N° 56 • March/April 2021
MAGAZINE European Defence Review Missile weapon systems in littoral warfare Armoured 4x4s: two axles, variable weight Gripen Lands in Brazil Swimmer Delivery Vehicles
I S S U E N°
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 www.edrmagazine.eu
The French Army Technical Service, the French DGA together with MBDA have successfully completed the MMP weapon system operational evaluation campaign in hot environmental condition including firings from a Zodiac Milpro ECUME RHIB against both sea- and land-based targets. © French Armed Forces/DGA
Missile weapon systems in littoral warfare By Luca Peruzzi
Armoured 4x4s: two axles, variable weight
Gripen Lands in Brazil
Swimmer Delivery Vehicles
By Paolo Valpolini
By David Oliver
By Luca Peruzzi
EDR | March/April 2021
The sea launched version of the MBDA MMP is being proposed in the standard single launcher light firing post with a simple mechanical interface with the boat weapon system, twin and quad launchers configurations, the latter offered in stabilized automated turret. © MBDA
Missile weapon systems in littoral warfare By Luca Peruzzi The challenging littoral warfare environment with asymmetric threats coming from the sea, air and land, as well as the requirement to support amphibious and land-based operations, have pushed services and industries to develop ad-hoc versions of missile systems originated for land or air applications which can satisfy, in terms of operational flexibility, the requirements of customers who have to cope not only with high-intensity but also low-intensity operational scenarios. A challenging activity which is generating weapons with multi-sensor guidance and warhead systems and both line-of-sight and non-line of sight capabilities, the latter thanks to third parties targeting.
MMP MBDA launched the naval version of the 5th generation MMP (Missile Moyenne Portée, Medium-Range Missile) missile system during 4
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Euronaval 2018, after the successful completion of the weapon system operational evaluation campaign in hot environmental conditions by the French Armed Forces in Djibouti. The campaign saw nine firings, all successfully reaching their
The Brimstone future missile standard combines both Brimstone 3A enhanced missile programme improvements with Brimstone 3B upgraded capabilities programme. The Brimstone 3A will enter into service in October 2022. © MBDA
target, two of which fired from a Zodiac Milpro ECUME (Embarcation Commando à Usage Multiple Embarquable) RHIB in service with French Navy commandos. A first firing from sea to land and a second from sea to sea demonstrated the ease of integration and the weapon system use from such a small naval platform, alongside the system performances in operational firing scenarios against both ashore and at sea targets. With previous integration and firing activities, MBDA adapted the standard missile light firing post adding a simple mechanical interface to fit it onto the 12.7/7.62 mm gun pedestal used on board the ECUME RHIB. The MMP/Sea Launched variant uses the standard munition with canister and fully digitized light firing post of the MMP with laser range finder, GPS and digital magnetic compass, which entered into service in 2017 and is used by ground forces, exploiting all the weapon system capabilities. With a range in excess of 4,000 meters in all conditions and a lightweight munition (15 kg class including the canister), the MMP is equipped with a high resolution imaging seeker in two bands, colour TV and uncooled IR, MEMS IMU for autonomous navigation and real time twoway fibre optic data link. The latter provides two firing modes with Man-above-the-Loop or real time back seeker image for the operator, allowing for both Lock-On-Before Launch (LOBL) and Lock-On-After-Lanch (LOAL) engagements with selectable trajectories: low altitude with direct attack and high altitude with top attack. Beyond Line-of-Sight-engagement capability is provided through third party designation, including infantry launched-drones as recently demonstrated. The MMP is equipped with a latest generation multi-
purpose tandem warhead capable also against naval platform thanks to maximum blast and antipersonnel effect. The MMP/Sea Launched variant is being offered in single, twin and quad launchers configuration for both small boats and fast attack crafts. The latter sub-variant is being offered with a stabilized automated turret, remotely controlled from stand-alone or command management system operator console.
Brimstone In March 2018 the UK MoD awarded MBDA a Capability Sustainment Programme (CSP) today called Brimstone 3A (B3A) contract to further develop the Brimstone weapon system and stockpile of munitions. The UK MoD and MBDA are also working on the Capability Uplift Programme (CUP) or Brimstone 3B to enhance the B3A common hardware, increase operational capabilities, and optimize the missile for fast jets, unmanned air systems, rotary-wing platforms, surface-to-surface land and maritime applications. The B3A is the latest standard of the combatproven short-range air-to-surface missile, capable of engaging static and mobile targets with high precision and very low risk of collateral damage. It will progressively replace Brimstone 2 on the Typhoon as part of routine stockpile management. The 50 kg-class missile latest standard retains a number of key components from Brimstone 2, including the 180 mm diameter modular airframe, the Vulcan insensitive munition-compliant rocket motor from Roxel, the MBDA-developed and enhanced dual mode 94 GHz millimetre wave (MMW) radar/semi-active laser (SAL) seeker and EDR | March/April 2021
MBDA is promoting the Maritime Brimstone standard incorporating the latest capabilities coming from the Brimstone 3B programme, including both air-launched as well as land- and naval-based variants. © MBDA
the IM-compliant multi-effects tandem shapedcharge warhead with adaptive fusing from MBDA subsidiary TDW. It introduces a new IMU that benefits from commonality and modularity with other MBDA missiles, a new enhanced autopilot for improved precision at range, a significant memory and processing update to prepare the missile for additional functionalities and an improved battery. The latter delivers 30% increased engagement duration and increased maximum range by more than 20%, confirmed MBDA to EDR Magazine, without disclosing the system range. According to the UK MoD Equipment Plan 2020, the Brimstone 3A programme is on track for a current forecast in-service date of October 2022. In October 2018, MBDA was awarded a contract for the integration of the latest variant of the Brimstone on the MQ-9B
Protector RG Mk1 RPAS for the Royal Air Force. Initial firing trials are expected in the first half of 2022. MBDA also acknowledged to have received a contract for the Brimstone 3B software capability programme, which will be integrated with the B3A new-build missile to eventually deliver a single new multi-platform missile standard (Brimstone 3). The latter software enhancement package is planned to be incorporated into the weapon system for the new Apache AH-64E Attack helicopter for the UK MoD, which has already awarded an integration contract to Boeing and MBDA for the platform to use the Brimstone 3, MBDA confirmed to EDR Magazine.
Maritime Brimstone In May 2013, three millimetric wave operational Brimstone missiles were launched by MBDA from a fixed surface trial platform using a missile triple rail launcher, in a rapid salvo of less than one second against a simulated attack formation of five representative Fast In-shore Attack Craft (FIAC). The three leading ones were independently acquired and engaged by the missiles with a MBDA completed the second and final qualification firing of the Sea Venom/Anti-Navire Léger (ANL) air-launched antiship missile, marking a major step towards the weapon’s introduction in service in January 2022 with UK Royal Navy. © Luca Peruzzi
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direct hit on all three, including one travelling at 20 knots, in sea state 3 condition. Previously known as Brimstone Sea Spear, the Maritime Brimstone is the latest member of the proven Brimstone weapon system family, benefiting from continual spiral developments. The introduction of Brimstone 3 in the near future will further enhance also the surface-to-surface missile capabilities, through the B3A and B3B programmes. The Maritime Brimstone has been designed to be modular and uses standard interfaces enabling rapid integration on a wide variety of surface vessels. Expected to include a platform interface, weapon system controller and missile launchers, the Maritime Brimstone is a fire and forget weapon system which in salvo operation can rapidly cope with both swarms and individual targets engagement
The firing of the Sea Venom/Anti-Navire Léger missile. It will be the primary future anti-surface guided weapon for the Royal Navy’s (RN’s) Leonardo Wildcat HMA2 and the future naval version of the Airbus Helicopters H160M helicopter for the French Navy. © French DGA
scenarios. The salvo can be selected to counter the swarm density and target lead formation elements. MBDA is anticipating increased activity within the next 24 months around the missiles previously demonstrated maritime surface launch capability.
Sea Venom/ANL Last November, MBDA completed the second and final qualification firing of the Sea Venom/AntiNavire Léger (ANL) air-launched anti-ship missile, marking a major step towards the weapon’s introduction in service. According to UK MoD Defence Equipment Plan 2019 document, due to design issues, the initial operational capability (IOC) is planned for January 2022. The Sea Venom/ANL is a 110 kg-class high-subsonic missile, carrying a 30 kg semi-armour-piercing blast/fragmentation warhead, designed to disable targets from fast attack craft up to corvette size, and also offer a capability against coastal and land targets. Powered by a boost/sustain propulsion package – a fixed aft boost motor and a mid-body rocket sustainer – the missile is credited with a maximum range in excess of 20 km. Guidance uses an imaging infrared (IIR) seeker, and a two-way datalink for operator-inthe-loop control. The weapon system automatically updates the missile in flight without the need for operator intervention. While the missile will be capable of flying a fully autonomous ‘fire and forget’ profile, operator-in-the-loop control will enable capabilities such as in-flight re-targeting, aimpoint correction/refinement, and safe abort. It
The UK MoD, together with Leonardo and Thales, conducted last year the first firing of the Martlet Lightweight Multirole Missile (LMM) from the AW159 Wildcat platform, opening the way to the introduction into service in early 2021. © UK MoD
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Leonardo developed and tested during the firings new ‘weapon wings’ for the AW159 helicopter, each capable to carry either ten Martlet or two Sea Venom missiles and generate additional lift for the helicopter in forward flight, reducing demands on the main rotor. © UK MoD Crowncopyright
can operate in either LOBL or LOAL mode using the IIR seeker provided by Safran. Developed by MBDA for both UK and French MoD to be the primary future anti-surface guided weapon for the Royal Navy’s (RN’s) Leonardo Wildcat HMA2 and the future naval version of the Airbus Helicopters H160M helicopter for the French Navy, thanks to standard missile/platform interfaces, the Sea Venom/ANL can be considered for integration on a wide range of military airborne platforms including crewed helicopters such as the Panther, NH90 and MH-60R, as well as remotely piloted air systems and maritime patrol aircraft. Options also exist for surface-to-surface variants. According to MBDA, campaigns are ongoing but no indication of potential customers was provided.
Martlet As part of the Future Anti-Surface Guided Weapon (FASGW) programme, the UK MoD, together with Leonardo and Thales, con8
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ducted last year the first firings of the Martlet Lightweight Multirole Missile (LMM) from the AW159 Wildcat platform, successfully demonstrating the integration of the Thales weapon system onto the Leonardo helicopter ahead of its entry in service, planned for early this year. According to Leonardo and Thales, the LMM provides a step-change in capability for the Royal Navy, which faces a major challenge in engaging smaller, fast-moving, asymmetric threats in severe background clutter. The LMM is capable of surmounting these issues
Based on the Spike ER or Spike ER2, the Naval Spike comprises a lightweight, compact and stabilized turret with four missiles, with a fire control for an effective range up to 10 km. © Rafael
where traditional electro-optic and radar guidance systems do not provide the certainty of hit required, the two companies claim. The Martlet could also allow operators to engage air targets such as UAVs and other maritime helicopters from the Wildcat platform. Building on the pedigree of the Starstreak high-velocity missile, the LMM is a lightweight (13 kg) low-cost precision air-to-surface missile using laser beam riding guidance to provide a capability against a set of air, land, and sea targets at ranges between 400 meters and 6 km. The Martlet uses hermetically-sealed LMM missiles carried in a five-cell launcher. An Active Laser Generation Unit (ALGU) is fitted inside the Wildcat’s nose-mounted L-3Harris Wescam MX-15Di electro-optical/infrared turret: the ALGU transmits a coded laser beam along which the LMM missile flies. The LMM lethal package consists of a 3 kg multi-effects (blast fragmentation/ shaped charge) insensitive munition (IM) warhead, supplied by Saab, which combines localized effect with good armour penetration. The laser proximity fuse is designed to ensure that the missile can successfully engage very low-signature targets, such as FIAC and rigid inflatables. To enhance the weapon carriage capabilities of the AW159 platform, Leonardo developed and tested during the firings new ‘weapon wings’, each capable to carry either ten Martlet or two Sea Venom missiles and generate additional lift for the helicopter in forward flight, reducing demands on the main rotor.
The Naval Spike ER is in service with different customers worldwide; the latest unveiled procurement comes from the Philippines MoD which has acquired an additional batch of missile systems for a total of 12 multi-purpose attack craft. © Rafael
Naval Spike ER The Rafael Advanced Defense Systems group offers both the Naval Spike ER/ER2 and the Naval Spike NLOS for littoral warfare operations. The Naval Spike can be based either on the combat proven Spike ER missile or on the 5th generation Spike ER2. The naval version comprises a lightweight, compact and stabilized turret with four missiles, with a fire control for an effective range up to 10 km. The system enables very fast sensorto-shooter loop closure in day/night defensive and offensive scenarios, thereby ensuring mission success with surgical precision, Rafael claims. With a circa 650 kg overall weight and low footprint, the
Equipped with a passive dual-mode E-O seeker, which enables its day/night capabilities, the Spike NLOS system is effective in both offensive and defensive naval scenarios at ranges of up to 25 km. © Rafael
L3Harris is providing to the US Navy the latest Iver4 900 UUV as part of the SUUV MEMCM programme testing and evaluation phase. © L3Harris
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A South Korean naval Lynx firing a Rafael Spike NLOS; the same missile was also acquired by the Philippines. © Rafael
turret system can be integrated with the ship’s existing assets to address targets that have been acquired by other sensors. Furthermore the missile mount, in different configurations, is compatible with a variety of platforms, ranging from RHIBs to medium-size and larger vessels. Equipped with a latest generation advanced seeker with both IR and day sensors, together with a multi-spectral target tracker (including a maritime target tracker) and real-time sensor “hotswap” capabilities, even after launching a Spike missile, the gunner can toggle between targets and actively direct the missile to an optimized hit point. While in flight, the missile provides valuable intelligence and Battle Damage Assessment (BDA), for the follow-on attack of additional targets. The system’s highprecision engagement capability ensures minimum collateral damage and in case of friendly force presence, the operator can abort the mission with
Thanks to its multi-purpose capabilities, the L-UMTAS laser guided anti-tank missile system, can be effectively used by naval and fixed- and rotary-wing platforms in the littoral warfare environment. © Roketsan
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the missile in-flight. With a 34 kg weight (missile plus canister), the Naval SPIKE ER missile can be provided with either High Explosive Anti-Tank (HEAT) or Penetration Blast Fragmentation (PBF) warheads. The Naval Spike ER is in service with different customers worldwide; the latest unveiled procurement comes from the Philippines MoD which has acquired an additional batch of missile systems for a total of 12 multi-purpose attack craft.
Naval Spike NLOS The Rafael group has also adapted its longer range version, the SPIKE NLOS, for deployment on naval platforms. Providing maximum operational flexibility, Rafael says the Naval SPIKE NLOS allows real-time tactical intelligence gathering, in-flight target switching, and mission abort, according to the scenario. Equipped with a passive dual-mode E-O seeker, an Imaging Infra-Red (IIR) camera, advanced image processing tracker, and Charge Coupled Device (CCD) which enable its day/ night capabilities, this compact weapon system is effective in both offensive and defensive naval scenarios at ranges of up to 25 km, enabling stand-off sea-to-shore fire support or sea-to-sea targeting on a wide range of naval platforms. With a weight of around 1,650 kg and a compact design, the eight-cell launcher includes a fire control system and an electro-optic payload as option. The launcher’s traversing capabilities create a flexible launch envelope, thereby enabling the ship to easily engage multi-directional targets. The Naval SPIKE NLOS can also be integrated with the ship’s
The L-UMTAS is also proposed for installation on both manned and unmanned naval platforms, as recently shown on board the Ulaq unmanned surface vehicle (USV) from Ares Shipyard and Meteksan Defence. © Ares Shipyard
Command and Control systems. The system can be supplied with a variety of warheads including HEAT and PBF with warhead detonation control, and fragmentation suitable for low-, high- and future stand-off battle scenarios. In addition to the naval version which has been acquired by national and international customers, the air-launched variant has been procured or is in service with naval customers, including South Korea and Philippines.
L-UMTAS Roketsan of Turkey is proposing the L-UMTAS laser guided anti-tank missile system, developed primarily for attack helicopter platforms, which thanks to its multi-purpose capabilities, can be effectively used by naval and fixed- and rotary-wing platforms in the littoral warfare environment. With a 37.5 kg weight and a range of 500-to-8,000 meters, the L-UMTAS is equipped with a semi-active laser seeker providing LOBL and LOAL day and night capabilities allowing to engage both stationary and moving targets. The four-missile launcher for airborne applications weighs 60 kg and is Mil-Std-1760 compliant. In addition to the air platforms, which include T129 Atak and S-70B seahawk helicopters, the L-UMTAS is also proposed for naval applications with dedicated turret systems to be installed both on manned and unmanned naval platforms, as recently shown on board the Ulaq unmanned surface vehicle (USV) from Ares Shipyard and Meteksan Defence, which is planned to conduct first live firings in early 2021.
Hellfire and JAGM The Lockheed Martin AGM-114 Hellfire (HELiborne, Laser, Fire-and-Forget) is the air-tosurface missile of choice for US and international customers flying several different manned or unmanned rotary- and fixed-wing aircraft types, as well as the surface-to-surface short-range weapon system with the US Navy in the littoral warfare. The AGM-114 is in production in the Romeo version with laser guidance, while the Longbow Hellfire AGM-114L with MMW radar seeker is in service with US and foreign customers. The main user in this environment is the US Marine Corps, from its fleet of Bell AH-1Z Viper attack helicopters, together with the US Navy and other Lockheed Martin/Sikorsky SH-60 helicopter family customers worldwide. A number of Armies and Air Forces equipped with combat or attack rotary platforms, such as the Boeing Apache and Airbus Helicopter Tiger helicopters, operating from amphibious ships contribute to enlarge the family of the missile’s users in the littoral contest. The Hellfire is also the weapon system used within the Surface-to-Surface Missile Module (SSMM) as part of the SUrface Warfare Mission Package (SUWMP) from Northrop Grumman (as prime contractor) for the US Navy’s Littoral Combat Ships. The SSMM is a modular weapons system, consisting of vertical launchers for a total of 24 cells, provided by Teledyne Brown Engineering, a Teledyne Technologies subsidiary, which fires the Longbow Hellfire missiles as part of the SUWMP used for defence against swarming FAC/FIAC, counter-piracy, maritime interdiction, and security missions. The Hellfire as well as other EDR | March/April 2021
air-to-surface missile systems, are to be replaced in US use by the Joint Air-to-Ground Missile (JAGM) system. This provides a single air-toground missile with improved lethality, operational flexibility and a reduced logistics footprint. The JAGM design combines SAL and MMW guidance and sensors technologies of respectively Hellfire Romeo and Longbow Hellfire MMW– into a single seeker and guidance system while leveraging the Hellfire Romeo warhead, motor and flight control systems. The multi-mode seeker provides precision point and fire-and-forget targeting day or night in adverse weather, battlefield obscured conditions, and against a variety of countermeasures. A multipurpose warhead provides lethal effects against a range of target types, from armoured vehicles, thin-skinned vehicles and maritime patrol craft, to urban structures and field fortifications. A joint programme managed by the US Army, the JAGM weapon system was developed and is being produced by Lockheed Martin. Currently the system is in the low-rate initial production phase as in July 2020 the US Army decided to delay the JAGM full-rate production decision to Q4 FY21 in order to allow the Navy’s to complete the initial operational testing & evaluation (IOT&E) using the AH-1Z platform. The latter was delayed due to integration issues which revealed that the software for the AH-1Z and the aircraft’s Target Sight System (TTS) were not ready for the IOT&E in Q2 FY20 and required additional software development to be tested in Q1 FY21. In addition to the AH-64E Apache and the AH-1Z Viper initial platforms, the JAGM is planned to be integrated in a wide family of US and foreign manned rotary-, fixed-wing as
The Hellfire as well as other air-to-surface missile systems, are to be replaced in US use by the Joint Air-to-Ground Missile (JAGM) system, developed and produced by Lockheed Martin. © US Army
well as in unmanned assets. To provide a rapid precision firepower in the ever-changing dynamic arena of littoral warfare, last December Lockheed Martin presented the JAGM Quad Launcher (JQL) for both naval and ground vehicle applications. The JQL brings the JAGM family of missiles and the M299 launcher to surface ships and vehicles using designs and technologies from the Mk41 vertical launching system, with four cells launchers for small boats and light ground vehicles and multiple launchers for under-deck naval applications.
The main Hellfire user in this Littoral scenarios is the US Marine Corps, with its fleet of Bell AH-1Z Viper attack helicopters, together with the US Navy and other Lockheed Martin/Sikorsky SH-60 helicopter family customers worldwide. © USMC
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Armoured 4x4s: two axles, variable weight By Paolo Valpolini
Sisu of Finland is back in the tactical armoured vehicle field, its GTP 4x4 being currently starting evaluation testing by the Finnish Army. © Sisu
In the past, 4x4 armoured vehicles were mostly light, some reconnaissance vehicle standing well under the 10 tonnes, while some armoured personnel carriers slightly exceeded that limit. The advent of MRAP-type (Mine-Resistant Ambush Protected), the answer to mines and IED (Improvised Explosive Devices) which became the main threats in Iraq and Afghanistan in the early 2000s changed the paradigm, more protection meaning extra weight, 4x4s GVW (Gross Vehicle Weight) rocketing past the 15 tonnes mark. Today two-axle armoured vehicles are not anymore the synonym of light, single axles being able to withstand 9 tonnes loads, and although mobility often leads to increase the number of axles, 4x4s remain the obvious solution for lower tier vehicles, maintaining an appeal also when weight becomes higher. The need for relatively light and compact vehicles is highlighted by the completion of the 10,000 JLTV (Joint Light Tactical Vehicle) by Oshkosh Defense which took place in early February this year, this number being less than 20 per cent of the scheduled production for the US forces. That said numerous armies in Europe are looking at new 4x4 armoured vehicles of different kinds, other platforms being also announced from competitors worldwide.
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In February 2021 Oshkosh Defense celebrated the roll-out of the 10,000 Joint Light Tactical Vehicle: The US forces plan to acquire over 50,000 such vehicles. © US DoD
the heavier 6x6 Griffon, however for a shorter mission time. The contract was won by the Nexter-Texelis team, the latter company being responsible for the automotive element, while Nexter is in charge of the vehicle protected hull and of systems integration. On December 23rd, 2020, the French DGA ordered 364 Serval, to be provided between 2022 and 2025. In 2022 the Armée de Terre should receive the first 12 production vehicles in the first half of the year, followed by a further 96 in the second half.
These will be built in three different versions, The French Army Scorpion programme goes VPB (Véhicule de Patrouille Blindé, armoured well beyond the acquisition of new armoured patrol vehicle), SA2R (Surveillance, Acquisition, vehicles, the C4I system leading to collaborative Renseignement, Reconnaissance, surveillance, combat being the core of the system; however acquisition, intelligence and reconnaissance), platforms maintain a key importance, and among and NCT (Nœud de Communication Tactique, those we find what was officially known as VBtactical communications node). “In fact the MR-L (Véhicule Blindé Multi-Rôles - Léger, light Serval has a common base in terms of mobility, armoured multi-role vehicle), later named Serval. hull, front doors, air conditioning, vetronic arThe VBMR-L programme was launched in Febchitecture, and so on,” Patrice Randrianangaly, ruary 2018 and aims at providing quick reaction the Serval Programme Manager at Nexter, tells forces with an air-transportable medium-weight EDR Magazine. The vehicle was designed to envehicle capable to fulfil the same missions of sure maximum flexibility with the Scorpion programme as it is equipped with the same sub-systems as the Griffon, i.e. the roof is studied so that the subsystems to be installed, Hornet or Hornet Lite RCWS, SLA acoustic gunshot sensor, Antares laser sensor and 360° situational awareness system, communication antennas, jammer antennas, will be located in the same places, leaving room in certain areas for the installation of mission-specific items. “As examples, the VPB will feature an external trunk to host soldiers’ Nexter and Texelis have developed the VBMR-Léger, the lighter element of the equipment, while the NCT Scorpion programme, renamed Serval, which initial deliveries are planned for 2022. © Nexter will have further antennas, 14
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qualification process, causing some delay. “Since September, 11 prototypes are involved in the qualification process in order to regain the time we lost,” Patrice Randrianangaly says. Currently the work is concentrated on the VPB version, which qualification should be completed by 2021. “We started this process in summer 2020, carrying out electromagnetic compatibility, ergonomy, thermal and vibration tests, and of course driving tests on all types of surface,” he adds, “in The Serval, produced by the Nexter-Texelis team, will perform the same all conditions, with the empty missions of the bigger Griffon 6x6 but with a shorter mission time, its vehicle, at maximum weight, with main advantage being air-transportability. © Nexter the centre of gravity in various including one for SATCOM communications,” positions, and these should end by mid 2021.” the PM explains, adding that the SA2R variant The qualification process is carried out together will feature an optronic acquisition system inwith the DGA, the STAT (Service Technique de stalled on a retractable mast; “we will exploit one l’Armée de Terre, the Army technical service) and of the hatches in order to avoid modifications,” operational units, taking into consideration all he adds. aspects. The vehicle ready to move has a mass of 14 tonnes, the combat mass being of 16-17 The VPB version will be developed in different tonnes depending on the configuration, maximum sub-versions; the troop carrier will host eight admitted mass being 18 tonnes. It is powered by soldiers in the back, while specialised versions a 375 hp engine, maximum speed on road being such as the MMP antitank missile carrier and the short of 100 km/h, with the endurance of about 81 mm mortar carrier will host the firing team, the 600 km. The Serval is 6.5 meters long, 2.53 meters weapon system (to be used when debussed) and wide and 2.46 meters high. The payload includes spare ammunition, while the 120 mm version will see the mortar team and the ammunition in the vehicle while the weapon system will of course be towed. The teams will have the same strength than the similar teams embarked on the Griffon 6x6 but, as said, the mission duration will be shorter. The advantage is that the Serval can be transported on board an A400M, two vehicles fitting in the aircraft (one in a C-130), and if rigged in a specific way it can be unloaded very quickly for assault landing operations. Depending on the units that will receive it, the Serval will be compatible with the FELIN soldier system or not. The Serval programme was affected by the COVID-related lockdown in spring 2020, which hit the vehicle in the midst of the
The Serval is currently undergoing its qualification tests which are being carried out by the industrial team, the DGA, the STAT and operational units. © DGA
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A view of the Arquus production line at Marolles, where the VBLs are upgraded to the Ultima standard. The first operational deployment of those refurbished vehicles is planned for mid-2021. © Arquus
personnel, equipment, mission kits, as well as add-on armour kits when required. Mission kits include add-on batteries for those versions that require more power on board in order to carry out silent watch for extended time. The military programming law 2019-25 calls for the production of 978 vehicles. Looking at 2032 a total of more than 2,000 vehicles should be needed. Nexter and Texelis are also looking at the VBRG 4x4 replacement programme by the Gendarmerie Nationale, the so-called VBMO, as well as to the export market.
addition of the SIC-S C4I system of the Scorpion programme. Arquus is producing these vehicles at the Marolles-en-Hurepoix, its Saint-Nazaire site being now also involved in production in order to speed up the process. The first four vehicles were delivered in 2020 to the DGA for qualification, that same year seeing the start of Low Rate Initial Production (LRIP), production now running at full steam. The add-on armour kit developed by Arquus is currently undergoing qualification tests, first results being quite positive. Overall 800 VBLs will be brought to the new standard, the French Army planning to deploy the first vehicles downrange in summer 2021. In due time the VBL should be replaced by the VBAE (Véhicule Blindé d’Aide à l’Engagement) 4x4 reconnaissance vehicle. Until February 2021 only one vehicle seemed aiming at that role, Arquus’ Scarabee, but recently SOFRAME unveiled its concept, the company belonging to the Lohr Group awaiting the Armée de Terre requirements before freezing the configuration and starting the production of a prototype. According to some sources the project might become a multinational cooperation. The Arquus proposal has now become a real product, the company having shown a concept demonstrator in June 2018, and since then it has fully developed the concept, the Scarabee being now part of its portfolio, the official launch having taken place at IDEX 2021. Already described
Although not yet launched, another vehicle programme should be started soon, aiming at replacing the VBL (Véhicule Blindé Léger, light armoured vehicle) designed and build by then Panhard, now Arquus, in service with the French Armée de Terre. Prior entering in that subject, it is to note that France is upgrading the VBL, which design dates back to the 1980s, bringing it to the VBL Ultima standard, which includes a more powerful engine, 130 versus 95 hp, improvements in automotive components such as suspensions and brakes, to cope with the increased admissible weight due A picture showing well one of the peculiarities of Arquus’ Scarabee, the to add-on armour kits, and the capacity of moving diagonally, “as a crab” as it is usually said. © Arquus 16
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one crew, the driver being in central position, an RCWS armed with up to a 30x113 mm automatic cannon being installable on its roof. Arquus should soon unveil the actual prototype, which will have some modified features, the most visible being the switch from sliding doors to conventional ones. Arquus is proposing its Scarabee in three versions, reconnaissance, special forces and antiterrorism, and is looking at the export market awaiting the launch of the VBAE bid. A viewgraph of the MOSAIC concept developed by SOFRAME, which aims at the French VBAE programme as well as at the export market. © SOFRAME
on those pages, a few lines to remember that the Scarabee has an 8 tonnes GVW, it is powered by a 300 hp diesel engine coupled to a 70 kW electric machine, linked to an automatic 8-speed transmission. A peculiar feature is the rear independent steering axle which can be steered the same way of the front axle for crab movement, or counter-steered to reduce the turning radius. A compact vehicle, 5.25 meters long, 2.1 meters wide and 2 meters high, its reduced visual signature adds to the low acoustic signature when it travels in electric mode, autonomy on batteries being 10 km at 15 km/h. The Scarabee hosts a three plus
The second contender for the latter programme, which for the time being is visible on computer screens, is called MOSAIC, the French acronym for observation, surveillance, acquisition, intelligence and combat mission. A 4x4 vehicle with a GVW between 7 and 8 tonnes, it leverages the R&D work done by the Lohr group in the materials domain, in high hardness steel as well as in composites. Based on a steel self-supporting hull that provides the basic protection level, add-on kits bringing it up to Level 4, the MOSAIC has a peculiar bottom shape; instead of having the classic longitudinal “V” shape it has three transversal Vs, blast pressure being evacuated through
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2022 and 2026, options for further 357 vehicles being also part of the contract. The Italian company unveiled its new vehicle at IDEX last February, the contract having been announced in September 2019. The MTV has a 12 tonnes GVW with a 2 tonnes payload and can host up to eight personnel, two crew members and six dismounts. The 276 Hp 6.7 litres NEF67 EUIII diesel engine used on Eurocargo trucks was selected as the base for the vehicle powerpack, and Following a secretive appearance at Eurosatory 2018, Arquus’ Scarabee made its was duly militarised. The MTV is first official public appearance at IDEX 2021. © D. Fediushko 5.76 meters long, 2.43 meters wide four “chimneys” located on both sides over the and 2.76 meters high, with a 350 mm ground wheels, protected by black grids. The forecasted clearance, and can reach 90 km/h, endurance power-to-weight ratio is 25 hp/t with the initial being of over 600 km. Fitted with leaf spring diesel-only propulsion, the hybrid system to be suspensions with dampers and antiroll bars, it adopted at a later stage, the powerpack being is equipped with 365/85R20 Pirelli PS22 tires, located rear right. The adoption of the hybrid CTIS being provided as standard. Two sets of solution would permit silent movement for a batteries are installed, one to power the vehicle limited range and extended silent watch periods, and one for mission systems, the latter batteries two key capacities for a reconnaissance vehicle. being located in the rear compartment, both Fitted with two front doors for the two-man crew, sets providing 120 Ah each. Five versions will be two central doors give access to the central delivered, Hard Top, Soft Top, Pick-Up, Ambulance compartment that can host a maximum of two and Military Police. Company tests, including more soldiers, and a rear door that is mostly ballistic and blast tests, will run until mid-2022, used for inserting mission packages but also as then pre-production MTVs will be handed over to an escape door. The reconnaissance version will the customer for qualification tests. All vehicles host a total of three soldiers and will be fitted with will be delivered without protection, add-on kits sensors and eventually UAVs and UGVs, while being then added according to the mission. the direct fire vehicle can be equipped with an RCWS armed with up to a 30x113 mm cannon. An MMP antitank-missile squad vehicle is also proposed, with the typical two-man crew and two more soldiers who would debus to deploy the missile. The integration of Scorpion-related subsystems has been considered, SOFRAME looking however also at other solutions to be proposed to export customers.
The Netherlands choice A programme which is up and running is the one that will see Dutch armed forces getting 918 Medium Tactical Vehicles (MTV) from Iveco DV, initial deliveries being planned between 18
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Iveco DV was already developing a new 4x4 and adapted its concept to the Dutch requirements, giving birth to the Medium Tactical Vehicle, which was unveiled at IDEX 2021. © Iveco DV
a five-seater General Purpose vehicle, which features four side doors, and a ten-seater Armoured Personnel Carrier vehicle, with two side and one rear door. The delivery of the remaining four GTPs is scheduled later this year.
Iveco DV Medium Tactical Vehicle has a 12 tonnes GVW and a 2 tonnes payload, and can transport two crew members and six dismounts in the personnel carrier configuration. © Iveco DV
The MTV can be fitted with a CBRN protection kit as well as with a desert kit, to optimise performances in sandy and dusty areas. Iveco DV considers its new vehicle as a cost-effective alternative to its LMV 2, which first vehicles are being delivered to the Italian Army.
Six meters long, 2.5 meters wide and 2.55 meters high, the GTP 4x4 has a GVW of 14,500 kg, curb weight varying from 9,000 to 12,500kg, depending on variants. Beside the two variants delivered a third one, a utility single-cab hosting a two-man crew, is also available. Most of the automotive components are taken from Mercedes-Benz, Sisu having inked a cooperation agreement with the German company in late 2010. The GTP is powered by a Daimler OM926LA water-cooled turbocharged 6-cylinder engine providing 320 hp, and is fitted with independent suspensions with coil springs, designed for off-road use, two tires options being offered, 365/85 R20 or 395/85 R20. The alternator provides 350 A, ensuring electric power for most subsystems that can be
Sisu is back in the armour tactical business Another nation that is seeking a 4x4 protected vehicle is Finland. With a longstanding tradition as Finnish Army supplier, prior the 1996-97 reorganisation of the Finnish state defence industry Sisu was producing the SA-, NA- and XA- series of armoured vehicles, the company remained in the military business, mostly in the truck field. In recent times Sisu developed a 4x4 vehicle, the GTP, based on a mobility platform to which a body is added, modularity allowing maximum flexibility in production. In early June 2020 the Finnish Army announced the acquisition of a test batch of six vehicles, the first two having been delivered to the service in February 2021. These were delivered in two different configurations,
The Armoured Personnel Carrier variant of Sisu’s GTP 4x4, recently delivered for testing to the Finish Army. © Sisu
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The two GTP 4x4 delivered to the Finish Forces in February 2021; left, the General Purpose variant, right the Armoured Personnel carrier. Sisu will deliver four more vehicles for testing within 2021. © Sisu
installed. The protected cabin is made of ballistic steel, providing an undisclosed basic protection level, add-on armour packages being available. Sisu’s GTP was selected by the Latvian armed forces in 2018, the contract having then be put on hold, the situation of that contract remaining unclear. That said, beside the home market the Finnish company is looking with interest to other defence and homeland security markets around the world for its new 4x4 vehicle.
Makina announced the qualification of the Ejder Yalçın in the mortar-carrier variant, fitted with Aselsan’s Alkar 120 mm automated mortar system. Deliveries of the Ejder Yalçın continue to Qatar in various configurations, that country also receiving the NMS 4x4, the 10 tonnes GVW
From Turkey Turkey is historically a producer of 4x4 armoured vehicles, however new systems will certainly be unveiled at the incoming IDEF 2021 exhibition that will take place in late May. Nurol Makina, the Nurol Group company devoted to the 4x4 production, delivered on February 11th 2021 the first 10 Ejder Yalçın to Hungary, where they are known as Gidrán. This 14 tonnes GVW 4x4 vehicle has a 4 tonnes payload, can carry up to 11 military and is powered by a 375 hp engine, allowing it to reach up to 120 km/h on road. Fitted with double wishbone fully independent suspensions it can reach Level 4 ballistic protection and Level 4a/3b mine/blast protection. Some 40 more Gidrán will be delivered to the 25th Infantry Brigade in Tata, the overall requirement being for more than 300 such vehicles. In December 2020 Hungary announced that those vehicles will be produced in Kaposvár, south-western Hungary, Nurol Makina officials having declared that their company is ready to invest in a local joint venture. In mid-February this year Nurol 20
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In February Nurol Makina delivered the first 10 Ejder Yalçın to the Hungarian forces. Forty more will be delivered, while production might be carried out locally should a contract for over 200 more vehicles be signed. © Internet
In February 2021 Nurol Makina announced the qualification of the mortar-carrier version of its Ejder Yalçın, fitted with Aselsan’s 120 mm automated mortar system. © Nurol Makina
FNSS is continuing deliveries of its PARS 4x4 antitank vehicle to Turkish forces, the vehicle being armed with antitank missiles either of Russian or Turkish origin. © FNSS
The NMS 4x4 is having a considerable success, Nurol Makina having recently signed contracts with various customers, some of which in Africa, which include the lighter 4x4 manufactured by the Turkish company. ©Nurol Makina
vehicle of the Nurol Makina portfolio, capable to carry a five plus four crew. Both vehicles, as well as the Ilgaz 4x4 internal security vehicle, are also being produced for a number of African countries, three more customers from that continent having inked contracts in late 2020-early 2021. As for FNSS, deliveries of its PARS 4x4 in the antitank version to the Turkish forces are ongoing, the vehicles being fitted with either with Russian Kornet-E or Turkish UMTAS missiles by Roketsan.
UAE company part of the Edge Group, unveiled the second generation of its vehicles, the 4x4 one being the Ajban Mark 2. Two the main upgrades, on one side the increased payload, 2,916 kg over an 11,500 kg GVW, an increase of over 140% compared to the original Ajban 440A payload, and on the other the capacity to replace the vehicle powerpack in a much shorter time, from 10 hours to just 20 minutes according to Nimr. The standard engine provides 296 hp, however a 360 hp can be provided as option. During IDEX the UAE company announced an agreement with ST Engineering of Singapore for a hybrid diesel-electric version of the Ajban Mk2.
New vehicles from the Gulf A quick look outside Europe; at IDEX Nimr, the
At IDEX Nimr, the UAE company specialised in armoured vehicles development, part of the EDGE Group, has unveiled the second generation of its vehicles, among which we find the Ajban Mk2 4x4. © D. Fediushko
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Saab test pilot flew the first Brazilian Gripen E for the first time from Linköping in Sweden on 26 August 2019. © Saab
Gripen Lands in Brazil By David Oliver On 24 September 2020 the first Brazilian Gripen E, designated by Brazilian Air Force as F-39 Gripen, concluded its first flight in Brazil. The aircraft flew from the airport in Navegantes to Embraer’s facility in Gavião Peixoto. The Gripen E is a flight test instrumentation (FTI) aircraft and the official presentation of the F-39E took place during the Aviator’s Day and the Brazilian Air Force Day ceremony at Wing 1 in Brasilia, celebrated on 23 October. It was the culmination of a protracted programme to replace the Brazilian Air Force’s fleets of Dassault Mirage 2000 and Northrop Grumman F-5 Tiger II fighter aircraft.
n November 2007 Project F-X2 was launched and in October 2008, the Brazilian Air Force released a shortlist of three aircraft, the Saab Gripen NG, the Dassault Rafale and the Boeing F/A-18 Super Hornet. In September 2009, the Brazilian announced that it would negotiate a deal for 36 Rafale aircraft but this was never confirmed. In January 2010, it was revealed that the final evaluation report by the Brazilian Air Force placed the Saab Gripen NG ahead of the other contenders. The decisive factor was apparently the overall cost of the new fighters, both in terms of unit cost, and operating and maintenance costs, and the personal preference of the test pilots. It then was announced in February 2011 that the decision would
be further delayed due to budget cuts, which was followed by another six-month extension. In 2005, Embraer and AEL Sistemas were awarded a US$ 285 million contract to modernise 43 existing single-seat F-5Es and three two-seat F-5Fs. After rework, the F-5E and F-5F were designated as F-5EM and F-5FM respectively, and the Brazilian Air Force fighter inventory was further reduced when the F-2000s were withdrawn from service in 2013. The Brazilian government met with a Swedish trading commission in July 2015 to revisit the contract and request a low interest rate of payment for a contract to purchase the Saab Gripen E but Sweden EDR | March/April 2021
The first Brazilian Gripen E took to the air in Brazil on 24 September 2020. © FAB
rejected the application and signing of any contract was seriously threatened. On July 29, 2015, the Brazilian government confirmed that it had reached an agreement with Sweden to finance the purchase of a batch of Gripen NG aircraft and in September 2015 it finalised a US$ 4.68 billion purchase of 28 single-seat Saab Gripen Es and eight two-seat Gripen F fighter aircraft to be delivered between 2019 and 2024. Key factors were domestic manufacturing opportunities and full Transfer of Technology (ToT). An assembly line was to be established in Brazil firstly to assemble and later to build complete aircraft with engineers and technicians from Brazil traveling to Sweden to begin training. At the time the Brazilian Air Force was reported to have a requirement for 108 Gripen E multirole aircraft and that the order for 36 aircraft was only the initial batch. Brazil would also be given the lead in offering Gripen NG aircraft for potential export to Africa, Asia and Latin America. In November 2016 Saab and Embraer inaugurated the Gripen Design and Development Network (GDDN) in Gavião Peixoto, in the state of São Paulo. It would be the hub for the Gripen NG technology development in Brazil for Saab and Embraer together with the Brazilian partner industries and institutions, AEL Sistemas, Atech, Akaer, Mectron, Inbra, Atmos and the Brazilian Air Force, through its research department DCTA. Embraer being the main Brazilian partner of Saab in the Gripen programme, it will receive around 60 to 70 percent of the ToT and offset packages. The Gripen programme’s ToT comprises 62 projects including theoretical training of the Brazilian teams involved, research and technology programmes, on the job training of Brazilian professionals at the Saab facility in Linköping, Sweden, and the development and production of the systems and aircraft struc24
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tures. The Gripen’s Wide Angle Display (WAD) is developed by the Brazilian-based company AEL Sistemas as a part of the Brazilian ToT agreement. More than 350 Brazilian engineers, technicians and pilots will attend courses and special training in Sweden. Brazil’s first Systems Rig (S-rig) Gripen simulator has been installed at the GDDN which is the first Gripen simulator to be installed outside of Sweden and is a part of the Sweden-Brazil ToT programme. The simulator will play an important role in the Gripen development and will be used for development tests and verification of systems, sub-systems and functionalities of the aircraft. At the end of last year the Brazilian Air Force signed a memorandum of understanding with defence contractor Avibras Industria Aeroespacial to develop a family of air-launched long-range cruise missiles called the MICLA-BR. The Brazilian Air Force has said it wants the cruise missile to have a range of 300 km (162 nm). The air-launched cruise missile project is part of the Military Strategic Plan for Aeronautics and is among the Brazilian Air Force’s 18 strategic projects which includes the F-39 Gripen. On the arrival of the first Gripen E in Brazil, the President and CEO of Embraer Defense & Security, Jackson Schneider, highlighted the scope of this partnership: “Embraer will play a leading role in the execution of the Gripen programme in Brazil and will be responsible for systems development, integration, flight testing, final assembly, and delivery of the aircraft in support of Brazilian Air Force operations. In terms of technology transfer, the Gripen programme is a great opportunity to increase our knowledge in the development and manufacturing of advanced combat aircraft.” Linus Narby, Saab’s Head of Gripen Brazil outlines the programme. “Saab is responsible for building 13 Gripen E/F entirely in Sweden, while another eight aircraft will start production in Sweden and will be finalised in Brazil, with the participation of Brazilian technicians and engineers. Fifteen aircraft will be fully assembled in Brazil at Embraer’s plant in Gavião Peixoto in São Paulo State. The first Brazilian aircraft is now undergoing flight tests in Brazil. Four additional Gripen E aircraft for Brazil are already in various phases of production in Linköping, Sweden which we will start transporting to Brazil before the end of 2021.
ees, who will be responsible for the standardisation of all flight test procedures, allowing for gains in efficiency and agility in gathering and sharing information between the countries. The GFTC has a structure to collect, in real time, the telemetry information of the flights, in an encrypted way, which is later analysed by pilots, technicians and engineers involved in the test campaign, carried out by Brazil and Sweden.” The first Brazilian Air Force F-39E in flight past Rio de Janeiro’s Christ the Redeemer statue of Jesus Christ at the summit of Mount Corcovado. © Saab
“Saab and Embraer are jointly developing two-seat Gripen F. In all, about 400 engineers are working on this project, mainly concentrated at the GDDN in Gavião Peixoto. In terms of design, the Brazilian engineers have been involved with the modifications such as the seat, flight controls and Wide Area Display (WAD) in the rear cabin, adapting the oxygen, electric power and air conditioning systems, studies and analysis of structures, aerodynamics, aeroelasticity and loads, redesign of the forward fuselage and the air duct section and rearrangement of avionics and electrical installations. “Like Gripen E, this will be produced both in Brazil and Sweden. The tail cone, aerodynamic brakes, wing box, front fuselage and rear fuselage will be built at the new Saab Aeronáutica Montagens aerostructure plant in São Bernardo do Campo, while the final assembly in Brazil will be done at Embraer in Gavião Peixoto. This work is possible because a team of approximately 100 Embraer and Saab Aeronáutica Montagens employees have completed their training at Saab in Linköping, including the on-the-job training stage, for the overall production of Gripen fighters in Brazil. The first metal cut for the Gripen F fighter took place in Linköping in the first quarter of 2020. “The flight test campaign for Gripen F will be carried out in Sweden and Brazil, starting in 2023. The campaign will start in Linköping Sweden, and then be moved to the Gripen Flight Test Centre (GFTC), located at the Embraer plant in Gavião Peixoto. The GFTC structure is part of the transfer of technology and started operations before the end of 2020. Saab has allocated in Brazil a team of 20 employ-
Activities in Brazil will include testing of flight control system, environmental control system as well as tests in tropical climate conditions. In addition to the testing that is common for the Gripen E programme, unique features of the Brazilian aircraft, such as weapons integration as well as the Link BR2 communication system, which provides encrypted data and voice communication between the aircraft, will be tested in Brazil. For the Brazilian Air Force Commander, Lt. Brig. Antonio Carlos Moretti Bermudez, the arrival of the first F-39 Gripen aircraft was a major milestone for the project: “It is an immense satisfaction for the Brazilian Air Force to see this aircraft flying on national territory. The F-39 Gripen, the new Brazilian Air Force multi-mission aircraft, will be the backbone of Fighter Aviation and it reaffirms the air force’s commitment to maintaining the country’s sovereignty and to defend the twenty-two million square kilometres under its responsibility.” The first production F-39E aircraft will be delivered to the Brazilian Air Force, at Wing 2 at Anápolis close to Brasilia in Goiás State by the end of 2021. Prior to the arrival of operational Gripen, the Brazilian Air Force embarked on one of the largest restructuring programmes in its history. As part of this process, the First Squadron of the 16th Aviation
The F-39E Gripen flying low over the Brazilian countryside in September 2020. © FAB EDR | March/April 2021
Major Peres is on the staff of the Brazilian IPEV Flight Research and Test Institute, under the Department of Aerospace Science and Technology (DCTA) which provides specialised technological services in the field of flight tests, aircraft instrumentation and data telemetry to support research, development and certification of aeronautical products, as well as training personnel specialised in flight tests.
The Brazilian Gripen E shows off its distinctive digital camouflage during a test flight in Sweden. © Saab
Group based at Anápolis was temporarily disbanded and its A-1M AMX ground attack aircraft were transferred to the 1st and 3rd Squadrons of the 15th Group at Santa Maria in Rio Grande do Sul state pending delivery of the F-39s. The maiden flight of the first Brazilian Gripen E took place on 26 August 2019 with Saab test pilot Richard Ljungberg at the controls. Almost a year later Brazilian Air Force pilot Major Aviator Cristiano de Oliveira Peres was the first Brazilian Air Force pilot to carry out the flight of the Brazilian Gripen E aircraft at Linköping on 20 August 2020. Major Peres flew the aircraft over the Baltic Sea for approximately 49 minutes as part of the verification of the flight and piloting qualities of the aircraft. The Brazilian Air Force explained that the preparation for the flight had started in January with the pilot undergoing a series of training sessions that qualified him for carrying out the flight. Among them was the study of the technical documentation of the F-39 Gripen and many hours of training in flight simulators. The first F-39 in formation with the Brazilian Air Force aircraft it will replace, the Northrop F-EM Tiger II. © FAB
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Avidras is developing the MICLA-BR air-launched cruise missile for the Brazilian Air Force’s F-39. © David Oliver
In January 2021 four pilots of the Wing 2’s First Air Defence Group (1st GDA) Jaguar Squadron began operational training on the Gripen E in Satenas, Sweden where the Swedish Air Force F7 Wing is based. An additional ten pilots will undergo operational training in Sweden and the future F-39E pilots will carry out Conversion Training and Combat Readiness Training on Swedish Air Force JAS 39 C/D aircraft. One of the four future F-39E pilots training in Sweden, Major Vitor Cabral Bombonato said; “The beginning of the course means another important step in the implementation process. The aircraft is increasingly closer to the core activity of the Brazilian Air Force’s operational employment. For us this moment is a source of great pride”. After the training they will return to the reformed 1st GDA located at Wing 2 in Anápolis to continue their operational training on the F-39E Gripen, the first of which are due to be received in October 2021. A second F-39 Wing 2 unit, the 1st GDA Adelphi Squadron will be stood up at Anápolis in the future.
The Italian DRASS company is promoting the DS-class of SDVs including DS4 and DS8 vehicles, respectively capable to carry a total of respectively four and eight operators. © DRASS
Swimmer Delivery vehicles By Luca Peruzzi Designed to covertly transport Special Forces operators ashore or conduct intelligence, surveillance and reconnaissance (ISR), sabotage or other clandestine missions in littoral scenarios, the swimmer delivery vehicle (SDV) capability together with the Dry Dock Shelter (DDS) to transport the vehicle on board the submarine nearest to the infiltration point represent a strategic capability which only few western and worldwide countries were able to add and maintain into their inventory. A number of western established and new manufacturers are promoting their systems, which due to the demanding environment in which they operate, require the adoption of latest but proven technologies in the underwater domain. This free-flooding ‘wet’ vehicles need to be discrete with limited acoustic and magnetic signatures and equipped with latest-generation energy storage equipment such as lithium-ion batteries for long endurance, together with sophisticated underwater navigation and communications, in addition to a surface ISR multi-sensor suite alongside low-probability of intercept radio and satellite communications.
France The French Navy’s Commando Hubert Special Forces unit made a qualitative leap in terms of underwater capabilities with the contribution to the development and the subsequent acquisition of the 3rd generation SDV or PSM3G (propulseur sous-marin 3ème génération). Launched in 2012, the French ECA Group won the French DGA programme contract to develop, in cooperation with the DGA and the special unit, and supply two PSM3Gs, which first unit was delivered in 2018. The PSM3G offers “infiltration in all discretion, providing a real anti-denial of access tool”, says an official French Navy’s statement. Although the
vehicle specifications are classified, in addition to being easily deployable by C-130 transport aircraft for expeditionary operations, the PSM3G has been designed to operate from a DDS to be carried by the new generation of Suffren-class nuclear attack submarines, which first-of-class platform was delivered to the French Navy in November 2020. As anticipated, no details have been released on the SDV but EDR Magazine understood it has a length of around 8.5 meters, a displacement of around 4 tonnes and is capable to carry six combat divers plus materiel in addition to the two pilots. Based on the model unveiled for the first time by ECA Group at Euronaval 2014, the PSM3G is expected to have a platform design similar to other latest EDR | March/April 2021
The 3rd generation SDV or PSM3G (propulseur sous-marin 3ème génération) developed and delivered by the ECA Group, coupled with the transport capability offered by Naval Group’s DDS on the Suffren-class submarines, provides a strategic capability to French Navy. © Luca Peruzzi
SDV models on the market but with two (bow and stern) thrusters horizontally integrated into the hull, alongside “X” configured rudders and forward retractable hydroplanes. The PSM3G is understood to be equipped with a highly accurate navigation suite and a lithium-ion batteries package, ensuring long endurance. EDR Magazine also understood the French DGA has a target requirement for three PSM3Gs to be delivered within 2021, but is also looking to an evolved version, which might lead to new procurements and which upgrades might also be retrofitted to existing SDVs.. Although not officially acknowledged and detailed, the ECA Group has developed an export version called SWUV (Special Warfare Underwater Vehicle) which, due to sovereign technologies applied to the national programme, is expected to have a slightly scaled human and equipment payload as well as endurance.
has a long experience with domestic and export customers in the military underwater manned vehicles domain, which include the Murene subsea light vehicle (SLV), the Coryphène - which was acquired and in service with French Navy’s SOF as the previous generation propulseur sous-marin and Sphyrène swimmer delivery vehicles. Capable to conduct a wide range of covert infiltration and exfiltration alongisde ISR and maritime counterterrorism operations, the Sphyrène SDV can carry four combat divers in addition to the two pilots. With a 4.5 tonnes weight, a length of 8 meters, a width and height of respectively 1.45 and 1.40 meters, this SDV has an adjustable buoyancy and can reach a maximum speed of 9 knots with a range of 70 nm at 8 knots. With a maximum operating depth of 25 meters (100 meters depth design), the Sphyrène SDV is characterized by a forward-central section dedicated to the crew and combat swimmers with their payload, which can reach up to 100 kg in the water. The rear mid-aft sections are dedicated to life-support, energy and propulsion systems with a brushless low speed motor. Platform control is provided by forward hydroplanes together with rear controls, lateral and vertical thrusters. The high-end navigation and piloting system suite includes latest user-friendly HMI, navigation and maneuvering subsystems with INS, DVL and thrusters, together with a sensor suite including a sonar system with 350 meters range, a telescopic mast with optronic systems and satellite communications.
Alseamar, part of the Alcen Group, is well known for the design, development and production of surface and underwater vehicles and equipment for civil, offshore, research and military applications. It Although PSM3G specifications are classified, EDR Magazine understood it is capable to transport six combat divers in addition to the two pilots. © ECA Group
Alseamar offers the Sphyrène swimmer delivery vehicle, which can carry four combat divers in addition to the two pilots. © Alseamar
Italy The C.A.B.I. Cattaneo company, specialized in vehicles and equipment development and production for naval Special Forces, is promoting its Deep Shadow SDV, aimed for the export market under 28
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The Alsemar company also proposes Murene subsea light vehicle (SLV) and the Coryphène SDV, the latter capable to carry a combat diver in addition to the pilot and navigator. © Alseamar
Based on the long experience as sole supplier of SDVs to the Italian Navy’s Diving and Special Forces Command COMSUBIN, Italy’s C.A.B.I. Cattaneo offers the Deep Shadow SDV on the export market. © C.A.B.I. Cattaneo
strict Italian MoD approval. Based on the long experience of the Milan-based company as sole supplier of SDVs to the Italian Navy’s Diving and Special Forces Command (COMSUBIN, Comando Subacquei and Incursori) since the Second World War, the Deep Shadow is designed to offer an inherent operational flexibility, being equipped with modular systems and payload to fulfill mission requirements. With a 9 meters overall length, 1.45 meter beam and 1.80 meter length, the Deep Shadow SDV can be operated by two pilots and can carry up to four fully equipped combat divers in addition to optional lateral external conformal pods for equipment carrying. The Deep Shadow SDV can be launched and recovered from a variety of submarine types, thanks to a special saddle with multi-platform interfaces, without the need for a protecting shelter. The company hasn’t provided further details, but EDR Magazine understood the SDV can, at least, be operated by Type 209, 214 and 212 platforms. The maximum transport depth is up to 100 meters. Characterized by an advanced shape, solid composite hull design, with two horizontal (bow and stern) and two vertical thrusters integrated into the hull, alongside two bow-mounted horizontal rudders to increase the platform maneuverability, the Deep Shadow SDV has an empty weight of 6 tonnes and thanks to a highly efficient hydrodynamic and electric propulsion system powered by lithium-ion battery packs it reaches a 8+ knots maximum speed, with a 46 nm range at 5 knots. With platform system bays situated fore and aft the pilots/divers transport compartment, the vehicle’s pilot stations have an integrated cockpit with user friendly man-machine interface and a navigation suite with autopilot and accurate navigation systems, including special mast, in addition
to surface and underwater communications based on customer’s operational requirements. The SDV can be transported inside a standard 40 ft ISO container, which can act as a maintenance facility, or deployed from a surface platform.
The C.A.B.I. Cattaneo Deep Shadow SDV can be operated by two pilots and can carry up to four fully equipped combat divers in addition to optional lateral external conformal pods for equipment carrying. © Luca Peruzzi
With a long pedigree in underwater offshore, submarine rescue, midgets and swimmer delivery platforms which comes from the well-known Cosmos and Galeazzi experience, the Italian DRASS company is today promoting the DS-class of SDVs including DS4 and DS8 vehicles, respectively capable to carry four (two pilots and two divers) and eight (two pilots and six divers) operators. Sharing the same latest but proven platform, propulsion, diving
Both DS-class SDV platforms are equipped with a navigation, communications, sensors and situational awareness suite, all purposely developed or integrated internally by the Italian company. © DRASS
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and navigation developments, DRASS is continagainst worldwide contenders with a customized uously testing new technologies, in particular for larger SDV platform in a challenging programme networking with unmanned systems, throughout issued by a main navy, for comparative at-sea evala demonstrator platform and R&D centers activiuation trials. ties. The DS-class of SDVs has a modular design with a composite resistant structure hull. Focusing UK on the longer platform, the DS8 has an 8.6 meters The UK-based James Fisher Defence (JFD) is oflength, 1.6 meters beam and 1.7 meters height. In fering a range of swimmer delivery vehicles, among the heavy load configuration, the number of divers which is the Sub SEAL SDV. Based on the activis reduced to four, with various additional payloads. ities on modular configurable SDVs conceived to The DS-class SDVs hull configuration features address a perceived market for a new generation bow-, mid- and rear-section compartments for of systems offering enhanced comfort, situational platform systems interspersed by forward and rear awareness, performance and flexibility over existing pilots/divers modules. With bow and stern hydraudesigns, JFD has developed and unveiled in 2011 lically-controlled rudders, the propulsion system is a flee-flooding demonstrator which has evolved centered on an electric motor without reduction into the current Sub SEAL SDV platform. Based gear to move a purposely designed propeller, all on a modular and expandable approach, the curpowered by latest generation lithium-ion battery rent baseline platform is launched primarily from package providing an overall 60 kW power capacisubmarines using DDS and secondly from surty. Both DS-class SDVs have a maximum operating face vessels such as OPVs as well as from medidepth of 50 meters (80 meters maximum design um-lift rotary-wing platforms. Typically carrying six depth) and up to 100 meters transportation depth combat swimmers in addition to the two pilots, the on different types of submarines without any shelSub SEAL SDV has been designed for rapid mister. Capable of cruising and maneuvering on sursion-specific re-configuration. According to images face and submerged at respectively up to sea state and drawings released by the company, the SDV 2 and 3, DS-class SDVs are able to bottom on the presents a general layout with forward hydroplanes seabed up to the max operating depth. With a 4 and rear controls and energy storage and propultonnes displacement and a 1,000 kg container paysion package with protected multi-blade propeller. load, the DS8 can reach a maximum and cruising Formed by four hull modules, the forward one acsubmerged speed of respectively 6.5 and 4.5 knots commodates the two pilots and the navigation and while endurance can reach respectively 45 and 26 communication package together with vehicle aunm at cruising and max speed. Both platforms are tomation, followed by the life-support module. The equipped with a control, 3D navigation and mispayload module can house combat swimmers and/ sion suite with operators easy-interface including GPS, DVL, Echo Sounder, obstacle distance measurement system, salvage buoy and underwater camera, in addition to wireless and wired communication systems, all purposely developed or integrated internally by DRASS. The Galeazzi subsidiary provides the ad-hoc UWX series underwater optronic sensor with multiple windows installed on ultra-thin hoistable masts for discrete ISR. DRASS is currently UK-based James Fisher Defence (JFD) offers a range of swimmer involved in different internationdelivery vehicles, among which the Sub SEAL SDV which carries six combat swimmers in addition to the two pilots. © JFD al tenders, and was shortlisted 30
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French Dry Dock Shelters With the introduction of the Suffren-class submarines, the French MoD and the Marine Nationale have introduced the capability to carry the new PSM3G SDV thanks to the new DDS, designed and built by Naval Group. The new system, which has been operationally tested by the French Navy last December after the Suffren nuWith the introduction of the Suffren-class submarines, the Marine Nationale introduced the capability to carry the new PSM3G SDV thanks to the new clear attack submarine delivery, DDS, designed and built by Naval Group. © Luca Peruzzi is around 11 meters long, 3 meters wide and weighs around 40 or operational payloads, typically accommodating tonnes. In addition to the dry compartment to acup to six operators and 200 kg equipment. The aft commodate vehicles, materiel and personnel, the module houses the energy storage and propulsion DDS also includes an integrated trunk module to system, which can be configured and equipped allow the passage of the personnel from the subas the customer requires. Power is provided by marine to the DSS and viceversa. Three DDSs have Lithium-Polymer batteries and a vectored-thruster been procured by the French MoD, including one arrangement, ensuring sprint speeds of greater than for training purposes. 7 knots and a range of 50 nm. The steering information navigation control (SINC) system is common Deep Guardian Shelter to all vehicles in the JFD family of swimmer delivery During the Seafuture 2016 naval exhibition in vehicles, managing course, heading and way-point La Spezia, C.A.B.I. Cattaneo unveiled the Deep navigation, GPS, radio and Satcom communications Guardian pressure resistant transport container. and reconnaissance. Based on customer’s requireIt is multi-platform capable shelter able to house ments, the surveillance package is centered on a equipment in dry conditions on a submarine extelescopic mast with high-resolution sensor suite, ternal deck down to 300 meters depth and conduct recording and communications equipment, as well covert release and recovery of items underwater as an externally-mounted side-scan sonar as option.
The Deep Guardian is a multi-platform capable shelter able to house equipment in dry conditions on a submarine external deck down to 300 meters depth, and conduct covert release and recovery of items underwater at depths up to 40 meters. © C.A.B.I. Cattaneo
EDR | March/April 2021
equipment stored. A special 150 kg-capable light davit can be installed on the container to ease the loading process.
US Delivery Systems
The Shallow Water Combat Submersible (SWCS) programme was awarded in 2011 to Teledyne Brown Engineering which developed the new Mk 11 SDV of which five vehicles have already been delivered. © US Navy/ Christopher Perez
at depths up to 40 meters. The system is in service with Italian Navy’s COMSUBIN diving and special forces command, being used on Todaroclass U212A AIP submarines and similarly with U212 NFS (Near Future Submarine) platforms. According to public domain images, a very similar shelter, with almost identical external layout and equipment, was seen on board a surfaced Israeli Navy’s Dolphin-class submarine in the Mediterranean Sea last September. It suggests a likely supply by the Italian company, but there are no confirmation. Capable to be installed in less than one hour, the Deep Guardian is designed to allow for a custom selectable length at ordering. The current standard version has an overall 6.65 meters length, a 1.67 meters beam and 1.79 meters height, the shelter’s internal compartment door can be unlocked and opened manually, and all system components can be operated by a single person. The shelter can be flooded by a diver through manual valves, or from inside the submarine though electro-valves (optional feature). The internal room with an operative 1.2 meters diameter and a 5.5 meters length has an up to 8 m3 volume and the payload (up to 1,000 kg in dry conditions) can be stored using a shaped tray mounted on a slide, which movement is manual, simply by turning a lever. The Deep Guardian is likely equipped with automatic safety controls to monitor its internal room, and with electric arrangement to connect with the 32
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Launched in 2008, after the cancellation of the Advanced SEAL Delivery System project, as a replacement for the legacy Mk 8 Mod 1 upgraded SEAL Delivery Vehicle system (SDV) in service with the US Naval Special Warfare Command, the Shallow Water Combat Submersible (SWCS) programme was awarded in 2011 to Teledyne Brown Engineering (a Teledyne Technologies company). It included the design, development and testing of one engineering development and 10 production vehicles, in addition to support equipment. The SWCS, also known as Mk 11 model, is the new generation free-flooding combat manned submersible platform for clandestine transporting and deploying Special Forces personnel and their payload. The SWCS is deployable from Dry Deck Shelter (DDS)-equipped submarines, as we later discuss, surface ships and land. With a 4.53 tonnes weight (dry) vs 2.72 tonnes of the Mk8 Mod 1, a 6.81 meters (vs 6.46) length and a beam and height of 1.51 meters each (vs 1.3x1.4), the SWCS can accommodate two pilots and up to four combat swimmers with their equipment and payload. It also features new platform controls, concentrated in the rear section, together with a new electric propulsion and energy storage system with new propeller to improve maneuverability, reduce acoustic signature and enhance endurance alongside increased cargo and payload capacity. With a speed of 6 knots and an endurance of over 12 hours, the SWCS can reach an operational depth of around 60 meters. According to the programme request for information and latter SOCOM documentation, the MK 11 SDV is equipped with an ‘integrated bridge system’ with an open architecture and Intel Core i7 processors mission core, a power and signal distribution system with ethernet backbone, and the capability to display operational data to the pilots, offering improved user interface alongside a highly accurate navigation suite including INS, sonar and GPS. The Mk 11 SDV
The Mk 11 SEAL Delivery Vehicle is capable to carry four combat swimmers in addition to the two pilots. All ten production vehicles are expected to be delivered by 2022. © US Navy/Christopher Perez
sensors suite is centered on an electro-optical mast package, sonar and radar frequency detectors, wireless and wired internal and long-range external communications. According to the US Special Operations Command, the first two Mk 11 vehicles were delivered only in 2018 followed by additional three in 2020, with an initial operational capability planned for early 2020. Three more SDVs are to be delivered in 2021 and the last two in 2022 with a full operational capability to be reached with the last vehicle delivery. Technological insertion, retrofits and modifications, including Li-Ion batteries retrofit, are expected to continue throughout fiscal year 2025 alongside preplanned products improvements (P3I). These include, but are not limited to, propulsor, power and energy, acoustic and radar frequency indicators and warning capabilities, EO/IR sensor, payload improvements and self-recovery. While six Mk8 Mod 1 SDVs will still be in service in FY21, they will be all decommissioned by Q4 FY23. In addition to the US NSWC, the Mk8 SDV is part of the UK MoD inventory and is in service with the Special Boat Service. In September 2018, the US DoD authorized the foreign military sales to the UK MoD of three Mk 11 SDV with support equipment, logistics and
training, although no further information were released on the UK programme. The Royal Navy has Dry Dock Shelters (DDS) to transport the Mk 8 SDV and in the future the new SDV, on board its nuclear attack submarines.
DDS service life extension The US SOCOM and the US NSWC are working on a modernization programme to enhance the capabilities and extend the in-service life of the six legacy DDS, to be retired from 2045 through 2051. These dry and pressurized shelters are being used by both Virginia-class nuclear attack and Ohio-class nuclear guided missile submarines. The modernization programme for configuration field changes to be introduced throughout 2025 includes cross-deck operations, a remotely operated hangar outer door, the shelter extension by 1.27 meter to accommodate larger payloads including the MK11 SDV, future Dry Combat Submersible (DCS), Large Displacement Unmanned Undersea Vehicle (LDUUV) and Littoral Battle Space Sensing - AUV, Submarine (LBS-AUV(S)), increased payload volume (30%) and weight capacity (300%), remote control from hosting Virginia-class submarine and reduced operator fatigue.
The US SOCOM and the US NSWC are working on a modernization programme to enhance the capabilities and extend the in-service life of the six legacy DDS, to be retired from 2045 through 2051. © Indra Beaufort
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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° 55 • January/ February 2021
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