64 Apache and on other Boeing platforms, with concurrent development of the role of the Group in international space and defense industry.” The Polish media has speculated that its Ministry of Defence would procure 24 Boeing AH-64 Apache helicopters for the Kruk programme, perhaps making the announcement prior to the forthcoming NATO summit in Warsaw, 8-9 July 2017. According to government ministry spokesman Bartlomiej Misiewicz, “the drafting of tactical-technical requirements was completed, and, by the end of June, a decision regarding the mode of acquiring combat helicopters will be made.” Apache helicopters from US forces in Europe have been taking part in Exercise Anakonda 2016 (AN16), one of the US Army’s commitments to multinational training in Europe. AN16 is a Polish national exercise that seeks to train, exercise and integrate Polish national command and force structures into an allied, joint, multinational environment. It comprised live fire, command post, field training, cyber and electronic warfare exercises. It was staged from 7-17 June and involved over 31,000 participants from 24 nations. US Army aviation formations involved included: 12th Combat Aviation 23


Brigade, Katterbach Germany; 82nd Airborne, Fort Bragg, North Carolina; and 173rd Airborne Brigade, Vicenza, Italy. However, should Boeing’s Apache not be ultimately selected then there are numerous alternatives for the Polish Ministry of Defence to consider. Turkish Aerospace Industries (TAI) teamed up with PGZ to bid for the Kruk programme by offering its T129 ATAK multi-role combat helicopter. This is a Turkish produced variant of Leonardo Finmeccanica’s A-129 Mangusta. The company conducted a tour of Poland between 22 August and 4 September last year, performing a number of demonstrations for the Polish military, politicians and the public. It was also presented on static display at the MSPO Exhibition in Kielce in early September. Confidence in the TAI T129 ATAK was raised due to the ninth and final delivery of the Early Introduction Helicopter (EDH) to the Turkish Armed Forces (TAF) on 17 August 2015. TAI has stated that any customisation required for the Polish attack helicopter would be conducted through Polish industry. Airbus Helicopter, still smarting from the new government’s decision to revise the acquisition of 50 H225M Caracal helicopters, hosted a workshop with PGZ at the end of April to explore cooperation around its Tiger HAD 24

©David Oliver

The Turkish Aerospace Industries T129 developed from the AgustaWestland A129 is a leading contender for the Polish Kruk programme.

Airbus Helicopters is co-operating with a number of French companies to promote the Tiger HAD.

attack helicopter. The event was designed to spark supplier discussions and according to Airbus introduced 14 Tiger companies to 12 PGZ companies with the aim of discussing design, production, integration, and maintenance themes. Airbus suppliers participating in the meeting included Nexter, MBDA and Thales Avionics. “We are not just laying the groundwork for future Tiger production in Poland: we are also paving the way for the establishment of a Tiger industrial network in the same way we have been doing with the Caracal” said Mickael Peru, managing director of Airbus Helicopters Polska. Bell Helicopter has been looking for opportunities to extend the production of its AH-1Z Viper attack helicopter which is currently still being fielded to the US Marine Corps to replace the older AH-1W. The Cobra is a tried and trusted platform and may also be of interest to the Czech Republic as it considers buying Bell’s UH-1Y ­utility helicopter. If both nations saw July / August 2016 – EDR

The world meeting of naval technologies for the future





17th 21st 2016



©PZL Mielec

the potential of joint purchases Bell Helicopter could invest in maintenance and training facilities to service both orders. Sikorsky, now part of Lockheed Martin, has been looking for a potential purchaser of its vision to weaponise its Polish-built S-70i Black Hawk. On display during AN16, the concept is to fit a selection of NATO standard missiles, rockets, guns and a targeting sensor to the aircraft. According to Lockheed Martin, the Black Hawk’s open systems architecture will enable the integration of a variety of weapons and future upgrades according to the needs of most potential export customers, including the Polish armed forces. PZL Mielec claims that a newly-built S-70i could be delivered to a new customer within 12 months of contract signing. Janusz Zakrecki, president PZL Mielec stated “Our goal is to provide militaries with the flexibility to quickly convert their Sikorsky aircraft into a weaponised platform.”

Sikorsky’s Polish subsidiary PZL Mielec is offering a weaponised variant of its S-70i Black Hawk. Earlier this year, the 300th Polish built helicopter cabin was shipped to Sikorsky for integration into the US Army’s inventory. The Polish S-70i is also due to make its debut appearance at the Farnborough International Air Show 2016 in the UK.

©US Navy

Bell Helicopter is offering its AH-1W Viper to both Poland and the Czech Republic.


July / August 2016 – EDR

Under Barrel Grenade Launchers and their munitions By Paolo Valpolini


renade launchers for 40 mm low velocity grenades has appeared in the Vietnam war, the most common one being the US M79. Soon it became clear that adding the grenade launcher to the assault rifle would have allowed the soldier to carry a single weapon system with two different projectiles: the M203 underbarrel grenade launcher (UBGL) was thus added to the M16 in the US Army inventory. Since the 40 mm world has considerably expanded, and most small arms manufacturers added an UBGL to their portfolios, some designed to be ergonomically integrated with the assault weapon, some also being available in stand-alone configuration. As for ammunition, here the Low Velocity High Explosive (LV HE) rounds were joined by numerous other types of rounds, terminal effect of lethal ammo

being increased as much as possible while less than lethal warheads were also made available. Accuracy has been a weak point for a long time; the appearance of small and light fire control systems (FCS) allowed to overcome that gap. Another way to improve accuracy was to adopt a flatter trajectory; this obviously meant that muzzle velocity had to be increased, generating a higher impulse, thus a heavier recoil on the soldier’s shoulder. A side effect was also the maximum range increase. All this gave birth to new categories of grenades, LV ER (Extended Range) and MV (Medium Velocity) rounds, HV (High Velocity) remaining dedicated to automatic grenade launchers which could withstand much higher pressures and impulses; while average V0 for an LV is around 76 m/s, an LV ER round leaves the barrel at 100 m/s while ER rounds have

© US Army

A U.S. Army paratrooper assigned to Company B, 2nd Battalion, 503rd Infantry Regiment, 173rd Airborne Brigade, engages a target with a M320 grenade launcher during a live-fire exercise. The M320 is produced by H&K USA.

EDR – July / August 2016


FN Herstal has in its portfolio three UBGL, dedicated at specific FNH rifles, the F2000, the SCAR-L and the SCAR-H. All use a pump action rotary locking principle and have a 230 mm long barrel. Known respectively as FN GL1, FN40GL-L and FN40GL-H, they can be used either with iron sights or with dedicated FCS and allow the soldier to fire either the rifle or the grenade launcher without changing position of the hand. The GL1 weighs 1.2 kg, the two UBGLs dedicated to the SCAR weighing respectively 1.16 and 1.08 kg. The latter feature a forward opening that allows the automatic extraction and ejection of the case whilst the side opening permits the use of long grenades.

© P. Valpolini

© P. Valpolini

a 130 m/s. As longer rounds have been developed, instead of axial opening which limited the round length, most new UBGLs have a side loading system, the barrel pivoting sideways to allow the insertion of long ammunition. In Europe Heckler & Koch has developed a family of grenade launchers, all with a left-side break action barrel. The AG36 is optimised for the G36 assault rifle in both standard and short versions, the shorter

An FNH SCAR-L fitted with its grenade launcher. FN has developed dedicated UBGLs for its assault rifles in order to maximise ergonomy.

An Italian mountain troop soldier armed with its Beretta ARX160 assault rifle equipped with the GLX160 grenade launcher. The FN2000 fitted with its UBGL; the picture clearly shows that the user can quickly move his index from the rifle trigger to that of the grenade launcher without leaving the shooting position.

© FN Herstal

barrel GLM being the model aimed at the HK416/417 rifles as well as M4/M16 families. In both cases a buttstock is available to transform them in standalone systems. The GLM is the European version of the M320 adopted by the US Army and fitted to the M16 assault rifle, the M320A1 being fitted to the M4 carbine. A further evolution is the HK269, which allows to unlock the barrel both on the left or right side. H&K also produces the HK169, a stand-alone grenade launcher available both in long and short barrel versions. H&K grenade launchers have been adopted by G36 users, Germany and Spain ­b eing the main ones.


July / August 2016 – EDR

© P. Valpolini


© P. Valpolini

For its ARX160 Beretta Defence Technologies developed the GLX160, with a 243 mm barrel, weighing only one kilogram and fitted with a rotating bolt and a double-action trigger system. In the A1 version a load chamber indicator has been added, showing a red mark when a round is chambered, a protuberance allowing to feel it also at night. While designed for the ARX family, the GLX160 is available also with interfaces for the most widely available rifles. For its SG 551 assault rifle Swiss Arms developed three UBGLs for its rifles. The GL 5140 is aimed at the and has a 305 mm long barrel which slides forward for loading; to load longer ammunition the barrel can slide further forward the normal opening length by depressing the tube stop button. The GL 5140 has a weight of 1.735 kg. For its SG 553 rifle Swiss Arms developed the GL 5340, with a shorter barrel, 244 mm, and thus quite lighter, 1.57 kg. One of the most recent additions to western European UBGLs manufacturers is Austria’s Madritsch, which portfolio includes two grenade launchers, the ML40 Mk1 and Mk2, the former aimed at M4 type weapons while the latter is dedicated to the Austrian AUG assault rifle. To keep weight down the launcher is made if 7075 T6 forged aviation-grade aluminium, its mass being 995 grams in both configurations. Fitted with a double-action trigger, its barrel rotates on the left to allow loading of long 40 mm rounds. When installed on the AUG the trigger falls ahead of the front handle, allowing to shoot the grenade with the left hand without leaving the normal shooting position. Madritsch declares that its launcher is compatible with LV, LV ER and MV grenades. Eastern European countries once using 30 mm grenades, the standard Soviet calibre, have reversed mostly to NATO standards and are now producing 40 mm

The CZ 805 G1 grenade launcher fitted under the CZ 805 assault rifle developed by Česká Zbrojovka and adopted by the Czech Army. grenade launchers capable to fire standard 40x46 mm ammunition. In Poland Fabrika Broni Łucznik, part of the Polska Grupa Zbrojeniowa (PGZ) which regroups most of the national defence companies, developed the Modułowego Systemu Broni Strzeleckiej (MSBS), the modular small arms system for the Polish Army. This includes a 40 mm UBGL quickly installable under the assault rifle, which features a side opening mechanism and a double action firing mechanism with a 4 kg trigger pull. For its CZ 805 Bren assault rifle family Česká Zbrojovka developed the CZ 805 G1 UBGL, which features a right or left tilting 250 mm barrel. The latest product by Arcus of Bulgaria is the 40A4 EGLM, which is fitted to Arsenal’s AR-MI and AR-MIF assault rifles thanks to a hand-guard adaptor with Picatinny rails. The barrel is 230 mm long, weight with foldable leaf sight being 1.55 kg. The 40A4 EGLM features a double action firing mechanism. Israel Weapons Industries produces the GL 40 in two barrel length versions, 228.5 and 305 mm, for its X95 and ACE assault rifles. Fitted with a side-opening loading system, it can fire LV and MV rounds. Weight is of 1.3 kg for the long barrel and 1.24 kg for the short barrel

The grenade launcher developed by Fabrika Broni Łucznik for the MSBS modular small arms system aimed at the Tytan future soldier programme. July / August 2016 – EDR

A series of Rheinmetall Weapons Munitions high and low velocity grenades; the cut allows to see the different types of warheads. EDR – July / August 2016

Rheinmetall Weapon Munitions has developed high velocity 40 mm airburst grenades based on an infrared programming system. As a spin-off of that programme the German group is now developing a low velocity version, which should be available in 2017. The system is launcher agnostic, as the RWM programming unit can be installed on any launcher, even if fitted with a third party FCS. RWM proposes the Vingmate Multi

© P. Valpolini

version designed for the X95, UBGLs for the ACE being slightly heavier, respectively 1.4 and 1.34 kg. Most of the launchers described can also be used in a stand-alone mode fitting the launcher to a stock assembly. Numerous other UBGLs producers can obviously be found around the world, most of the small arms producers having in their catalogue also grenade launchers to fit to their assault rifles. Let’s however come to what finally delivers the terminal effect onto the target, the grenade. Describing the whole world production of 40 mm rounds would require an entire book. We will therefore focus on latest developments. Simmel Difesa, a Nexter company, is launching its LV HEDP-SD (High Explosive Dual Purpose –Self Destructing) impact type round, designed to penetrate at least 50mm of steel armour and to have a lethal radius of over 10 meters. An insensitive munition round it is fitted with a shaped charge warhead that ensures simultaneous blast and fragmentation effects. This grenade is currently in advanced qualification phase with the Italian Army.

© P. Valpolini

Reloading an Israel Weapons Industry GL 40; this system is available in two barrel lengths and with interfaces for the X95 and the ACE assault rifle.


On the other side of the Atlantic, Orbital ATK is developing a directfire, semi-automatic, shoulder-fired, man-portable weapon system using 25 mm calibre grenades. Pre-production systems were tested in operation, and lessons learned led to minimal

© P. Valpolini

Counter Defilade Target Engagement from the US

The Vingmate Multi Ray developed by Rheinmetall Defence to programme its airbust grenades, the low velocity version being awaited for 2017.

adjustments. One of them aims at avoiding activating propellant in the (rare) case of a double-feed, an event that occurred once until now. To avoid this the primer has been recessed more into the grenade base, the pin having thus being lengthened. A new FCS has also been developed; shorter, it does not overlaps with the barrel and allows to move slightly back the centre of gravity, it is also lighter and has more battery power. The configuration of the XM25 CDTE has been frozen in February 2016, Orbital ATK expecting a first production contract in Fall 2016.


Ray, a 700 grams FCS which includes both the aiming component as well as the programming one. RWM underlines that the IR programming system is immune to jamming, the company looking at introducing both HE and HEDP ABM rounds. In South Africa Atlantis Specialist Technologies, part of the Atlantis Group, is finalising a new family of 40x46 mm grenades that can be fired by underbarrel grenade launchers developed for low velocity rounds while reaching ranges of over 700 metres, the warhead remaining that of a standard LV grenade. Atlantis developed a medium velocity propulsion concept in 2010-11, that was then sold to a German customer. It then started working on a wholly new propulsion concept that brought it to launch the 40 mm LVC Project, its aiming being to develop its own extended range ammunition. According to Atlantis the secret lies in the way propulsion is applied, a pressure of less than 14 MPa being generated in the chamber; however the company managed to maintain that pressure for a longer time, thus transferring to the projectile a considerable energy, that allows it to leave the barrel with a muzzle velocity of 118 m/s, versus the 7580 m/s of low velocity rounds. The recoil energy generated is of less than 56 Joules, which is lower than the limit for repeat firing considered in the United States. The complete round has a weight of 284 grams while the projectile weighs 185 grams. However to stay on the safe side Atlantis gives a weapon minimal inertial mass of 4.5 kg, including ­magazine, to July / August 2016 – EDR


A view of Singapore Technology Kinetics 40 mm grenade production. In the background a SPARCS “reconnaissance grenade”.

© P. Valpolini

ensure that impulse remains within limits, this excluding stand-alone low velocity launchers which usually weigh around 1.5 kg. The Atlantis ammunition come with three different warheads, a practice one, a high explosive (HE), and a high explosive dual purpose (HEDP), both the latter generating over 200 fragments. The new round has been tested with numerous types of assault rifle/grenade launchers systems, the M16/M203, the FN-SCAR/FN40GL and the Beretta ARX160/GLX160, as well as with the Rippel

For medium velocity grenades Rheinmetall Defence starter to develop the Cerberus UBGL; this programme seems however to be on hold. EDR – July / August 2016

Effect XRGL multi-shot grenade launcher, the latter being designed to be used also with medium velocity rounds. According to Atlantis accuracy tests with the M16/M203 system showed a standard deviation of less than seven metres at 600 metres range. With an elevation angle of 40° the 40 mm LVC round was able reach nearly 781 metres, with a flight time short of 13 seconds and a maximum height of 210 metres; to stay on the safe side the company declares an effective range of 700 metres. As most potential customers consider accuracy even important than range, the increased muzzle velocity allows for flatter trajectories at shorter ranges, tests having proved that a consistent accuracy at 200 metres was ensured, allowing to repeatedly fire LVC grenades in a 1.2 x 1 metres aperture, a result that could also be obtained at 300 metres distance with some practice. This makes it a plus in urban warfare. Of course accuracy depends also on the sight, and currently Atlantis is relying on sights developed for low/medium velocity grenades. The company is however working on its own sight thanks to the group capabilities in electro-optics. Atlantis is also considering the integration of an airburst capability into its round, adding a programmable fuse to its LVC grenade, and to this end is cooperating with an undisclosed international company. One of the major Asian producer of 40 mm rounds is Singapore Technologies Kinetics, which also manufactures its underbarrel or stand-alone launcher, with a 229 mm barrel and double action trigger, loadable both from the right or left side. STK proposes a full range of 40 x 46 mm grenades of the anti-personnel or dual anti-personnel/anti-armour types, with or without self-destructing capabilities, the electro-mechanical fuse exploiting 33


The STK Low Velocity Air Bursting Munition System consists of an ABM grenade and a firing control system with programming unit. The company is developing an evolved system.

acceleration to generate power. These are available both in the low velocity and LV extended range versions; the latest version of LV ER rounds are fitted with a patented Venturi system, qualification awaiting a launch customer. Enhanced blast effect rounds are also available. However the latest development is the SPARCS Compass; this leverages the 40 mm SPARC (Soldier Parachute Aerial Reconnaissance Camera System) already in service with two customers, a round that instead of a warhead contains a CMOS camera in the nose and once the maximum height of 150 meters is reached deploys a parachute, allowing the soldier on the ground to observe the surroundings from a vantage point on a ruggedised receiver. One of the issues was referencing the image to the ground; STK has overcome the problem including a compass in the round, thus providing

North bearing. Once received images can be stitched together to provide a full coverage of the zone. STK is also evolving its airburst munition grenade; the new one is RF programmed, the soldier giving by voice to the wristwatch programmer the estimated distance or that calculated using an FCS fitted with a laser rangefinder. The fuse is the programmed via RF while the grenade is within two meters from the muzzle. Not all ammunition must be lethal. Beside smoke grenades and less than lethal grenades, at Eurosatory 2016 Cyalume introduced its CyMunition, based on a chemioluminescent payload that can be used not only for training but also for marking a target in day and nigh-time. Compared to smoke ammunition they have the advantage of being non incendiary, they do not carry an explosive charge thus non duds are generated, while they are also environmentally safe. Cyalume, which produces the payload, is currently talking to various grenade manufacturers in order to produce a full round. In perspective an IR marker round is envisaged.

H&K Underbarrel 40 mm Grenade Launchers technical data AG36





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July / August 2016 – EDR

The veteran Alpha Jet is used by the Belgium and French Air Forces and has celebrated 50,000 hours of flight with the Portuguese Air Force.

© David Oliver

European Trainer Options By David Oliver

For many countries, replacing ageing fleets of basic and advanced training aircraft with analogue cockpits is becoming more urgent as they acquired ever more advanced combat aircraft. The most numerous advanced jet trainer in European service is the Alpha Jet that made its first flight more than 40-years ago. More than 60 Alpha Jets remain operational with the Belgian, French and Portuguese air forces, all of which will need to be replaced in the next few years… EDR – July / August 2016


© David Oliver

A Croatian Air Force Pilatus PC-9M, a type also operated by the Bulgarian and Slovakian Air Forces in Europe.


nother ageing jet trainer reaching the end of its service life is the Saab 105 in service with the Swedish and Austrian air forces while many former Eastern bloc nations including Bulgaria, the Czech Republic and Slovakia rely on the Aero L-39 Albatros. Many air forces have contracted out their primary flight training operations to commercial providers such as the Affinity Group in the United Kingdom and Cassidian Aviation Training Services (CADS) in France, while others including Germany and Denmark use USAF trainers under government contracts in the United States. Turboprop aircraft have become the mainstay of basic flying training for many European air forces with the Swiss company Pilatus dominating the market. 36

Powered by a single Pratt & Whitney Canada PT6A, the PC-7 is in service with the Netherlands and Swiss air forces, and the PC-9 with the Bulgarian, Croatian and Slovenian air forces. The latest member of the Pilatus turboprop trainer family is the PC-21 which is designed to bridge the gap between basic and advanced flight training. Powered by the economical 1,193 kW (1,600 shp) PT6A-68B turboprop, it features jet-like response assisted by a digital power management system that provides full power at 200 kt (370 km/hr) and above. The PC-21 has a ‘glass cockpit’ with three AMLD displays and two secondary displays and head-up displays (HUD) in each NVGcompatible cockpit. Its avionics are able to simulate aiming and release of multiple virtual weapons without resorting the real training rounds. Pilatus claim that its integrated and cost-effective training system with a July / August 2016 – EDR

and night flying as well as basic pilot training, instrument flying, navigation training, weapons and formation training. The aircraft has excellent visibility from both cockpits with a 50 degree downview angle from the rear cockpit, cabin pressurization, Martin-Baker Mk T-16 N 0/0 ejection seats, an onboard oxygen generation system (OBOGS), an Environmental Control System (Vapor Cycle Cooling), an anti-G system, high shock absorbing landing gear for training missions, and Hands-On Throttle and Stick (HOTAS). The Hürkuş made its first flight in August 2013 and a second prototype has joined the flight test programme. The Turkish Air Force has ordered 15 aircraft to replace its veteran T-37Cs and while prospects for European sales may be limited, Sweden is reported to be showing interest in the Hürkuş. The advanced jet trainer (AJT) segment of the UKMFTS programme is provided by a fleet of 28 MoDowned BAE Systems Hawk T.2 aircraft based at RAF Valley with training delivered under contract by the Ascent consortium. The Hawk T.2 has a glass NVGcompatible cockpit and an updated head-up display (HUD) to use symbols and data used in more current combat aircraft. Other changes include Hands-OnThrottle-And-Stick (HOTAS) controls which are fully representative of front line combat aircraft types, and twin Open Architecture mission computers hosting simulations of a wide range of sensor and weapon systems as well as a full featured IN/GPS navigation system with moving map display. A recent software update, known as Operational Capability 2 provides additional functionality to the T.2 adding simulated radar and sensor capabilities. It allows pilots to train using a virtual Defensive Aid Suite (DAS) and expand the range of simulated weapons to include medium air-to-air missiles and synthetic threats from surface-to-air missiles.

© Pilatus

30-year lifer cycle support cost exceeds that of any current turboprop trainers. Despite healthy export sales to the Middle East and Asia Pacific, to date, the Swiss Air Force is the only European air arm to acquire the PC21 although it has been reported that it is on the short list to replace the Swedish Air Force’s Saab 105s. The PC-21’s main competitor in the turboprop trainer market is the Beechcraft T-6 Texan II, which in fact is a US development of the Pilatus PC-9 Turbo Trainer, designed for the UASAF/USN Joint Primary Aircraft Training System (JPATS) competition that it won in 1995. Powered by the same PT6A-68 turboprop engine as the PC-21, the T-6A has been delivered to the NATO Flying Training in Canada (NFTC) programme, of which CAE is the prime contractor, which delivers basic flight training to pilots from all over the world including Austria, Denmark, Hungary and Italy. The Greek Air Force also operates a large fleet of 42 T-6A Texan IIs. The latest version of the Beechcraft Texan II, the T-6C has been selected to replace the RAF’s 40 Tucano T.1s basic trainers based at RAF Linton-on-Ouse from 2018 as part of Affinity Flying Services Limited’s contract to provide the UK Ministry of Defence (MoD) with the Fixed-Wing portion of the UK Military Flying Training System (UKMFTS) programme. A late comer to the party is the Turkish Aerospace Industries (TAI) Hürku ş , another turboprop basic trainer powered by the PT6A-68, is equipped for day

EDR – July / August 2016

The latest in a line of turboprop training aircraft is the advanced Pilatus PC-21 that is operated by the Swiss Air Force as a basic trainer. 37

An earlier version of the Hawk, the Mk 115 equips the Canadian NFTC and a large fleet of Mk 51As and former Swiss Air Force Mk 66s are used by the Finnish Air Force for advanced/weapons training. In the advanced jet trainer market, the Hawk is up against a new generation of Lead-In to Fighter Trainers (LIFT) such as the Alenia Aermacchi M-346 Master that is entering service with the Italian Air Force. The twin-engine trans sonic Master has a cockpit with a digital avionics system based on fifth-generation combat aircraft such the Eurofighter Typhoon. It also features an Embedded Tactical Training System (ETTS) that is capable of emulating various equipment such as radar, targeting pods, weapons and electronic warfare (EW) systems and can interface with various munitions and other equipment actually carried on board. The M-346 Master has been selected by Poland to replace its fleet of indigenous PZL-130 Orlik turboprop trainers. Two new faces on the block both come from young innovative European aerospace manufacturers that have had considerable sales success with aircraft constructed with carbon fibre-reinforced plastics (CFRP). The German company, Grob Aircraft AG is confident

that it has produced a low cost but highly efficient platform for the future with the only side-by-side military training aircraft with a glass cockpit. Developed from its G 120A piston-engine elementary trainer, that is used to train French Air Force pilots by CADS, the G 120TP is powered by a 456 shp (340 kW) Rolls-Royce 250RM-B17F turboprop driving a five-blade propeller and equipped with Martin-Baker Mk 15B ejection seats and HOTAS dual controls. The glass cockpit has three Elbit EFIS screens with training displays that include virtual radar, virtual RWR, tactical situation and stores management and debrief. Grob claim that the G 120TP is a highly effective and low cost way to train flight students in the use of todays fast-jets, helicopter and multi-engine aircraft mission avionics without the use of more expensive training platforms. Budget constraints are forcing air forces to rethink how they train pilots, according to Grob Aircraft AG CEO Andre Hiebeler. “One hour on a jet buys 30 hours on a turboprop like ours.” The G 120TP has been selected to deliver Elementary Flying Training phase of the UKMFTS at


The new Turkish Aerospace Industries (TAI) Hürkuş basic turboprop trainer is in competition with the Swiss Pilatus PC-21.


July / August 2016 – EDR

© Grob

@ Diamond

Diamond Aircraft’s low cost DART-450 turboprop basic trainer has been flown within one year from the programme launch.

A new generation basic trainer gaining a substantial foothold in the turboprop market in the Grob G 120TP that has been selected to train future Royal Air Force pilots. RAF Barkston Heath and RAF Cranwell and with the G 120TP’s basic price of around US$3.5 million, Grob is confident it will attract more sales in Europe against faster but higher-priced competitors such as the Pilatus PC-21 and Beechcraft T-6 Texan II. Austria’s Diamond Aircraft Industries GmbH has built hundreds of single-engine training aircraft and four-seat utility twins, and has surprised the industry EDR – July / August 2016

by developing a low-cost turboprop basic trainer The Diamond Aircraft Reconnaissance Trainer (DART)-450, the first CFRP tandem, two-seat civilian and military trainer with a sidestick and pneumatic ejection seats made its first flight on 17 May 2016. The +7/-5G aerobatic airplane has a maximum take-off power of 500 hp, is equipped with the Ivchenko-Progress/Motor Sich AI450S turboprop engine, a five-blade MT-Propeller, and a GARMIN avionic system. The maximum endurance of the DART-450 is eight hours plus reserve. Within the first 60 minutes of flight time, speeds between 60 – 200 knots IAS have been tested at various altitudes. The expected top speed of the DART is 250 knots TAS. “Company Chief Test Pilot Ingmar Mayerbuch and Flight Test Engineer Thomas Wimmer have been so excited about the first results that certification and serial production is green-lighted”, said Christian Dries, CEO Diamond Aircraft. Diamond Aircraft Chief Designer Clemens Knappert: “We achieved our target from the first drawings to the first flight in one year.” In an ever more competitive market, air forces looking for new generation training aircraft are spoilt for choice. 39


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