EDR Magazine issue 34

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Issue N° 34 – July / August 2017

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

Towards fully sanctuarised air defence? Modern ground-based integrated air defence systems (GIADS) Small arms: new weapons and new contracts Medium-size and higher-end frigates: latest developments in Europe and Russia Night vision: more fused sights for today soldiers CNIM’s L-CAT: from ship-to-shore to shore-to-shore High Flying Russian Helicopters

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

Issue n o. 34



Towards fully sanctuarised air defence? Modern ground-based integrated air defence systems (GIADS) By Jean-Michel Guhl

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Small arms: new weapons and new contracts By Paolo Valpolini Medium-size and higher-end frigates: latest developments in Europe and Russia By Luca Peruzzi

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High Flying Russian Helicopters By David Oliver


Night vision: more fused sights for today soldiers – By Paolo Valpolini CNIM’s L-CAT: from ship-to-shore to shore-to-shore – By Paolo Valpolini

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

EDR – July / August 2017


44 3

M An officer from the U.S. 35th Air Defense Artillery Brigade, explains


the U.S. Patriot missile system to Republic of Korea Air Force cadets during a visit on 21 January 2014. Nearly 100 cadets attended the trip to learn about the U.S. Patriot missile and Army air defense. The MIM-104 Patriot is a surface-to-air missile (SAM) system, the primary of its kind used by the U.S. Army and several allied nations. It is manufactured by the U.S. defense contractor Raytheon and derives its name from the radar component of the weapon system.

Towards fully sanctuarised air defence?

Modern ground-based integrated air defence systems (GIADS) By Jean-Michel Guhl Will one day soon a totally hermetic air defence system bring full protection to a country, its citizens and its capital fighting assets? In fact, due to spiralling technological advances, one can say that we’re getting close to it, with one country – Israel constantly challenged by unfriendly and often aggressive neighbours – leading the way, thanks to a very creative and responsive defence industry which allows its ground-based defence network to remain active and operational 24/7. 4

July / August 2017 – EDR

© U.S. Missile Defense Agency © U.S. Army

M A ground-based interceptor is launched from

M MIM-104 Patriot fire control operator/

maintainers assigned to A Battery, 5th Battalion, 7th Air Defense Artillery Brigade collapse the OE-349 Antenna Mast Group of a field deployed battery while the unit jumps its tactical operations center during Panther Assurance, an interoperability deployment readiness exercise, last January at Skwierzyna, Poland.


ith Iran and some Arab nations openly calling for the total obliteration of the state of Israel from the map of the globe, the nearly 70-year old Jewish nation has been given no alternative, but to defend itself, beak and nails, against these boisterous and determined foes. Both against ICBMs as well as against makeshift garage-assembled terrorist rockets. Much the same is the case for South Korea, with its belicose and hawkish North Korean missiletoting half-brother thankfully restrained from any further expansionist and unpredictable military action by the presence inland of a large body of EDR – July / August 2017

Vandenberg Air Force Base, California, toward a ballistic missile target during a test conducted over the Pacific Ocean on 15 December 2010 to celebrate the author’s birthday. U.S. troops and a dense Patriot missile belt… The importance of this problem was once more stressed when North Korea last July tested, without notice a new ICBM capable of reaching Alaska, adding on top of that public insults directed at the U.S. people and President Donald Trump in particular! Following previous series of North Korean surprise missile tests, the U.S. military had last spring conducted a missile defence trial aimed to protect the South Korean nation from a targeted North Korean attack. The U.S. counter-test, which took place at Vandenberg Air Force Base in California, was deemed successful by U.S. officials after an upgraded long-range advanced Patriot interceptor missile directly collided with its target – a mock intercontinental ballistic missile (ICBM). Indeed, North Korea is today widely believed to be developing an ICBM capable of reaching the U.S. mainland. Should the last Communist nation on Earth launch an attack likely to threaten the U.S., South Korea, or Japan, U.S. policy calls for the missile to be shot down in response. But is that so easy a task? 5

© Bundeswehr

M The Raytheon-designed MIM-104 Patriot is

nowadays the most common ground-based air defence missile system used within NATO forces. A standard Bundeswehr MIM-104D Patriot launcher mounted on a MAN 8x8 heavy truck is pictured here. The heart of the Patriot battery is the fire control section, consisting of the AN/MPQ-53 or −65 Radar Set, the AN/MSQ-104 Engagement Control Station (ECS), the OE-349 Antenna Mast Group (AMG), and the EPP-III Electric Power Plant. The system’s missiles are transported on and launched from a heavy truck mounted Launching Station, which can carry up to four PAC-2 missiles or up to sixteen PAC-3 missiles. A Patriot battalion is also equipped with the Information Coordination Central (ICC), a command station designed to coordinate the launches of a battalion and uplink Patriot to the JTIDS or MIDS network.

NORAD, the first radar protection belt As nowadays A2/D2 (anti-access/area-denial) philosophy becomes the new U.S. mantra instilled into wide NATO circles, let’s discuss about the state of the shield which is the crux of the matter, and where it all really started some sixty years ago. NORAD (North American Aerospace Defense Command), established in 1958 for the protection of 6

North America from Soviet surprise attacks, was the first 24/7 total air defence belt ever created. In 1960, it had 60 fighters squadrons (50 U.S. and 10 Canadians) on alert capable of intercepting targets in the air 15 minutes after take-off, knowing that any unknown aircraft entering the North American airspace would be detected within 5 minutes by long range radars in the Arctic. NORAD proved its value in keeping at bay all enemy aircraft incursions, but this was until the emergence a decade later of the space age when ICBMs changed the focus of air defense away from responding to manned bombers, and satellites were poised to revolutionize communications. The ICBM threat which came as a real game changer and forced the U.S. to move one step further in the creation of strengthened air defense, ending with President Ronald Reagan’s Strategic Defense Initiative (SDI) — a proposed missile defence system intended to protect the United States from attack by ballistic strategic nuclear weapons (ICBMs and SLBMs). The system, soon dubbed “Star Wars” by a largely ignorant press, was to combine ground-based units and orbital deployment of anti-ballistic missiles (ABM) platforms, and first publicly announced by President Ronald Reagan on 23 March 1983. The initiative focused on strategic defence rather than the prior strategic offensive doctrine of mutual assured destruction (so aptly named MAD). The Strategic Defense Initiative Organization (SDIO) was set up in 1984 in order to oversee the Strategic Defense Initiative and its powerful space-based ­antiJuly / August 2017 – EDR

ballistic missile (ABM) component. This ambitious U.S. defence systems actually tolled the bell for the USSR, the USA finally winning the arms race which soon brought the end of Soviet communism and the constant threat it had meant for the West. Throughout the development of the ABM, another possibility existed that avoided most of these problems. If the interceptors were placed in orbit, some of them could be positioned over the Soviet Union at all times. These would fly «down hill» to attack the missiles, so they could be considerably smaller and cheaper than an interceptor that needed to launch up from the ground. It was also much easier to track the ICBMs during launch, due to their huge IR emissions, and disguising these signatures would require the construction of large rockets instead of small radar decoys. Moreover, each interceptor could kill one ICBM; MIRV had no effect. As long as the interceptor missile was inexpensive, the advantage was on the side of the defence, and moreover with the advent of network centric engagement systems.

© U.S. Army

N Soldiers assigned to A Battery,

5th Battalion, 7th Air Defense Artillery Brigade signal each other the area is clear while emplacing the Patriot radar set during Panther Assurance, an interoperability deployment readiness exercise last January at Skwierzyna, Poland. This exercise meant to demonstrate 5-7 ADA’s rapid deployment capabilities also served as a validation of the unit’s readiness. Panther Assurance is a demonstration of NATO’s ability to move forces quickly and freely across allied borders and maintain freedom of movement across the region.

Brian Lihani, Chief of the Radar Warning Branch at NORAD HQ, recalled how a “systemof-systems” approach to radar development is today helping NORAD to patrol the skies and «outpace the threat». His experience delves into the integration of new platforms in NORAD’s radar infrastructure, advancements in OTHR (Over the Horizon Radar) and Super Radar legacy platforms In a statement, the director of the U.S. Missile Defense Agency, Jim Syring, called the United States’s Ground-based Midcourse Defense (GMD) system “vitally important to the defense of our homeland.” Recent tests “demonstrates that we have a capable, credible deterrent against a very real threat”, he said. It was also validated via the US’ first livefire test against a simulated ICBM. Before that, the most recent test was conducted in 2014. In the past, intercepting an ICBM has proven incredibly difficult – and truly akin to hitting one bullet with another at an exceptional distance, officials say. Since 1999, the GMD system has hit its target in just nine out of 17 tests, with many tests suffering from mechanical difficulties. At this point the U.S. ABM defence shield appears to be just 50% efficient… or 50% deficient. At this point, even after the latest simulation, experts continue to doubt the progress of the GMD

system. Not long ago, Philip Coyle, a senior fellow at the Center for Arms Control and Non-Proliferation, reckoned the interception test “marks two successes in a row, which is significant”, but added that only two of the last five attempts were successful. “In school, 40% isn’t a passing grade”, Coyle told. “Based on its testing record, we cannot rely upon this missile defense program to protect the United States from a North Korean long-range missile.” And this is particularly true when it comes to nuclear-tipped missiles… In 2016, a Pentagon report arrived at a similar conclusion. “GMD has demonstrated a limited capability to defend the U.S. homeland from small numbers of simple intermediaterange or intercontinental ballistic missile threats launched from North Korea or Iran”, the report said. Since 2002, the United States missile defense system has cost the USA some $40 billion. Under the Trump administration’s

© Rafael

P Test launch of an Arrow

2 anti-ballistic missile. The Arrow or Hetz is a family of anti-ballistic missiles designed by Rafael to fulfill an Israeli requirement for a theatre missile defence system that would be more effective against ATBMs than the MIM-104 Patriot which is not favoured locally. Jointly funded and produced by Israel and the United States, development of the system began in 1986 and has continued since.


budget proposal for 2018, the Pentagon has requested another $7.9 billion for the Missile Defense Agency, including $1.5 billion for the GMD system. According to U.S. officials, the USA is developing additional methods to thwart a missile attack, including cybersecurity assessments. Recently a Pentagon spokesman, said the latest test is only “one element of a broader missile defense strategy that we can use to employ against potential threats.” The nation’s THAAD anti-missile system is also designed to counter short, medium, and intermediate range missile threats. Like the most recent missile defence test, the programme aims to intercept North Korean missiles mid-flight. In March, the THAAD system was deployed in South Korea shortly before the nation’s former female president, Park Geun Hye, was removed from off ice. South Korea’s new president, Moon Jae In, after the recent U.S. defense test, ordered an investigation. As South Korea’s new president, Moon has promised to uphold a more diplomatic stance toward North Korea, calling for increased dialogue between the two nations. North Korea, meanwhile, has pointed to the United States’s . THAAD system as evidence that “the U.S. is harasser and destroyer of peace, indifferent to regional stability.” A total stalemate… As a clear matter of fact, over the last fifteen years, the U.S. Department of Defense has spent more than $24 billion buying a mix of capabilities to defeat guided missile threats to U.S. and partner naval forces and land installations. Despite DoD’s urgency, these investments have not resulted in air and missile defences with sufficient capacity to counter large salvoes of

July / August 2017 – EDR

ballistic missiles, cruise missiles, and other precisionguided munitions (PGMs) that can now be launched by Uncle Sam’s enemies. For many Washington experts, this situation is partly the result of a DoD’s longstanding emphasis on fielding costly, long-range surface-to-air interceptors to defeat a small salvo of anti-ship cruise missiles or a handful of ballistic missiles launched by rogue states such as Iran and North Korea. It is also because the U.S. military has never fought an enemy who had the capability to strike distant targets with precision. In future conflicts, however, Washington’s most likely opponents can be expected to employ large numbers of sea-, air-, and ground-launched guided weapons to overwhelm limited defences now protecting the U.S. military’s forces and bases. Rebalancing the United Sates’ Air And Missile Defenses recent initiatives that could improve EDR – July / August 2017

© Rafael

based on the Elta EL/M-2084 active electronically scanned array radar. The Iron Dome is part of a future multi-tiered missile defence system that Israel is now developing (which will also include Arrow 2, Arrow 3, Iron Beam, Barak 8 and David’s Sling) and due to be fielded as early as 2018, in time to provide Israel with a complete air space denial system, apt at destroying in the high atmosphere or in space any ballistic missile launched by Iran or any of its Shi’a proxies.

N Test of a David’s Sling Stunner missile in Israel. The

bended nose tip of this missile is very singular. Meant to replace the MIM-23 HAWK and MIM-104 Patriot in the Israeli arsenal, David’s Sling (or Kelah Da’vid), is an IDF military system being jointly developed by Rafael in Israel and the US company Raytheon. It is designed to intercept enemy planes, drones, tactical ballistic missiles, medium- to long-range rockets and cruise-missiles fired at ranges from 40km to 300km. Strong foreign interest for this GIADS has emerged from India and the GCC countries.

© Rafael

M The long-range Iron Dome detection radar is


Washington’s ability to counter guided weapon salvoes threatening its future ability to project military power worldwide are now under discussion. And not only in the ICBM field. They examine in particular the emerging dynamic between armed forces which have PGMs and proven capabilities to counter precision strikes, namely in order to assess promising operational concepts and capabilities for air and missile defence.

Europe and NADGE Following closely the creation of NORAD, the development of the so-called NATO Air Defence Ground Environment (NADGE) was approved by the NATO Military Committee in December 1955. The system was to be based on four air defence regions (ADR) coordinated by SACEUR or Supreme Allied Commander Europe. And a chain of ground-to-air missile batteries provided by all member nations. Mostly Nike Ajax – the world’s first SAM placed in service in 1954. Ancestor of Patriot and Aster air-defence missiles, the U.S. supplied Nike Ajax was designed to attack conventional bombers f lying at high subsonic speeds and altitudes above 50,000 feet (15km). Nike was initially deployed in the USA to provide defence against Soviet bomber attacks, and was later distributed overseas to protect U.S. bases, as well as being sold to various allied forces like Belgium, France, West-Germany and Italy. Some examples remained in use until the 1970s along with the newer Nike Hercules. Like today’s Patriot or SAMP/T modules, a complete Nike Ajax system consisted of several radars, computers, missiles and their launchers. Sites were generally arranged


M An Italian Army SAMP/T firing an

Aster 30 missile. Regularly scheduled test launches of Aster 30 missiles against flying targets allow both Italian and French SAMP/T crews to test their readiness and skill as well as the validity of this ultra-modern lethal ground-based integrated air defence system.

© J.-M. Guhl

M The crew of a French Air Force SAMP/T battery.

Each battery can launch a total of eight Aster 30 missiles before reloading. An Eurosam endeavour, the SAMP/T is considered by many experts to be the best GIADS today in service within NATO forces. It can be easily transported onboard an Airbus A400M Atlas and deployed anywhere in the world where French and Italian forces need to be.

in three major sections, the administration area, area A, the magazine and launcher area with the missiles, L, and the Integrated Fire Control area with the radar and operations center, or IFC. The IFC was located between 0,8 km and 1,5 km from the launchers, but had to be within the line-of-site so the radars could see the missiles as they launched. Starting from 1956 early warning coverage was extended accross most of Western Europe using 18 EDR – July / August 2017

radar stations. This part of the system was completed by 1962. Linked to existing national radar sites and coordinated with that of France. From 1960 NATO countries agreed to place all their air defence forces under the command of SACEUR in the event of war. These forces included command & control (C2) systems, radar installations, and Surface-to-Air (SAM) missile units as well as interceptor aircraft. Growth continued. By 1972 NADGE was converted into NATINADS consisting of 84 radar sites and associated Control Reporting Centers (CRC) and in the 1980s the Airborne Early Warning/ Ground Environment Integration Segment (AEGIS) upgraded the NATINADS with the possibility to integrate the EC-121, and later E-3 AWACS, radar picture and all of its information into its visual displays. (Editor’s snote: This AEGIS is not to be confused with the homonymic U.S.Navy shipboard fire control radar and weapons system.) NATO AEGIS processed the information through Hughes H5118ME computers, which replaced the H3118M computers installed at NADGE sites in the late 1960s and early 1970s. Thus NATINADS ability to handle data increased with faster clock rates. The H5118M computer had a staggering 1 megabyte of memory and could handle 1.2 million instructions per second while the former model had a memory of only 256 kilobytes and a clock speed of 150,000 instructions per seconds. NATINADS/AEGIS were complemented, in West -Germany by the German Air Defence Ground Environment (GEADGE), an updated radar network adding the southern part of W-Germany to the European system and Coastal Radar Integration System (CRIS), adding data links from Danish coastal radars. In order to counter the hardware obsolescence, during the mid-90’s NATO started the AEGIS Site Emulator (ASE) programme allowing the NATINADS/AEGIS sites to replace the proprietary hardware (the 5118ME computer and the various operator consoles IDM-2, HMD-22, IDM-80) with Commercial-Off-the-Shelf servers and workstations to cut on costs. In the first years of the 21st Century, the initial ASE capability was expanded with the possibility to run, thanks to the new hardware power, multiple site emulators on the same hardware, so the system was renamed into Multi-AEGIS Site Emulator (MASE). The NATO system designed to replace MASE in the near future is the Air Command and Control System, better known 11

© Eurosam

as ACCS. Meanwhile, and because of changing politics, NATO expanding and financial crises most European (NATO) countries are still trying to cut defence budgets; as a direct result lots of obsolete and outdated NATINADS facilities are gradually phased out. Due to the fact that average EU defence budgets rarely loom nowadays over 1% of their GNP – with the sole exception of France (and UK now out of the union) – a common formal reaction needs to take place. This was pointed out by U.S. President Trump who repeatedly calls for Europeans to double their military effort, as the USA will not go on paying any longer for the defence of the Old Continent.

Towards a coherent solution? Proven by many recent ABM trials, no seamless defence can actually be efficient 100% of the time, as there exists serious loopholes, whether they can be, on the upper end, a rogue ICBM successful at penetrating a well-defended and integrated airspace or, on the lower end, audacious or kamikaze ground military actions against a FOB or, more common nowadays, terrorists actions against unarmed 12

M The Thales Arabel radar associated with

the MBDA Aster 30 missile within a standard SAMP/T battery. To address the most demanding requirements, Thales has developed the Arabel Fire Control Unit (FCU), core of the ground-based SAMP/T medium range air defence system, in the framework of the FSAF programme conducted by the Eurosam consortium. Integrated with up to six vertical launcher modules (48 Aster 30 missiles), it provides a potent operational capability against all current and future air breathing threats. Integrated in an ATBM defence architecture (including an early warning radar and a C3I), it is said to ensure local area defence against all existing ballistic missiles. civilians on the street – a current Muslim practice – which only requires motivated and trained police forces to be quelled. A modern ground-based integrated air defence system (GIADS) must rely on 3 main components : 1. a complete long-range or mid-range radar warning and airspace control network; 2. a comprehensive C2/C3 or better C3I or even top level C4I system; 3. a network of anti-aircraft missiles for low (SHORAD), intermediate and high altitude reaction. To be totally efficient and reactive a GIADS July / August 2017 – EDR


P Impressive, the first of two Terminal High

Altitude Area Defense (THAAD) interceptors is launched during a successful intercept test. The test, conducted by the U.S. Missile Defense Agency (MDA), Ballistic Missile Defense System (BMDS) Operational Test Agency, Joint Functional Component Command for Integrated Missile Defense, and U.S. Pacific Command, in conjunction with U.S. Army soldiers from the Alpha Battery, 2nd Air Defense Artillery Regiment, U.S. Navy sailors aboard the guided missile destroyer USS Decatur (DDG-73), and U.S. Air Force airmen from the 613th Air and Operations Center resulted in the intercept of one medium-range ballistic missile target by THAAD, and one medium-range ballistic missile target by Aegis Ballistic Missile Defense (BMD). The test, designated Flight Test Operational-01 (FTO-01), stressed the ability of the Aegis BMD and THAAD weapon systems to function in a fully layered defense architecture and defeat a raid of two near-simultaneous ballistic missile targets.

should have steps 1, 2 and 3 operational 24/7, but outside a few areas like Israel, Korea, Syria or Taiwan, and other crisis zones it is rarely the case, as it can be very costly to keep live batteries manned, cocked and ready to shoot their deadly missiles 24/7. Although modern solid-fuel missile propulsors are very flexible and stable, the complete missile round being stored ready for action in a sealed container. The Air Command and Control System (ACCS) developed today by Thales Raytheon Systems (TRS) for NATO is a world first and the largest system of its kind to be delivered across multiple nations. Its flexible C4I systems can adapt to changing operational 14

demands with seamless planning and tasking, monitoring and the control and execution of the full spectrum of air and missile defence operations. Branded Skyview it is an example of open-architecture Air C4I solution. It delivers a single, integrated air picture and common situational awareness through command and control systems that are both scalable and interoperable. With its embedded “plug and fight” capability, this C4I system enables users to optimise their legacy systems. It also enables operators to keep track of all air assets, in real time, to ensure that weapon systems are prepared to immediately respond to perils. It provides as well the relevant capabilities to operate 24/7 protection of a zone, territory or country against all airborne threats. The system coordinates all networked ground-to-air defences such as VSHORAD, SHORAD and medium or longrange weapon systems. During the recent Paris Air Show, in June, MBDA introduced NCES (Network-Centric Engagement Solutions), a new network-centric ground based air defence architecture based on the latest real-time data exchange protocols. Currently undergoing integration tests with a view to delivery to a military customer in the near future, NCES breaks sharply with previous air defence organisations. «In this approach, sensor resources are networked to develop the best air traffic situation, while ground-toair resources – whether very short-, short-, or mediumrange firing units; or ground-to-air coordination and engagement centres – are also networked to obtain a more effective defence solution. These architectures can July / August 2017 – EDR

be implemented at local level and all the way through to national territory defence. MBDA can provide all the capabilities, sensors, means of communication, coordination centres, firing units, and can also set up a means of engagement architecture to interface with a pre-existing defence structure», explains Franck Seuzaret, Head of Battlefield and Air Defence Systems with the European leading missile company. Compared to conventional air defence architectures – which are very hierarchical – networking different resources delivers considerable operational flexibility and very high resilience. With NCES, the organisation of ground based air defence ceases to be constrained by the notion of a battery

structured around an organic radar and C2 system. The effectors or launcher systems are acquired by the engagement network immediately on being connected. Similarly, the sensors enhance the air traffic situation as each is added to the network. If a command & control centre is lost, the missile and sensor equipment attached to it are dynamically taken on board by another command & control centre via the network, with no loss of firepower. This makes the NCES architecture suitable for a wide diversity of organisations, from mobile batteries up to territorial defence systems. It can also easily integrate existing ground-based air defence systems, by means of a gateway converting the data normally exchanged by the battery with the ground-to-air defence tiers above or below it.

N Soldiers of the 35th Air Defense Squadron

(Polish army) demonstrate the loaded W125 launcher (or Russian S-125 Petchora / SA-3 “Goa”) anti-missile system’s mobility range during a deployment readiness exercise, last January, at Skwierzyna, Poland. Polish and U.S. forces compared notes on their similar missile equipment. The S-125 Petchora is more or less equivalent to the NATO enhanced HAWK system still in service in some NATO countries.

© U.S. Army

Today’s most potent IADS

EDR – July / August 2017

As noted earlier, advanced air defence systems are principally developped and produced by first line countries with a sustained R&D basis in that field : the USA, Russia, Western Europe and China. To which leading group can be added Japan, Israel and Taiwan, partly using US technology, or countries like Iran, Pakistan or North Korea using diverted Soviet/Russian legacy systems. As such, an high-tech GIADS, like a human, needs to stand on two legs, i.e. a powerful missile system on one side, and a comprehensive radar suite backed by a robust C2/C3 or more on the other. However older generation or legacy air defence systems still in wide use today in many countries of the world remain a real threat to many aircraft flying in open airspace. Something which was dramatically demonstrated when, on 17 July 2014, a Boeing 777 of Malaysia Airlines en route from Amsterdam to Kuala Lumpur, fell from the sky near the town of Torez in the Donetsk region of Ukraine on the battle edge of fighting government and rebel forces. There were 280 passengers and 15 crew members on board. The accident left no survivors. The Boeing 777 was flying at the height of 10 600 meters (33,000 feet) heading east. The crash was later attributed to a Buk missile system (or 9K37 Buk M1, aka « SA-11 Gadfly ») obviously captured from the Armed Forces of Ukraine by representatives of the breakaway and self-proclaimed People’s Republic of Donetsk. Using a combination of 9S35 Fire Dome engagement radar, 9S18 Tube Arm acquisition radar and 9K37 missile, the Buk 15

© FSMTC/Russia

M A Russian armed forces S-400 Triumf

(SA-21 “Growler”) battery deployed on active guard in Syria for area denial. Developed in the 1990s by Almaz-Antey as an upgrade of the very successful S-300 family, it has been in service with the Russian Armed Forces since 2007. The S-400 uses four types of missiles to fill its performance envelope: the very-long-range 40N6 (400km), the long-range 48N6 (250km), the medium-range 9M96E2 (120km) and the short-range 9M96E (40km). The S-400 has been acclaimed by many experts as one of the best air-defence systems currently in service today. Despite recent past grudges, Turkey is now negotiating with Russia for the acquisition of this powerful GIADS


system deployed in the area of Donetsk downed the defenceless wide body airliner just like in a Hollywood production film. The firing range of the Buk missile system reaches 45km and up to stratospheric altitudes. The direct successor of the 9K37 Buk M1 system is the S-300 or SA-10 “Grumble”, Russia’s best selling GIADS today in use by some fifteen countries. Not far from us, on 22 June 2012, it proved its worth by downing a Turkish Air Force RF-4E Phantom II reconnaissance aircraft flying at an altitude of 21,000 feet over Syrian waters. The S-300 unit was said to be manned by Russian personnel detached in Syria, and that it had only fired its 5V55U missile after repeated intrusions of the RF-4E in Syrian airspace. Meanwhile, over the past months they are believed to have downed rebel helicopters and drones. On another chapter, after the United States Navy struck a large missile blow at the Shayrat air base near Homs, many wondered why Russian sophisticated air defence systems, such as Pantsir, S-300, S-400, Buk-M2 and Tor complexes, did not protect Syria from 59 Tomahawk cruise missiles launched by the USS Ross and USS Porter destroyers ? However, military experts explained a while later that Russian air defences were deployed in Syria in agreement with the legitimate Syrian government to protect Russian facilities, in July / August 2017 – EDR

N An S-300PMU-2 Favorit (SA-20B “Gargoyle”) of the

Russian Armed Forces in action fires a 48N6E2 missile. Produced by Almaz-Antey and introduced in 1997, the Favorit is an upgrade to the S-300PMU-1 with a range extended to 195km with the introduction of the 48N6E2 missile. This system is apparently capable against short range ballistic missiles and medium range tactical ballistic missiles as well. It uses the 83M6E2 command and control system, consisting of the 54K6E2 command post vehicle and the 64N6E2 surveillance/detection radar. It employs the 30N6E2 fire control/illumination and guidance radar. It is one of the foremost GIADS on the world market today and used as well by a few NATO countries like Greece.


short : the airfield, bases, troops and infrastructure of the sole Russian Air Force. In the past, Russia supplied certain air defence elements to Syria, but these are maintained and operated by Syrian servicemen, who failed to respond accordingly by obvious lack of marksmanship. Russia could obviously have intercepted the U.S. low-flying targets using its Pantsir systems. Yet, Russia was notified about the missile strike in advance in order to be able to evacuate its military and civilian personnel from Shayrat air base in case Russian citizens were present there. Recently official representatives of the Russian Defence Ministry said that only 23 of the 59 US Tomahawk cruise missiles reached the Syrian air base… « If Syria had used Russian air defence systems in response to the US missile attack, it would have triggered a nuclear conflict. Yet, it was only the composure of the Russian commander which made it possible to avoid a nuclear conflict », Sergey Sudakov, corresponding member of the Russian Academy of Military Sciences said. « The most important question that all are asking today is why Russia did not use its air defences in Syria to shoot down U.S. missiles? Most people believe that Russia should have done that to prevent USA’s aggression in Syria. By and large, if Russia had started shooting those missiles down, we would have not woken up this morning. If Russia had responded to the USA, it would have surely launched a nuclear conflict – a clash of two nuclear powers on a third territory», the expert added. «Russian air defence systems are subordinated only to Russia. They protect Russian military facilities. Everything else has nothing to do with reality. That said, Israel and Turkey are bombing Syria every now and then, while Russia covers only its own military infrastructure in the country. I would not exclude that the Russian administration took a

EDR – July / August 2017



M Members of the Romanian Air Force

demonstrate the capabilities of the HAWK missile system for U.S. Army soldiers from the 5th Battalion, 7th Air Defense Artillery Regiment during a “Patriot Shock” exercise in Capu Midia, Romania in November 2016. The exercise was used to test the unit’s quick response deployment readiness and joint interoperability with U.S. Army “Patriot” missile systems and their Romanian partners. political decision not to intercept the U.S. missiles, because it would have been a conflict between Russia and the USA on the level of air defence interception», military expert Vladislav Shurygin said. It is worthy of note that the Russian Defence Ministry strongly denied rumours saying that Russia intercepted the US missiles that had not reached the target.

The Russian top-level missile expertise The S-300 or “SA-10 Grumble” is regarded as one of the most potent anti-aircraft missile systems currently fielded. Its combined radar suite has the ability to simultaneously track up 18

to 100 targets while engaging up to 12, 24 or 36 targets simultaneously ! The S-300 is part of a series of initially Soviet and later Russian long range surface-to-air missile systems produced by NPO Almaz, based on the initial S-300P version. It was developed for the Soviet Air Defence Forces to defend against NATO aircraft and cruise missiles. Subsequent variations were developed to intercept ballistic missiles. The robust S-300 system was first deployed by the USSR in 1979, designed for the air defence of large industrial and administrative facilities, military bases, and control of airspace against enemy strike aircraft. The project-managing developer of the S-300 is the Russian Almaz corporation which is currently a part of the “Almaz-Antey” Air Defence Concern which uses missiles developed by the MKB «Fakel» design bureau. The typical S-300 battle unit deployment time does not exceed five minutes in well trained hands. The S-300 missiles are sealed rounds and require no maintenance over their lifetime. Several evolved version of the S-300 system exist: the S-300V (SA-12 « Gladiator »), the S-300PMU (SA-20 « Gargoyle ») the S-400 (SA-21 “Growler”), which entered limited service in 2004 and which production has been revitalised thanks to Russian defence budget increases. A further July / August 2017 – EDR

improved « Antey 2500 » or S-300VM (SA-X-23) is in development thus keeping the Russian GIADS in the leading trio, with the Raytheon Patriot and MBDA’s Aster family.

The realm of the Patriot One of the most famous air defence missiles in the world, the US Army’s Patriot missile rose to notoriety during the 1991 Gulf War, when it was used to protect Coalition forces and Israeli population centres from Saddam Hussein’s dreaded “Scud” missiles. Although lauded at the time as a great success, Patriot’s true success rate reportedly hovered in the single digits. Since then, the Raytheon-made Patriot has been almost continuously improved and the result is reckoned to be a mature missile system capable of intercepting targets flying highly divergent flight profiles. Originally designed to defend only against aircraft, Patriot is now capable of engaging helicopters, cruise missiles, ballistic missiles and drones. Against ballistic missiles, Patriot is employed to intercept warheads in the terminal descent phase. Patriot development has branched into two missiles. A Patriot battery can control both types, in order to cover a spectrum of threats. PAC-2/GEM is capable of shooting down aircraft, cruise missiles and to a lesser extent, theatre ballistic missiles. It is deployed four to a launcher. PAC-2/GEM has a range of 70km to a maximum altitude of 84,000 feet. The newer and sleeker PAC-3 MSE is designed strictly toward shooting down ballistic missiles. PAC-3 MSE is also smaller, and a launcher can carry twelve missiles instead of four. The missile has a range of 35km and a maximum altitude of 112,000 feet. Patriot was a product of the seventies and eighties, a period when battlefield missile defence was not seriously discussed, and was designed purely to intercept aircraft. Over time, Patriot has however proven surprisingly adaptable and has been selected by many NATO forces and selected allies of the USA. Derived from the Patriot philosophy the Medium Extended Air Defence System (MEADS) programme now underway is aimed to replace Patriot missiles in the United States, Germany and Italy. Competing with MBDA’s SAMP/T now deployed with army regiments both in France and Italy, MEADS is designed to kill enemy aircraft, cruise missiles and EDR – July / August 2017

UAVs, while providing next-generation point defence capabilities against ballistic missiles. MEADS also aims to offer improved mobility and wider compatibility with other existing air defence systems. It was intended from its inception on the screen to match up against foreseeable enemy aircraft over the next 30 years, as well as stealthier and/or supersonic cruise missiles, UAVs, and even ballistic missiles. The system will incorporate its own 3-radar set, along with networked communications for use as either a stand-alone system, or a component of larger air defence clusters that include other missiles. The core vehicle for the US MEADS programme will be the US-made FMTV 6×6 trucks. These vehicles, which can be carried in C-130 or C-17 airlifters, will carry the radars, containerized Tactical Operations Center (TOC), launcher, and reload packs. MEADS International has already tested some of the prototype systems to fit as well the A400M. Italian and German test vehicles have used their own national truck brands (Iveco or MAN), and the Germans in particular appear to be leaning to larger vehicles. The ground-based tactical Medium Extended Air Defence System (MEADS) is designed for protecting troops in out-of-area missions as well as assets and areas in alliance and national-defence contexts. Equipped with a 360° radar system, a command post with leading-edge technology and hit-to-kill missiles, the system can combat all airborne targets, including cruise missiles and tactical-ballistic missiles.

PAAMS and its European land derivatives Aiming at a very high commonality and standardization levels, using both the Aster 15 and Aster 30 missiles as killers, the PAAMS programme (Principal Anti-Air Missile System), launched 16 years ago, covered the design and manufacture of the principal naval anti-air weapon system for new generation of air defence destroyers and frigates. Mainly for the Royal Navy’s T45 destroyers (where it is named Sea Viper), and for France and Italy Horizon/Orizzonte frigates, as well as all FREMM models, although not operated literally as part of a PAAMS air-defence suite. Currently in service in France, Italy and the United Kingdon, the PAAMS system provides the navies of the three countries with a very potent IADS. It is now well known and 19

N The U.S. Ballistic

Š A. Hall

Missile Defense System engages five targets simultaneously during the largest missile defence flight test in history held in 2012. Here a Patriot Advanced Capability 3 (PAC-3) interceptor is launched from Omelek Island in the Marshall islands.

covered in details in many publications. Developed by major European missile company producers (MBDA, TAD, Leonardo and BAE) gathered inside the EUROPAAMS GIE, acting on behalf of the three nations, it is an air defence system able to fulfil three tasks simultaneously: self defence of the frigate/destroyer, local area defence for a warship group at sea, and medium range air defence for a warship group. From a technical viewpoint, the PAAMS system shares numerous items with MBDA’s FSAF systems (Future Surface-to-Air Family of missiles), especially the Aster 30 missile which is also the main armament of the SAMP/T (Sol-Air Moyenne Portée/Terrestre or Groundto-Air Medium Range Missile System), a launch package again built around the Thales-designed Arabel X-band multi-function acquisition and tracking radar. Eurosam’s air-defence systems are based on a modular architecture, with specific modules or « building blocks » which can be combined to precisely tailor each system. A basic system consists of one multi-function radar, a command and control post with Mara computers and Magics operator consoles, and a vertical launch system. Additional sub-systems can be added to optimize the basic system’s capabilities for specific missions, such as naval extended area defence or antiballistic missile defence. In Norway, Kongsberg, in partnership with Raytheon, is addressing one part of the air defence bubble and is offering one of the most modern and f lexible medium-range air defence systems in the world: NASAMS (a surface launched AMRAAM system), of course mainly based on the Patriot and HAWK XXI missile systems. The Royal Norwegian Air Force was the first customer to introduce the NASAMS (Norwegian Advanced Surfaceto-Air Missile System) programme. Because of their success during NATO live f lying exercises, NASAMS batteries are taken extremely in earnest by NATO aircrew. It is currently earmarked by the Norwegian Armed forces to be deployed in support of international crisis management operations. On top of that the Australian Government has announced that a National Advanced Surface to Air Missile System (NASAMS) solution will be developed for the Land 19 Phase 7B project – the Ground Based Air and Missile Defence capability for the Australian Army through a single supplier simited tender process to Raytheon Australia. EDR – July / August 2017

Raytheon Australia has been identified as the Prime System Integrator and Kongsberg will be a major sub-contractor in the deal. NASAMS is a mobile ground-based air defence system in service with seven nations today, including Norway and the United States. Still in Scandinavia, Terma in Denmark offers an open and f lexible system architecture GIADS that allows for modular integration of new and legacy sensor and effector systems, changing stand-alone effector systems, and individual assets into one integral and coherent system. With delivery of the ACCIS-Flex to a EU country, Terma has added a new user to the T-Core platform and applied a generic, modular, and scalable solution for air surveillance and air defence. It is open for a f lexible and futureproof solution, allowing the use of legacy and new sensors and effectors from multiple sellers, including the possibility to easily add or replace sensors or effectors simply by adding or replacing software interface components. With the T-Core modular platform, Terma offers a generic set of C2 capabilities, matching these requirements. Terma has delivered tactical command, control, and communication systems (C3) for more than 30 years to armed forces, and civilian air traffic aanagement customers. Neutral Sweden has developed on its side, the BAMSE SRSAM system, one of few systems in the world today that is developed and optimised as a dedicated GIADS. BAMSE SRSAM is designed for f lexible usage both for stand-alone operation as well as in networks with other sensors and weapon systems. Its basic philosophy is to optimise system effect by having a number of fully coordinated firing units which together create a ground coverage for the system of more than 2,100km 2 and an effective altitude coverage up to 15 km. The BAMSE SRSAM system has built-in ECCM capabilities both in its associated Giraffe AMB surveillance radar and the unique monopulse Fire Control Radar (FCR) Automatic Command to Line Of Sight (ACLOS) missile guidance function. In short, no efficient GIADS can exist today without its score of dedicated computers which command everything! Thus will the ultimate smart way to defeat a complex and powerful layered missile shield be… cyberwar? Another victory of human intelligence over the brute muscle force? J 21

N Unveiled in 2017, the HK433 should definitely

be the assault rifle offered by Heckler & Koch for the German Army bid aimed at replacing the current G36.

© Heckler & Koch

Small arms: new weapons and new contracts By Paolo Valpolini Strangely enough in the cyber-era there are some types of weapons that have been around for years that still seem to have not solved all technical problems. If you consider the criticism over some assault rifles designed in the 1990s that led to their early replacement, the first was the Spanish CETME, replaced with the German G-36, the latter already awaiting a successor in the near future in Germany, it is quite clear that assault rifles are still an issue. Personal defence weapons (PDWs) to be provided to soldiers with specific tasks needing a compact automatic weapon, such as drivers, tank crews, etc, have not attracted the success initially awaited. As for handguns, striker pistols are appearing in the military world, although many armies require an external safety catch, a bit of a non sense on such type of pistol. 22

July / August 2017 – EDR


being also fully ambidextrous, which was not the case for the “clarion” (bugle as it was known in the forces) that was thus issued in two different versions, its stock being adaptable to the soldiers’ size. Four Picatinny rails available on the handguard allow to install accessories such as the HK 269F 40mm underbarrel grenade launcher which is also ambidextrous, handgrip with bipod, optical sights, etc. The HK 416F is being issued in two different versions: 38,505 rifles are being acquired in the Standard version, HK416F-S, with a 14.5-inch barrel, which can also fire and will be delivered to infantry units, the remaining 54,575 known as HK416F-C (Court for short) being fitted with an 11-inch barrel. Currently most infantry units are equipped with the FAMAS FELIN, adapted

M Heckler & Koch HK416 has been selected by France, most of the rifles being destined to the Army.

M In June 2017 the first two French Army regiments

The Army will get some 5,300 weapons in 2017, then in the 2018-23 timeframe 10,000 rifles per year will be produced, deliveries being halved in the last five years of the contract. The Army share will allow to issue the weapon to the whole Land Operational Force (FOT) of 77,000 military as well as to those who are not part of the FOT and to reserve personnel. The first two Army units were issued the HK416F last June. The 1st Régiment de Tirailleurs, part of the 7th Armoured Brigade, got a first batch of 150 weapons, the 13ème demi-Brigade de Légion Étrangère part of the 6th Light Armoured Brigade receiving a batch of 250 rifles. Improvements over the FAMAS consist for example in a 30-round magazine versus the 25-round of the older rifle, the HK 416F

to the French Army “Future Soldier” system known as FELIN. Initially those units will maintain in service their old assault rifles in order to maintain the FELIN capabilities, as the Armée de Terre plans to issue the kits for adapting the new rifle to the next step of the FELIN programme around 2020. Overall the Armée de Terre plans to modify 14,915 HK416F-S in the 2020-21 timeframe, the work being carried out at unit level. Initially rifles will be equipped with the current kit, only the interface being different to cope with the new rifle, however in due time they will receive the FELIN 2.0 equipment that is an evolution of the current system, key improvements being in the mobility and modularity, weight reduction being a permanent concern.

© Armée de Terre

n Europe the French Army is starting receiving its new assault rifles, that will replace the FAMAS bullpup in service since the late 1970s. The selected weapon was the HK 416F, the last letter standing for France, a total of 117,000 rifles being acquired with deliveries spread between 2017 and 2028. Initially the contract called for 102,000 rifles, the number having been increased by 15,000 to cope with the needs of reserve units. Some 93,080 are destined to the Army, nearly 10,000 being aimed to the Navy and Air Force ground units. The contract also includes 10,767 HK269F 40mm x 46 grenade launchers, accessories, ammunition, spares and support services over a period of fifteen years.

EDR – July / August 2017

received their HK416 that will replace the current FAMAS bullpup rifle in service since the late 1970s .


Š Heckler & Koch Š Rheinmetall

Remaining with Heckler & Koch, its G36 is nonetheless still a successful rifle, the last known contract being that with Lithuania for an improved version of that rif le known as G36 KA4M1. Upgrades are mostly linked to ergonomy, with new buttstocks, handguards and sight rails. Lithuania also acquired the new HK269 40mm UBGL designed for ambidextrous use, as it can be opened either on the right or left side. The Lithuanian Army was already equipped with a number of G36; the contract, filed in August 2016 is worth 12.5 million Euro, no numbers being announced as for rifles and grenade launchers, deliveries being expected to be completed by 2017.

O Fully ambidextrous,

the HK433 can be fitted with the K269 40mm underbarrel grenade launcher, also ambidextrous as it can open on the right or left side. Following the sequel on G36 performances, Germany finally decided to replace that assault rifle adopted in the mid 1990s. On April 1, 2017, the Bundeswehr Equipment, Information Technology and In-Service Support (BAAINBw) released the tender for the System Sturmgewehr Bundeswehr. Submissions were due by May 22, however no official information are yet available on competitors. The forecasted number of rifles needed should be around 120,000; selection is awaited for next year, while N The German requirement for

the new assault rifle should be for around 120,000 weapons. No calibre is indicated in the document, but all known competitors seem to concentrate on the 5.56mm.

& Ko ch © H ec kl er

P The latest development by Heckler & Koch

is the HK433, which modular concept allows to adapt it to fit the habits of G36 or M4 users.

production should start in Q2 2019 and run until Q1 2026, the contract value being estimated at 245 million Euro. Not much has emerged in terms of requirements, weight limit being 3.6kg without magazine, two barrel lengths being required, the rifle being ambidextrous, barrel life being at least of 15,000 rounds, the receiver endurance requirement being the double. Oddly enough no indication of calibre seems to be part of the requirement document, allowing competitors to propose weapons in both NATO standard calibre, 5.56x45 and 7.62x51, although the former being apparently considered the most probable one. Among competitors we definitely find three national solutions, proposed respectively by Heckler & Koch, Rheinmetall and Haenel. How much international competitors such as FN and SIG Sauer might try their chance against the well known home-spending tendency of the German Parliament remains to be seen. In February 2017 Heckler & Koch unveiled its new HK 433, the aim being that of putting together the best features of the G36 and the HK 416, while keeping the weapon price lower than that of the latter rif le. Gas operated, it features an indirect impingement short-stroke gas piston system with a locked rotating bolt, and is provided with six different lengths of cold hammered hard chromium plated barrels, 11-, 12.5-, 14.5-, 16.5-, 18.9- and 20-inch. Self-lubricating sliding elements adopted for the bolt allow reduced maintenance. As required by the Bundeswehr the HK 433 has

a three positions selector, safe, single and auto, the rate of fire being 700 rpm. An adjustable gas port allows the adoption of a sound suppressor. The standard magazine follows NATO STANAG 4179, however using the conversion kit the HK 433 can also use the G36 magazine. The lower receiver is replaceable, a G36-like and an AR-15like being available, allowing the service to choose the solution closer to the previously used weapon, thus reducing the training burden. Fitted with a foldable and retractable buttstock, it can be fired even with the stock folded; exchangeable grip shells further improve adaptability. The aluminium upper receiver is fitted with a NATO Accessory Rail (NAR) according to STANAG 4694, the handguard featuring a Picatinny/NAR rail in the six o’clock position, while at 3 and 9 o’clock we find Hkey interfaces. H&K offers a shot counter that can download information using RFID technology. Beside the 5.56mm version, the new H&K rifle will be available also in .300 Blackout, the 7.62x39mm version being named HK 123 while the 7.62x51mm version is dubbed HK 231. Rheinmetall and Steyr Mannlicher teamed to propose the RS 556 (Rheinmetall – Steyr 5.56) for the German bid, the rifle being a development of the STM-556 unveiled by the Austrian small arms manufacturer in 2012. The lower receiver is that of the AR15 however all commands are ambidextrous, while the gas system is based on a short-stroke piston. The piston drives an operating rod that forces the bolt

EDR – July / August 2017

© R h e in

here fitted with the 40mm UBGL, is similar in many aspects to the AR-15 family.

m e ta ll

P Rheinmetall’s RS556,


m e ta ll © R h e in

P The German Bundeswehr contract for a new assault rifle has attracted the interest of Rheinmetall which teamed with Steyr Mannlicher for proposing a derivative of the STM-556.

carrier to the rear, and is locked by a rotating bolt, bolt carrier elements being in steel while the upper and lower receiver are made of aluminium. This solution derived from the Steyr AUG as well as the quick barrel change system requiring no tools, five different barrel lengths being available. To cope with different usage conditions a four position gas

regulator is adopted. The weapon is fitted with a telescopic polymer buttstock. Beside the 5.56mm version the weapon is also offered in .300 AAC Blackout and 7.62 x 39mm versions. The third German bidder (although the property has shifted in the hands of Tawazun of the UAE) for the G36 replacement is another AR15 based rif le, the Haenel Mk 556 based on an indirect gas-operating system with adjustable gas-offtake. The buttstock is also similar to that of the M4, while five different barrel lengths are

P The latest development in .338

© Accuracy International

LM from Accuracy International is the AMXC338 which last known customer is Lithuania.


July / August 2017 – EDR

© Paolo Valpolini

M Beretta has started the production of the ARX 200 in 7.62 x 51mm calibre and has delivered

the first batches to the Italian Army. offered. Two options are provided for the safety lever, respectively with safe-single-auto positions at 0°-60°-120° or at 0°-90°-180°, depending on customer choice, while the trigger pull is of 3.2kg, all controls being ambidextrous. The handguard is equipped with four NAR rails, foldable mechanical sights being also fitted. While those should be the three German competitors, not much is known about possible international bidders, potentially all major small arms manufacturers being able to provide a solution. Another question mark is that about a possible common solution between France and Germany, proposed in late 2015 by France, at a date when however the HK 433 had not yet appeared. Another bid, although for a much reduced number of rif les, was launched in Germany in January 2017 for a new rif le aimed at German Special Forces. The BAAINBw requirement is for 1,705 rif les, to which we must add five for the initial evaluation and 40 more for acceptance trials, the winning competitor delivering thus a total of 1,750 rif les. Looking at requirements, these are 28

for a 5.56x45mm rif le with fully automatic gas pressure charger, featuring a barrel life of at least 10,000 rounds, the receiver life requirement being three times more. It must be ambidextrous and must be equipped with STANAG 4694 Rails on hand guard and top of receiver to allow installation of accessories such as laser module, flashlight and other supporting equipment. The weapon must be compatible with a sound suppressor, and must be less than 900mm long without the suppressor, maximum weight without magazine and optics being 3.8kg. Rheinmetall is definitely offering its RS 556 for this bid, however Heckler & Koch should propose its HK 416 A5, while it is unclear if Haenel will also be part of the game. As in the previous case, not much is known about which foreign competitors might challenge German companies. Remaining among the German SF community, the KSK units started receiving their new Haenel RS-9 .338 LM sniper rifle in 2016, the rifle being known as G-29 in the Bundeswehr. Fitted with a 690mm long barrel, it has a length 1,275mm, which reduces to 1,020mm with the stock folded. The KSK chose a Steiner Military 5-25x56-ZF scope, to which July / August 2017 – EDR

EDR – July / August 2017

Remington and 6.5 Creed, Scorpio in .338 LM and .300 Win, and Tormentum in .375 and .408 Cheytac. Remaining within Beretta, Poland recently bought 150 Sako M10 modular rifles chambered in .338 LM. Back to assault rifles, Beretta is delivering its ARX-200 combat rifles to the Italian Army; those 7.62 x 51mm rifles will allow Italian combat teams to increase their reach, compared to the 5.56mm ammunition used in their Beretta ARX-160s. Beretta should soon start the development of the semi-auto version of the ARX-200, which will be the true Designated Marksman Rifle (DMR) in the company portfolio. Numerous armies are getting their new rif les. In late 2016 the Czech Army started receiving the first batch of CZ Bren 2 assault rif le (a weapon widely described in EDR Magazine issues 29 and N A considerably improved version

of the original assaut rifle, the Bren 2 has been adopted by the Czech Army which is currently receiving the first batches.

© Paolo Valpolini

an Aimpoint Micro T-2 red-dot sight for close shooting. In June 2017 they started receiving the B&T Monoblock suppressor purposely designed for the .338 LM calibre that adds 222mm to the rifle length and 652 grammes to its weight, which is of 7.54kg without accessories. Another country that recently shifted to the .338 LM for its snipers is Lithuania, the Baltic state having acquired an undisclosed number of Accuracy International AXMC in late 2016. This is a major leap forward in terms of accuracy and range as until now Lithuanian snipers were equipped with semiautomatic rifles in 7.62 x 51mm calibre. Remaining in the sniper’s world, some new entries added to historical brands, such as Austriabased Ritter & Stark with its SX-1 Modular Tactical Rif le, available in 7.62 x 51, .300 Winchester Magnum and .338 Lapua Magnum, and Italy’s Victrix, acquired by Beretta in December 2016, which portfolio includes four bolt-action rif les, Pugio in 7.62 x 51, Gladius in 7.62 x 51, .260


M An ACE 321 chambered in 7.62 x 39mm

produced by Israel Weapons Industries; the Israeli company recently signed an agreement with Punji Lloyd of India and created a joint venture for producing small arms in various calibres. O The Bren 2 in different configurations, from

© Paolo Valpolini

the top a rifle with a 14-inch barrel, one with an 11-inch barrel and one with the 8-inch barrel.


32), 2,600 such rif les having been ordered, 1,900 fitted with the 356mm barrel and 700 in the short configuration with the 280mm barrel. Also in late 2016 the Dutch Navy Special Forces received their SIG MCX short barrel carbines, becoming the first service to adopt the .300 Blackout calibre, their carbines replacing submachine guns in CQB situations. Among the ammunition included in the contract we can find not only standard and sub-sonic rounds, but also lead-free frangible ones, which allow to avoid ricochet when operating in enclosed July / August 2017 – EDR

EDR – July / August 2017

30 rounds 30 rounds Magazine

30 rounds

30 rounds

30 rounds

700 rpm 600-800 rpm 750 rpm Firing rate

850 rpm

3.25 3.30 3.40 3.50 3.60 3.65 3.70 (406 mm barrel) 3.63 Weight [kg]

3.12 3.49 3.56 3.85 3.35 3.40 3.50 3.60

792 764 705 634 613 755 Length butt retracted/folded [mm]

709 797 848 934 696 748 798 838

816 (406 mm barrel)


989 1032 1060 931 881 843 883 923 812 1002 Length butt extended [mm]

805 893 944 1030 781

503 480 421 368 480 Barrel length [mm]

280 368


505 266


368 408 292 368 406 457 508 280


5.56 x 45 5.56 x 45 5.56 x 45 5.56 x 45 5.56 x 45 Caliber

Heckler & Koch Rheinmetall Steyr Heckler & Koch Heckler & Koch


HK 433 RS 556 MK 556 HK 416 A5

Among other major bids that are emerging worldwide as always India remains one of the key potential customers for small arms producers, its potential small arms market being estimated at some billion dollars. Its Ministry of Defence recently launched an RfP for the acquisition of a limited number of assault rifles in 7.62mm calibre, submachine guns and pistols for the Air Force Special Forces units, but this is just the tip of the iceberg of contracts aimed at re-equipping India’s armed forces, decision on those acquisition having been moved to the right in the recent past. International companies are teaming up with local entities, one of the last being Israeli IWI that in May 2017 created a joint venture together with Punji Lloyd, known as Punj Lloyd Raksha Systems, to jointly produce small arms. India’s historical opponent, Pakistan, is also seeking new small arms to replace its G3 and Type 56 rif les, in 7.62 x 51 and 7.62 x 39, several competitors including FN, CZ, Beretta and others looking at potential contracts in that country. J

HK G36

spaces. In early January 2017 the Turkish Land Forces received the first batch of MPT76 7.62 x 51mm assault rif les from MKEK; the 500 rif les delivered are the first ones of the 20,000 that will be manufactured by MKEK over the 35,000 ordered, Turkey having adopted a two-source solution, the other manufacturer being KaleKalip. At IDEF 2017 MKEK introduced its new 5.56x45mm assault rif le, the MPT-55 (Milli Piyade Tüfeği, national infantry rif le), which is available in standard version with a 368mm barrel and in a short version (MPT-55K). The new rif le features a short-strike piston gas system similar to that of the AR-15, and has been developed according to Turkish Special Forces requirements, 20,000 rif les having been ordered in late 2016. A DMR version of the MPT-76 dubbed KNT-76 (Keskin Nişancı Tüfeği, sniper rif le) with a 508mm barrel has also been unveiled, as well as a carbine version, the KAAN-717, with a 305mm barrel. As for Russia, Venezuela is building a facility in Maracay that should start producing the AK-103 and AK 104, as well as 7.62 x 39mm ammunition, in 2019.


© Naval Group

P The 4,000t Frégate de Taille intermédiaire (FTI) or Belharra mid-size frigate design was developed by Naval Group (previously DCNS), to satisfy both the French Navy and the export market.

Medium-size and higher-end frigates: latest developments in Europe and Russia


By Luca Peruzzi

he single-mission or multipurpose frigates have and will represent the backbone of main or smaller navies together with corvettes. The largest platforms such as current FREMM or future Type 26 or similarly-equipped PPAs with a multipurpose design to accomplish a wide-range of missions thanks to flexible mission bays, new generation sensors, weapons and unmanned vehicles continue to be designed and built, but many main and smaller navies are looking for medium-size frigates with higher-end capabilities, as they cannot afford larger platform procurement and in-service support. Unveiled at Euronaval 2016, the 4,000t Frégate de Taille intermédiaire (FTI) or Belharra mid-size frigate was developed by Naval Group (previously DCNS), to satisfy both the French Navy requirement to deploy 15 heavily-equipped frigates based on an32

eight FREEMs and five-FTIs components by 2030, and the needs of naval forces which cannot afford a FREMM-like platform, while maintaining most of the combat capabilities. The French Direction générale de l’armement (DGA) notified to DCNS, today Naval Group, the reported EUR3.8 billioncontract for the five FTIs on April 2017, the first to be delivered in 2023 and enter-into-service in 2025. The 4,250-tonnes full-load displacement and 122-meters long and 17-meters large ‘digital’ frigate features an ‘inverted bow’ design intended to improve seakeeping in high sea states. With a 32-MW fourdiesel engines CODAD-arranged propulsion system allowing to reach 27 knots, accommodations for about 150 persons (based on 110 crew plus 15 for the helicopter detachment), the FTI will be equipped with a combat system centred on DCNSdeveloped advanced digital infrastructure design July / August 2017 – EDR

combat system and a stretched hull to receive a f lexible zone for unmanned vehicles, RHIBs, container storage and increased autonomy. The fourth Aquitaine-class FREMM frigate has been delivered by DCNS today Naval Group to French Navy on April 2017 while the last two of six ASWconfigured platforms will follow respectively in 2018 and 2019. The two AAW-tailored same-class frigates are planned for 2021 and 2022 delivery. With a full load displacement of about 6,000-tonnes, a 142-meters length and a 20-meters beam, the French FREMMs has a combined diesel electric or gas propulsion (CODLOG) system based on a General Electric 32 MW LM-2500+G4 gas turbine and two Jeumont electric motors and four MTU diesel generators providing a maximum speed of 27 knots and a quiet low-to-medium speed up to 16 knots. With a highly automated platform and command management system (CMS) allowing for a reduced crew of 108 including the NH90 helicopter flight detachment, which is augmented for high-end missions, the ship combat system is centred on Naval Group SETIS CMS, Thales-provided IP-based communications suite and SIC-21 command information system (CIS). The managed sensors and weapon package includes Thales Herakles multifunction radar and Artemis starring array IRST (infrared search and tracking system), a Sagem electro-optical fire control and an N The Naval Group-marketed FREMM

frigate has already gained international success, having delivered one ship to Royal Moroccan Navy in January 2014 and one to Egyptian Navy on June 2015, with a through life support service, in addition to French Navy.

© Naval Group

and the PSIM (panoramic surveillance intelligence module) incorporating Naval Group SETIS CMS, Thales Aquilon communications suite and radar, EO/IR and EW sensors package. The later includes Thales Sea Fire full digital Active Electronically Scanned Array (AESA) multifunction radar with four-fixed antennas, which will be integrated with MBDA shipborne air defence system based on Aster 15/30 surface-to-air missiles (SAMs) and Naval Group Sylver 50 VLS (two 8-cells) (growth for additional two VLS), new generation IFF, Safran new-generation Paseo XLR extra long-range naval EO/IR identification and FCS package, and the newgeneration Thales Silen EW-suite with RESM/CESM (provisions for RECMs) and Lacroix decoy launchers. The armament features a Leonardo 76/62mm Super Rapido main gun, two Nexter Narwhal 20mm guns, 8 MBDA MM40 Block 3 Exocet anti-ship missile (ASMs), two twin-MU90 torpedo launchers and an ASW suite centred on Thales Kingklip Mk2 hull-mounted and new CAPTAS 4 compact lowfrequency variable-depth sonar (VDS). The FTI features a flight deck and hangar for an NHIndustries NFH90 or future French light joint helicopter and one VTUAV being developed by Airbus Helicopter and Naval Group, and will operate an ECUME (plus one smaller) special forces RHIBs. Thanks to its flexible design based also on ACCESS (Afloat Common Computing Evolutive and Secured System) project, the Belharra export-version can be proposed in different versions with adapted common payload and platform arrangement, including a reinforced

EDR – July / August 2017


©Italian Navy

integrated Sigen (Elettronica-Thales) EW suite based on RESM, RECM, CESM and Sagem NGDS soft-kill decoy launchers. The Thales ASW suite includes bow-mounted UMS 4100 sonar and UMS 4249 low-frequency variable depth sonar (VDS), a passive detection array and SLAT decoy launchers. The armament package includes one Oto Melara 76/62mm Super Rapido main gun, two DCNS Sylver A43 8-cell VLS for 16 MBDA Aster 15s and two Sylver A70 VLS for 16 MBDA MdCN cruise missile, two MU-90 torpedo launchers and eight MBDA Exocet block 3 anti-ship missiles (ASMs) plus two remotely controlled Nexter Narwhal 20mm guns. The two AAW-tailored FREMM called frégates de defense aérienne (FREDA) will differ for more capable Thales Herakles multifunction radar, expanded CMS and four SylverA50 VLS for 32 Aster 15/30 missiles. The Naval Group-marketed FREMM has already gained international success, having delivered one ship to Royal Moroccan Navy in January 2014 and one to Egyptian Navy on June 2015, with a through life support service. Naval Group however developed and is marketing a FREMM version with an integrated mast centered on Thales France under-development fixed active electronically scanned array (AESA)

multifunction Sea Fire radar and enhanced CMS, which is being promoted worldwide, such as for the Canadian Surface Combatant (CSC) program. The ten FREMMs program for Italian Navy, including six general purpose (GP) variant platforms with ASuW capabilities and four ASW-configured, is proceeding according to plans with six already in-service and four more within 2022. Delivered by Orizzonte Sistemi Navali (OSN), a Fincantieri shipbuilding group-lead joint-venture with Leonardo defence and security group, Italy’s FREMMs features a 6,700-tonnes full-load displacement, a 144-meters length and a 20-meters beam, a combined dieselelectric and gas (CODLAG)-configured propulsion system based on one Avio/GE 32-MW LM-2500+G4 gas turbine, two electric motors and four Isotta Fraschini diesel generators offering a wider operational flexibility. With a highly-automated platform and combat system suite and a 145 crew, including the two NFH90 (or EH101 and NFH90) helicopters flight detachment, the GP is equipped with a stern-launched 11 meters RIHB. Equipped with Leonardo-provided CMS, CIS and IP-based communications suites, both variants however share MBDA Italia SAAM-ESD (Extended Self-Defence)

P The ten FREMMs program for Italian Navy

is proceeding according to plans with six already in-service and four more within 2022. The Fincantieri’s FREMM design has been down selected together with other two competitors, for SEA 5000 Australian Future Frigate program.


July / August 2017 – EDR

©Italian Navy

P The Italian Navy will replace a range

of vessels (destroyers, frigates and patrol ships), with the new generation multirole combat patrol platform called PPA (Pattugliatore Polivalente d’Altura), here depicted. AAW system based on Leonardo multifunction AESA MFRA radar, two 8-cells Naval Group Sylver A50 VLS with Aster 15/30 missiles for consort ships and local area defence, SASS IRST, new-generation IFF, RASS surface-air search radar and two radar/ EO FCSs, the RESM/CESM/ECM ElettronicaThales EW suite with Leonardo decoy launchers. The GP’s weapon package includes Leonardo’s 127/64 LW main gun with automated magazine and Vulcano long-range guided ammunitions, a Strales inner layer defence systems (ILDS) with 76/62 Super Rapido and guided ammunitions, two 25mm guns and eight MBDA Otomat Mk2 Block IV ASMs. The ASW variant differs for two Strales ILDS (one replacing the 127/64 gun) and the ASW suite with bow-mounted UMS 4100 sonar, and the stern-area accommodated low-frequency UMS 4249 VDS, passive detection array, Slat decoy launchers plus MBDA Milas ASW missiles. Fincantieri ‘s FREMM well-proven design was short-listed by Australian DoD, participating to the Competitive Evaluation Process (CEP) phase of Royal Australian Navy’s SEA 5000 program with a request for tenders (RFT) issued in March 2017, with Italian Navy’s Carabiniere ASW FREMM capabilities having been successfully shown to RAN during a tour in Australia and Asia. The ASW variant is offered with larger main gun and incorporating Australiandeveloped CEA Technologies EASA radar and the eventually requested CMS. The shipbuilding group is offering worldwide different FREMM designs with Lockheed Martin Aegis Weapon System or other fixed phased array radar main mast configurations and different propulsion systems to satisfy other market requirement such as the Canada’s CSC program requirements. EDR – July / August 2017

To satisfy the requirements of several navies worldwide for medium size combatant vessels, Fincantieri is offering a medium-size New Light Frigate (NLF) design with a 4,000-to-4,500-tonnes full load displacement and 120-to-125-metres length to fill the gap into its products portfolio, between the 3,100t multirole corvette and the 6,700-tonnes FREMM frigate. The NLF design was conceived to provide tailored solutions for a range of potential customers, interested in acquiring first line vessels, with significant capabilities in terms of combat systems and capacity of accomplishing complex missions during peacetime and open crisis situations, but with rather contained overall platform dimensions (hence with reduced acquisition and through-life costs and easier to operate). Based on an extended feasibility study, in addition to affordability and technical reliability, the whole warship was conceived to be intrinsically flexible in term of both platform and combat system. With a steel hull and aluminum superstructures, lowobservable and high survivability features, organic helo and boats capabilities, the NLF design can accommodate alternative propulsion system layouts for 26-to-30 knots max speed range. When ASW features are not stringent and high-top speed isn’t required, the NLF can accommodate a CODADbased propulsion (with possible hybrid solutions for loitering speeds), while CODOG or CODAG are being considered when these requirements become driving parameters. Adequate design margins ensure the NLF design can host a variety of different combat system configurations, CMS, sensors and armament packages. Fincantieri is already offering worldwide the NLF design which has attracted interests from potential customers. Although the Italian shipbuilding group hasn’t disclosed computer images of new design, resembling a stealth frigate with a covered bow area 35

P A further important step toward

© German Mod

completing the German Navy’s F125 shipbuilding program, was reached on May 2017, when the last of four F-125 frigates-type or Baden-Würtemberg class frigates to be delivered in spring 2020, has been christened.

for main gun and VLS for surface-to-air missile, a single superstructure block with tandem funnel groups and amidships area for surface-to-surface missiles, in addition to a stern f light deck and hangar capable to accommodate a 10t helicopter, the 4,000-to-4,500-tonnes and circa 120-metres long design can accommodate circa 140 persons with a 120-crew core, a flight detachment and boarding team. The armament package could include a 76/62 Super Rapido main gun, a 16-cells A50 vertical launcher system (or analogous) for surface-to-air missiles, eight anti-ship missiles and two torpedo launchers, a CIWS and smaller self-protection guns, in addition to two 7-meters RIHBs or even a larger 11-metres from stern ramp in alternative to variable-depth sonar. The combat sensor suite could include a rotating (or fixed) 3D multi-function radar, fire control systems for guns, full EW with RESM/CESM and RECM in addition to decoy launchers and an ASW suite with bow mounted sonar and torpedo detection system sided by VDS in a dedicated ASW platform. Within the €5.4 Fleet Renewal’s multi-year procurement program launched in 2015, Italian Navy will replace a range of vessels (destroyers, frigates and patrol ships), with the new generation multirole combat patrol platform called PPA (Pattugliatore 36

Polivalente d’Altura). Developed as ‘one size fits all’ concept, the PPAs will be delivered in seven platforms (with three options) in three configurations, from ‘light’ to perform low-intensity to a ‘full’ capable platform for high-end operations, to be handed-over between 2021 and 2026. The PPA’s main features include a wave-piercing bow, reduced-signature superstructures, and two reconfigurable areas for different payloads amidships (main-deck) and under the flight-deck for modular payloads followed by the stern compartment for a 9-metre RHIB launch and recovery station, defense systems, and variable depth sonar (VDS). With a full-load displacement of 6,280t, a 143-meters length and 16.5-meters beam, the PPA will have a CODAG-configured (Combined Diesel and Gas) propulsion system and two electric motors for low-speed operations on two shafts with CPPs and conventional rudders. It will be based on one Avio/GE LM-2500+G4 32MW gas turbine, two 10 MW-each MTU 20V800 M91L diesel engines and two 1.6-MW each electric motor, with electrical power provided by four diesel-generators. Maximum speed will range from 10 knots on electric motors to 25 with diesel and over 32 knots with gas turbine and diesel. Capable to accommodate up to two NFH90 helicopters, the PPA will have accommodations for 173 persons, with a crew of around 120 elements. July / August 2017 – EDR



he STATUS Company (www.status-arms.ru) has published a book titled “Russian Weapons in Syrian Conflict”. The book’s editor, Prof. Valery Polovinkin, PhD, Honored Scientist of the Russian Federation, told EDR that it has been the first analysis of the employment of Russian arms in Syria. The book offers information about the latest and upgraded Russian-made materiel proven in combat in the Syrian theater of operations since September 30, 2015. “The book is the first comprehensive assessment of the effectiveness of up-to-date Russian-made weapons in a real war under the harsh climatic conditions and the first analysis of possible changes to the global arms market, caused by the performance of Russian armament in Syria,” the scientist said. According to him, the latest Russian materiel the military is transitioning to should be fit for use in various climes around the world. “We realize full well that combat-proven weapons enjoy a higher demand on the international arms market than the ones lacking a combat record do. Everybody wants reliable hardware tested in battle, because they usually pay a lot of money for it,” Valery Polovinkin stressed. “Previously, Russian arms usually lagged behind US ones in this respect. As is known, the United

States fights on all continents and its weapons are always tested in battle. Now, Russia has the same opportunity owing to the friendly policies of Syria’s leadership,” the scientist noted. “We have tested all of our advanced weapons and demonstrated their capabilities to the whole of the world. This is especially important because many of the current and potential customers for our military gear are situated the same climatic zone or in the ones similar enough”, he emphasized. The book comprising six chapters provides detailed analysis of the Syrian operation of the Russian Aerospace Force, Navy and Army. Of special interest is the chapter covering Western military experts’ analysis of Russian weapons. The global arms market situation preceding Russia’s joining the Syrian conflict has been analyzed and a market assessment has been made based on the combat record of Russian arms in Syria. All information in the book is complemented with tables, graphs, charts and 200 color photographs courtesy of the Russian Defense Ministry and TASS Russian News Agency. STATUS Director General Andrei Shansherov told EDR that Russian Weapons in Syrian Conflict has been published both in Russian and in English.

© UK moD/Crown copyright

M With the award of the first batch of three new-generation Type 26 Global Combat Ships (GCSs) on June 2017, the UK MoD launched the long-waited shipbuilding program phase, with first-of-class delivery planned for mid 2020s.

The PPAs will feature a highly integrated platform management and advanced combat bridge with twopilots station developed by Fincantieri and Leonardo, the latter providing the new generation openarchitecture CMS and a newly developed sensors and weapon package. The PPA will be the first Italian Navy’s vessel to feature (full-combat configuration) the dual-band (C and X) AESA (Active Electrically Scanned Array) eight-arrays full-digital radar being developed by Leonardo together circular phasedarray IFF and IP-based communications suite. The full EW (RESM, CESM and RECM) suite is provided by Elettronica while the Leonardo ASW package includes the low-frequency ATAS (Active Towed Array System) VDS and the torpedo alert system. The weapon package is based on MBDA Italia evolved SAAM-ESD AAW system with Aster 15/30 missiles and Leonardo dual-band radar capable to handle ballistic missile threats with Aster 30 Block 1NT munition, the 127/64mm LW main gun with Vulcano ammunitions, the new ‘single-deck’ 76/62mm Super Rapido ILDS, two 25mm guns, up to eight MBDA Otomat Mk2 Block IV ASMs, Black Shark Advanced heavy-weight torpedoes launchers and two EW/ torpedo decoy launchers. A further important step toward completing the German Navy’s F125 shipbuilding program, was reached on May 2017, when the last of four F-125 frigates-type or Baden-Würtemberg class 38

frigates to be delivered in spring 2020 by ARGE F125 consortium including ThyssenKrupp Marine Systems as prime and Lürseen Werft shipbuilding, has been christened. Representing a departure from preceding German Navy’s classes in terms of design and operational ship concept, the F-125 combine in a 7,200t full load displacement, 149 meters long and 18 meters large platform, sustained presence and power projection by embarked special forces with four armed fast boats and two NFH90 helicopters, Leonardo’s 127/64mm LW main gun with Vulcano long range-guided ammunitions and CODLAG propulsion system based on single GE LM-2500+G4 20MW gas turbine, two 4,5 MW electric motors and four 2,9 MW, providing a 20 knots maximum speed on diesel-electric and 26-knots with gas turbine, together with a comprehensive self-defense package. The latter includes two RAM-System Block II-missiles Mk 49 launchers, two Rheinmetall 27mm MLG and five 12,7mm Leonardo’s Hitrole-NT remotely controlled guns, 2-12,7mm guns, sided by eight anti-ship missiles. Conceived to be deployed in out-of-areas operations lasting 24 months with crewrotation every four-months, the Siemens Marine & Shipbuilding ship automation and control system allows for a reduced 120-elements crew with a 20-element flight detachment and up to 50 special operators. The F-125’s Atlas Elektronics ANCS (Atlas naval Combat System) CMS paired with Atlas Tactical Data Link System (ADLis) package, managed a sensors suite centered on Airbus Defence and Space TRS-4D multifunction radar with four AESA antennas divided between the two masts, a Diehl BGT Defence’s Simone passive surveillance system, Rohde & Schwarz Gedis’ KORA-18 EW integrated suite including Rockwell Collins RESM and Gedis’ CESM with Rheinmetall Defence MASS launchers and Cerberus diver and swimmer detection system. Based on the F-125 design, TKMS group has been developing a platform, which could satisfy different July / August 2017 – EDR

in the early 2020s. Designed to meet requirements for a globally deployable, multi-mission warship capable of undertaking a wide range of missions, from low-to-high intensity warfare to humanitarian assistance, the Type 26-class will include eight frigates, while the remaining component requirements will be filled by the new class of smaller, cheaper Type 31 general-purpose light frigates (GPFF). With a 6,900-tonnes full-load displacement, a length and a beam of respectively 149.9 and 20.8 meters, the Type 26 design features a combined diesel electric or gas (CODELOG) machinery arrangement featuring a Rolls Royce MT30 gas turbine providing in excess of 26 knots, and four MTU 20V4000M53B diesel generators powering two GE Energy Power Conversion electric motors for lower speeds and lower silent operations. An innovative large flexible mission bay, hangar and flight deck arrangement provide a high level of flexibility allowing to accommodate up to four N The UK-based Defence Services subsidiary

of BMT Group has developed the Venator-110 modular light frigate platform design for national GPFF program and international markets. Here depicted the proposal for Colombian Navy.

© BMT Group

requirements worldwide, including the national multi-role MKS 180 platform program. According to latest plans, the German Navy’s next-generation surface combatant call for 7,000-8,000-tonnes displacement platforms, with a core crew of 100 plus additional capacity for 70 mission-specific personnel. The original advance mission modularity concept left the place for a more robust baseline capability for high-intensity warfare including large-calibre gun and SAMs. The plans to acquire four new platforms at a EUR4.2 billion costs with contract to be assigned within 2017 with deliveries from 2023 and the possibility of ordering a second batch later on, was reported to have changed in a singlebatch with six ships. Known competitors include ThyssenKrupp Marine Systems and Lürssen, which has recently acquired Blohm+Voss shipyard, the latter together with Dutch group Damen shipyard, and German Naval Yards with BAE Systems. With the award of a GBP3.7 billion-contract to BAE Systems for the first batch of three new-generation Type 26 Global Combat Ships (GCSs) on 29 June 2017, the UK MoD launched the long-waited shipbuilding program phase, which is expected to lead to the firstof-class delivery in the mid 2020s. The contract for the second batch of five ships is expected to be negotiated

EDR – July / August 2017


12-metre boats or unmanned platforms, while able to recover two Leonardo Wildcat helicopters and accept a Boeing Chinook on the flight deck. While featuring accommodations for 208 persons, the Type 26 has a 118-core complement and a combat system based on a further development of Type 23’s DNA(2) CMS, alongside a Rohde & Schwarz communications suite and Raytheon integrated navigation package. The sensors package includes the BAE Systems Type 997 Artisan 3D surveillance and target indication radar, together with Ultra Electronics panoramic IRST, EO surveillance suite and enhanced Thales UK Outfit UAT Mod2 ESM sided with decoy launchers. The Thales ASW suite is based on Type 2050 bow sonar and Sonar 2087 VDS package. The weapons package is however based on two-VLSs grouped 48 MBDA Sea Ceptor airdefence missiles, 24 cells strike-length Mk41 VLS for Tomahawk Land Attack Missile, unspecified ASMs and BAE Systems Mk 45 Mod 4 127mm main gun. The latter is sided by two Raytheon Phalanx 1B, two MSI-Defence Systems DS30M Mark 2 30mm guns and Sting Ray torpedo launchers. The Type 26 first-batch contract award will provide a boost to the company’s bit to supply the platform to the Royal Australian Navy (RAN) with CEA Technologies multi-band EASA radar package in meeting its SEA 5000 Future Frigate program requirement, as it significantly de-risk its proposal for the latter customer and the Canadian Surface Combatant program. The potential gap between Type 26 production delivery and Type 23 decommissioning plans for UK Royal Navy has increased the importance of establishing an acquisition strategy and funding

line for the projected Type 31 general purpose frigate (GPFF). Currently only in the pre-concept phase and intended to deliver a minimum of ‘at least five’ smaller, cheaper, and potentially more exportable frigates, the GPFF program is attracting the interest of BAE Systems, BMT and Babcock International groups. BAE Systems has developed two different ship concepts which evolve from the Amazonas-class/River-class Batch 2 OPVs and the Project Khareef corvette, depending on the final Royal Navy’s requirements. In both cases, the company has sought to grow and modify its existing MOTS designs while retaining much of the existing detailed design. The higher end Cutlass concept is a significantly stretched and enhanced derivation of the 99 m Al Shamikh-class corvette design for Royal Navy of Oman (RNO). The 117 m long and somewhat larger proposal would additionally offer improved resilience and survivability, a more extensive combat system, a higher power electric drive system, replenishment at sea points on either beam, a full NBCD citadel, and space amidships to embark special forces’ boats and equipment. The UK-based Defence Services subsidiary of BMT Group has developed the Venator-110 modular light frigate platform design being offered in three different variants for national and international markets: general purpose light frigate (GPLF), patrol frigate and patrol ship, depending on missions to be accomplished. Among the latter proposals, BMT and Saab came together to meet the Colombian Navy’s program for new light frigates. With a 4,000t displacement, a length and beam of respectively 117 and 18 metres and a

© Navantia

N With a requirement for the first-of-class of Spanish Navy’s F110 new-generation

frigate in the 2023-24 timeframe, the green light for manufacture launch could be placed by late 2018/early 2019 at the least.


July / August 2017 – EDR

P To satisfy the needs of naval forces which

CODAD type propulsion package providing over 25 knots speed (with option for a combined diesel and electric solution), the Venator-110 design platform features a flight deck and hangar for a 10-tonnes helicopter, three RHIBs, a mission bay adjacent to the stern ship’s RHIB ramp and an optional reconfigurable C2 module. With standard accommodation for up to 106 and an 85-core crew, the tailored Venator-110 design with a Saab-integrated and provided combat system, will be centered on a 9LV CMS with Tacticall communication suite and a sensors and weapons package including Sea Giraffe 4A and 1X multirole surveillance radars, two CEROS 200 radar-EO/IR FCSs, navigation radars, and a EW suite based on SME150 RESM, CRS-8000 CESM, laser warner and decoy launchers. The ASW suite will include hull-mounted sonar and VDS system. The armament includes a Leonardo 76/62 Super Rapid main gun, a 16-cells VLS for MBDA Sea Ceptor SAMs, eight RBS15 Mk3 ASMs, two 40mm ILDS guns, two lightweight torpedoes for and two Trackfire remotely machine-guns. With the Spanish cabinet approval in October 2015 of the definition phase contract assignment to Navantia shipbuilding group and the December 2015-award to Indra group of the research and development program to develop the combat systems, the Spanish Navy’s F110 frigate program was launched. With a requirement for the first-of-class available in the 2023-24 timeframe, the green light for manufacture could be anticipated by late 2018/early 2019 at the least. Capable to operate in high-to-low intensity warfare scenarios in blue and littoral waters with a 150-crew core and around 185 berths accommodation, the circa 6,000-tonne displacement, 145-meters long and 18.6-meters large new multirole frigate will be characterized by a stealth design with a single-block continuous EDR – July / August 2017

© Navantia

cannot afford multi-missions higher-end combatants, Spanish Navantia shipbuilder is offering the full capable light frigate design called ‘LF-4000’ (previously known as ‘F-538’). superstructures with a main single integrated mast and a multi-mission and flexible compartment for vehicles and equipment. The CODELAG (Combined Diesel-Electric and Gas) will allow a 26+knots max speed. Being developed by Indra as prime contractor and provider, the combat system is based on an evolved Scomba CMS with US components for AAW suite weapons. The integrated mast includes an S-band new EASA radar being developed by Indra with US Lockheed Martin, an X-band EASA surface search radar, IRST, communications and identification suite and an EW package with RESM/CESM/RECM and a gun fire control, all developed by Indra, in addition to illuminators for Raytheon SM-2 AAW missiles. The latter together with MBDA Sea Ceptor (or ESSM Block 2 as alternative) as shorter range air-defence missiles will find accommodation in 16 Lockheed Martin Mk41 launchers, alongside 8 ASM and littoral strike missiles together with a 127mm and two-25/30mm remotely controls guns. The ASW will be based on VDS and LAMPS SH-60 helicopter. Navantia has already sold the current Aegis-equipped F-100 frigate design as the baseline for the Air Warfare Destroyer (AWD) for Royal Australia Navy. A customized variant with a second helicopter hangar, a mission bay, updated propulsion and integrated mast accommodating Australian CEA Technologies multi-band AESA radar is being promoted for SEA 5000 project, as Navantia group was down-selected for CEP phase to refine its design. To satisfy the needs of naval forces which cannot afford multi-missions higher-end combatants, the Spanish Navantia shipbuilding group is offering a range of solutions including a full capable light frigate design called ‘LF-4000’ (previously known as ‘F-538’). With a 3,800-full load displacement, a length and beam of respectively 113.2 and 15.6 metres, the LF-400 41

© Damen group

stealth design platform features a CODAD (Combined Diesel or Diesel) propulsion system based on four 10,000 kW-each diesel engines on two shafts with CPPs providing a 30 knots-max speed (15 knots at cruise speed). With a 10-tons helicopter flight deck and hangar, the light frigate can accommodate up to 150 persons and RHIBs for rescue and patrol operations. The Navantia-proposed combat system will be centered on 15-multi function consoles command management system with a communications suite and a sensors and weapons package including 3D and 2D air/surface surveillance radars, navigation radars, IFF, EO/IR and EW suite based on RESM CESM, RECM, and decoy launchers. The ASW suite will include hull-mounted sonar and VDS system. The armament includes a Leonardo 76/62 Super Rapid main gun, a 16-cells VLS for SAMs, eight ASMs, a Raytheon RAM-type ILDS, two Rheinmetall Millennium 35mm cannons, two lightweight torpedoes triple tubes and two remotely machine-guns. The Netherlands and Belgium Governments declared late last year their intention to work together for the replacement of their M-frigates and MCM vessels for a total worth about EUR4 billion. According to Belga news agency, the Dutch will take charge of the replacement of the frigates by multipurpose ships displacing 4,000 to 5,000-tonnes, with a reduced crew of 80 people and specialized in antisubmarine warfare. The two countries intend to jointly acquire at ‘least’ four multi-purpose frigates, as the Netherlands are still to decide the frigate complement. According to images realised by Dutch DMO in 2015, the stealth frigates design was shown an integrated mast with multifunction phased array radar as well an armament package including a 76/62 and 30-mm gun mountings, a RAM-type ILDS, ASMs and VLS for air defence missiles in addition to hangar and deck for a 10t helicopter and VDS. In the meantime, Damen Schelde shipyard is offering worldwide its ‘Crossover 42

M Damen Schelde shipyard is offering worldwide

its ‘Crossover XO’ series family of mission flexible combatants, based on the experience developed with both the Enforcer LPDs and the SIGMA Combatant series. Fully developed to execute current tasks and cater for future capabilities, the Damen Crossover is the ultimate mission module naval concept. XO’ series family of mission flexible combatants, based on the experience developed with both the Enforcer LPDs and the SIGMA Combatant series. Fully developed to execute current tasks and cater for future capabilities, the Damen Crossover is the ultimate mission module naval concept. Pivotal to this innovative solution, is the so-called X-Deck, a single, flexible deck under the flight and hangar level to handle, store, operate and deploy mission equipment, fast RHIBs, as well as landing craft. The six-platforms family ranges from 115-to-131 meters length and 4,500-to-5,500-tonnes with a crew-core from 65-to83 elements and the capability to carry 154-to-200 additional personnel. The combat system centred on command bridge/CIC concept, an integrated mast with AESA MFRs and a weapon package with 76/62mm, a two 35-mm Millenium ILDS, ASMs and a VLS for air-defence SAMs. The Turkish MoD and Navy, together with national industry, are also working on the newgeneration TF-2000-type of frigates, which is currently undergoing development by the Turkish Naval Institute. More recently during the IDEF 2017 July / August 2017 – EDR

exhibition, Aselsan group showcased its integratedmast mounted ÇAFRAD AESA multifunction radar package for the new platform, including the ÇFR X-band AESA multifunction air/surface radar, the AYR X-band active phased illuminator radar, the S-Band UMR long-range surveillance radar and active non-rotating new-generation IFF. The new generation of multipurpose frigates for the Russian Federation Navy, the Project 22350 or Gorshkov-class lead platform is to be delivered in November 2017, with three more frigates expected to be in-service within 2025, TASS news agency reported. Developed by United Shipbuilding Corporation’s Severnoye Design Bureau and built by USC’s Severnaya Verf shipyard as the most modern surface combatant platform to enter into service with Russian Federation Navy, the Gorshkov-class frigate features the latest air-defence missile system with Almaz-Antey Poliment-Redut based on a new SAM family with long- and short-range missiles and AESA multifunction radar. With a 5,400-tonnes full-load displacement, a length and beam of respectively 135 and 16,4 metres, the new frigates are equipped with an advanced reduced radar cross-section hull and superstructures design and new-generation combat system. With a CODAG-based propulsion plant centred on NPO Saturn supplied two 20.5MW-each M90FR gas turbines and two 3,9MW-each 10D49 diesel engines, offering a maximum speed of circa N In addition to the same-class third-frigate

Admiral Essen, the first-of-class of Russian Project 11356 Admiral Grigorovich frigate, which was commissioned in March 2016, successfully proved its combat capabilities, launching Kalibr cruise missile strikes against ISIS targets in Syria.

EDR – July / August 2017

30 knots and an endurance of 4,500 nm at 14 knots, the 22350-design platforms boost an Avrora IPMS and combat system at which heart is the new-generation Concern Morinsis-Agat JSC SIGMA M22350 CMS, managing a sensors/armament suite including 5P27 Furke-4 3D Air/Surface Search Radar, Poliment 5P-20K AESA four planar array multifunction radar for SAM system, Monolit 34K1 surface search & antiship missile targeting radar, Puma 5P-10 and 3Ts-99 Positiv MEs for gun FCS, Prosvet-M EW suite with KT-308/KT-216 decoy launchers, Pal-N Navigation radars, Zarya M hull-mounted sonar and Vinyetka VDS, Vigstar Centaurus-NM Communication suite with Tsentavr-MN-1 SATCOM, and Chardsh-22350 navigation complex. The armament package includes a 130mm A-192M Armat main gun, two Palash ILDS with guns and missiles, two UKSK 8-cells VLSs for sixteen 3K14 Kalibr-NK cruise missiles and/or 3K55 Onyx anti-ship missiles, four 8-cells 3S973K96 Redut VLS for 32 SAMs of the 9M96 and 9M100 families, and two 14,5mm guns. The ASW suite include twoquadruple anti-torpedo/submarine Paket-NK systems, together with hangar and deck for one Ka-27 ASW helicopter. To fill the gap in the frigates component caused by the long development and testing of Project 22350’s new generation and first installed platform and combat systems, the Russian MoD assigned to USC’s Yantar shipyard a contract for six enhanced Project 11356 with Russian equipment including the vertical-launched version of Shtil SAM, which firstof-class Admiral Grigorovich was commissioned in March 2016. Together with the same-class thirdfrigate Admiral Essen, the lead-platform successfully proved its combat capabilities, launching Kalibr cruise missile strikes against ISIS targets in Syria. On June 2017, United Shipbuilding Corporation announced the resume of construction of the final three frigates, with the access to Russian-made M70FRU and M90FR gas turbine engines developed by NPO Saturn, part of Russia’s United Engine Corporation. J


High Flying Russian Helicopters

© Russian Helicopters

By David Oliver

P A total of 151 Mil Mi-17-5 medium multirole

helicopters have been delivered to the Indian Air Force.


ccording to the Director of Russia’s Federal Ser vice for MilitaryTechnical Cooperation (FSMTC), Dmitriy Shugaev, the success of Russian military exports with sales in excess of $15 billion, has been achieved by cooperating with long-term partners, improved servicing and support of the products and developing new joint-ventures. The latter have been particularly successful in the helicopter sector citing the jointventure with India for the production of the Kamov Ka-226 for the Indian Army, and the success in selling the Mi-171 to South American countries including Peru, Brazil and Venezuela. Rosoboronexport, which the FSMTC oversees, currently claims a backlog of 44

106 military helicopters for Russian manufacturers. At Le Bourget 2017, Russian Helicopters CEO Andrei Boginsky said that it is planning to have a 23 percent share of the global combat rotorcraft market by 2020. In 2015, the group held an 18 percent share of the global combat helicopter market while it is planning to increase these figures to 23 percent by 2020, 25 percent by 2025 and 28 percent by 2030. The best selling Russian helicopter remains the Mil Mi-8/17 family of which more than 12,000 have been produced by the Kazan and Ulan-Ude plants since the first prototype flew in 1961. The twinengine multi-role helicopter has been delivered to more than 100 countries and with a total flying time of about 100 million hours. July / August 2017 – EDR

© RDavid Oliver

© Russian Helicopters

M The latest variant of the Mil Mi-24 ‘Hind’

is the Mi-35M is still being produced by Rostvertol 48 years after its first flight.

M One of the latest export customers

of the Mil Mi-17Sh is Bangladesh. The latest Kazan-built variant is the Mi-17V-5 which features updated 2,000 shp Klimov TV3117VM turboshaft engines, and the Safir APU that allows engine starts at up to 19,700ft and can work for up to six hours on the ground in generator mode. The military transport Mi-17V-5 can accommodate up to 36 troops and is able to transport up to 4000kg of cargo internally or on the external sling. Built with a rear ramp for easy access of troops and cargo, the helicopter can also be used in combat missions requiring the use of various weapons including air-to-ground missiles, EDR – July / August 2017

unguided rockets and gun pods, as well as in search and rescue and CASEVAC operations, and for counter-terrorism tasks. More than 80 Mi-17V-5s have been exported to Afghanistan, 151 to India and is being delivered to Indonesia, Serbia and Turkey. Russian Helicopters is discussing a follow-on order for an additional 48 helicopters and in March 2017 a Mi-17V-5 helicopter was delivered to the Ministry of Interior and Coordination of National Government of the Republic of Kenya to be used by the Kenya National Police. The latest variant produced by the Ulan-Ude plant is the Mi-171Sh powered by either TV3117VM or 2,700 shp VK-2500 turboshaft engines and fitted with either leading Western or Russian manufactured avionics. The Mi-171Sh is designed for transportation and landing of up to 37 fully equipped and armed troops, fire support to troops, transportation of up to 12 wounded accompanied by medical personnel. 45

Night Hunter has sold to Algeria and Iraq. The type has been exported to Ghana, Malaysia and Peru and in June 2017 Russian Helicopters received an order for the production of five Mi-171Sh helicopters from Bangladesh to be delivered in 2018. More than 250 Mi-17s of different variant have been sold to China, some of which were assembled locally by the Sichuan Lantian Helicopter Company. Another iconic product from the Mil design bureau is the Mi-24/35 ‘Hind’ attack/transport helicopter which first flew in 1969. Built by the Rostvertol aviation plant in Rostov-on-Don, the latest variant is the Mi-35M designed for day and night combat missions. Powered by two Klimov VK-2500 turboshafts, it can accommodate eight 46

Hunter, the Mi-28UB, is being delivered to export customers. fully armed troops it has composite main blades, a main rotor hub with elastomeric hinges and a twoblade ‘X’ tail rotor. The helicopter is optimized for night vision goggles (NVG) operations and its weapons include the turreted twin-barrel GSh-23L cannon. It has six hardpoints for rockets and gun pods, air-to-air missiles and anti-tank missiles while additional missiles and laser-guided or conventional bombs can be carried on the stub wing pylons. Since the Mi-35M was first produced in 2000, more than 120 have been exported to ten countries including Angola, Brazil, India, Iraq, Kazakhstan, Myanmar and the Czech Republic. Designed to be the ‘Hind’ successor was the Mil design bureau’s Mi-28 ‘Havoc’ anti-armour anti-air combat helicopter that first flew in 1982. Following a protracted development deliveries of the Mi-28 from Rostvertol to the Russian Air Force did not begin until 2006. The Mi-28NE Night Hunter is the export version which is entering service the armed forces of Algeria and Iraq. The tandem two-seat attack helicopter is powered by two 2,500 shp Klimov TV3-117VK turboshafts has a five-bladed main rotor with composite blades with swept tips and full articulation with elastomeric July / August 2017 – EDR

© David Oliver

© David Oliver

P After a 30-year development, the Mil Mi-28NE

M A two-seat trainer version of the Night

P Kamov Ka-28 ship-based

bearing attached to a titanium head, and a ‘X’ tail rotor with two pair of blades. It also has an evacuation compartment behind the rear cockpit that can accommodate up to three people. Much attention has been paid to crew survival including titanium and ceramic cockpit armour, crashworthy seats, a self-sealing fuel system, energyabsorbing seats and main landing gear designed to absorb vertical descent shock-loads of up to 15m per second. A novel method of Mi-28 crew protection is its unique escape system at altitudes exceeding 100m (325ft). Following the jettisoning of doors and stub wings, under-sill airbags on each side inflate to enable both crew members to slide clear of the airframe and landing gear before deployment of their parachutes. The Mi-28NE weapons fit includes an NPPU chin turret-mounted 2A42 30mm cannon, two pods with a 23mm GSh-23L gun, 80mm C-8 or 130mm C-13 rocket pods, up to 16 9M114 Sturm or 9M120 Ataka anti-tank missiles, or up to eight 9M39 Igla-V air-to-air missiles. It is fitted with the CRET L370 President S defence system designed to counter attacks for air-to-air, and ground-to-air missiles including MANPADS. A combat trainer version, the Mi-28UB, is being delivered to the Russian Air Force has been will enter service with Algeria and Iraq. The helicopter that can be flown from either the pilot’s forward cockpit or the instructor extended rear cockpit retains the type’s full attack capability and crew emergency system. EDR – July / August 2017

© US Navy

anti-submarine warfare (ASW) helicopters are in service with the Indian and Chinese navies.

In the 1970s the Mil design bureau produced the first prototype of the heaviest and most powerful helicopter ever f lown. With a load carrying capacity of the C-130 Hercules, the Mi-26 had a maximum payload of 20,000kg and could carry 82 fully equipped troops. The first Rostvertol-built production Mi-26 flew in 1980 and India became the first export customer to the heavy-lift helicopter six years later. With the eight-bladed main rotor diameter of 32m, a five-bladed tail rotor diameter of 7.75m and an overall fuselage length of 33.75m, the Mi-26 is the largest helicopter ever to attain quantity production. Despite its maximum take-off weight of 56,000kg, it has a maximum speed of 295km/hr and a range of 800km which can be doubled when fitted with four auxiliary fuel tanks with more than 1,4000 litres. The latest version, the Mi-26T2 is powered by two 11,450 shp ZMKB Progress D-136-2 turboshafts and fitted with the BREO-26 avionics suite and glass cockpit with five multifunctional LCD displays, new digital autopilot, and NAVSTAR/ GLONASS supported navigation system. The crew is reduced to three with the load operator controlling external loads by a BTU-3 TV system and at night with a Transas TSL-1600 searchlight that is NVG 47

compatible. The Mi-26T2 first flew in 2011 and deliveries began in 2015. A total of 14 Mi-26T2s are being delivered to Algeria while earlier versions were delivered to India, China and Venezuela. Russian Helicopters and Avicopter, a Chinese company forming part of the Aviation Industry Corporation of China (AVIC), are developing a new Advanced Heavy Lifter (AHL) jointly. It is expected that the maximum take-off weight of the aircraft will total 38.2 tons, while its service ceiling will be 5,700 metres. The helicopter will have a range of up to 630km, while its maximum speed will amount to 300km/hr. The AHL’s internal payload will total 10 tons, while its external payload will be up to 15 tons. Russian Helicopter’s second most prolific military helicopter design bureau is Kamov JSC which since 1949 has concentrated on designing innovative rotary wing aircraft with coaxial contra rotating rotors. A series of twin turbine multirole naval helicopters have been produced since 1980 including the Ka-28 which was exported to China and India.

These were followed by the Ka-29, powered by a twin-engine assault transport and electronic warfare helicopter powered by two 2,190 shp Klimov TV3117V turboshafts. The export version, the Ka-31 is an airborne early warning (AEW) variant that has also been delivered to China and India. The Ka-32 is a civil certified derivative, and the firefighting version has been exported to more than a dozen countries and the air forces of Laos and South Korea. Designed as a rival to the Mi-28 to replace the Russian Air Force’s Mi-24s, the Ka-52 Alligator made its first flight in 1997. The two side-by-side seat all weather day and night reconnaissance and combat helicopter powered by two 2.400shp VK2500 turboshafts, is a development of the singleseat Ka-50 attack helicopter that flew more than a decade earlier. With a top speed of 300km/hr and a range of 460km, the heavily armored Ka-52 is equipped with a 30mm 2A42-1 cannon and can carry a 2,300kg weapons payload that includes Vikhr-1 long-range

N A ship-borne naval variant of the heavily armoured Kamov Alligator,

© David Oliver

the Ka-52K, is being built for the Egyptian Navy.


July / August 2017 – EDR

P A joint venture between Russia and India will deliver more 200 Kamov

© Russian Helicopters

Ka-226T light utility helicopters built under licence by HAL.

anti-tank guided missiles, 80mm or 122mm unguided rockets and Igla B IR-homing air-to-air missiles. Its unique pilot protection escape system comprises the Zvezda K37-800M ejection system for simultaneous emergency escape that includes a rotor blade root attachment with emergency explosive release. After a protracted development the Ka-52 was finally ordered in small numbers for a Special Forces unit and this was followed by a 2011 contract for 140 helicopters for the Russian Air Force. Although there have been no export sales for the type, a shipborne variant is being developed for the Russian Navy fitted with foldable rotor blades and outer stub-wing panels. Fitted with the Phazotron Zhuk-AE radar, the Ka-52K will be armed with AS-17 and AS-129 antiship missiles and fitted with the CRET President S onboard defence system. In 2016, Russian Helicopters confirmed the sale of 46 Ka-52Ks to Egypt. The Ka-50 close support helicopter had an even longer development than the Ka-52 and only a small number were delivered to the Russian Air Force’s 696th Helicopter Aviation Training and Test Regiment in 2010. No export sales have been announced. More successful has been Kamov’s Ka-226 light utility helicopter that is being delivered to the Russian Air Force for training and liaison duties. EDR – July / August 2017

The helicopter is designed with a open area aft of the cockpit that can be used to house a number of dedicated passenger/cargo mission pods to either carry up to seven armed troops, or a MEDEVAC with two stretchers and a medical attendant, or a payload of 1,200kg. Powered by two 580 shp Safran Arrius 2GI turboshafts, the Ka-226T is designed for operation in remote mountainous terrain and high temperatures. Earlier this year a framework agreement between Russia and India was confirmed covering the licence production of at least 200 Kamov Ka226T helicopters to replace the ageing Indian Air Force and Army fleets of Cheetah and Chetak light general-purpose helicopters. Under the $1 billion Russian-Indian joint venture agreement India will buy 60 helicopters in fly-away condition from Russia while another 40 will be assembled in India and the remaining 100 fully built in India by the Hindustan Aeronautics Limited (HAL). In July 2017 the Indian Ministry of Defence rejected the Ka-226T as unsuitable for its requirement for 110 light utility helicopters for the Indian Navy but Russian Helicopters is in discussion with Iran for the possible sale of Kamov Ka-32A and Ka-226T helicopters. J 49

Night vision: more fused sights for today soldiers


nce something limited to first-tier armies, night vision items have now become common tools for many land forces. As usual western industry and military try to improve systems performances to maintain an edge over potential opponents. Different issues are being dealt with, SWAP (Space, Weight, and Power) being one of them. The advent of uncooled thermal imaging sensors allowed to introduce that technology in handheld systems and rifle sights, miniaturisation continuing as smaller thermal sensors are being developed, although optics dimensions will soon reach a limit. As for image intensification, new tubes have been developed which allowed to look further into the dark while increasing performances, while other low light sensors have also improved their quality. Numerous companies are now merging the two technologies in fused systems, that take leverage of the strong points of each technology providing the user with a fused vision in which the thermal sensor allows to see hidden hot spots, while the image intensifier provides the general picture. Injecting information 50

© RP. Valpolini

By Paolo Valpolini

M A front view of Aselsan’s Van Cat fused sight; a

hand-held observation version is also available, with a x1 magnification. in vision systems, either day or night, is another step which is being made, providing what is known as “augmented reality”. This is true for the soldier on foot, but some technologies are being migrated into armoured vehicles, a few European companies being currently studying driver’s posts with allvirtual vision, a solution that might considerably enhance the capacity to drive at night and to exploit augmented reality to increase safety and tactical situational awareness, thus technologies such as TI becoming much more than “simple” night vision enhancements. Let’s see what happens in the fused field among European companies. At DSEI 2015 Pyser-SGI launched two versions of its FUZIR, the FUZIR-v (visible) and the FUZE-I (intensification), both based on the same thermal detector is a 384 x 288 pixel uncooled amorphous Silicon microbolometer operating in the 7-14 µm band July / August 2017 – EDR

© RP. Valpolini

M This picture shows the type of image provided

version, and the technological demonstrator, right, of the SWIR clip-on sight developed by AIM Infrarot-Module.

by AIM SWIR clip-on sight; high definition and the capability of seeing through glass, the objects in the background being in a showcase.

but with a different second channel. The FUZIR-v being a stand-alone sight, it features a daylight channel based on an LLTV daylight sensor, the image of both channels being shown on an 852 x 600 pixel SVGA monochrome display with a 19.2° diagonal FoV. The operator can chose its preferred reticule, with 0.5 mil per click both in windage and elevation. Controls allow to increase or decrease the thermal input and to switch polarity, the thermal channel also featuring a x2 digital zoom. The FUZE-i being a clip-on system the “day channel” is provided by the telescope, which also features the reticule, therefore a full fusion is available, the second channel being based on an image intensification tube such an XD-4, a Gen 3 or an XR5. Height and width remain the same, respectively 108 and 62.5mm; the FUZE-i is longer and heavier, 272mm and 1,527 grams versus the 209mm and

1,225 grams of the FUZE-v. Both are powered by seven AA Lithium batteries providing four hours continuous operation. Water resistant to 20 meters for one hour, both systems are fitted with a multipin socket for recording or transmitting a video stream. Qioptiq has been among the first European companies to develop a fused clip-on sight, the Saker,

© RP. Valpolini

M The final case on the left, in the 3D printing

P The sight version of Aselsan’s Van

Cat unveiled last May at IDEF 2017; the sight has a x2 optic magnification to which a x2 or x4 electronic magnification can be added. EDR – July / August 2017


© Bertin

which in its final configuration was shown at DSEI 2015. The Saker is now in production, no comments on customers being made by the company, Qioptiq is looking at further improvements and new systems might emerge at DSEI 2017, a number of product developments being scheduled for release during the 2018 – 2020 period. With a x1 magnification and an 8 field of view, it is based on a 320 x 240 uncooled detector with a 17μm pitch and on an 18mm II tube such as the Photonis Intens, the whole system being ITAR free. The picture is provided on an 800 x 600 full colour OLED display, man detection, recognition and identification ranges being respectively 1,460, 540 and 260 meters in II mode and 1,350, 460 and 210 meters in TI mode. However the real interest of the Saker is that it allows to be used in blend mode, fusing the images provided by both channels. A weapon mounted remote control has been developed which replicates all Saker functionality and can be installed on the rifle. Powered by three AA batteries, these provide a 6.5 hours continuous operation in blend mode and over 40 hours in II mode. Including the fused sight, the Picatinny style rail grabber, batteries, lens cap and light security shroud, the Saker weighs 890 grams. Part of CNIM, Bertin of France unveiled last year its full-digital FusionSight, which has been developed following an agreement with Photonis, the European leader in image intensification tubes and low light CMOS sensors. This latter technology has been selected because, according to the two 52

M Bertin and Photonis teamed to developed

a fused sight based on a colour CMOS daylight channel and on a thermal uncooled sensor. companies, it is better suited for image processing aimed prior to fusion. The sensor selected is the Kameleon 1280 x 1024 CMOS, capable of providing a colour image in a Level 2 night, that is with 10 millilux of residual light. As for the thermal channel, this is based on an uncooled 640 x 480 sensor with a 17 µm pitch operating in the 8-12 µm band. The fusion algorithm was developed by Bertin in cooperation with the French DGA (Direction Générale de l’Armement); it allows to optimise the day/thermal percentage depending on the target, the aim being that of minimising the effect of the camouflage adopted by the opponent. The fused image is shown on a 1280 x 1024 Full HD OLED colour display. The night Field of View is 32° in wide mode and 8° in narrow mode, respective daylight FoVs being 29° and 7.25°. Considering the typical 2.3 x 2.3 meters target representing a vehicle detection ranges are respectively 2,950 and 1,480 meters day and night, recognition ranges 990 and 490 meters and identification ranges 490 and 245 meters. As for the 0.5 x 1.75 meters human being target these data become 1,600 and 800 meters, 540 and 270 meters, 270 and 135 meters. The FusionSight includes a digital compass, a 9-axis inertial measurement unit and a GPS. Powered by a lithium polymer battery, it has an autonomy July / August 2017 – EDR

© Bertin

M A front view of the FusionSight showing the

two channels; this system was unveiled by Bertin and Photonis during Eurosatory 2016. of seven hours and a weight of 990 grams without batteries; the battery can also be replaced by CR123 or AA batteries, using an adaptor. The system allows to record snapshots and videos, and is fitted with a wireless communication system as well as with a 25Hz HD output. Tests have been carried out by the French Army in the second half of 2016; numerous regiments tested the system, which contributed to some software modifications aimed at improving the man-machine interface. Bertin has already to customers, a French Navy unit and a Canadian department, no more details being available, both having already received their sights. Production is ongoing, the company declaring a one-month delivery time for EU and NATO countries and three months for other export customers. One of the latest entries in the fusion world is the Van Cat, unveiled by Aselsan at the last IDEF exhibition in Istanbul. It is available in sight and hand-held camera versions, fields of view being different while sensors remain the same, an uncooled 640 x 480 thermal detector with a 17µm pitch and a Gen2+/Gen 3 image intensification tube. The Van Cat sight has a 12.9° diagonal day FoV both on the thermal and on the I2 channel, with a x2 magnification, a x2 and x4 electronic magnification being available, the image being EDR – July / August 2017

shown on a 800 x 600 colour OLED screen, where a BDC (Bullet Drop Compensator) reticle is also shown. The Van Cat features an automatic image optimisation, the operator being also able to switch thermal image polarity, white-hot vs black-hot. A PAL video output is available as well RS232 and Ethernet communication interfaces, image and video capture capability being also provided. He sight can be used with a head-up display, communication between the two being provided by a wireless system. The standard system is provided with an aluminium housing and weighs 1.1kg with batteries, these providing an operation time of three hours, however to save 100 grams Aselsan can provide it with a composite housing. As for the hand-held version, this has shorter optics providing a wider FoV, 30.5° with a x1 magnification, allowing to save some weight, the standard version being at 750 grams, the system being also smaller, 90 x 80 x 180mm versus 225 x 135 x 100mm of the VanCat sight. The system is the first fused optronic asset developed by Aselsan, and won the company a Turkish R&D prize. During IDEF it was in the qualification process, Aselsan planning to start production in Q3 2017. At Future Forces Forum held in Prague in October 2016, UK Thermoteknix exhibited the prototype of its FuseIR, a fused night vision monocular fitted with the latest thermal sensor developed by the company, the uncooled 384 x 288 pixel MicroCAM 3 with a 17µm pitch. With a 36mm diameter and a weight of 30 grams it provides a 53

© Qioptiq

M A picture taken through Qioptiq Saker, the fused clip-onsight introduced at DSEI 2015 by the UK company and now fully in production.

N Qioptiq’s Saker installed on an assault rifle


and mated to a Trijicon day sight; bottom right the view of a human target in blend mode.

31° FoV an features the Thermoteknix patented shutterless XTi Technology; this not only allows uninterrupted viewing, but the lack of moving parts increases reliability, reduces power consumption and improves reliability. The intensification channel is based on a Photonis high performance image intensification 16mm tube providing a 40° FoV. It can operate in II mode, TI mode, Full Fused, and Edge Enhancement. Detection, recognition and identification ranges in thermal mode are respectively 1,075 – 269 – 135 meters for a tanktype target and 470 – 115 – 60 for a man-type target. The FuseIR dimensions are 72.5 x 141.5 x 78.5mm, the system weighing 430 grams with the two AA batteries that ensure six hours of operating time. Fully ITAR-free, it is available in hand-held or helmet mounted configurations. In June 2017 Thermoteknix announced that the FuseIR has become a product and will exhibited at DSEI next September in London, first deliveries being expected in Q3 2017. It is to note that Thermoteknix was among the first companies to develop a clip-on IR module, the ClipIR, which weight is of only 150 grams, and can be fitted in front of a series of II NVGs or sights. Thales introduced its Minie-D/IR fused NVG monocular in 2014, a 500 grams item including the

© P. Valpolini

M Thales developed an IR module, top left, dedicated to its Minie-D monocular NVG.

This composite picture allows to see the coupling between the two systems.

AIM GOES SWIR While most thermal systems operate in the mi-wave and long-wave infrared, MWIR and LWIR, respectively in the Medium and Long Wave Infrared bands (MWIR and LWIR, respectively 3 – 5 and 8 – 14µm), AIM Infrarot-Module of Germany is developing a clip-on sight that works in the E-SWIR (Extended – Short Wave Infrared) band. The SWIR band goes from 0.9 to 1.7µm, however AIM developed a Mercury Cadmium Telluride (MCT) cooled sensor which extended the sensibility from 0.9 to 2.5µm without reducing performances, which provides an image definition close to that of an image intensification device allowing positive identification. Not only definition is much higher compared to standard thermal systems, E-SWIR has also another huge advantage, that of being able to see what happens behind a glass surface. Moreover it can see near infrared pointers, 1.06µm laser designators, and 1.55µm eye-safe laser rangefinders. A demonstrator of the system was visible at the Future Forces Forum in Prague in October 2016, the system elements having been integrated into the case of the company Huntir Mk 2 thermal weapon and observation sight. A model of the final system case was available in 3D-printing; AIM plans to unveil the full product at Milipol 2017 next November in Paris, target weight being less than one kilogram including batteries. EDR – July / August 2017


© Safran Vectronix

O Optic 1 COTI,

NEW SWIR ADD-ON FROM THE STATES Optics 1, the U.S. subsidiary of Vectronix, part of Safran Electronics & Defense (a Safran group), features in its catalogue three clip-on- devices that can be used with NVGs to provide fusion capabilities between II and TI. The original COTI (Clip-On Thermal Imager) was designed to be attached to NVGs, its micro-display being located in front of the goggle optics, the image being focused to infinity. It uses an uncooled microbolometer working in the 8 – 12µm band with a 320 x 240 pixel sensor. Weight including the CR123A battery, which provides 3 hours operating time, is of 150 grams. A version dedicated to Safran Vectronix Moskito compact day and night observation and location unit the main differences being the longer projection head and the new 10° objective lens. E-COTI . The latest addition to the Optics 1 offer it the E-COSI (Clip-On SWIR Imager), which maintains the architecture of the COTI but its sensor is replaced by a Short Wave IR one working in the 0.9 to 1.7µm band. Thanks to this the E-COSI can be used to see laser markers and designators during day and night operations. Moreover an E-COSI See-Spot has also been developed; it features a x2 magnification and can detect targets of interest up to 2,000 meters distance.


© Thermoteknix

as well as its successors, project the thermal image shown on a micro-display focused at infinity in the II optic.

M This pictures shows well the dimensions of the FuseIR monocular developed by Thermoteknix of the UK, its weight being of 430 grams with batteries.

single AA battery that shows on the 800 x 600 SVGA colour display a “Full IR”, “Threshold” or “Contours” picture. This is generated by the two sensors, the Gen II or Gen III image intensification tube and the 336 x 256 pixel uncooled thermal sensor working in the 7.5 – 13.5μm band. The latter comes in the form of a module that can easily be mounted on the standard Minie-D. A colour display has been adopted to allow a more accurate interpretation of the fused image using distinct colours for IR and II. If used in II mode only the battery ensures 40 hours of operation, which are reduced to 2.5 hours in fused mode. A five-battery pack is available that brings these figures up to 150 and 18 hours respectively. Currently Thales is developing the Bonie-D/ IR, the fused version of its binocular NVG solution introduced two years ago. This might become the standard French Army goggle as part of the FELIN 2.0 programme which is part of the Scorpion project. J

P Thermoteknix developed the FuseIR monocular

allowing to exploit the advantages of fused TI-II sensors even in a night vision goggle configuration. July / August 2017 – EDR


By Paolo Valpolini

educing the ship-to-shore time increasing speed while carrying a considerable payload was the aim of CNIM (Constructions industrielles de la Méditerranée) when it started developing the L-CAT concept. This connector, known as L-CAT (Landing Catamaran) has a peculiar architecture as it is based on two lateral aluminium alloy hulls and a central pontoon deck. During the high speed transit, it can reach up to 18 knots when fully loaded and 30 knots when empty, the deck is kept in the upper position thus the boats has a catamaran-like architecture, draft fully loaded being 2.4 meters (1.8 meters empty); when approaching the landing site the deck is lowered thus increasing buoyancy, the draft being reduced to 1 meter when fully loaded (0.8 meters empty), transforming the L-CAT into a flat-bottom barge allowing it to get as close as possible to the shore. Four high-speed diesel engines activate four waterjets, its operational range being of 500 Nautical Miles when fully loaded. The deck is 22.3 meters long, the L-CAT length being 30 meters, the minimum deck width being 5.1 meters over a beam of 12.6 meters. With a crew of 4-8 sailors, the L-CAT can carry up to 80 tonnes, thus a Leclerc main battle tank, two VBCI or 6 VAB, or four 20-foot containers, the loading area being 127 m2. The L-CAT is in service with the French Navy since 2011, which ordered four of them, and has then been acquired by the Egyptian Navy, the two L-CAT ordered having been delivered in June and September 2016. The number of navies with amphibious capabilities that might need L-CAT is not enormous, however numerous countries, especially those with long coastlines or those that are made of a high number of islands, something typical in Asia-Pacific, need naval EDR – July / August 2017


CNIM’s L-CAT: from shipto-shore to shore-to-shore

assets capable to carry vehicles and loads at a higher speed than usual Landing Craft Units (LCUs). CNIM thus decided to develop a shore-to-shire version of its L-CAT, leveraging the knowledge acquired with the shore-to-shore version. Unveiled in 2016, the main difference is that the ship-to-shore version has rollon roll-off capability while the shore-to-shore vessel is not a ro-ro craft. It is powered by two 2.500kW diesel engines and two 80kW Gensets, propulsion being provided by two waterjets; these have a greater diameter compared to those of thr ro-ro version, this together with lower speed, providing an increased range: this is increased to 1,000 NM without payload and 800 NM fully loaded, maintaining the same fuel tank capacity of 22,000 litres. When fully loaded the maximum speed is 22 knots, while this is reduced to 15 knots at full load, maximum payload being increased to 100 tonnes while the loading area remains the same. It can afford Sea State 5. Longer than the ship-to-shore version, 32.6 meters, with a 13.2 meters breadth waterline, the maximum draft in the catamaran configuration is 2.35 meters while in the landing phase this is reduced to a maxim um of 0.95 meters. The shore-to-shore version has seats for 42 troops, the crew being of eight people, four berths being available on board. CNIM offers customised solutions in terms of sensors and communication assets, a CAPTAS-1 variable depth sonar is proposed to be installed astern, as well as for self-defence capabilities, a light remotely controlled or a manned weapon station RCWS being proposed for installation on the port hull bow, the starboard hull hosting the bridge. Beside military operations the L-CAT Shore-toShore can be used for logistic support operations as well as for disaster relief missions, thanks to its considerable payload, speed and operational range. J 57

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OUR COMMITMENT TO YOU Armed forces face increasingly complex engagement scenarios where there is no room for error. In this demanding environment you can count on our expert teams who are committed to bringing you cutting edge, combat-proven technology and autonomy in defence. AIR DOMINANCE





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