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armada The trusted source for defence technology information since 1976
Baseline Aircraft on Steroids I Eric H. Biass and Wesley Fox
Propellers roaring overhead; small, crossshaped aircraft loitering before diving from the sky to strafe panic-stricken troops with machine gun fire, rockets and bombs. These venerable ground attack workhorses, of which a few survive today, were meant to become a thing of the past; like the Phoenix, they are reborn nowadays under the new rules of the 2010s, to join the very near future ofâ€Ś counter-insurgency again.
Maritime Patrol Aircraft
Shows & Exhibitions
Below Us the Waves
The Cream of Electronic Rifle Sights
Noticeable Shift Towards Security
I Roy Braybrook
I Paolo Valpolini
I Eric H. Biass and Paolo Valpolini
The A400M Format
Mantisâ€™s Steel Wall in the Sky
I Thomas Withington
I Eric H. Biass
armada The TrusTed source for defence Technology informaTion since 1976
I index to advertisers AIMPOINT AR MODULAR ARMADA SUBSCRIPTION ATK AUSA AVALON BARRETT CERADYNE CODAN DATRON EADS - AIRBUS MILITARY ELBIT SYSTEMS
35 27 18 29 C3 37 13 19 23 31 05 05
ELEXIS ELECTRONIC SYSTEMS ELEXIS NIGHT VISION FISCHER CONNECTORS FLIR GDC4S GSA IDEX ILA INVISIO LEUPOLD LIMA MSPO
27 25 25 03 C4 43 C3 47 09 15 41 44
NORTHROP GRUMMAN ODU RAFAEL RAYTHEON REVISION MILITARY RUAG HOLDINGS TELEPHONICS THALES TRIJICON ULTRALIFE
13 45 C4 9 17 C2 11 11 21 C2
Entries highlighted with blue numbers are found Tactical Radio 2012-13 Compendium
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 Aerovironment
04, 06, 07, 08,
07, 11, 26, 32, 34
04, 08, 24
Pratt & Whitney PTDI
04, 08, 30, 32
04, 07, 12, 28
26, 08, 09, 10, 12, 19,
ITL ITT Exelis
King Abdullah II
18, 21 04, 19, 20, 21
37 10, 12 30 04, 36, 46 08, 26
21, 22, 26 04 10
08, 26, 28, 19, 20
Rohde & Schwarz
22, 38 04, 08, 20, 21, 28
Rockwell Collins 23, 26, 08, 21
Bell Bharat Electronics
Hindustan Aeronautics Ltd. 06, 07 06, 10, 19
06, 07 07, 10 04, 20, 21, 26
Soreq Nuclear Research Center 16 Tata Power
14, 18, 19, 20
Larsen & Toubro
Lockheed Martin 04, 06, 10, 11
08, 03, 04, 05
12 07, 28, 36
35, 38, 02, 22, 23, 26
Combat Vehicle Crewman
05, 06, 07
Nexter NH Industries Nikon
04 36, 38 47 18
Elbit System 04, 26, 06, 07, 08
10, 11, 24, 28
04, 06, 19
Viking Volkswagen Yaroslavl Radioworks
07, 08 34 24, 25
Inserted in a C4I pattern and able as it is to carry 12 Griffin, or six Griffin and two 500lb GBU-12 guided bombs, the Super Tucano can prove a formidable ground attack aircraft. See our “Baseline Aircraft on Steroids” feature on page 22. Volume 36, Issue No. 4, August/September 2012 armada international is published bi-monthly by Media Transasia Ltd. Copyright 2012 by Media Transasia Ltd. Publishing Office: Media Transasia Ltd, Room No. 1205-1206, Hollywood Centre 233, Hollywood Road, Central, 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 Deputy Manager Marketing: Tarun Malviya Sales & Marketing Coordinator: Atul Bali Designer: Amal Mourya Production Manager: Kanda Thanakornwongskul Group Circulation Manager: Porames Chinwongs Chief Financial Officer: Gaurav Kumar Advertising Sales Offices Austria, Benelux, Switzerland Cornelius W. Bontje Ph: +41 55 216 17 81, email@example.com France Promotion et Motivation, Odile Orbec Ph: +33 1 41 43 83 00, firstname.lastname@example.org Germany Sam Baird Ph: +44 1883 715 697, sam@ whitehillmedia.com Italy, Nordic Countries Emanuela Castagnetti-Gillberg Ph: +46 31 799 9028, email@example.com Spain Vía Exclusivas, Macarena Fdez. de Grado Ph: +34 91 448 76 22, firstname.lastname@example.org United Kingdom Zena Coupé Ph: +44 1923 852537, email@example.com Russia Alla Butova, NOVO-Media Ltd, Ph: (7 3832) 180 885 Mobile : (7 960) 783 6653 Email :firstname.lastname@example.org Eastern USA – East of the Mississippi River Margie Brown, Ph: (540) 341 7581, email@example.com Western USA – West of the Mississippi River Diane Obright, Ph: (858) 759 3557, firstname.lastname@example.org All other countries Vishal Mehta, Tel: (91) 124 4759625, Mobile: (91) 99 999 85425, (44) 11 5885 4423, E-Mail: email@example.com Annual subscription rates: Europe: CHF 186. + 36. (postage) Overseas: USD 186. + 36. (postage) ABC Controlled circulation: 22,739, certified by ABC/WEMF, valid from autumn 2011. Printed by Media Transasia Thailand Ltd. 75/8, 14th Floor, Ocean Tower II, Soi Sukhumvit 19, Sukhumvit Road, Klongtoeynue, Wattana, Bangkok 10110, Thailand. Tel: 66 (0)-2204 2370, Fax: 66 (0)-2204 2390 -1 Subscription Information: Readers should contact the following address: Subscription Department, Media Transasia Ltd. Room No. 1205-1206, Hollywood Centre 233, Holywood Road, Central, Hong Kong. Tel: (852) 2815 9111, Fax: (852) 2851 1933
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Business Danish Aerotech’s first Aluminum Launch Support Structure (ALSS) produced for ship-based deployment of the Harpoon weapon system has been accepted by Boeing. The Karup-based supplier received the contract, valued at nearly US$1.5 million, two years ago. The ALSS is a welded aluminum structure measuring approximately 3 meters long by 3.5 meters tall by 2 meters wide fully assembled, and weighing nearly 900 kg.
on course to deliver another 12 engines by the end of 2012. The G120TP highperformance, fixed-wing trainer is powered by a single M250-B17F turboprop engine. The M250 provides 450 shp and enables the aircraft to travel at 280 mph, and reach up to 6 G’s. The G120TP is the newest
ITT Exelis, EADS North America & Cassidian, the defense and security division of EADS, will work together to provide enhanced electronic warfare solutions, particularly in the area of aircraft survivability equipment. In a MOU signed at the Farnborough Air Show, the three companies agreed to combine their respective capabilities for targeted global opportunities. One of their first joint projects is expected to be a missile approach warning solution for the U.S. Air National Guard.
production aircraft to be powered by the versatile M250 engine. The dependable M250 engine family has totalled more than 215 million flight hours with an active global fleet of 16,000 fixed-wing aircraft and helicopters.
Rolls-Royce has delivered the first two production M250 engines to Grob for its new G120TP trainer aircraft and is
SAGEM has been awarded contract by French defense procurement agency DGA for 5 Sperwer Mk II drones, which
will join the fleet of SDTI tactical drones already in service with the French army. These new systems will be delivered between the second half of 2012 and mid2013, and will enable the French army to maintain its tactical drone capability. DGA announced another contract award for Sagem, to modernize the GPS code P(Y) module on all Sperwer drones in service. Developed by Sagem for the Rafale multirole fighter, this GPS module is coupled to the drone's navigation system, enabling very precise geo-location of ground targets by the Sagem Euroflir 350+ optronics pod.
I BIG DEALS IN SHORT Company
Contract for F22 life support system
US Air Force
Flensburger Fahrzeugbau Gesellschaft
Contract to supply Armoured Engineer Vehicles and associated integrated logistics support
Canadian Department of National Defence
Contract for supply of structural components
Contract for UK's future submarine programme
Contract to provide ongoing planning yard services for DDG 51 and FFG 7 ships
NOK 388 million
Contract to supply combat systems for military vehicles
Contract for A400M Full Flight Simulator and its support system
Contracts for aircraft maintenance, modification, component & engine total support
Development and sustainment contract to provide the exoatmospheric kill vehicle
Contract to develop and deploy modernized range instrumentation radars
Contract for BACN mission support
US Air Force
Contract to produce 120mm training ammunition
Raytheon BBN Technologies
Multilingual Automatic Document Classification, Analysis and Translation (MADCAT) program
Human conflict. Natural disasters. Unstable borders. Whatever the cause, there are 375 million people who are expected to need urgent aid in the next five years.* For them, Airbus Military means a better, quicker response from military and political leaders. WHY AIRBUS MILITARY VERSATILITY MEANS HOPE FOR 375 MILLION PEOPLE WORLDWIDE. It means the A400M, an airlifter so advanced itâ€™s able to fly 37 tonnes of equipment over 3,200 km into an unprepared landing strip. Or the A330 MRTT, supremely effective as a tanker and as a transport for aid, personnel and medevacs. Or the C295 and CN235, the ultimate in flexible mid-sized transport and surveillance aircraft. See what Airbus Military means for an uncertain world at airbusmilitary.com *Number affected globally by climatic crises by 2015 - projection from oxfam.org.uk
Below Us the Waves Market demands for maritime patrol and attack (MPA) aircraft are being fuelled, not only by piracy, seaborne terrorism, narcotics smuggling, illegal immigration and international disputes over islands and offshore economic zones, but also by fears that maritime trade could be interdicted at a handful of choke-points by submarines and sea/ shore-based anti-ship cruise missiles. Fortunately, a broad range of aircraft are already available or under development.
he US Navy is the undisputed maritime patrol aircraft leader, operating around 130 Lockheed Martin P-3Cs and EP-3Es, which are to be replaced by 117 Boeing P-3A Poseidons and 68 Northrop Grumman MQ-4C drones. In the rescue role, the P-3s are currently augmented by shipbased Sikorsky HH-60H Rescue Hawks and shore-based HH-1N Twin Hueys. The US Coast Guard (another branch of the US Armed Forces) operates the Lockheed Martin HC-130H/J Hercules, the Airbus Military HC-144A (replacing the Dassault HU-25A/C Guardian), and the rotary-wing Sikorsky HH/MH60J/T Jayhawk and Eurocopter HH/ MH-65C/D Dolphin India is another example of a nation that takes maritime affairs very seriously, partly driven by the seaborne terrorist attack on Mumbai in 2008, the spread of piracy from Somalian waters into the Arabian Sea and Indian Ocean. Other factors include China’s development of ports in Myanmar, Pakistan and Sri Lanka, and the need to safeguard the Andaman Islands exclusive economic zone (EEZ). The Indian Navy has eight Tupolev Tu-142MKEs, which are to be replaced by twelve Boeing P-8Is. A further twelve
The finest MPA currently in service is undoubtedly the Lockheed Martin P-3C Orion, of which over 430 are in use by 21 operators. This example is flown by the US Navy’s VP-4 ‘Skinny Dragon’ maritime patrol squadron, based at Naval Air Station North Island, California. (US Navy).
will probably be purchased later, to replace the service’s five newly-upgraded Ilyushin Il-38SDs. In 2011 the same service announced that it will also purchase smaller, twinengined aircraft for maritime patrol, anti-surface warfare, signals intelligence and search-and-rescue duties. This new
Construction of the Do-228-NG begins with the manufacture of major airframe components by India’s Hindustan Aeronautics (HAL) in India, which has built 116 Do 228s under Dornier licence. Switzerland’s Ruag assembles and fits out the aircraft at its plant at Oberpfaffenhofen airfield in Germany. (Ruag).
type will be required to provide at least four hours on station at 740 km radius, carrying two anti-ship missiles. The Indian Navy’s aircraft are supported by three squadrons of IAI Searcher II and Heron I medium-altitude, long-endurance drones. The Indian Navy is seen by Northrop Grumman as a
potential market for up to eight MQ-4C Global Hawks. At the lower end of the aircraft scale, Indian Coast Guard Aviation has since 1987 operated a fleet of 24 Dornier Do 228-101s, mostly built by Hindustan Aeronautics (HAL). The service now has a requirement for up to nine somewhat larger Medium Maritime Patrol (MMP) aircraft. I Product Review
In the following review of maritime patrol aircraft, maximum take-off weight is used as a broad indication of size, and thus of payload/radius performance. The latest lightweight patrol aircraft is a multinational project based on Italy’s 1.23-tonne Tecnam P2006T, powered by two of Austria’s Rotax 912S piston engines. It will be equipped with Italy’s Selex Galileo Seaspray 5000R radar and an advanced EO/IR turret by America’s Flir Systems. The mission system is being developed by Spain’s Indra, and systems integration will be performed by Austria’s Airborne Technologies. The P2006T is promoted as an inexpensive substitute for coastal patrol helicopters. Lightweight aircraft are more commonly represented by turboprop
aircraft in the 4.5-tonne class, such as the single-engined Pilatus PC-12M Spectre and the twin-engined Reims-Cessna 406 SuMar and Piaggio P166-DP1. Marginally heavier twins include the 5.67-tonne Viking Guardian 400, the 6.5-tonne Dornier Do 228NG, the 6.8-tonne Beechcraft King Air 350ER (which is operated by US Customs and Border Patrol), the 7.0-tonne PZLMielec M28B Bryza (Sea Breeze) and the 8.1-tonne Airbus Military C-212-400. Canada’s Viking Air launched series production of the DHC-6 Twin Otter Series 400 in 2007. In 2010 the Vietnam Navy ordered six, three of which are being built as radar-equipped Guardian 400 floatplanes, for delivery in 2012-2014. Having built 116 Do 228s under Dornier licence, India’s HAL now manufactures major structural assemblies for Switzerland’s Ruag Aviation to produce the Do 228NG (New Generation), a modernised Do 228-212. The Do 228NG Special Mission version has been ordered by the German Navy. In 2011 the Bangladesh Navy ordered two Do 228NGs for maritime patrol and rescue duties. The service is also considering the acquisition of two King Airs.
The C-295 Persuader is already cleared to use the MK 42 torpedo, and Airbus Military is now collaborating with MBDA to validate the aerodynamic integration of the latter's Marte MK2/S anti-ship missile on the aircraft, which is shown here carrying an inert, instrumented Marte. (Photo: Airbus Military).
The Patrullero version of the C-212 is used by ten nations. It can be equipped with a maritime surveillance radar, an EO/ IR turret, an AIS (automatic identification system), sonobouys, smoke markers and two BAE Systems StingRay torpedoes. Final assembly of the C-212-400 is being transferred to PTDI (Indonesian Aerospace) in Bandung. I Middleweights
The 10 to 30-tonne category includes the 13.2-tonne Saab 340 MSA (Maritime Security Aircraft), the 16.5-tonne Airbus Military CN-235 Persuader, the 18.6-tonne ATR42 MP, the 19.5-tonne Bombardier Dash 8-300, Iran’s 21-tonne Hesa IrAn-140MP Sea Eagle (developed to replace the country’s P-3F), the 22.5-tonne ATR72 MP, the 22.8-tonne Saab 2000 MPA, and the 23.2-tonne Airbus Military C-295 Persuader. The Saab 340 MSA is competing against the King Air 350ER in the South African
The Viking Guardian 400 is a newbuild de Havilland Canada DHC-6 Twin Otter Series 400 with a chin-mounted surface search radar for service in the maritime patrol role. The Vietnam Navy has ordered three Guardian 400s in floatplane form. (Viking Air).
Air Force’s ‘Project Saucepan’ programme to replace the veteran Douglas C-47TP Turbo-Dakota. The CN-235 is manufactured by both Airbus Military and PTDI. Like MPA versions of its C-212 and C-295 stablemates, the CN-235 MP is generally equipped with the Airbus Military Fits (Fully Integrated Tactical System). The CN-235-300MP is flown as the HC144A by the US Coast Guard, which plans to acquire 36. Other operators include the Indonesian Navy, the Irish Air Corps, the Mexican Navy, the South Korean Coast Guard, the Turkish Navy and the United Arab Emirates Navy. Thales Aerospace is the prime contractor for the Turkish Navy’s Meltem II (Summer Wind II) programme, under which nine CN-235s purchased under the preceding Meltem I are being upgraded. Six are tasked with anti-surface vessel and anti-submarine operations, and three with EEZ surveillance by the Turkish Coast Guard. All Meltem II aircraft have the Thales Amascos (Airborne Maritime Surveillance and Control System) with the company’s Ocean Master II radar, Agile 4 EO/IR turret and MAD sting. Meltem
III covers the purchase of ten ATR72-500 antiship warfare aircraft, also equipped with the Amascos suite. In this case AleniaAermacchi is prime contractor. The Italian Air Force and Navy are jointly to operate four ATR72-600MPs (with an option on a fifth), equipped with the Selex Galileo Atos (Airborne Tactical Observation and Surveillance) mission suite, with the same company’s Seaspray 7300E radar and Eost-23 EO/IR turret. Only if no funds are available for acquisition of the Boeing P-8A will these ATR72s be upgraded for antiship and antisubmarine warfare duties. Three of the smaller ATR42 MP Surveyor with a modified Atos suite are operated by Italy’s Guardia di Finanza (Customs Police) and three others by the Coast Guard. Two are flown by the Nigerian Air Force and one is to be operated by the Libyan General Security Agency. The Ontario-based Field Aviation has been the leader in MPA conversions of the Bombardier Dash 8 series for
The Patrullero maritime patrol version of the Airbus Military C-212-400 is used by ten nations and can be armed with two torpedoes. This example is flown by the Korea Coast Guard. (Airbus Military).
maritime surveillance. A total of ten (six Q200s and four Q300s) were modified for Australia’s Coastwatch programme, with Surveillance Australia (now Cobham Australia) as prime contractor. Seven more (four Q200s and three Q300s) were converted by Field for US CBP (Customs and Border Protection), with ATK Integrated Systems as prime. Three Q300s were modified by Field for the Swedish Coast Guard and one Q300 for the Icelandic Coast Guard, in both cases with L-3 Communications Integrated Systems as prime. A total of eight Q300s were converted for Japan’s Coast Guard, with Sojitz as prime. Field’s Dash 8 conversions typically have a Raytheon SeaVue or Elta EL/M2022(V)3 radar and L-3 Wescam MX-15 EO/IR turret. Another company active in Dash 8 maritime patrol conversions is the Ne w f o u n d l a n d - b a s e d P r o v i n c i a l Aerospace, whose products include two Q300s for the United Arab Emirates Air Force and two Q100s that are operated This Airbus Military CN-235-300 Persuader is one of three operated by Spain’s maritime safety agency, Sasemar, the Sociedad Salvamento y Securidad Maritima, generally abbreviated to Salvamento Maritimo. (Airbus Military).
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MPA by Provincial Airlines on behalf of the Coast Guard of the Netherlands Antilles and Aruba. Since the final Dash 8 Q300 was delivered in 2009, Field, Provincial and British Colombia’s Cascade Aerospace have all been planning the adaptation of the Q400 NextGen for the MPA role and other special missions. I Some Jet Developments
Examples of business jet conversions include the recently upgraded 10.4-tonne IAI SeaScan (‘Shachaf ’) of the Israeli Air Force. The Japan Air Self Defense Force (JASDF) employs the 12.7-tonne U-125A (Hawker 800) in maritime SAR. The 14.5-tonne, Dassault Falcon 20G is used by the US Coast Guard (as the HU-25C Guardian) and by the French Navy, which also operates the 18.5-tonne Falcon 50M. The 20.6-tonne Falcon 900 MSA is flown by the Japan Coast Guard (JCG). The Japanese cost guard also operates three 41-tonne Gulfstream GV Sea Watch aircraft under the name Umi Washi (Sea Eagle). The 21-tonne Embraer P-99, based on the ERJ-145 regional jet, is operated by the Mexican Air Force. Small numbers of the 34.5-tonne Antonov An-72MP are operated by the Russian Navy and the Ukrainian Air Force. The An-74MP “multipurpose maritime patrol aircraft” is now being promoted, especially in India and Venezuela. At the 2011 Paris Air Show, Antonov unveiled a model of the 43.7-tonne An-168MP, which would have the Thales Ocean Master 400 radar and Agile 4 EO/IR turret, and two Saab RBS15 anti-ship missiles. I Amphibians
The Russian Navy fleet of 36-tonne Beriev Be-12PS Chayka (Seagull) search and rescue amphibians is now down to eight, which are to receive equipment upgrades. Rosoboronexport has reportedly been negotiating with China’s Defence Ministry over the sale of ten 41-tonne Be-220 amphibians for maritime patrol and SAR duties.
In 2008 a Russian Naval Aviation representative announced that between 2010 and 2013 the Baltic Fleet would receive four Beriev A-42 Albatros amphibians for reconnaissance, targeting, and SAR duties. The A-42 could be a development of the 86-tonne A-40 of 1986, since the company website refers to a 96-tonne Be-42PE with Progress D-27A propfans replacing the A-40’s Soloviev D-30KPV turbofans. However, the A-42 may eventuate as the smaller Be-220, based on the civil Be-200ChS. Japan’s ShinMaywa produced 23 examples of the 43-tonne, four-engined PS-1 flying boat and later 20 US-1/1A amphibians, all for the Japan Maritime Self-Defense Force. The service still operates seven upgraded US-2 amphibians in the SAR role. China’s People’s Liberation Army Naval Air Force operates four 45-tonne, four-turboprop Harbin SH-5 maritime patrol amphibians. In 2009 China’s Avic announced the start of development of the JL-600 (Jiaolong/Dragon-600) to replace the SH-5. The largest amphibian in the world (aside from Russia’s A-40), the JL600 is a four-turboprop 60-tonne project, originally scheduled to fly in 2013. A JL-600 model at Airshow China 2010 Equipped with a Selex Galileo Atos mission suite, including a ventral Seaspray radar, a pylon-mounted searchlight and a sponson-mounted EO/ IR turret, this AleniaAermacchi ATR42 MP Surveyor is one of three operated by the Italian customs police, the Guardia di Finanza. (AleniaAermacchi).
The Chilean Navy has three Airbus Military C-295s, the first of which was equipped purely for maritime patrol. The other two (one of which is illustrated) are anti-submarine warfare aircraft, with a tail-mounted MAD, two underwing pylons for torpedoes, and a sonobuoy dispenser. (Airbus Military).
looked like a stretched SH-5 with a single vertical tail.. I Quad Props
The leader in the present MPA generation is the 62.6-tonne Lockheed Martin P-3 Orion, with 649 manufactured in the US and 109 licence-built by Kawasaki in Japan. Over 430 are still in use with 21 operators. Subject to satisfactory fatigue tests, at least 29 US Navy P-3Cs will be retained until 2019, when the last is due to be replaced by the Boeing P-8A. This will require new outer wings and other structural improvements. Other candidates for life-extension include the P-3s of Canada, Germany, Norway and Taiwan. The Russian counterpart of the P-3 is the 63.5-tonne Ilyushin Il-38. The Russian Navy now has around 26 Il38s, which are being upgraded to Il-38N standard with Leninets ‘Novella’ avionics. The Indian Navy’s five Il-38s have already been upgraded to Il-38SDs with the same system, renamed ‘Sea Dragon’. These Il-38s are complemented by the 188-tonne Tupolev Tu-142M, of which the Indian Navy operates eight and the Russian Navy around 16. China’s PLA Navy has only limited MPA capability, relying on a small number of radar-equipped, unarmed 61-tonne
Jet-powered aircraft provide faster deployment and area coverage, but less endurance than turboprops. This Embraer P-99, developed from the company’s ERJ-145 regional transport, has been adopted by the Mexican Air Force. (Embraer). The civil Beriev Be-200ChS is operated by Russia’s Emercom, the Ministry of Emergency Situations, primarily in fighting forest fires. Some observers believe this (rather than the much larger A-40) is the basis for the four A-42s recently ordered for the Russian Navy’s Baltic Fleet. (Beriev). Shown in full ASW form, Lockheed Martin’s projected SC-130J Sea Hercules would have the mission system of the P-3C. Features illustrated include a ventral 360-degree radar, chin-mounted EO/IR sensor turret, MAD boom, wingtip ESM, sponson bays for a total of six torpedoes, and a rotary sonobuoy launcher under the rear fuselage. (Lockheed Martin).
Shaanxi Y-8MPAs (An-12s), supported by 76-tonne Xian H-6D (Tupolev Tu16) strike aircraft. In 2011 photographs appeared of two examples of an MPA
version of the 65-tonne Shaanxi Y-8F600, with a large chin-mounted radome, EO/IR turret, MAD boom and a ventral weapons bay ahead of the main gear.
As mentioned earlier, the US Coast Guard operates the 79.4-tonne HC130H/J Hercules (16 Hotels and six Juliets). Further HC-130Js are being purchased to replace the HC-130Hs. Equipment for the HC-130J includes the Elta EL/M2022A(V)3 surface search radar and the Flir Systems Star Safire IIIEO/IR turret. At the Singapore Air Show 2012 Lockheed Martin announced the proposed SC-130J Sea Hercules, a newbuild aircraft with the mission system of the P-3C. It would provide six hours on station at 1850 km radius, compared to nine hours for the P-3C. The SC-130J is offered with three capability levels, starting with that of the HC-130J (with optional 360-degree radar and chin EO/IR turret). The mid-range is equivalent to the KC-130J Harvest Hawk (with optional 30 mm gun). The full ASW fit would include a MAD boom, rotary sonobuoy dispenser under the rear fuselage, torpedo bays in enlarged sponsons, and four anti-ship missiles under the wings. Roll-On/Roll-Off (Roro) systems to transform fixed- and rotary-wing aircraft into maritime patrol aircraft
MPA Latest news from Boeing are that the company is now offering a “Medium-size Maritime Surveillance Aircraft”, based on experience garnered with the P-8 and transposed on a twin-jet aircraft to be selected by the end of this year, using this somewhat cryptical picture to illustrate the announcement made on the occasion of the Farnborough air fair. (Boeing)
Bearing the tail badge of the US Navy’s VX-1 Test and Evaluation Squadron, Boeing P-8A Poseidon serial 167956, the sixth and final development aircraft, was pictured overflying the nuclear carrier USS Enterprise, CVN-65. (US Navy). The US Navy plans to augment its maritime patol assets with 68 Northrop Grumman MQ-4C Global Hawk drones under the Broad Area Maritime Surveillance (Bams) programme. The MQ-4C variant is distinguished by its ventral 360-degree radome. (Northrop Grumman).
have been proposed by Marshall Aerospace and Lockheed Martin UK. Although motivated by Britain’s cancellation of the 105-tonne BAE Systems Nimrod MRA4 in 2010, these concepts have much wider potential. I New Generation
Japan’s 79.7-tonne Kawasaki P-1, powered by four IHI XF7-10 turbofans, first flew on 28 September 2009. The P-1 equipment will include a Toshiba Aesa radar, Mitsubishi Electric HSQ-102 MAD system, and a Fujitsu HAQ-2 EO/IR turret. The Japan Maritime Self-Defense Force plans to buy 65 production-standard P-1s. By March 2010 four XP-1 pre-series aircraft had been delivered to the Ministry of Defence. However, in August 2011 it was announced that the two ground-test aircraft had exhibited cracking, and that structural reinforcements would be required before the XP-1s could be accepted.
The 85.82-tonne, twin-engined Boeing P-8 Poseidon is derived from the 737800, and powered by two CFM56-7 turbofans. The first of six US Navy P-8A test aircraft flew on April 25, 2009, and the first production aircraft was handed over in March, 2012. The first squadron (VP-30) is to be formed in 2013 at NAS Jacksonville, Florida. The US Navy plans to buy 117 P-8As by 2019, mainly to perform the persistent ASW and AsuW roles. From the end of 2015 it is to be complemented in the persistent ISR role by the first of 68 Northrop Grumman MQ-4C Global Hawk drones. The US Navy also plans to acquire a Persistent Ship-Based Unmanned Aircraft System (PSB-UAS) in the form of the Northrop Grumman MQ-8C Upgrade Fire Scout helicopter, based on the Bell 407 airframe. An initial batch of eight MQ-8Cs are being built under a $ 262
million contract placed in April 2012, and the service plans to purchase a total of 28 under a rapid development effort. The P-8A was designed to provide four hours on station at 2200 km radius. It will be fitted initially with the Raytheon APY-10 maritime search radar and Sigint equipment, Northrop Grumman ESM, Dircm, and data link, and an L-3 Wescam MX-20 HD turret. The APY-10 will be superseded by the same company’s AAS (Advanced Airborne Sensor) radar, derived from the LSRS (Littoral Surveillance Radar System) used by some P-3Cs over southwest Asia. The P-8A has eleven armament stations (including five in a weapons bay in the rear fuselage) for a warload of up to 5.6 tonnes. It can carry up to 156 sonobuoys. The P-8A is to be cleared for the Boeing AGM-84K Slam-ER, the Raytheon MK 54 torpedo, and various mines. Future P-8A stores may include the Boeing MECC (MAD Eagle Compressed Carriage) sensor drone and the MK 54 torpedo with the Haawc (High Altitude ASW Weapon Capability) wing, data link and GPS/INS guidance and control kit. The Haawc will avoid the need for the P-8A to descend to low altitude to attack a submarine. Raytheon and Lockheed Martin are among the Haawc contenders. The Indian Navy has ordered twelve P-8Is, and stated the intention to later buy twelve more. Differences from the P-8A include a MAD boom, and a data link and IFF by Bharat Electronics. First delivery is due in 2015. Further P-8Is may be purchased under the Medium-Range Maritime Patrol (MRMP) programme, although this requires no anti-submarine capability. Australia announced its choice of the P-8 in 2007 and plans to buy eight of the Spiral One/Increment Two version with Haawc, but due to other commitments cannot plan on an initial operational capability before 20172020. Australia’s P-8s will later (20222025) be supported by seven large multi-mission drones (Mmuas).
Rifle Sights A military sniper team, with the shooter equipped with a Carl Zeiss Optronics SAM. Target range is provided by the spotter. (Carl Zeiss Optronics)
The Cream of Electronic Rifle Sights
According to statistical data on main modern wars, rifle bullets account for a limited percentage of war casualties, unlike artillery that appears as the most lethal weapon. In current asymmetrical wars however, the use of heavy calibre indirect fire systems is very limited due to the rules of engagement that require practically zero collateral damage. Fighting a non-uniformed opponent that can switch from being peaceful a farmer into a fierce fighter in a matter of seconds by simply grabbing a nearby AK instead of a farming tool is one of the main problems encountered by Nato soldiers in Afghanistan.
nother typical attitude of those lawless fighters is that they pretty often hide within the local population, which is a major obstacle to the use of indirect fire. Little by little the assault rifle has regained its status of dominant weapon on the battlefield together with light and heavy machine guns.
Increasing the accuracy of direct fire small calibre weapons has thus became a priority for various reasons: the more accurate the fire, the better the effectiveness and the lower the collateral damages. A side effect is that it also reduces the logistic burden. The latter has not only an impact on the soldier himself (whose ammunition load would
last longer or, conversely, who might bring with him less ammo â€“ not really an option for most soldiers), but lower ammunition consumption also has a beneficial effect on the logistic chain, particularly in areas where resupplying is often difficult and highly risky, as exemplified by Afghan forward operating bases.
Although suppressive fire will always be used to force an opponent to “keep his head down”, accurately aimed fire can considerably increase firepower effectiveness. Nowadays most if not all soldiers are armed with an assault rifle equipped with an optical sight of some kind, usually holographic for close quarter battle, optical with no magnification with red dot for standard distances, and optical with some magnification and reticle for longer ranges. Distance is definitely a magic word when shooting as evaluating range remains one of the most difficult things to do. If at close range correction is of limited use, the longer the range the more important a precise evaluation of the shooter to target distance becomes to ensure optimal accuracy. This is why snipers operate as a two-man team, one of the roles of the spotter being to establish the accurate range, possibly using an instrument such as a laser rangefinder (LRF). The need for increasing accuracy at medium to long range is clear considering that many armies are introducing the designated marksman within their infantry sections, usually armed with a 7.62 mm rifle equipped with an optical sight with a medium accuracy. Even machine guns are now equipped with various optical sights, depending on their calibres. In order to further improve the accuracy of the aforementioned weapons some initiatives have been taken, particularly those that promote the development of sights that are not only able to measure the distance from the target thanks to a laser rangefinder, but that are also able to evaluate the crosswind along the bullet path. These sights have yet to be available for operational duties and will certainly be assigned only to long-range snipers. Integrating a laser rangefinder into a sight is something much more viable, and such a solution has already been adopted by numerous telescope producers for the hunting world, while their use in the military is still very limited. As for machine guns, some manufacturers involved in the production of automatic grenade launcher fire control systems have extended the scope of that equipment to heavy machine guns, integrating 12.7 mm rounds ballistic tables into the system computer.
programmes aimed at improving the shooter’s accuracy, both involving range measurement and crosswind measurement. The first contract was awarded to in 2008 by Darpa and is known as One Shot, the system intent being “to allow snipers to hit targets with the first round, under crosswind conditions, up to the maximum effective range of the weapon” according to a Darpa document. During Phases 1 and 2 Lockheed Martin developed a brassboard system that consisted of a downrange crosswind
measurement unit and a dedicated riflescope. The spotting scope acquired the target and pointed the laser, measuring the average downrange crosswind profile, range to the target, spotter scope position, target heading, air temperature, pressure and humidity. The system was tested up to 1,100 metres and in 5 to 8 metres/second average crosswinds. The obtained data was used to calculate the ballistic solution for a 7.62 mm round and provide the offset in the dedicated riflescope whose red cross shows the new aiming point to be used.
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I Crosswind measurement
Lockheed Martin Mission Systems & Sensors is working in parallel on two
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The 10x40 Meslas sight in action on a rifle; it can measure target ranges out to 2,000 meters. (Pulse Inteco)
Pulse Inteco Systems of Israel unveiled at Eurosatory 2012 its 10x40 Meslas sight with integrated rangefinder. (Pulse Inteco)
The lightweight Class 3B eyesafe fibre laser system used in the One Shot was developed by Aculight, which was acquired by Lockheed Martin in 2008. This system measures wind speed and direction based on light returns from particles between the shooter and the target. It can measure crosswinds at ranges of over 2,000 metres. The icing on the cake is that the laser uses a frequency-hopping technique to be invisible to laser detectors, the frequency band being of course classified. In Phase 2E (Enhanced) Lockheed Martin is transforming its technology demonstrator into a deployable system that will consist of three items: an Integrated Spotter Scope (ISS), a Spotter scope Display Assembly (SDA) and a Riflescope Display Assembly (RDA). According to the data provided by Darpa the ISS will have a maximum weight of 3.75 kg and will have a x12-x40 zoom allowing target identification at 1,500 metres in daytime and 800 metres at
night, the same ranges being required for wind profiling with crosswinds between 0 and 15 metres/second. As the ISS has only a spotting scope to aim it towards the target, the SDA two-inch screen will allow the spotter to view day imaging from the optional digital camera and night images using the intensification or thermal sensors. Being wired to the ISS, the SDA display will also show the aim point offset coordinates and range, and will allow to check if the laser beam is aligned on the target by monitoring the return signal strength. The shooter’s “terminal” will be the RDA, a standalone modular assembly that will display not only the red cross but also a confidence metric in the shooter’s riflescope, and will get the data from the ISS thanks to a wired or wireless link. Its maximum weight is set at 0.5 kg, and it should be installable onto 50 and 56 mm diameter sighting scopes. All systems will be powered by CR123 batteries. The One Shot should provide
a hit probability of over 60 per cent at 90 per cent of the weapon’s maximum effective range, the system being planned for use with 7.62x51 mm, .300 M and .338 LM rounds, the number of rounds to get a first hit being estimated at less than 2.5, while time to first hit must be lower than 60 seconds. As for unit price, estimates put it at around $100,000 for the 15 prototype systems, but $75,000 dollars is forecast for a batch of 100 systems, which would be further reduced to around $40,000 if 1,000 systems are acquired. Prototypes are expected for evaluation in mid-2012. Experience garnered with the OneShot enabled Lockheed Martin to obtain a second contract for a shorter range allin-one system intended this time for the basic soldier. The new development was launched by Darpa following interest expressed by the services and is aimed at replacing Aimpoint and Trijicon Acog sights on assault rifles. Known in the Darpa community as the One Shot XG (for next generation) and as Dingo at Lockheed Martin (for Dynamic Image Gunsight Optic), the company started the Phase 2 that was to bring to a demonstrator in July 2012 (at time of writing). The new system will measure all relevant physical phenomena that influence the ballistic trajectory and rapidly calculate and display the offset aim point and confidence metric in the shooter’s riflescope. A daynight sight, the Dingo will automatically calculate the range and will digitally zoom on it according to the distance. As in the One Shot the laser emitter will be used both for ranging and for evaluating crosswind strength. The Dingo’s maximum operational range will be of 600 metres. No other metrics are yet available. Lasers are being considered in Israel as a means of improving rifle accuracy. Originally developed for environmental monitoring, the lidar (Laser Identification Detection And Ranging) manufactured by the Israeli Soreq Nuclear Research Centre showed its ability to evaluate the wind vectors Developed for hunting, the Bushnell 4-12x42 YardagePro LRF allows a range measurement of over 700 metres and is used by some police and military customers. (Bushnell)
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The SAM system, for Shootersupporting Attachment Module, is an add-on item that includes a ballistic calculator. (Carl Zeiss Optronics)
along the bullet path as well as the target’s range. The laser illuminates the target, the pulse reflected from the target being affected by power fluctuations induced by atmospheric turbulences, these fluctuations are measured by two horizontally spaced detectors and thanks to a correlation function fluctuations are transformed into a crosswind measurement. The laser also measures the distance and both data are fed into the system computer that contains the bullet ballistic tables, and in turn provides the ballistic solution. This takes three main elements into consideration, namely distance, wind angle and wind speed to provide an accurate correction to the shooter. I Integrated rangefinder
The integrated rangefinder solution is definitely more interesting for standard shooters and designated marksmen than for snipers, as the latter anyway operate as a two-man team with the target distance established by the spotter. Nikon M-223 Laser IRT 2.5-10x40 was introduced in 2011 and is dedicated to ARtype rifles. (Nikon)
The need for such a capability has only recently emerged, which explains why not many companies have such products in their military portfolios, although some had developed similar solutions for hunting and sports rifles and are now offering them on the military market. A noteworthy point, however, is that whilst he was researching information for this article more than one key player in the rifle sights world warned the author that new developments on integrated scopes are in the pipeline, but they were not ready to unveil their new products. Nevertheless this is a clear indication that a market is out there and that an increase in accuracy is considered vital. ITL of Israel, for example, is working on an advanced miniature diode-based laser rangefinder for integration into its rifle sights. Amongst the scopes equipped with an integrated LRF the 4-12x42 Eliminator LaserScope developed by Burris is one of very few to provide automatic correction of the aiming point according to the measured distance and the ballistics of the chosen round. Known as the Ballistic Laser Scope in Europe, its maximum range is of 730 metres on reflective objects and 500 metres on persons. The shooter can read the measured distance in the upper part of the sight, while the .33 MOA red dot moves to provide the correct aiming point according to the data processed by the embedded computer. The Eliminator weighs 740 grams and is powered by a CR2 battery that allows 1,100 measurements.
Other sights are equipped with an LRF but do not provide automatic correction, leaving elevation adjustment to the shooter himself. Two examples of such products are the Zeiss Victory Diarange M 3-12x56 T* and 2.5-10x50 T*, with their rangefinders offering a range of 900 metres (maximum accuracy out to 600 metres). The measuring button is located on the lower-left side of the scope in a forward position for use by one’s the left thumb. The sights, which are in use with some police units, weigh respectively 995 and 925 grams and are powered by a single C123A battery ensuring over 5,000 measurements. A similar system was developed by Bushnell in the form of the 4-12x42 YardagePro that has a maximum range measurement of over 700 metres, the distance in yards or metres being shown on top of the scope for 8 seconds. The sight weighs 708 grams and is powered by a 3 V Lithium battery. It is equipped with an infrared remote trigger pad powered by a CR2016 battery, which can be installed on the right or left of the rifle and communicates with the IR sensor hosted in the scope body. The Nikon M-223 Laser IRT 2.5-10x40 was introduced in 2011 and dedicated to AR rifles. Its LRF has a measuring range of 550 metres and displays horizontal distance (in yards or meters) that compensates for inclines or declines up to ±89°, ranging going on for 12 seconds after a single touch the distance, data
Carl Zeiss Optronics SAM in use by a police sniper. The system allows to reduce the impact of external parameters on accuracy. (Carl Zeiss Optronics)
A decision on the Soldato Futuro’s NVG is expected soon, but apparently the ITT Exelis TM-NVG is on top of the list. (Armada/PV)
group of German companies, is awaiting a parliamentary go-ahead to the order of the first batch of systems. The company is convinced that the authorisation will be granted as politicians look forward to deploy the system as soon as possible to Afghanistan in order to improve the Bundeswehr soldiers’ effectiveness and enhance their protection. The contract will be split in three batches of 30 systems (“system” refers to all the equipment needed by an infantry section of 10 soldiers). Each batch will also include spares, training, documentation and education. Delivery of the first batch of 30 systems is scheduled for late 2012 and a six-month training period is envisaged before the deployment downrange around mid-2013. being onbatch the bottom of the sight The option for ashown second of 30 systems for the same period. The remote control would see delivery in mid-2013, while the button can be positioned anywhere. last option for the same amount of The BDC 600 reticle is developed to 2013. match the equipment should be delivered by late Nato 5.56 mm round and provides open No decision has yet been made on whether circle aiming points up to 550 metres. The Army combat to equip the whole Nikon sightGerman has a weight of 660 grams and is powered by a CR2 3V battery.
At Eurosatory 2012 Israeli Pulse Inteco Systems unveiled a new generation of its Meslas Sniper’s Fire-Controlled Riflescope 10x40. It integrates a single-pulse LRF working on the 1.54 μm frequency and is thus invisible to night vision devices. This significantly lowers the risk of the sniper being detected. The Meslas automatically
calculates the elevation angle according to the ranged target. Rangefinder ranges are 80 metres minimum and 2,000 metres maximum with an accuracy of ± 10 metres. The whole sight weighs 1.85 kg. Temperature, humidity, weapon elevation and axis angle sensors for ballistic calculations can be added as options.
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An integrated day/night sniper sight has been developed by Sagem of France for the Félin soldier programme and is now proposed in different variants on the international market. (Sagem)
Developed for hunting Zeiss Victory Diarange comes in the form of a 10x50 scope that incorporates a laser rangefinder which operates up to 900 meters. The range measurement is carried out by pressing a remote button that can be installed at sniper’s will in order to allow him to maintain his shooting position. (Zeiss)
A different type of sight, specifically developed for military snipers, is the Carl Zeiss Optronics 6-24x72 SAM telescopic sight, SAM standing for Shootersupporting Attachment Module; this does not include an integrated rangefinder, range calculation being the task of the spotter. However it has an embedded ballistic calculator and the shooter can see in his seven-segment display the elevation and azimuth turrets readings, the rifle cant (± 75°), as well as other parameters such as temperature (-40°C/+70°C) and air pressure, sensors being located in the mount. When receiving the range as well as the wind speed and direction data from his spotter, the sniper enters them using a setting wheel, then the ballistic computer calculates the compensation value showing it in the shooter’s field of view. The computer can store up to four different types of ammunition parameters. The 6–24x72 SAM has a weight of 1,3 kg and is powered by a CR 2032 battery. The Sagem Sword Sniper not only combines a day scope and an LRF but it also includes a thermal imager, the
company being one of the main suppliers of such systems in Europe. The day channel comes in the form of a x8 optic with a 2.7° field of view. The uncooled thermal channel has two FoVs, wide (4.1°) and narrow (2.05°) obtained through digital zoom. The image is displayed on a monocular Oled. The LRF has a maximum measuring range of 1,500 meters, the sight being intended for .308 and .338 LM rifles. This three-kilo sight detects a human target at 6.5 km in daylight and 3.75 km at night, and provides identification at 1,550 and 700 metres respectively. The Sniper is in service with the French Army as part of the Félin suite and has also been supplied to other (undisclosed) customers. An integrated day/night sniper sight has been developed by Sagem of France for the Félin soldier programme and is now proposed in different variants on the international market. (Sagem) I From grenade launchers to machine guns and rifles
Although very effective under various aspects, both underbarrel (UBGL) and automatic (AGL) grenade launchers, using respectively low and high velocity
grenades, require a fire control system to be effective since their rounds are heavily affected by ballistics, particularly on maximum range. Most fire control systems proposed for UBLs are dedicated to indirect fire; normally installed on the side of the rifle they are equipped with an laser rangefinder that establishes the target distance and, referring to its ballistic tables, computes the elevation before providing a visual signal to warn the shooter to bring the rifle on the right angle. The availability of an LRF makes them inherently direct fire FCS if provided with the small calibre ballistic tables. Considering the weight of such systems and the fact that only a limited number of soldiers in the infantry team are equipped with a UBGL not many such systems have a dualpurpose capacity. A company that adopted this approach is ITL of Israel, whose Viper can be used both in ballistic and small arms mode. Its LRF has a maximum range of 500 metres with ± 3 metre accuracy. It
features a x1 optical channel with graphic overlay, and it also includes a clinometer to cope with tilt and roll angles, the moving reticle projected on the 640x480 active matrix LCD becoming the aiming point. Powered by three C123 batteries, the Viper has an overall weight of one kilo. A dual wavelength laser pointer can be added. The system attracted considerable interest, but is not yet in operational service. ITL has developed new variants, looking at enhanced night capabilities based on uncooled thermal technology.
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Baseline Aircraft on Steroids Propellers roaring overhead; small, cross-shaped aircraft loitering before diving from the sky to strafe panic-stricken troops with machine gun fire, rockets and bombs. Such scenes have been documented by Erwin Rommel as he tried to fight the Normandy campaign under allied air superiority. After WWII, “counterinsurgency” and “low-intensity conflicts” saw extensive use of propeller-driven light-attack aircraft, from the Douglas A-1 Skyraider in Korea, Algeria and Vietnam, to Rockwell OV-10 Broncos or FMA Pucaras in Latin America. These venerable ground attack workhorses, of which a few survive today, were meant to become a thing of the past; like the Phoenix, they are reborn nowadays under the new rules of the 2010s, to join the very near future of…counterinsurgency again.
Eric H. Biass and Wesley Fox
rop aircraft, as these new single- aerospace and net-centric technologies. turboprop engine machines Air operations are indeed waged in a are known, will not replace totally different context since the turn of the formidable 4th (and soon the century. Western air superiority, and 5th generation) multirole jet fighters even air supremacy, have been taken for inherited from the “superfighters” of granted since the 1991 war to free Kuwait. the 1980s, namely the F-15, F-16 and Air operations against former Yugoslavia F-18, or the later European Rafale confirmed this trend, followed by another and Eurofighter. However in today’s “hyperwar” against Iraq in 2003, up to operational context, which has undergone the rapid air victory against Libya from so many transformations, they may find spring to fall 2011. Wiped out from the air, their place as a very pragmatic answer to opposing air forces could hardly develop the current operational environment… a proper conventional fight on the ground. boosted by the latest developments in From the “tank plinking” of Desert Storm
to the destruction of Taliban, Iraqi or Libyan armor, the hard targets which drove weapon and bomber development during the cold war have become rare, prized trophies for an array of anti-tank or interdiction aircraft. Current conflicts, from Central America to Afghanistan, thus oppose lightly-armed militias to hitech coalition forces, with the venerable Kalashnikov or the elusive “roadside bomb” taking a much higher toll than tanks or SAMs. This combination of total air supremacy and atomised threats have transformed close air support missions.
Built-up during the cold war around fast-moving tank killers such as the A-10 Warthog or all-weather interdiction strike fighters like the F-15E for example, close air support has been drifting closer to something akin to the notion of light attack as in colonial liberation wars or counter-guerilla operations. Furthermore, over national airspace, the renewed threat of smugglers, guerilla, or illegal immigrants obviously calls for light, persistent aircraft rather than missilearmed supersonic jet fighters. In fact much of the actual transformation has occurred outside the aircraft and their weapons as such. The proliferation of sensors and the development of digitised communications have paved the way for the now mature, highly collaborative network-centric operations. Resulting from vertical and horizontal integration of C4ISR (Computerised Command, Control, Communications, Intelligence, Surveillance and Reconnaissance), this information superiority translates into networked communities of interest between sensors, commanders and shooters. Ad hoc and mission-driven, they can share situational awareness and combine various effects, as experimented by special forces, close air support aircraft and regular Army today in Iraq or Afghanistan. Added to a near all-weather, day and night capability offered by sensors and navigation systems, this reality draws a different contribution from air platforms than their dogfighting or stealth abilities. In this new combination between threat and technologies, baseline aircraft are called to the rescue, augmented by C4ISR assets inherited from, or shared with, their avionics-laden superfighter peers; and they can apply deadly and accurate effects at stand-off range at far lower economical, human and military costs than the fast-movers. The first decade of the century has witnessed a renewed interest in This unmarked A-29B landing in Reno, Nevada, in 2009 was leased for over a year to be assessed under the secretive Imminent Fury programme to provide light attack and armed reconnaissance to special forces in Afghanistan. Its numerous VHF, UHF and SHF antennae betray its high networkcentric operations potential. The US congress, heavily lobbied by US aircraft manufacturers, blocked a $44 million Imminent Fury phase II appropriation for four aircraft to be sent to Afghanistan in 2010 (US Navy).
A still-impressive Rockwell (now Boeing) turboprop-driven light aircraft fitted with state-of-the-art avionics, weapon systems OV-10A Bronco of the Philippine Air Force. This ex-USAF ageing dedicated counterand sensors to support highly mobile, insurgency aircraft delivered in 1992 has networked forces on the ground against been recently augmented by SF-260TP lightly-armed, elusive insurgent threats Turbo Chargers (converted from SF.260 or organized crime. This amounts to a basic trainers into light attack aircraft), cultural shift as exemplified by a March easier to maintain and cheaper to operate. 2010 report requested by the US Air Force Both aircraft operate in tandem in the strategic planning division from the Rand same 15th Strike Wing (PAF). corporation, which advocates the return of “mud fighters” to provide reactive and Born out of a failed tender for the US persistent air support against insurgents. Joint Primary Aircraft Training System (JPATS) in the mid-1990s, the EMB314 Super Tucano (A-29 in Brazilian From basic trainers to light Air Force) embarked on its own success attackers story as a hardened, digitised light attack The first aircraft of this new breed was aircraft. It inherited from its predecessor born in South America to address the capability to operate from small local counter-insurgency and narcotics airstrips in rough environments, but saw trafickers – and it fast became a success the Tucano’s 700hp engines replaced by story. The Brazilian Embraer EMB-314 1300-1600hp Pratt & Whitney Canada Super Tucano evolved from armed trainer PT6A-68s. Its ground attack capabilities to state-of-the-art light attack aircraft, showed with built-in dual FN Herstal changing names and boosting capabilities M3P .50-caliber machine guns and five in the process. It is derived from the underwing weapon hardpoints. These proven EMB-312 Tucano propeller-driven features resulted in a 5 200kg maximum trainer aircraft in service with 17 air forces (including France until 2009 and Britain, take-off weight including 1 500kg of weapon load, a respectable figure in the where it replaced jet trainers in both light fighter-bomber community. Kevlarcountries). This versatile basic trainer was protected crew, redundant flight controls used as a light attack aircraft as of 1999 and hardened airframe and landing gear during the Angolan civil and the local enable the Super Tucano to withstand government augmented its inventory with operational conditions of forward-based ex-Peruvian and Paraguayan aircraft in the close air support operations, taking off 2000s. They played a key role in the 1995 Cenepa war between Peru and Ecuador, from less than 1 000 metre-long dirt and as recently as March 2012, French- strips. This mix led to its rapid adoption by Colombia, Chile, Dominican Republic, delivered Mauritanian Tucanos took Ecuador, and Mauritania, in addition to part in operations against Al Qaeda au Brazil, where the A-29 is used efficiently Maghreb Islamique (ACMI). Designated in border monitoring and counterT-27 in Brazil, the tandem two-seater smuggling roles, in conjunction with trainer (designed with an anti-helicopter airborne ISR (Intelligence, Surveillance role in mind), soon became AT-27, fitted and Reconnaissance) assets, including with night vision goggles and armed with airborne radars and drones. In Colombia bombs and rockets, paving the way for the particularly, heavily-armed Super Tucanos dedicated light attack EMB-314 version.
Baseline Aircraft Refurbished ex-French Air Force EMB-312F Tucanos in the hands of Mauritanian pilots have conducted counter-insurgency raids over Mali in spring 2012 to fight Islamic terrorists as the local government is threatened by insurgents. Successful operations against Al-Qaeda in Islamic Maghreb may lead to the procurement of Super Tucanos, a beefed-up capability to face antiaircraft guns and missiles from Ghadafi’s defeated loyalists (DR/Aviation Corner).
delivering unguided and smart bombs and rockets have been regular protagonists in low to mid-intensity operations against Farc insurgents. The highly operational record of the A-29 and its 4th generation avionics came to the attention of the United States at the end of the 2000s in a mix of covert deals and open tenders. In February 2008 EP Aviation, a subsidiary of Blackwater, received an unarmed twin-seater A-29, officially for training purposes, but fuelling suspicions of eventual counter-insurgency use by the private military company. The following year, the Navy Times leaked a requirement from the US Navy’s newlycreated Irregular Warfare Office to lease light close air support aircraft for Special Forces under the classified Imminent Fury programme. At least one heavily-modified A-29B was thoroughly tested by the Navy for over a year, amid fierce controversy from the naval aviation community. It resulted in a proven expeditionary and organic ISR and light attack support asset to special forces, able to bear sustained sensor and weapon effects for more than six hours over the battle area before landing on a bare airstrip nearby to refuel within minutes. Expressed as an urgent operational requirement seeking joint support, it seems Imminent Fury never led to a fielded capability in spite of strong demand from the field in Afghanistan. In 2010, former Joint Special Operations Commander and then ISAF Commander four-star General McChrystal stepped in the programme, writing a memo to the Joint Chiefs of Staff stipulating that “the immediate deployment of the Imminent Fury team into Afghanistan will validate the concept while simultaneously providing rapid means to help meet urgent theater demands.” Despite his plea and those from others, congress
barred further appropriations. Close air support in Afghanistan is thus still left to superfighters, ferrying between tankers and target areas to deliver quarter- or halfton precision guided munitions designed to knock out a Soviet main battle tank at 15km range, a costly overkill against individual Taliban hiding in villages. In Britain, a publicly-released comparison between the Super Tucano and the Eurofighter Typhoon F.2 delivers a powerful argument to cost-effectiveness: nearly 3 000-mile range for the Brazilian prop aircraft, against 1 840 for the superfighter; 6,5h endurance against 2h; $7,8 million unit cost against $105 million; and less than $800 per flying hour against a stunning $133,500 for the Eurofighter. Echoing this in the United States, a respected February 2012 General Accounting Office report pointed out a gross underestimation of the flying hour in the F-35 programme. Re-assessed at over 30 000$, it is nearly 40 times that of the Super Tucano. Even the venerable F-15, supporting troops in Afghanistan, costs about $16 000$ per hour. Such comparisons and the growing interest for upgraded prop aircraft from the American warfighter community triggered a fierce competition to the Super Tucano, expressed in recent tenders. The Light Air Support competition (LAS) saw the main competitor to the successful Brazilian prop fighter emerge out of a basic trainer too. In 2009, the Hawker Beechcraft AT-6 Texan II was proposed against a request for Information by the Air Force Material Command for 100 light attack aircraft to reach initial operational capability in 2013 in the hands of Air Combat Command. The requirement was for an armed two-seater aircraft with a night-vision capable cockpit and a PGM capability. Hawker Beechcraft
and Lockheed Martin teamed up to offer a “Texan 2 on steroids”. The resulting AT6B featured the same Pratt & Whitney powerplant as the Tucano, a strengthened cockpit with FAA certified avionics, augmented by a mission computer and glass cockpit adapted from the A-10C Thunderbolt II tank killer. Seven underwing pylons enable the Texan II to carry podded guns (the aircraft carries no internal weapon), rockets, free-fall and smart bombs. Besides its 600-trainer installed base in the US (owing to the very same JPATS trainer deal won over Embraer in 1996), the Kansas-based company also leveraged a 2008 Iraqi requirement for 36 T-6As. But the two AT6B prototypes developed for the America light attack tender have only so far qualified their mission capabilities during a thousand flight hours of extensive tests run by the Air National Guard, whereas the Super Tucano has logged more than 18 000 flying hours of combined operations in counter-insurgency warfare. The competition between the Super Tucano and the smaller Texan II has been raging despite the LAS contract being awarded to the Embraer-Northrop consortium at the end of 2011. The US Air Force has postponed programme spending, actually closing the gap between the development AT-6B and a field-proven A-29 in a fiery battle of claims and lobbying actions. A third contender has to be considered, despite its outsider status in the LAS competition; It originated as an agricultural or firefighting aircraft. Although it may be surprising to build a combat mission aircraft out of a “crop duster”, the 2011 air war over Libya saw a couple of them, under total coalition air supremacy, bomb a rebel refinery at night in total impunity by following roads at low altitude to fool coalition GMTI (ground moving target indicator) airborne radars. Besides, long loitering times of agricultural aircraft, as well as simplistic maintenance (“from the
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Baseline Aircraft back of a truck”), could be attractive for air operations in Afghanistan. This is why the militarised and digitised Air Tractor, introduced at Farnborough in 2010 has been challenging the concept of light attacker, offering a lower end to “mud fighters” in counter-insurgency roles. The militarised AT-802U variant marketed by Combined Air Ventures offers a 10-hour endurance and weapon load capacity of more than 3.5 tonnes, with types ranging from Miniguns to antitank missiles. At a price tag of 4 to $10 million and with a minimal logistics footprint, this Hulk-like Air Tractor is really challenging the notion of light attack at maximum availability for minimal operating costs. It is therefore worth noting that the AT-802U has attracted interest of the UAE, the Emirates Air Force having received the first of ten aircraft in January 2011. Avionics and air-ground integration Although the cost versus performance of these light attack variants may be particularly tailored to the counterinsurgency missions, their value resides in their C4ISR capabilities. Far from conveying the idea of being dusted off T-28 Fennecs or F4U Corsairs, these new prop fighters pack enough avionics to turn them into net-centric nodes, perfectly able as they are to plug into the digitised battlespace. Here lies the interest of leveraging recent designs versus refitting older aircraft, like the Boeing OV10 Bronco once contemplated for the LAS competition. Modular avionics, digitised data buses (like the MIL-STD-1553B data bus integrating the ead-p display and weapon computer on the A-29, providing a continuously computed impact point for air-to-ground weapons), or standardized interfaces between mission computer and sensor or weapon loads (such as Raytheon’s WiPak wireless integration of Paveway laser-guided bombs on export Super Tucanos) are key to the versatility of these new platforms (WiPak: see Armada
A Hawker Beechcraft AT-6 Texan II sitting on the tarmac of an Air National Guard base shows easy access to its avionics bay or refueling port, as well as the underbelly L-3 Canada Wescam MX-15Di stabilized sensor payload, a far-fromideal installation since the wings can block sensor field of view during aircraft turns. One can also notice the AT-6’s shorter legs than the A-29 (USAF).
International 2/2012, page 40 “Now to WiFi Weapons”). On all three, air-to-ground datalinks and protected tactical comms enable voice, data and video exchanges between supporting or supported assets. It is thus particularly noticeable that during tests with the Air National Guard, the AT-6 could be cued to its targets without having to call on the services of its own radar, but by subscribing to the messages or tracks sent by an overflying Awacs or accompanying F-16 via Link 16. This networking ability is key to mission adaptability, since neither sensor or weapon loads are any longer organic to the aircraft, but part of a networked community of interest assembled for the mission, offering multisource ISR (e.g. airborne imagery, ground masint and higher ground comint in a border monitoring role) and multiple effects (target marking, bunker-busting and anti-vehicle strikes for example). This composite value blurs the origin and technology ownership of aircraft too, since Brazilian-built Tucanos can incorporate Elbit glass cockpit with 6x8in colour multi-function displays, an electro-optics turret from Flir Systems, and Rhode & Schwarz M3AR softwaredefined airborne radios, making for a highly tailored C4ISR capability adapted to any local interoperability context. The Air Tractor’s Rockwell Collins ARC-210 programmable radio can support longhaul communications with special forces or Army Tactical Operation Centres. Similarly, the Imminent Fury A-29B leased by the US Navy featured an extensive suite The odd-looking Air Tractor AT-802U armed variant shows a “mud fighter” weapon load of 2 Mk-82 free-fall bombs, 2 70mm rocket pods, and 2 minigun pods. The Texas-built AT802U, developed out of a firefighting and crop-dusting aircraft (it is used in this configuration by the US State Department for counter-narcotics operations) has been selected by the UAE Air Force (CAV).
of communications, including Milsatcom and Harris Secnet 54 wireless internet encryption system. During trials at NAS Fallon in northern Nevada, this provided ad hoc networking between the Super Tucano and other aircraft, such as special forces AH-6 helicopters. Air-to-ground integration is a particularly valuable asset in the light attack role and this is why aeroplanes like the Super Tucano, Texan II or Combat Air Tractor all incorporate an L3 Com Rover or Rover-compatible datalink for air-toair track or air-ground video exchanges. On-board navigation and situational awareness from moving map and head-up displays, or target acquisition and attack on multi-function displays fully justifies the two-men crew approach of the A-29, AT-6 and AT-802U. In terms of embarked avionics package, the larger Super Tucano has a clear advantage over the AT-6; it also translates into better stability and payload operation thanks to a longer tail section and AN/AAQ-22 Safire stabilized turret from Flir Systems under the forward fuselage. The AT-802U has a similar installation for its Wescam MX15Di sensor turret, but on the shorter AT-6, the same Wescam MX15Di is mounted between the wings, which blocks the field of view when the aircraft banks. Dedicated smarter, lighter weapons
The modular avionics and standardized interfaces of prop fighters allow very flexible weapon loads that can be delivered with an accuracy similar to that achieved by 4th generation fast movers. The AT-6 inherited its combat mission system from Boeing-modernized A-10C, easing integration of antitank missile (such as the venerable, operator-guided Raytheon AGM-65 Maverick) and laser-guided bombs. But as we have seen earlier, chasing tanks and carpet bombing no longer are the order of the day. This is probably why the precision-guided weapons that proved so successful against Libya (like the Sagem
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www.exelisinc.com Exelis and “The Power of Ingenuity” are trademarks of Exelis Inc. ITT is a trademark of ITT Manufacturing Enterprises, LLC., and is used under license. Copyright © 2012 Exelis Inc. All rights reserved.
Baseline Aircraft This impressive view of the Embraer A-29B Super Tucano hardened cockpit shows its 4th generation fighter avionics shared by pilot and mission system officer, with the former’s head-up display and large multi-function displays, and the latter’s mission computer and sensor displays, while flight controls can be replicated too (Embraer).
Aasm or the MBDA Brimstone) will probably be earmarked for superfighters to take out time-sensitive or high-value targets at long range in a conflict opening phase. In counter-insurgency instead, light attackers still rely on guns and rockets even though the aircraft/weapon combination better suits rotary-wing aircraft, with their hovering capabilities that allows them to aim selectively, but at the cost of exposing themselves to ground fire. Faster and higher-flying prop fighters too have been fitted with 70mm rocket pods and cannon, heavy machine gun or Minigun pods (a successful mix over Central American jungles during night raids carried out by Super Tucanos). However, in open landscape with higher ground to ambush strafing aircraft, such as Afghanistan or Kurdistan mountain peaks, a lightly-protected, single-engine prop fighter closing towards its ground target with gun and rocket fire may have a harder time compared to more agile and armoured combat helicopters like the Boeing AH-64 or the Eurocopter Tigre. Off-axis firing (or fire and forget in case of third-part laser designation) and accuracy offered by new 2.75-inch (70mm) guided rockets (such as the BAE Systems Advanced Precision Kill Weapon System tested on an AT-6C at Eglin, Florida, in January) certainly help, but digitised prop attackers can certainly do better. This is why the best weapon mix to arm these new potent and persistent prop fighters requires a little lateral thinking to Lighter weapons developed to arm drones, like the Raytheon STM pictured here at the Eurosatory exhibition last June are becoming an increasingly interesting proposition for lighter aircraftturned-attackers. (Armada/EHB)
give secondary importance to the traditional Lockheed Martin AGM-114 Hellfire antitank missiles shared with armed drones, or even the Raytheon Paveway family of guided bombs that are qualified on all three prop fighters. The need for accurate, smaller footprint weapons attached to counter-insurgency and close air support near friendly troops or populations calls for lighter precision-guided weapons well suited to light attack aircraft. A first example that spring to mind is the new AGM-175 Griffin from Raytheon. Initially developed for armed drones, this 33-pound missile (less than 15kg) with a 13-pound warhead (one-third that of the Hellfire) is precision-guided by INS & GPS or semi-active laser homing, and can be released at more than 20km stand-off range by light aircraft. The Griffin is part of the Super Tucano 132 qualified weapon mix, allowing multiple-pass, multiple kills. Another Raytheon development is the even smaller Small Tactical Munition, a 13.5-pound guided bomb fitted with foldable wings. Raytheon deems the new STM Phase II tested in early 2012 “ideal to weaponries Shadow-class unmanned aircraft and counter-insurgency aircraft”. Another example of reduced destruction power adapted to softer targets and precision
targeting is the Small Diameter Bomb and its latest Focused Lethality Munition variant. The latter, developed at Eglin’s US Air Force Research Lab, sheds its steel casing (lethal at more than 2000ft on fragmentation) in faour of a composite one filled with less powerful explosives. This Advanced Concept Technology Demonstrator is attracting interest from US Central Command, who has identified a capability gap in smaller footprint weapons for use against unprotected targets or in high-density human environments. The original SDB was part of the weapon load tested by AT-6 prototypes, so we might bet this promising development will bring more accurate effects to the small prop fighter. A last example of a tailored weapon system associated to the militarised Air Tractor during its displayed at Farnborough in 2010, is the Mini-Talon 100-pound INS/GPS-guided glide weapon from Moog FTS (who provide control and actuation systems to the similar-looking Raytheon Mald air-launched decoy). Six of these standoff precision attack weapons can be delivered by the AT802U, in place of more classical Maverick, Hellfire or guided rockets. Although its operational status is probably pending, the combination of a loitering aircraft with gliding munitions is ideal for persistent air support or standing interdiction of insurgent hideouts. The resurrection of the prop aircraft in the ground attack role is much owed to modular avionics and open sensor or weapon systems combined with C4ISR integration.
Affordable Capability Delivered. Light Gunship
ATKâ€™s special mission aircraft deliver affordable, weaponized and integrated ISR solutions on customer-preferred platforms for responsive defense, counterinsurgency and border/coastal security missions. This is ATK.
Under the auspices of the King Abdullah II Design and Develoapment Bureau, ATK is modifying two Airbus Military C-235 into “Light Gunships” for the Jordan Air Force. (ATK) Puff, the Magic Dragon?
As extensively explained above, the evolution of warfare has also caused a warp in the hitherto clean-cut routine mission of transport aircraft. Unlike what the subtitle suggests, the aim is no longer to transform transport aircraft into ground strafers as was done with the venerable Dakota during the Vietnam war, in which three starboard-mounted General Electric Gau-2 Miniguns each belched their fire out of the windows and door at a rate of 6,000 7.62mm rounds per minute. But then the aircraft, nicknamed Puff, the magic dragon due to the impressive flames produced by the three sets of 6 barrels, was not pressurised, windows and door (there was only one!) could be removed and the sole use of the WWII aeroplane was confined to fire suppression missions to force the enemy hidden in the bush to move away from the hail of steel to enable one’s own troops to move ahead. The operation was generally performed in what is known as a ‘pylon turn’ in which the aircraft continuously banks to the left to turn over the same spot (reason why the guns were mounted exclusively on the pilot’s side!) Today, the aim is to still to provide some form of fire suppression and certainly quite a bit more, but at the same time preserve
the aircraft’s transport capabilities. Several methods are being envisaged. If one excludes the AC-130 first devised as a successor to the AC-47 Dakota in 1967, the most mature project to date is the Jordanian Air Force’s programme aimed at modifying two of its Airbus Military CN-235s. We are thus far from the current heavily modified dedicated Hercules versions operated by the Special Operations Command that only the United States can afford to operate. The Jordanian special-mission gunship programme is managed by the King Abdullah II Design and Development Bureau, but the actual work was entrusted to Alliant Techsystems, also known as ATK, in the United States, where the two airframes are now undergoing surgery at Fort Worth. The contract to ATK was announced on the occasion of the Idex exhibition in February 2011 and the first aircraft is due to take to the air in early 2013 and be delivered in July 2013. The integration work includes three distinct aspects which in the end will all be required to work together. A pair of Raytheon AGM-175 Griffin A undergoing testing show the diminutive size of these aft-ejected, low-collateral damage weapons developed for irregular warfare. The Griffin A is an unpowered guided munition, but the Griffin B rocketpowered version has a range of nearly 20km. A Super Tucano can carry 12 Griffin, or 6 Griffin and 2 500lb GBU12 guided bombs, an impressive load (Raytheon/DoD).
The first concerns the mounting of a 30mm Lightweight M230LF gun, portside and at the back. This gun incidentally, is a link-fed version of the turret-mounted M230A1 Chain Gun originally developed by Hughes in the early 1980s for the Apache Helicopter. It weighs 72.6 kilos sans mount and fires M788, M789, Defa and Aden rounds at a rate of 200 rounds per minute. One of the challenges in this application is to guarantee that the hemispherical gun-to-airframe interface, which allows the gun to be elevated or depressed, remains sealed when the cabin is pressurised. The American company remained quite discreet on additional details when last met by the authors at the recent Eurosatory exhibition North of Paris, but the second element entails the incorporation of stubwings over the landing gear sponsons to host two pylons on each side. These will be able to accommodate a total of two racks of four Hellfires and two pods of seven 70mm rockets. For the time being the latter will be of the non-guided type, but given the increasing intolerance to
Baseline Aircraft When precision and smaller warheads are required to limit collateral damage, providing some form of guidance to otherwise blind 70mm rockets is an option that has recently been attracting a number of companies. ATK is now putting its Hellfire-compatible Gatr through its final tests and will move it into production next year pending on orders from “two or three customers”. (Armada archives)
The mock-up of the ATK-Alenia Phase 1 palletized 30mm gun system installed in front of the rear door of a C-27 Spartan. The ATK Mk44 has a firing rate of 200 rounds per minute. (Armada/PV)
collateral damage, the eventual adoption of laser-guided variants under development here and there (including within Alliant Techsystems) would make sense. Rounding up the CN-235 gunship description, a stabilised Wescam electrooptical turret will find its way under the nose radome of the aircraft while a Thales turreted synthetic aperture radar similar to that used under the Watchkeeper drone could be belly-mounted, but ahead of the wing root. It also goes without saying that the aircraft will be properly protected against missile threats, ATK being an
expert in such systems. This conversion must have given ideas between Toulouse and Seville as Airbus Military has recently been saying that it was looking at ways of expanding the variants of their transport aircraft, adding that it was in touch with a number of companies, amongst which ATK, to pursue such objectives, not only with the CN-235, but with the larger C-295 as well. Which of the Jordanian C-295 or the C-27J was the egg and which was the hen we shall probably never find out, but the idea of a ground support Alenia Aermacchi C-27J is also being resurrected after the US Air Force decided to get rid of all its Spartans (and cancelling the ones on order on the grounds that it was more expensive to operate than the C-130J, meaning that the Air Force’s Special Operations Command AC-XX had no chances of survival). The new project was one of the very few highlights at Farnborough last summer and again involves ATK. While mocks were displayed, the design is not frozen, but the final aim is to produce a self-powered, palletised roll-on/ roll-off system that can be installed in four hours. Two development stages are devised, respectively called Phase 1 and Phase 2, the Rotary Wing
latter being more elaborate and distant in the future as it involves the installation of an electro-optical turret under the nose of the aircraft and enable the gun to track a target in elevation and azimuth using an ATKdeveloped fire control system. ATK’s old idea of launching Hellfires off the rear ramp could be revived as part of this Phase 2. In the nearer future however, Phase 1 is expected to undergo its first trials this autumn. The weapon in this case is the ATK Mk44, known as the Gau23 in US Air Force parlance. The 30mm gun will be fitted with an electro-optical sight (connected to one of the cockpit’s multiple function displays) and mounted on the pallet, itself emplaced in front of the rear portside door from which the barrel will protrude, the ensemble with its complement of ammunition tipping the scales at less than 900 kilos. Phase 1 is a relatively straightforward and therefore modest design requiring no tampering with the airframe structure. ATK has modified a number of Cessna Caravans for special missions, fitting them with electro-optical balls and communications suites, but the company is now envisaging to fit them with two Hellfires as well. The “arm a baseline aircraft” syndrome is hitting the helicopter world as well. A rather smart solution was introduced by Bell late last year in the form of an armed 407, called the 407AH (for armed helicopter). Requiring no tampering with the airframe structure the systems consists of a double floor insert that is dropped in the rear cabin and on which are affixed the pylons that carry the weapons outside the rear doors on both sides. The related electronics are derived from an existing suite, from the OH-58 Kiowa. The Aircraft is here seen armed with a rocket launcher pod and a Dillon Aero M134D Minigun. Also visible are the passive radar detectors and a Flir Systems Ultra 9HD ball mounted under the aircraft’s chin. (EHB/Armada)
Shows & Exhibitions Part One
Noticeable Shift Towards Security Quite apart from an increased number of visitors compared with previous years, the noticeable change in last June’s event was the growing number of delegations in civilian attire. This plus the increased number of wares presented by civilian manufacturers hitherto exhibiting at security exhibitions is proof of the loosening of the dividing line between the military and security worlds, which is inevitably getting greyer and greyer, lighter and lighter, to a point in the future where it will eventually vanish in thin blue air. Visited and photographed by
Eric H. Biass and Paolo Valpolini
he main reason behind this shift is a radical change in the nature of threats. Indeed, and except for a few geographical areas in which certain nations have seemingly not understood that the world had dramatically changed
I Switchblade Teamwork
in the early nineties, neighbouring nations as such are seldom a threat. Terrorism and totalitarianism are – with their overboiling effects across borders. Eurosatory in figures: 1433 exhibitors from 53 countries; 155 delegations from 84
countries, 2 International Organizations, 53,375 visitors of which 55% were foreign. Worthy of notice, a German company told the authors that they had received 48 delegations on day two and 42 the following day.
of 50 minutes, the aim is to use the Wasp AE to perform a scouting mission to precisely define an enemy position on which a lightweight Switchblade attack drone could be dispatched (see Drone
Update in this issue) The Wasp AE is man-packable and uses the same ground control station as its Raven and Puma stablemates. (Photo: Armada/EHB)
Aerovironment showcased it new Wasp AE, where the suffix stands for “all environment”, which means that it can land in wet and muddy environments. A 1.3kg hand-launched device, this drone is less conventional when it comes to its landing method, a phase during which it deep-stalls and flips over to land on its spine, thereby preserving the integrity of its belly-mounted optical sensors. This explains the unorthodox positioning of the vertical tail plane under rather than atop the tail boom. (photo: Armada/EHB) Although this appears to become increasingly common on mini- or microdrones the Wasp AE features a gimballed, stabilized high-resolution electro-optical and infrared sensor. With an endurance
Shows & Exhibitions vehicle are only limited by one’s imagination, but a very high speed refresh rate (25 hertz) enables the device to be used on the move. The image is presented on screen as a wide “flat band” picture the left end of which takes over the view where the right end has left it. A dab on the screen blows up the selected viewing sector to reveal a detailed view of any point around or above the vehicle. In terms of viewing performance (apart from the fact that a 360° coverage around a vehicle hitherto required a minimum of four wide-angle lens), the Antares can pick a sniper at a range of 150 metres, or a 30mm diameter object at a range of 20 metres. It also provides a full upwards view, which other devices cannot. Other potential applications spring to mind, like a lighter version turned upside down that could easily find its way into the belly of a drone, for example. (Photo: Armada/EHB)
I No Hiding with Antares
Thales unveiled an astonishing situational awareness device called Antares. Having the appearance of a giant fish-eye lens, it nevertheless has a viewing angle of 210° known as supra-hemispherical. Mounted on the roof of a vehicle, it therefore offers an all-round down-looking angle of 15°. Of course, providing an undistorted view on screen is down to image-processing software, but the high image standard results from a combination of high quality lens (courtesy of Angénieux) with an aperture of 1.6 and a 5.5 megapixel high-definition Cmos matrix sensor. While the latter offers a monochrome image, it does so with a resolution of one millirad or approximately 6400 pixels around the vehicle down to the nearinfrared spectrum (1.1 micron), although full darkness vision is possible due to an integrated invisible spectrum illuminator. Displaying methods and image distribution possibilities inside the I Rheinmetall Amarok M
In times of shrinking budgets, military and paramilitary units that operate in low threat areas but which still require good firepower can avoid the costs associated with military standards vehicles and look for cheap alternatives. One of these is certainly the Amarok M. Developed by Rheinmetall MAN Military Vehicles and based on a
Volkswagen cots car it provides good on and off road mobility. The customer can chose the propulsion type (diesel or petrol engines, from 90 to 132 kW) and the cab configuration. The single or double cabs respectively offer a 1.37 tonne payload capacity for a 3.57 m2 loading area and a 1.26 tonne payload capacity for a 2.5 m2 loading area. Militarisation includes racks for radios and rifles, and ring mounts for machine guns or AGLs. The Amarok M has a gross weight of about 3.5 tonnes and a maximum speed is of 180 km/h. (photo: Armada/PV)
I Flir’s New HD Ranger and Cerberus
Overlooking the Flir exhibition area was the company’s new Ranger HDC long-range thermal imager in which the suffix stands for HighDefinition Cooled. Intended for any long range surveillance applications such as base or border protection and by virtue of its 1280 x 720 InSb focal plane array sensor, the Ranger HDC enables one to detect a mansized object at an amazing range of over 10 kilometres and a vehicle at more than 20. Tipping the scales at 18kg, the Ranger HDC operates in the 3-5 micron infrared spectrum and is supplied with a TCP/IP interface that supports Nexus and common standard protocols to provide video over internet protocol (IP). The Flir stand also had a watchdog in the form of the Cerberus. Obviously aimed at mobile surveillance, but given the particular vehicle it was mounted on at the exhibition (a Polaris 4x4) also at special operations forces, the Cerberus is above all the result of Flir’s ability to provide a fully integrated package on a small, highly mobile vehicle. The multiple head capability of the Cerberus is provided by
a mast-mounted electro-optical sensor and a roof-mounted radar with router for recording and wireless streaming of data to remote stations. In this particular instance, the mast-mounted sensor is derived from the 3.5-kilo Flir Recon B2 FO dual-channel day-night thermal handheld biocular. (Photo: Armada/EHB)
I Thales’s Drones
Thales had remained suspiciously quiet on its small drone activities. As far as its electric pusher-prop Spy Arrow is concerned, which we reported on two years ago, this was due to the fact that it was undergoing operational testing by the French procurement agency DGA in the field (three systems are still used in Afghanistan).
The battle-scarred example seen here is far from looking like the spotless showroom fakes usually seen around. It clearly shows that emphasis is put of protection of the valuable items, which can be easily extracted from a cheap, damaged airframe and transferred into a fresh one. Styrofoam-like airframes are perfectly suited for the purpose – no use spending time and money on repairing more expensive airframe. The Spy Arrow now uses a small button-sized uncooled camera and a Hybrid GPS receiver. The Spy Arrow comes as a pair that neatly stores away with its control station in a backpack, together with enough batteries to allow six hours of operation. Requested to operate in duo with the
Spy Arrow was also the contra-rotating rotor Spycopter, which comes in two versions, one powered by a thermal engine and the other by an electric motor with respective endurances of two and 0.70 hours (about 40 minutes). The Spycopter can be operated in force 5 winds and carries a two-channel underslung stabilised electro-optical payload. (Photos: Armada/EHB)
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Shows & Exhibitions
I MBDA MMP Hotting Up
The French Army is looking at a new multiple-purpose medium-range missile to be used by dismounted infantry and vehicles. The French requirements originated the current medium-range missile being developed by MBDA under the name of MMP, the acronym of Missile Moyenne Portée. The military indicated that the new system should have a man-inthe-loop capacity to enable one to control the missile it until the very last moment of its flight. Other requirements includes the possibility to launch the missile from
a confined space and a tandem warhead able to defeat different types of target, such as armoured vehicles with a penetration capacity of over 1,000 mm of RHA and buildings with a penetration of over 2,000 mm of concrete. Looking at the digitised battlefield, the Armée de Terre also wanted a full digital firing post that would enable it to be inserted into a network and thereby provide imagery to decision makers, receive firing orders and send battle damage assessment pictures when possible (the digital architecture also lending itself to easy integration with battle management systems). Since another request was a missile firing
sequence that could be aborted until the last couple of seconds, MBDA chose an uncooled IR seeker and positioned the batteries into the firing unit from which the missile draws the required power before launch. The batteries, incidentally, are identical to those used by French Army Félin soldier system with a view to reducing the number of battery types in service. The MMP has minimum and maximum effective ranges of 150 and 4,000 metres. Physically the munition is 1,300 mm long with a diameter of 140 mm and a weight of 15 kg, including the launch tube. The firing post weighs 12 kg. In lock-on before launch mode the MMP can be fired as a fire-and-forget weapon with guidance assigned to the infrared sensor, or as a fireobserve-update system exploiting the TV camera-generated images for last minute fine aiming. In lock-on after launch mode it can be fired on coordinates thanks to the inertial guidance, aiming being then finetuned using the TV images. The missile has indirect fire capabilities, not for
infantry but rather more as an additional growth capability for vehicle applications. Various tests have taken place since 2011 and end-2012 will see a final statement on overall design approval that should lead to the final development and production contract. France needs some 500 firing posts and 3,000 missiles for its infantry units. Other applications are foreseen as evidenced at the Nexter stand where the T40 turret with MMP missiles, aimed at the EBRC requirement, was on show. A further development will be the MHT, a long range (8 km) missile that will have a 50 per cent commonality with the MMP and which is still at concept stage. (Photos: Armada/PV)
I Nemo +
Patria of Finland introduced at Eurosatory its new Nemo Plus concept, based on a Patria Nemo 120 mm mortar system that featured a Kongsberg Protector Super Lite RWS integrated on the turret, which was itself installed on a Patria AMV. This solution enables this mortar version of the AMV to have a self-defence cap<ability. The turret can be equipped with 7.62 and 5.56 mm machine guns and adds only 30 kg to the 1,700 kg turret armed with the 120 mm smoothbore mortar. The Nemo can reach targets at a range of 10 km and to fire 10 rounds per minute. I Nexter VBCI Casevac
Although it had been shown during the pre-Eurosatory press tour in late May, the exhibition constituted the firs public outing of the Casevac version of the VBCI, the 8x8 infantry fighting vehicle that is currently in service with over 400 vehicles in the
French Army and deployed downrange since summer 2010. As no ambulance versions of the VBCI are currently planned, the company developed the kit on the basis of frontline feedback where the need of a well protected casevac capability emerged. The kit can be installed in less than four hours and is composed of two stretcher stands, stretcher handling devices and fittings for the storage of medical equipment. The reconfigured VBCI can transport up to four casualties, two in seating position and two on stretchers, a medical team being able to provide intensive medical care. Kits are being sent downrange to provide the casevac capability to French troops deployed in Afghanistan although in the wake of the killing of four more soldiers in June President Hollande announced that France would start withdrawing its soldiers as of July 2012, followed by a full withdrawal by year end. (photo: Armada/PV)
I Iveco delivers first Guarani to Brazil
Eurosatory witnessed the delivery of the first pre-series Guarani 6x6 armoured vehicle produced by Iveco to the Brazilian Army. The ceremony was attended by Iveco CEO Alfredo Altavilla and by the head of the Brazilian Army’s Science and Technology Department, Gen. Sinclair James Mayer. Also known as the VBTP-MR (Viatura Blindada de Transporte de Pessoal – Média de Rodas) the vehicle was designed in cooperation between Iveco and the Science and Technology Department and is being produced at the Iveco plant in Sete Lagoas. A framework contract for 2,044 units was signed in 2009. During the Paris ceremony, Brazil announced that Iveco received a contract for a follow-on development of a new version aimed at Brazilian Army mechanised infantry units. No details were given on the new version as these were being finalised between the industry and the service. The vehicle delivered was the first of 16 pre-production Guaranis ordered until now. The new production line at Sete Lagoas will be ready by late 2012 for production to start in early 2013.
The new announced version is scheduled to undergo testing in 2013, the contract including development and construction of 38 vehicles. Brazil is in discussion with
Argentina which is also interested in the new vehicle and, pending an agreement, Argentina might receive some vehicles as of early 2013. (photo:Armada/PV)
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Shows & Exhibitions
I Thales RapidFire
The new threats that are appearing on the battlefield, such as drones, require appropriate systems to neutralise them in a cost-effective way. Missiles are definitely not an option against micro and small drones, but a high rate of fire weapon system appears to be the best solution to counter saturation from a high number of incoming objects. Following those considerations Thales unveiled its RapidFire, which is part of a new package of advanced air defence systems proposed by the company, whose portfolio includes all the peripherals required in the air defence field such as command and control, weapon coordination, air surveillance radars as well as mobile integrated weapon systems. The RapidFire is made of a combination of such elements, the 3D surveillance radar being the ControlMaster 60, which can link up with six combat vehicles, while command and control is provided by the ControlView module. The effector is the CTAI 40 mm gun, using telescoped cased ammunition, that is being adopted by the Britain and France for their latest combat vehicles. The gun is equipped with an autonomous tracking system that allows the system to be used as a stand-alone unit when not linked to the I Other Wares
More systems will be covered in next issueâ€™s â€œPart Twoâ€?. However, Eurosatory 2012 was the launch pad for a number of weapon systems that will be thoroughly described in forthcoming issues of Armada International, either in specific articles or in our Compendium series. Among these are the Crab seen here, which is a lightweight vehicle developed by Panhard that can be equipped with a medium calibre turret, making it a unique system in its category. Other vehicles include the 6x6 version of the Eagle based on the Duro chassis and unveiled by GD European Land Systems although its development had been announced at the same place, but in 2010. Oto Melara showed its 155 mm wheeled self-propelled howitzer based on a Centauro 8x8 chassis and aimed at providing indirect fire support to medium brigades. The Rafael Spike family has two new members, currently still under development, the Mini-Spike and the Spike-SR, for Short Range. During the Exhibition Rheinmetall received the
radar and C2 unit. The optronic system is mounted directly on top of the gun turret in order to ensure maximum precision. This arrangement allows to reduce the number of rounds that are necessary to destroy the target, something that will be further enhanced by the adoption of the air burst munition version of the 40 mm round that is currently under development and that should be available by late 2012. Although the RapidFire was shown mounted on the same truck as the one used by Nexter for the Caesar howitzer system, the turreted system can be installed on other types of chassis, including armoured vehicles. The cabin hosts the three-man crew,
namely the driver, the commander and the gunner. The system has already undergone some trials in late 2011 at the Biscarosse range, in southern France. Firing trials were conducted along with mobility and ergonomic tests. With the help of its hydraulically operated jacks to stabilise the platform the system can be deployed in less than one minute. The RapidFire has also been designed to integrate six StarStreak missiles, which will give it the ability to engage various types of targets such as ground attack aircraft, helicopters, drones, cruise missiles and precision guided munitions. (photo: Armada/PV)
contract for a first batch of Gladius future soldiers systems formerly known as the
IdZ2; the contract involves 90 systems. (Photo: Armada/EHB)
The A400M Format
Whether one is pro- or anti-European, one has to admit it: the A400M is not only setting a new standard, but also, and rather more, imposing itself as a new necessary standard in the military air transport world.
Eric H. Biass
itherto affectionately nicknamed the Grizzly by its test crew and now more officially known as the Atlas, the A400M appears more as the right size of aircraft coming at the right time than a mere Herc-to-Globemaster III gap filler, although on the time scale some European forces would have no doubt appreciated having it slightly earlier to move their men and wares in Afghanistan. The A400M was a long required size of aeroplane and it is about to start leaving its operational trail in the sky, with the delivery of the first aircraft to the French air force planned in early 2013. Things did not happen overnight,
though, and the design gestation period became painfully protracted – an abortion had even been prescribed in March 2009. Two main factors help explain this. First of all, several nations were involved in what was then known as the FLA, or the Future Large Aircraft, meaning that as many nations had their own opinion. Secondly, everybody knew that the size was going to determine the viability of the entire programme in the future. It was thus vital to slide the project and position it carefully on the line running between ‘too small’ and ‘too big’. A tad either side of that point would have translated into a financial disaster. The aircraft is designed to carry 116 equipped paratroopers.
The Grizzly 3 taking off for yet another test flight in Toulouse in May. The trend setter wants to show the 78-tonne Herc Juliet and the 265-tonne Globemaster III that 141 tonnes is a logical alternative on a number of war and peacekeeping scenarios. And it is not just a matter of weight, but very much one of cargo hold usability. (Armada/EHB)
In its initial project phase, the aeroplane started as a turboprop aircraft, then switched to turbojets, to finally return to turboprops. But turboprops with a huge challenge, because pulling 141 tonnes off the ground over a relatively short distance and then cruising at speeds that belong to the jet-engine world requires them to flex some 11’000 hp worth of muscle each. And this massive amount of horses needs to be thrown across a reduction gearbox to the eight-blade propeller. This pretty much equates to pulling the handbrake of your car, engaging first gear and then sending in all the power the engine can muster. Chances are that your transmission won’t like it. Neither
did the Atlas’s Europrop gearbox, but little by little these problems were ironed out, even if earlier this year a lesser glitch in that department still showed its ugly little face. This however did not alter morale in Seville or Toulouse with Airbus Military boss Domingo Ureña telling a group of aerospace journalists that he’d rather see those sorts of problems occurring now than after delivery, and programme manager Cedric Gautier remarking that debugging actually was the very purpose of test flights. I Question of Era
Mention was made above of the Future Large Aircraft. However the author had to take a deep dive into his notes to find the roots of that programme and this puts us on a mighty leap backwards, namely to the Future International Military Airlifter, right when the Cold War was at a peak in 1982. Needless to say, a number of parameters have changed since, not the least resulting from the remarkable change of needs sparked off by the definitive fall of the Soviet Union in 1991. Things were changing and had to
change, but it took political decision- Never before had anyone attempted to get an aircraft reduction box to digest 11,000 makers on the one hand and the military shaft horsepower before returning them on the other quite a lot of time to fully at quieter rpms to an eight-blade (Ratier) comprehend what had to effectively propeller. The result is a yet unmatched change and how it was to be changed. Just combination of a phenomenal oomph to imagine how the 1991 to 1999 Yugosphere get the aircraft off the ground as quickly mess of convoluted frontiers had replaced as possible and enable it minutes later the so simple Iron Curtain dividing West to “play” with jet-rated Mach numbers, at and East, altering the hitherto so simple cruise speeds of .72 – against the C-17’s standard pattern of the 39 nations taking .76 (Armada/EHB) part in the UNPROFOR, the very first United Nations peacekeeping initiative. as gunships (see “Baseline Aircraft on This, plus the growing number of Steroids” article in this issue). military operations around the world I Tests (Iraq, Afghanistan and Africa to name but a few) have reshaped the market demands. Thus the Atlas had to show its ability to land in crosswinds with drifts of up to 30°, Customers now require multiple mission conduct flights in icing conditions (even aircraft, and not just military transports collecting on one occasion no less than that are up to a point able to fulfil eight lightning strikes in the process), high secondary roles – no, wanted are types that can equally well transport, refuel, altitude operations at 8,300 and 13,300 feet in Bolivia to validate predicted engine operate in the civilian world as part of performance and in April the aircraft was humanitarian relief missions, carry out granted its “initial civilian type” certificate search and rescue missions (over 30’000 (full civilian type certification should be persons rescued between 1982 and 2010 obtained by mid-2013). More recently including 12,338 rescued in 2010 alone aircraft MSN6 attacked the 300 hours of in 641 outings), oil spill monitoring Function and Reliability flight testing missions and in certain cases even operate
programme, although at the 160th hour, the metal chip detection system spotted an abnormal presence in the lubrication system, but Airbus Military and Europrop are confident that they will soon be able to present the European Aviation Safety Agency a plan to complete the test. First flights of MSN7 and 8 are still planned to take place as scheduled during the third and last quarter of 2012 and delivery, as is the delivery of the first aeroplane to the French Air Force during the first quarter of 2013 as contractually stipulated (although this could have taken place ahead of schedule had it no been for the latest transmission problem). At time of going to press, the test
campaign had chalked up more than 3,600 hours in more than 1,200 flights. These also included air-to-air refuelling in both roles of receiver and tanker (the objective is also to refuel helicopters), loading of helicopters (including NH90), and testing of self-protection systems. I Market
For the time being, the aircraft only has its seven launch customers and one “export” customer, Malaysia, with an order for four. The launch nations are Belgium (7), Britain (22 firm, plus an option on 3 more), France (50), Germany (53, plus an option on 7 more), Luxembourg (1), Spain (27) and Turkey (10), whose orders
One of the goals pursued by the A400M is to be able to deliver a 25-tonne payload on a 750-metre grass airstrip. The cargo hold of Grizzly 3 is here seen devoid of any lining due to continuous tests that require immediate access to the plumbing, but although the author saw the noise cancelling device outlets, he was told that they hadn’t been needed due to the unexpected low noise levels experienced – unofficially half that of a C-130J. The large palletised loads seen here accommodate a number of computer work stations sandwiched between two tandem 4,000-litre tanks from which water is pumped aft and forward to measure the behaviour of the aircraft during centre-of-gravity shifts. (Armada/EHB)
Whats Up Strangely the author was not allowed to photograph the flight deck, which is all the more surprising when Airbus Military indicates that rather than reinventing the wheel it decided to transpose and adapt the state-of-the-art configuration of the A380 deck to that of the Atlas seen here, courtesy of Airbus Military.
total 170 aircraft. However, because the A400M appears to correspond to many requirements of the new world order by striking a balance between being neither too small (not capable enough) and not too big (far too expensive to operate), Airbus is confident that new customers will appear as soon as they got used to the hitherto unusual new format to a point where it envisages setting up an export assembly line towards the end of 2016. Airbus Military particularly eyes India, which has so far been relying on Russian transport. Then Airbus Military also has long ties with Indonesia through the CN-235 where the N of the prefix stands for Nurtanio, the then Indonesian co-developer and producer of the aircraft with Casa. Then of course come the Middle East, the Gulf Area and the South Pacific Rim area.
A new name has appeared in the largest class ADVANCED PRECISION KILL WEAPON of drones, the Triton, will soon share SYSTEM DEPLOYED TOwhich AFGHANISTAN
the skies with its stable mates from the same he Advanced Precision Kill Weapon System (APKWS), the manufacturer, the against Global variety of Hawks. was latest weapon in the fight insurgency forces, recently approved for its first deployment by Headquarters Marine Eric H. Biass Corps. The APKWS, the U.S. government’s only program of record nveiled last June, and therefore too late for incorporation for the semi-active laser-guided 2.75-inch rocket, converts the in our last issue, the MQ-4C Triton was better known Hydra 70mm unguided rocket into a precision guided munition hitherto as the MQ-4C Bams, and acronym that stands through the addition of a mid-body guidance unit (WGU-59/B) for “broad area maritime surveillance” although shortly developed by BAE Systems. before this, brochures even referred to it as the RQ-4N Bams. The The APKWS is a “plug and date play,”back “point and Bams programme’s roots to and Aprilshoot” 2008,weapon, when Northrop is fired like the unguided 2.75-inch rocket. The weapon is easily Grumman was awarded a formal contract to develop a derivative assembled by removing warhead, of the RQ-4 Globalthe Hawk and attaching equip it the withguidance an MFAS (Multisection to theActive rocket motor threads, andventral then reFunction Sensor)using aesaexisting radar with a new 360-degree mounting theRaytheon warhead MTS-B to the guidance section.sensor, The weapon shot radome, electro-optical ZLQ-1iselectronic anas AIS Identification withsupport minimalmeasures, instruction, if it(Automatic were an unguided rocket.System), a basic communications relay capability and Link-16, of course. The aircraft type’s name was modified to MQ-4C in 2010 to finally be officially TritonLISC at theCONTRACT official unveiling ceremony that took place at NEWnamed JV FOR Palmdale on 14 June. newly formed joint venture — IBL JV, LLC (IBL) — will bid on The Triton is now expected to take to the air before the end of this the U.S. Air Force Space Command’s planned Launch and year and reach initial operational status in December 2015. The Test Range Integrated Support Contract, or LISC. Triton System is immediately distinguished from the Global Hawk by The comprised of ITT Exelis, and360° L-3 , X-band itsteam, prominent belly-mounted radarBAE thatSystems houses the brings2D extensive experience in successful rangeGrumman operationsElectronic and search radar developed by Northrop maintenance (O&M) logistics. The joint venture teammates Systems and the and chin-mounted MTS-B/DAS-1 turret supplied by (It is interesting toexisting note from photograph serve Raytheon as the incumbents on the Airthe Force Spaceliftabove Rangethat the(SLRS) configuration of delivering this sensorasubstantially differs from System contract, strong combination of the one shown onand artwork performance value.produced up to now). Thus equipped the Triton is expected to provide the to UScombine Navy with a continuous maritime LISC will allow the Air Force O&M and sustainment surveillance capability and complement the P-88 Poseidon maritime services of its Eastern and Western Ranges under a single patrol aircraft (see “Below Us the Waves in this issue). The current contract. The move will effectively merge the Air Force’s SLRS plan (but this can change in the turbulent air in which defence contract, currentlycurrently primed by Exelis, with the Range programmes have to navigate) is Eastern for the US Navy to order Technical Services and Western Range Operations some 68 Tritons to ensure that five aircraft are able to permanently Communications and Information contracts. be in the air, operating from bases as dispersed as NAS Jacksonville The contract for program management, O&M, inLISC Florida, Diegocalls Garcia, Hawaii, NAS Kadena onrange Okinawa, and Sigonella in Sicily. Itlogistics must besupport remembered that the Triton range can stay sustaining engineering, and management, aloft for 28 hours and reach an altitude 56,600 ft , which is a level at instrumentation systems operations andof engineering, hardware which thedepot-level only risk of collision it may encounter is with its own peers. and software maintenance, downrange base These high-altitude collisionassurance. risks could eventually emanate operating support, and information from non-US Navy Tritons though, because except for the Global Hawk-based elint Eurohawks operated by Germany, the Triton could well attract interest from JOINT POLAR SATELLITE SYSTEM nations with huge expanses of seas CGS MILESTONE to monitor Like Australia, Canada he Common Ground System (CGS) developed and even Japan. by Raytheon Company for the Joint Polar Satellite System (JPSS) achieved fromand a Bams brochure, a major milestone with the successful Picked download delivery this photograph what of Defense Meteorological Satellite Program (DMSP) illustrates data the Triton could see from a through McMurdo Station, Antarctica, to the Air Force Weather 60,000ft altitude with a slant Agency (AFWA) in Omaha, Neb. range of 17 nautical miles
Digest Mantis’s Steel Wall in the Sky
he German Air Force has officially fielded its Rheinmetall Mantis C-Ram system, the acronym standing for Counter-Rocket, Artillery, Mortar. The acquisition contract was announced in may 2009, when two full systems were ordered to the tune of 110.8 million Euro, plus 20 more million covering documentation and training, while a further 13.4 million went for the acquisition of modified Ahead munition, purposely optimised for the C-Ram role. An order for two more systems was forecast, the operational need at that time being to defend three bases in Afghanistan, while keeping one for training in Germany. The Mantis was due to be delivered to the German Army, but the German Defence Minister later decided that all air defence responsibilities would be assumed by the German Air Force, thus the two systems were transferred to that service on 1 January 2011. The Mantis unit was activated at Husum air base in April 2011, though full qualification was completed in South Africa in Spring 2012, followed by the hand-over of the first system to the Luftwaffe in June 2012, the delivery of the second system being awaited in Fall 2012. However due to the decision to pull out troops from Afghanistan in 2014, the German MoD decided not to deploy the Mantis in theatre. Each system consists of a ground control system, two sensor stations equipped with a radar and an optronic suite each, and six highly automated 35 mm guns (eight being the maximum number), an evolution of the Millenium gun capable of firing 1,000 rounds per minute. Compared to the Skyshield air-defence version the C-Ram subsystems have been considerably redesigned to enhance accuracy and dramatically increase reliability, a C-Ram system being required to work 24-7-365. Qualification requirements called for neutralisation of 70 per cent of the
targets at keep-off distance. Results were considered on the basis of 20 engagements each for rocket and mortar threats. The standard procedure foreseen by the Bundeswehr is based on two bursts of 36 rounds each (possibly from two guns) to neutralise a single target. Each gun has an ammunition load of 252 rounds, which means seven engagements per couple
of guns. According to a sketch shown by Rheinmetall to protect a 1 km x 1 km base four guns are needed, two extra guns allowing to double the protected surface to 2 km x 1 km. Speculation on the optimisation of the Ahead round for the C-Ram role went on for years. At a recent meeting on medium calibre ammunition held in Ochsenboden
Rheinmetall illustrated its family of 35 mm Ahead ammunition, now known as KETF (Kinetic Energy Time Function). The PMD062 has the original payload of 152 subprojectiles each weighing 3.3 grams; the PMD330 is a 35 mm derivative of the PMC308 developed for the IFV Puma ABM function and is optimised against ground targets, carrying 407 subprojectiles weighing 1.24 grams each. The last member of the family is the PMD375 and features 860 0.63-gram subprojectiles. This is clearly the ammo of choice for the Mantis, meaning that each incoming threat will find nearly 62,000 subprojectiles in its path! How far the ammunition is “opened” and which is the density of subprojectiles needed to neutralise the threat remains classified. The subprojectiles used in the PMD375 penetrate the rocket shell, detonating it or hitting its fuse, while with mortars the only possible action is to disrupt the fuse. While not required for qualification purposes, it is known that the Luftwaffe carried out internal tests against three incoming threats of different kind succeeding in neutralising them all. Tests against 60 mm mortar bombs and 127 mm rockets were also conducted.
JOINT STRIKE MISSILE ON F-35 AIRCRAFT
Korshun.orway A Chinese team led by and USA agree to collaborate on integration of Joint The Russian Defence Ministry Weifang Strike Tianxiang Aviation Missile (JSM) on F-35. This opens great opportunities has launched development of Industry flew in May 2011 the 757for Kongsberg and other Norwegian industry. Kamov-designed kg V750Norway’s drone, based onminister the two-Espen Barth three defence Eide announced that unmanned helicopters, all with seat the Brantly B-2B. Israel’s Norwegian Government has decided to start the process to coaxial rotors. This mockup Aeronautics is developing theof720finalize the development JSM and integration on F-35. The appears to represent the decision based comes as consequence of Secretary of Defense Leon kg Picador, ona Belgium’s mid-range Ka-175 Korshun. Panetta’s confirmation of US support for integration. two-seat Dynali H2S. The rear end of the lightweight
Through the development of the Naval Strike Missile (NSM), Ka-135 is visible on the the Norwegian Armed Forces has established Kongsberg and I BELOW THE right. (Russian Helicopters) other Norwegian HALF-TONNE MARKindustry in the top tier as a supplier of longrange, precision strike missiles that will meet military requirements In terms of experience, the lighter weight category is led by a long in a 20 to 30-year perspective.
shot by Schiebel in Austria. The 200-kg Schiebel Camcopter S-100 is in operational service in various parts of the world and has been trialled from the ships of several navies, notably German and French, and is the first rotary-wing drone to have been allowed to fly in full drone mode at an air show. This was in Paris three years ago and has since repeated the performance. For a while now, and in cooperation with Austro Engine, Hans Schiebel embarked on the development of a heavy fuel version of the Wankel-type Austro Engine AER50R. Heavy fuel, however, does not necessarily imply diesel. On the contrary, the new version uses three spark plugs and a
Flying from a Bersagliere-class frigate off the coast of la Spezia, a Camcopter S-100 became the first helicopter drone to operate from a POLAND BECOME LARGEST Marina Militare ship.TO Carrying an L-3 Wescam MX-10 turret above sea state three andOPERATOR in 25 km/h winds, the Camcopter transmitted highC295 definitionoland pictures in real timeitsfor the 4.5 hours of flight (Schiebel) is expanding transport capabilities by time. acquisition of five C295 transport aircraft from Airbus Military. Deliveries will start end of this year and continue into 2013. With this acquisition, Poland will become the largest operator for C295 aircraft operator. The aircraft will join the existing C295s currently in service, increasing the fleet to 16 aircraft, and will be used to support the Polish Air Force in its national and international operations. “The C295 is working extremely well with the Polish Air Force and we are proud to have a further vote of confidence from our customer with this new order for a further five aircraft. We have a very close relationship with Poland also through our Polish subsidiary and we look forward to further expand our footprint in Poland”, said Domingo Ureña Raso, CEO of Airbus Military. “This order also underlines our leadership in this segment with over 110 orders of which 27 orders were placed this year.”
Digest NEXT ISSUE OCT/NOV 2012: 28 SEPT, ADVT: 14 SEPT Sub-launched Tactical Missiles: They can be anti-ship, deep land attack or anti-aircraft, these missiles can strike from totally unknown places. They can be turbine, rocket or even ramjet-powered. Cyber Warfare: Initially conceived as an afterthought, cyber warfare is one of today’s most active battlefields. Cyber commands have grown in complexity and strength in a very short time, with portable field systems already down range. Threats and assets are often interchangeable, but it is the combination of computing power and human intel that can often determine the outcome of an operation. The list of equipment is long and very involved. Vertilift Hauler Drones: Basically, these are ordinary helicopters turned into remotely controlled aircraft whose new intended roles include delivering supplies to advanced posts and even carry out search and rescue operations in enemy fire-infested areas.
A400M AIRCRAFT DEMONSTRATES LOADING OF HELICOPTERS
irbus Military has successfully demonstrated the loading of NH Industries NH90 and Eurocopter EC725 helicopters onto the A400M new generation airlifter. In a series of tests at Holzdorf air base in Germany and at Toulouse, France respectively, the NH90 and EC725 were loaded onto, and unloaded from, the Grizzly 4 development aircraft as required for military Initial Operating Capability (IOC). The tests were the first demonstrations of the A400M´s cargo-carrying capability using a real aircraft, and represent the most challenging loads in terms of their dimensions required for IOC. They will be followed by further exercises showing the aircraft´s ability to carry a wide range of military equipment as required by the launch nations. development of JSM
Space-based C4ISR: Satellites not only provide a platform for communications relay, but also carry a host of sensors that are exploited for command and control, surveillance, reconnaissance and intelligence applications. Such orbiting equipment must be hardened to survive in temperature and radiation extremes. Some very interesting systems are flying overhead. Here, embedded components to weapons are discussed. Show report: Eurosatory (Part II) The Armada team of journalists joins forces to provide their usual vivid illustrated account on the world’s largest land defence warfare equipment exhibition held north of Paris. Drone Update: Just 550 identified drone types in 2005, but over 1500 by mid 2011. This regular column enables the reader to keep abreast with this ever-growing segment of the defence industry. Compendium light armoured vehicles: This compendium broadens the scope of the previous Light Armoured Vehicles to examine what the world has brought us in recent years in terms of vehicles able to take over the role played by the Jeep many years ago, although they have grown both in weight and size to step into the lower end of medium armoured vehicles.
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Th e tota l i n t e l l i g e n c e p i ct u r e with automated, integrated, ISR processing and v i s u a l i z at i o n f o r r e a l-t i m e m i s s i o n p l a n n i n g
RAFAEL’s ImiLite is the cost-effective, centralized, single-desktop ISR system that provides comprehensive battlefield intelligence for on-the-spot decision making. • • • • • •
Seamless multi-source data integration Enhanced image processing and automation Comprehensive image intelligence reports Combines image, video and GIS data layers Mobile and stationary system configurations Based on combat-proven ISR and C4I systems
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