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N° 40 • July/August 2018

MAGAZINE European Defence Review New tools for Special Forces operators

MBTs: which future?

The Challenge of Chemical Warfare

Latest developments in shipborne IRST

©P. Valpolini

Which ammunition for IFV cannons?

European Defence Review

MAGAZINE I S S U E N° 40 2018


New tools for Special Forces operators


The Challenge of Chemical Warfare


MBTs: which future?


Latest developments in shipborne IRST


Which ammunition for IFV cannons?


KTRV upgrades tactical anti-ship weapons


Approaching Eurosatory: French Defense Industry new products

The first prototype of the French Jaguar reconnaissance vehicle was rolled out in mid-May and two of them will be present at Eurosatory. ŠP. Valpolini

By Paolo Valpolini

By David Oliver

By Paolo Valpolini

By Luca Peruzzi

By Paolo Valpolini

By Nikolay Novichkov

By Paolo Valpolini Publisher: Joseph Roukoz Editor-in-chief: David Olivier European Defence Review (EDR) is published by European Defence Publishing SAS EDR | July/August 2018


New tools for Special Forces operators By Paolo Valpolini

Among recently developed small arms the Sig Sauer MCX is gaining momentum; adopted by some naval SF units, the one pictured here is chambered in .300 AAC Blackout and fitted with a 6.75� barrel and suppressor. ŠP. Valpolini

It is quite difficult to define which equipment is not related to Special Forces, as these units tend to get what they need, often their acquisitions coming from their way to think out of the box.


hat said, without going into major platforms which are certainly used by SFs but can become articles on their own, think about naval platforms including submarines or gunship as far as close air support is concerned, much remains in the basket. Mobility,

communications, firepower, protection, intelligence, are only a few of the many fields that interest SF units, which shopping list is nearly infinite. The usual trend is that new technologies and equipment fall first in the hands of SFs, some of them then being issued to conventional units, often when SFs

EDR | July/August 2018


get something better. This article does not pretend to cover all recent developments but wants just to give a hint of what might be the latest systems that might become part of SF equipment in the near future.

Firepower Direct action remaining one of the core business of SFs, small arms and their ammunition being therefore a key element within their equipment. Although discussions on new calibres and new types of ammunition have been ongoing for some time, mostly in the US, not much has become reality, although some systems have been provided to SF units, mostly for testing. The 300 Blackout developed by Advanced Armament Corporation is probably the calibre that is getting most attention within the SF community. Numerous companies developed their weapons in the new calibre, the one that appears to have achieved the greater success being the Sig Sauer MCX, which was adopted by the Netherlands Maritime Special Operations Forces (NL-MARSOF) and more recently by the Italian Gruppo Operativo Incursori of the Comando Subacquei Incursori (COMSUBIN), the Italian Navy SF unit. In February 2018 the US the Special Operations Command (SOCOM) recently ordered 10 Sig Sauer MCX Personal Defense Weapon (PDW) conversion kits to transform the M4A1 in a PDW; according to available information 10 kits have been ordered for evaluation, the true order following in due time. What remains an issue is the effectiveness of the 5.56 x 45 mm round, which is considered insufficient by many who push for a comeback to the 7.62 x 51 mm calibre, which provides longer ranges and higher energy. New rounds are being developed in those calibres, providing increased range


EDR | July/August 2018

Improving 5.56 mm ammunition performances has become the aim of many companies; here the IMI Systems small arms ammo portfolio, the 5.56 APM being the fourth from the top. ŠIMI Systems

and penetration, something important considering the spread of body armour even among insurgents formations, SF being usually the first to receive and test those new rounds. As for light weapons, numerous SF formations in Europe have recently selected new small arms, however the choice has gone towards conventional solutions. Starting from ammunition, in early February 2018 IMI Systems of Israel announced the development of a new 5.56 x 45 mm ammo that “combines the advantages of 5.56 mm and 7.62 mm rounds�. Lessons learned from IMI Systems customers were taken into consideration, mostly those of the Israeli Defence Forces (IDF) that, according to the company, are already testing the round, and it is not a secret which are the first testers among the IDF. Known as 5.56 mm Armour Piercing Match (APM) the new round has better accuracy and penetration capabilities than the standard 5.56 mm round. Not only, tests proved that the new ammunition provides 30% better accuracy than 7.62 mm standard rounds at ranges of up to 550 meters and better penetration at a range of 800 meters: when fired on a NATO 3.4 mm steel plate at that distance the

grains while the cartridge weight is of 12.9 grams.

Among the numerous companies that developed new and more efficient 5.56 mm rounds we find RUAG Ammotec of Switzerland which markets its 5.56 mm x 45 LF HC SX. ŠRUAG Ammotec

APM achieved 100% penetration. The new 5.56 mm APM round is of the FMJ-BT APHC (Full Metal Jacket-Boat Tail, Armour Piercing Hard Core) type, the projectile weighing 73

Also BAE Systems is developing a new 5.56 mm round after having fully developed its 7.62 mm HP (High Performance) Ball, which obtained full NATO qualification. Compared to the standard 7.62 mm ball ammo the HP has a 155 grains bullet versus the 144 grains one, the other major difference being that the new projectile has a hardened steel tip with a lead core rear part, the ball round having an alllead bullet; as for propellant, the single base leaves way to a double base one. Perforation against a 3.5 mm steel plate is increased from 600 to 1,000 meters, against an 8 mm plate from 250 to over 450 meters, and against a 5 mm RHA from 100 to nearly 350 meters. Leveraging the development work done for the bigger calibre round, BAE Systems

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7 14:11 09/10/2017

worked on a new 5.56 mm ammunition, known as EP (Enhanced Performance). Here the steel tip with lead core bullet is replaced by a hardened steel core nontoxic bullet maintaining the same weight, that is 62 grains of the SS109. Performance increases are less dramatic, also because the original 5.56 already adopted a double base propellant and already had a steel tip, however penetration distances step up from 600 to 850 meters considering the 3.5 mm steel target, from 250 to 350 meters for the 8 mm and from 100 to 250 meters for the 5 mm RHA plate. Other companies already developed solutions of this kind, among them RUAG Ammotec with its 5.56 mm LF HC+ SX, while the UK-based Stiletto Systems Ltd. developed armour piercing rounds in Russian and NATO calibres, all based on tungsten carbide penetrators. Its rounds were thoroughly tested by independent entities showing considerable penetration characteristics, the

To cope with the requirements of some customers, SF units among others, IWI developed the Tavor 7, which maintains the Tavor look but is in fact a complete new weapon. ŠIWI


EDR | July/August 2018

company having announced that Ukrainian SF units operating in the Donbass region are using them, although no details were provided about the calibres. As for weapons, new assault rifles have been selected by different Western countries SF units, mostly in 5.56 x 45 mm. The Heckler & Koch HK416 became one of the best sellers. The last announcement came in February 2018 from the Netherlands, which special units already used the original version of the rifle; following a new contract they will soon start receiving the A5 version which features an improved and tool-less gas regulator for suppressor use, a redesigned, userfriendly ambidextrous lower receiver, as well as numerous technical improvements to maximize safety, reliability, ammunition compatibility and durability. Germany announced the selection of the HK416, in the A7 version, for its Kommando Spezialkräfte (KSK) and its Kommando

Developed by Diodon, a French startup, the SP20 is the smallest of a family of amphibious inflatable drones that can be carried in a small backpack and take off and land from water. ©P. Valpolini

Spezialkräfte Marine (KSM) in fall 2017; the rifle will be known as G95 in the services and will replace the G36K currently in use. The A7 is a further modification of the HK416, the main ones being a lighter handguard with Hkey interfaces, a barrel with a muzzle thread allowing the easy adoption of a suppressor, a Cerakote coating to increase abrasion and corrosion resistance, and finally a safety lever with a 45° angle between safe and single shot and between single shot and automatic. The rifle will be provided with the 14.5” (368 mm) barrel, the weight being 3.7 kg. The contract is for a total of 1,745 HK416 A7 including accessories, first deliveries being scheduled for early 2019. The Kale group is about to start delivering its KCR-556 in 5.56 x 45 mm to the Turkish Special Forces; the contract defined in the “five digits area”, should be for more that 10,000 weapons. This however should be only one part of the story, as the rifle should also be adopted by the President bodyguard service, by military commanders bodyguards, as well as by the Turkish Jandarma, the branch of the Turkish Armed Forces responsible maintaining the public order in areas that fall outside the jurisdiction of police forces. According to information the SF adopted the version with the 7.5” barrel, which is known

as KCR-556 S-I; the same type of weapon should go to bodyguards, although in much smaller numbers, while the Jandarma should acquire that version only for part of its troops, around 6,000 such rifles having been ordered, while the other 15,000 should be of the 11” barrel version. Turkish SFs are also interested in the KSR 12.7 mm sniper rifle, which should be available in late 2018, and in the MG-556 machine gun in 5.56 mm calibre, that should be ready in early 2019. One of the few bigger calibre news, apparently developed under the push of potential customers, SFs being definitely part of them, was the Tavor 7 in 7.62 x 51 mm by Israel Weapons Industries, the SK Group company specialised in firerarms. Compared to 5.56 mm Tavor, the Tavor 7 is in fact a new weapon, as its rotating bolt was completely redesigned, featuring eight lugs compared to the three of the smaller calibre rifles. Fully ambidextrous, reverting the expulsion port and loading handle requires just field stripping, using the tip of a round. The gas mechanism has four positions, 1 for standard conditions, 2 for difficult conditions such as sand, dirt, etc, 3 to be used when a suppressor is fitted, and finally 4, which stops the gas from operating the bolt system. The latter is selected when the Tavor 7 is used

EDR | July/August 2018


WB Electronics of Poland developed the Warmate loitering munition, which carries a 1 kg warhead, and has been adopted by the Polish Army SF support unit. ŠWB Electronics

as a designated marksman rifle, usually with the 20-inch (508 mm) barrel, the standard hammer forged floating barrel being 17-inch long (432 mm). In the standard configuration, with the 17-inch barrel, the Tavor 7 is 4.1 kg heavy without magazine, and 723 mm long, the length remaining under 800 mm with the longer barrel. Deliveries were planned to start in early 2018.

Observation and attack drones While drones remain a concern for SFs, which count on stealthiest for approaching their targets, something put at risk by flying observation systems, they can also be a good allied in many operations. The number of small drones that might be of use to SFs is close to infinity, however one peculiar solution was developed by two French students who formed a start-up, Diodon Drone Technologies, and developed inflatable VTOL drones. These are built


EDR | July/August 2018

around a central watertight box containing the electronics and the battery; spikes sustaining rotors are attached to the box and are inflatable, therefore when in transport configuration the drone is quite small, the smallest being the SP20 which dimensions when deflated are 200x200x120 mm. Carried in a rucksack which dimensions are slightly bigger, it is inflated in 45 seconds using a small compressor, its dimensions increasing to 600x600x120 mm, and it is ready to fly. Exploiting the buoyancy of the spikes and the fact that all electronics are contained in a watertight environment, the SP20 is fully amphibious, another characteristic that makes it a possible choice for SF units. This quad copter has 20 minutes endurance, a 2 km range, and can carry a 200 grams single sensor payload. The bigger SP40 carries a 400 grams payload, typically a single sensor gimbal, with 30 minutes endurance and a 3 km range. The ground control station comes in the form of a touchscreen with joystick controls, and can be used for all Diodon drones, providing video downlink, GPS position and encrypted link, maximum range being 10 km. In recent times some SF units have acquired loitering munitions, which are in fact drones fitted with some type of warhead, depending on the target. In Poland Jednostka Wojskowa Nil, the Polish SOF support and supply unit, responsible for intelligence and C2 support but also for the procurement of equipment,

electronics and armament, is receiving the first batch of 1,000 Warmate loitering munitions produced by WB Electronics. This fixed wing, electric powered, loitering munitions is 1.1 meters long with a 1.4 meters wingspan, and has a take-off weight of 4 kg, one fourth of which is taken by the warhead which is installed in the nose. This comes in two forms, a hollow charge known as GK-1, which ensures the penetration of 120 mm RHA, and the GO-1, made of a pre-fragmented body containing 300 grams of explosive, which has a 10 meters lethal radius. The GS9 optronic module with stabilised IR sensor allowing target detection, recognition and identification is always installed. An expendable system, the Warmate is launched thanks to a pneumatic catapult, has an operating radius of 10 km and a 30 minutes endurance. The air vehicle reaches a maximum speed of 150 km/h, and its operational altitude varies between 30 and 200 meters above ground level. Its weight and dimensions allow backpacking it when necessary, which might well be the case for SFs. Poland is one of the four customers that ordered the Warmate, two being still undisclosed while the other is Ukraine.

Turkish SFs also acquired nationally developed loitering munitions from Savunma Teknolojileri MĂźhendislik ve Ticaret (STM), the company having dev eloped two such systems, one fixed wing, the Alpagu, and one rotary wing, the Kargu. The Alpagu is made

STM of Turkey developed two loitering munitions, the fixed wing Alpagu, left, and the rotary wing Kargu, right, both having recently been acquired by Turkish Land Forces SF units. ŠP. Valpolini

EDR | May/June 2018


ready to operate in less than 45 seconds, and is launched thanks to a pneumatic device from a square section tube. Take-off weight is 3.7 kg, wingspan being 1.25 meters while length is 650 mm. After launch its main wings and rear empennage deploy and the electric motor activates the rear-mounted pushing propeller. This provides a cruise speed of 58 km/, maximum speed being 80 km/h. The Alpagu reaches a maximum operational height of 400 meters over the ground, however the optimal height is 150 meters. The aircraft is equipped with day and thermal sensors; the operator is consistently assisted by the ground control stations, which exploits STM’s knowledge in deep learning and big data that were the base for developing those artificial intelligence and image processing algorithms that allow the Alpagu to navigate by video, and to detect and classify static or moving targets such as vehicles or people. To increase lethality, once the target has been positively identified the Alpagu dives reaching 130 km/ thus adding kinetic energy to that of the explosion. A hand grenade with a weight of 500-600

grams manufactured by MKEK, however STM is ready to integrate other payloads, generates this. The Kargu is a quad copter with a take-off weight of 6.285 kg fitted with a two-axis stabilised gimbal in the nose featuring a x30 optical zoom; mission height is thus 500 meters over ground due to its long range identification capability. Range and endurance are the same of the Alpagu, as well as the payload. Maximum speed is 72 km/h, attack speed reaching 120 km/h after the dive. The two loitering munitions share the same ground control station.

Mobility Mobility remains a key issue for SFs in all scenarios, air, sea and land, the latter being the most critical one, as most operations end up on land, although they often start from the air. Light mobility vehicles have become key to many operations, thus the major SF community, the US one, selected some years ago the Flyer 72 for its GMV 1.1 programme, the vehicle being provided by General

Italy has acquired a small number of GMV 1.1 Flyer 72, the picture showing an Italian SF operator during the training carried out in the US. ŠGD OTS


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The French COS ordered 243 VLFS from Renault Trucks Defence; with a 1.2 tonnes payload it can reach 120 km/h with an autonomy of 600 km. ©photo RTD

Dynamics - Ordnance and Tactical Systems. As it often happens this vehicle, originally developed for SFs, is now being acquired also for the Green Army, initially to equip airborne Infantry Brigade Combat Teams (IBCTs), further vehicles for light and air assault IBCTs being eventually procured at a later date. For the time being the only export customer seems to be Italy, the Army 9th “Col Moschin” having ordered nine vehicles, an option for 18 more being part of the contract. In March 2018 Italian SF operators attended a course in the US on the new fast attack vehicle, awaiting their delivery. In fall 2014 Polaris unveiled its new ultralight combat vehicle, the Dagor (Deployable Advanced Ground Off-Road), which is in use with USSOCOM and the 82nd Airborne Division and to export customers mostly in Europe, the Middle East and North America. In March 2018 Polaris announced a new version of the vehicle, the Dagor A1. The GVW increases from 3,515 to 3,856 kg, the payload growing from 1,474 to 1,814 kg. No details were provided about dimensions, however the new version can still be transported inside the CH-47, two vehicles, and the CH-53, one

vehicle, as well as under sling by the same helicopters as well as by the UH-60. Obstacle clearance and off-road mobility were improved by raising the ride height thanks to the adoption of new shock absorbers, the A1 maintaining the airdrop capability of the original Dagor. Further improvements, such as an in-dash power management screen, expanded lighting options, integrated wiring, new mission components, and durability enhancements are also part of the A1 configuration. In January 2018 the Canadian Special Operations Forces Command started receiving the first of the 62 Ultra-Light Combat Vehicles on order; in fact the news anticipated the announcement of the A1, the Canadian vehicles being already at the latest standard, which might well be developed to cope with CANSOFCOM requirements. As for Europe, the latest development is the French VLFS (Véhicule Léger Forces Spéciales) by Renault Trucks Defence, which prototype was exhibited at SOFINS 2017. A 4x4 vehicle with a 4.2 tonnes GVW and a 1.2 tonnes payload, the VLFS is powered by an Iveco turbo diesel 200 hp engine coupled to a 5-speed automatic transmission, its chassis

EDR | July/August 2018


Unveiled in April 2018, the Yagu is an ultralight protected vehicle with over 50 hp/t power-to-weight ratio, aimed at military SFs and internal security special teams. ©Plasan

being based on a tubular structure. The vehicle is 4.357 meters long, 2.2 meters wide and 2.04 meters high, its wheelbase being 3 meters while ground clearance is 0.32 meters. Suspensions are provided by rigid axles with spring/dampers, the VLFS being equipped with 275/80 R20 pneumatics. The vehicle can reach 120 km/h on flat surfaces, maximum autonomy being in excess of 600 km; it can overcome 60% gradient, 30% side slope, a 0.5 meters trench, a 0.35 meters vertical obstacle and can ford up to 0.5 meters depth. It can be air transported inside A400Ms and C-130Js. Among optional equipment we find antimine/IED and ballistic protections, CTIS, run-flat tires, winch, bull bar and cable cutter. Overall the contract was for 243 vehicles, series production deliveries being scheduled for 2019. At DSA 2019 two Malaysian companies unveiled their proposals for the SOF tender that should be soon issued by the Royal Malaysian Army, Kembara Suci and Cendana. Weststar proposed a vehicle based on a Toyota chassis, while Nimr of the UAE should also take part in the bid with its Nimr RIV, probably together with a local company. For more details on these vehicles please visit the DSA 2018 section at In mid-April Israel Plasan announced the latest add-on to its vehicles portfolio, in the form of the Yagu, an ultralight protected


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vehicle with a crew of three. With a dry weight of 1,480 kg and a payload of 350 kg, it is powered by a 95 hp engine that provides a 53 hp/t power-to-weight ratio. Based on a Arctic Cat Wildcat 4 1000 chassis with front double-A arm and rear link trailing arm suspensions ensure good off-road manoeuvrability. The Yagu is .38 meters long and has two front seats and a rear central seat, the crew being protected all round at B6+ level. It can be armed with a light RCWS and can be transported by C-130 Hercules and bigger aircraft.

Communications In March 2018 Harris announced a new handheld radio, the AN/PRC-163; also known as “Army Radio”, it provides simultaneous dual-channel operations allowing to maintain contact with lower and upper echelons. One channel can work in UHF (225-450 MHz) and L/S bands (1.3-2.6 GHz) while the other can work in high and low VHF, UHF (225512 MHz), MUOS (Mobile User Objective System) SATCOM, UHF SATCOM, and can be used as a Signal Based Threat Warning/ Situational Awareness (SBTW/SA) giving an alarm when RF traffic is detected in the 302600 MHz range. A software defined radio, it supports a series of different waveforms, narrow- and wide-band, voice and data, with crypto capability. Output varies from 250 mW to 5W in VHF/ UHF mode and 10 W in SATCOM mode. It can be immersed up to 20 meters depth, and has a weight of 1.13 kg with battery, which life is estimated at 6-7 hours when both channels are active at the same time. The AN/PRC-163 leverages the work done by Harris for the SOF Tactical Communications (STC) radio, developed following the strict requirements of USSOCOM, and should be

MyDefence of Denmark proposes its Wingman 101 capable of receiving signals in the 70-6000 MHz range, providing sound, vibration or visual warnings to the operator. Both systems can be fitted with algorithms capable to detect and classify Drone/UAV RF communications.

Optronics Aselsan of Turkey developed its Meerkat to provide SF units with a basic form of EW situational awareness. ŠP. Valpolini

easier to acquire by the international SOF community compared to the STC. Situational awareness is a multispectrum business, the RF spectrum being often key in confirming what observed with other sensors. To provide SF operational detachments with a basic form of EW two companies recently launched pocket size products that provide warning in case of signal traffic. Aselsan of Turkey developed the Meerkat, a spectrum monitoring device controlled by Android devices that works in the 20-6000 MHz range. Small, 65x100x22 mm, and light, 500 grammes without battery, it has an integrated GPS and can be fitted with covert/disguised wearable antennas.

One of the latest add on in this field comes from CILAS of France, well known for its DHY 307 family of ground laser target designators (GLTDs). Guiding an LGB needs at least 70 mJ of energy, the company GLTDs staying on the safe side with over 80 mJ, which means weight both for generating the laser power as well as for supplying the needed energy. The mass of a GLTD with battery is seldom less than 6 kg. However nowadays most aircraft carry their own designator, so the role of the JTAC acquires often a coordination role, in which he must indicate precisely the target to the designator. To do so 30 mJ of energy are sufficient, which dramatically decrease the weight. Answering a requirement of the French COS CILAS thus developed the DHY 208, an ultra-compact laser target marker that weighs less than 2 kg with battery and firing button. The optical channel has a x7 magnification for identification, it fulfils the STANAG 3733 requirements, and features a 750 mW laser pointer. The DHY 208 can be used as an LRF up to 4 km, and as optional it can be fitted with GPS and digital magnetic compass. Once the JTAC marks the target with the system, the laser bean is acquired by the spot tracker of the aircraft designator, avoiding any aiming mistake. CILAS started production of its DHY 208 but has not yet delivered it.

CILAS of France recently unveiled its DHY 208, a lightweight laser target marker that allows JTACs to mark the objective which is then picked up by the airborne designator. ŠP. Valpolini

EDR | July/August 2018



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UK Falcon Squadron CBRN specialist troops wearing Avon S10 respirators assigned to Operation Morlop following the chemical attack on Russians living in Salisbury. ©Crown Copyright

The Challenge of Chemical Warfare By David Oliver

In January 2018, Switzerland’s reputable Journal of Forensic Toxicology published the first unclassified report by German and Dutch experts providing “unambiguous evidence” that the banned chemical warfare (CW) agent Sarin was used in Syria.


n the wake, US National Security Advisor, H.R. McMaster stated on 17 February, that “it is time for all nations to hold the Syrian regime and its sponsors accountable for their actions”. Previously, the US launched 59 cruise missiles against Al Shayrat Air Base in April 2017, in response to the government’s suspected use of Sarin against the town of Khan Sheikhoun.

And then on 4 March 2018, former Russian military intelligence officer and British spy Sergei Skripal and his daughter Yulia Skripal were poisoned in Salisbury, England, with a Novichok nerve agent. According to official UK sources the Novichok chemical used in the Salisbury poisoning was produced at a chemical facility in the town of Shikhany, Saratov Oblast in Russia.

EDR | July/August 2018


Facing the “new” chemical threat Operation Morlop was the British Army’s response to the poisoning of the Skripals involving some 180 soldiers from the Royal Electrical and Mechanical Engineers (REME), Royal Logistic Corps (RLC) and Royal Tank Regiment (RTR) were involved in assisting police in Salisbury. However, it was soon clear that there was a shortage of trained specialists in the UK Armed Forces. The main threat to NATO coalition troops on the ground during the decade-long conflict in Afghanistan was improvised explosive devices (IED) and the emphasis was on the development and deployment of armoured mine resistant ambush protected (MRAP) vehicles. As there was no perceived CBRN threat for al Qaeda, nuclear, biological and chemical (NBC) protected and CBRN surveillance vehicles were not a priority. That may now be changing.

Until this year, NBC defence of the UK forces was in a state of confusion following the 2015 Strategic Defence and Security Review. The RAF Regiment has been the UK’s TriServices’ leader in CBRN Defence capability since the Second World War and on through the Cold War, both Gulf Wars and to the present day. But now UK NBC defence in is flux following the 2015 SDSR that rated CBRN attacks in the UK to be a Tier Two risk and more importantly, UK CBRN defence should be transferred from the RAF to the British Army’s Royal Engineers personnel over a sixyear transition period. Three years into that period the Army has yet to provide trained specialist personnel of facilities and this was confirmed by the British government’s reaction to the Salisbury attacks. It is a concern that UK authorities have stated that the decontamination of certain areas in Salisbury will take week, if not months, to complete, despite almost 200 military personnel being involved at a cost millions of pounds.

One of eight refurbished Fuchs 1 NBC reconnaissance vehicles issued to Falcon Squadron manned by members of the British Army’s Royal Tank Regiment. ©Crown Copyright


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Civilian and military personnel from Kuwait, Qatar, Saudi Arabia and the US conduct CBRN simulation training as part of exercise Eagle Resolve 2017. ©US Army

Other than direct training that is related to proper use of safety and life support equipment that is provided to all members of the military there has been little or nothing with with the wider elements of UK CBRN capability and training, which until this year has been underfunded. Up until the recent CW events, the only ‘new’ equipment issued to the UK Tri-Service CBRN unit was eight refurbished NBC reconnaissance vehicles. The UK Rheinmetall 6x6 Fuchs 1 armoured personnel carriers (APC) had been in storage for some years until January 2015 when the UK MoD awarded a £7.1 million contract to the German company FWW Fahrzeugwerk GmbH to repair, service, recalibrate and re-commission nine Fuchs Chemical and Radiological (C&R) Area Survey and Reconnaissance Vehicles and supply of training, with in service support. The refurbished vehicles to be issued to Falcon (Area Survey and Reconnaissance) Squadron manned by members of the British Army’s Royal Tank Regiment but under command of 22 Engineer Regiment. The nerve gas attack on British soil and yet another chemical attack in Syria have been a wake up call for not only the UK but for NATO and its Partners for Peace (PfP) members.

The subject has not been entirely ignored and for the past fourteen years, NATO has held a large CBRN exercise in Canada. Hosted by the Canadian Armed Forces, the aim of Exercise Precise Response has been to test the skills and interoperability of CBRN specialists in a real-time environment with live agents. 
Missions throughout the exercise included assessing hazards in multiple compounds, mitigating explosive threats and collecting samples for analysis.
 With over 400 participants from 11 NATO and PfP countries taking part, the 2017 Exercise Precise Response was the largest ever. Defence Research and Development Canada (DRDC), an Agency of the Canadian Department of National Defence (DND) hosted the exercise at Canadian Forces Base Suffield. It brought together CBRN specialists from Austria, Belgium, Canada, Denmark, France, Germany, Italy, the Netherlands, Norway, the United Kingdom and the United States to test their skills and improve interoperability in a real-time environment. Training during the exercise provided specialists with knowledge and expertise they need to respond to real life CBRN threats quickly and effectively. EDR | July/August 2018


partners a safe and secure site for CBRN training. UK-based USAF airmen wearing the Avon M50 DoD joint service general purpose mask undergoing CBRN training earlier this year. ©USAF

Resuming CBRN drills on a larger scale Another long established exercise is Eagle Resolve between the US and Gulf Co-operation Council countries have an element of CBRN defence within its scenarios. More than 3,000 forces from Kuwait, Qatar, Saudi Arabia, the United Arab Emirates and the United States participated in the threeweek exercise. This year’s scenarios ranged from air defence concepts, border security operations, counter-terrorism operations and procedures to consequence management. The culminating event Exercise Eagle Resolve involved land, air and maritime forces and included tactical demonstrations of search and seizure operations, and chemical threat counter operations. In today’s uncertain security environment, dealing with CBRN events, responding to a crisis alongside NATO Allies and partners, or deploying to the site of a suspected terrorist attack are some of the potential situations that specialists must be ready to face. Canadian soldiers from the 2nd Canadian Division planned and executed the Canadian Army’s contribution to the exercise by providing various Command and Control capacities and forming one decontamination element. Through the 2017 exercise Canada continued to uphold commitments made at the 2002 NATO Summit in Prague, providing its 20

EDR | July/August 2018

Since its inception, the exercises have hosted approximately 3,500 CBRN specialists from allied and partner countries and building on the experience gained through prior exercises. However, it was the chemical attack in Salisbury that prompted a series of CBRN defence exercises in the UK. The first was Exercise Toxic Dagger, the largest of its kind in the UK involving Royal Maine Commandos, Public Health England, the Atomic Weapons Establishment and the government’s military laboratories and Defence Science and Technology Laboratory (DSTL). While the commandos have kept up with the latest developments and tactics on the battlefield, the scientists have monitored CBRN progress and how to defeat them. 40 Commando would be first on the ground in the event of a CBRN incident as the Lead Commando Group, but this force requires scientific brain behind it and at DSTL’s headquarters and a team was on hand to provide the crucial information to tell them what dangers they face and how to deal with them. Lieutenant Colonel Paul Maynard, 40 Cdo’s Commanding Officer said: “Because the threat is a technical, scientific one, the ability to reach out to organisations with specialist skills greater than ours is crucial.” The three-week exercise included companylevel attacks and various CBRN scenarios based on the latest threats for ultimate realism, such as a raid on a suspected chemical weapons laboratory. The UK MoD said that that it climaxed with a full-scale exercise involving government and industry scientists and more than 300 military personnel, including the RAF Regiment and casualty treatment was a key part of the Salisbury Plain exercise.

British and French forces struck Syrian chemical warfare facilities on the outskirts of Homs on 14 April, a city recently retaken from rebel forces by Syrian government forces. ©UN

At the same time US soldiers from the 773rd Civil Support Team, 361st Civil Affairs Brigade, assisted the Defense Threat Reduction Agency (DTRA) Europe in a CBRN defence training exercise in the United Kingdom at RAF Lakenheath. The 773rd CST provided subject-matterexperts to instruct the United States Air Force personnel of the 48th Civil Engineer Squadron, 48th Mission Support Group, on sensitive information gathering in both illegal chemical and biological laboratories as well as conducting operations in both friendly and hostile environments. DTRA Europe’s CBRN Preparedness and Response Office Europe’s goal in coordinating this exercise is to build USAF Emergency Management’s capacity to respond to illegal laboratories. The exercise comprised of two days of classroom training and one day of field training. The first two days focused on learning chemical compounds and the laboratory set up. During the field training exercise, airmen gathered and analysed information from four different laboratories.

In response to the Salisbury attack and the subsequent chemical warfare (CW) threat to the United Kingdom, the UK Defence Secretary Gavin Williamson announced that the government would invest £48 million in a new CW defence centre at its Porton Down military research laboratory where British scientists identified the nerve agent used to attack the Skripals. And at the same time accused Russia of being responsible for the attack, which Moscow denied. In the face of intensifying global threats, the Defence Secretary launched the Modernising Defence Programme that will aim to ensure the UK Armed Forces can meet the complex and evolving challenges that Britain and its allies are confronted with. The Defence Secretary outlined how the programme will see a more productive, harder-hitting Joint Force able to counter conventional threats and deal with new challenges. This will take some time before the new CW defence centre will be operational, but in light of even more recent chemical attacks, the clock EDR | July/August 2018


and threatened consequences to those countries that took part in the strike, and the UK in particular. Since the end of the Cold War, while NBC defence has been a low priority for NATO forces this is not the case for the Russian military. Large-scale field training for the Nuclear, Biological and Chemical Protection Troops of the Russian Armed Forces (RChBD) troops started earlier this year at the training centers of Russia’s Eastern Russia has recently stepped up NBC training exercises of its armed forces Military District. The troops practiced and equipped them with new CW detection vehicles. ©Russian MOD reconnaissance of terrain and en route contamination operating the advanced RChM-6 reconnaissance vehicles. is counting. On 7 April, Syrian Air Force More than 3,000 troops and some 700 helicopters dropped barrel bombs suspected vehicles and pieces of military equipment of containing Chlorine gas or the nerve were involved in the exercises. agent Sarin on the city of Douma, bombs that reportedly killed at least 70 people by Russia’s Armed Forces received more than suffocation and injuring many more. 350 new items of special NBC equipment The West responds to Assad’s from the industry in 2017, including RKhM-6 reconnaissance vehicles, USSO-1 universal gas attacks decontamination stations and TDA-3 smokescreen generators replacing up to 60 In response to this yet another chemical percent of the armed force’s current NBC weapons attack on Syrian civilians by equipment. President Assad’s forces, a synchronised In addition to new vehicles Russia’s Saratov strike by US, UK and French ships and aircraft State University chemists have developed targeted the Syrian government’s chemical an air and vapor permeable membrane weapons research facility, storage site and solution that can defend military personnel CW bunker in the early hours of 14 April. A from chemical and biological weapons. total of 105 missiles, including Tomahawk The project was developed in cooperation cruise missiles from US Navy ships, JASSM with industrial partners, and experimental cruise missiles from USAF B-1Bs, MBDA suits were made for Defense Ministry and Storm Shadow missiles from RAF Tornados, Interior Ministry personnel to wear during SCALP-EG missiles from French Air Force a test period. By the end of 2017, testing Rafales, and MBDA MdCN cruise missiles of suits was completed and the material’s from French frigates, were fired against the certification was scheduled to follow. Syrian CW targets, as well as, presumably Tomahawks launched by a RN Astute-class All of these factors will weigh heavily on SSN. the United States and Europe as they revue the priorities of their respective defence Assad’s long-term ally, Russia backed up budgets. Syria’s denial of any CW attack on Douma


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The single-engine EC120 is used for pilot training at HeliDax and DCI’s International Helicopter Training Centre in France and the Helang Flying Academy in Malaysia. Š D. Oliver

US DARPA’s GXV-T programme aims at developing new technologies, some of which might allow reducing weight and size of those platforms that in the future should replace current MBTs. ©DARPA

According to information available Israel is not looking at a Merkava 5 MBT; studies about a Future Combat Vehicle are underway, and the system might be quite different from current tanks. ©Israel MoD

MBTs: which future? By Paolo Valpolini For over a decade, following the end of the Cold War, Main Battle Tanks, MBTs in short, became a sort of modern dinosaur for many armies.


rue that it was a pivotal element in the 1991 Gulf War, and that the footings of Abrams tanks rolling through the streets of Baghdad in April 2003 while the Iraqi Minister for


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Information denied the Allied victory became viral on the web. That said many western nations decided to consistently reduce the number of MBTs, when not to renounce to the armoured firepower.

A wide tank revival? The appearance of a new Russian tank in 2015, during the Moscow Victory Day Parade, and the renewed tension between Moscow and many of its western neighbours brought once again MBTs among key military systems. Designed by Uralvagonzavod, the three-man crew T-14 Armata has become the benchmark against which western MBTs are being compared, its unmanned turret armed with the 2A82-1M smoothbore gun and its heavily protected crew compartment in the hull ensuring superior firepower and protection. Together with the T-15 infantry fighting vehicle (IFV), it should become the backbone of Russian Army’s armoured formations in the next decade. For the time being two battalions of T-14 were ordered, together with one of T-15, these units being responsible for tactical and operational evaluation of those weapon systems, prior mass production, that will quite probably not start before 2020. How much the Russian defence budget will allow to produce the T-14 in thousands, 2,300 is the number that has been mentioned often, remains to be seen, however the appearance of this new MBT, the first with a remotely controlled turret and with the crew in the chassis, brought many players to consider new options to counter this potential threat. The major trend was to start the development of further upgrades to existing tanks, mostly in terms of protection, some new firepower options being also available. Some new designs are however being launched. France and Germany are looking at a new MBT in the 2030 timeframe; according to a representative from the French Direction Générale de l’Armement some information on the concepts for the Main Ground Combat System (MGCS), as the future tank is referred to, should start to surface in mid2018, quite probably during the Eurosatory

Fighting in urban areas will certainly be among top priorities for thr future Israeli FCV, known as Carmel,that might replace MBTs in some of their tasks. ©Israel MoD

exhibition that will take place in Paris next mid-June. KNDS, formed with the strategic alliance between KMW of Germany and Nexter of France, will inevitably be the main industrial partner in this programme, other major companies involved in MBT subsystems being also possible participants. In the US the Defense Advanced Research Projects Agency (DARPA) launched the Ground X-Vehicle Technologies (GXV-T) programme that aims at decoupling protection from weight, looking at quantum jumps in mobility and warfighting capability. The GXV-T aims at reducing vehicle size and In Turkey Otokar is the prime contractor for the design of the new Altay main battle tank, developed in cooperation with South Korea, which production should start soon. ©Otokar

weight by 50 percent, reducing onboard crew needed to operate the vehicle by 50 percent, increasing vehicle speed by 100 percent, allow the vehicle to access 95 percent of existing terrain, and finally reducing signatures that enable adversaries to detect and engage vehicles. Areas considered for improvements are new revolutionary wheel/track and suspension technologies that would enable greater terrain access and faster travel both on- and off-road, autonomous capability to avoid incoming threats, automated and semi-automated functions to assist crew members as well as “transparent armour” solutions and sensor technologies for closehatch driving, and finally multispectral signature management measures. Spin-off of that programme will certainly impact the future US MBT, if and when the successor of the current Abrams will appear. For the time being a nation that does not seem to provide a successor to its MBT, at least in the short time, is Israel: a feasibility study was launched for


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A conventional tank, developed by Otokar with most electronic elements provided by Aselsan, the prototypes are powered by a German MTU power pack. On 24 April 2018 SSN, the Turkish Undersecretariat for Defence Industries, announced that ist had started negotiations with BMC for the production of the first 250 MBTs. BMC is teamed with Rheinmetall of Germany, and in early 2018 Turkish officials announced their favour to a German involvement in the Altay production. SSN also Otokar ALTAY Asimetrik Harp Tankı announced that the team In 2017 Otokar unveiled the AHT version of its Altay, dedicated to made of BMC, Rheinmetall and asymmetric combat warfare, which Etika Strategi from Malaysia, weight was up to 65.5 tonnes. ©Otokar which formed Rheinmetall BMC Savunma Sanayi, will be charged of developing and manufacturing the engine for the Altay, although the MTU engine might well be used in the first 250 tanks.

a new concept of vehicle, mostly aimed at urban combat, known as Carmel FCV (Future Combat Vehicle), which according to the latest information should remain within the 35-40 tons limit. It will have a crew of two plus one, driver and commander, plus a third element that will be tasked of dealing with the control of unmanned systems launched from the platform as well as stand-off weapon systems, the commander/gunner dealing

with direct fire ones. The link between weight and protection will be severed by the use of an active system, while not much is known about its main armament, but apparently this will be a high-end medium calibre cannon, not certainly an MBT gun. Artist impressions show a wedge-shape chassis with the turret in the back, which means the power pack should be at the front, as in IFVs and in the Merkava, adding protection to the crew. Israel seems not being looking at a Merkava Mk5, the Mk4 remaining for the time being its MBT of choice.

At IDEF 2017 Otokar unveiled a new configuration of the Altay known as AHT (Asimetrik Harp Tanki for Asymmetrical Warfare Tank). Most of the changing came from lessons learned in Syria: the commander periscope was replaced by a 12.7 mm RCWS, a mast-mounted 360° situational awareness (SA) system being installed at the rear of the turret, a further 360° short range SA system completing

The Turkish trend One of the few new MBTs already at prototype level in western countries is the Turkish Altay, unveiled in 2011. Four prototypes were built, which have logged over 25,000 km and fired more than 3,000 rounds in all situations.

Among the numerous upgrade programmes, that done by Aselsan on Turkish Land Forces M60s is led by the need of improving survivability and serviceability as they are used in the fight in Syrian territory. ©P. Valpolini

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By far the western European tank produced in greatest numbers, the Leopard 2 is the subject of upgrades at different levels, the EDA looking at a scheme for optimising the process among European users. ©Rheinmetall

the optronic suite. Soft-kill protection is provided by a turning platform fitted on the top of the turret, armed with eight 76 mm grenade launchers and interfaced with the laser warning system, the Altay AHT featuring also two eight-launchers systems installed left and right on the turret roof, by a small arms fire acoustic detection system and by an RCIED multiband jammer. An ERA kit add-on kit on the front area and up to half the side skirts increases reactive protection, chassis and turret, while slat armour provides passive protection against RPGs around the rear half of the MBT. The Altay AHS exhibited at IDEF 2017 was fitted with torsion bar suspensions in place of hydro-gas suspensions of the standard version. A dozer blade, controlled by the driver, was installed at the front to deal with urban obstacles. Overall the Altay AHT weighs 65.5 tonnes. How much the recent decision by SSN to assign the production contract to another manufacturer will impact on Otokar’s activities on the Altay remains to be seen. Turkey is one of the few western nations currently deploying MBTs in action, namely operation “Euphrates Shield” on the Syrian territory. M60T and M60A3 MBTs are being upgraded, the former following a May 2017 contract between SSM and Aselsan. A prototype seen at IDEF featured a new ERA developed by Roketsan replacing that 28

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installed by IMI in the early 2000s when 170 M60s were upgraded by then IMI, spall liner also improving passive protection. The original cupola was replaced by an Aselsan’s SARP RCWS armed either with 12.7 mm MG or 40 mm AGL. Laser Warning Receiver, a 360° situational awareness sensors are installed to improve crew protection. An improved air conditioning system increases crew comfort. Two items not mentioned in the 109 million Euro signed for the upgrade of around 100 MBTs were also installed, an Auxiliary Power Unit on the rear left corner, and two loudspeakers in the turret basket. The first M60T fitted with the upgrade package have been seen in action in early 2018 in northwestern Syria during operation “Olive Branch” against Kurdish fighters. Deliveries are ongoing, thus original M60Ts as well as M60A3s are still being used in operation without upgrades; to reduce the vulnerability of its MBTs Turkey decided to install Aselsan’s Pulat active defence system (ADS). The system looks very much similar to the Zaslon-L developed by Ukraine, Aselsan being in the development phase of an indigenous ADS known as Accor, that will not be ready before early 2020s. To date no upgrade contracts for M60A3s and Leopard 2A4s seems to have been filed, Aselsan and other Turkish companies having already made their proposals to SSM.

What about a Leopard upgrade? The Leopard 2 is definitely the non-Russian European modern MBT produced in greater numbers. Following the end of the Cold War the Germany Army, as well as other land forces, considerably reduced their armoured formation and many Leopard 2 were put on the market. The KMW tank, that features a Rheinmetall 120 mm smoothbore gun, was submitted to a series of improvements that brought to the current Leopard 2A7 version. However this has already a successor. The latest iteration of the German MBT will be the Leopard 2 A7V, Rheinmetall having received a contract in September 2017 for the upgrade of 104 tanks, 68 Leopard 2A4, 16 Leopard 2A6 and 20 Leopard 2A7, the two latter models already armed with the company L/55 120

mm smoothbore gun. The A4s will however receive an upgraded version of that gun, named L55A1, capable to withstand a higher pressure; the ejector, cradle and mount are made of a new materiel. The new gun was developed as the Bundeswehr made it clear that the 120 mm calibre will be maintained until the end of the Leopard 2 lifetime. A new KE round is thus being developed to exploit the higher chamber pressure, the increased V0 generating higher kinetic energy on the target, the aim being to deal with the T-14 Armata.

The upgrade also allows eliminating obsolescent features in the fire control computers and control consoles, to install a new laser rangefinder and thermal imaging device, and some automotive improvements. The two first Leopard 2 A7V demonstrators should be available by mid-2018, the delivery of the first retrofitted tanks being scheduled for 2020. This will increase considerably the German Army armoured capabilities, especially considering the low availability rate of the Leopard 2 fleet, which is currently reduced to 244 MBTs. To provide Surplus Leopard 2 have been sold to numerous countries outside more flexibility Rheinmetall, a Europe, Indonesia being one of them, the pictured tank including the upgrades adopted by the local army. ŠRheinmetall

Rheinmetall developed an Advanced Technology Demonstrator of the Leopard 2, which includes all the possible upgrades that can be found within the German group portfolio. ŠRheinmetall

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key player in the 120 mm ammunition field, is considering a derivative of its DM11 round exploiting the airburst effect to damage enemy tanks optics, thus obtaining a mission kill rather than the destruction of the opponent. The L55A1 gun was also selected by Denmark for the upgrading 16 of its 38 Leopard 2A5DK tanks as part of a further modernisation effort, this country becoming the first export customer of the new gun. At Eurosatory 2016 Rheinmetall unveiled its Leopard 2-based MBT Advanced Technology Demonstrator aimed at answering the requirements for full spectrum operations. Lethality was ensured by the new gun and most recent ammunition, while survivability included passive protection against most threats, ADS active defence system and Rosy IR smoke screen. The turret is fully digital, the C2 system being fully integrated with the BMS and FCS exploiting augmented reality as well as database technology. In case o f emergency, the commander can stop the vehicle using a brake. A 360° IR and TV short range Situational Awareness System with automatic target acquisition and tracking functions is installed, as well as an Auxiliary Power Unit, while the air conditioning unit has been consistently improved.

The high number of surplus Leopard 2 available and the continuous selling of such vehicles from one country to the other, one of the last transfer being that between the Netherlands and Finland which started in March 2017 and will end in 2019. To optimise the European tank fleet, most countries using the Leopard 2 originally developed by KMW in the 1970s, in September 2017 the European Defence Agency introduced a concept that foresees the offer of surplus Leopard platforms available in certain Member States, defined as ‘providers’, and transfer them together with an upgrading package to one or several other member states, the ‘receivers’, interested in acquiring and introducing in-service this type of capability. This might allow a pooling and sharing of training, exercises and maintenance between providers and receivers, using already existing facilities, providing economies of scale as well as interoperability. A business case was developed based on the upgrading of Leopard 2 A4 platforms to the 2A7 configuration, filing an RfI to the European defence industry to provide its input, the deadline being 8 December 2017. The information required included the content and cost of the Integrated Logistics Support package covering recurring/scheduled

The French Army is planning to update 200 of its Leclerc MBTs to the new XLR standard that will improve survivability and connectivity making them part of the Scorpion environment. ©Nexter


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maintenance as well as estimated figures for the Life Cycle Costs of the upgraded tanks. One company that answered the RfI was definitely KMW that went further, proposing a EU fleet of upgraded tanks to be leased to some nations that need effective armour, the package including 10 years of training, logistic and maintenance. Leasing is not new in the MBT world, as in 2007 Canada leased 20 Leopard 2A6 that were deployed to Afghanistan, the Netherlands having leased the 18 Leopard 2 A6 from Germany in February 2016 to equip a tank company part of its 43rd Mechanised Brigade assigned to the German Panzerdivision 1.

On the French side In France the Leclerc upgrade is part of the Phase 1 of the Scorpion programme, which will make the French Army a networked force. The tank will thus receive the new SICS battle management system and, when available, the new Contact radios. As for lethality, the gun will be provided with the programming capability to allow the use of airburst munitions, while new on-board computers and navigation systems will be fitted, the HMI becoming similar to that of the Jaguar reconnaissance vehicle in development, to ease training and enhance personnel interchangeability. An RCWS armed with a 7.62 mm MG will be installed

Nexter is proposing a series of improvements to its international customers, such as the United Arab Emirates, to increase the MBT survivability and effectiveness. ©P. Valpolini

over the turret. Protection will be in creased adding a new anti-mine/IED kit, a kit against RPGs, while the frontal arc will receive addon armour derived from that studied for the Azur urban combat programme. The two prototypes should be available within 2018, first production vehicles being scheduled to enter service in 2020. Nexter is also proposing an upgrade to the United Arab Emirates; this includes an overhaul of the gun, including the adoption of a fuse programming capability to allow the use of multipurpose rounds with airburst capacity, the replacement of the commander’s periscope with Safran’s Paseo, an increase in protection, and the replacement of current tracks with new and lighter ones. The tanks will be fitted with the new battle management system for which Harris received a contract in 2017 and which will be installed in all the UAE Army combat vehicles

And elsewhere too Italy field’s three tank regiments equipped with the Ariete MBT. Some 181 MBTs should be submitted to an upgrade programme that will include a new 1,500 hp engine (versus the current 1,300 hp) improved optronics and C2 elements, the adoption of an RCWS over the turret, and additional underbelly protections against mines and IEDs. The upgrade should start in 2019, providing sufficient funds will be available and priorities will not be modified. Leonardo is also proposing an M60 upgrade programme aimed at the export market. It includes the latest version of the company 120/45 mm ordnance, adopted on the Centauro II, a new digital FCS, an RCWS, and different add-on armour kits. A new more powerful power pack, lighter tracks and a n improved night vision system for the driver will also improve mobility.

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In Italy an upgrade programme for the Ariete MBT has been developed, however no financing seems yet available to launch it; the Italian Army currently fields three tank regiments. ©P. Valpolini

Considering the wide market around the world, Leonardo is proposing its upgrade solution for M60 MBTs, which includes many developments adopted on Italian Army vehicles such as the Centauro II. ©Leonardo

In the United Kingdom the MoD launched a Challenger 2 Life Extension Project (C2 LEP), the aim being to remove obsolescence from the British Army MBT and extend its out-ofservice date to 2035; the upgraded tank will be known as Challenger 2 Mark 2. Two teams are bidding for the contract, one led by BAE Systems and including General Dynamics Land Systems-UK, Leonardo, Safran Electronics & Defence, Moog, QinetiQ and General Dynamics Mission Systems-Canada, the other being led by Rheinmetall. Overall some 227 tanks will be refurbished, the main areas of improvement being imaging

and sighting systems, fire control system, and electronic architecture, the project also offering the opportunity for further capability enhancements. Compared to the previous CCSP (Challenger 2 Capability Sustainment Programme) the C2 LEP does not foresee the replacement of the current L30A1 120 mm rifled gun with Rheinmetall’s 120 mm L55 smoothbore gun, which set the standard among western nations. The two teams will leverage the experience acquired in recent programmes such as the Ajax and the Leopard 2 upgrading, a final decision being awaited in mid 2019.


goes light Considering the terrain as well as the forces of its neighbours Indonesia decided to equip its forces with a light-medium tank. The prototype of the Kaplan MT (Medium Tank) was unveiled at IDEF 2017 in the FNSS stand, the system being developed in cooperation with PT Pintad of Indonesia. The six-roadwheel chassis is a derivative of the Kaplan 30 with the same 711 hp engine (which is here located at the rear and not in front as in the IFV), torsion bar suspensions, transmission and final drives, the chassis being longer the gap between the third and fourth wheel being wider. The Kaplan MT is fitted with a CMI Defence 3105 armed with a 105 mm full pressure gun equipped with an autoloader. Qualification tests of this three-man crew tank should start in mid-2018, as soon as the second prototype will be delivered. The expected production number is of around 100 vehicles.


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improving heavy and re-inventing light To cope with the evolving threat the US Army aims at further upgrading its Abrams fleet, the latest standard under development being the M1A2 SEP v4 (System Enhancement Program). In some areas, such as lethality, this will leverage on the SEP v3 that introduced for example a CROWS RCWS in a turret-on-turret configuration. Networking is the key issue, one of the least visible but more important upgrades being the replacement of the current slip ring with an advanced one that will allow to link all sensors on board reducing black boxes and increasing efficiency. High performances thermal imagers exploiting more than one band, together with high definition colour cameras, will consistently increase the detection range and image resolution, the latter a key element when positive identification is required. This increases lethality, together with some other upgrades, such as the integrated meteorological sensor that provides automatically all required data to the fire control system. A key upgrade is the ammunition data link allowing the use of programmable ammunition, such as the new Advanced Multi-Purpose (AMP) 120 mm round that replaces four types of legacy rounds such as the M830 HEAT, the M830A1 MPAT, the M1028 Canister and the M908 Obstacle Reduction round. Thanks to its programmable fuse and its dual warhead the AMP features airburst capabilities, useful against troops in the open ground, and ca also be used to open breaches into buildings. The AMP will reduce the number of type of rounds on board the Abrams while increasing operational flexibility. The SEP v4 will leverage on the previous SEP v3 enhancements, especially in the mobility and power generation. The US Army is also considering the adoption

of active defence systems, tests being underway while no decision has yet been taken about the installation of ADS on the Abrams. The contract was filed to General Dynamics Land Systems in September 2017, the US Army planning to start testing the latest upgraded version of its MBT around 2021. On the other hand the US Army launched a bid for a Mobile Protected Firepower (MPF), a lightmedium tank that must be air-transportable inside a C-17, two such vehicles must be deployable with the same mission. The MPF will be armed with a 105 mm rifled gun, a decision that might underline a priority towards protection, as 120 mm guns are being installed also on wheeled 8x8 vehicles. The vehicle will not be air-droppable, another cue that protection is among key priorities. Currently two companies have confirmed their participation in the bid, BAE Systems and General Dynamics Land Systems. The former proposal is heavily based on the M8 Armored Gun System, which was typeclassified in 1995 and was aimed at replacing the M551 Sheridan, while at AUSA 2016 GDLS exhibited a vehicle based on the Ajax SV chassis with a derivative of the Abrams turret; dubbed Griffin, the company states that its proposal has considerably evolved in the last 18 months, the smaller calibre gun being probably one of the main reasons. Other companies are expected to bid for the MPF, which should soon move to the engineering and manufacturing development phase, although no timeframe has been set yet. Following an initial request of 36 million US$ for the EMD phase in FY 18, the Army requested 10 times more money for FY 19, which shows the priority the vehicles has for the service.

Latest developments in shipborne IRST By Luca Peruzzi

The development of associated technology and the multirole capabilities gained by the infrared search-and-track systems (IRSTs), which has been developed initially purely for passive warning against sea-skimming anti-ship cruise missile (ASCMs), together with the widening of adversary weapon systems equipped with passive guidance and the asymmetric threats growth in littoral waters, are pushing towards a larger diffusion of the IRST systems on most high-value combatant vessels.

Artemis uses three to four (depending on configuration) sensor units fixed on a mast or topside structure to achieve 360° surveillance coverage in azimuth, with each fiber-optically connected to a central processing unit. ©Thales


he challenging operational environment of the littoral waters, where the radars have difficulties to detect threats due to the land clutter returns or multi-path effects, has declared the need for a board IRST. These

Thales is the frontrunner in the distributed IRST architecture to perform a full panoramic and wide elevation coverage without any blind sector. Artemis IRST system is equipping French FREMM frigates (positioned on the main top mast area) and installed on board Charles de Gaulle aircraft carrier. ©L.Peruzzi

devices need IR cameras with such high resolution and sensitivity they can detect the heat signature of an ASCM with sufficient distance from the defended platform, but this requirement raises the occurrence of false alarms.

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The name of the game An IRST requires advanced signal and data processing algorithms to reliably make detections, form and classify tracks, manage the false alarm rate, and declare threats. The sensor data fusion with radar allows for more reliable threat detection and tracking, thereby increasing the ship’s survivability. The second-generation IRST are based on mechanical rotating sensor heads which, due to ship superstructures, have to be positioned higher on masts to provide 360° coverage with weight limitations and higher degree of maintenance. The advance of a new-generation of staring-array IRSTs using distributed sensor apertures to overcome ship-fitting constraints and provide uninterrupted omnidirectional surveillance, wide elevation coverage and rapid data refresh, together with new tasks related to self-protection against asymmetric threats, platform and crew safety (with sensors’ verynear coverage), are pushing towards a wider interest related to these devices.

and long-wave (LWIR) (8-12 μm) IR bands systems using long linear focal-plane array (FPA) detectors, the third-generation devices use mostly medium-wave IR (MWIR) singleband latest generation large FPA detectors, since these will cover the vast majority of the operating environment their platforms are likely to encounter. However demanding theater of operations such as the Artic for the Royal Canadian navy and her experience with the dual-band Sirius IRST are pushing toward a challenging staring-array based dual-band system.


While second generation IRST are typically dual band - medium-wave (MWIR) (3-5 μm)

Safran is today offering three products with 360°IR panoramic and search and tracking capabilities: the well-known Vampir NG (New Generation), the new Paseo family’s IRST version and the EOMS NG, also offering electro-optical and gun fire control capabilities. ©Safran

DRS Technologies Canada, together with Thales Optronique and Thales Optronics Canada, is understood to be offering an enhanced Artemis IRST version dubbed Omnistare for the Royal Canadian Navy’s (RCN) Canadian Surface Combatant (SCS) frigates program. (©L. Peruzzi)


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Thales group is the frontrunner in the distributed IRST architecture to perform a full panoramic and wide elevation coverage without any blind sector. In December 2005, Thales France received a contract to develop, product and support the Artemis (Advanced Reliable Third-generation Electro-optical Multiplexing Infrared Search and Track) system to equip the French Navy’s Aquitaineclass multi-mission frigates, which are today

also in service with Moroccan and Egyptian navies. Artemis uses three to four (depending on configuration) units fixed on a mast or topside structure to achieve 360° surveillance coverage in azimuth, with each fiber-optically connected to a central processing unit. Each sensor unit embodies a medium-wave infrared (MWIR) cooled camera, covering a sector of 120° in azimuth and 25° in elevation and updating at a rate of 10 Hz. To meet the challenging requirement for a large field-of-view and a high update frequency without incurring in the higher costs associated with installing multiple cameras in each sensor unit, Thales developed an innovative optical design that uses a prism-mirror combination to split the spatial coverage into six optical paths, each covering 20 degrees in azimuth and 25 degrees in elevation. The outputs are then projected onto a large FPA detector, mounted on a periscope assembly and rotated through each of the six optical paths 10 times per second to achieve the 10 Hz refresh rate. Such as patented optical multiplexing technique offers significant costs and performance benefits, Thales says, thanks to the fact each sensor unit delivers resolution equivalent to that of six separate staring cameras, among other advantages. Detection (plot extraction) algorithms are based on multi-window analysis techniques, using adaptive thresholds for clutter rejection and local extraction. The resulting plots are then processed using three different types of algorithms. The combination of high update rate and advanced detection and tracking algorithms offers additional benefits, Thales claims, including track delivery within one second, better plot/track association for

clutter rejection, and an improved tracking against maneuvering threats. Visualization functionality hosted in the CPU includes electronic stabilization, wide area picture viewing and detail analysis of the panoramic IR picture. In addition to the Aquitaine-class multirole frigates, the Artemis was installed on board the Charles de Gaulle aircraft carrier during the midlife refit and modernization activities, which started in February 2017 and lasting a planned 18-months. Based on a teaming agreement signed in May 2010, DRS Technologies Canada, a Leonardo company, together with Thales Optronique and Thales Optronics Canada, are understood to be offering an enhanced Artemis IRST version dubbed Omnistare to cope with the demanding requirements of Royal Canadian Navy’s (RCN) Canadian Surface Combatant (SCS) program for equipping 15 new multirole frigates. The proposed Omnistare dual-band solution will take full advantage of long experience and lesson learned by Thales with Artemis program and DRS Technologies Canada with the Sirius IRST program (developed together with Thales Nederland), and the technology (notably, Long-Wave IR solutions) developments coming from land applications.

Vampir, EOMS NG and Paseo Safran (then Sagem) has a long heritage in IRST design and development, having developed more than 35 years ago (by the then-SAT) the first-generation dual-band DIBV-1A Vampir system, acknowledge as the first shipborne IRST to enter operational service. Safran is today offering three products with 360°IR panoramic and search and tracking

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The single-band MWIR Vampir NG has been installed on Royal Australian Navy’s Anzac frigate (and selected for New Zealand Anzac frigates midlife update), Canberra-class LHDs, Hobart-class AWD destroyers and the Egyptian Navy’s BPC-type LHDs, together with French Navy’s Floréal-class patrol frigates. ©RAN

capabilities: the well-known and diffused Vampir NG (New Generation), the new Paseo family’s IRST version and the EOMS NG, also offering electro-optical and gun fire control capabilities. Initially developed as Vampir MB in a bispectral (MW+LW) configuration, the system evolved with the embodying of new generation single-MW IR band thermal imager. The Vampir NG (New Generation) as it is known the latest version, features the ultra-rapid “step-andstare” principle enabling 360° coverage with a single high-resolution third-generation 3-5 μm sensor with three axis stabilization as well as adjustable surveillance area of -20° to +45° in elevation with 360° panoramic search and enhanced signal processing. The Vampir NG operates in a dual mode IRST with refresh rate adjusted for air and surface target tracking depending on context, and automatic threat detection, tracking and reporting: the ocean mode with long-range search over the horizon against sea-skimming missiles and the littoral mode


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with long-range & large-elevation coverage against asymmetric threats. The Vampir NG has gained export success having been installed in a dual-head configuration on Royal Australian Navy’s Anzac frigate under the Anti-ship Missile Defence (ASMD) upgrade program (and selected for New Zealand Anzac frigates midlife update), Canberra-class LHDs,

Combining in a single unit both IRST and electrooptical gun fire control capabilities, EOMS NG today equips UAE Baynuhah corvettes and French Navy’s combatant vessels including Mistral BPC-type LHDs, the Horizon and Cassard air defence frigates and more recently the Charles de Gaulle aircraft carrier. ©Safran

Hobart-class AWD destroyers and the Egyptian Navy’s BPC-type LHDs, together with French Navy’s Floréal-class frigates. Combining in a single unit both IRST and electro-optical gun fire control capabilities, the Safran EOMS NG features an electrooptical director including both 3rd generation MWIR and TV sensors, automatic tracking and high-rate eye-safe laser range finder, in addition to an integrated ballistic computer. The EOMS NG today equips or will equip UAE Baynuhah corvettes and French Navy’s combatant vessels including Mistral BPCtype LHDs, the Horizon and Cassard air defence frigates and more recently the Charles de Gaulle aircraft carrier. Belonging to the latest Paseo Marine family, based on a compact and highly modular director design, the IRST version leverages Safran’s extensive experience in naval IRST systems (notably the vampire and EOMS product lines). The new long-range IRST leverages the same proven algorithms in a cost-effective package. Featuring a 3rd generation MWIR, it offers a wide 5° to 20° FOV, adjustable surveillance area in elevation (-20° to +45°), high surveillance frequency rate, very high low-false alarm according to Safran and high resolution stabilized video for enhanced identification range.

Bergamini-class FREMM frigates. More recently, the Italian Navy has decided to also equip the two Doria-class Horizon type destroyers with the SASS IRST, replacing the in-service Vampir system. Activities are on going to update two SASSs already into Italian Navy’s inventory (for test duties) to the latest configuration and install them on board the two Doria-class destroyers. The SASS system has also gained export success, although Leonardo won’t comment, having been selected by Turkish Navy, which has installed the system on board the firstof-class Bayraktar LST (Landing Ship Tank). Moreover, EDR understood the SASS will also equip the fleet of combatant vessels that Fincantieri will provide to Qatar Emiri Naval Forces. The SASS is a long-range IRST operating simultaneously in MWIR and LWIR spectral bands and employing HgCdTe detectors with 6xTDI. Elevation coverage is -20° to +45° with a >5° elevation FOV and a target resolution accuracy of less than 1 mrad in elevation and bearing. With an over 1 Hz updated rate, the 120kg over deck system with a 23kg sensor head scanning at 78 rpm, the SASS processing capabilities include

SASS and DSS-IRST Leonardo group has a long experience in IR sensors, which has been capitalized in the naval sector, with the SASS (Silent Acquisition and Surveillance System) IRST for the Italian Navy. Developed starting from an Italian MoD R&D program since 2001 and validated at sea on board a Maestrale-class frigate, the SASS initially equipped the Cavour aircraft carrier, followed by the whole fleet of Carlo

The Leonardo’s dual-band rotating SASS (Silent Acquisition and Surveillance System) IRST is equipping Italian Navy’s Cavour aircraft carrier, Carlo Bergamini-class FREMM frigates and is being installed on the two Doria-class Horizon type destroyers. ©L. Peruzzi

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In addition to Italian Navy’s ships, including the FREMM frigates here depicted, Leonardo’s SASS IRST is seen installed on Turkish Navy’s new LST class and is reported to have been selected to equip the fleet of ships Fincantieri will provide to Qatar Emiri Naval Force. ©RAN

spatial filtering for size discrimination, dedicated sea-suppression algorithms, false-alarm suppression, data fusion to form a single bi-spectral track and up to hundreds simultaneous tracks, in addition to up five full-resolution pictures for each band in blown-up functionalities. Based on the operational lessons with the SASS and latest technology developments, Leonardo and the Italian Navy developed the Distributed Static Staring Infrared Search & Track (DSS-IRST), which will be installed on the new multirole combatant patrol vessel or PPAs (Pattugliatore Polivalente d’Altura) to be delivered by Fincantieri from 2021. The DSS-IRST is an automatic 360° search and track full wide-coverage distributed system which uses Leonardo’s latest high performance MWIR staring focal plan array sensor and other proprietary technologies to allow automatic detection of traces, calculate distance actively or passively through triangulation and provide IR and

visible video tracking production of revealed tracks. Conceived to detect sea-skimmer missiles, high-speed surface craft, low-level flying low-radar cross section targets and provide high quality night & day images of the situation around the ship in addition to ‘silent mode’ detection and tracking operations, the DSS-IRST is centred on four fixed search head units (SHU) for panoramic vision and IRST operations and three rotating

Leonardo and the Italian Navy have developed the Distributed Static Staring Infrared Search & Track (DSS-IRST), which will be installed on the new multirole combatant patrol vessel or PPAs (Pattugliatore Polivalente d’Altura) to be delivered by Fincantieri from 2021. ©Italian Navy


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detection head units (DHU) for track confirmation and distance measurement or passive triangulation in addition to an high-capable processing unit offering 8,000 Mb/s throughput. Employing large format MWIR focal plan arrays (1280x1024) and TV colour cameras with a 50 Hz frame update rate providing full HD video production, the four SHU have each a 45°x >30° FOV (Field of View) coverage with a -20° to +85° FOR (Field of Regards) and an IFOV lower than one mrad, providing 360° panoramic and sectorial views in both visible and IR bands. Working seamlessly with the SHU, tracking confirmation and active distance measurement or passive triangulation (together with the search heads) is provided by the three rotating DHU also equipped with MWIR (1280x1024) focal plan arrays and TV colour cameras, in addition to eyesafe laser range finders. The DHUs offer the automatic video tracking of three targets simultaneously (one for each DHU) with automatic designation from SHU, CMS or manual. Thanks to proprietary algorithms developed by Leonardo with Italian Navy

support, the DSS-IRST can satisfy the requirements of different operational scenarios, from blue waters to harbour/ anchored passing through littoral contests.

Sea Spotter Capitalizing on its electro-optical technology heritage, including advanced IR sensors, image processing and advanced algorithms, Rafael is proposing the Sea Spotter infra-red stabilized stare and track system (IRS2T) passive early warning system. The Sea Spotter is based on a third generation, stabilized starring sensors cluster, offering a full 360° in azimuth and 18° elevation coverage, which coupled with advanced image and data processing algorithms, greatly decreases the number of false alarms to a rate of one false alarm per 24-hour period, Rafael says, without further elaborating. The sensors FOV are mechanically controlled and stabilized against platform motion. Based on an open architecture and modular system adaption to customer requirements,

The DSS-IRST is an automatic 360° search and track full wide-coverage distributed system, which uses Leonardo’s latest high performance MWIR staring FPA sensor and other proprietary technologies to allow automatic detection of traces, calculate distance actively or passively through triangulation and provide IR and visible video tracking production. ©Italian Navy

The Rafael Sea Spotter is based on a third generation, stabilized starring sensors cluster on each ship side, offering a full 360° in azimuth and 18° elevation coverage, which coupled with advanced image and data processing algorithms, greatly decreases the number of false alarms. ©L. Peruzzi

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Developed under a bi-national Dutch/Canadian program by Thales Nederland in cooperation with DRS Technologies Canada, the Sirius is a bi-spectral (3-5 and 8-10 μm) second-generation long-range IRST operating simultaneously in both bands in service on board Halifax and De Zeven Provincien-class frigates. ©Thales Nederland

The Rafael Sea Spotter starring IRST system features an advanced human-computer interface, with three-dimensional (3-D) visualisation techniques, as shown on the system’s operator. ©Rafael

the Sea Spotter is being displayed in a typical corvette-size ship fit employing two multi-aperture sensor heads installed port and starboard to provide full hemispherical coverage from horizon to zenith respectively, with the multiple staring IR sensors suite sustained by a central closed-cycle cooling system. The Sea Spotter, Rafael claims, is based on two specific patents and on an image processing ability that is one of company’s leading capabilities. The patents are, according to Rafael documentation, in the field of time sharing between a few telescopes in a high frame rate and the central close cycle cooling system. Among system features, the advanced humancomputer interface, with three-dimensional (3-D) visualisation techniques.


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US developments In the past, the US Navy has been looking and testing surveillance and alert systems of different capabilities to protect its vessels against both conventional and asymmetric threats, such as the Office of Naval Research (ONR)-sponsored experimental Situational Awareness System (SAWS), which used two EO/IR sensors, a laptop control station, and digital video recorders to provide 360-degree visual coverage around the ship for force protection, navigation, and search and seizure operations. Under the Future Naval Capabilities (FNC) effort, the US Navy’s Office of Naval Research launched the Combined EO/IR Surveillance and Response System (CESARS) program in 2016. The latter has been devised to

develop and test a comprehensive shipboard defense suite against optically-guided anti-ship missile and FAC/FIAC (fastattack craft/fast-inshore attack craft), with unmanned aerial vehicles as a secondary threat. The CESARS program combines two warfare research initiatives: the Shipboard Panoramic EO/IR Cueing and Surveillance System (SPECSS) and the Multispectral EO/ IR Countermeasures for Advanced Threats (MEIRCAT). According to the US Navy’s ONR research program solicitation and award in 2016, the SPECSS subsystem from L-3 Cincinnati Electronics is to provide an enhanced situational awareness and EO/IR countermeasures capability to perform wide field-of-view target detection tracking and cueing of MEIRCAT high-resolution sensors.

multiple threats simultaneous tracking and cueing with aided decision support tools and software. To be provided by Lockheed Martin, the MEIRCAT main subsystems include high-resolution target identification and tracking cameras in multiple bands including visible, panchromatic, MWIR and LWIR sensors, as well as laser sources to perform high-resolution classification, identification and active-passive fine tracking (including range) in multiple wavebands with a fully integrated beam control, pointing and processing system to defend against current and advanced multi-band EO/IR threats, and providing precise 3-D ranging and CMEM information to the shipboard combat system. The SPECSS work is to be completed within late 2018, while the MEIRCAT will extend to March 2020.

Irscan, Sirius and Gatekeeper

In service with Royal Netherlands and Belgian navies, the Gatekeeper is a 360° panoramic surveillance and automatic alerting system based on IR/TV technology. It provides short-range situational awareness and ship security both at sea and in port 24/7 without crew on deck. ©Thales Nederland

The SPECSS subsystems include L-3 Cincinnati Electronics’ mid-wave infrared (MWIR) and visible spectrum panoramic imagers, together with signal processing, and a customized variant of BAE Systems’ Lock-on Naval Electro-optic/infrared Sensor System (LockNESS). The latter suite integrates with existing onboard sensors to monitor the surrounding area and create a 360° visual picture across multiple wavebands, providing automated

Thales Nederland (then Signaal) has been developing IR surveillance system since mid-1980s, starting with the fast-reaction, lightweight omni-directional IRSCAN system which is being used for target detection and tracking by Royal Netherlands Navy (RNN) and Qatari Navy, and lateron by developing and producing the longrange Sirius IRST, which is today in service with Royal Canadian Navy (RCN) and the RNN on board respectively all the Halifaxclass and De Zeven Provincien-class LCF frigates since 2011. Developed under a binational program by Thales Nederland in cooperation with DRS Technologies Canada, the Sirius is a bi-spectral (3-5 and 8-10 μm) second-generation long-range IRST operating simultaneously in both bands with an elevation line-of-sight (for both band-cameras) independent and adjustable between -4° and +68°, 1 Hz track update rate, fully automatic detection, track initiation and

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The enhanced human interface and operator’s console visualization of Gatekeeper 360° IR/TV sensors suite. ©Thales Nederland

missile alert generation, surface tracking, adaptive processing for direct integration, playing a vital role in the defence against supersonic and subsonic sea-skimming missile threat. Thales Nederland has in the meantime developed the Gatekeeper electro-optic surveillance system, while continuing undisclosed work on new IRST technologies. Sold to the Royal Netherlands and Belgian navies, the Gatekeeper is a 360° panoramic surveillance and automatic alerting system based on IR/TV technology. It provides short-range situational awareness and ship security both at sea and in port 24/7 without crew on deck. Each of the sensor heads include uncooled Long-Wave IR 640x480 pixel array cameras with a 35°x27° FOV and Colour TV cameras with a 4000x3000 array format and same FOV. Each of the sensor head has a 100°x27° FOV. According to Thales, the Gatekeeper deals with the short-range asymmetric threat. The staring cameras have a short minimum range and an undisclosed high update rate enabling it to


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follow fast movements close-by. Automatic tracking and alerting reduces the operator workload and produces suitable data for integration with other shipboard systems. The Gatekeeper is a very flexible and easy to install system, because of its modular sensor heads that can easily be integrated on existing and new-build ships, either stand-alone or as part of the Thales I-MAST integrated mast configurations. Gatekeeper is presently installed on board the four Netherlands’ Navy’s Holland class patrol ships, the Karel Doorman JSS, the Johan de Witt class LPD and the four Belgium and Netherlands Navy’s M-class frigates.

Herold Navy Rheinmetall is proposing the Herold Navy’s electro-optical surveillance and fire-control system, which assures continuous 360° surveillance, detection and simultaneous tracking of more than 256 moving surface and airborne objects. Also available in a ground-based version, the Herold Navy’s system configuration encompasses three

Here displayed in the ground-based version, the Rheinmetall Herold system configuration encompasses three main system elements: The Fast Infra-Red Search and Track (FIRST) surveillance sensor, the Multi Sensor Platform MSP600 longrange E/O sensor and the multi-mode, multitarget tracker (MMT). ©L. Peruzzi

main system elements: The Fast InfraRed Search and Track (FIRST) surveillance sensor, the Multi Sensor Platform MSP600 long-range E/O sensor and the multi-mode, multi-target tracker (MMT). The FIRST’s cooled IR sensor, according to Rheinmetall assures simultaneous detection and display of multiple ground/surface and airborne targets within a complete real-time panoramic thermal video stream, with a 5Hz repetition rate and an adjustable elevation beam from -29° to +35°. The Herold Navy uses a 2-axis stabilized version of FIRST. The MSP600 is along-range E/O sensor system for target evaluation, tracking and fire control, which features a thermal imager, a switchable eye-safe laser rangefinder and a high performant daylight camera. Both systems come with a sophisticated video image-processing capability for automatic target detection and automatic tracking with continuous calculation of 3-D target characteristics. The MMT, according to Rheinmetall, assures robust tracking capabilities and offers search parameter settings for automatic target reconnaissance to reduce false alarms as well as the operator workload during extended missions.

Piri Aselsan is promoting the Panoramic Infrared Imaging (PIRI) staring dual-band distributed IRST, which comes also in an electronic stabilized version (PIRI-ES). Based on three starring units embodying both MWIR and LWIR sensors (640x512) offering a 120° FOV each to provide a full coverage with an elevation of over 17°, offering simultaneous dual-band IR imaging simultaneously, Alsesan says, the Piri features an image target rate of 5 Hz. Capable of multi tracking with 50 targets per sensor head and an overall up to 150 targets, the Aselsan system offers a false alarm rate of <1 per hour.


The MSP600 is along-range E/O sensor system for target evaluation, tracking and fire control which features a thermal imager, a switchable eye-safe laser rangefinder and a high performant daylight camera. ©L. Peruzzi

The Diehl Defence’s Simone silent-mode 360° infrared imaging surveillance system is being provided on board F 125 multirole frigates for German Navy. The Simone (ship infrared monitoring, observation and navigation equipment) is a fully stabilized silent-mode infrared monitoring suite with 360° panoramic view with over 50° coverage in elevation) and uncooled infrared technology sensor in the LW band, providing a coverage according to Diehl Defence, from ship’s hull

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up to several nautical miles depending on objects and weather conditions. Simone provides automatic detection, tracking and alerting capacity of more than 1000 surface and aerial objects simultaneously in real time with an update rate of 20 Hz. With a facilitated HMI, the Simone had been designed for surveillance duties, safety with immediate alert in case of man overboard, navigation aid for challenging maneuvering situations and low-radar signature object detection (such as small boats and icebergs) and protection around the vessel, enabling fast reaction and automatic cueing of nonlethal or lethal effectors.

Spynel-S Servicing the French Navy since 2009, having supplied its Vigiscan (today Spynel-C) panoramic LWIR surveillance system for retrofitting La Fayette-class frigates deployed in anti-piracy missions in the Gulf of Aden under an urgent operational requirement, the HGH Infrared systems group has subsequently provided its Spynel-S 6000 longrange infrared surveillance system for equipping the Naval Groupleased l’Adroit OPV to the Marine Nationale. With a weight of less than 40 kg and mounted on an autonomous gyro-stabilized platform, the Spynel-S family comes today with a V-LRF option (visible full HD camera with continuous optical zoom and /or Laser Range) Finder, and its models (Spynel- S 2000, 3500 and 6000) differs mainly for image resolution, accuracy and FOV. The Spynel-S 6000 offers a full 360-degree coverage in real time, up to the horizon, night and day,


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even in adverse weather conditions. With a 360° horizontal and 5° vertical FOV, with vertical adjustable tilt and a 360°/2 seconds scanning speed, the 640x512 MWIR FPA-base system offers the highest family’s image resolution and detection range (up to 6, 12 and 25 km respectively against human, RHIB and vessel). Equipped with Cyclone advanced software for the automatic detection and tracking of an unlimited number of targets, Spynel is a high-end surveillance system, HGH claims, particularly effective on tracking RHIB or small wooden skiffs, and even swimmers - all targets hardly detected by conventional radar.

With a facilitated HMI, the Simone fully stabilized IR monitoring suite has been designed for surveillance duties, safety with immediate alert in case of man overboard, navigation aid, low-radar signature object detection and protection around the vessel. ©Diehl Defence

The German Puma pictured during summer firing trials; the firepower effect of an IFV is due to its gun but the terminal effect is provided by the ammunition. ŠRheinmetall

Which ammunition for IFV cannons? By Paolo Valpolini

Europe has a considerable ammunition production potential through the whole spectrum, from small calibres to artillery and tank rounds. The same is true also for medium calibres, and among those also for ammunition dedicated to Infantry Fighting Vehicles (IFV), which differ from those used in air defence weapon systems.


ome concentration of capabilities took place a few years ago, numerous players remaining however in the Continent. To this end the European Defence Agency launched an initiative, known as CapTech Ammunition Technologies, CapTech Ammo in short, which mission


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consists in establishing a network of European experts, developing technology watch, assessing technologies identified and establishing joint research projects or programmes of the most promising technologies on Energetic Materials, Missiles and Munitions, in an EDA framework.

Three out of eight Three of the eight categories considered are definitely linked to the type of ammunition described in this article: energetic materials, such as propellants, explosives and pyrotechnics; lethality and platform protection, which considers penetrators, warheads and battle damage assessment; and finally propulsion of munitions and missiles. The activities portfolio includes munitions-life management, mission abort system for guided munitions, reduced sensitivity energetic materials, and additive manufacturing techniques for energetic materials. The work of the CapTech Ammo is generally in the TRL 2 to 6 ranges, some projects reaching the demonstrator level. Improvements in technology will allow increasing terminal effects, countering the trend of adding protection to all tactical vehicles without necessarily increasing the calibre of the cannons.

While in the 1970s 20mm cannons were common in IFVs, the French AMX-10P and the German Marder are good examples, one decade later the 25mm became the standard, set by the US Bradley and followed by many other nations. This calibre remained until recent one of the most used, the French VBCI and the Italian Freccia wheeled IFVs both use 25mm cannons. However recent tracked IFVs are mostly equipped with 30mm, if not 35mm cannons, examples being the CV9030 and CV9035, the Ulan and Pizarro, the Puma, to name a few. The British Ajax Scout-SV and refurbished Warriors, as well as the French Jaguar 6x6, will become the first vehicles to be armed with the CTAI 40mm cannon using telescoped ammunitions. The 40mm calibre in more conventional form is also being developed by Orbital ATK in the US for its Mk44, while its Bushmaster III using 35 x 228mm ammo can

The bigger calibre currently used in western IFVs, the 40 mm telescoped case ammunition by CTAI, will soon be operational in British and French armoured vehicles. ŠP. Valpolini EDR | July/August 2018


be easily modify to become a 50mm weapon, although nobody has yet decided to move to that calibre. As for the type of ammunition, beside standard high explosive (HE) rounds we find armour-piercing rounds in the form of APDS and even APFSDS configurations. One of the current trends is however that of airburst ammunition (ABM), which are fitted with a programmable fuse and allow to optimise the effects against infantry in the open, while retaining some armour piercing capability as well as wall penetration effects. As said, an attempt to concentrate some of the European ammunition production capabilities was done some years ago: in 2015 French Nexter acquired two companies, Mecar of Belgium and Simmel Difesa of Italy, becoming one of the few players with a portfolio covering nearly all calibres, including those used in Eastern Europe.

40mm, the new trend As said, the CTAI CT-40 cannon has been installed on the Ajax Scout-SV and on the Warrior WCSP, both having undergone thorough test firings, the Jaguar prototype having just been unveiled, its firing tests being planned for late 2018. CTAI plans to produce six different types of ammunition, the first to be qualified having been the APFSDS-T which was made available since 2014. Its 550 grams penetrator is capable to defeat a 140mm thick RHA plate at 1,500 meters, its muzzle velocity being 1,500 m/s. The effective range is over 2.5 km, accuracy being of 0.3 mil. The TP-T was qualified in the mean time and reproduces the external ballistic. Considering its terminal effects against sand bags, field bunkers and light armour the French Army decided it could be useful also in combat; painted green and dubbed GPR-KE (General Purpose Round Kinetic Energy) it will be acquired by the DGA for


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the Jaguar. The second GPR round, qualified in early 2018, is the GPR-PD-T (Point Detonation Tracer); it features a pre-fragmented body filled with 115 grams of insensitive high explosive, the projectile mass being 980 grams. Designed to cope with targets behind protection, it is capable of defeating 210mm double-reinforced concrete at 1 km, while retaining some anti armour capabilities, as it penetrates 15mm RHA at the same distance, maximum effective range being 2.5 km while muzzle velocity is 1,000 m/s. The GPR-AB-T (Air Burst Tracer) round is fitted with a programmable fuse that adds to the aforementioned performances that of neutralising targets behind protective barriers as well as vehicles optical systems. Its qualification is expected in 2019. The TPRR-T, RR standing for reduced range, matches the trajectory of combat rounds up to 1.5 km, but allows to considerably reduce to half the safety range, down to around 6 km, permitting live fire training in smaller areas. Company qualified, it is starting military qualifications. Another round known as KW-AB or A3B-T (Anti Aerial Airburst Tracer) just started development, but it is dedicated to AAA systems rather than to IFVs. The ammunition for the CTAI gun are being produced both in the UK and France, each country producing the ammo for its own army; at its plant in La Chapelle Saint-Ursin, Nexter Munitions invested 4-5 million Euro in the new assembly facility, which features a fully automated line requiring only three operators and producing one round every nine minutes. It also allows to easily shift from the production of one type of ammunition to the other, the maximum output being 300,000 rounds per year. The line reached its full capacity in late Q2 2018, and is producing the first batches for testing the new Jaguar 6x6 French Army Recce vehicle. Looking at conventional medium calibre ammunition, most of Nexter Munitionsâ&#x20AC;&#x2122; catalogue is devoted to rounds dedicated to

airborne cannons installed on fixed and rotary wing aircraft. In the mid 2010s the production capability was saturated, considering land and aviation medium calibre ammo; the main bottleneck was the cases production, thus a wholly new production system was installed increasing cases production from 2,000 to 5,000 per day and allowing to shift to a lean manufacturing stance, increasing productivity. Among different cases the new system allows production of cases devoted to the 25x137mm rounds, used in the 8x8 VBCI infantry fighting vehicle. Nexter is producing the HEI-T round, which 183 grams projectile is loaded with 27 grams of explosive and fitted with a PD fuse; with a muzzle velocity of 1,100 m/s it has an effective range of 2.5 km and a dispersion of less than 0.8 mils. To improve performances against targets in the open Nexter developed the demonstrator of an airburst version of the previous round, which maintains similar characteristics but is fitted with a dual mode PD/airburst fuse. Programming is done by induction in the loading phase. Considered at TRL 6, the programme will be launched when the French Army interest will become a concrete requirement. Mecar, the Belgian company part of Nexter Ammunition Business Group, has in its portfolio 25 and 30mm ammunition. Its M935A2 APFSDS-T 25 x 137mm round developed in the 1990s has become a bestseller, due to its 75% extra penetration compared to standard APDS rounds, with over 800,000 produced and sold in Europe and the Middle East. To cope with training requirements, the company recently developed a TPFSDS-T training round, the M937, which matches the combat ammunition up to 1,000 meters but has a maximum range of less than 3,600 meters. Shifting to the 30mm the company produces rounds for the Mk44 cannon, in 30 x 173mm, and for cannons of Russian origin, in 30 x 165mm.

Now part of Nexter Ammunition, Mecar of Belgium developed the M929, a 30x165 mm round aimed at increasing the effectiveness of IFVs armed with a 30 mm cannon of Russian origin. ŠP. Valpolini

30mm, still a standard In the â&#x20AC;&#x153;westernâ&#x20AC;? calibres field the company completed the development of its M928 APFSDS-T 30x173mm APFSDS-T round in 2017. The performances obtained by its penetrators are also due to the close cooperation with specialised companies, such as Cime Bocuze and Kennametal, respectively specialists in high density tungsten alloys and metalworking tools. The M928 cobalt-free tungsten penetrator defeats a 60mm RHA plate at 60 degrees obliquity at 1,000 metres, with a standard deviation of less than 0.44 mils at that distance. Mecar is currently completing the development of a low cost training version of the M928, which is ballistically similar to the APFSDS round to 1,000 metres, and has a maximum range of less than 4,000 metres, compared to the 10,000+ metres for the combat round. Mecar delivered the first production contracts for the M928, further

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A picture showing the effects of the different types of medium calibre ammunition produced by Rheinmetall on soft and armoured targets. ©Rheinmetall Rheinmetall applied its PELE (Penetrator with Enhanced Lateral Effect) technology also to medium calibre ammunition, which reduces penetration but increases effects against medium hardened targets. ©Rheinmetall

customer demonstrations being planned in 2018. On its side Nexter is qualifying an HE-I round in that calibre. Coming to “eastern” rounds the Belgian company developed the M929 round, an APFSDS-T in 30 x 165mm which cobalt-free tungsten penetrator is a derivative of that of the M928. The shorter case is in steel rather than in aluminium, and the reduced amount of powder contained lowers the muzzle velocity from 1,400 to 1,275 m/s. The round has been fully tested in the 2A42 cannon, showing a standard deviation of less than 0.5 mils at 1,000 metres and a penetration of 50mm RHA at 60 degrees obliquity at 1,000 metres, which is nearly the double of standard rounds used in BMP-2s. Customer demonstrations have been performed successfully in 2017 and early 2018, more being planned for the rest of the year. Further tests will be carried out to demonstrate the compatibility with the 2A72 cannon of the BMP-3; Mecar just received that weapon, first tests being planned for April 2018. Company engineers are considering the possible reduction of the mass of the projectile, in order to ensure that the cannon cycles correctly. The reduction in KE might bring to a slight reduction in penetration performances; however considering the 28mm performance of Russian APDS rounds, the Mecar ammunition should retain a considerable edge. 52

EDR | July/August 2018

Rheinmetall of Germany has a complete portfolio of medium calibre ammunition for airto-ground, air defence and land vehicles, only the latter being here considered. The initiator of the AHEAD (Advanced Hit Efficiency And Destruction) technology for air defence guns, it exploited this know how to develop its airburst munitions family, now available in 30 x 173mm and 35 x 228mm. It also developed the PELE (Penetrator with Enhanced Lateral Effect) with the aim of re-using in-service or older generation tank ammunition, modifying it to reduce collateral damages and, possibly, increase performances against certain targets. This has been exploited also in the medium calibre ammunition field and 25 x 137 and 30 x 173mm PELE rounds are now available. In the latter calibre Rheinmetall is providing the German Bundeswehr with the ammunition for The APPIE (Amour Piercing with Pirotechnical Induced Energy) adopted in 25 mm rounds combines penetration and fragmentation effects. ©P. Valpolini

the new Puma IFV currently entering service, armed with the 30mm MK302/ABM automatic cannon. various types of 30 x 173mm ammunition are being produced; beside the PELE-T with penetrator we find the ABM, APFSDS-T and FAPIDS-T rounds. The ABM round, also known as KETF (Kinetic Energy Time Fused), is fitted with an electronic timer which is programmed inductively at the muzzle. The payload is made of 162 cylindrical tungsten alloy subprojectiles weighing 1.24 grams each, which are released by a small ejection charge ahead of the target. These form a lethal cone of fragments, which significantly increases hit probability. The lethality of the KETF ammunition can be adjusted by varying the standoff distance so that the KETF is able to defeat a wide range of modern battlefield threats including, IFVs, ATGM bunkers, dismounted troops and helicopters. As for the APFSDS-T this contains a 235 grams penetrator with a VO of over 1,400 m/s.

“overpressure” causing the projectile body to fragment and the pyrotechnical charge to deflagrate simultaneously; the combined effect accelerates the fragments, increasing the lateral effect compared to PELE, while the opening angle of the fragments is almost constant over the firing distance as it is not driven by the impact velocity. Its tungsten carbide penetrator is capable of defeating light to medium armoured targets, combining penetration and fragmentation. The round also features some suppressive effects, such as flash, bang and blast, as well as target marking and incendiary effects.

20mm revival

Under the push from the Bundeswehr, and with the aim of also improving Mecar’s M935A2 Jordan Marders firepower, Rheinmetall remains among the is developing a new family of 20 x bestsellers due to its penetration 139mm rounds. As the German Army capabilities, which exceed by 75% those is running out of 20mm training ammo, of standard APDS the company is developing a very low rounds. ©Mecar cost TP-T for training, that should be available soon. A new armour piercing round as well as a new HE round should then 25mm, a matter of choice follow, these using new technologies that will allow to considerably improve performances, In the 25mm calibre Rheinmetall exploited although no more details were provided. different technologies, Armour Piercing Discarding Sabot (AP DS), Frangible Armour Nammo portfolio offers a complete range Piercing Discarding Sabot (FAP DS), PELE of 25 x 137mm ammunition qualified for use and PIE (Pyrotechnically Induced Effect), and in the M242 Bushmaster II and in the KBA merged them into a single projectile. This guns. These range from the Multipurpose gave birth to (F)APPIE-T (Frangible) Armour Tracer (MP-T), capable to penetrate Piercing full calibre round with Pirotechnical 16mm RHA at 1,000 meters while ensuring Induced Energy - Tracer rounds. Developed also good effects against buildings, the in 25 x 173mm calibre, the (F)APPIE-T round round delivering incendiary, blast and matches the firing tables of the standard HEI-T fragmentation effects inside the target, to ammunition but does not include any quantity High Explosive Incendiary (HEI) and HEI-SD of high explosive nor a fuse, thus being (Self Destructive) for anti-personnel and totally inert apart from the propellant charge. anti-materiel use, to Semi Armour Piercing The impact against the target generates a High Explosive Incendiary Self Destructive shockwave which propagates, the mechanical EDR | July/August 2018


It will leverage the work done The most recent development by Nammo, the 30 mm Mk250 Mod.1 is probably on the 40x53mm grenade, the only rd of this calibre capable to penetrate water without ricochet, and to hit which fuse is programmed a target submersed at low depth, hence its nickname: “swimmer”. ©Nammo via an easy to integrate RF system that works in the GHz band, thus considerably reducing jamming probability. The round has already been demonstrated, and is now in the fine-tuning phase. Currently the discussion is about the kind of fragmentation required by (SAPHEI/SD). Similar types of combat rounds potential customers, this data being directly are also available in 30x173mm calibre for Mk related to the highest priority types of target. 44 Bushmaster II and Mauser MK30 cannons, HEI/SD and SAPHEI/SD being also produced Under license in the 35 x 228mm calibre for Rheinmetall Defence guns, having also been tested in Mesko of Poland is the main ammunition the Bushmaster III. In the 30mm range the provider for the national armed forces, and most innovative round is currently the Mk258 since 2015 it became part of Polish Armaments Mod 1 Swimmer, an APFSDS-T round with a Group (PGZ). It produces medium calibre 230 grams penetrator and a VO of 1,430 m/s, rounds, part of them under license while part which has a peculiar characteristic: exploiting are proprietary products. APFSDS rounds, for the performances of a super cavitation nose example, are manufactured under Nammo design the projectile creates a bubble of license, and therefore aimed only at the Polish steam around itself reducing the friction that market. The most interesting product is the stops traditional ammunition in the water. FAPDS-T produced in 30 x 173mm calibre, Born for naval applications, it can however be which is designed for the Orbital ATK Mk44 used also in IFVs, first of all for its penetration Bushmaster II automatic cannon. The sub capability, over 100mm RHA at 1,000 meters, calibre projectile has a weight of 235 grams, and moreover for defending harbours, bridges the total round weight being of 715-750 and other key locations against threats coming grams. The mean maximum pressure is of from the water. The Norwegian company might less than 460 MPa, maximum highest being add soon a new product to its catalogue, work 520 MPa, muzzle velocity being of for a 30 x 173mm ABM round being in progress. 1,385 m/s, maximum effective range The current range of Polish Mesko rounds includes also 30 x 173 mm being 3.5 km. Typical of frangible rounds for the Mk44 cannon. The company is currently working on an ammunition, the round ensures ABM round. ©Mesko penetration of a 30mm thick armour plate at 30° to the firing line with fragmentation effects penetrating the third 0.5mm aluminium witness plate. Mesko is working on an ABM round, but this is still in development and the company is not yet ready to share information about this future product.


EDR | July/August 2018

In the US In the US the reference producer for medium calibre ammunition aimed at IFVs is Orbital ATK. The company produces ammunition in 20, 25 x 137, 30 x 113, 30 x 170, 30 x 173mm western calibres, as well as rounds destined to cannons of Russian origin, in the 23 x 152mm and 30 x 165mm calibres. Various development programmes are coming to fruition, and will provide customers to increase the flexibility of their vehicles. Orbital ATK is developing a proximity fused 30 x 113mm round for the M230LF Chain Gun. This will provide the gun with a next generation ammunition to create an air bursting capability. One of the new applications is Counter-UAS: the company demonstrated the integrated kinetic kill capability along with the electronic attack capability of its system installed on an U.S. Army Stryker during the Maneuver Fires Integrated Experiment 2018 that took place at Ft. Sill, Ok, in December 2017. Recent developments include the demonstration of the roundâ&#x20AC;&#x2122;s ability to generate power and RF technology. The company will conduct a counter UAS demonstration in late 2018 with a complete round. The self-financed IR&D path is far from being finished: the company is leveraging the elements of the fuse to create a guided 30 x 113mm round, with a first test to divert the round in flight over the course of the next 12 months.

Remaining in the programmable ammunition field, the company is carrying out the internal qualification of its MK310 Programmable Air Bursting Munition (PABM 30 x 173mm) which is expected to be completed by end of this year. Orbital ATK has delivered a quantity of these rounds to the U.S. Army for qualification on the upgraded 2d Cavalry Regiment Strykers, fitted with the Kongsberg MCT30 turret armed with Orbital ATK XM813 Bushmaster Cannon. The 2d Cavalry is being outfitted with PABM capable cannons to take advantage of Orbital ATKâ&#x20AC;&#x2122;s PABM ammunition. The company has conducted several successful tests and internal demonstrations of its MK44 cannon and PABM ammunition to defeat drones in a tactical scenario. The MK44 Bushmaster automatic cannon configurations fires all 30mm x 173mm, 30mm x 170mm Rarden & KCB ammunition. It can also be easily upgraded to the 40mm Super Forty configuration through simply changing the barrel and feeding mechanism. That is why Orbital ATK Armament Systems Division is qualifying a family of 40mm ammunition that should be completed by first quarter 2018; the family will include TP-T, HEI-T, APFSDS-T and PABM. The current Stryker Lethality Upgrade Program is fielding Orbital ATK cannons that are capable of up gunning to 40mm, therefore a potential further increase in lethality will be possible at limited cost.



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KTRV upgrades tactical anti-ship weapons By Nikolay Novichkov

A Kh-35UE missile attachded to a Su-34 fighter-bobmer

Russia`s Tactical Missiles Corporation (KTRV) pays specific attention to the shoring up of its positions on the global market of anti-ship systems, company`s Director General Boris Obnosov told the European Defence Review (EDR) magazine.


ithout any doubt, we will see the growth of our export revenues in a long-term prospective too. KTRV has prepared valuable packages of offers in the areas of naval weapons, shore-based complexes and ship-based systems. Therefore, our market positions will be reinforced, as we will promote not only air-launched assets, but

also other types of missile weaponry,â&#x20AC;? the CEO emphasized. As of now, the Kh-35 (NATO reporting name: AS-20 Kayak) family of anti-ship missiles (ASM) is the most sophisticated anti-ship weapons being offered by the Corporation on the global market. The family comprises the basic Kh-35E (E stand for Export-Oriented, Eksportnaya) ASM and its upgraded variant, the Kh-35UE.

EDR | July/August 2018


A Kh-35U missile carried by a combat aircraft

Contemplating the export market The Kh-35E is a tactical ASM designed to engage surface combatants that have a displacement of up to 5,000 tons. The missile features enhanced deployment flexibility, and it can be used by surface ships (the Uran-E complex), the Bal-E (SSC-6 Sennight) mobile coastal defence missile system and fixedwing and rotary-wing platforms. The weapon features advanced stealth performance provided by its small dimensions, low-altitude flight trajectory (10-15 m at the mid-course phase and 4 m at the terminal phase) and a special targeting algorithm. It is noteworthy that targeting data can be sent by onboard systems or external sources. Flying at a speed of Mach 0.8, the missile is capable of engaging of a target at distance of 130 km (approximately 70 nautical miles). The Kh-35E is fitted with a 145 kg high-explosive penetrating warhead and an active radar seeker. To increase the capacity of its anti-ship portfolio, KTRV has developed an upgraded variant of the Kh-35E. The updated weapon is designated 58

EDR | July/August 2018

Kh-35UE. The Kh-35UE features doubled firing range (260 km or over 140 nautical miles) and a combined guidance system that incorporates an active radar seeker, an inertial measurement unit (IMU) and a satellite navigation subsystem. The above-mentioned modernisation has resulted in a drastic increase of the missile`s jamming resistance. The Kh-35UE`s warhead is almost identical to that of the basic variant; the speed and flight altitude of the upgraded missile are also equal to those of the Kh-35E. Like the baseline version, surface combatants, coastal defence complexes and fixed-wing/ rotary-wing aircraft can fire the Kh-35UE. The air-launched variant of the Kh-35UE has already passed its flight trials and is now being modified for sea- and ground-based platforms. Therefore, both missiles, the basic and the upgraded ones, are tactically flexible weapons available for a wide range of carriers. Such an approach to the design of ASM, when a single missile can be used by any sea-, ground- and air-based systems, reduces the utilisation cost and after-sales support in a truly drastic manner, the CEO of KTRV emphasized. It

should be mentioned that the Kh-35E and Kh-35UE are made using Russian-originated components only. At the Army 2017 international militarytechnical forum held in Kubinka outside Moscow, KTRV and the Russian Helicopters holding (a subsidiary of the Rostec state corporation) signed a memorandum of understanding for the integration of the guided missiles developed by the Corporation in the armament suite of Russian rotary-wing platforms. The Kh-35UE is expected to be among the first KTRV-designed items that will be integrated with the cutting-edge Ka-52K Katran (Dog Shark) combat-reconnaissance helicopter.

Comparing Russian and U.S. anti-surface missiles Within the given context, the comparison of the performance of the Kh-35UE and the USmade AGM/RGM/UGM-84N Harpoon Block II+ ASM developed by Boeing seems to be appropriate. In November 2015, the Harpoon Block II+ weapon was tested against a moving surface target, and in May 2016, the missile carried by the F/A-18E/F Super Hornet multirole combat aircraft passed its

flight trials. The ASuM was apparently to enter service with the US Navy in late 2017. The Harpoon Block II+ missile is fitted with a combined guidance system, which incorporates a GPS receiver, an IMU and an active radar seeker. Like the members of the Kh-35 family, sea-, air- and ground-based carriers can use the US-made weapon. Having almost equal launch range (220-280 km or 119-151 nautical miles) and flight speed (Mach 0.85), the Harpoon comes short of the Kh-35UE in terms of jamming resistance and dimensions. Moreover, the U.S.-made ASuM is believed to be passing its trials while the air-launched variant of the Kh-35UE missile has already achieved them with positive results. The U.S. Navy now operates the AGM/RGM/ UGM-84L Harpoon Block II ASM. Its launch range and speed are identical to those of the Harpoon Block II+ missile; however, the Block II variant is fitted with a less sophisticated seeker. Moreover, the Harpoon Block II obviously features a mediocre costefficiency ratio: in 2010, India spent USD170 million just to acquire 24 Harpoon Block II anti-ship missiles for the Indian Air Force`s Jaguar naval fighter jets.

The launch of a Kh-35U missile in Syria EDR | July/August 2018


Approaching Eurosatory: French Defense Industry new products By Paolo Valpolini

Nexter’s Titus is being fitted with numerous ISR subsystems and other enhancements to increase its effectiveness and survivability. ©P. Valpolini


n mid-May the French Defence Industry presented some of the innovation it will show at the 2018 edition of Eurosatory. The biggest item on exhibition was Nexter’s “Augmented Titus”, which had a number of additions to increase its reach in terms of reconnaissance capabilities but not only. For example, the ARX-20 turret can now be operated from a tablet, so the operator can dismount and move and fire the turret from the ground. On the right side a clamshell compartment opens and can release two UGVs, a tracked and a wheeled Nerva, which can be used for recce purposes. On the roof a captive drone was visible; this tethered solution is proposed not only for surveillance but also for target acquisition in artillery vehicles. Nexter Robotics unveiled a new product that features an ARX-20 turret mounted on a tracked chassis provided by Milrem Robotics. ©P. Valpolini

Another ARX-20 was also visible, mounted on a THeMIS (Tracked Hybrid Modular Infantry System) tracked ground robot, the system still waiting for a name becoming the first western –European UGV armed with a 20mm cannon. It also carries a 7.62mm machine gun, the main cannon having 100 rounds available. Nexter Robotics is currently working on securing data links, especially the one used for the turret. The company looks for a first demonstration to the French DGA by the end of this year. Part of the ECA Group robotic portfolio was present at Satory, and precisely the UGV Cobra MK2, the Cameleon and the latest generation Iguana were shown. In December 2017 the latter 60

EDR | July/August 2018

has won the SMINEX contract with the French DGA, together with CEFA and Scopex, for a complete EOD and C-IED clearing solution, the overall contract value being of over 30 million Euros. A 45 kg robot with a 40 kg payload, it can be fitted with a 6-axes or 8-axes robotic arm. Electrically powered, with 2.5 hours endurance, it reaches 6 km/h and can lift up to 20 kg. Exploiting augmented reality Airbus Defense and Space developed a Holographic Tactical Sandbox; wholly virtual, it requires only a small server and goggles, the company being teamed with Microsoft and thus using the Hololens, being currently the only European partner to the US giant in this field. Through the goggles it is possible to observe a 3D map of the area of interest, with The family of ground robots presented by the ECA Group, left to right a Cameleon, an Iguana and a Cobra Mk2. ©P. Valpolini

A reconstruction of what users wearing the Hololens can see using Airbus Defense and Space Holographic Tactical Sandbox. ©Airbus D&S

be installed on tactical drones, such as Safran Patroller, as well as on civilian aircraft. Currently the FlashHawk is being tested on board a captive balloon; it will be installed on an aircraft before the end of the year for further testing, its validation being expected by late 2019. added tactical signs, the various actors around the table being able to operate in a collaborative way, something that can be made also with other users at distance. Attack directions, contact lines, and objective areas, can also be created, while visibility can be checked thanks to the 3D. The project is in the development phase and Airbus looks forward to demonstrate it to the STAT in Mourmelon before year end, and to have it ready for the market within 18 months. A view of the console screen of the FlashHawk, the EW and E/O ISR system developed by Avantix, which is part of the Atos group. ©P. Valpolini

Atos, the company that is developing the SICS, the C2 core of the Scorpion French Army programme, acquired in April 2018 Air Lynx, specialised in deployable LTE solutions. Apart from the latter products, it exhibited its Hoox for mission smartphone system. Both such systems were presented during the GICAT Innovation Day of October 2017 (see What was new was the FlashHawk, an airborne ISR solution developed by Avantix, also part of Atos, that combines collaborative SIGINT and electro-optic sensors. The SIGINT suite can pick up an undisclosed number of PMR, GSM and SATCOM telephone signals in the 30 MHz to 3 GHz band; the electro-optical turret is slaved in the direction to acquire the target providing its grids, which are then distributed through the net. One of the key elements is the small antenna pod, the system being light enough to

The provider of the chassis for the future VBRM (L) vehicle for the Armée de Terre, Texelis has been for long a specialist in modular bridges for mobility. Texelis won the contract with Nexter for the French VBMR(L) and will Nowadays it moved propose at Eurosatory a new chassis into the independent based on its T700 modular driveline system. ©Texelis suspensions field, and is providing its solution to numerous OEMs. Beside the chassis for the future French light armoured vehicle, Texelis continues to look at the export market, and at Eurosatory will exhibit its new chassis that is proposed to vehicles manufacturers. The chassis will be available in two versions, 14 and 18 tons, and will feature independent suspensions, a Cummins 6.7 litres engine providing 350 hp coupled to an Allison 3000 SP automatic gearbox, and CTIS. Finally Metravib, the specialist in acoustic detection part of ACOEM, will not show new products but will rather start to integrate from scrap it systems into the vehicles. It is also working on new algorithms that should allow answering customer’s requirements, such as identifying shots from 40mm cannons, 105 or 120mm antitank guns, RPGs and mortars.

A view of one of the microphones of the Pilar V without its protective hood; although not presenting new systems, Metravib is looking at integrating them in vehicles since the design phase. ©P. Valpolini

EDR | July/August 2018


MAGAZINE European Defence Review European Defence Review (EDR) is the first magazine in English focusing on defence issues with a European perspective and one which is fully managed by well-known journalists specialised in defence and security. EDR addresses every topic of the defence sector: equipment and industrial issues, armed forces and operations, but also strategic and political news concerning defence and security issues. Although the articles will be mainly focused on European topics, the review also discusses the main countrie’s partners of Europe and emerging markets: Russia, the Middle East, Brazil, India… EDR distributes during the major international defence trade fairs. The readers include military decision-makers, both political and industrial, from European countries as well as traditional or potential partners of the European defence community. Finally, EDR covers all of the major defence exhibitions worldwide; privileged accasions where policy makers, military and trade-related, are attending. N° 39 • May/June 2018

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New generation naval AESA radars and BMD response

Outsourcing Rotary-Wing Flight Training

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Countering the small UAS threat

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European Defence Review (EDR) is the premier English-language journal focusing on defence-related issues from a distinctly European perspective. EDR is produced by the defence industry’s most prominent and distinguished journalists. Regular contributors include: Jean-Pierre Husson, Jean-Michel Guhl, Nikolay Novichkov, Paolo Valpolini and Luca Peruzzi. Graphic design/layout by: Advertisers in this issue: Brahmos [C2] • Ktrv [4] • Nexter [7] • Cilas [11] • Rosoboronexport [16] • Euronaval [23] • FNSS [25] • Eurosatory [34] • ARMY [47] • Henri Gourseau [56] • ARQUUS [C3] • MBDA [C4]

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MMP The battlefield has changed

MBDA has drawn on the battle experience gained by armies engaged in recent conflicts to develop a weapon that will truly change the way that soldiers will be able to fight. Soldiers have demanded an all-weather, night and day weapon that is capable of firing from enclosed spaces, that can be operated in â&#x20AC;&#x153;fire-and-forgetâ&#x20AC;? or man in the loop modes and that can even be fired against non-line of sight targets with a retargeting capability. MMP is that weapon, designed for dismounted infantry as well as for integration on combat vehicles, designed for a battlefield that has changed. AIR DOMINANCE





EDR | July/August 2018

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