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N° 48 • November/ December 2019

MAGAZINE European Defence Review

New aiming sights: improving rifles accuracy Detect and Neutralise Airborne Demining Nano and micro rotary-wing UAS look at Special Forces and more Manned solutions for ASuW/ASW missions


I S S U E N° 48 2019

Publisher: Joseph Roukoz Editor-in-chief: Paolo Valpolini Aviation & Space Editor: David Oliver Naval Editor: Luca Peruzzi European Defence Review (EDR) is published by European Defence Publishing SAS

Developed under a requirement from French Special Forces units, Aeraccess’ NanoHawk has been purposely designed to operate in buildings. © Aeraccess

www.edrmagazine.eu

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New aiming sights: improving rifles accuracy

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Detect and Neutralise Airborne Demining

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Nano and micro rotary-wing UAS look at Special Forces and more

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Manned solutions for ASuW/ASW missions

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Rosoboronexport: service weapons from a reliable supplier

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GNPP Region introduces new family of guided bombs to global market

By Paolo Valpolini

By David Oliver

By Paolo Valpolini

By Luca Peruzzi

By Nikolaï Novichkov

By Nikolaï Novichkov, Dmitry Fediushko

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New aiming sights: improving rifles accuracy By Paolo Valpolini

The Phoenix-S recently unveiled by Excelitas Qioptiq works in pair with the Phoenix-H target acquisition binocular, the latter being able to hand over the target to the sniper thanks to a wireless connection. Š Excelitas Qioptiq

While in the past global conflicts the percent of casualties caused by assault rifles was relatively low compared to that of artillery, in current scenarios small arms fire has changed its role; while for rogue state fighters it plays mostly a suppressive role, for western regular armies soldiers accuracy has become a must, firing being permitted only following positive identification of the target and in a selective mode in order to avoid collateral damages. Hence the increased importance of optical-electronic sights versus iron sights, the latter remaining of importance as backup. Sighting systems range from optical ones, to be used in daylight, to image intensification, that can be used only at night, to thermal sights in different bandwidths that allow seeing also in daytime when visibility is downgraded, not to mention true fire control systems that allow increasing effectiveness or compensate soldiers’ lack of experience. This article aims at highlighting some of the products shown by the industry in the last period, the dominance of new thermal system showing how much this high-end solution is gaining importance on the battlefield.

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of life on NVG settings. Aimpoint forecasts a first customer very soon, the CompM5b being available on the market in spring 2020.

A few days before Milipol 2019 Aimpoint announced its latest product, the new CompM5b™, a red dot sight with interchangeable turrets for NATO 5.56 and 7.62 ammunition. © Aimpoint

Optical sights For day operations in clear weather, optical sights remain the favourite choice as they ensure maximum resolution and allow seeing more details that even the most sophisticated digital system of comparable weight and size, at least for the time being. At Milipol 2019 Aimpoint of Sweden unveils its new CompM5b™, a ballistic sight that features interchangeable turrets for NATO 5.56 and 7.62 mm ammunition, with six 100 meters intervals from 100 to 600 meters. A red dot sight, with a 2 MOA dot, it is designed to be used with both eyes open. In the standard configuration it weighs 254 grams, 180 grams considering only the sight. The wind cap allows three levels of compensation per side. Aimpoint is ready to provide tailor made caps should the customer have different requirements. The red dot illumination can be trimmed, 10 different intensity settings being available, four of them NVG-compatible, power being provided by a AAA battery that ensures a 5 years life of continuous use on position 7, with over 10 years

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Trijicon, another market leader in this field, unveiled last spring its new VCOG 1-8x28 (Variable Combat Optical Gunsight), developed under the requirements of the US military, who needed a rugged sight with greater magnification and aperture than the existing VCOG 1-6x24. The field of view ranges from 20° to 2.5° (compared to the 18°-3° of the 1-6x24). Manufactured in 7075T6 aviation-grade aluminium-alloy, it is waterproof to 20 meters and features an integrated mounting adapter. The VCOG 1-8x28 weighs 893 grams without mount and battery, its dimensions being 274.3 x 71.1 x 71.1 mm. The first focal plane reticle allows a rapid estimate of the target range while the illuminated red segmented circle reticle can be adjusted within 120 MOA both in windage and elevation, and is available both in MOA or mrad; adjustments are made in 0.25 MOA or 0.1 mrad per click. The red circle brightness can be selected among 11 different levels, two for night vision and nine for day use, one of them being the super-bright setting used when operating in strong light. The power is provided by a single AA battery that ensures over 630 hours (over 26 days) operational use at setting n.6. The new sight is now fully available. Meopta recently unveiled its MeoForce DF 4x30, which adds to the two members of the compact scopes family, the DF 5x40 and the DF 3x20; the former was designed to be used with long barrel weapons, such as Designated Marskman Rifles and Light Machine Guns, while the latter was aimed at assault rifles. They feature the same body, the difference being in the lens, fields of view being respectively 4° and 7°, weight being 475 and 350 grams with battery, mount, caps and sunshade. The AA battery ensures 300 hours operating time with the illuminated reticle at mid-brightness, 12 different intensity levels being available. The new DF 4x30 also exploits the same body, providing a 5.3° field of view and weighing 385 grams. According to the Czech company, it was designed considering the requirements


To answer US military requirements Trijicon developed the VCOG 1-8x28 that brings the VCOG family members to three. © Trijicon

From the Czech Republic comes the MeoForce DF 4x30, the latest addition to Meopta’s MeoForce family, designed to cope with some customers’ requirements. © Meopta

expressed by some potential customers, who needed an intermediate sight between the two existing ones. Part of the SK Group, which includes among other companies Israel Weapons Industries, Meprolight has a wide portfolio of optical, image intensification and thermal imaging rifle sights. Some of them feature peculiar characteristics that cannot be found in similar products currently on the market. One of them is the Mepro Foresight, a 280 grams optical sight developed starting from the Mepro M5 electro-optical red dot sight body; the optical system has been replaced by a see-through display that allows adding numerous information, giving a lot of flexibility. The idea of Meprolight was to solve all possible issues while adding some extra features; the Mepro Foresight thus comes as an open system, which can be easily updated using an app loaded on a smartphone, that links up with the sight via Bluetooth. One sight profile can host up to five different reticles, chosen from a wide database, all with the same zeroing settings. Up

to 10 profiles can be saved on the app, each of them i.e. dedicated to a specific weapon; when switching from one weapon to another the operator loads the corresponding profile and the sight is zeroed. If different ammunition can be used on the same weapon, it is possible to use a built-in offset capability to zero reticles for different ammos in the same profile. Meprolight added a digital compass and a clinometer; other indications such as Bluetooth status, battery charge, etc can be seen in the sight, although the operator can customise it leaving only the required information. Initially designed mostly for the US civilian market, a number of other interesting applications were identified such as that for police non-lethal grenade launchers, were accuracy is needed as well as flexibility, numerous launchers and types of ammunition being available; Meprolight also added a reticle that allows estimating the distance using shoulders width, non-lethal effectors being usually used at relatively short range, up to 30 meters, and is currently developing a software upgrade that will add a shot counter to the sight. The Mepro

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Meprolight, part of the SK Group, developed the Mepro Foresight which features can be updated from an App in order to adapt it to different types of weapons. © Meprolight

Foresight is powered by a fixed battery which is recharged via a USB-C cable, ensuring 50 hours continuous use with full functionalities, which can become several hundreds hours when using only the reticle. A version powered by AA batteries for military use has also been designed, but for the time being no customer required that solution.

Image intensification Image intensification remains an important technology in the night sights domain, one of the most recent advances in Europe being the new Photonis 4G+ tube. Already in production, it represents an enhancement over the 4G tube launched some years ago; the Figure Of Merit (FOM), which is the product of the signal-to-noise ratio by the limiting resolution, the latter expressed in lp/mm (line pairs per millimeter), was increased by over 20% up to 2,200 when considering the Minimum FOM, while the Typical FOM is up 5% to 2,300. The tube exploits the same technology of the 4G, power consumption remaining constant, while price is slightly higher. The 4G+ is produced both with P43 phosphor (green) or P45 (white). The tube was launched in spring 2019 installed over the Night Vision Lasers Spain (NVLS) QuadEye panoramic night-vision goggles, and should soon find its way also in weapon sights, the better FOM allowing increased detection/ recognition/identification ranges. Excelitas Qioptiq recently introduced on the market the Merlin-LR 2 clip-on weapon sight designed to operate on assault, DMR and sniper rifles up to the 12.7 mm calibre. It is fitted with

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According to Meprolight its Mepro Foresight is particularly suited for police forces using non-lethal grenade launchers, where a number of launchers and ammunition are available requiring a very flexible sight. © Meprolight

a high performance catadrioptic objective and features a large aperture collimating optics, the system being designed to be compatible with variable magnification day scopes for mediumlong range shooting. It is available both with P43 or P45 phosphor image intensification tubes. FLIR did not unveiled technical details. The Merlin-LR 2 has undergone company trials and is ready for production, which should start in Q1 2020, when more details will be made available.

Long Wavelength thermal imaging Shifting to thermal imaging, when weight and cost are key parameters, uncooled systems based on microbolometers working in the LWIR band, 8 – 12 µm wavelength, are being considered. Usually those systems are used for shorter ranges and can come in the form of sights or clip-on devices. Steiner eOptics, part of Beretta, unveiled at DSEI the latest addition to its portfolio, the CQT, for Close Quarter Thermal sight. The CQT combines the advantages of a red dot sight with those of a thermal one, the latter channel being based


The CQT is raising considerable interest by numerous potential customers, however the configuration is not fully frozen, thus the above mentioned data are related to the latest preproduction unit seen at the London exhibition.

The most recent product from Photonis is the 4G+ image intensification tube, which is an evolution of its 4G adding some extra performances. © Photonis

on one of the newest sensors available by FLIR, a 320x256 matrix with a 12 µm pitch and a 60 Hz refreshment rate; it features three different thermal modes, outline, declutter and full thermal. When used in thermal mode the FoV is 16°x12°, the window size being 31x22.5 mm. It can be used wearing night vision goggles, and can be fitted with a x3 magnifier to operate at extended range. The sight is 133 mm long, 77 mm wide, rail to window centre height being 53 mm, the weight being 390 grams with batteries; it is powered by two CR123 batteries, which ensure 4 hours operation time in thermal mode and 160 hours in red dot mode, both at the maximum brightness.

The latest addition to the Merlin family of image intensification sights by Excelitas Qioptiq is the LR2, which features a catadioptric lens. No further technical data were provided. © Excelitas Qioptiq

The newest addition to the Excelitas Qioptiq portfolio in the uncooled arena is the Dragon-S 12 clip-on sight; compared to the previous Dragon-S it has a 640x480 sensor with 12 µm pitch (versus a 320x240 with a 25 µm pitch, sensor dimensions being very similar while considerably increasing resolution), the image being shown on a 1280x1024 pixels full colour OLED display, the horizontal field of view being 5.3°. Considering a human target, detection range is in excess of 2.5 km, recognition being at around 1 km while identification range is 500 meters. The Dragon-S 12 dimensions are 191x88x103 mm, the sight without lens cap, shroud and batteries weighing 850 grams, less than its predecessor while providing higher performances. Power is provided by three AA batteries that ensure over 7 hours continuous operation. The Dragon-S 12 is designed for designated marksman riflemen that operate at 400-500 meters from their targets. Launched in early 2019, the Dragon-S 12 is in full production and has already been ordered by some undisclosed customers. Meprolight of Israel developed an all-in one solution, with a thermal imaging channel based on a 640x480 sensor with 17 µm pitch, a low light or a day camera, and a Class 3 IR pointer. The family being known as Nyx 200, the top solution is the Nyx-222, which features a x2 magnification and the daylight high resolution camera, providing a 11.3°x8.5° field of view. This allows to reconnoitre a human size target at 350-400 meters range while being able to switch on thermal at any time should it be needed. The built-in IR pointer illuminates targets for personnel equipped with NVGs, permitting them to fire on the spot. A digital recorder saves the views of all channels for debriefing or legal issues. The Nyx-222 weighs 850 grams with the adaptor but without the four batteries, the latter weighing around 60 grams considering Li-Ion ones, the double

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The prototype of the Close Quarter Thermal (CQT) sight by Steiner eOptics, part of Beretta; this red dot plus thermal sight is in the final stage of development. ©P. Valpolini

Launched in early 2019, Excelitas Qioptiq’ Dragon-S 12 thermal clip-on sight is already in production and has bagged more than one order. © Excelitas Qioptiq

if rechargeable batteries are selected. The Nyx212, the equivalent but with a x1 magnification, weighs 150 grams less. Meprolight has received purchase orders, the Nyx sights being now in full serial production. Transvaro of Turkey has a complete portfolio of day and night sights. One of the latest additions to the portfolio is the Engerek-S40 thermal uncooled sight, which x1.3 magnification allows it to be used both in CQB as well as at medium ranges

Transvaro from Turkey developed the Engerek-S40 thermal sight which “W” version, featured here, is fitted with a oneway wireless communication system that sends the sight images to the soldier’s HUD. © P. Valpolini

Meprolight Nyx 200 family of sights include also a low light day camera and an IR pointer, the top member being the Nyx 222. © Meprolight

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when installed on assault rifles. The sensor is a 640x480 with a 17 µm pitch, operates in the 8-14 µm wavelength band, and can be used in full thermal and contour modes. The field of view is 16.3°x12.2°, a x2 and x4 electronic magnification being available. The basic model, known as S40, weighs less than 600 grams without the two 18650 batteries and optionals, and is fitted with an 830 nm invisible IR laser pointer. Reticles can be selected from a menu, electronic zeroing being available as well as remote control. The S40W, the “W” standing for Wireless, is similar to the


S40 but lacks the IR pointer and has a number of features which are optional on the S40, the short range (one meter) RF wireless link being the most important one: it works at very high frequency, close to 10 GHz, which makes it difficult to jam, has a wide band, and is a one way link sending images from the sight to the soldier’s head-up display and eventually to his personal-role radio to relay images and videos to upper command echelons. It is fitted with a reflex sight, the company made Mini Nişangah, a video-recording capability, a limited memory being embedded in the sight itself, and its software allows shot count. The weight is 700 grams, without the reflex sight.

Medium Wavelength thermal imaging This operator can see the image acquired by his Transvaro EngerekS40W sight in his goggle thanks to the wireless communication system fitted in the two systems. © Transvaro

Cooled systems in the 3-5 µm wavelength band are capable of sensing smaller differences of temperature compared to the systems previously described, news sensors operating at higher temperature, around 150 °K versus 80°K of older sensors, featuring lower power consumption compared to older systems. A brand new cooled thermal optic for long range sniping has been recently unveiled by Excelitas Qioptiq. The Phoenix-S is a clip-on sight that exploits the latest Medium Wave InfraRed (MWIR) Hot Operating Temperature (HOT) technology, the sensor being 640x512 with a 15 µm pitch and

a 60 Hz frame rate; thanks to the new technology the eight AA Lithium Disulphide batteries allow 6 hours continuous operation at 25°C. The field of view is 3.8°x3.0° and the Phoenix-S can operate with day scopes up to x25 magnification. According to the company the detection range is of 4.5 km for a man target and 8.8 km for a vehicle target, recognition ranges being respectively 1.6 and 3.6 km, and identification ranges 800 and 1,900 meters. The system has a cooling time of less than four minutes. It is fitted with GPS, digital magnetic compass and orientation sensors, its weight in operational conditions, including lens cap, shroud and batteries being less than 1.6 kg. The Phoenix-S is designed to operate with .338 LM and .50 calibre sniper rifles, but due to its compactness, the system dimensions being 285x80x95 mm, it can be used also on 7.62 mm rifles as well as on support weapons. The sight is designed to operate in conjunction with the Phoenix-H surveillance and target location

Excelitas Qioptiq Phoenix-S is based on a new MWIR HOT Operating Temperature sensor that requires much less power to be cooled, thus ensuring longer operating time. © Excelitas Qioptiq

binocular, based on the same MWIR HOT sensor, the spotter being able to hand over the target to the shooter as both systems are fitted with wireless connection. Excelitas Qioptiq has already bagged some firm orders from unidentified Special Forces units, production being ready to start in Q1 2020.

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Although not new to the market, FLIR’s ThermoSight HISS-XLR is constantly updated, a system providing to move the reticle vertically for very long-range shots being one of the latest software additions. © FLIR Systems

Introduced on the market in 2014, FLIR Systems ThermoSight HISS-XLR is a clip-on system designed for long range sniping. Although now five years old, FLIR constantly upgraded it in order to keep up with customers’ requirements; the company does not mention specifically the users, however it is quite clear that a high-end system such as this one sees Special Forces as the main customers. While the sensor remained the same, a 640x480, the 240 mm lens providing a 2.29°x1.72° field of view, the display has been replaced, the new one having higher quality and bigger size, the output being comparable to a high definition standard, which increases I/D/R ranges. The HISS-XLR can now be interfaced with x28 magnification optics, nearly the double compared to the original sight. Another key improvement is the capacity to interface with all available ballistic computers, allowing the shooter to get all needed data inside the sight itself. Among inputs provided by the customers there was the need of an elevation adjustment to allow the shooter to move the reticle vertically in order to see the target when shooting at very long distances, the sight being qualified also for 12.7 mm calibre weapons; another software modification allowed to have an enhanced ballistic point of aim, permitting rapid electronic zeroing. FLIR Systems managed to

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keep weight and power consumption, less than 6 W, equal to the earlier versions while adding new capacities. The HISS-XLR dimensions are 292x110x76 mm, its weight being 1.89 kg with the two battery packs. Each of them is made of four CR123 batteries, one pack being on the right and one on the left; the sight allows a hot swap of one of the packs, while the system is running on the other, avoiding shutting down the system to replace batteries.

Short Wavelength thermal imaging

Based in Lithuania, Brolis is one of the very first companies to put on the market a SWIR clip-on sight, which allows among other things to see through glasses and windows. © Brolis


A new breed of night vision sights is entering the arena, these systems being based on Short Wave Infra Red (SWIR) sensors; they usually operate in the 0.9 - 1.7 μm band, one of their main advantages being that they allow seeing through glasses, such as windows, car glasses, etc, something other thermal sights cannot do. Moreover they provide much better performances in fog and haze conditions, avoid mirage when shooting with a hot-barrel rifle, and a much better image allowing positive identification of a human subject. Based in Vilnius, Lithuania, the Brolis Group is active in the photonic integrated sensor technology and advanced electro-optic systems for defence and security applications. Among its portfolio we find the S100U, a long-range SWIR day/night clip-on sight incorporating the latest InGaAs sensor and InP laser diode technology, being based on a 640x512 InGaAs with a 15 μm pitch. It is fitted with a 100 mm lens providing a 5.5°x4.4° field of view and can be coupled to day scopes ranging from x3 to x12 magnification. According to Brolis, target detection and recognition ranges are of 3.8 and 1.2 km for a human target and 5.1 and 1.6 km for the standard NATO target. Its body is made of aluminium alloy 7075 and it can withstand recoils up to 12.7 mm sniper rifles. The S100U is fitted with an integrated 1,550 nm Class 4 laser illuminator with adjustable output power up to 1.5 W providing a working distance up

In development for some time by AIM Infrarot-Module of Germany the HuntIR SW works in the SWIR band; the final casing should be the one in the forefront. © P. Valpolini

to 3 km, fitted with motorized beam divergence control, adjustable from 10 to 70 mrad, for total darkness conditions or illumination through windows. Images can be recorder on a microSD memory card, a PAL video output being also available. The S100U is powered by eight CR123A batteries ensuring over seven hours operating time, power consumption being less than 7 W when not using the laser illuminator. The sight weighs less than 2.1 kg, its dimensions being 260x110x120 mm.

Following an iterative development process, hand in hand with the Israel Defence Forces, SmartShooter of Israel proposes its SMASH 2000 and 2000+, the latter fitted also with a Counter-UAV mode. © SmartShooter

In fall 2016 AIM Infrarot-Module of Germany unveiled the technology demonstrator of a SWIR clip-on thermal sight for snipers and designated marksmen. It operates in the extended-SWIR, the 0.9 – 2.5 μm wavelength ibnterval, allowing the detection of spots generated by lasers working in the 2.5 μm wavelength band. Known as HuntIR SW, it has been developed along the years in close cooperation with the German Kommando Spezialkräfte (KSK), the German Special Forces Command. Two years after the unveiling of the demonstrator, the prototype was shown, hosted in what was supposed to be the final casing: the field of view was 8°x6°, dimensions being 145x110x95 mm for a 1 kg weight, the battery providing 4 hours operating time. At that time the KSK already required a bigger optic to improve range performances over 1 km, the foreseen weight being 1.1 kg. At DSEI 2019 it emerged that the KSK required

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The SMASH 2000 fire control system being tested on an AR carbine; the system acquires the target and allows firing only when hit is practically sure. Š Capt. F. Warner

further modification; a wholly new casing was shown, which will increase heat transfer ensuring a better cooling, a key factor when operating in hot climates, a new keypad having also been required, while the system will now adopt standard batteries, the weight remaining the same of the previous prototype. According to AIM Infrarot-Module the first HuntIR SW with the new casing will be produced in late March 2020.

Fire control systems SmartShooter of Israel offers its line of SMASH sights, which are in fact true fire control systems. Developed in close cooperation with the Israel Defence Forces and with the MoD Directorate of the Defense Research and Development (DDR&D), the SMASH allows the shooter to acquire the target, the tracking system allowing the rifle to fire only when the system evaluates that the target will be hit with utmost accuracy, considering the aiming as well as environmental conditions. The integrated fire control computer stores data for different rifles, currently the M4 and AR-15 weapons with M193 or M855 ammunition in 5.56 mm calibre and the SR25 and M110 with the M188LR round in 7.62 mm calibre. According

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to the company the system allows increasing first shot probability up to 80% at 100 meters, putting untrained and experienced soldiers on the same performance level. Since the early stages the system has evolved considerably, SmartShooter now offering two versions, the SMASH 2000 and the SMASH 2000 Plus, the latter fitted with the drone-mode that allows kinetic elimination of unmanned air systems up to 200 meters range in daytime, typical static or dynamic ground target elimination range at day being 300 meters. While daytime indication are available on the reflex sight see-through screen, in night mode these are visible over the low-light video display. The system is made of the sighting unit and a Fire Block Mechanism which is incorporated in a pistol grip with trigger guard that replaces the original one on the weapon. The sight is compact, 195x87.5x81 mm, and weighs 980 grams, power being provided by a rechargeable Lithium-Ion battery pack that ensures 72 hours of operation or up to 3,600 SMASH-assisted shots. It is fitted with a near-Infrared illuminator and has a builtin video recording capability. The SMASH underwent a one year operational evaluation with the Israel Defense Forces, which led to a series of improvements, and to the evolution of the Human-Machine Interface with further software improving. The system is now in service


Elbit Systems of Israel recently unveiled the SmartSight, an addon digital see-through situational awareness device which includes a GPS module, and an inertial unit and displays compass and laser rangefinder (LRF) data. It can be optionally fitted with secured wireless connectivity. Š Elbit Systems

with the IDF, which has already used it against flying threats coming from the Gaza strip, and has been acquired by different branches of the US military, which led to the addition of new ballistic tables for new types of ammunition,

6.5 mm Creedmoor and 6.8 mm Remington SPC among them. According to SmartShooter, not only Special Forces have shown interest in the SMASH but also the regular Army, which is carrying out operational evaluation.

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British Army’s Operation Talisman in Afghanistan used the Honeywell T-Hawk VTOL mini-UAV to detect IEDs for route clearance. Š David Oliver

Detect and Neutralise Airborne Demining By David Oliver The public perception of the role of the unmanned aerial vehicle (UAV), or drone, is that of wreaking unchecked death and destruction from the air without their operators exposing themselves to danger. Less well known is their capability to detect, identify and even destroy improvised explosive devices (IED) and unexploded ordnance (UXO).

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ith IEDs being used with devastating effect in a variety of geographic regions including Africa, Asia and South America,

post-conflict countries being plagued with discarded and unmapped UXO, an ability to counter these threats quickly and at no risk to service personnel has become an important

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strategic imperative worldwide. One of the way that this can be achieved is the use of small multi-rotor vertical take-off and landing (VTOL) UAVs for both search and destroy. This was pioneered by the British Army’s “Operation Talisman” in Afghanistan which used a “system of systems” for route clearance, to detect and destroy IEDs, mines and explosive traps and clear the way for the following vehicles. One of the Talisman systems was the Honeywell T-Hawk, a VTOL mini-UAV with some 45 minutes of endurance. It provided overwatch for convoys and to scout the route ahead, and its downwash could blast the sand away from a suspected IED on the road ahead. Talisman was the inspiration for the Londonbased company SteelRock Technologies (SRT) which in partnership with Richmond Defence Systems (RDS), has developed the SR1 Protector, a UAV-borne IED disrupter able to neutralise a wide range of IED threats, mines and breaching either from the air or on the ground. Using an interchangeable payload system comprising a sophisticated thermal electro-optical (EO) camera and a 40 mm recoilless disrupter with an encrypted fire control, the system is been

SteelRock’s SRW1 Protector VTOL UAV counter-IED system in flight. © SteelRock

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developed as a seek and destroy solution to the increasing IED threat. The platform is built around an X8 KDE Direct brushless motor/rotor drive system with two counter-rotating propellers and motors at each corner. With a maximum speed of 100 km/h, the SR1 UAV has a maximum telemetry range of 150 km from a base station and can carry a 50 kg payload for up to two hours. In a series of trials at SteelRock’s test facility in South Wales the Protector system has successfully disrupted and neutralised IED threats both at ground level and while airborne with the disrupter. A similar C-IED system is being developed by the Singapore company ST Engineering with its Stinger Intelligent Network Gun Equipped Robotics system (STINGER). The system is under development as part of ST Engineering’s Future Soldier Solution and includes a quadrotor VTOL UAV armed with the world’s lightest 5.56 mm machine gun, the 6.8 kg Ultramax U100 Mk.8 with a constant recoil system on a shockreducing 2-axis gimbal that enables it to be fired accurately in full automatic mode from a UAV with sufficient accuracy up to a range of 300 metres. The STINGER is able to recover between


shots in less than 1.5 seconds. It is able to carry 100 lightweight polymer 5.65 mm rounds and the system has an auto target-tracking capability with advanced fire control system. Florida-based Duke Robotics has also designed a fully robotic weaponry system integrated into an airborne platform. The TIKAD UAV system uses the delivery of a unique suppression firing and stabilisation solution to the weapon’s recoil. The TIKAD is designed with a lightweight real-time 6 degrees of freedom (DOF) robotic gimbal that has the ability to carry and stabilise up to three times the weight of the gimbal. TIKAD weighs 50 kg, can carry a 9 kg payload which can include an M4 carbine, an SR25 semi-automatic sniper rifle or a 40 mm grenade launcher. Although designed as unmanned weapon system for use against terrorist groups to reduce the number of deployed ground troops, TIKAD has been acquired by the Israeli Defence Force, it could be used to neutralise IEDs or land mines. Unmanned Aerial Systems (UAS) are very suitable for the detection of UXO in large or inaccessible areas. Drone UXO detection is done with a drone magnetometer system such as a digital fluxgate magnetometer used for surveys which is a threecomponent, high precision and low noise vector magnetometer. During the flight the UAV is kept at a constant height of one to three metres using a laser sensor in order to obtain accurate results with high resolution. All flight details such as speed, height and location are registered and are completely reproducible in order to ensure the quality of the survey. If the survey requires lowlevel flights to ensure the necessary accuracy and resolution, a multi-rotor UAV is used. The weight of a drone including the magnetometer sensor can be less than 4.5 kg. A crucial UAV-based Synthetic Aperture Radar (SAR) application in vision is the detection of buried hazards like explosives, being usually considered as anti-personnel mines, UXO and especially in these days IEDs as modern threats of manifold articulations. However, the complexity

The RDS 40mm recoilless disrupter carried by the SRW1 Protector UAV. Š David Oliver

of this application requires new technologies and new system concepts for SAR. Recent German Aerospace Center (DLR) research clearly indicated that a polarimetric, multistatic, multiangular and multichannel SAR (P3M-SAR) system can deliver sufficient spatial resolution, sufficient clutter suppression, and the capability to detect buried objects from several metres distance up to a depth of 20 centimeters. The detection capabilities of the UAV-based P3MSAR system called TIRAMI-SAR have shown excellent performance when tested on several different scenarios providing various ambient conditions and targets including small plastic landmines like the PFM-1/PRB-M35 or wooden trigger plates for IED threats. In addition, past experiments using inverse SAR (ISAR) techniques have shown that high spatial resolution and full azimuth sensing allows to even identifying manmade objects like landmines in the SAR image by their spatial RCS distribution. Now, due to almost arbitrary flight trajectories of a UAV, it is possible to create equivalent SAR

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on the UAV, and the identification mode using a rather circular or helical trajectory around the scene to investigate the area at higher spatial resolution and to perform tomographic imaging. A UAV can operate autonomously and in areas of difficult access, and it can be operated directly over hazardous areas nearly unlimited in most of the scenarios. In an even more advanced system escalation several cooperative UAVs can be used to produce additionally very high bistatic or multistatic incidence angles, further enhancing the system capabilities.

The ST Engineering Stinger UAV armed with an Ultramax U100 Mk.8 5.56mm machine gun. © David Oliver

images and to perform additionally 3D imaging, providing in parallel the P3M-SAR imaging geometries for effective clutter suppression. That synergy can lead to a system with advanced detection capabilities and buried object identification. There are two major operational modes, the detection mode which is based on a straight flight trajectory along the scene using multistatic and multichannel array configuration

Global UAV Technologies is a US-based drone technology company that has recently secured two UXO survey contracts through different endcustomers in the United States. The surveys, one of which has already been completed, are being flown by Global UAV’s wholly owned subsidiary, Pioneer Aerial Surveys Ltd. which had previously conducted UXO surveys at Pearl Harbor, Hawaii. The UXO survey projects utilise the same drone-based UAV-MAG survey technology the Company uses for mining and exploration related geophysical surveys. UAV-MAG technology incorporates the GSMP-35U sensor, an ultralight-weight potassium magnetometer from Gem Systems Inc. When flown with a UAV, Pioneer Aerial can conduct autonomous survey flights in an ultra-high resolution, low altitude pattern which makes UXO detection possible.

Duke Robotics TIKAD multi-rotor UAV carrying a gun mounted on a stabilised gimbal. © Duke Robotics

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Pioneer Aerial’s UAV carrying a GSMP-35U sensor, an ultra-light-weight potassium magnetometer used for detecting UXO. © Global UAV Technologies

Organisations such as the US Army Corps of Engineers require survey technology innovation to be a component of UXO survey solutions for those bidding on the projects. “The UAV-MAG survey technology we developed is proving to be versatile and reliable. It has quickly gained Pioneer Aerial a reputation as one of the world-leading dronebased geophysical survey companies. The UXO detection and survey industry is in high demand for innovative detection and mapping solutions, giving rise to increased interest in our services and technology as a result.” stated Michael Burns, CEO, Global UAV Technologies Ltd. One of the countries suffering more than most from the dual threat of IEDs and UXO is Afghanistan and two Afghan brothers, Massoud and Mahmud Hassani have been developing a project both as a legitimate mine clearing device and a global awareness project known as Mine Kafon (MKD). Based in the Netherlands, MKD is developing a range of solutions aimed at UXO clearance following conflict using disruptive technologies to change how de-mining efforts are undertaken, making clearance faster, safer, cheaper and easy to implement across the diverse regions affected.

The former war zones of the world are littered with millions of landmines and other explosive remnants of war, and everyday numerous civilians are maimed or killed by these explosives. In addition, these mines also pose a major obstacle to the economic and social re-development of communities following conflict. Surveying and clearing such areas from UXOs continues to be expensive and challenging due to a range of difficulties that vary between location and other variables. MKD has designed a range of multi-rotor VTOL C-UXO UAVs. The Vento is a small, low cost surveying and mapping micro-UAV which is open source and can be made available to the communities who need them most including non-government organisations (NGOs). The UAV’s simple, functional design makes it easy to repair, with 3D printed casing to decentralise manufacture, keeping operating costs low. Hazardous areas are identified via live video stream using a high-resolution camera with powerful zooming capabilities. The user then marks identified mines or craters on a digital map and a 3D map of the area of interest is then created using the autonomous mapping functionalities.

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The Mine Kafon (MFD) long-range Destiny multi-rotorUAV designed for mapping hazardous areas such as in Afghanistan. © MFD

This map can then be utilized to further inspect the terrain and potentially identify dangerous regions using computer vision algorithms. MKD’s Destiny micro-UAV is a long-range surveillance drone equipped with a high resolution x10 zoom camera on a three-axis gimbal and is capable of long range flights of up to a 5 kilometres in distance, maintaining precise position information with the use of RTK technology. Compact, durable and able to operate in difficult weather conditions, the Destiny UAV is constructed with high performance carbon fibre to reduce weight and increase flight time up to 1 hour. Due to its eight-electric motor configuration, if one or two motors fail in emergency situations, the Destiny is still capable of flying safely. Based on the 3D maps created by a mapping UAV, the autonomous heavy lifting MKD Manta VTOL UAV systematically moves across the hazardous area. It is capable of carrying a variety of mine detection sensors including a metal detector, ground penetrating radar and a sample collection device for chemical analysis. Data from detection sensors is processed using data fusion algorithms to obtain precise position information. Depending on the surroundings and identification data, the UXOs are either detonated using a remotely positioned explosive charge carried by the UAV, or disarmed by a human deminer. Manta’s eight powerful motors

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and propellers in coaxial configuration enable it to carry de-mining robots and sensors of up to 30 kg overall weight. It is powered by eight smartphone 6S batteries giving it a maximum flight time of 60 minutes. Manta is a flexible platform designed to be compatible with all MKD demining UAVs including the 6.6 kg Destiny, and which can be re-roled in seconds for a variety of operations. Manta is compatible with the Mine Kafon GCS where besides the functionalities common to all its range of UAVs, the software also provides specific interfaces for each of the robotic systems.

The MFD Manta UAV can position an explosive charge next to UXO that can then be remotely detonated. © MFD


Nano and micro rotary-wing UAS look at Special Forces and more By Paolo Valpolini

A picture showing well the dimensions of FLIR Systems’ Black Hornet 3 nano-UAV. The system has obtained a considerable success, its first iteration having seen action in Afghanistan with the British Army. © FLIR Systems

The unmanned air systems (UAS) market is still growing, numerous companies appearing (and disappearing) every year. The US Department of Defence has subdivided UAS in five groups, based on maximum take-off weight and operating altitude, the split being Group 1 up to 9 kg, Group 2 up to 25 kg, Group 3 up to 600 kg, and Groups 4 and 5 over 600 kg, Group 4 with maximum operating altitude of 18,000 ft and Group 5 over that limit.

A

ll systems that we will consider in this article are part of Group 1; the MTOW interval between 0 and 9 kg hosts a wide number of systems of very different types, fixed- and rotary-wing, usually launched by hand, very few being in what we could define the nano-UAS segment, that is very light systems, these being most rotary-wing, as all those mentioned in this article. The dream of a soldier is to have at hand a flying system capable to see what

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is “behind the corner” and come back to be reused, its weight and logistic footprint being minimal in order to avoid adding to his burden. Special Forces operators are usually the first ones to adopt new, high-tech systems, which later are acquired also by the Green Army. The few systems available on the military market, we obviously do not consider here all those leasure-drones that are available by hundreds in toy shops, have


An Australian soldier controls his Black Hornet 3 Personal Reconnaissance System; the full system includes two air vehicles, the GCS and spare batteries. © Australian DoD

thus been used initially by SF units, and some of them have immediately become bestsellers. Some other drones, bigger than nanos, have peculiar characteristics that make them a perfect choice for SF and not only. Before starting writing on existing systems, let’s have a look at what might be the future, although many things might appear for the time being closer to sci-fi than to reality. In 2011 AeroVironment developed the Nano Hummingbird, a 19 grams MTOW flying object with vertical take-off and landing which used flapping wings to stay aloft, wingspan being 160 mm. Definitely a challenging development under all aspects, from mechanics to avionics to data link. The Charles Stark Draper Laboratory followed a different path, considering that no aerial nano-drone mimicking insects will ever be more efficient and manoeuvrable than the

The Nano Hummingbird developed by AeroVironment some years ago mimicked the insects flying system using flapping wings to stay aloft. © AeroVironment

dragonfly. In January 2017 it announced that its DragonflEye programme, carried out together with the Howard Hughes Medical Institute, succeeded in guiding dragonflies thanks to a tiny backpack, developed combining miniaturized navigation, synthetic biology and neurotechnology, that sends steering neuronal signals to the dragonfly. The development of bird- or insect-like systems has still to find commercial successes. Current nano-UAS mostly exploit vertical lift capabilities based on rotary-wing technologies. In January 2017 the US DoD issued a Request for Information titled Soldier Borne Sensor (SBS) Unmanned Aircraft Systems, aimed at gaining information in view of a future programme of record. This time the target was to deploy these assets within the regular Army, “for support of individual squads and platoon surveillance.” Not much was available on the market that answered the US requirements which were illustrated at the Industry Day Briefing in January 2018; among those a minimum 15 minutes hovering endurance at low altitude, three flights being requested with a fully loaded battery in low wind conditions; maximum weight for the air vehicle was 250 grams, the whole system having a maximum weight of 1.36 kg. A 90% detection of a human-size target at 50 meters distance at night was required, as well as a maximum training time of 16 hours. The system had to be capable of storing still and video imagery, and of broadcasting images to the soldier in real time for immediate exploitation. Selection criteria included visual and acoustic signature, line of sight range, and other parameters. Seven companies and organisations showed up for the briefing, however the major competitors were quickly reduced to three, AeroVironment, InstantEye Robotics and FLIR Systems. In late November 2016 the latter had acquired Prox Dynamics AS of Norway for approximately

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134 million US$ in cash, the company being one of the pioneers in the nano-UAS field, having been founded in late 2007 with the aim of developing the smallest operational UAS in the world aimed at professional users, which first version became available in 2012: it was named Black Hornet, which lately became the Black Hornet 1 when a new model was developed. “The air vehicle was based on a wholly new technology but its range was limited, 600 meters, as well as its endurance, 15 minutes,” Arne Skjaerpe, VP UAS Business Development and Sales at FLIR Systems tells EDR Magazine. The first customer was the British Army, which deployed its first PD-100 Black Hornets in the Helmand Valley, Afghanistan, in 2012, acquired under an Urgent Operational Requirement. This was

The prototype of FLIR’s Black Hornet VRS installed on an unmanned ground system; the module can be easily integrated in any type of vehicle. © P. Valpolini

To answer the US Army Soldier Borne Sensor requirement AeroVironment developed the Snipe, a quadcopter weighing 150 grams. Following the issue of the bid its development seems to be frozen. © AeroVironment

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an important step for the Norwegian nano-UAS, a second version, the Black Hornet 2 being developed and made available in 2015. “It was based on the same air vehicle, but a lot of improvements were made in terms of sensors, range and wind stability,” Skjaerpe explains. A less power hungry motor was used which, coupled with improved battery capacity led to the increased range, while the data link range was also increased. Moreover a Black Hornet 2T version was produced, which included a thermal imaging sensor provided by FLIR, a first link between the two companies. The Black Hornet 2 was acquired by a number of customers. With the emerging of a possible programme of record in the US, numbers in US military acquisitions being at least one order of magnitude greater than those of the other countries, FLIR decided that it was worthy investing in the nano-UAS field and acquired Prox Dynamics. Being part of a much bigger group allowed investments that led to a quantum jump which resulted in the Black Hornet 3. Designed by the father of the original Black Hornet, Petter Muren, it maintains the helicopter-like architecture but the main rotor is totally new. The air vehicle is now fully modular, clip-on battery and payloads allowing rapid turn around and reconfiguration. The base station is a new Generation 2 with a number of improvements, its software being continuously


developed. The Black Hornet 3 has doubled the weight compared to its predecessors, being now at 33 grams, its rotor having a diameter of 123 mm, and can fly for 25 minutes at a maximum distance of 2 km. It can reach a speed up to 6 m/s, and fly in winds up to 15 knots (20 knots gusts), as well as in light rain. Coming to sensors, it is fitted with the FLIR Lepton thermal sensor and with a highdefinition visible camera, both providing videos and stills. The former operates in the 8-14 µm wavelength band, has a 160x120 sensor with a 12 µm pitch, and has a field of view of 57°x42°, its dimensions being 10.50×12.7×7.14 mm, its weight being only 0.9 grams. Two day cameras are available, depending on configuration, providing respectively a video with a 680x480 definition and snapshots with 1600x1200 definition, fused thermal and electro-optic images being obtainable exploiting day and night sensors. A key innovation on the Black Hornet 3 is that it can navigate even in GPS-denied scenarios, “however we continue evolving this capability as it can still see quite some improvements,” Arne Skjaerpe says. Four flying modes are available, auto and manual hover and stare, route and user selectable waypoint actions, automatic return and finally lost link. “We are constantly upgrading our software, and are looking to add some autonomous capabilities in order to reduce the cognitive burden on the operator,” Skjaerpe adds, underlining that the system, which is also known as Black Hornet 3 PRS, for Personal

Reconnaissance System, has been integrated with the US Army ATAK (Android Tactical Assault Kit). The Black Hornet 3 complete system includes two air vehicles, the one-handed controller and the video screen, the whole kit weighing less than 1.4 kg. The Black Hornet 3 has been acquired by over 35 nations, the major users being the United States, Australia and France. The latter announced the acquisition in November 2018, the contract being worth up to 89 million US$, the US Army having filed a first contract worth 39.7 million US$ a few days later, the UK following in April 2019, filing a contract worth 1.8 million US$ as part of the Transformation Fund Rapid Procurement Initiative. The US Army delivered its first Black Hornet 3 PRS to the soldiers of the 3rd Brigade Combat, 82nd Airborne Division, the unit having been deployed to Afghanistan in summer 2019, the nano-drones being used to provide platoon and squad-level intelligence on enemy units. In parallel to the development of the PRS, FLIR realised that many vehicles needed a close range reconnaissance system that could be used under armour. This led to the development of the VRS (Vehicle Reconnaissance System), which is based on the same air vehicle and features a launch unit incorporating four removable cassettes with heating and charging. The VRS weighs approximately 23 kg, its dimensions being 470x420x260 mm, and can optionally be fitted with

The Mk-3 GEN5-D1 quadcopter developed by InstantEye Robotics for the US Army Soldier Borne Sensor programme. The company is still actively marketing this product. © InstantEye Robotics

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a ballistic protection. It can be easily integrated into the vehicle battle management system via the Generic Vehicle Architecture, and Kongsberg already integrated it into its Integrated Combat Solution (ICS). FLIR demonstrated the system not only as a reconnaissance but also as a targeting tool exploiting the GPS. Currently the VRS is at prototype status, however FLIR is ready to start production, a considerable demand having shown up since the company announced the product in October 2018. The two contenders that fought against FLIR for the Soldier Borne Sensor contract were AeroVironment and InstantEye Robotics, a division of Physical Sciences Inc. AeroVironment developed the Snipe, a 140 grams quadcopter capable to fly for 15 minutes at over 1 km distance, fitted with electrooptical and IR cameras. With a maximum speed of 9.8 m/s, it was very quiet and couldn’t be heard when flying at 30 meters above ground, being controlled via an intuitive app loaded on a Windows 7 touchscreen controller. Made of five moving parts, it was ready to operate in less than one minute. Following the selection of one of its competitors by the US Army, AeroVironment seems to have abandoned

the Snipe programme. As for InstantEye Robotics, its Mk-3 GEN5-D1/D2 quadcopter weighs less than 250 grams, the maximum allowed weight, the whole system including two aircraft, one Ground Control Station-D, one ruggedized GCS display, six batteries, the battery charger, the propeller kit, one spare antenna, the transport case and the field case, weighing 6.35 kg. The air vehicle can reach a maximum speed of 8.94 m/s and sustain a wind of similar speed, data link range being 1.5 km. The base battery provides an endurance of 12-15 minutes, however the mission battery ensures 2027 minutes operating time. In late 2018 InstantEye provided 32 systems to the US Marine Corps for field evaluation as part of the Small Tactical Unmanned Aircraft Systems programme. Unveiled in its prototype version at Eurosatory 2018, the NanoHawk was designed and developed by Aeraccess of France following a specific requirement from French Special Forces units that needed a UAV to be used inside buildings and other enclosed structures. The programme was managed by then DGA Lab, and following a first downselection the NanoHawk won the bid over five other candidates.

A view of the Mk-3 GEN5-D1 ground control station display; the UAV system developed by InstantEye Robotics has been provided to the US Marines in late 2018 for evaluation. Š InstantEye Robotics

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The latest configuration of the NanoHawk is quite different from that shown in June 2018 at Eurosatory, the evolution following the first feedback from the units. Š Aeraccess

Aeraccess leveraged the work done on its bigger Sparrow-Hawk, a quadcopter also designed to operate in GPS-denied indoor scenarios, developed together with the French Police RAID SWAT unit. However military Special Forces were looking for a much smaller system, the result being the NanoHawk, which keeps the quadcopter architecture, and features a light structure protecting rotors, a must when flying indoor. Compared to the prototype, the production version has a body protecting obstacle avoidance sensors, which cover 360°, while it maintains the two electro-optic/IR day/night sensor packages, one at the front and one at the rear, which allow the operator to see images from both directions for better situational awareness, the various sensors installed also allowing the 3D digital mapping of the building. The body as well as the rotors protective structure have been totally reviewed also for maintenance purposes, the new version allowing rapid repair on the field by the user. The current version maintains the 350 grams weight without battery, MTOW climbing up to 600 grams with the more capable battery, which ensures 10 minutes flight time. It dimensions remain the same, 180x180 mm with rotors turning, however if the customer requires the new protection cage dimensions become 240x240x90 mm. A key feature is the single hand controller, which allows the operator to keep its handgun in the other hand, while the monitor is installed on the body armour, but can also fit to the rear of the shield or on the wrist. Intelligent flight modes

considerably reduce the operator’s workload, an encrypted data-link with COFDM transmission ensuring both flying operations as well as video streaming, exploiting the same crypto system but on two different frequencies. Since its unveiling, the NanoHawk has undergone extensive trials. In a typical mission profile it takes off from outside, enters the building by an open window and can then fly 3-4 stairs up or down, depending on walls thickness. It has also been validated to operate on ships, showing its capability to fly two levels above or under the operator without losing radio and video signals, which opens up a wholly new market. At night it can be coupled and integrated with a night vision system in order to allow only the operator to see it. The NanoHawk has also been tested in conjunction with K9 units, dogs being trained to carry the drone using a short leash kept in their mouth. The dog starts its reconnaissance and when sensing the presence of a person in a room, it drops the drone outside the room and leaves, the drone taking over. The dog can also be equipped with a data-link relay in order to extend the link range, which is declared at a few hundred meters outdoor. Each NanoHawk system is made of a data link, a controller, a monitor and two airframes. The first units to order the NanoHawk were the local RAID detachments. French SF regiments filed single contracts to Aeraccess, this allowing to

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Derived from a commercial UAV, the NX70 has been hardened for military use and is now in service with French forces deployed in Africa’s Sahel region. © MBDA

provide them customised versions of the system. As for export, Aeraccess has obtained contracts for undefined quantities in Singapore, the United Arab Emirates, the United Kingdom and Canada, both from military and police forces. The French Army has also adopted, under a UOR, a micro-drone known as NX70, developed by Novadem. Also a quadcopter, it has a MTOW of 1 kg and unfolded its dimensions are 130x510x510 mm (130x270x190 mm folded); it carries a UltraHD day camera with dual focal length providing a 50° to 5° field of view, and a thermal camera with a 34° FoV, the sensor being either 320x240 or 640x480 depending on customer choice. Deployed in less than 60 seconds, it can fly for 45 minutes at a range of 1 km, a long-range option increasing it to 5 km. It can afford winds up to 65 km/h and can fly at 3,000 meters above sea level. The NX70 can also fly in tethered configuration allowing endless hovering. The French Army received the first of the 27 systems on order (each with two air vehicles) in June 2019, deliveries having been completed within summer that same year. The first operational deployment of the NX70 takes place in Africa where French forces are carrying on an antiinsurgent operation in the Sahel region. In 2017 Diodon Drone Technology unveiled its

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SP20: definitely not a nano-UAV, it fits well among those items that might be of use to Special Forces due to its peculiar architecture. This quadcopter is designed to cope with the needs of amphibious forces as it is made of a central rigid IP46 waterproof box containing all electronics, while the spikes supporting the rotors are inflatable, which allows the air vehicle to float, using the water surface as a take-off and landing site. It can also operate from rough terrain, the inflatable elements eventually absorbing the impact energy. The Sp20 weighs 1.6 kg and can carry a nominal payload of 200 grams, at a maximum speed of 60 km/h, with a vertical speed of 3 m/s. Two sensors are proposed, a CCD camera with a 976x582 sensor capable to operate down to 0.0002 Lux fitted with a 3 mm, 8 mm or 12 mm lens, and an uncooled thermal sensor with a 14.2 mm lens and a 640x480 sensor. The SP20 can operate with winds up to 25 knots, maximum operating altitude being 8,000 ft, the temperature operating range being between –5°C and +45°C. When the spikes are deflated and blades are folded the system size is 220x280x100 mm, while in operational conditions it is 550x450x190; deployment time is less than one minute, a small compressor used to inflate spikes being part of the transport package. Power is provided by a battery pack that allows up to 23 minutes flight time. The SP20 is fitted with an analogue data link working up to 2 km. The SP20 comes with the Diodon ruggedised IP56 ground control station weighing 1.2 kg. This unique amphibious UAS is currently being tested by different units, Diodon Drone Technologies awaiting a first order.

A Diodon SP20 UAV just after take off from a water surface; the electronic pack is waterproof at IP46 level. © Diodon


The C-295 MSA/MPA was procured or is servicing with Brazilian, Canadian, Omani, Portuguese air forces and Chilean Navy in addition to Saudi Arabia homeland security command. © Airbus Defence

Manned solutions for ASuW/ASW missions By Luca Peruzzi The increasing threat represented by a wider number of countries procuring or upgrading their fleets of conventional or/and nuclear submarines is pushing NATO’s and worldwide main navies and air forces to procure or upgrade ASuW/ASW platforms, commonly referred as MPA (Maritime Patrol Aircraft). Together with the more capable passenger aircraft-based or purposely-built platforms with comprehensive mission suites and long-endurance, sided where budget and capabilities are available for a mix of manned and unmanned assets, a number of countries continue to look to turboprop platforms. Thanks to technological evolution and miniaturization, however, the lighter but capable new generation ASuW/ASW airborne systems can find accommodation on long-range business jet platforms, potentially becoming a lowercost alternative to larger platforms.

Turboprop solutions Among the most widespread families of maritime surveillance turboprop aircraft, represented by Airbus Defence’s C212, C235 and C295 solutions,

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the C235 MPA aircraft version built also by PT Dirgantara Indonesia, is in service with a worldwide group of users including Colombia, Ecuador, Indonesia, Ireland, Spain, Mexico, South Korea, Turkey and the United States. The Turkish


C-295 MPA version comes with uprated engines, winglets, underwings hardpoints for torpedoes and anti-ship missiles and a comprehensive FITS-controlled ASuW/ASW suite. © Airbus Defence

Navy operates the ASuW/ASW version of the C235 model developed under the MELTEM II programme, with a Thales-provided AMASCOS (Airborne MAritime Situation and COntrol System) mission and acoustic suite with MAD and underwing hardpoints for lightweight torpedoes. Having been ordered in 209 units by 31 operators (as of last August) worldwide, of which 173 aircraft have been delivered, in addition to the main transport/armed version as well as proposed SIGINT and AEW&C, the C295 platform is also offered in the MSA (Maritime Surveillance Aircraft) and MPA versions featuring a mission suite based on Airbus FITS (Fully Integrated Tactical System), the latter equipping almost 100 aircraft. In its latest iteration today baseline C295W version is equipped with winglets and uprated Pratt & Whitney Canada PW127G engines, which combination offers improved take-off performance from “hot & high” airfields, increased cruise altitudes, especially at high weights, and reduced overall fuel consumption. The C-295 MSA/MPA has been procured or is servicing with Brazilian, Canadian, Omani and Portuguese air forces, the Chilean Navy and

Saudi Arabia Homeland Security Command. As a military conceived solution capable to conduct the demanding MPA tasks with high maneuverability as well as low-level flight at lowspeed capability, together with low-life-cycle and operating costs, the current C-295W MPA version comes with winglets, uprated engines, underwing hardpoints for torpedoes and antiship missiles, as demonstrated by releasing trials of MBDA Marte Mk2/S weapon system, as well as sensors and Magnetic Anomaly Detection (MAD) accommodations. According to information released by Airbus the C295 MPA with a complete ASuW/ASW suite based on four consoles-configured FITS, six operators and two torpedoes, has an 8.5 hours on-station time at 200 NM. Equipped with Thales avionics, the comprehensive mission suite comes with a custom-selected package based on Airbus FITS, communications and sensors including Thales or other supplier’s AESA radar, high-definition EO/ IR sensors, ESM/ELINT and optionally COMINT suites, MAD, self-protection and ASW suite centered on the acoustic processor, sonobuoy receiver, launchers and stowage.

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The Italian Air Force’s ATR72MP is equipped with Leonardo’s latest ATOS C2 managing a sensor suite including Leonardo’s Sea Spray radar, FLIR Systems EO/IR and Elettronica ESM/ELINT. © Leonardo

Exploiting the operational flexibility demonstrated by the ATR42/72 platform, Leonardo is offering both the maritime surveillance ATR42/72MP as well as the ASuW/ASW ATR72ASW versions. The Italian Group will deliver six ATR-72-600s in the customized Turkish Maritime Patrol Aircraft (TMPA) configuration with Thales mission suite after certification activities completion from later 2019, as part of the MELTEM III programme. The TMPA features tailored airframe modifications including four fuselage-mounted 454kg-capable hardpoints capable to carry lightweight torpedoes (LWT) or other payloads and the MAD tail-boom. The front pair is certified to carry Raytheon Mk46 Mode 5 and Mk54 LWTs for Turkish Navy. With a 23

Leonardo will deliver 6 ATR-72-600s in the Turkish Maritime Patrol Aircraft (TMPA) configuration with Thales mission suite after certification activities completion from later 2019. © Luca Peruzzi

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tonnes maximum take-off weight, the ATR72MP/ ASW is based on the ATR-72-600 airframe and is equipped with Thales Avionics’ glass cockpit and two Pratt & Whitney Canada PW127M engines, offering a 250 knots maximum cruise speed and 8,250 meters maximum operational altitude. With a 200 NM transit to the search area, the ATR72MP variant on-station time reaches 7.6 hours at 1,500 meters while an ASW mission conducted by the ATR-72ASW at the same distance could last almost 6 hours. The Italian Air Force is the launch customer with four platforms (the last to be delivered by 2019) of ATR72MP version, which was also procured by the Italian Customs Service, both with a comprehensive although different mission suite. With a basic eight crew including two pilots, the Italian Air Force’s ATR72MP mission suite is based on Leonardo’s Airborne Tactical Observation and Surveillance (ATOS) system in the latest maritime long-range surveillance (MLRS) version with four fullyinterchangeable consoles featuring a 24’ highdefinition multifunction colour display. The sensor suite includes Leonardo’s Sea Spray 7300E AESA radar and FLIR Systems Star Safire 380HD EO/ IR turret, Elettronica’s ELT-800(V)2 ESM/ELINT with self-protection capabilities, including also Leonardo’s RALM 01/V2 LWS, Hensoldt AN/AAR 60 (MILDS II) MWS and MES ECDS-2 CMDS. The Leonardo’s communications suite features V/UHF and HF radios, SATCOM (Ku/Ka) largeband data link capabilities, Link 11/16 data links,


The German’s Rheinland Air Service (RAS) MRO company has developed the Sea Eagle MPA variant for converted ATR72 and other platforms, in service with Pakistan Navy. © Luca Peruzzi

crypto, new-generation IFF, AIS and ASARS DF for SAR and CSAR missions. The ATR-72ASW variant features fuselage-mounted hardpoints and MAD tailcone and an enhanced Leonardo ATOS mission suite including the ASW module, store management system for torpedoes, mines and anti-ship missiles and an acoustic system with sonobuoy stowage and launching system. Leonardo’s new ULISSES (Ultra-Light SonicS Enhanced System) ASW suite comprises the acoustic processor handling up to 64 sonobuoys and the VHF receiver for sonobuoy localization system, being compatible with Ultra Electronics new-generation mini-sonobuoys. The German’s Rheinland Air Service (RAS) aircraft maintenance, repair and overhaul (MRO) company has developed the Sea Eagle MPA variant for converted ATR72 and other platforms, in service with the Pakistan Navy. The MPA mission-oriented

In addition to the US, the P-8A Poseidon MMA (MultiMission Aircraft) platform is also in service with Australia, India and under procurement by UK, Norway, New Zealand and South Korea. © US Navy

platform features an Aerodata AeroMission mission control suite based on multifunction consoles managing ASuW and ASW sensors suites and weapon systems thanks to two forwardpositioned pylons for torpedoes and missiles, observation windows, self-protection and sensors integration. The two Pakistan Navy’s ATR72based RAS 72 MPA Sea Eagle platforms, the second was delivered last June, are equipped with Leonardo Seaspray 7300E AESA radar, FLIR Systems Star SAFIRE III EO/IR and Elettronica ESM/ELINT with self-protection function and chaff and flare dispensing system, in addition to an acoustic processing and sonobuoy launching system and a broadband satellite communications system. PAL Aerospace of Canada was the prime contractor in the conversion of two Bombardier Dash 8 Q300 platforms with a comprehensive ASuW/ASW suite for the United Arab Emirates Air Force, carried out together with Thales. PAL’s airframe conversion includes adding observation windows, in-flight operable side and lower door/hatch, and an extended-range fuel system. Thales provided the AMASCOS tactical command system controlling a sensors suite including Thales Ocean Master 400 radar, identification/communications systems and Thales TMS 2000 acoustics processing, FLIR Systems’ EO/IR turret, Elettronica’s ESM/ELINT and self-protection together with sonobuoy launchers and stowage. Both Saab and IAI/ELTA have been offering ASuW/ASW mission package on turboprop aircraft, too.

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The full capable ASuW/ASW platforms Having achieved initial operational capability (IOC) with the US Navy in November 2013 and planned to be acquired in 117 aircraft (already funded) with potential additional circa 20 units, the P-3 successor represented by Boeing P-8A Poseidon or Multi-mission Maritime Aircraft (MMA) is also in service with Australia (10 of 12, the remaining to be delivered by January 2020), India (eight of 12 with a potential 10 aircraft additional order) and currently under procurement by the UK (nine aircraft) with the first aircraft to be delivered in 2019, Norway (five aircraft from 2022), New Zealand (four aircraft) and South Korea (six aircraft). Based on the Boeing 737-800ERX with 737-900 wings, the P-8A Poseidon is a purpose-built military aircraft with an 85.8 tonnes maximum take-off weight and a mission radius of 1,200 NM with a 4 hours on station time, extendable by air-refuelling. With an average transit speed of 340 knots, the P-8A can operate both at high and low altitudes with a load factor of +2.2g/-0.5 g and a 165 meters sustained turn radius at circa 990 meters. With a crew of nine, including two pilots, the P-8A’s mission suite is managed by six consoles equipped with dual, ultra-high-resolution 24’ diagonal displays and a communications package including V/UHF, UHF radios, military and INMARSAT SATCOM, datalink Link 11/16 and tactical data links, secure connectivity. Last August, the US DoD awarded Boeing a contract to upgrade older aircraft in service with US and Australia adding a console to the five existing, boosting up C2 capabilities. The sensors package features a Raytheon AN/ APY-10 multimode radar with IFF interrogation, a Wescam MX-20HD EO/IR turret and a Lockheed Martin ALQ-240 ESM together with weapon and stores management system. The US Navy is also fitting-for (from Fiscal Year 2018) a number of new-production P-8As to use the roll on/ roll off kit centered on Raytheon Advanced Airborne Sensor (AAS) pod-fitted, double-side looking long-range AESA APS-154 radar with enhanced SAR/ISAR/MTI and land/littoral/seabased targeting capabilities. The ASW suite is

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EDR | November/December 2019

The first P-8A Poseidon for UK Royal Air Force has flown firs time on last July and will be delivered later this year, moving to the UK in early 2020. © Boeing

based on the AN/AAQ-2(V)1 acoustic system (64 channels of passive and active data) and includes the sonobuoy positioning and launching (126 active/passive sonobuoys) system in addition to the multi-static active coherent (MAC) system, providing an enhanced wide-area acoustic search capability. Self-protection includes the AN/AAR-54 missile warning system (MWS), the AN/AAQ-24(V) LAIRCM and the ALE-47 counter-measures dispensing system (CMDS). The P-8A is equipped with an underbelly weapon bay (five weapon stations for torpedoes, mines, SAR kit) and four underwing and two fuselagemounted stations for Harpoon anti-ship missiles and other payloads, including the APS-154 radar. The Indian Navy’s P-8I differs mainly for the CAE AN/ASQ-508A MAD system and the rear-facing APS-143C(V)3 surveillance radar additions and

The Kawasaki P-1 MPA is equipped with a comprehensive mission suite with main systems provided by Toshiba, as main provider, Fujitsu, Mitsubishi and Nippon Electric. © Japanese MoD


Indian companies’ data link, SATCOM and secure communications. The US Navy is improving baseline P-8A capabilities through the Increment 2 programme that includes an ASW suite centered on MAC enhancements, cyber protection, AIS and the previously mentioned additional console. The P-8A Increment 3 programme (FY 2018to-2024) will add significant war-altering ASW enhancements through combat system hardware, architecture, ASW/ASuW sensors improvements, communications and SATCOM upgrades, ASuW Net Enabled Weapons, Boeing AGM-84 Harpoon Block II+ anti-ship missile and the High Altitude ASW Weapon Capability (HAAWC) MK 54 torpedo to allow high-altitude operations, and higher-than-secret (HTS) security capabilities. With the aim of replacing the P-3C within the Japan Maritime Self-Defense Force (JMSDF), under the Kawasaki Heavy Industries (KHI) primecontracting, the Japanese aerospace and defence industry developed the P-1 MPA platform as a parallel and common platform programme of the C-1 transport aircraft, attracting interest worldwide. Combining performance at both high-altitude/ high-speed and low-altitude/low-speed thanks to a large wing area and high limit load factor, together with a four-engines configuration based on new Ishikawajima-Harima Heavy Industries F7-10 high-bypass ratio two-spool turbofans achieving high-reduction in fuel consumption and noise, the P-1 has a basic take-off weight of 79.7 tonnes. Equipped with the first operational fly-by-light flight control system, as well as large windshield similar to that of commercial platforms and bubble windows for superior visibility, the P-1 features a large fuselage cross-section with a wide front-underbelly area with eight hardpoints for torpedoes and other weapon systems in addition to the same number of underwing hardpoints (each capable of 1000 kg) for a total payload of circa 9 tonnes, including ASM-C1 and Harpoon anti-ship and AGM-65 Maverick air-tosurface missiles. With a cruise speed of 450 knots and a cruise altitude of 11,880 meters, the range stands at 8,000 km, which allows for a 1,320 NM operating radius with 4 hours on-station (higher than P-3C and P-8 counterparts), operating from

Airbus Defence is working on an MPA configuration of the A320neo platform centered on the M3A (Modular Multi-Mission Aircraft) concept unveiled in July 2018. © Luca Peruzzi

JMSDF air bases, as the platform hasn’t in-flight refueling capabilities. With a 13-crew complement including two pilots, the P-1 is equipped with a mission suite centered on the Toshiba HYQ3 Advanced Combat Direction System (ACDS) managed by six operators. Featuring artificial intelligent-applied technology, the ACDS controls a communications suite with UHF/VHF as well as SATCOM and tactical data with Link 16 and a sensors package including Toshiba HPS-106 AESA radar with four antennas featuring Gallium Nitride technology with periscope detection from high altitude and SAR/ISAR functions, HPX-105 IFF, Fujitsu HAQ-2 HD EO/IR turret, Mitsubishi HLR-109B ESM with improved low-frequency monitoring capabilities and self-protection with RWR, MWS and chaff/flare dispensers, in addition to HSQ-102 MAD based on CAE AN/ASQ-508(V) system. With shallow-water operating capabilities,

Dassault is offering an ASuW/ASW version of its Falcon DX business jet platform called Falcon 900 MPA as part of its family of militarized Falcon models. © Dassault

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the ASW suite is centered on the Nippon Electric Company’s HQA-7 high-gain acoustic processor and HRQ-1 acoustic receiver, with a 100 sonobuoys available inventory. Under the Maritime Airborne Warfare System (MAWS) programme, at the ILA Air Show in April 2018 France and Germany signed a letter of Intent (LoI) to cooperate on a programme for respectively an Atlantique 2 (ATL2) and P3C Orion ASuW/ASW platform replacement to be launched in 2025 and be available from 2030-35. The two MoD intend to assign a system architecture study by late 2019 for a new concept which could include both manned and unmanned platforms. To satisfy these requirements and a lively international market, Airbus Defence has been working on a possible future A320 MPA configuration, based on state-of-the-art technologies as well as future ones developed with internally-funded R&D programmes. The launch of a technological/ commercial demonstrator is under analysis and is based on the timeframe of future procurement programmes. Centered on the A320neo M3A (Modular Multi-Mission Aircraft) concept unveiled in July 2018 and conceived to accomplish different missions with the benefit of growth capabilities in a large cross-section fuselage, long range and endurance, as well as low operational and life-cycle costs with a worldwide supply chain and training network, Airbus claims the A320neo MPA design is well suited for low-altitude loiter and search, offering all-round agility and performance. With a 79 tonnes maximum takeoff weight of the base platform and a maximum speed of 450 knots, the new version would feature a weapon bay capable to accommodate up to eight lightweight torpedoes, mines and other ASW weapons in the rear underbelly fuselage, as well as four underwing hardpoints for anti-ship missiles and guided-weapons. The A320 MPA internal layout has been designed for long-range operations with a mission package centered on a new-generation C2 suite based on FITS (Fully Integrated Tactical System) developments with network centric communications including data links and SATCOMs, managing a sensor package including an AESA surveillance radar with IFF,

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high-definition EO/IR sensors together with an unspecified ESM/ELINT system in addition to self-protection, AIS, MAD detector mounted in the rear fuselage, and an ASW suite based on new-generation acoustic processor and sonobuoy management system.

Business-jet derived solutions

The IAI’s ELTA systems subsidiary is offering its ELI-3360 G5000 MPA solution based on Bombardier Global 5000 business jet already offered with ELW-2085 CAEW and ELI-350 MARS ISR variants. © Luca Peruzzi

Dassault Aviation is promoting its Falcon 900 MPA solution based on the Falcon DX business jet platform, ATL 2 and the maritime surveillances version of the Falcon Family programmes. With a maximum take-off weight of 21,183 kg and a three Honeywell TFE731-60 turbofan configuration with a cruise speed up to Mach 0.85 and a long range of 3 hours at 1,200 NM from its base, the Falcon 900 MPA has been modified for underwing store stations and oversized observation windows together with mission system and sensors installations. With a crew of seven, the mission system includes one-to-four multifunction operator consoles, a complete communication suite and a sensors package with AESA radar, retractable EO/IR system, ESM suite, acoustic subsystem with launcher, acoustic processor and analyzer together with self-protection. Among the new-generation subsystems, through the French MoD’s Atlantique 2 modernization programme managed by Dassault Aviation and Thales, the latter is developing new sensors and systems including the Searchmaster AESA radar benefiting from latest technologies based on the Rafale combat aircraft programme, as well as the latestgeneration digital acoustic processing subsystem


(STAN) and the new SonoFlash sonobuoy system, all managed (together with a new Wescam EO/IR suite), by an evolved mission system with tactical picture elaborating software from Naval Group and SIAé’s upgraded tactical display consoles. Israel Aerospace Industries’s ELTA systems subsidiary is offering its ELI-3360 G5000 MPA solution based on the Bombardier Global 5000 business jet platform already used for its family of ELW-2085 CAEW and ELI-350 MARS ISR platforms to bolster service-life costs reductions and offer communalities with already-equipped IAI/ELTA platforms’ customers. Sharing the latter platform capabilities to operate at altitudes of 13,860 meters, fast climb performance, quick reaction time and fast deployment, long range/ long endurance at ranges over 6,000 NM with a spacious comfortable mission cabin, the ELI-3360 G5000 MPA features a mission suite centered on the ELS-8100 multi-mission tactical management system (TMS) with two to six open architecture operator consoles, managing a communications suite with network centric datalinks as well as a sensor package including ELM-2022 multi-mission radar integrated with AIS and IFF, ELL-8382 ESM/ ELINT and CESM/COMINT/Scanning DF, AMOSP 3000HD multi-sensor EO/IR system and ELL2160V1 self-protection suite with chaffs, flares and RF-jammer. The ASW is based on an unspecified acoustic sensor suite with sonobuoys launcher and dispenser system together with a weapons and stores management system for ASW and ASuW. The ELI-3360 G5000 MPA has four underwing hard-points capable to carry torpedoes, anti-ship

missiles as well as rescue and self-protection pods. Based on previous ISR/AEW&C/MPA programme experiences and the latest swing-role GlobalEye AEW&C platform and mission system, the Saab Group developed the Swordfish MPA solution. Sharing around 70 percent commonality including mission management system, Bombardier’s Vision Flightdeck and the same GlobalEye AEW&C airframe, the Swordfish platform differs for oversize observer windows and for the two hardpoints per wing, capable to carry respectively two and one torpedoes in alternative to antiship missiles and SKAD rescue pods. The Saabprovided mission control suite is based on four to five multifunction consoles with a 30’ flat screen, managing a sensor package including Leonardo Seaspray 7500E AESA radar, IFF, FLIR Systems Star SAFIRE-380HLD EO/IR payload, maritime AIS, secure V/UHF radios, SATCOM and tactical data links, Saab HES-21 integrated ESM and selfprotection system with RWR, MAW and CDMS. The ASW suite is centered on General Dynamics Mission Systems Canada UYS-505 Venom acoustics suite processor with managing and launching system for standard and miniaturized sonobuoy from Ultra Electronics UK and CAE MAD. With a range of 5,200 NM and maximum cruise speed of 450 knots, the Swordfish has a service ceiling of 12,200 meters and a typical mission profile with a 200 NM transit of 11.5 hours time-on-station patrolling at 1,650 meters with IFR reserves, reduced at 7.3 hours at 1,000 NM, in both case at ISA standard condition at sea level with a five + crew, full sonobuoy-load and no external stores.

Based on previous ISR/AEW&C/MPA experiences and the latest swing-role GlobalEye AEW&C platform and mission system, Saab Group developed the Swordfish MPA solution. © Saab Defence

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39


Rosoboronexport: service weapons from a reliable supplier By Nikolaï Novichkov

Vepr-family shotguns and rifled carbines. © Rosoboronexport

At the Army 2019 international military-technical forum held in Kubinka, close to Moscow, on 25-30 June, the Russian special arms exporter Rosoboronexport announced the signing of a number of export contracts with its partners for the supply of small arms and close combat weapons.

“T

he Russian industry produces the full range of close combat weapons which have proved their indispensability in actual combat situations, thereby earning reputation and respect in many countries worldwide. The new contracts not only demonstrate strong and steady demand

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EDR | November/December 2019

for small arms and grenade launchers and their ammunition, produced by Russian arms makers, but also indicate a global trend of increasing demand for effective equipment to counter crime and terrorism. Rosoboronexport is ready to meet this demand in full,” said Rosoboronexport’s Director General Alexander Mikheev.


A Kalashnikov AKS-74U carbine modernized by Orsis. © Rosoboronexport

Rosoboronexport is intensively promoting Russian-made civilian and service weapons on the world market: dozens of commercial offers for the ORSIS T-5000 sniper rifles, Saiga-9 and Saiga-12 carbines, MP-18 shotguns, Viking pistols, have been sold while many other weapons and their ammunition are under consideration by potential foreign buyers in Latin America alone. There is also interest among foreign customers in Vepr carbines and civilian Tigr sniper rifles.

Vepr-12 VPO-205-01

“Rosoboronexport already saw tangible results of its efforts to promote civilian and service weapons: in 2018, we signed the first export contract for the supply of Russian hunting sniper rifles and ammunition,” the head of Rosoboronexport said during Army 2019.

The VPO-205 is currently one of the most effective tactical shotgun, capable of accomplishing a wide range of missions facing security services. Its modular design allows tailoring the weapon to the specific needs of the customer, while the availability of special brackets ensures that the detachable equipment is mounted in order to meet user’s requirements. The VPO-205 demonstrated its reliability while firing all types of 12 Gauge cartridges. The shotgun’s receiver is based on that of the Kalashnikov RPK light machinegun, ensuring the weapon’s immunity to deformations and fault-free operations in harsh environments.

After the adoption of amendments to the Russian Law on Weapons in 2017, Rosoboronexport was granted the right to export civilian weapons, in addition to military-grade ones, to law enforcement and security forces of partner countries. This created the most comfortable conditions when concluding package supply contracts and enabled the company’s partners to acquire the full range of Russian weapons they need from one reliable exporter. Rosoboronexport’s long-term practice suggests that the company has all the necessary competencies to export not only weapons and military equipment, but also civilian and dual-use products. The main customers for civilian and service weapons are the police, special services of foreign countries, as well as numerous sports and hunting clubs in North and South America.

Smoothbore Weapons. Combat Semiautomatic Smoothbore Carbines.

The Vepr-12 VPO-205-01 tactical shotgun. © Rosoboronexport

Basic specifications Barrel length, mm

570

Caliber, mm

12x76

Sighting range, m, max

100

Full length, mm

1,117

Length (w/buttstock folded), mm

865

Empty weight, kg

4.4

Magazine capacity, cartridges

8

EDR | November/December 2019

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The Saiga-9 semi-automatic carbine. © Rosoboronexport

SAIGA-9

Basic specifications

Semi-automatic carbine

Calibre, mm

9x19

Effective range, meters

min 100

Overall length, mm

827

The Saiga-9 semi-automatic carbine is based on the PP-19-01 Vityaz-SN submachine gun. Blowback operated, the weapon is fitted with a skeleton folding buttstock, plastic handguard, and a pistol grip. The carbine is fitted with iron sights, and features an upper Picatinny rail for optical and electronic sights. A lock in the carbine’s firing assembly prevents firing with folded buttstock.

Length, (w/buttstock folded), mm 589 Barrel length, mm

367

Empty weight, kg

3

Magazine capacity, cartridges

10

The Tigr-308 mod. 02 carbine. © Rosoboronexport

42

TIGR-308

Basic specifications

Carbine

Calibre

.308 Winchester

The Tigr-308 mod. 02 is based on the Dragunov SVD sniper rifle. It has a plastic skeleton buttstock with a rotatable cheek rest. The carbine features a polymer handguard, a side-mounted (‘dovetail’) attaching lug for optical and electronic sights, and iron sights. The weapon’s barrel carries a short slotted (‘cage-type’) muzzle break/flash suppressor.

Effective range, meters

300

Overall length, mm

1120/1175

Barrel length, mm

565/620

Empty weight, kg

3.9

Magazine capacity, cartridges

10

Magazine capacity, cartridges

10

EDR | November/December 2019


The KAB-250LG-F-E guided bomb. © Nikolai Novichkov

GNPP Region introduces new family of guided bombs to global market By Nikolai Novichkov, Dmitry Fediushko In a modern combat environment, the use of guided bomb units (GBUs) has become a traditional method of warfare. The experience gathered during the Russian counter-terrorism operation in Syria has apparently demonstrated the effectiveness of this type of air-launched weapons (ALWs). In recent years, a guided bomb family comprising a number of munitions with a weight from 250 kg up to 1,500 kg has been developed in Russia.

JSC

Scientific & Production Enterprise (GNPP) Region (a subsidiary of the Tactical Missiles Corporation (KTRV)) is Russia’s leading developer and manufacturer of guided bombs. The company has developed a family of new GBUs that comprises several weapons. The limitation of power with a simultaneous drastic increase of accuracy is among the main tendencies of modern guided bombs development.

The employment of such weapons allows selective targets engagement with minimal collateral damages. Following the above-mentioned trend, GNPP Region is developing the KAB-250LG-E guided bomb fitted with a laser seeker. “The trials of the KAB-250 are in the final stage: we should additionally confirm several of its specifications. It will be done soon, we hope. The plants are now preparing for serial manufacturing, which is scheduled to start next year,” GNPP Region Director General Igor Krylov said.

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According to the manufacturer, the KAB-250LG-E GBU is fitted with a laser seeker and features a 165 kg high-explosive fragmentation (HEFrag) warhead. The bomb can be used in salvo and single drop firing modes by frontline combat aircraft either carrying onboard laser illumination subsystems or receiving target data from forward air controllers. The GBU is designed to engage a wide range of targets, including soft-skin vehicles, The KAB-1500LG-F-E guided bomb. © Nikolai Novichkov railroad hubs, and ammunition depots. The munition can be dropped from an altitude a speed of 550-1,100 km/h. The bomb has a CEP between 3,200 to 32,000 ft by an aircraft flying at of some 7-12 meters. a speed of 200-350 m/s. The bomb’s circular error probable (CEP) does not exceed 5 meters. Unlike the KAB-500S-E, the KAB-500Kr is fitted with a TV correlated seeker and a high-explosive The KAB-250 has already completed its trials with penetrating warhead, while the KAB-500OD the Sukhoi Su-34 “Fullback” frontline bomber and guided bomb carries a fuel-air explosive warhead. will be integrated in the armament suite of the Su35S “Flanker-E+” fighter jet. In order to reinforce the KAB family of GBUs with munitions that can engage hardened targets, GNPP Region has developed the KAB-1500LG series of guided bombs, which comprises the KAB-1500LG-F-E, KAB-1500LG-OD-E, and KAB1500LG-Pr-E weapons. These GBUs feature gyrostabilized laser seekers and various warheads. In particular, the KAB-1500LG-F-E guided bomb with high-explosive warhead is designed to engage railroad/road bridge-type and ground surface stationary targets, military industrial The KAB-500S-E guided bomb. © Nikolai Novichkov facilities, ships and transport vessels, ammunition GNPP Region has also developed the KAB-500Kr depots, and railroad hubs. The KAB-1500LG-OD-E and KAB-500S-E 500 kg guided bombs. The KABmunition carries a fuel-air explosive warhead that 500S-E has been fitted with a satellite guidance is intended to destroy all abovementioned targets system and is intended to engage surface targets as well as strongpoints. The KAB-1500LG-Pr-E such as depots and military industrial facilities, GBU with a penetrating warhead is designed to as well as moored ships, round-the-clock and engage small-size hardened stationary targets, under all weather conditions. The munition uses command and control posts, and weapon depots. pre-programmed target coordinates or receives All the three bombs are dropped round-thethem from the aircraft prior being dropped. The clock by either combat aircraft fitted with a laser KAB-500S-E can be employed by Russia’s newest illumination system or air platforms with simple multirole combat aircraft, including Su-35S and collimator sights for preliminary target designation Mikoyan-Gurevich MiG-35 “Fulcrum-F” fighter (with the use of a ground-based laser illumination jets and Su-34 frontline bombers. The bomb system). The KAB-1500LG-F-E and KAB-1500LGcarries an HE-Frag warhead and can be dropped Pr-E munitions can be dropped from an altitude from an altitude of 16,000 ft by an aircraft flying at of up to 26,000 ft, while the KAB-1500LG-OD-E –

44

EDR | November/December 2019


The UPAB-1500B-E guided bomb. © Nikolai Novichkov

from an altitude of up to 32,000 ft; the speed of the carrier should not exceed 1,100 km/h. The bombs feature a CEP of some 4-7 meters. GNPP Region also began delivering two new extended-range GBUs, namely, the K08E (500 kg) and the UPAB-1500B-E (1,500 kg), to the Russian Aerospace Forces (VKS). “Both bombs have passed through all their trials and are being delivered to the VKS’ units,” said Krylov. Moreover, export contracts for these items have been signed, with the beginning of deliveries scheduled for 2020. The UPAB-1500B-E gliding guided bomb is designed to engage ground and surface smallsize hardened targets. The munition has been fitted with a folding X-type middle wing with delta-shaped panels. The bomb’s tail features

four fins. The UPAB-1500B-E is 5.05 meters long and has a diameter of 0.4 meters. The bomb weighs 1,525 kg and carries a 1,010 kg concrete-piercing high-explosive warhead. The bomb can be dropped at a distance of up to 50 km from by aircraft flying at an altitude of up to 49,000 ft. The munition has been fitted with an inertial-satellite navigation system that provides a CEP of no more than 10 meters. The GBU’s warhead features a programmable fuse with three different time-delay modes. The K08BE guided bomb carries an inertialsatellite navigation system and a 390 kg highexplosive warhead. The munition is designed to engage weapon systems, military vehicles, and buildings. The bomb weighs 505 kg, is 2.840 meters long, and has a diameter of 0.355 meters. It can be dropped at a distance of up to 40 km by an aircraft flying at an altitude of up to 46,000 ft. The bomb has a CEP of no more than 10 meters. The K08BE features a fuse with three different time-delay modes. The weapon has received an X-type middle wing with trapezoidal panels and an X-type tail plane. The new bombs can be used by the Su-30SM “Flanker-H” and Su-35 multirole combat aircraft and the Su-34 frontline bomber.

The K08BE guided bomb. © Nikolai Novichkov

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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° 47 • September/October 2019

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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: David Oliver, Jean-Pierre Husson, Dmitry Fediushko, Nikolay Novichkov, Paolo Valpolini and Luca Peruzzi. Graphic design/layout by: agnes@simonpaoli.com Advertisers in this issue: Arquus [C2] • ExpoDefensa [4] • Nexter [15] • Rosoborn [16] • EUROSATORY [23] • Singapore Airshow [31] • MBDA [C3] • Dassault [C4]

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