Page 1


Issue 1/2014



Contents 1/2014 INTERNATIONAL |


SPECIAL MISSION AIRCRAFT I Roy Braybrook The best way to respond to some mission needs is to add sensors, work stations, extra communications equipment, defensive aids (and even armour and armament) to existing utility or transport aircraft. This can provide a relatively low-cost, well-proven platform that minimises the time and funds required for development.







I Roy Braybrook, inputs from Eric H. Biass

I Paolo Valpolini

I Paolo Valpolini







AUSA 2013


I Paolo Valpolini

I Paolo Valpolini

I Luca Peruzzi













43 C4






































VIKING AIR highlighted with Red numbers C2 Entries



are found in Light Armoured Vehicles Compendium 2014




Small calibre munitions manufacturers have gone out of their way to produce lead-free rounds as exemplified here by ATK’s M855A1, but other considerations like ballistic performance require far more studies than expected. See the story on page 26.

29 Volume 38, Issue No. 1, February-March 2014 INTERNATIONAL

is published bi-monthly by Media Transasia Ltd.

I INDEX TO MANUFACTURERS Companies mentioned in this issue. Where there are multiple references to a company in an article, only the first occurence and subsequent photographs are listed below: AAI

10,26,29 32,33

ABDS System Aerovironment




AM General






Atlas Elektronik


BAE Systems
















Hatehof Hema Defence Industry IAI

10,13,14,28,44,55 28

Renault Truck Defence

IBD Solution





Rock Strike Glass





Ruag Ammotec


Iveco DV


Boeing /Insitu


Bombardier Global Express


Jenoptik Defense & Civil Systems Kaman

22 8





Komatsu Defence System




15,38,40 52,54,55


5,15,17 34


L-3 Wescam



Lockheed Martin

Defense Venture Group



DRS Technologies


Mercedes Benz

Elbit Systems


Meritor Defence








Emirates Defence Technology



Nurol Makina



Oran Safety Glass

GDELS GDLS General Atomics


15,22,23 17 13,14,52,55

Oshkosh Oto Melara Otokar



10,42,54,55,59 17 8,10 17,18,20 13


LIG Nex1

Northrop Grumman

14 32,33,34











Flir Systems

14,54,55 12,13,14,15






IAI Ramta

ITT Exelis




Glas und Optik Gmbh




General Dynamics


ST Electronics



Steyr Motors



Streit Group




17 16,17,58



6 33 26,59

Textron Marine & Land Systems




30, 32,33














Copyright 2012 by Media Transasia Ltd. Publishing Office: Media Transasia Ltd, 1205, Hollywood Centre 233, Hollywood Road, Sheung Wan, Hong Kong. Tel: (852) 2815 9111, Fax: (852) 2815 1933 Editor-in-Chief: Eric H. Biass Regular Contributors: Roy Braybrook, Paolo Valpolini, Thomas Withington Chairman: J.S. Uberoi President: Xavier Collaco Sr. Manager International Marketing: Vishal Mehta Manager Marketing: Jakhongir Djalmetov Sales & Marketing Coordinator: Atul Bali Creative Director: Bipin Kumar Deputy Art Director: Sachin Jain Asstt. Art Directors : Mukesh Kumar, Ajay Kumar Visualiser: Sujit Singh Production Manager: Kanda Thanakornwongskul Group Circulation Manager: Porames Chinwongs Chief Financial Officer: Gaurav Kumar Advertising Sales Offices n AUSTRIA, BENELUX, SWITZERLAND Cornelius W. Bontje Ph: +41 55 216 17 81, n FRANCE Promotion et Motivation, Odile Orbec Ph: +33 1 41 43 83 00, n GERMANY Sam Baird Ph: +44 1883 715 697, n ITALY, NORDIC COUNTRIES Emanuela Castagnetti-Gillberg Ph: +46 31 799 9028, n


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Naval Drones

The first of two Northrop Grumman MQ-4C Triton development aircraft, BuAer No 168457, is shown on its maiden flight on May 22, 2013. The US Navy plans to buy 68 production Tritons. (Northrop Grumman)

Sea-Watching Drones As with standard aircraft, operating drones from surface vessels involves heightened risks during launch and recovery. There is consequently a strong argument for performing as much overwater surveillance as possible from land bases. Whether launched from ship or shore, maritime drones must cover large areas, while identifying individual targets. This suggests either a yo-yo mission profile, or a combination of different designs.

Roy Braybrook, inputs from Eric H. Biass


f a drone is to be operated from a ship, it will almost certainly be designed to take off and recover vertically, or to be catapulted to flying speed and perform an arrested deck landing (the French ‘appontage’ saying it better). The following discussion deals firstly with these two ship-based categories and then with land-based designs. I ROTARY-WING

The first ship-based rotary-wing unmanned aircraft was the US Navy’s 1,067-kg Gyrodyne QH-50 Dash (Drone Anti-Submarine




Helicopter), of which 755 were built in the 1960s. It was designed as an expendable platform to deliver a MK57 nuclear depth charge or two MK44 torpedoes. Around 80% of its many losses were due to avionics failures. The US Navy cancelled the Dash in 1969, partly because it had no relevance to the Vietnam War. Japan’s JMSDF, which achieved a lower attrition rate (500 hours between losses), continued to use the QH-50 till 1977. Today there is renewed interest in using rotary-wing drones from naval vessels. The US Navy has performed extensive trials with

the 1430-kg Northrop Grumman MQ-8B Fire Scout, based on the Sikorsky/Schweizer 333. Some 30 MQ-8Bs have been purchased. They have been evaluated in Afghanistan and six deployments aboard frigates (FFGs), leading to trials on a guided missile destroyer (DDG) and interface tests on a Littoral Combat Ship (LCS). The LCS will deploy routinely with one or two Fire Scouts and a manned Sikorsky H-60 Seahawk. Under an urgent operational request, the MQ-8B is being cleared to fire the BAE Systems APKWS laser-homing 70 mm Hydra 70 rocket, carried in two three-round pods. Nine MQ-8Bs will be fitted with the Telephonics ZPY-4(V)1 StarLite (RDR-1700B+) Sar/Gmti

The Northrop Grumman MQ-8C Endurance Upgrade Fire Scout is based on the Bell 407, taking the unmanned system architecture from the MQ-8B Fire Scout, based on the lighter Sikorsky/Schweizer 333. It first flew on October 31, 2013. (Northrop Grumman)

radar, in addition to the standard Flir Systems Brite Star II stabilised electro-optical sensor with laser ranger/designator. The MQ-8B was to have led to the more capable Mrmuas (Medium-Range Maritime UAS), but economies led to the latter being cancelled in 2012 and replaced by the 2720-kg Northrop Grumman MQ-8C Endurance Upgrade Fire Scout, based on the Bell 407. The very first prototype known as the Fire-X took to the air in December 2010, while the first representative of the “deployable” item had its maiden flight on 31 October 2013. According to latest news from Northrop Grumman at the Dubai Air Show, the first deployment of the type with the US Navy is expected in late 2014 (see below).

According to Northrop Grumman, some 14 aircraft are now under contract as part of an urgent operational requirement for an initial batch of 20. While final numbers will unsurprisingly be inferior to the planned 168 MQ-8Bs (this type is now to be forgotten once and for all) a figure hovering above the 100 unit mark and spread over the years is generally muttered. Unmanned Helicopter Reconnaissance Squadron No1 (HUQ-1) was formed at NAS North Island, California in October, 2013. As the fleet replacement squadron for the MQ8C, it will train operators, supply current surface combatants with 32-man UAS Detachments (UDets) and later provide Unmanned Aviation Detachments (AVDets) for the LCS, of which 55 are planned. The first MQ-8C deployment is expected to take place in late 2014 aboard the USS Jason Dunham (DDG-109). Navair (Naval Air Systems Command) insists that the MQ-8C is only an interim solution, and does not satisfy the Mrmuas requirement, which will have to be addressed when funds are available. The Mrmuas requirement is believed to have been sparked by the US Navy antipiracy operation in 2009, depicted in the Tom Hanks movie “Captain Phillips”, released in October 2013. Two destroyers and an airdropped Seal sniper team were deployed to deal with Somali pirates who had commandeered the US-registered freighter Maersk Alabama and removed its captain in a

The US Navy’s Mrmuas (Medium-Range Maritime UAS), exemplified here by an AVX Aircraft design, was to follow the MQ-8B. Following cutbacks, the MQ-8C will act as a short-term substitute for Mrmuas, which is only delayed, not cancelled. (AVX)




Naval Drones

Kaman’s Unmanned K-Max was flown (with a safety pilot) in the US Marine Corps Burro (Broad area Unmanned Responsive Resupply Operation) trials of 1999. The Burro K-Max is shown on the deck of the Lockheed Martin Sea Splice. (US Navy)

lifeboat, hoping to take him ashore for ransom. Although valuable day/night imagery was provided by a Boeing/Insitu ScanEagle drone (discussed later) operating from the USS Bainbridge (DDG-96), it was evidently felt that the US Navy should have vtol air vehicles, operable from smaller vessels, and with more range and payload. The broad aim of Mrmuas was that a single ship should be able to provide sustained 24/7 ISR capability at a range of 555 km to support special operations. The equipment fit was to include EO/IR sensors, radar, ESM, Sigint and communications relay. The Navy originally aimed to achieve a limited operational capability by 2016. In July 2013 the British MoD awarded AgustaWestland a £2.3 million capability concept demonstrator contract under its RWUAS (Rotary-Wing AUS) programme to evaluate the usefulness of a multi-role drone helicopter. The roles to be studied include mine countermeasures, offensive surface warfare and situational awareness. The RWUAS tests will use the optionallymanned 1800-kg PZL-Swidnik SW-4 Solo, and pave the way for the Royal Navy’s TMUAS (Tactical Maritime UAS). This is to enter service around 2020, operating initially from the Type 45 air defence destroyer and later the Type 26 Global Combat Ship. I CARGO DRONES

The US Marine Corps and Army both have an interest in cargo drones to supply forwarddeployed forces, with the long-term aim of




adding casualty evacuation. In early 2012 the US Army issued an RFI for a cargo drone that could deliver a load of 2250-3600 kg over a distance of 555 km at a cruise speed of 463 km/hr. Once such assets are fully developed, they will almost certainly also be used to supply ships at sea and to support amphibious landings. Marine Corps trials with two optionallymanned 5443-kg Kaman/Lockheed Martin K-Max in Afghanistan began in November 2011. Operations are carried out mostly at night to avoid ground fire and benefit from lower temperatures. They have largely been successful, despite one accident. Loads are limited to 2000 kg, and radius to around 100 km to avoid the need for satcom.

Cargo drone R&D effort is now concentrated on achieving greater autonomy. The US Navy’s Aacus (Autonomous Aerial Cargo/Utility System) aims to develop a sensing and computing capability that can be applied to any fly-by-wire helicopter. Aurora Flight Sciences with Boeing as subcontractor is to demonstrate its system on the latter’s H-6U Unmanned Little Bird, competing against Lockheed Martin’s system in the K-Max. In 2015 the chosen Aacus is to be tested on the Sikorsky JUH-60A Rascal (Rotorcraft Aircrew System Concepts Airborne Laboratory) at Marine Corps Base Quantico in Florida. The JUH-60A (serial 78-23021, Nasa 750) is currently being used in various trials under the US Army’s Atuas (Autonomous Technologies for UAS) programme. One series achieved precision load drops, the drone homing on to a ground beacon to provide deliveries within three metres. Another involved use of a high-definition EO/IR sensor (Wescam MX-10) to provide a remote pilot with real-time video via a highbandwidth satcom link, synchronised to emit between the rotor blades. A Fairchild Controls Hellas lidar has been used to autonomously survey the ground, detect obstacles and select a safe drop area. Atuas also aims to allow the drone to identify a specific load on the ground and autonomously attach its hook. I SMALLER HELOS

The lower end of the rotary-wing scale is represented by drones in the 150-300 kg class, of which one pathfinder has been Sweden’s 180-kg CybAero Apid 60. This has inspired further developments by other companies, including the Cassidian Tanan 300, the 200-kg Indra Pelicano and the 235-kg Saab Skeldar

The most successful drone in its class is the Schiebel Camcopter S-100, with over 200 already sold. Just aft of the sensor turret is the vertical harpoon that secures the naval S-100 to a grid in the ship’s helicopter deck. (Schiebel)



Comprehensive array of payloads










Naval Drones

The Saab Skeldar V-200 is a 235 kg drone with a 40 kg payload and an endurance of six hours. A Maritime version with ventral radar is also marketed. (Saab)

100s on the helicopter deck of a 4000-tonne PLA Navy Type 054A guided missile frigate. Later in 2012 China Maritime Surveillance (CMS) awarded a contract to the DCNS Group for two helicopter landing grids for its planned 1500-tonne offshore patrol vessels, grids known to be compatible with the harpoon of the naval S-100. The French Navy for its part has been test-flying an S-100 from its frigates for a while now and the Adroit even paid a visit to the Dimdex exhibition in Abu Dhabi in February 2013 with a Schiebel drone on its deck. I FIXED-WING

The Schiebel Camcopter S-100 has been fully tested with a Thales I–Master radar in early 2013, demonstrating smooth flow of information from the sensor. The I-Master is the synthetic aperture radar carried by the Watchkeeper. (Schiebel)

V-200. Against all odds, the Skeldar scored its very first sales success with the Spanish navy beating the Indra-developed Pelicano in the process. The Spanish Skeldar is being used as part of the Atlanta counter-piracy surveillance operation in the Gulf of Aden. The pace-setter, however, is the 200-kg Schiebel Camcopter S-100, of which over 200 have already been sold under more than a dozen international contracts. Sea trials have been performed with the maritime services of France, Germany, India, Italy, Malaysia, Pakistan, Russia and Spain. The S-100 is




available with a heavy fuel engine and the Thales I-Master radar. In Russia, a version of the S-100 is to be built under licence by OAO Gorizont. The Russian Coast Guard has bought the ‘Gorizont Air S-100’ for use from its 630-tonne Almaz Rubin-class (Project 22460) patrol boats, which will also carry the manned 3400-kg Kamov Ka-226. The Russian Navy is also believed to be interested in the S-100. In 2010 China reportedly purchased 18 S100s. In May 2012 the Japan Maritime SelfDefense Force released an image of three S-

The first drone used by the US Navy and Marine Corps was the 189-kg RQ-2A Pioneer, a development of the lighter IAI Scout. The RQ-2A was produced by Pioneer UAV, a joint venture by IAI and AAI. It entered service in 1986 and was first used operationally in Desert Storm of 1991. In US Navy service aboard Iowa-class battleships, the RQ-2A was rail-launched with rocket assistance, and recovered by flying it into a net. Nets still have their advocates. For example, the at-sea trials with Russia’s Zala Aero 421-08 in 2008 and 2012 employed recovery nets. Similar tests with the company’s 421-16E/EM are planned for 2014. Aeronautics uses a four-by-four metre net to recover its Orbiter in operations from Israeli Navy patrol boats. The 22-kg Boeing/Insitu ScanEagle is launched by the company’s SuperWedge (now being superseded by the Mk IV) pneumatic catapult and recovered with its Skyhook system. In this a spring-loaded hook on the tip of the drone’s swept wing engages with a 15-metre vertical cable suspended alongside the vessel. In 2004 the ScanEagle set an endurance record for a drone launched and retrieved at sea, with a flight of 16 hours 45 minutes. It entered service with the US Marine Corps in 2004 and the US Navy in 2005, followed by the US Air Force. It also serves with the military forces of Australia, Canada, Italy, Japan (through Mitsubishi Heavy Industries), Malaysia, Netherlands, Poland and Singapore. Some 1700 ScanEagles have been produced, and most systems are leased. Insitu’s recent successes include winning Britain’s competition for a contractor to

Boeing/Insitu RQ-21A version of the company’s Integrator as its Small Tactical UAS (Stuas), and awarded Insitu the development contract. The Stuas is a multi-intelligence system to fulfil the needs of the Marine Expeditionary forces, US Navy L-Class (amphibious warfare) ships and Naval Special Warfare (NSW) units. The Navy plans to buy 36 Stuas systems, each with five air vehicles. Service tests began in 2011 with an early operational capability (EOC) version of the RQ-21A at Marine Corps Air Ground Combat Center (MCAGCC) at TwentyNine Palms Base, California. The first sea-based development tests were carried out from the USS Mesa Verde (LPD-19) in February 2013. Low-rate initial production was approved three months later. Integrated operational test and evaluation (IOT&E) of the RQ-21A began in October 2013, and IOC is scheduled for the second quarter of FY2014. Possible future Stuas developments include the addition of a magnetic anomaly detector to find submarines. I TERN

Selected as the US Navy Stuas (Small Tactical UAS), this Boeing/Insitu RQ-21A Integrator is being recovered by the company’s Skyhook system, aboard the USS Mesa Verde, LPD-19 amphibious transport dock during 2013 trials. (US Navy)

Russia’s Zala is proposing small (nine-metre) unmanned aircraft carriers designed specifically to operate lightweight drones, but Darpa hopes to explore novel operating concepts to allow relatively large fixedwing Male drones to use ships without through-decks. Darpa’s Tern (Tactically Exploited Reconnaissance Node) aims to achieve a radius of 1650 km in deep overland ISR and strike missions, carrying a 270 kg ISR payload or an unspecified strike warload. It is to

provide ISR services aboard selected Royal Navy frigates and support ships, generating 300 hours of cover per month, using drones with an endurance of eight hours at 60 km radius. A Chinese copy of ScanEagle is marketed as the CASC CH-803. Iran began manufacturing its own copy at the end of 2012, and in September 2013 unveiled the ‘Yasseer’ development, which adds twin booms and an inverted V-tail. In 2010 the US Navy chose the 61.2-kg

Under its Tern (Tactically Exploited Reconnaissance Node) programme, Darpa hopes that industry will invent some way to operate relatively long-span fixed-wing drones from ships that lack through-decks. (Darpa artist’s concept)




Naval Drones

operate from 25,400-tonne LCS-2 class ships, and possibly LPDs, LSDs and Military Sealift Command cargo ships. Tern is a three-phase programme, with concept definition and technology maturation scheduled to lead to prototype flight demonstration in 2017. In August/September 2013 AeroVironment, Aurora Flight Sciences, Carter Aviation Technologies, Maritime Applied Sciences and Northrop Grumman received Darpa contracts to design, develop and demonstrate Male drones under the Tern programme. I STRIKE FROM THE SEA

The practicality of a naval strike drone is being explored initially under the Ucas-D




programme with the 20,215-kg Northrop Grumman X-47B. The first autonomous carrier launch took place on May 14, 2013, and the first autonomous arrested landing at sea followed on July 10, 2013, both tests using the USS George H W Bush (CVN-77). On current plans the X-47B will have three more carrier deployments, ending in early 2015. In-flight refuelling is one of the options proposed by Northrop Grumman for investigation under the contract it recently received for continued flight tests. The $ 1.4 billion Ucas-D programme is laying the foundations for the US Navy’s planned Uclass (Unmanned CarrierLaunched Airborne Surveillance and Strike) drone. This was originally seen as a stealthy

The Northrop Grumman X-47B performed trials aboard the USS Harry S Truman, CVN-75 in April and May 2013, making its first at-sea catapult launch and the world’s first at-sea arrested deck landing for a drone. (Northrop Grumman)

Preliminary contracts for the US Navy’s Uclass (Unmanned Carrier-Launched Airborne Surveillance and Strike) system have been awarded for projects by Lockheed Martin (as illustrated), Boeing, General Atomics and Northrop Grumman. (Lockheed Martin)

long-range penetrating strike drone with inflight refuelling and a warload of 24 GBU-39 117-kg SDBs. It was envisioned as a flying wing, possibly a larger derivative of the X-47B. However, in December 2012 the Pentagon’s Jroc (Joint Requirements Oversight Council) dumbed down the Uclass concept, indicating that the US Navy’s manned strike aircraft (Boeing F/A-18E/F and Lockheed Martin F-35C) can fulfil strike requirements into the 1930s, hence there is no urgent need for carrier-based killer drones. The real need is evidently for longrange sea-based ISR and targeting assets to support counter-terrorist operations. Uclass is (currently) seen as an affordable, semii-stealthy sensor platform to provide persistent sea-based ISR&T in a permissive or low-end contested environment, and with

and maturity of their Uclass designs. An RFP is to be issued to industry in 2014, leading to selection in the first quarter of 2015, maiden flight in 2017 and EOC in 2020. There is concern that, before operational testing is completed and the Milestone-B review takes place, the US Navy plans to spend $ 3.7 billion in the FY14-20 period to field four Uclass air wings of up to 24 air vehicles. There is also concern that the system depends critically on successful development of Common Control System software and Jpals (Joint Precision Approach and Landing System). I LAND-BASED

Operation from airfields removes carriertype restrictions on air vehicle weight and wingspan. Although small drones may be

A Hermes 900 boasting a radome housing a Selex Gabbiano radar at the Pik test range in the Golan Heights during summer 2013. It is being promoted in India and Chile, inter alia. (Armada/Eric H. Biass)

a only secondary light strike mission. Inflight refuelling has been dropped, but might be added later. The Uclass air vehicles on a carrier are to be capable of maintaining two orbits at 1100 km radius, or one at 2200 km. Total Uclass payload is 1360 kg, but the ordnance component reportedly consists of only two 450 kg GPS-guided bombs, for a lightly defended target at 3700 km radius. Preliminary design review contracts (each worth $ 15 million) were awarded to Boeing, General Atomics, Lockheed Martin and Northrop Grumman in August 2013, to inform the US Navy of the technical risk, cost

operated in coastal patrol, the lower end of the maritime ISR scale is currently exemplified by the 1250-kg IAI Heron, with a span of 16.6 metres and an endurance of over 40 hours. It can be equipped with an Elta Systems EL/M-2022U radar and EL/K-1891 satcom, and a Tamam Mosp sensor turret. The Heron is used for maritime patrol by Israel and India, and is being evaluated in this role by Vietnam. In early 2013 Elbit Systems announced development of a maritime surveillance version of the 1180-kg Hermes 900, with a Selex-SE Gabbiano radar and an endurance




Naval Drones

of 36 hours. This variant has been promoted in India, and is being evaluated by the Chilean Navy. A turboprop drone is more expensive and provides less endurance, but offers a heavier payload and higher speed (and

thus greater hourly coverage). The US Customs and Border Protection agency operates the General Atomics Guardian version of the Predator-B, with a Raytheon SeaVue radar and 27-hour endurance. The manufacturer is now marketing the 5310-

This General Atomics Mariner prototype, with US Air Force serial 02-0003, was photographed during demonstrations off Australia. America’s Customs and Border Protection, partnered with the US Coast Guard, operates one Mariner under the name Guardian. (Commonwealth of Australia)




A maritime patrol version of the IAI Heron, exemplified here by 4X-UMI/268, is operated by the Israeli Air Force on behalf of the Israeli Navy. The Heron mounts both the Elta Systems EL/M-2022U radar and a Tamam Mosp EO/IR turret. (IAI)

kg Extended Range Predator-B, with external tanks and increased wingspan, and an endurance of 42 hours. The US Navy’s Bams (Broad Area Maritime Surveillance) contest was won by the 14,628-kg Northrop Grumman MQ4C Triton. It will be equipped with the company’s ZPY-3 Multifunction Active Sensor Radar and powered by a Rolls-Royce AE3007H turbofan, providing an endurance of 24 hours. The first of two development MQ-4Cs flew on May 22, 2013. The US Navy plans to buy 68 production Tritons to act as an unmanned complement for its 117 Boeing P-8As. The first three MQ-4Cs are scheduled to achieve IOC in FY16. The first Triton unit will be unmanned patrol squadron VUP-19, which is to be established at NAS Jacksonville, Florida in late FY14. It will be followed by VUP-11 at NAS Whidbey Island, Washington. Australia and India are expected to be early customers for the MQ-4C, followed later by Canada, Japan and the UK.

Transparent Armour

To increase transparent armour life, users should adopt ad hoc protection measures in harsh environmental conditions, here M-ATVs parked in Afghanistan. (Armada/Paolo Valpolini)

Weight-Performance-Cost: The golden triangle of transparent armour solutions The need for better situational awareness that surfaced with asymmetric warfare missions, when military units had to move in a civilian environment and avoid collateral damages, led to a dramatic increase in the number of military vehicles featuring large armoured glass surfaces allowing a much better view of the surroundings to the driver and a better understanding of the local situation for soldiers transported in the rear compartment.




Paolo Valpolini


lthough protection was priority number one, all Mraps featured wide glass surfaces, and while some new vehicles falling in the combat category also began to boast glass windscreens, these were still of reduced surface. With the increase in protection levels, weight, transparency and distortion have become an issue. For a same protection level, standard armoured glass has an areal density that is over four times that of armoured steel, an issue that has to be considered during the design phase. Transparent armour dimensions are also increasing, which poses some problems, especially where new technologies are involved; some armies consider that in a light patrol vehicle a two-panel windscreen with its central strut gives an aggressive aspect, and thus prefer a single glass windscreen. In addition since many vehicles are now built at a base protection level, they have to be then upgraded with add-on armour kits. This means that these must also include adequate transparent armour upgrade, which is of course a huge problem with an overall bolt-on approach. Weight of tougher windscreens and lateral windows is not the only negative factor, thickness is as well as that increases at a much higher factor compared to opaque armour, not to mention impoverished optical properties, since light transmission tends to

decrease and distortion increase with thickness. Faced with a growing market and demand during the past few years, armoured glass manufacturers worked hard to improve the weight-protection conundrum. This was achieved both by increasing the efficiency of standard laminates and looking into alternative solutions such as transparent ceramics. In addition to improvements in density versus protection and visual qualities, some manufacturers are also considering transparent armour as an ideal medium to convey more information to the driver and even possibly to the other occupants of the vehicle, with inspiration from the aviation sector’s head-up displays - an interesting evolution that might help improve ergonomics and reducing workload. Recent missions in areas with heavy temperature gradients (resulting in high temperatures differentials between outside and air-conditioned inside temperatures), sandstorms and so forth, put a considerable strain on transparent armour, with dire consequences on durability. Considering that land vehicles cannot be compared to aircraft in terms of maintenance costs, the latter have to be reduced as much as possible and this should become part of the equation as well as

To improve performances and lower weights of its transparent armour, Schott of Germany uses Borofloat, a proprietary borosilicate glass that presents very good optical characteristics. (Schott)

weight and performances – both from industrial and operational use standpoints. Users should indeed also adopt both measures for protecting the vehicles when parked, as well as specific procedures for their cleaning process. Reparability should also be taken into account to rein costs. I THE TRENDS

The purpose of this article is not to review the production of all transparent armour manufacturers around the word (and they are growing by the day: in October 2013 the Mexican Secretaria de la Defensa Nacional announced the creation of an armoured glass manufacturing plant) but to point to the most recent trends in this field. Most producers look at both the civilian and the military market. Those with the largest volumes include American Glass Products (with production facilities in Colombia, Brazil and Peru), and Saint-Gobain Sully in France. America is home to many other companies, like PPG Aerospace, which produces transparent armour to both Stanag protection levels (usually 1 to 3) and US ATPD 2325P levels (1 to 3). Another major player in the military transparent armour arena is Schott, the Jena-based German company. In addition to its German operation, which produces Stanag-rated transparent armour, the company also has an American arm, Schott North America, which produces USstandard, but International Traffic in Arms Regulations-independent, solutions. The




Transparent Armour

OSGs Digital Visual Window (ltop) integrates a digital display into the glass without reducing protection, while the Silk-light technology (bottom) allows to inject short warning messages into the windscreen. (OSG)

lamination – aimed at vehicles operating in the normal temperature range, that is –32°C to +49°C, it has an areal density of 112 kg/m2 and ensures an 86% light transmittance. It is tested against 20 mm Fragment Simulating Projectile (FSP) single hit at 630 m/s and against multi-hit 7.62x39 mm API. Weight and thickness gains are around 10% compared with the 124 kg/m2 of the NY 58 BF, which is however a high temperature range glass (up to +75°C) and is tested against higher velocity FSP (700 m/s) and 7.62x51 API rounds. Two new products are available at Level 3. They allow considerable weight savings over the NY 92 BF although this is qualified for high temperatures and is definitely tougher with its capacity to withstand 20 mm FSP at over 1,250 m/s, and 7.62x54R API, 7.62x51 API and 12.7x109 ball, with an areal density of 195 kg/m2. The new NY 80 BF features a 174 kg/m2 density (10% reduction), testing not including the 12.7 mm, while the NY 69 BF comes at 153 kg/m2 (-22% over NY 92), this being tested only against 7.62x54R API. As for Level 4 Schott proposes two members of its Resistant family, the NY135, at 284 current European product for military use is the Resistan, which ranges from Stanag 4569 Level 1 to 4, in which the identification number indicates the thickness in mm. For its transparent armour production Schott uses the Borofloat 33, a high quality borosilicate glass with outstanding properties that allows a 12-15% weight saving over soda-lime glasses while boasting optimal optical characteristics. In 2013 three new types of glass were introduced in the Level 2 and 3 range. For Level 2 applications the NY 52 BF was developed by optimising design and According to BAE Systems its Clearguard castable transparent provides better ballistic performance than their conventional acrylic and polycarbonate counterparts. It is used in monolithic or laminated form to stop fragments and hand gun-fired projectiles. Used as backing layer behind high performance glass, it also provides considerable weight saving. (BAE Systems)




Transparent Armour

Oran Safety Glass of Israel has developed the Adi, a technology that renders inner anti-spall polycarbonate layer redundant, which, according to OSG, doubles the glass field life cycle. (OSG)

kg/m2, and the NY 194 at 398 kg/m2, both withstanding a 20 mm SFP at over 1,550 m/s and the 14.5x114 API round, although the thinner glass is tested only with single-hit while the thicker is multiple-hit capable. According to Schott the NY 194 is the only fully approved and certified full Level 4 solution, as it was certified by the German BAAINBw (the Federal Office of Bundeswehr Equipment, Information Technology and In-Service Support formerly known as BWB). The Resistan catalogue includes numerous other members, the VPAM family meeting EN 1063 and VPAM BRV 2009 standards, and the DV family the ATPD Revision T standards. To better answer market requirements, and considering not only the increase in military production but also that for civilian purposes, Schott has recently converted its Jena flat glass lamination and framing plant




into a fully integrated production line that also includes bending, with 500-1,000 mm curvature radius, and edge processing. Looking ahead Schott is closely looking at new materials, such as transparent ceramics and spinel. Due to Germany’s tight road regulations the company considers that optical performances offered by such alternatives might not be accepted for windscreen applications, but given their

lighter weight they might well be suitable for side windows. However costs of such innovative materials are still to be worked out. As for classical laminated glass Schott experts consider that currently available technologies will not allow any major improvements in the coming years, Level 3 being close to the limit that is considered to be around 75 mm thickness and 160 kg/m2 surface density. Schott North America is specialised in glass-ceramics, polycrystalline materials produced through controlled crystallization of base glass essentially through thermal treatments. The treatment produces a 35 nm crystallized surface layer while the rest of the glass-ceramics features an 80% crystallised structure. This material does not provide weight saving, but meets US ATPD-235 standards (though results obtained remaining classified). Another key player in the armoured glass field is Oran Safety Glass (OSG) from Israel, which is IDF’s sole supplier. The company provides flat and curved armoured glass to numerous manufacturers in first tier nations such as the United States, France, Germany, Italy, etc. OSG is particularly focused on the US market though, its armoured glasses equipping two out of three JLTV teams. To meet that goal the company, which runs two plants in Israel, has set up a sister company in Virginia, OSG Inc., in Virginia. OSG is obviously striving to lower weights for a given protection level, but it is also aiming at further evolutions, combining different technologies into its products to add amenities such as defrosting with the ability of clearing vision within in 30 seconds at –42°C. Using semi-exotic material OSG has recently developed a Level 3 solution at 170 kg/m2, with an 83 mm thickness. In order to extend as much as possible its laminated


Protection level Stanag 1

Exist. Technol. [kg/m2]

CM Technol. [kg/m2]

Difference %
















glass life cycle the company has developed a special sealing to cope with heat, humidity, sand, and air conditioning effects. OSG is also proposing its Crystallised Material (CM) technology, which allows a weight reduction of between 30 and 50% (see table) with thickness reductions ranging from 40 to 60%, bearing in mind that further weight reduction can be achieved in the related frame itself. Here the problem is not only technical but also economical, as ceramic-type glasses tend to cost considerably more than standard armoured glass. Crystallised material technology enables

OSG to produce transparent armour at about three times the cost of laminated glass equivalents. The Israeli company has also developed two new technologies to improve the performance of its laminated glass. The first is known as Rock Strike Glass (RSG) and is aimed at preventing the inner glass layers to shatter in case of impact from highLevel II and Level III transparent armour by German GuS. The company supplied the transparent surfaces for the German Dingos used in Afghanistan and is now considering to move on to ceramics. (Armada/Paolo Valpolini)

velocity items like gravel or stones. Not only does this allow the driver to continue with the mission with an only marginally reduced vision, but also in most cases screen will not requite urgent replacement, which saves time and ensures higher fleet availability. As in the military no standards related to this problem has yet been established, OSG’s took the French railway standard as a basis, which requires zero damage after a 40 m/sec hit by a 90.5 mm diameter conical object weighing 20 grams; the limit for military use was increased to 140 m/sec, the OSG RSG showing a resistance at over 160 m/s with multiple impact capacity. The other technology is known as “Adi” (adi meaning jewel in Hebrew), which was unveiled at DSEI 2013. Today typical laminated glasses have a polycarbonate inner layer preventing the spreading of shards and spall inside the vehicle when the glass is hit. According to OSG the coupling of the glass and polycarbonate tends to accelerate delamination, polycarbonate being also subject to damage due to improper use or cleaning. Statistics provided by the company indicate a life expectancy of three to five years for normal transparent armour in the field. The Adi technology will ensure anti-spall performance sans polycarbonate, plus a double field life cycle. OSG has worked for over two years on this technology. Last ballistic tests were carried out in Fall 2013 and production of Adi glass are starting in 2014. OSG is also looking at ways of using glass surfaces as display media. Silk-light technology uses a built-in light-driven electronic system that permits to display simple (mostly emergency) messages directly on the armoured glass. Also, a Digital Visual Window allows to integrate an LCD display into transparent armour without decreasing the protection level thanks to an armoured steel overlap, allowing to save space in the vehicle. The display is linked to a separate electronic unit that can be easily repaired and replaced. Glas und Optik GmbH, better known as GuS, is another major German player. In early September 2013 the German BAAINBw qualified the new Level 3 laminate glass from the company that reduces density from 215 to 170 kg/m2 (20% weight) and thickness from 91 to 83 mm, while extending temperature operating limits to –32° to +49°. Moreover its multi-hit capabilities were tested on a triangle with a 120 mm base instead of the




Transparent Armour

At DSEI 2013, Jenoptik exhibited an all-plastic transparent armour. Still heavier and thicker compared to laminates, it has the advantage of showing no distortion when curved. (Armada/Paolo Valpolini)

IBD Deisenroth has developed transparent ceramic tiles as well as a technology to cement them together that generates transparent armour that saves up to 70% weight compared to conventional laminated glass. (IBD)




usual 300 mm base, and the indent was very limited, the rear polycarbonate sheet job being thus much reduced. Sole supplier of the German Army, GuS has shown its repair capabilities in Afghanistan where stones and rocks damaged some 3,500 windscreens (over 600 Dingos were deployed) many of which were repaired by the company team. GuS also has numerous R&D programs underway, with Plochingenbased CeramTec GmbH in the transparent ceramic field. While protection level seems not to be a major problem, the company finds hurdles in the German road traffic regulations, as the glue that allows to keep the ceramic tiles together generates a visual effect that has still to be evaluated in terms of eye fatigue, headaches and disorientation. Currently GuS is working closely with the BAAINBw to analyse those possible side effects before moving further down the ceramics road. Still, in Germany, ESW GmbH, part of the Jenoptik Defense & Civil Systems division, has shown at DSEI 2013 a plastic transparent armour that ensures over 90% light transmission. One of the huge advantages of the Jenoptik solution is that the windshield can be bent, thus making the central bar, typical of military vehicles windshields composed of two flat transparent armoured glass panels, redundant thus ensuring maximum frontal visibility. In addition, the Jenoptik plasticbased transparent armour does not produce any distortion even where the glass is curved. Currently the company proposes two types of surfaces, respectively at Level 2 and Level 3 protection. The former comes at approximately 144 kg/m2 and a thickness of 121 mm, while the latter has an areal density of 238 kg/m2 and a thickness of 201 mm. The Level 3 solution is also being certified for EFP coherent and multi-slug resistance in the 0째 to 45째 arc and for RPG 7 resistance at 45째. De-icing and EMC protection are available upon request. According to Jenoptik its transparent armoured plastics are able to maintain a high degree of visibility even after a hit. IBD being one of the major European opaque armour solutions experts, it was clear that a solution had to be found to

decrease the weight of transparent armour. Indeed, not only does a typical window area of 3 m² on a truck weigh around 600 kg, it is also high up on a vehicle with disastrous effects on the center of gravity. With the NanoTech development experience feather in its cap IBD developed a transparent ceramic protection, the key factor being the development of special bonding processes for the assembly of ceramic tiles (“Mosaic Transparent Armour”) and the lamination of these assemblies with strong carrier layers to form large window panels. Due to the outstanding ballistic performance of the ceramic material and

ArmorLine is producing the spinel, a polycrystalline material that allows to reduce weight and thickness used in laminated transparent armour. (ArmorLine)

the elastic absorption of the remaining kinetic energy of the threats, the company managed to produce transparent armour panels with a drastically reduced weight. Compared to the 200 kg/m2 of a Stanag 4569 Level 3 standard armoured glass the new technology allows to reduce the weight of the transparent ceramic armour for the same protection to 56 kg/m² only, that is a 72% gain which, in absolute terms for the

truck windows taken as an example, would mean 170 kg. According to IBD optical performances of the new transparent ceramic protection are at least as good as those of laminated armour glass, as it is less tinted and shows a lower diffraction, and no bonding edge of the tile assembly appear. Those optical properties also apply to the infrared spectrum, meaning that night vision goggles can be used as well. A Nato country was faced with the option of reducing protection or adding a further front axle to its trucks, but the IBD solution allows either to maintain a single axle configuration and save money, or to double them and increase protection. According to




Transparent Armour

A 400 x 400 mm laminated transparent armour produced using an ArmorLine spinel, seen after six shots. The company aims at producing a half-windscreen by late 2014. (ArmorLine)

IBD its transparent ceramic armour is fully qualified and is currently in the industrialization phase, with process optimization solely focused on reducing costs; the company’s aim is to have a product that is only 50% more expensive than standard glass. However for the time being a cost of less than twice that of current solution is considered viable. ArmorLine, a South Carolina-based company part of the Defense Venture Group, has developed an optical grade transparent spinel ceramic that allows to produce transparent armour with a considerable weight saving. The ArmorLine spinel is a polycrystalline material that features extreme hardness and strength, and while it boasts an abrasion resistance that is typical of ceramics, it ensures transmission in the 0.2μm –5.5μm band, thus allowing applications in the UV (0.2–0.4μm), visible (0.4-0.7μm), near-IR (0.7–3μm), and MWIR (3-5μm) bands,




typically used in military applications not only for vehicle transparent armour but also for sensor protection. The advantage of ArmorLine spinel is that it is produced in dimensions that are definitely larger than those of transparent ceramics, current larger panels being around 70 x 50 cm, the company aiming at producing 85 x 60 cm panels within the year, both flat and curved (with a 2,500 mm curvature radius), and reach the half windscreen dimension production, that means 100 x 75 cm flat panels, in 2014. The ability to supply curved transparent armour items is considered a plus over other systems, allowing vehicles designers to have greater flexibility. Spinel transparent armour, which replaces some layers within a laminated glass, has improved multi-hit resistance and ensures weight and thickness reduction of between 50 and 60%. As an example a laminated armoured glass capable of withstanding a 12.7x99 mm

Isoclima in Italy supplies Iveco with most of the transparent armour for the LMV Lince; here a window after a test firing at the Nettuno proving ground. (Armada/Paolo Valpolini)

APM2 single shot round has a thickness of 103 mm and an areal density of 227 kg/m2 while the ArmorLine spinel lowers those figures to 49 mm and 100 kg/m2, in other words by 53% and 56% respectively. Those data are confirmed looking at an ATPD 2352 Class 3A transparent, where thickness decreases from 112 to 52 mm and areal density from 249 to 109 kg/m2. ArmorLine is not a laminator however, thus weights mentioned are for non-optimised testing items and could be further optimised. In Stanag parlance, aerial density obtained for Level 2 transparents is around 69 kg/m2 while for Level 3, against 7.62 x 54R B32 API, this is increased to 84 kg/m2. Isoclima of Italy started working on Among the technologies used to increase transparent armour durability, Isoclima developed an encapsulation method that ensures maximum life to its laminates. (Isoclima)

transparent armour in the early 1980s, for both civil and military markets, and has since developed proprietary technologies to optimise the lamination of glass and polycarbonate. It has provided most of the Iveco DV LMV glass solutions, tailored to the requirement of the various customers of the 4x4 light multirole vehicle. For example, the transparent adopted on Russian LMVs is capable of withstanding temperatures of between –45°C and +70°C, the coupling being here a key element as the polycarbonate thermal expansion coefficient is eight times that of the glass. Among its products we find a Level 2 solution with 58-59 mm thickness and an areal density of 125-130 kg/m2, and aLevel 3 with corresponding data of 79-80 mm and 157-162 kg/m2, both for standard temperature operations. The company is currently considering new solutions for improving performances while lowering weights; it is thus testing new materials such as spinel and others, although the management is pretty convinced that improvement stays with the complete package and therefore improving glass characteristics as well as those of lamination material, such as films, will allow Isoclima to improve its position on the market. The company also has developed solutions to improve the transparent armour life, such as anti-scratch treatments on the polycarbonate backing as well as a proprietary magnetically fixed outer ply that protects the ballistic window from rock and stone damage known as Antistone Protection Solution (AspS). The removable protective layer is based on a dual sealing magnetic gasket holding an outer protection shield made of external glass and internal tecnopolymer, an air chamber being created between this and the transparent armour. All possible drawbacks were considered and verified, i.e. condensation, optical distortion, etc., tests having shown minimal impact on those characteristics. On the other hand the AspS contributes to hugely reduce maintenance and increase transparent armour life. Many of the solutions developed by Isoclima are due to the involvement of the company in the advanced aerospace transparent solutions.




Small Cal Ammo

Lethality and Range vs Mobility: the Small Arms Ammo Dilemma Assault rifles range seems to have become an issue in Afghanistan, as insurgents were all lining up 7.62 mm weapons against most of the Isaf’s troops 5.56 mm. The need for accurate fire led to a revival of the 7.62 x 51 mm calibre, especially for marksman rifles that added that range and accuracy in the firing team that was badly needed according to some combatants. To what extent accuracy was not more a matter of better training and sights is open to discussions, but highly professional armies such as the British Army are currently revising their training syllabus. Heavier weight of weapons and ammunition as well as a more visible muzzle flash are all reasons that talk against a 7.62 mm come-back, without even mentioning the financial aspect.

Paolo Valpolini


his being said, the pressure for new and more efficient ammunition solutions – especially in terms of weight and volumes – is still present, although how and when these efforts will materialise on the battlefield is still unknown. When many thought that the Lightweight Small Arms Technologies (LSAT) programme was closing to a dead end, last August the Department of Defense Ordnance Technology Consortium awarded the LSAT team, led by AAI, part of Textron Systems, and including Alliant




Techsystems, Veritay Technology and St. Marks Powder, a General Dynamics company, a $2.05 million contract to pursue the development effort in various directions. The first thrust is towards the testing and the characterization of prototype 5.56mm Caseless ammunition. “This is mainly an effort supported by the Office of Naval Research, which is looking at long term technology,” Paul Shipley, LSAT Programme Manager at AAI tells Armada International. The original rounds developed by the LSAT team leveraged the H&K experience with the G11, carried out in the late ’80s. “The propellant formulation was giving problems in terms of cost and

environment issues,” Shipley continues, “therefore we came up with a new formulation that solves those problems and considerably improves manufacturability. Laboratory tests proved successful and the LSAT team will start firing tests by the end of November 2013.” Tests will be carried out with test barrels, as the contract does not include the development of an automatic weapon. “We did developed such a weapon, that was tested with previous ammunition. However here we are looking mostly at ballistic performances, in order to match current 5.56 ammunition muzzle velocity and external ballistics,” Shipley explains. The team is looking at maintaining the same

Belted Nammo 7.62x51 BNT 6 RR ammunition; this round was developed on request from customers that needed reduced range ammo for machine gun training onboard vehicles. (Nammo)

This picture of the LSAT machine gun gives a clear view of the telescoped ammunition it uses. The LSAT Team also received financial resources to push the development of caseless ammo. (AAI)




Small Cal Ammo

geometry adopted for the previous rounds, thus in the next iteration a fine-tuning of the previous weapon might prove sufficient. The LSAT team is also to demonstrate the scalability of the cased telescoped technology, developing the 7.62x51 mm version of such a round. “We aim at a weight reduction of about 35% while volume should decrease by 10-15% compared to current rounds,” Shipley underlines, “while the weight reduction for the weapon should be of 25% if compared to the M240L, the light version of the current machine gun, or 35% if we take the standard M240B.” This is means an overall reduction of about 9 kg for the gunner and 4 kg for the assistant gunner. Leveraging experience acquired with the development of the 5.56 mm ammunition, first firings should start before the end of 2013. Here too the aim is not that of developing a full-scale weapon but to verify ballistics using test barrels. Where the weapons come into count is the third slice of the contract, which aims at continuing to refine the LSAT 5.56mm Cased Telescoped ammunition and Light Machine Gun. The LSAT team also supported the Army live fire experiment carried out in September 2013 at Fort Benning, Georgia, known as Dismounted Non Networked Enabled Limited Objective Experiment, DNNE in short. The LSAT was not the only technology or system tested in the DNNE, but it was definitely one of the most innovative and the 72-hour experiment, which started with zeroing the weapons and then squad-level Mout training, allowed to assess the systems’ performances under many aspects. Beside obvious weight and volume reduction, the improvements in terms of recoil, controllability and accuracy were among the new weapon system’s advantages. The LSAT team provided 10,000 live ammunition for the experiment, and purposely developed a blank cartridge, of which 8,000 were used at Fort Benning. “We expect experiment results to be formally published before year end,” Shipley says. These results will be used to further finalise future small arms requirements, which should come in the form of an individual weapon and a squad weapon. The US military being definitely one of the major users of small calibre ammunition considering manpower and training routines, the decision to move to a new higher performance round compared to the issue M855 was coupled with the “green” need to get rid of lead as much as possible.




The new M855A1 Enhanced Performance Round (EPR) thus increased efficiency and reduced pollution. The lead slug used on the 62-grain projectile was replaced by a copper one, the steel penetrator adopting now an arrow head, while flash suppressant and decoppering agent were added to the powder. No muzzle velocity and chamber pressure increase figures are given, but what is stated is that a 9.5 mm mild steel target is now penetrated at 350 metres (better than current M80 7.62 mm ball ammo) while the M855 could do the same at only 160 metres – “improved consistency and range” being the Army description of the new bullet effect against soft targets. This is due to the fact that the new M855A1 is not yaw dependant and thus provides the same performance against a soft target regardless the yaw angle and pitch. Trajectory remains identical to that of the M855, which helps in terms of training adaptation. The main partner of the Army in the M855A1 EPR is ATK, and since its fielding in 2010 over 921 million rounds have been delivered. According to the latest Picatinny Arsenal figures, provided in mid-2013, the switch to the new round allowed to eliminate around 2,000 tonnes of lead from the waste stream. The Picatinny's EPR team, together

with ATK, is now applying the same technology to improve M80 7.62 mm ball ammunition; the new M80A1 EPR lead-free round should become available in 2014, together with the M62A1 EPR Tracer. According to Picatinny over 3,600 tonnes of lead could be eliminated in the 2013-18 timeframe considering M855A1 and M80A1 projected ammunition procurements. In 2012, Israel Military Industries introduced a frangible 5.56 x 45 mm round that provides extremely high accuracy, company officials stating that the dispersion is reduced by half compared with standard ammunition. The 42-grain ball is made of sintered copper and tin powder which makes it ideal not only for training but also for use in enclosed area operations where the risk of ricochet is normally high. Another new round has emerged fresh out of development in mid 2013, based on a 54-grain harder-core bullet that provides much higher performance than standard ball ammo. Being capable of penetrating over 5 mm steel, it challenges 7.62 mm ammunition and its accuracy, ensuring an 8 cm grouping at a range of 100 metres distance. It muzzle velocity reaches 970 m/sec when using a 20-inch barrel. IMI did not expand on ball details, however it is clear

This close-up view of the 5.56 mm telescoped ammunition clearly reveals the configuration of the round. The new round of R&D will lead to the development of a 7.62 mm telescoped cartridge. (AAI)

that the intention was similar to the one made across the Atlantic with the M855A1. According to IMI the price of the new round will be much closer to that of a standard 5.56 than to that of armour piercing rounds (a 20-30% extra cost compared to ball ammo is forecast). On its recently acquired momentum, the company intends coming up with hard-core versions of 7.62 x 51 mm and 12.7 x 99 mm rounds during 2014, though no frangible versions are foreseen in those calibres. Another improvement to the IMI 5.56 mm ammunition family is the 77grain, 835 m/s muzzle velocity version of the round providing an under 50 cm grouping at 550 metres. Nammo was the first company to develop a full family of non-hazardous or Non-Toxic (NT) small calibre ammunition in the 5.56mm, 7.62mm and 9mm calibres to meet the Nato Stanags. Since 1999 the firm delivered over 400 million rounds, saving

Small Cal Ammo

Production of the ATK M855A1 Enhanced Performance Round is approaching the one billion unit mark. The new round’s noxious impact on the environment is close to nil. (ATK)

Mother Nature the burden of having to cope with more than 1,800 tonnes of lead. In the 5.56 mm and 7.62 mm ball projectiles lead was replaced by a gilded metal jacket surrounding a steel core and a steel penetrator. Lead-free primers helped turn this into a truly lead-free cartridge. In mid 2009 Nammo decided to develop a Mk2 version, the Nammo 5.56 mm lead-free ball cartridge, to improve accuracy and in-




target effect at the same time reduce barrel erosion and cartridge emissions. The R&D phase saw Nammo considering numerous alternatives as three different powders (two ball and one extruded) and four different non-toxic primers with varying compounds were evaluated, while nine different projectile variants were designed, featuring different surface coatings and geometrical shapes. The new 5.56x45 mm round was qualified by the

Norwegian Defence Forces in 2011 and designated BNT 4 HP Mk2, for Ball Non Toxic 4 High Performance. Norway is currently undergoing the procedure to get full Nato qualification for this round, which is expected in 2014. Nammo states that it offers improved lethality, maintains excellent penetration and avoids projectile fracture in soft-targets. The Mk2’s increased penetration (Nato 3.5 mm steel plate at more

This picture clearly reveals one of the vertical grooves – or dimples – in the Nammo 7.62x51 BNT 6 Reduced Range ammunition that increase drag and reduce spin, eventually causing the bullet to tumble. (Nammo)

than 700 metres), is not only attributable to steel core improvements, but also to a lower drag design that allows to deliver higher kinetic energy on the target. Its four-gram (62 grains) projectile has a muzzle velocity of 930 m/sec and a standard deviation of less than 25 mm. In soft targets the round starts yawing earlier, the Mk2 cavity starting at 70 mm from the entry point in a gelatine block, while the Mk1 starts at 150 mm and the

Nammo has developed a second-generation “green” 5.56 mm ammunition known as the 5.56x45 BNT 4 HP Mk2, where HP stands for High Performance (read better performance and accuracy). (Nammo)




Small Cal Ammo

SS109 at 125 mm. Nammo has won a long term contract with Norway, first deliveries of the Mk2 having started in early 2012. The Nammo 7.62 x 51 mm BNT 9 HP’s performances, for their part, stand well beyond those of the standard M80 round and the round is thus still deemed satisfactory. This does not mean, however,

Ruag Ammotec 5.56 mm x 45 LF HC SX obtained full Nato certification in May 2013, but lead-free rounds are also available in larger calibres. (Ruag Ammotec)

Developed for a French tender, the Ruag Ammotec 5.56 x 45 mm LF HC+ SX Horizon is now attracting interest from numerous nations as it provides near-AP performance at a fraction of the cost. (Ruag Ammotec)

that the Scandinavian company does not have anything new on its 7.62 mm drawing board. With experience gained a few years ago with the development of the larger calibre 12.7 x 99 mm RR (for Reduced Range) family – this included match grade, linked and normal, and tracer – Nammo developed the 7.62 x 51 BNT 6 RR with a view to reducing the danger zone during training and in urban warfare operations, since the round is fully apt for use in combat operations at ranges of 200 metres range. The problem is that a standard 7.62 mm can fly as far as 4,000 metres at almost full energy throughout its trajectory. Nammo thus looked into solutions to solve the problem, and developed a family of 100% lead-free 7.62x51 mm RR ammunition that have full combat performance and matched trajectory compared to the M80 to at least 200 metres, but with a safety fan of only 1,500 metres. This was obtained thanks to groovings (or dimples)




In early January 2014 Israel Military Industry Yitzhak Division, specialized in small calibre ammo, announced that its new 77 grain 5.56 mm round, that provides greater accuracy and stopping power up to 600 metres, had been named Razor Core and that it was combat proven by an undisclosed customer. (IMI)

along the 6.2-grams (96 grains) projectile, which increase drag, but even more importantly reduce spin rate and induce tumbling past the 200-metre mark. The ball ammunition has been internally qualified, and the first production batches were issued to potential customers in late 2013. Two more 7.62x51 mm RR rounds are being developed, a tracer and a dim tracer version, which might be finalized by mid-2014, allowing delivery of RR ammo tactical packs with different linked configurations of ball and tracers or dim tracers as for “standard� ammunition. Nammo thought of applying a similar solution to the 5.56x45 mm, but this does not appear to be a priority for customers for the time being. Developed following an interest from France for a 5.56 x 45 mm round with improved penetration capabilities for machine guns, but without having to pay the price of a full armour piercing round, the Ruag Ammotec 5.56 x 45 mm LF HC+ SX Horizon has been on the market for nearly two years and is now attracting considerable interest from Middle East nations. Its 62-grain projectile is made of a hardened steel penetrator that is able to

drive through a 7 mm HB 350 steel plate at a range of 300 metres, while the brass shoe, which makes up for one-third of the bullet weight, ensures optimal twist and maximum accuracy. The round uses Sintox priming technology, which de facto makes it a lead-free round. Pollution-free rounds are becoming a standard feature in the Thun-based company. In May 2013 Ruag Ammotec of Switzerland obtained full Nato certification for its 5.56 mm x 45 LF HC SX, the fully lead-free ammunition that can be produced either with the SS-109 or with the M-855 ball. Qualification was carried out in Britain and at the Nato European Regional Test Centre in Pendine, West Wales. Certified with the Luxembourg Armed Forces, the LF HC SX is totally lead free, featuring heavy metal-free primers, a leadfree bullet and optimised propellants that To considerably reduce the safety area when using its 12.7x99 mm Short Range ammunition Ruag Ammotec worked on the aerodynamic shape to considerably increase the drag factor. (Armada/P. Valpolini)




Small Cal Ammo

The two members of the Ruag Ammotec Solid family, the 12.7 mm reduced range series of ammo: the tracer version, with the standard round in the background. (Armada/P. Valpolini)

generate no harmful emissions. Ruag Ammotec has extended its lead-free technology to bigger calibres and is now offering the 7.62 mm Lead Free Tracer round and, in the 12.7 x 99 mm calibre, the Lead Free Armour Piercing Incendiary. In the latter calibre the Swiss ammunition manufacturer also proposes two rounds aimed at reducing training problems: these come in the form of the Short Range Solid and Short Range Solid Tracer, respectively with 698- and 664-grain bullets. The allmetal copper-zinc projectile is purposely designed with a high-drag shape and does not feature any plastic tip, which ensures safe use from helicopters, where discarded tips are prone to being ingested by engines. Effective up to 800 metres, the Short Range Solid family allows to considerably decrease the range danger zone, which for normal rounds is of some 7 km, but half this for the Ammotec SR Solid. The SR Solid family will become available in 2014. Metallwerk Elisenh端tte GmbH of Germany, better known as MEN, also developed a 5.56x45 mm round dedicated to operations in crowded areas. Known as the Low Penetration Bullet, its 56-grain bullet features a compressed tungsten powder core that ensures both a very high energy transfer and a low over-penetration (in gelatine tests the ball shows a penetration of about 20 cm). With a muzzle velocity of 1025 m/s and a precision of under 1 MOA, the round is essentially intended for use by marksmen. In the 7.62x51 mm arena MEN developed an HPC (High Performance Core) highpenetration round able to defeat the standard Nato steel target plate at 1,100 metres. Its ball is made of hard steel, with some lead in the back area to increase weight up to 150 grains, close to the 151 grains of the DM151 armourpiercing ball. The use of hard steel rather than tungsten carbide, as used in the AP round, brings a marginal reduction in penetrating capacities, the two rounds having the same muzzle velocity of 827 m/s. There apparently are no intentions of transferring this pattern onto the 5.56mm calibre. Price-wise, however, the HPC stands between the standard DM41 ball and the DM151 AP, but a tad close to the latter.




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Harbour Protection

The Hunt for Harbour Intruders In the wake of the attack on the US Navy’s Cole DDG-51 type destroyer in October 2000 and on the French-registered tanker Limburg two years later, military, homeland and private security customers started to look at ways of countering the threats posed by underwater terrorists or divers attempting to infiltrate coastal facilities or attaching limpet mines to ships in ports or attack civilian targets, the latter with an evident quest for psychological effects on population.




Luca Peruzzi


he higher level of alert and response toward such a threat have last year led the American defence authorities to come up with ways of countering waterborne explosive devices, maritime suicide missions and other threats of that nature. The Joint Improvised Explosive Device Defeat Organization (JIEDDO) has three developmental level programmes on the stove intended to improve the US military's ability to defeat potential improvised explosive devices in a maritime environment. Similarly, other military and agencies in America and around the world (Nato, European Defence Agency and so

The Sonardyne Sentinel XF variant for military and government security applications has both active and passive detection and classification modes. It can protect an underwater square area of more than seven kilometres with a single sonar location. The Sentinel can be connected to third-party C2s, including the Flir Systems’ Nidar. (Sonardyne)

forth) are developing tools to identify and accordingly neutralize threats. Underwater, such threats have justified the development of diver detection sonars and other tools to provide adequate warning in the difficult environmental conditions that prevail in harbours, ports and shallow coastal waters. High-frequency active sonars operating in the 85-100 kHz range have become the answer to diver detection, tracking and classification, adding an underwater loudhailer to inform the diver that he is being tracked and to summon him to surface, or else! However, novel system solutions and signal-processing developments have opened the door to passive acoustic detection solutions. Examples include the Stevens Passive Acoustic Detection System, or Spades. As part of the Sobek programme, TNO’s Netherlands Organisation for Applied Scientific Research has conducted tests in the Rotterdam port with a passive array of hydrophones and processing algorithms, achieving what is claimed to be the first reported detection of a closed-circuit breathing apparatus-equipped diver in a harbour by passive sonar, at ranges of up to 120 metres in the presence of other targets. To cover large underwater areas with the best probability of detection, diver detection

systems and acoustic and magnetic barriers are networked as part of a dedicated or multi-environment command and control system, which can react accordingly to neutralize the threat with airguns and other non-lethal underwater weapons. In this context, surface and underwater robotic vehicles are also beginning to be deployed for the detection and positive identification of targets, including makeshift mines. Introduced in 2007, Sonardyne’s Sentinel has be acquired in numbers by the US Navy and other national and worldwide military, homeland agencies and commercial companies, for a range of applications that include high value facilities and luxury vessels. Sonardyne’s ongoing development programme has ensured that the Sentinel constantly remains abreast with user needs. Three variants are available. The baseline version comes with a Scylla underwater loudhailer and is configured for most commercial infrastructure protection, including support for networked sonar arrays and integration with third-party C2 systems. The Sentinel RD (Rapid Deployment) meets the needs, according to Sonardyne, for small, low-cost solutions, where ultimate detection range is not an issue. Its small footprint allows it to be easily installed on board yachts, small patrol boats




Harbour Protection

DSTA (Defence Science and Technology Agency), the Swimmer Detection Sonar Network (SDSN) is a scalable multi-node swimmer detection sonar network system offering detection, classification, localization and tracking capabilities, including the implementation of multistatic approach, as well as automatic target tracking, determination of target data (bearing, range, course, depth, speed, etc.), and initiation of counter-measures, such as high-power sound source. A prototype system has been successfully tested in Singapore, although involvement in Bahrain facilities have also been alleged. Kongsberg Mesotech in Norway today offers an enhanced derivative of the SM 2000, which is the subsurface intruder-detection element of the integrated anti-swimmer system provided to the US Coast Guard for high-value asset protection. Operating at 90 kHz, and suitable for both military and security applications, the family includes the DDS 9000 which covers a 200-degree horizontal sector, while the DDS 9001 is an The Kongsberg Defence Systems active Lasar 40 is designed for multi-sensor network integration using the company’s MSI System for signal processing and system operation. The Lasar 40, in a single sonar configuration, can be run from a rugged workstation. (Kongsberg)

Sonardyne’s Sentinel DDS is available in three variants, all equipped with Scylla underwater loudhailer: the baseline for most commercial and infrastructure protection, the Rapid Deployment (RD) with reduced footprint for small vessel and deployments, and the XF (eXtra Functionality) designed for military and government security applications. (Sonardyne)

and temporary sites. The third variant, the extended capability variant Sentinel XF (eXtra Functionality) was designed for military and government security applications, with additional software tools and display systems. It also has both active and passive detection and classification modes, protecting an underwater area greater than seven square kilometres with a single sonar location. With a 70kHz centre frequency and a 35kg sonar head (in the air if not specified), the Sentinel has a maximum diver and vehicle detection range of respectively around 900 and 1,500 metres, and is built on an Window-based open architecture system, with raw data and track information exported to an external C2 such as Flir Systems’ Nidar for integration




with electro-optical and radar systems. In June 2013, Sonardyne and Stevens Institute of Technology have paired for intellectual property licence of the Stevens Passive Acoustic Detection System (Spades). This is a portable, passive diver detection system that can be used independently or as a complement to a Sentinel active sonar, enhancing the Sonardyne underwater surveillance proposal. A joint development of US Scientific Solutions (SSI) and Singapore’s ST Electronics companies, under the auspices of the American ONR (Office of Naval Research) and Singapore

Sometimes there are no second chances. WE’LL HELP YOU GET IT DONE THE FIRST TIME. U.S. Coast Guard photo by PA1 John Gaffney. U.S. Coast Guard imagery used in illustration without endorsement expressed or implied.

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Harbour Protection

The Kongsberg MSI display used for signal processing and system operation, as part of C-Scope Underwater Surveillance and Protection (USP) system. The lasar 40 can operate in active and passive modes with a demonstrated detection range of 1,100 metres. (Kongsberg)

omnidirectional sonar head. The DDS 9000 comes with the latest Kongsberg Defence Systems’ Defender III tactical processor and display, allowing Mesotech sonar heads to work as diver detection systems. The DDS 9000 is given with a maximum range of 1,000 metres with detection of diver-like targets at ranges in excess of 600 metres. The maximum range of the DDS 9001 sonar is 800 metres. With a sonar head weighing less than 90 kg, allowing a small crew to deploy it in less than one hour, the open architecture DDS 9000 allows integration of third or same Kongsberg Multi Sensor Integration Unit (MSI) integrated into a C-Scope USP (Underwater Surveillance and Protection) system, which is also at the heart of the Kongsberg package deployed under contract from the Norwegian Ministry of Defence. It also uses




DSIT has supplied its AquaShield standard and PointShield portable DDSs to the Israeli Navy and numerous customers worldwide. The system has a detection range of 1,000, 700 and 1,500 metres against respectively open, closed-circuit breathing apparatus-equipped divers and SDVs. (DSIT)

active a Lasar 40 (long range awareness sonar), which also comes in the -40M rapid deployment version with a lightweight 25kg sonar head. It operates in active and passive modes simultaneously or separately, with an active 30-45kHz and passive 1-45kHz band coverage and has demonstrated detection distances of 1100 metres or more against divers with closed or semi-closed systems. The C-Scope USP has been sold to civilian and military customers, including Turkey, to protect two naval bases with an integrated above- and under- water surveillance system provided by Aselsan. In 2012 Israeli Navy has admitted the long use of AquaShield and PointShield portable DDSs from underwater warfare specialist DSIT for round-the-clock protection of critical coastal sites and marine assets. According to DSIT, its main customers are undisclosed worldwide navies, homeland security agencies, oil and gas companies, nuclear power facilities, port authorities, as well as yachts and coastal properties, with sales exceeding the $30 mark. The AquaShield is being marketed as a 5th-generation DDS with a unique modular, open architecture and windows-based design, operating at ‘a 60 KHz central frequency’ and offering a long range detection coverage of up to 3,000 metres in diameter. Able to handle more than 1,000 targets simultaneously, the AquaShield is indicated to have a detection range of 1,000, 700 and 1,500 metres respectively against open, closed circuit breathing apparatusequipped divers and SDVs. The PointShield is the smaller system of DSIT DDS family, incorporating the latest software and hardware developments, with an underwater unit weight in air of less than 45 kg. In March 2013, DSIT’s US Acorn Energy subsidiary announced another round of orders from an undisclosed navy for its AquaShield underwater security system. The same undisclosed navy has been operating both DDSes for years to protect national critical assets. DSIT is currently in the process of deploying what is considered by many sources to be one of the world’s largest oil and gas underwater security projects. The Israeli Navy has a major requirement for diver detection systems to protect the new offshore national O&G facilities, which are developing fast. In June 2013, Atlas Elektronik UK confirmed the successful completion of the Cerberus Mod2 DDS’s factory acceptance test at its facilities in Southern England,

Like its bigger AquaShield DDS stablemate, the PointShield boasts a unique modular design that enables tailoring the system to customer and site specific geography requirements. (DSIT)

Atlas Elektronik UK’s Cerberus Mod2 DDS will be embarked on board Type F-125 class frigates, and can be deployed as a single unit or within a networked package. The Cerberus Mod2 has a compact sonar head weighing 23 kg in air and has better performance compared to its bigger brother Mod1 system. (Atlas Elecktronik)

before it reaches the Germany Navy for personnel training at Bundeswehr’s incountry facilities. The German Navy is acquiring five Cerberus Mod2s, one for ashore training and one each for its four Type F125 frigates. Atlas claims the F125 to be the first Nato vessel class to be fitted with a DDS. The system will operate as a stand-alone system, without integration into the combat system. The components were required to meet additional requirements and standards, including a completely new design and build of a bespoke power supply and processing unit (PSPU) qualified to customer rigorous standard. Designed to meet the demands of both portable and ship-borne applications, the Cerberus Mod2 provides improved performance over the Mod1, allowing open- and closedcircuit breathing diver detection respectively at over 900 and 700 metres. Operating within a frequency range of 70 to 130 kHz, the Cerberus Mod2 features a sonar head of compact design (400x300 mm and 23kg in air), while the complete system including the deployment cable, power supply and processing unit (PSPU) and remote laptop weighs around 72 kg. During DSEI 2013 last September, Atlas Elektronik UK announced two additional




Harbour Protection

In service with different navies and homeland agencies worldwide, the Rafael Protector fast robotic patroller comes with a modular mission system and a tailored platform to match mission requirements, including underwater surveillance. (Rafael)

Atlas Elektronik Uk’s Cerberus Mod2 complete system including the deployable cable, power supply and processing unit, together with remote laptop has a total weight of around 72 kg. (Atlas Elektronik)

significant contracts from undisclosed customers for the supply of Cerberus Mod 2s. Both contracts, according to the company, are for permanently deployed systems to be used for the protection of key overseas infrastructures, with one of the installations being an integrated, multiple-head system earmarked for the protection of a high value national location. One of the two is a repeat order, but both commanding delivery within early 2014. These add to previous orders, including for Cerberus Mod 2 DDS to South Korean company's LIG Nex1 under a five-year contract awarded in April 2012. The system is expected to protect strategic harbours, with installation carried out by LIG Nex1 and the Republic of Korea Navy (ROKN). Based on its heavy- and lightweight torpedo and underwater heritage, Wass last year presented an intruder warning system (IWS), based on a 360° lightweight panoramic sonar, designed to be dropped by vessels at anchor. With a wet-end sonar head of 26 kg, according to Wass documentation, the IWS can detect underwater threats such as divers at distance of 500 metres. The eleven-kilo dry end, which includes signal processing, human interface and underwater scenario visualization display tailored to military and government agencies requirements, is shared with the obstacle warning system sonar that Wass is promoting for commercial applications.




Saab Dynamics Portable Diver Detection System (PDDS) is an omnidirectional standalone and readily deployable DDS, designed for seamless integration with third party C2 system. (Saab Dynamics)

Teledyne Reson’s range of waterside security systems (WSS) deployed worldwidely, is based on the new-generation 7k architecture with advantages in terms of component interchangeability, common data format sharing and user interface for

mine counter measures operations. A Danish company, Reson presented its latest PDS2000 ADT software for use by its SeaBat 7128 sonar in a live diver detection exercise. The new system configuration is designed to be highly portable for rapid deployment at temporary threat sites such as waterside exhibitions, sports events and conferences. It can be deployed and made operational in less than an hour and can be mounted on a harbour wall, quayside or on a small vessel for mobile operations in ports, rivers and estuaries. According to Reson, the SeaBat 7128 is the world’s only dual-frequency diver detection sonar that operates in excess of 200 kHz. The latest version of the PDS2000 ADT software enabling users to overlay sonar images and detected targets on a digital map for ease of identification in highly cluttered environments. Saab Dynamics Underwater Systems markets its omnidirectional Portable Diver Detection System (PDDS) as a standalone and readily deployable unit designed for seamless integration into third party C2 system. It can easily adapt to the rapidly changing circumstances of highly dynamic operations where its small size allows it to be used as dipping sonar from ship decks, being fully operational within minutes of deployment. With a 300mm diameter and 855mm length, the sonar weighs 35 kg and has a 120kHz operating frequency with a range scalable to 500 metres. Equipped with an inertial measurement unit to compensate for motion, and battery powered for small vessels deployment, it comes with a rugged laptop which is used as the PDDS operator console, providing a complete situational overview, and acting as the signal processing unit for detection and classification. Among other systems on the market (which include the Polish Centrum Techniki Morskiej proprietary DDS, the

I LIGHTWEIGHT RADAR FOR HOMELAND MARITIME SURVEILLANCE Under the request of the CGOM (Commandement de la Gendarmerie Outre-Mer) that needed a system for intercepting light boats and pirogues carrying out illegal activities in French overseas territor, Teknisolar Seni developed a specific light radar. The radar system weighs 10 kg and is installed on a tripod, while a 20 kg case contains the battery as well as the control system, with a 14” sun-readable colour screen, allowing to locate and track up to 10 targets at a time. According to the French company based in St. Malo, range depends on above-water height: at a 100-metre height maximum range against an 8-metre rubber boat is 25 km, dropping to 14 km at a 25-metre height and 10 km at 5 metre, but ranges are halved in sea state 3 to 5. Signal processing allows to identify polyester as well as rubber boats, although detection is mostly based on the boat’s wake. The radar operates in the 10 GHz band with a beam aperture of 1.9° horizontal and 22° vertical, horizontal coverage being of 350°, the system using a 640 mm, 4 kW output helical high-gain antenna. Battery-powere, it has an 8 to 12-hour autonomy that can be increased using a solar panel in daytime. Being aimed at Gendarmerie personnel not specialised in radar operation the HMI provides straight data such as target boat direction, speed and distance from the radar, as well as its geographic grids. The radar proved its effectiveness in the last four years and is now offered on the export market.

Spanish Electronica Submarina SAES’ DDS-03, the British Tritech’s Seaking Hammerhead, and the Canadian Marport CTech CSDS-85), the American Wesmar’s Web 850 has been sold, inter alia, to Gulf Cooperation Council customers in 2012. The Web 850 searchlight sonar system has been designed and marketed to provide a waterside electronic barrier to protect vessels, harbour, oil facilities and valued assets. Searchlight sonar technology utilizes a powerful, concentrated sonar beam for high-resolution detection of large and small targets. The system is capable of long-range detection in challenging shallow waters of harbours. The inclusion of electronic stabilization allows the Wesmar sonar to be installed with a system-supplied buoy and anchor system instead of an underwater platform.

Harbour Protection

View of Sonardyne Sentinel DDS display system during CMRE-executed Talon 13 demonstration in La Spezia harbour. The image shows the sonar-covered area as well as targets and their data. (CMRE) I TALON 13 DEMONSTRATION

A view of the CMRE-developed Talon software at work with Flir Systems camera images layered over a digital map of the 2013 demonstration with contacts and targets. The system doesn’t require a dedicated, stationary, control room. (CMRE)

I ISRAEL AEROSPACE INDUSTRIES SOLUTION TO MARITIME SECURITY Israel Aerospace Industries proposes a comprehensive solution known as ELI-3320 PortGuard that can be tailor-cut to the infrastructures to be protected - from harbour to oil rig. The company leveraged experience with drones, radars, and special mission aircraft, adding systems from other companies where necessary. Among the purely water-based items IAI proposes an underwater electronic net with penetration location indication, and a diver detection sonar. A harbour fence denying passage of vessels is also part of the suite. As for radars, these range from coastal surveillance radars to over-the-horizon radars, the latter being the ELM-2270 EZ Guard HF radar offering a maximum range of 200 NM depending on target size. A number IAI drones, Herons in the first place, can obviously be part of the integrated system, the vertilift Panther being particularly suited for operating from oil rigs, thus considerably extending the optical surveillance range (from, inter alia, the SeaMosp) while sigint systems can also be integrated into the Port-Guard. The Port-Guard is in service in various configurations, though customers have not been disclosed.




Last November (2013) La Spezia harbour area around the Nato Centre for Maritime Research and Experimentation (CMRE) (former NURC) staged the demonstration of new concepts with a view to showing how technology may contribute to port and harbour protection. The Talon 13 demonstration, performed in co-operation with the Italian Navy’s mine countermeasures command, focused on countering the small boat and swimmer/diver threat by enforcing a set of layered exclusion zones without the need for fixed barriers (and thereby minimise harm to non-threat third parties). The Talon 13 system design draws on years of CMRE work in Port Protection and involves the integration of multiple types of sensor networks and non-lethal warning devices, in order to implement the “rapid contact designation and warning concept”. Developed entirely by CMRE, the Talon software is able to set up autonomous reactions, while the human operator keeps the activities under control in real-time with a user-friendly internet browsing window, which can be run on mobile devices (no need for a dedicated control room). Compared to previous Talon demonstrations, in which contacts from detection/tracking sensors were mostly simulated, this year’s edition highlighted the use of state-of-the art “data fusion” algorithms which integrate data coming from various deployed sensors as well as collected info coming from fixed port surveillance systems for incorporation into one common picture. This year’s event also marked the début of CMRE’s new Manet (Mobile Ad hoc Network) self-reconfigurable network for a wearable, tactical video system based on wireless connection to transmit images from mobile helmet cameras to a command centre for viewing. Finally, sensor/effector cluster automation for automatic alert and warning, mobile hand-held C2 for contact query, manual contact designation/alert/warning, and last-resort non-lethal response devices have been tested. The non-lethal devices tested included entanglement device throwers for small boat interdiction, a laser dazzler and an air gun system.

Special Mission Aircraft

The Pilatus Spectre is a special mission version of the PC-12 with options that include a retractable EO/IR turret in the unpressurised tail cone, hiding its ISR role when on the ground. (Pilatus)

SPECIAL MISSION AIRCRAFT The best way to respond to some mission needs is to add sensors, work stations, extra communications equipment, defensive aids (and even armour and armament) to existing utility or transport aircraft. This can provide a relatively low-cost, well-proven platform that minimises the time and funds required for development.

Roy Braybrook


eveloping special mission variants of existing aircraft is an approach that is applicable to several military and paramilitary roles, such as border patrol, search-and-rescue, target towing, small-scale personnel infiltration and exfiltration, airborne early warning and maritime surveillance. Starting at the lightweight end of the scale, Cessna markets ‘Enforcer’ special mission versions of its single-engined range, starting with the 1157-kg Model 172 Skyhawk with 134 kW piston engine. The Enforcer 172 has a gimballed sensor on the starboard wing strut, feeding imagery to a laptop in the cabin.




This example of the paramilitary Cessna Enforcer series is based on the Model 206 Stationair. It has a gimballed sensor on the right-hand wing strut, feeding images to a laptop in the cabin. (Cessna)

The Northrop Grumman Air Claw is based on the Quest Kodiak 100. It has a Persistent Surveillance Systems Hawkeye camera array and a Flir Systems Star Safire 380-HD EO/IR turret. (Northrop Grumman)

Aimed primarily at law enforcement agencies, it offers longer endurance than a helicopter. In its basic form the Cessna 172 has a flyaway price of $ 289,500. Topping the Cessna single piston-engined range, the 1633-kg Model 206 Turbo Stationair with 230 kW engine sells from $ 597,500. Moving up to a single turboprop (645-kW P&WC PT6A), the sticker-price for

a 3995-kg Cessna 208 Grand Caravan EX starts at $ 2.149 million. Maximum payload goes up with size, from 412 kg for the Skyhawk and 573 kg for the Stationair to 1463 kg for the Grand Caravan. The Iraqi Air Force operates three RC-208s in the reconnaissance role, and three AC-208 ‘Combat Caravans’ with EO/IR sensors and laser designators. The AC-208 is cleared to carry and fire two Lockheed Martin Hellfire This Hellfire-armed, sensor-equipped Alliant Techsystems AC-208B Combat Caravan of the Iraqi Air Force is a special mission version of the Cessna 208 Grand Caravan. (Multinational Security Transition Command Iraq)

missiles. All Iraqi Model 208s were supplied by ATK Integrated Systems, which has also delivered two AC-208s to the Lebanese Air Force under a $ 14.7 million contract. In 2011 the US Air Force contracted Cessna to supply 26 Models 208 Caravans for the Afghan Air Force, with options on 24 more. The Northrop Grumman Air Claw is based on the 3290-kg Quest Kodiak 100 with 560-kW PT6A-34 turboprop. System integration is provided by NG’s Aberdeen Integration Center. The baseline fit includes a Flir Systems Star Safire 380-HD EO/IR turret and a Hawkeye Wide Area Motion Imagery (Wami) camera array by Persistent Surveillance Systems. It has two operator




Special Mission Aircraft

Wearing two-tone grey camouflage, this US Air Force Pilatus U-28A serial 05-0477 (formerly N477PC, c/n 477) is assigned to the 318th Special Operations Squadron. It was photographed beside the ramp badge of the 27th Special Operations Wing. (Cannon AFB)

stations and an observer position. Endurance exceeds eight hours. The basic Kodiak costs $ 1.7 million, but the surveillance version sells for around $ 4.0 million. The fastest single-turboprop business aircraft is probably the 3353-kg Daher-Socata TBM 850, with a 1360-kW PT6A-66D flatrated at 635 kW, giving a maximum cruise speed of 593 km/hr at 26,000 ft. The TBM 850 has a payload of 654 kg, and is offered with a retractable Thales Agile 2 multi-sensor turret in the rear. The Pilatus PC-12/47 has been adopted by US Afsoc (Air Force Special Operations Command) as the 4960-kg U-28A component of its NSAv (Non-Standard Aviation) fleet. Powered by 895-kW PT6A-67Bs, U-28As

were purchased as pre-used PC-12s and fitted with an advanced communications and navigation suite, survivability equipment and EO/IR sensors. Funding was provided by Socom (Special Operations Command) and unit cost is given as $ 16.5 million. The U-28A was first deployed in 2006 in Operation Enduring Freedom and Iraqi Freedom. The US Air Force currently lists 21 with active duty units, namely the 34th and 319th Special Operations Squadrons (SOS) with the 1st Special Operations Wing (SOW) at Hurlburt Field, Florida, and the 318th SOS with the 27th SOW at Cannon AFB, New Mexico. The service purchased at least 34 PC12s between FY04 and FY09. The U-28s are currently in use in ISR operations over Africa,

Painted to look like a civil M28, this PZL-Mielec C-145A Skytruck serial 11-0326 (formerly N326DD, c/n AJE-00326) was assigned to the US Air Force 318th Special Operations Squadron for night-time infiltration and exfiltration duties. (US Air Force)




codenamed Creek Sand and Tusker Sand. Pilatus markets in America the Spectre special mission version of the PC-12. Options include a utility/jump door built into the large freight door, and a retractable EO/IR sensor turret in the unpressurised tail cone. In October 2012 Sierra Nevada (SNC) was awarded a $ 218 million contract to provide 18 specially equipped PC-12/47Es for the Afghan Air Force, to support Afghan National Army Special Operations Forces. I LIGHT TWINS

Another component of Afsoc’s NSAv fleet is the PZL-Mielec M28, designated C-145A Skytruck. Powered by two 610-kW PT6A65Bs, the 7500-kg M28 has a maximum















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Special Mission Aircraft

payload of 2500 kg, and can operate from short, unpaved airstrips. Socom acquired eleven M28-05s (which PZL refers to as M28 Alfas) between FY09 and FY11. They were originally purchased by Sierra Nevada and ferried across the North Atlantic to the US under Polish registrations. At Sparks, Nevada, SNC modified them, presumably with equipment for night-time operation, precision navigation and military communications. Ten C-145As were assigned to the 318th SOS of the 27th SOW at Cannon AFB, New Mexico, and the eleventh was reportedly based at Hurlburt Field. The task of the 318th was night-time infiltration, exfiltration and resupply of joint special operations forces. In March 2013 the aircraft were reassigned to the 6th SOS of the 1st SOW, to be based at Duke Field, Florida, an auxiliary airfield of Eglin AFB. The 6th is tasked with training the personnel of foreign air forces. I KING AIR IS KING!

The current Northrop Grumman Guardrail is the end product of a whole family of sigint developments, the earliest of which were conversions of the 4580-kg U-21 Ute, the US Army version of the Beech King Air A90 with 410-kW PT6A-20A turboprops. Guardrail (GR) operations were launched in 1971 with the GR-I, equipping the RU21E. It was used in standoff mode, tracking Warsaw Pact troop movements in East Germany and Czechoslovakia. The RC-21E graduated to the GR-II mission system in 1972 and to the GR-IV in 1974. Operations in Korea began in the mid-1970s, monitoring the demilitarised zone. The GR-V entered

service with the RU-21H in 1978. Beginning in 1984 and while still operating the RU-21, the US Army switched Sigint developments to the 7345-kg C-12 Huron, the military Super King Air, powered by two 635-kW PT6A-41s. The first of these was the RC-12D, equipped with Improved Guardrail V (IGV). The RC-12D was operated from bases in West Germany, by the 1st Military Intelligence Battalion (MI-BN) at Wiesbaden and the 2nd MI-BN at Stuttgart Airport. In December 1990 some German-based RC12Ds were deployed to Al Qaisumah in Saudi Arabia for operations against Iraq. From late 1991, following dissolution of the Soviet Union, most RC-12Ds were withdrawn to Stateside bases. Five RC-12Ds have also been operated (alongside two RC-12Ks) under the name Kokiya (Cuckoo) by the Israeli Air Force No 191 Sqn, No 15 Wing, from Sde Dov Airport (Tel Aviv). Israel also developed its own Sigint C-12, named Tzufit. The next major step was the RC-12H, which entered service in 1988 with the Guardrail Common Sensor (GR/CS) System Three. It was followed by the RC-12K with GR/CS System Four in 1991, and the RC-12N with GR/CS System One in 1995. In 1998 the US Army introduced the heaviest in the series, the 7480-kg RC-12P with GR/CS System Two. This was joined in 2000 by the RC-12Q (distinguished by a dome-shaped dorsal radome), mounting the same system, plus Direct Air Satellite Relay. These two models operate together, the RC-12Q serving as the airborne relay facilities (ARF) ‘mother-ship’ to one or more

This US Army RC-12X is one of 14 that Northrop Grumman produced by converting existing RC-12N/P/Qs under the Guardrail Modernization Program. The RC-12X is to remain in service until 2025. (Northrop Grumman)




The Boeing Emarss (Enhanced Medium-Altitude Reconnaissance/Surveillance System) Beechcraft SKA-350ER is shown on its first flight, on May 22, 2013. Note the dorsal satcom radome. (Boeing)

IED-related casualties in Iraq and Afghanistan led to multiple airborne sensor platforms being deployed to theatre. One such was the Angel Fire SKA, a US Air Force project used to support Marine Corps operations in Iraq. (US DoD).

RC-12Ps, transmitting data from the group via satcom to an integrated processing facility (IPF) on the ground. Each RC-12 is crewed only by the two pilots, its mission system being controlled remotely from the IPF. Guardrail integrates IGV with a Communication High Accuracy Airborne Location System (CHAALS) and the ALQ-133 Advanced Quick Look (AQL) radar data collection system. It provides near-real time intelligence, precise geo-location of high value target (HVT) emitters, and persistent targeting for artillery. All Guardrail units are assigned to the US Army’s Inscom (Intelligence & Security Command). The basing of US Army Guardrail units has been (at least until recently) as follows. The 3rd MI-BN, equipped with the RC12D/H has been at Yongsan (Seoul), South Korea, where it operates alongside the de Havilland Canada/Northrop Grumman RC-7B Airborne Reconnaissance Low (ARL), but it is being moved south, to Camp Humphreys, Pyeongtaek. The 1st MI-BN with the RC-12K has been based for many years at Wiesbaden, Germany. The 15th MI-BN with the RC-12P/Q is based at Fort Hood, Texas, but is

Special Mission Aircraft

This US Air Force L-3 Communications MC-12W Liberty serial 09-0626 (c/n FL-626) was visiting RAF Mildenhall, Suffolk in May 2013. Note the ventral sensor pod with EO/IR turret, dorsal satcom radome and 17 mission symbols. (US Air Force)

currently deployed to southwest Asia. The 224th MI-BN with the RC-12N is based at Hunter Army Airfield, Savannah, Georgia. The 304th MI-BN is a training unit at Fort Huachuca, Arizona. Each battalion has a nominal establishment of twelve aircraft. Following cancellation of the Aerial Common Sensor (ACS) programme to replace the Guardrail, in September 2007 Northrop Grumman was awarded a $ 462 million contract for the Guardrail Modernization Program or GR/CS Upgrade. The US Army’s 44 RC-12s of five different models are thus to be replaced by an advanced standardised development, the RC-12X. A total of 14 late-model Guardrail aircraft (selected from 14 RC-12Ns, nine RC12Ps and three RC-12Qs) have now been brought to RC-12X standard. The first two were delivered to the US Army in January 2011, and deployed to Afghanistan. The last of the batch was handed over by the end of 2013. The RC-12X is expected to remain in service until 2025. I MISCELLANY

The US services had meanwhile introduced into service various quick-reaction EO/IR and radar sensor platforms, responding to the large number of casualties produced by IEDs in Iraq and Afghanistan.




The US Air Force C-12R Horned Owl aircraft was equipped with the SRI International PenRad Six foliage/earthpenetrating radar, and a Wescam 14 Skyball EO/IR turret. It was evaluated in Iraq in 2005, making over 680 sorties and detecting 21 IEDs and 24 weapons caches. The US Army evaluated the PenRad Seven in its Desert Owl programme, using a similar aircraft. “It was evaluated in Iraq in 2005, making over 680 sorties and detecting 21 IEDs and 24 weapons caches”

Under the US Army Constant Hawk programme, seven aircraft (C-12s and Shorts 360s, the latter owned by Air Cargo Carriers of Milwaukee) were equipped with the BAE Systems Awapss (Airborne Wide Area Persistent Surveillance System), which produced 100 megapixel images at one/two frames per second. Each would fly at 17,000 ft, orbiting around a fixed point at four kilometre radius, producing one-metre resolution images of the enclosed area. In 2006 the US Army established Task Force Odin (Observe, Detect, Identify and Neutralize) with a fleet of 25 drones and manned aircraft, specifically to detect IEDs in Iraq. Based at Camp Speicher near Tikrit, the fleet included seven C-12s with the Sierra Nevada Marss (Medium-Altitude Reconnaissance/Surveillance System), combining a General Atomics APY-3 Lynx radar, an L-3 Wescam MX-15 EO/IR turret, Sigint equipment, and Ku-band Satcom. Marss-II added Elint and Comint. Other

Odin elements included the Science Applications International (Saic) Saturn Arch, again based on the King Air. The Boeing Emarss (Enhanced Marss) is an SKA-350ER with a retractable EO/IR turret, three workstations and extra fuel tanks to give an endurance of seven hours. The initial contract was awarded to Boeing in November 2010, when Emarss was seen as a 48-aircraft programme. A prototype flew in October 2012. Boeing is contracted to build four development aircraft, the first of which flew in May 2013. Following cutbacks, it is now anticipated that there will be two more development aircraft, plus four Lrip aircraft funded in FY14, and two in FY15. The need for additional sensor platforms in Afghanistan and Iraq led the US Air Force to deploy contractor-owned, contractoroperated Beech A90s under codenames Angel Fire and Blue Devil One. The Angel Fire was a persistent wide-area surveillance system with multiple sensors, detecting changes in the chosen area. Developed by the US Air Force Research Laboratory and the Los Alamos National Laboratory, it provided near-real time imagery to tactical units. In 2008 it was evaluated by the 922nd Expeditionary Research Flight at Al Asad AB in Iraq, to support US Marine Corps units. The four Blue Devil A90s, owned by Saic, each combine a wide-area EO/IR sensor with Sigint, specifically aimed at cellphone usage. I LIBERTY

A total of 37 MC-12W Liberty aircraft were purchased by the US Air Force between FY08

Special Mission Aircraft

The Saab 340 MSA (Maritime Security Aircraft) demonstrator (SE-MCG) is equipped with a Telephonics 1700B radar and thermal imaging camera. Based on a pre-used aircraft, unit cost is around $ 20 million. The Japan Coast Guard operates similar aircraft. (Saab)

and FY10, in the form of SKA-350ERs with L-3 Pennant Race Sigint, a L-3 Wescam MX20Di EO/IR turret and Ku-band Satcom. As prime contractor and systems integrator, L3 Communications performed most of the conversions, but some were subcontracted to ATK to speed deliveries. The MC-12W has two pilots, a sensor operator and a cryptological operator. It can achieve an endurance of over seven hours at low level. Unit cost is around $ 17.0 million, compared to $ 10.0 million for the basic aircraft.




In June 2009 the MC-12W entered service with the 362nd ERS (Expeditionary Reconnaissance Squadron) at Joint Base Balad in Iraq, followed by the 4th ERS at Bagram Airfield in Afghanistan, to be joined by the 451st ERS at Kandahar Airfield in April 2010. By mid-2010, 30 MC-12Ws were deployed to southwest Asia, while seven were retained for training with No 9 RS at Beale AFB in California, the home base for the fleet. It has recently been reported that the MC-12W will ‘Buddy Laze’ for other aircraft dropping LGBs.

Looking beyond Afghanistan, it is planned that a reduced MC-12W fleet will equip Air National Guard units at Key Field, Mississippi, Joint Reserve Base Fort Worth, Texas, Bradley ANG Base, Indiana, and the training unit at Beale AFB. It is believed that Britain’s five Beechcraft Shadow R1s are generally similar to the MC-

Britain has five Raytheon Sentinel R1 battlefield surveillance aircraft assigned to Royal Air Force No 5 (Army Cooperation) Squadron. Based on the Bombardier Global Express, Sentinel may later be modified for overwater operations. (Raytheon Systems)

In 2008 India ordered three Embraer ERJ-145s to serve as platforms for AEW radars developed by its own Defence Research and Development Organisation. The first flew in Brazil in late 2011 and was delivered to DRDO in August 2012. (Embraer)

The IAI/Elta CAEW (Conformal Airborne Early Warning) aircraft is based on the Gulfstream G550 and is equipped with the Elta EL/W-2085 radar with IFF, plus Elint and Comint equipment. The CAEW is used by Israel and Singapore. (IAI)

12W. There is talk of them later being modified for the maritime patrol role. Iraq, Pakistan, Saudi Arabia and Turkey all operate ISR Beechcraft aircraft with mission systems by L-3 or Raytheon. Colombia operates Elint SKA-350s with Elta avionic systems. The US companies offering ISR/Elint conversions of aircraft such as the King Air include Boeing with Ramis (Reconfigurable Airborne Multi-int ISR System), General Atomics with Griffin Eye, L-3 with the Spyder, Lockheed Martin with the Dragon Star, Sierra Nevada (teamed with ITT Exelis) with the Vigilant Stare wide-area persistent surveillance system, and Aerial Surveillance Systems with the SkyEye 350. Canada and

Saudi Arabia are seen as early customers. Boeing estimates an export market as high as 90 aircraft. I LARGER AIRCRAFT

This discussion has been largely concerned with relatively small, affordable platforms that have been used intensively since the Vietnam War, and which will probably dominate the international market for years. However, larger aircraft are easier to deploy over large distances, provide higher ceilings and heavier payloads, and are more self-contained, relying less on supporting ground vehicles. Turboprops have the advantage in missions requiring endurance at low/

medium altitude, hence the maritime patrol conversions of the Saab 340, Bombardier Dash 8-400 and the ATR42/72. Turboprops also represent a less expensive way to acquire an AEW&C aircraft, exemplified by Saab Erieye conversions of the Saab 340B, used by Sweden, Thailand and the United Arab Emirates. The US Army’s Airborne Reconnaissance Low (ARL) fleet of RC-7Bs is deployed to Southern and Central Commands from the 204th MI-BN at Biggs Army Airfield in Texas. In July 2013 the service released an RFI for an ARL – Enhanced (ARL-E), envisioning a fleet of nine aircraft with advanced sensors and satcom. Northrop Grumman, prime for the current RC-7B ARL, is proposing a ‘Quick Mission’ system, which could be applied to a variety of aircraft. Jets provide better speed and altitude, and thus a higher rate of terrain coverage. Examples include Britain’s Raytheon Sentinel battlefield surveillance aircraft with sar/gmti radar based on the Bombardier Global Express. Lockheed Martin proposes its Dragon’s Eye ISR system for business jets, and is flying its Airborne Multi-INT Laboratory (AML), a converted Gulfstream GIII. As instanced by the Boeing E-3 Awacs development of the 707, high-flying jets provide greater distance to the radar horizon than turboprops, and are thus the natural choice for AEW&C applications. Hence the Embraer ERJ-145 Erieye conversions used by Brazil, Greece, Mexico and India, and the IAI/Elta CAEW (Conformal AEW) aircraft, based on the Gulfstream G550 and used by Israel and Singapore. The traditional viewpoint is that jets are less suitable for the maritime patrol role, but that did not stop the US Navy from choosing the Boeing P-8A, based on the 737-800, to replace its Lockheed Martin P-3C. Finally, it may be noted that in 2012 an undisclosed Chinese customer purchased seven Bombardier CRJ700 “special mission aircraft”. It is now known that they will be completed by Ontario-bassed Flying Colours, with emphasis on VIP modifications. The last will be delivered in early 2015.




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AUSA 2013 

Held in the American capital at theWalter E. Washington Convention Centre between 21 and 23 October, AUSA 2013 managed to escape the governmental shutdown by only a few days. The authorisation signed in early September by the Army Secretary to allow service personnel to take part in the event increased the presence of Army personnel at the convention. Not much new in terms of programmes, with uncertainty still dominating future budgets, but the presence of two of the Joint Multi Role Technology Demonstrators, which should lead to the Future Vertical Lift programme, probably put flying assets ahead of ground ones at this edition. Paolo Valpolini reports.


Coupling a combat-proven surface-to-surface rocket with an existing air-to-surface weapon might add considerable strike capabilities at low cost and low risk to the current US Army inventory. This is the idea that led Boeing to develop the Ground Launched Small Diameter Bomb, a system that will allow the US Army and possibly other foreign ground forces deploying the MLRS artillery rocket launcher to



reach targets at long ranges – over 150 km – with the precision provided by a standard SDB. Following the ban on cluster ammunition, the US Army started demilitarising its M26 rockets. Their warheads were armed with 644 M77 antipersonnel/anti-materiel grenades that were dispersed over the target in mid-air, something that is longer tolerated. The rocket itself has a range of 32 km and can thus be used to launch something different. Instead of destroying them Boeing started developing


an inter-stage adapter that allows to connect the SDB to the rocket; once the altitude planned by the fire control system is reached, the adapter separates the SDB from the rocket and thanks to its deployable wings the bomb glides towards its target, guided by its INS/GPS system. The SDB penetrating-blast fragmentation warhead weighs 93 kg, features a shaped nose, contains 16 kg of insensitive explosive, and is equipped with an electronic safe/arm fuse with pre-launch selectable air burst,

height sensor and delayed modes. It can be used against bunkers, since the warhead penetration in reinforced concrete reaches nearly one meter. The GLSDB is compatible with the M270A1 MLRS and M142 HIMARS launchers, each pod hosting six rockets, that is 12 rockets in the tracked version and six in the wheeled light version of the multiple rocket system. Following the completion of the inter-stage adapter development Boeing should conduct ground and flight testing.


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“Our customers benefit from that in three ways,” says Mr. Teich: “first, they get a solution  that has been developed for  broad base customers so when they deploy it in their own field they can look for references around the world and get feedbacks, second, they do not need to use procurement dollars to fund R&D for somebody else’s, and third, those solutions being deployed globally they can also be supported globally.” According to the new Boss, the number one factor for having a global support is to have a sufficient number of systems deployed in the countries around the world, and this is a consequence of the

UAS or weapon sights, where maximising SWAP is critically important,” Teich says, adding “and it has now migrated into numerous other applications widening the customer base.”(Mr. Teich shows us a technology demonstrator where a Quark-based TI is attached to a smartphone, potentially providing every soldier with a low-cost thermal device). The CDMQ model also applies to vehicle applications. “We invested quite a lot of money in developing a commercial driver's vision enhancer (DVE) solution, something which is in service in the US military on some 20-

trucks produced annually, as the cost of that solution will go down, a higher number of vehicles will be equipped with them and it will be at that point that the cycle technology spyral will kick in bringing back advantages to the military that will have themselves lower cost systems”. In recent years Flir Systems evolved considerably. “The company started as a solution provider, however the solutions tended to be just a gimbal of a hand-held thermal binocular; today we really see aourselves a solution provider, however it is the customer to define which level of solution he buys from us.” Since 2004 Flir adopted a

CDMQ approach where common core elements are used in many different systems. “By funding ourselves our R&D we have total control over our technologies, whether commercial or military, ITARcontrolled or not. If you look at the Quark core that we developed last year, which is the world's smallest, lightest, lowest power thermal imaging core, we initially looked at it for military applications such as

30,000 vehicles, but it is still very expensive a system costing between 13 to 15,000 dollars apiece; we then decided to partner with a company working in the safety sector of the automotive market to develop a commercial-grade DVE and this is now deployed into BMW and Mercedes Benz vehicles, which is provided as optional at around 2,000 dollars. Considering that there are 60 million cars and light

highly vertically integrated structure, while in 2010 it acquired ICX, which brought in integration capacities that now allows the company to provide solutions at all levels, from system-of-systems, to systems, to subsystems. This being said, systems remain the core business, generating around 80% of the revenues, integrated systems and subsystems providing some 10% each.


At AUSA Armada International met Andrew C. Teich who on May 19, 2013 became Chief Executive Officer of Flir Systems. Since the mid-1980s Mr. Teich served with Inframetric, which was acquired by Flir in 1999. He thus has almost 30 years of experience in the thermal vision world. In his view the concept of commerciallydeveloped/military-qualified (CDMQ) product development is the key element in his company business. “The CDMQ approach, developed in the early 2000 timeframe, really defines the way Flir develops its products and technologies for its customer base, and it is becoming particularly important these days looking at what is going on with defense spending,” Mr. Teich underlines. With some 10% of its yearly revenues invested in research and development. Flir develops its core technologies and system level solutions that can be deployed globally for a broad base of applications.





The star of the Textron Marine & Land Systems stand was the very last version of the Commando 4x4 vehicle, aimed at providing the family with a fire support vehicle to sustain infantry operations. It is equipped with a CMI CSE 90LP turret cradling a Cockerill Mk3 36 calibres 90 mm rifled gun that is also capable of engaging light armoured vehicles. Its APFSDS round ensures a penetration of a 100 mm RHA Nato target at 60° and at a range of 1,000 metres while the HEAT-T defeats 130 mm of RHA. Increasing to the gun’s versatility is a set other ammunition that includes a HESH-T to deal a blow to bunkers, walls and light vehicles, while against infantry in the open the HE round has a lethal radius of 15 metres. Canister and smoke rounds are


More and more an international group, Saab announced at AUSA the merging of all its defence activities in the United States under a single umbrella, the newly established Saab Defense

also available. The turret was installed on a Commando Select, the intermediate-level version of the 4x4 which is also available in the mortar and ambulance versions. The Direct Fire Vehicle has a crew of four, with gunner and loader located in the turret. Textron M&LS supplied 550 Commando Select vehicles to the Afghan National Army, these being deployed by Mobile Strike Force units. Three different variants were delivered, two armoured personnel carriers hosting a three-man crew and seven dismounts (352 equipped with a light turret armed with a 12.7 mm machine gun or a 40 mm AGL, 142 fitted with the Objective Gunner Protection Kit, and 23 ambulances with raised rooftop and able to host the two-man crew plus a medical attendant, two seated and two littered casualties.


and Security USA LLC – SDAS in short. “We had several operations in the US such as Saab Training USA LLC, Saab Barracuda LLC, Saab Support and Services LLC and Saab Sensis Corporation”. Lars Borgwing the newly appointed SDAS boss said at a

press briefing “we decided to put them together, including the defence component of Saab Sensis,”. The main reason is that although the crisis dealt strong blow to the American defence market, it still remains the world’s bigger market, meaning that even a small percent gain

there represents a considerable increase in the Saab group turnover. The new company is now a fully American company, headquartered in Stirling, Virginia. It employs approximately 250 of which only two are Swedish citizens. Saab has considerably diversified its offer in the United States, and the former Sensis Corp. is supporting the development and production of the new ground-based radar for the US Marine Corps known as the G/ATOR (Ground/Air Task Oriented Radar). The Sea Giraffe radar is on board the Littoral Combat Ship USS Independence while ground based versions have been used in theatre to protect US Embassies. Barracuda camouflage systems, weapon systems such as the Carl Gustaf recoilless gun and the AT-4 disposable rocket launcher have been widely adopted.




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DRS Technologies and Rafael, partners on the Trophy system in the United States and working in close co-operation with General Dynamics Land Systems, successfully integrated the Israeli active protection system into the GDLS Canada LAV III armoured vehicle. Initially an internal company initiative later joined by the Canadian government as a partner, the process started in

Q1 2012 with the tender announcement for an active  protection system with a short  marketing time, to improve  Canadian vehicle protection, especially against RPGs. The Trophy was selected in August 2012, integration started in late 2012 and was completed in June 2013. Mechanical integration tests were carried out in July 2013, while the three-month performance tests were concluded the week prior to AUSA. These were carried out at the Suffield test range in Alberta

and included testing against RPGs, both with unitary and tandem warheads, recoilless guns and antitank missiles; the Trophy was challenged with consecutive shots, multiple shots, shots at short distance, with clutter and at different angles. DRS carried out also connectivity tests with the battle management system, showing how the Trophy can help in hostile fire detection, thus increasing the crew situational awareness. Tests also took into consideration collateral effects,



Rada, the Israeli defence electronic systems house specializing in the design, development, production and sales of advanced airborne and land applications was selected by Boeing to supply its MultiMission Hemispheric Radar (MHR) as part of the American company’s Future Directed Energy Tactical Systems programme. The Rada pulsedoppler MHRs well exceed the role of simple ground surveillance radars since they in fact ensure full hemispheric coverage. As a matter of fact field testing did not start with ground surveillance, but what is probably the most difficult task, which is an application known as C-ram, followed by drone detection and tracking, showing the system’s capacity to



pick very small targets. Ground surveillance modes are under development to provide a radar capable of full 3-D protection. According to a Rada official’s own words, the RPS is a family of software-defined radars. While smaller radars working in C-band are mostly used in conjunction with active protection systems and hostile fire management, the RPS 40 series, working in S band, provides full coverage against rockets, artillery missiles, drones and ground targets. The RPS-40 has an aesa aerial covering 90° in azimuth and from 0° to 70° for indirect and 0° to 40° for direct fire. Each aerial weighs 21 kg, thus a 360° system made of four weighs 95 kg with its electronics. In hemispherical search the maximum range is 5 km, however the RPS-40 can also operate in sector mode, reaching a 10 km range in each sector.


Lockheed Martin is pursuing the development of its Eaps (Extended Area Protection and Survivability), a hit-to-kill C-RamM system based on a mini-missile. At the company’s stand it was possible to see the mock-up of the mini-missile near the wreck of a mortar bomb destroyed during warhead effectiveness tests. The latter were carried out against two classes of rocket and all classes of mortar bomb. The Eaps is intended to provide protection to both the military units and the population beyond the immediate area of attack. The request from the US Army was for a relatively low cost system, as it had to engage low cost threats, the average unit production cost per round established in 2006

residual penetration, safety issue both for vehicle and crew, and electronic safe/arm performances. The configuration adopted on the LAVIII included four antennae for 360° coverage and two countermeasures, the same installed on Israel Defense Forces Merkava 4s. The system in service is the Trophy-HV. The MV version aimed at 10 to 30tonne vehicles is at TRL-7 with Rafael now awaiting a launch customer to complete its development.

being of $16,000 ($22,000 at today’s value). The five-kilo missile is 75 cm long with a 70 mm diameter and has a range in excess of 3 km. It currently is a semi-active projectile that does not contain any explosive and homes onto the target illuminated by the guidance radar. While the lethality demonstration of the semiactive version continues, the company has already started to develop an active nose tip that will bring in numerous advantages. Compared to the first design, where most of the “intelligence” was to be kept into the fire control system in order to reduce as much as possible projectile cost, the current configuration already sees most of the processing installed on board the munition. Lockheed Martin looks forward to test this new version in two years time.

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powerful motor and a larger propeller, associated with a higher energy density battery. The power system is also plug & play, and can incorporate  alternative energy sources,  AeroVironment considering solar cell wings to extend endurance up to nine hours. The fuselage was redesigned, not only for aerodynamic considerations but also to obtain a reinforced construction for better durability, and a second payload bay to carry additional


Two major announcements came from AeroVironment. The first was related to the RQ-20A Puma AE (All Environment), now featuring significantly increased endurance. Leaping from 2 to over 3.5 hours, this exceeds what is expected from a Tier 1 system. This was achieved through improved aerodynamics and propulsion, the latter including a more

payloads while retaining current day/night video capability. The new Puma AE’s weight grew from 5.9 to 6.12 kg. It will be available in early 2014 as a new item or as an upgrade kit (modifications being carried out at depot level). The other new item unveiled by AeroVironment was a 112gram secure video and data receiver allowing remote access

NEXT ISSUE APRIL-MAY 2014: 1 APRIL, ADVERTISING: 17 MARCH n Aerostat-borne Radio Relays: With an

troops, plus forward-firing armament to suppress fire from the landing zone and side-firing guns for self-defence. Scouting missions call for a lightweight helicopter with limited weapons to deal with targets of opportunity.

operational history stretching back to the American Civil War, tethered lighter-than-air balloons constitute the most venerable class of air vehicles in service. Requirements stemming from modern counter-insurgency warfare and border security concerns have made such aerostats more relevant than ever in their original role of persistent surveillance, while the insatiable need for connectivity in remote and difficult locations is making them increasingly important as platforms for radio communications relay equipment.

n Corvette & Frigate Market: The components of frigates and corvettes have always represented the combatant backbone of Navies around the world. The more recent budget reduction and the changing world security scenario pushed towards more flexible platforms, which can perform a range of missions as well as less costly and possibly smaller platforms. However high intensity theatre of operations still require sophisticated platforms to conduct specialized missions such as ballistic missile defence or deep strike with main gun and cruise missiles.

n Armed Helicopter Market: Dedicated attack helicopters combine heavy forward-firing armament with minimum frontal area, to achieve high speed and the lowest possible vulnerability to return fire. Some situations are better resolved by a multi-role assault helicopter with a squad of

n Geospatial Information 1: Principles: georeferencing, geo tagging, the world of GIS, etc): Spatial information and geolocated events are the bread and butter of military operations, and the newly digitized battlespace brings new promises of shared situational




to aerial networks. Known as the Pocket DDL (Digital Data Link) it allows any element on the field to receive drone video and data through a secure link from AeroVironment UAS but also from other systems. The Pocket DDL can be used in conjunction with commercially available items such as smart phones, tablets or USB equipped enduser display devices.

awareness and synchronized maneuvers. But the fact is, NATO went to Afghanistan with Soviet paper maps, and operations in Africa are still carried out with poorly-detailed country-wide maps or obsolete terrain descriptions. In this first part of Geospatial Information Series, Wesley Fox, Armada C4ISR editor, analyses the technologies and tools to build the foundation layer of current network-centric operations. n COMPENDIUM — SPECIAL OPS: Once called

to operate behind enemy lines, in today scenarios special forces are still called to move stealthy although “enemy lines” does not mean much in asymmetric warfare conditions. This said, depending on their method of insertion, operational detachments or teams, as you prefer to call them, still have to move on long distances carrying heavy equipment, the water problem in deserted areas only adding weight to their considerable burden, which is also made heavy and cumbersome by the increase in communications and sighting equipment, that also means spare batteries.

Armada Feb Mar 2014  

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