Raytheon Company and the U.S. Army completed development of a revolutionary capability for cannon artillery by upgrading the combat-proven Excalibur precision-guided projectile. The Excalibur Shaped Trajectory, or EST, variant will enable soldiers to eliminate targets in hard-to-reach locations by selecting the projectile’s terminal or final phase attack angle.
With the Excalibur EST munition, soldiers can attack a bunker positioned on the opposite side of a mountain slope, target a multi-story building from the side rather than the top or defeat enemy assets positioned under highway overpasses.
«This new version of Excalibur represents a major leap forward in capability for this already advanced guided projectile», said Kim Ernzen, Raytheon Land Warfare Systems vice president. «With these enhancements, enemy forces can no longer hide from the long arm of Excalibur».
The EST variant was successfully demonstrated in August 2018 at the U.S. Army Yuma Proving Ground, Arizona, and is now being deployed to U.S. forces. This capability will be made available to allies approved to procure the Excalibur projectile through foreign military sales.
With more than 1,400 rounds fired in combat, Excalibur is the revolutionary, extended-range, precision munition for the U.S. and international artillery forces. The weapon is fully qualified in multiple systems, including the M777, M109 series, M198, the Archer and PzH2000. It’s also been tested in the AS90, K9 and G6 howitzers, with plans to integrate it with other mobile artillery systems.
In addition to the Excalibur EST variant, Raytheon has developed Excalibur S, a laser-guided version of the projectile. The company has also developed a 5-inch sea-based variant, the Excalibur N5 munition. It’s expected to more than double the maximum range of conventional 5-inch munitions and will provide the same accuracy as the land-based version.
While traditional ammunition is either stopped or deflected when it hits water, Nammo’s 30-mm Swimmer (APFSDS-T MK 258 Mod 1) swims straight through water, thanks to a groundbreaking design on the supercavitating projectile developed in cooperation with the U.S. Navy. In this article, first published in the 2018 Nammo BulletIN, design engineer Jan Hasslid discusses the implications of this new technology.
25 years ago, Norway became one of the first European countries to acquire an infantry fighting vehicle with a 30-mm × 173 gun, the CV9030N. At the same time, Raufoss Technology AS, now a part of Nammo, negotiated a contract with the Norwegian Army to develop a new generation of 30-mm ammunition. Today, with 30-mm guns becoming more prominent than ever, the experience gained through this early work has allowed Nammo, through its Strategic Alliance Agreement (SAA) with General Dynamics Ordnance and Tactical Systems (GD-OTS), to become one of the main providers of 30-mm ammunition for the U.S. Armed Forces. Following the recent signature of agreements with the U.S. Army and the U.S. Navy, both services are now adopting Nammo’s 30-mm APFSDS-T MK 258 Mod 1, or «Swimmer», for use from a multitude of platforms, including the U.S. Army’s latest addition, the Stryker variant known as «Dragoon».
Ammunition used by vehicles generally falls into three categories – armor piercing (APFSDS), for use against other vehicles; High Explosive Incendiary (HEI), for use against lighter targets and aircraft and Target Practice (TP) rounds, that allow cost-effective training.
Nammo today offers ten different types of 30-mm × 173 ammunition across all three categories, ranging from plastic blank and reduced range anti-armor to multipurpose and explosive rounds, as well as dedicated kinetic energy penetrators. The Swimmer round falls into the category of sub-caliber kinetic energy penetrators. These can most easily be described as arrows made out of very heavy materials that use the force of the impact rather than explosives to punch through armor. Traveling at speeds of more than 1 km per second, the energy generated by the impact melts the armor of the vehicle into a fluid and the arrow «swims» through the armored side of the vehicle. In the case of the Swimmer, the force of the arrow is sufficient to defeat anything except main battle tanks.
Nammo’s penetrators, both for vehicles and other types of armor piercing ammunition, are made out of a super tough tungsten alloy, also known as wolfram. More than two times as heavy as steel, it has the second highest melting point of any element, making it ideal for use in armor piercing ammunition. For some ammunition types, including the 25-mm APEX for the F-35, tungsten is mixed with carbon, creating what is known as tungsten carbide. This makes the penetrators harder, but also more brittle, allowing them to fragment once they have penetrated the armor, causing added damage inside the target.
What makes the Swimmer unique, however, is the combination of powerful armor penetration and its ability to swim straight through water. This effect has until now been considered impossible to achieve by ammunition fired from air through water. As demonstrated by a number of popular science TV programs, traditional ammunition is either stopped or deflected when it hits water. In a worst-case scenario, a projectile could hit the surface, bounce off and hit something else. Thanks to the design effort for the kinetic energy penetrator originally developed for the Norwegian Army, and perfected by Nammo in combination with U.S. Navy supercavitation concepts, the Swimmer avoids the ricochet in water problem through the use of a supercavitation nose design. This means that the projectile creates a bubble of steam around itself big enough to pass through, substantially reducing the friction that stops traditional ammunition. This enables the Swimmer to be used in defense of either ships or coastal areas against submerged and surface mines, small underwater vehicles, torpedoes and even small fast attack crafts that might be concealed by waves. This is valuable not only for naval vessels, but also for land vehicles defending harbors, bridges or other key locations.
Going forward, Nammo expects that most armored vehicles armed with medium caliber guns such as the 30-mm will carry one armor piercing round, and one multirole round capable of acting as either a traditional high-explosive or an airburst round. With the Swimmer established as a leading armor piercing round, Nammo is now turning its attention towards developing a new type of programmable 30-mm ammunition that can be used against the kind of targets where the Swimmer is less effective. Based on the same technology as the 40-mm grenades that have been demonstrated against drones, this would allow fighting vehicles to program their ammunition to explode either in the air, or at a specific point inside a target. This would allow future combat vehicles to address the full range with only two ammunition types, and hence be ready for any mission, at any time.
Testing the Swimmer, Nammo’s Supercavitating Ammunition
Oshkosh Defense, LLC, an Oshkosh Corporation company, debuted the Family of Medium Tactical Vehicles (FMTV) A2 variant, as well as showcase multiple Joint Light Tactical Vehicles (JLTV) at the 2018 AUSA Conference. The vehicles were on display at the Walter E. Washington Convention Center in Washington, D.C. from Monday, October 8th through Wednesday, October 10th, 2018.
The Oshkosh FMTV A2 was on display for the first time at AUSA 2018. Oshkosh was awarded the FMTV A2 contract in February 2018, following the Army’s competitive request for proposal (RFP) for an upgraded platform with improved payload, underbody protection, ride quality, mobility, engine power, electronics, diagnostics, and safety enhancements.
«Oshkosh Defense is proud to debut the FMTV A2 at AUSA 2018. We took a great truck and made it even better with greater force protection, improved payload, a smoother ride, and better mobility», said John Bryant, President of Oshkosh Defense and Executive Vice President of Oshkosh Corporation. «We are honored that the U.S. Army selected Oshkosh as the winner of the FMTV A2 production contract earlier this year».
The FMTV A2 fleet of vehicles will be comprised of 16 models, allowing it to perform a wide range of duties from supporting combat missions, to relief efforts, to logistics and supply operations.
In addition to the FMTV A2, three fully integrated JLTVs was also found on the AUSA show floor. The JLTV on display in the Oshkosh Defense booth was outfitted with the Kongsberg Common Remotely Operated Weapon Station (CROWS) with the Javelin Integration Kit (JIK) and .50 Caliber/12.7-mm Machine Gun.
A second JLTV was integrated with the Kongsberg PROTECTOR II Remote Weapon System (RWS) with a XM914 Lightweight 30-mm Cannon, the JIK, and a 7.62 coax machine gun and was on display in the Kongsberg booth #239. The third JLTV on display was in the IMI Systems booth #3125 featuring the Iron Fist Active Protection System (APS).
«Oshkosh has an exciting few months coming up with the JLTV program», Bryant continued. «First, we expect a Full Rate Production (FRP) decision in early FY19. At that time, we will substantially ramp up our JLTV production. Following the FRP decision, the U.S. Army and the U.S. Marine Corps will begin fielding JLTVs. We look forward to getting these vehicles into the hands of our service members».
Oshkosh Defense leadership was available in booth #839 to discuss the Oshkosh JLTV and FMTV A2 along with the company’s full portfolio of vehicles, technologies, integration capabilities and aftermarket solutions.
Raytheon Company completed a significant milestone in the development of its long-range DeepStrike missile to meet the U.S. Army’s Precision Strike Missile, or PrSM, requirement. The company has integrated its new launch pod missile container into the Army’s M142 HIMARS and M270 MLRS launchers.
The launch pod missile container integration took place at Fort Sill, Oklahoma, in July. During the integration, Raytheon technicians worked side-by-side with soldiers and Marines on operational launchers to ensure proper fit and functionality.
«Raytheon is responding to the U.S. Army’s desire to accelerate its PrSM program», said Doctor Thomas Bussing, Raytheon Advanced Missile Systems vice president. «We are on a fast track to deliver an advanced surface-to-surface missile that exceeds the Army’s requirements by doubling the firepower while reducing the cost».
Featuring an innovative, two-in-the-pod design and an advanced guidance system, Raytheon’s new long-range precision strike missile will fly farther, faster and pack more punch than the current weapon, which is approaching the end of its service life.
As the next-generation surface-to-surface weapon for the Army, the DeepStrike missile will defeat fixed land targets 60-499 kilometers away, improve lethality and responsiveness compared to current systems, and restore the Army’s capability to overmatch the threat.
Double the combat power with Raytheon’s DeepStrike missile system
Raytheon Company and Rheinmetall Defence have joined forces to meet the U.S. Army’s requirement for the Next-Generation Combat Vehicle-Optionally Manned Fighting Vehicle (NGCV) program. The global industry team will offer the new Lynx Infantry Fighting Vehicle (IFV) paired with Raytheon weapons, sensors and system integration expertise to provide the Army with an advanced, modular, survivable and lethal solution with unmatched growth potential.
Scheduled for fielding in 2026, the Next-Generation Combat Vehicle will be optimized for urban combat and rural terrain. The Army has named the NGCV as a top modernization priority supported under the service’s new Futures Command structure.
«We fully understand the Army’s need to quickly modernize its aging family of combat vehicles. Our team offers a fresh, innovative approach, not business as usual», said Doctor Taylor W. Lawrence, Raytheon Missile Systems president. «Raytheon will equip the new Lynx with the world’s most advanced technology to deliver a modern fighting vehicle that will keep U.S. soldiers far ahead of battlefield threats for decades to come».
Raytheon technology earmarked for the Lynx could include advanced variants of Raytheon weapons, next-generation thermal sights, the Coyote unmanned aircraft system and the company’s Active Protection System. Like those systems, the vehicle will be made in America.
Rheinmetall unveiled the latest version of the Lynx Infantry Fighting Vehicle earlier this year. The new, tracked, armored vehicle is designed to address the critical challenges of the future battlefield, with a focus on growth capacity and lower life-cycle costs.
The Lynx IFV will provide the Army a next-generation lethal, powerful, lifesaving and adaptable fighting vehicle that represents true leap ahead capability compared to legacy vehicles. The Lynx can also be adapted to enable optional manning features, such as remote operation of the vehicle and Lance turret.
«Rheinmetall and Raytheon have worked together successfully for many years on numerous programs», said Ben Hudson, global head of Rheinmetall’s Vehicle Systems division. «We are once again combining the best of German and American engineering to provide the U.S. Army with a step change in capability, giving soldiers the overmatch advantage, they expect and deserve. Production of the Lynx in the U.S. will enable additional development and sustainment of the world-class American defense industrial base».
The NGCV is expected to replace the Bradley fighting vehicle.
According to Navy Recognition, the 11th Soryu-class submarine, JS Oryu (SS-511), was launched at the Mitsubishi Heavy Industries shipyard in Kobe on October 4th. JS Oryu (SS-511) features one significant design upgrade: It is Japan’s first submarine powered by lithium-ion batteries.
JS Oryu (SS-511) is the 11th Soryu-class submarine built for the Japan Maritime Self-Defense Force (JMSDF): the 6th built by MHI, the other five ones having been built by Kawasaki Shipbuilding Corporation is the shipbuilding subsidiary of Kawasaki Heavy Industries. Oryu’s keel was laid in November 2015 and the submarine is set to be delivered to the JMSDF in March 2020.
The keel for the first submarine in the class, JS Soryu (SS-501), was laid down in March 2005. It was launched in December 2007 and commissioned in March 2009.
The latest Soryu class SSK JS Seiryu (SS-509) was commissioned with the JMSDF on 12 March 2018.
All submarines of the class are named after dragons. Soryū means Blue Dragon, Hakuryū (2nd in the class) White Dragon, Sekiryū (8th in the class) Red Dragon. Shoryu (10th in the class) Soar Dragon.
JS Oryu (SS-511) (おうりゅう or 凰龍 in kanji) means Dragon-Phoenix.
Twelve Soryu-class submarines are planned for the JMSDF. The eleventh and twelfth submarines will feature improved underwater endurance thanks to lithium-ion batteries. The class is an improved version of the Oyashio-class submarine. Soryu-class submarines are the world’s largest conventionally powered submarines. They have an excellent operational track record and are equipped with state-of-the art technologies, including Air-Independent Propulsion (AIP) systems that enable them to remain fully submerged for long periods of time, and advanced stealth technologies that make them more difficult to detect.
Compared to earlier submarines in the Soryu-class, Oryu doesn’t use lead-acid batteries but lithium-ion ones, designed by GS Yuasa. These high-performance batteries are said to store about double the power.
84 m/275.6 feet
9.1 m/29.9 feet
10.3 m/33.8 feet
8.4 m/27.6 feet
20 knots/23 mph/37 km/h
MHI Launched the 11th Soryu-class SSK JS Oryu (SS-511) for the JMSDF
The Air Force has designated the GOLauncher1 hypersonic flight research vehicle as X-60A. The vehicle is being developed by Generation Orbit Launch Services, Inc. under contract to the Air Force Research Laboratory, Aerospace Systems Directorate, High Speed Systems Division.
It is an air-dropped liquid rocket, specifically designed for hypersonic flight research to mature technologies including scramjet propulsion, high temperature materials and autonomous control.
«The X-60A is like a flying wind tunnel to capture data that complements our current ground test capability», said Colonel Colin Tucker, Military Deputy, office of the deputy assistant secretary of the Air Force for science, technology, and engineering. «We’ve long needed this type of test vehicle to better understand how materials and other technologies behave while flying at more than 5 times the speed of sound. It enables faster development of both our current hypersonic weapon rapid prototypes and evolving future systems».
AFRL’s motivation for the X-60A program is to increase the frequency of flight testing while lowering the cost of maturing hypersonic technologies in relevant flight conditions. While hypersonic ground test facilities are vital in technology development, those technologies must also be tested with actual hypersonic flight conditions.
Utilizing new space commercial development, licensing, and operations practices, X-60A is envisioned to provide the Air Force, other U.S. Government agencies, and industry with a platform to more rapidly mature technologies.
The X-60A rocket vehicle propulsion system is the Hadley liquid rocket engine, which utilizes liquid oxygen and kerosene propellants. The system is designed to provide affordable and regular access to high dynamic pressure flight conditions between Mach 5 and Mach 8.
This is the first Air Force Small Business Innovative Research program to receive an experimental «X» designation.
The Sikorsky S-97 Raider light tactical prototype helicopter is advancing rapidly through its flight test schedule, recently exceeding 200 knots/230 mph/370 km/h at the Sikorsky Development Flight Center. Raider, developed by Sikorsky, a Lockheed Martin company, is based on the company’s proven X2 Technology, enabling speeds twice that of conventional helicopters.
«The Sikorsky S-97 Raider flight test program is exceeding expectations, demonstrating Raider’s revolutionary speed, maneuverability and agility», said Tim Malia, Sikorsky director, Future Vertical Lift Light. «X2 Technology represents a suite of technologies needed for the future fight, enabling the warfighter to engage in high-intensity conflict anytime, anywhere as a member of a complex, multi-domain team».
Sikorsky continues to demonstrate the application of its X2 Technology as the company prepares its proposal for the U.S. Army’s Future Attack Reconnaissance Aircraft (FARA) competition, driving forward the Army’s efforts to revolutionize its aircraft fleet as part of what is known as Future Vertical Lift.
Raider incorporates the latest advances in fly-by-wire flight controls, vehicle management systems and systems integration. The suite of X2 Technologies enables the aircraft to operate at high speeds while maintaining the low-speed handling qualities and maneuverability of conventional single main rotor helicopters.
«It’s exciting to achieve these high speeds with X2 Technology», said Sikorsky experimental test pilot Bill Fell, a retired U.S. Army pilot. «It’s undeniably important for the warfighter to get to the mission fast. And once they get there, X2 Technology provides the critical handling qualities that make the aircraft survivable, lethal and agile. Sikorsky X2 Technology changes the way we fly and fight – we can get there fast, be more effective while on the scene and we can get out fast».
Sikorsky’s X2 Technology at the heart of the Raider helicopter is scalable to a variety of military missions including light assault, light attack, armed reconnaissance, close-air support, combat search and rescue and unmanned applications.
The development of X2 Technology and the Raider program has been funded entirely by significant investments by Sikorsky, Lockheed Martin and industry partners.
Speaking ahead of this week’s NATO conference, Defence Secretary Gavin Williamson has announced that the Ministry of Defence is in discussion with Boeing and the Royal Australian Air Force about the potential for the E-7 Wedgetail radar aircraft to replace the current Sentry fleet.
The E-7 Wedgetail Airborne Early Warning and Control (AEW&C) System is able to fly for long periods of time and manage the battlespace from the sky, providing situational awareness and tracking multiple airborne and maritime targets at the same time. It then uses the information it gathers to direct other assets like fighter jets and warships. It has already been proven on operations in the battle against Daesh in Iraq and Syria.
Further discussions are set to take place before any investment decision is made, as the MOD follows a stringent approvals process to ensure the aircraft meets the military requirement and represents value-for-money. If selected, UK industry could be involved significantly with the programme, from modification work to through life support.
Speaking ahead of the meeting of Defence Ministers in NATO, Defence Secretary Gavin Williamson said: «The Wedgetail is the stand-out performer in our pursuit of a new battlespace surveillance aircraft, and has already proved itself in Iraq and Syria. Running air operations from the sky, it could be an excellent asset for the RAF and give us a real edge in this increasingly complex world. Our future with Australia will already see us operate the same maritime patrol aircraft, world-class Type 26 warships and supersonic F-35 jets. Wedgetail may join that formidable armoury and help us work together to take on the global threats that we both face».
Following market analysis and discussions with other potential providers, the MOD has concluded that the potential procurement of the E-7 represents the best value for money option for the UK against need, whilst representing a significant opportunity for increased defence cooperation and collaboration with our key ally Australia.
The MOD will work closely with Boeing to ensure Britain’s leading defence industry could also benefit from any deal.
Named after Australia’s largest bird of prey, the wedge-tailed eagle, the high-performing aircraft has been proven on operations with the Royal Australian Air Force, having seen action against Daesh over Syria and Iraq and impressing US Forces in the ‘Red Flag’ series of large-scale exercises.
The Wedgetail uses a standard Boeing 737 airliner modified to carry a sophisticated Northrop Grumman active electronically-scanned radar and can cover four million square kilometres over a single 10-hour period. If selected, it would replace the E-3D Sentry, which entered service in 1992.
It is a proven and reliable aircraft that has been in-Service with the Royal Australian Air Force for some time, with potential to considerably reduce the risk normally associated with acquiring a complex new platform of this nature. The aircraft is based on the Boeing 737 airliner family as is the P-8A Poseidon maritime patrol aircraft due to enter service in 2019.
The news represents a further development of the UK’s increasingly close military capability and industrial relationship with Australia, who recently selected the British Type 26 design for its future frigate. That decision confirmed the UK’s world-leading ship design capabilities, whilst strengthening collaboration in anti-submarine warfare and demonstrating the value of the global five-eyes partnership.
With its proven interoperability, the Wedgetail could also link up with the RAF’s latest arrival, the F-35 Lightning, providing pilots with the latest intelligence and situational awareness demonstrating how a modernised next generation Air Force can fight and win in an increasingly complex and dangerous environment, characterised by high speed and low observability.
With Australia also a partner in the F-35 programme, the RAF and the Royal Australian Air Force will have further opportunities to work together across platforms and with other allies such as the United States to share and collect data and conduct joint training missions, all leading to faster, more effective and more integrated combat forces.
The U.S. Navy christened the newest guided-missile destroyer, the future USS Frank E. Petersen Jr. (DDG-121) Saturday, October 6, during a 10:00 a.m. CDT ceremony at Huntington Ingalls Industries shipyard in Pascagoula, Mississippi.
The future USS Frank E. Petersen Jr. (DDG-121) is the first ship named in honor of Marine Corps Lieutenant General Frank E. Petersen Jr., the first African-American Marine Corps aviator and the first African-American Marine Corps officer promoted to brigadier general. When he retired in 1988 after 38 years of service, he was, by date of designation, the senior-ranking aviator in the Marine Corps and the United States Navy.
At the ceremony, the principal speaker was General Alfred Gray, 29th Commandant of the Marine Corps. D’Arcy Neller, wife of General Robert Neller, Commandant of the Marine Corps, and Dr. Alicia J. Petersen, widow of Frank E. Petersen Jr., served as ship’s sponsors. In a time-honored Navy tradition, the two sponsors christened the ship by breaking a bottle of sparkling wine across the bow.
«The future USS Frank E. Petersen Jr. will serve for decades as a reminder of Lt. Gen. Petersen’s service to our nation and Navy and Marine Corps team», said Secretary of the Navy Richard V. Spencer. «This ceremony honors not only Petersen’s service but also the service of our nation’s industrial partners, who, for centuries, have helped make our Navy the greatest in the world».
The future USS Frank E. Petersen Jr. (DDG-121) will be the 71st Arleigh Burke-class destroyer, and is the 5th of 21 ships currently under contract for the DDG-51 program. The ship will be configured as a Flight IIA destroyer, which enables power projection, forward presence, and escort operations at sea in support of Low Intensity Conflict/Coastal and Littoral Offshore Warfare, as well as open ocean conflict.
The future USS Frank E. Petersen Jr. (DDG-121) will be equipped with the U.S. Navy’s Aegis Combat System, the world’s foremost integrated naval weapon. The ship will also incorporate Cooperative Engagement Capability that when combined with the Aegis Combat System, will permit groups of ships and aircraft to link radars to provide a composite picture of the battle space – effectively increasing the theater space. The capability is designed to provide the U.S. Navy with a 21st century fighting edge.
The nearly 9,500-ton Frank E. Petersen Jr. is 510 feet/156 m in length, has a waterline beam of 59 feet/18 m, and a navigational draft of 31 feet/9.5 m. Four gas turbine engines will power the ship to speeds in excess of 30 knots/34.5 mph/55.5 km/h.
510 feet/156 m
Beam – Waterline
59 feet/18 m
31 feet/9.5 m
Displacement – Full Load
4 General electric LM 2500-30 gas turbines; 2 shafts; 2 CRP (Contra-Rotating) propellers; 100,000 shaft horsepower/75,000 kW
SPY-1D Phased Array Radar (Lockheed Martin)/AN/SPY-6 Air and Missile Defense Radar (Raytheon Company) and Aegis Combat System (Lockheed Martin); SPS-73(V) Navigation; SPS-67(V)3 Surface Search; 3 SPG-62 Illuminator; SQQ-89(V)6 sonar incorporating SQS-53C hull mounted and SQR-19 towed array sonars used with Mark-116 Mod 7 ASW fire control system
SLQ-32(V)3; Mark-53 Mod 0 Decoy System; Mark-234 Decoy System; SLQ-25A Torpedo Decoy; SLQ-39 Surface Decoy; URN-25 TACAN; UPX-29 IFF System; Kollmorgen Mark-46 Mod 1 Electro-Optical Director
2 embarked SH-60 helicopters ASW operations; RAST (Recovery Assist, Secure and Traverse)