Hypersonic strike

Lockheed Martin Corp., Lockheed Martin Space, Huntsville, Alabama, is the successful offeror of a $928,000,000 ceiling indefinite-delivery/indefinite-quantity contract for the hypersonic conventional strike weapon.

Lockheed Martin beat out two competitors to win the $928 million contract to develop a hypersonic conventional strike weapon for the US Air Force, a Mach 5+ missile to follow on from the X-51A Waverider technology demonstrator (USAF photo)
Lockheed Martin beat out two competitors to win the $928 million contract to develop a hypersonic conventional strike weapon for the US Air Force, a Mach 5+ missile to follow on from the X-51A Waverider technology demonstrator (USAF photo)

This contract provides for the design, development, engineering, systems integration, test, logistics planning, and aircraft integration support of all the elements of a hypersonic, conventional, air-launched, stand-off weapon.

Work will be performed in Huntsville, Alabama. This award is the result of a competitive acquisition and three offers were received. Fiscal 2018 research, development, test and evaluation funds will be obligated at the time of award on the first task order.

Air Force Life Cycle Management, Eglin Air Force Base, Florida, is the contracting activity (FA8682-18-D-0003).

Australian Spartan

April 18, 2018, Royal Australian Air Force (RAAF) welcomed the 10th and final C-27J Spartan into service during a ceremony at RAAF Base Richmond.

Delivery of the C-27J Spartan battlefield aircraft completed
Delivery of the C-27J Spartan battlefield aircraft completed

Minister for Defence, Senator the Hon Marise Payne, and Minister for Defence Industry, the Hon Christopher Pyne MP, congratulated RAAF on completing the upgrade to the Australian Defence Force’s comprehensive fleet of air mobility platforms.

Minister Payne said the Spartan was a highly versatile aircraft that would enhance battlefield airlift capability of the Australian Defence Force.

«The Spartan provides flexibility to Defence operations, allowing us to land at airfields that are smaller or unsuitable for our much larger transport aircraft like the C-130J Hercules and C-17A Globemaster», Minister Payne said.

«The Spartan can carry up to five tonnes of cargo and is capable of moving troops, equipment and supplies; conducting aero-medical evacuation missions and conducting air drops».

Minister Payne said the Spartans are currently operated by No. 35 Squadron at RAAF Base Richmond and would relocate to RAAF Base Amberley in early 2019.

«The relocation to Amberley will allow No. 35 Squadron to work from facilities purpose-built for the Spartan, and to be more responsive when deploying across Australia and into the Asia Pacific», Minister Payne said.

Minister Pyne said Australia’s defence industry would provide important sustainment support for the capability.

«Northrop Grumman Australia has been selected to provide through-life support to the fleet», Minister Pyne said. «In addition, Fibre Tech Solutions has delivered a cargo restraint system for use on board the Spartan and other air mobility aircraft, increasing the speed and ease of loading and unloading these aircraft. This project supports jobs at both RAAF Base Richmond and Amberley and will contribute toward developing Australian defence industry into the future».

Over the last 12 months, the Spartan has supported Whole-of-Government efforts in the 2017 Papua New Guinea parliamentary elections and during international exercises in New Zealand, Guam and New Caledonia.

Initial Operating Capability for the Spartan was declared in late 2016, and Final Operating Capability is scheduled to be declared in late 2019.

Operational flights

The Marine Corps’ F/A-18 Hornet squadrons recently flew with the Advanced Precision Kill Weapon System (APKWS), a highly accurate 2.75-inch/70-mm rocket that provides air-to-ground weapon support.

The Advanced Precision Kill Weapon System (APKWS) is loaded onto an F/A-18 to prepare for the weapon's initial deployment with the aircraft in March 2018 (U.S. Navy photo)
The Advanced Precision Kill Weapon System (APKWS) is loaded onto an F/A-18 to prepare for the weapon’s initial deployment with the aircraft in March 2018 (U.S. Navy photo)

APKWS allows the F/A-18A-D Hornet to maintain a forward-firing, moving-target capability while increasing available ordnance per aircraft and provides a more efficient weapons match versus target sets currently seen in theater.

«This is an incredible weapons system that our most experienced pilots down to the newest pilots can effectively employ», said Lieutenant Colonel Jon «TAG» Curtis, commanding officer of one of the F/A-18 Hornet squadrons.

The low-cost 2.75-inch/70-mm rocket has a laser guidance kit that gives it precision-kill capability. It has ability to destroy targets while limiting collateral damage in close combat.

Curtis’ squadron received the new weapon system in February and completed ground training and in-flight training to ensure the weapon worked effectively. All of the weapons fired during training directly impacted the final aim point.

«The PMA-242 APKWS and PMA-265 F/A-18 Hornet joint Integrated Product Team (IPT), with key stakeholders (Naval Air Warfare Center Aircraft and Weapons Divisions, VX-31/VX-9, Marine Corps headquarters and BAE Systems), rapidly developed and executed an integration plan, cutting normal integration time by nine months and saving $4.9 million of allocated funds», said Lieutenant Commander Daniel Ropp, APKWS deputy program manager

The team established a land-based integration program to expedite fielding with a limited employment envelope using a tailored approach in engineering, logistics, and contracting to deliver units to theater as quickly as possible. This effort supported on time training and operational employment of APKWS for the deploying squadron in Operation Inherent Resolve (OIR), exemplifying «Speed to the Fleet», he said.

The F/A-18 Hornet is the second U.S. Navy fixed-wing platform to carry APKWS. It is also employed from the AV-8B Harrier II as well as rotary-wing platforms including the UH-1Y Venom, AH-1Z Viper and MH-60S/R Seahawk. The U.S. Navy and Marine Corps have fired thousands of combined fixed- and rotary-wing shots and hundreds in combat scenarios.

Officially commissioned

HMS Forth (P222), the first of the Royal Navy’s next-generation of Offshore Patrol ships has been formally commissioned into the Fleet.

HMS Forth (P222) is officially commissioned into the Royal Navy
HMS Forth (P222) is officially commissioned into the Royal Navy

Held at her home base of Portsmouth, the commissioning ceremony for HMS Forth (P222) represents the second ship to join the Royal Navy in less than six months.

After the aircraft carrier HMS Queen Elizabeth (R08) in December, HMS Forth (P222) is the next generation of warships to arrive as part of the government’s £178bn plan to give the Armed Forces the equipment it needs over the next decade.

She is the first of five new Offshore Patrol Vessels (OPV) designed for counter-piracy, anti-smuggling, fishery protection, border patrol, counter terrorism and maritime defence duties.

Commanding Officer, Commander Bob Laverty, said: «It’s a privilege to be the Commanding Officer of HMS Forth, the first in class of the new Batch 2 Offshore Patrol Vessels. The body of work being put in by my ship’s company will be reflected in not just one, but all five brand new platforms being delivered to the RN and these fantastic ships will be a fine addition to the fleet. They are a highly capable and versatile warship and I am immensely proud of the effort and sacrifices all have made that have allowed us to be here today».

The commissioning ceremony lasted for just over an hour and guests included the Lady Sponsor Rachel Johnstone-Burt, First Sea Lord Admiral Sir Philip Jones, Fleet Commander Vice Admiral Ben Key and Assistant Chief of the Naval Staff Ships Rear Admiral Chris Gardner.

Classified as Batch 2 River-class OPVs HMS Forth (P222) and her sisters – HMS Trent (P224), Medway (P223), Tamar and Spey – are a significant upgrade on HMS Tyne (P281), HMS Severn (P282), HMS Mersey (P283) and HMS Clyde (P257), which were designed and built 15 years ago. With HMS Forth (P222) entering service this year the remaining four ships are all expected to arrive in Portsmouth by 2020.

They will become the Royal Navy’s eyes and ears around the UK, helping to safeguard fishing stocks, reassure and protect the Falkland Islands and are capable of deploying to the Mediterranean and Caribbean to safeguard the UK’s interests around the world.

Paddy Clayton, deputy head of the Defence Equipment and Support (DE&S) OPV Project Team, said: «The team at DE&S is extremely proud to see HMS Forth’s commissioning. We will continue to work closely with our delivery partners throughout UK industry and our customer as the remaining four ships in the new fleet are delivered into Royal Navy service».

Designed for a total crew of around 58, but requiring only 34 to go to sea, she can spend up to 320 days a year on operations. The larger crew allows a rotation of personnel to ensure they get to spend time at home or on training.

Built by BAE Systems at their base on the Clyde, the new OPVs are four knots faster than their predecessors at 24 knots/26.6 mph/44.4 km/h, have an increased range of 5,500 NM/6,329 miles/10,186 km, have a 30-mm automatic cannon as their main armament instead of a 20-mm gun, two Miniguns, four machine-guns and are equipped with two Pacific 24 sea boats.

Each ship has an extended flight deck to operate up to Merlin size helicopters and accommodation for up to 50 embarked Royal Marines for boarding and supporting operations ashore if required.

The new OPVs will be supported at Portsmouth Naval Base by BAE Systems, initially under the terms of the manufacturing contract.

Flight Test Program

The F-35 program has accomplished the final developmental test flight of the System Development and Demonstration (SDD) phase of the program.

F-35 Completes Most Comprehensive Flight Test Program in Aviation History
F-35 Completes Most Comprehensive Flight Test Program in Aviation History

«Completing F-35 SDD flight test is the culmination of years of hard work and dedication from the joint government and industry team», said Vice Adm. Mat Winter, F-35 Program Executive Officer. «Since the first flight of AA-1 in 2006, the developmental flight test program has operated for more than 11 years mishap-free, conducting more than 9,200 sorties, accumulating over 17,000 flight hours, and executing more than 65,000 test points to verify the design, durability, software, sensors, weapons capability and performance for all three F-35 variants. Congratulations to our F-35 Test Team and the broader F-35 Enterprise for delivering this new powerful and decisive capability to the warfighter».

The final SDD flight occurred 11 April 2018 at Naval Air Station Patuxent River, Maryland when Navy test aircraft CF-2 completed a mission to collect loads data while carrying external 2,000-pound/907-kg GBU-31 Joint Direct Attack Munitions (JDAM) and AIM-9X Sidewinder heat-seeking missiles.

From flight sciences to mission systems testing, the critical work completed by F-35 test teams cleared the way for the Block 3F capability to be delivered to the operational warfighter. More than a thousand SDD flight test engineers, maintainers, pilots and support personnel took the three variants of the F-35 to their full flight envelope to test aircraft performance and flying qualities. The test team conducted 6 at-sea detachments and performed more than 1,500 vertical landing tests on the F-35B variant. The developmental flight test team completed 183 Weapon Separation Tests; 46 Weapons Delivery Accuracy tests; 33 Mission Effectiveness tests, which included numerous multi-ship missions of up to eight F-35s against advanced threats.

«The F-35 flight test program represents the most comprehensive, rigorous and the safest developmental flight test program in aviation history», said Greg Ulmer, Lockheed Martin’s vice president and general manager of the F-35 program. «The joint government and industry team demonstrated exceptional collaboration and expertise, and the results have given the men and women who fly the F-35 great confidence in its transformational capability».

Developmental flight test is a key component of the F-35 program’s SDD phase, which will formally be completed following an Operational Test and Evaluation and a Department of Defense decision to go into full-rate aircraft production.

While SDD required flight test is now complete, F-35 flight testing continues in support of phased capability improvements and modernization of the F-35 air system. This effort is part of the Joint Program Office’s Continuous Capability Development and Delivery (C2D2) framework, which will provide timely, affordable incremental warfighting capability improvements to maintain joint air dominance against evolving threats to the United States and its allies.

With stealth technology, advanced sensors, weapons capacity and range, the F-35 is the most lethal, survivable and connected fighter aircraft ever built. More than a fighter jet, the F-35’s ability to collect, analyze and share data is a powerful force multiplier that enhances all airborne, surface and ground-based assets in the battlespace and enables men and women in uniform to execute their mission and return home safe.

Mission for the USAF

A United Launch Alliance (ULA) Atlas V rocket carrying the Air Force Space Command (AFSPC)-11 mission lifted off from Space Launch Complex-41 on April 14 at 7:13 p.m. EDT. AFSPC-11 is a multi-payload mission. The forward payload is referred to as CBAS (Continuous Broadcast Augmenting SATCOM) and the aft spacecraft is EAGLE (EELV Secondary Payload Adapter (ESPA) Augmented Geosynchronous Experiment).

A United Launch Alliance (ULA) Atlas V rocket carrying the AFSPC-11 mission for the U.S. Air Force lifts off from Space Launch Complex-41 at Cape Canaveral Air Force Station, Florida, on April 14, 2018. AFSPC-11 is a multi-manifested mission. The forward spacecraft is referred to as CBAS (Continuous Broadcast Augmenting SATCOM) and the aft spacecraft is EAGLE (ESPA Augmented GEO Laboratory Experiment).
A United Launch Alliance (ULA) Atlas V rocket carrying the AFSPC-11 mission for the U.S. Air Force lifts off from Space Launch Complex-41 at Cape Canaveral Air Force Station, Florida, on April 14, 2018. AFSPC-11 is a multi-manifested mission. The forward spacecraft is referred to as CBAS (Continuous Broadcast Augmenting SATCOM) and the aft spacecraft is EAGLE (ESPA Augmented GEO Laboratory Experiment).

«Today’s launch is a testament to why the ULA team continually serves as our nation’s most reliable and successful launch provider for our nation’s most critical space assets», said Gary Wentz, ULA vice president of Government and Commercial Programs. «I want to thank the entire ULA team, and the phenomenal teamwork of our mission partners».

This mission was launched aboard an Atlas V Evolved Expendable Launch Vehicle (EELV) 551 configuration vehicle, which includes a 5-meter/16.4-foot large Payload Fairing (PLF). The Atlas booster for this mission was powered by the RD AMROSS RD-180 engine. Aerojet Rocketdyne provided the five AJ-60A Solid Rocket Boosters (SRBs) and RL10C-1 engine for the Centaur upper stage.

This is the 77th launch of the Atlas V rocket, ULA’s 4th launch in 2018 and the 127th successful launch since the company was formed in December 2006.

ULA’s next launch is the InSight mission for NASA on an Atlas V rocket. The launch is scheduled for May 5 at Space Launch Complex-3 at Vandenberg Air Force Base, California.

With more than a century of combined heritage, United Launch Alliance is the Nation’s most experienced and reliable launch service provider. ULA has successfully delivered more than 125 satellites to orbit that aid meteorologists in tracking severe weather, unlock the mysteries of our solar system, provide critical capabilities for troops in the field and enable personal device-based GPS navigation.

The Air Force's AFSPC-11 mission, encapsulated inside a 5-meter payload fairing, is mated to its United Launch Alliance (ULA) Atlas V booster inside the Vertical Integration Facility (VIF) at Cape Canaveral's Space Launch Complex-41 (Photo credit: United Launch Alliance)
The Air Force’s AFSPC-11 mission, encapsulated inside a 5-meter payload fairing, is mated to its United Launch Alliance (ULA) Atlas V booster inside the Vertical Integration Facility (VIF) at Cape Canaveral’s Space Launch Complex-41 (Photo credit: United Launch Alliance)

Christening of
Indianapolis

The U.S. Navy christened its newest Freedom-variant Littoral Combat Ship (LCS), USS Indianapolis (LCS-17), during a 10 a.m. CDT ceremony Saturday, April 14, in Marinette, Wisconsin.

The future littoral combat ship USS Indianapolis (LCS-17) is moved from an indoor production facility in Marinette, Wisconsin, to launchways in preparation for its upcoming launch into the Menomenee River (U.S. Navy photo courtesy of Marinette Marine by Val Ihde/Released)
The future littoral combat ship USS Indianapolis (LCS-17) is moved from an indoor production facility in Marinette, Wisconsin, to launchways in preparation for its upcoming launch into the Menomenee River (U.S. Navy photo courtesy of Marinette Marine by Val Ihde/Released)

The future USS Indianapolis, designated LCS-17, honors Indianapolis, Indiana’s state capital. She will be the fourth ship to bear the name.

The principal speaker was former U.S. Senator Richard Lugar of Indiana. Mrs. Jill Donnelly, wife of U.S. Senator Joe Donnelly of Indiana, served as the ship’s sponsor. In a time-honored Navy tradition, she christened the ship by breaking a bottle of sparkling wine across the bow.

«The future USS Indianapolis honors more than a city, it pays tribute to the legacy of those who served during the final days of World War II on board USS Indianapolis (CA-35)», said Secretary of the Navy Richard V. Spencer. «This ship will continue the proud legacy of service embodied in the name Indianapolis, and is a testament to the true partnership between the Navy and industry».

USS Indianapolis (LCS-17) is the fourth ship to carry the name of Indiana’s capital city. The most recent Indianapolis was a Los Angeles-class fast-attack submarine, commissioned Jan. 5, 1980, which served through the end of the Cold War before being decommissioned in 1998. The first Indianapolis was a steamer built for the U.S. Shipping Board (USSB) and commissioned directly into the Navy in 1918. After two runs to Europe, the ship was returned to the USSB following the war. It is the second Indianapolis (CA 35)-a cruiser-that is perhaps the best known of the three. The ship was sunk in the final days of World War II, and her crew spent several days in the water awaiting rescue. But it was her impressive war record that first brought the ship to the attention of U.S. Navy leaders and the American public. The ship and her crew served faithfully throughout the war, seeing action in the Aleutians, the Gilbert Islands, Saipan, the Battle of the Philippine Sea, Iwo Jima and Okinawa. In addition to frequently serving as the flagship of the U.S. Fifth Fleet, the ship earned 10 battle stars for World War II service and successfully completed a top-secret mission delivering components of the instrument that ended the war.

The future USS Indianapolis is a fast, agile, focused-mission platform designed for operation in near-shore environments yet capable of open-ocean operation. It is designed to defeat asymmetric «anti-access» threats such as mines, quiet diesel submarines and fast surface craft.

LCS is a modular, reconfigurable ship, designed to meet validated fleet requirements for SUrface Warfare (SUW), Anti-Submarine Warfare (ASW) and Mine CounterMeasures (MCM) missions in the littoral region. An interchangeable mission package is embarked on each LCS and provides the primary mission systems in one of these warfare areas. Using an open architecture design, modular weapons, sensor systems and a variety of manned and unmanned vehicles to gain, sustain and exploit littoral maritime supremacy, LCS provides U.S. joint force access to critical areas in multiple theaters.

The LCS class consists of two variants, the Freedom variant and the Independence variant, designed and built by two industry teams. The Freedom variant team is led by Lockheed Martin (for the odd-numbered hulls). The Independence variant team is led by Austal USA (for LCS-6 and the subsequent even-numbered hulls).

Ship sponsor Jill Donnelly christened LCS-17, the future USS Indianapolis, in Navy tradition by breaking a champagne bottle across the ship's bow
Ship sponsor Jill Donnelly christened LCS-17, the future USS Indianapolis, in Navy tradition by breaking a champagne bottle across the ship’s bow

 

Ship Design Specifications

Hull Advanced semiplaning steel monohull
Length Overall 389 feet/118.6 m
Beam Overall 57 feet/17.5 m
Draft 13.5 feet/4.1 m
Full Load Displacement Approximately 3,200 metric tons
Top Speed Greater than 40 knots/46 mph/74 km/h
Range at top speed 1,000 NM/1,151 miles/1,852 km
Range at cruise speed 4,000 NM/4,603 miles/7,408 km
Watercraft Launch and Recovery Up to Sea State 4
Aircraft Launch and Recovery Up to Sea State 5
Propulsion Combined diesel and gas turbine with steerable water jet propulsion
Power 85 MW/113,600 horsepower
Hangar Space Two MH-60 Romeo Helicopters
One MH-60 Romeo Helicopter and three Vertical Take-off and Land Tactical Unmanned Air Vehicles (VTUAVs)
Core Crew Less than 50
Accommodations for 75 sailors provide higher sailor quality of life than current fleet
Integrated Bridge System Fully digital nautical charts are interfaced to ship sensors to support safe ship operation
Core Self-Defense Suite Includes 3D air search radar
Electro-Optical/Infrared (EO/IR) gunfire control system
Rolling-Airframe Missile Launching System
57-mm Main Gun
Mine, Torpedo Detection
Decoy Launching System

 

Freedom-class

Ship Laid down Launched Commissioned Homeport
USS Freedom (LCS-1) 06-02-2005 09-23-2006 11-08-2008 San Diego, California
USS Fort Worth (LCS-3) 07-11-2009 12-07-2010 09-22-2012 San Diego, California
USS Milwaukee (LCS-5) 10-27-2011 12-18-2013 11-21-2015 San Diego, California
USS Detroit (LCS-7) 08-11-2012 10-18-2014 10-22-2016 San Diego, California
USS Little Rock (LCS-9) 06-27-2013 07-18-2015 12-16-2017 San Diego, California
USS Sioux City (LCS-11) 02-19-2014 01-30-2016
USS Wichita (LCS-13) 02-09-2015 09-17-2016
USS Billings (LCS-15) 11-02-2015 07-01-2017
USS Indianapolis (LCS-17) 07-18-2016  04-14-2018
USS St. Louis (LCS-19) 05-17-2017
USS Minneapolis/St. Paul (LCS-21) 02-22-2018
USS Cooperstown (LCS-23)
USS Marinette LCS-25
USS Nantucket (LCS-27)

 

Next Generation Jammer

Lockheed Martin and Cobham are joining forces for the Next Generation Jammer Low Band (NGJ-LB) competition to replace the U.S. Navy’s ALQ-99 tactical jamming system currently on the E/A-18 Growler aircraft.

The Next Generation Jammer Low-Band jamming pod will address Electronic Attack capabilities against advanced and emerging threats (Photo courtesy Naval Air Systems Command)
The Next Generation Jammer Low-Band jamming pod will address Electronic Attack capabilities against advanced and emerging threats (Photo courtesy Naval Air Systems Command)

«The Lockheed Martin and Cobham team will leverage expertise in both companies to offer the U.S. Navy a critically important system with increased capability and reduced risk», said Joe Ottaviano, director of electronic warfare at Lockheed Martin. «Our team is confident we can meet the Navy’s need for improved jamming capabilities with a scalable, open architecture design that balances capabilities with size, weight and power constraints».

Both partners on the team bring critical capabilities and areas of expertise. Cobham developed and was the only production partner to the U.S. Navy for the ALQ-99 Low Band Transmitter/Antenna Group (LBT/AG) and has been supporting the LBT/AG program for more than 20 years. Lockheed Martin has been developing electronic warfare solutions for more than 40 years and has experience with various airborne and naval electronic warfare programs, including the Advanced Off-Board Electronic Warfare (AOEW) system and the multi-mission AN/ALQ-210 and AN/ALQ-217 Electronic Support Measures (ESM) systems for the U.S. Navy. These Lockheed Martin products provide situational awareness, threat warning and proven electronic warfare solutions to detect, track and deter incoming threats.

«Cobham has continued to invest in state-of-the-art, next generation Airborne Electronic Attack (AEA) transmitter capabilities for the EA-18G community and looks forward to continuing to deliver reliable and scalable solutions well into the future», said Jim Barber, senior vice president of Cobham Integrated Electronic Solutions, a business unit of Cobham Advanced Electronic Solutions. «Our strong partnership with Lockheed Martin on programs such as AOEW and the Surface Electronic Warfare Improvement Program (SEWIP) Block 2, along with our collective capabilities and heritage with the electronic warfare community will provide the best value for the U.S. Navy».

The NGJ-LB system will be integrated on the EA-18G aircraft and will replace the ALQ-99 low band pods. The ALQ-99 is a tactical jamming system that has been deployed on the EA-6B Prowler and now the EA-18G Growler. The NGJ-LB system will provide significantly greater electronic attack capabilities in the lower frequency bands of the electromagnetic spectrum against modern threats.

Cobham is the only company to continuously provide ALQ-99 Airborne Electronic Attack transmitters to the U.S. Navy since the initial operational deployment of the EA-6B in 1972, delivering over 850 transmitters. Since that time, Cobham has invested in cutting edge Gallium Nitride (GaN) power amplifier and antenna technology to ensure that the Navy’s high performance, reliability, and sustainability needs are met. Cobham’s latest ALQ-99 Low Band Transmitter has provided critical protection for U.S. and coalition warfighters since 2005.

Unmanned vehicles

A live demo was held by Estonian Defence Industry companies on 17th of May in the Defence Forces central training area to demonstrate the functioning of new refence solutions in a combat situation.

Estonian defence industry companies demonstrated comprehensible defence solutions in a military simulation exercise
Estonian defence industry companies demonstrated comprehensible defence solutions in a military simulation exercise

According to the Head of the Estonian Defence and Security Industry Innovation Cluster, Ingvar Pärnamäe, Estonian defence industry companies have taken a remarkable developmental leap in the last decade, and they have become reliable defence industry partners for the Defence Forces of Estonia as well as for world-leading defence companies and a number of foreign countries. Cooperation and partnerships between defence industry companies have also improved. Companies have realised that it is much better, particularly in export markets, to cooperate and reinforce each other’s strengths than to compete against each other.

«Today’s supra-company combat simulation exercise, which is carried out within the Estonian Defence Force’s annual «Spring Storm» exercise, successfully used the products of Estonian defence companies and the equipment of the Defence Forces. We saw how innovative military equipment, such as Milrem’s unmanned ground vehicles and the unmanned aerial systems of Threod Systems and ELI cooperated in a combat situation by exchanging real-time information and supporting the attack team, thereby helping to defeat the adversary», explained Pärnamäe, adding that while the ammunition used in the simulation exercise may have seemed realistic, it was actually the training ammunition developed by Bristol Trust, which is also used in everyday training for its high safety. This effectively demonstrates the capacity of Estonian defence companies to contribute to security, defence training and modern combat equipment.

«While the defence industry is often considered to be a «playground for big boys» and is inaccessible to newcomers, both ELI and Threod Systems, for example, have become world class defence equipment suppliers and have won defence tenders in both the East and West. ELI has received the largest order in the history of the Estonian defence industry from the Azerbaijan authorities. Milrem, a developer of UGVs, is participating in the US Army’s SMET programme for unmanned ground vehicles», highlighted Pärnamäe, adding that while the Estonian defence companies are small on a global scale, they show enormous potential.

Kuldar Väärsi, Chairman of the Board of Milrem, said that the development activities of Estonian defence companies are focused on long-term plans that take into account the diverse uses of the products and the changes in defence technologies. This may be why Estonian defence companies have managed to gain a foothold in the competition against large and well-established defence industry companies. «Today’s live demo shows how various smart robotic solutions developed by Estonian companies improve the combat capacity of troops in terms of both situation awareness, manoeuvrability and firepower».

Tõnu Vaher, Manager of ELI OÜ, the manufacturer of the unmanned aerial systems used in the simulation exercise and the holder of the title of «Defence Industry Company of the Year 2016», said that cooperation with both the Defence Forces and other defence companies is crucial because it provides feedback on their products, and enables the company to invest in product development that take into account the changed needs. «For example, our multirotors can be used on the battlefield in cooperation with the Defence Forces, but drones have an important role in border protection and in ensuring security in cooperation with Defendec and other defence companies», said Vaher.

Villiko Nurmoja, representative of the unmanned aerial systems developer Threod Systems OÜ, said that cooperation between Estonian defence industry companies enables operators to succeed in the world and become established in large markets. «Integrating different systems is also beneficial to end-users because it speeds up the decision-making process and enhances the effect. In order to gain and share experiences, Threod Systems is flying its UAVs throughout the Spring Storm exercise and performing different reconnaissance tasks in accordance with the exercise scenario», explained Nurmoja.

12 Estonian defence industry companies demonstrated their products during the Spring Storm exercise:

Bristol Trust, Defendec, Englo, I.V.A Leon, Milrem, Nefab, Profline, Rantelon, Samelin, Telegrupp, Tele2 and Alexela.

Undersea Vehicle

L3 Technologies announced that its new Iver Precision Workhorse (Iver PW) Autonomous Undersea Vehicle (AUV) will be featured at its exhibit (Booth 2339) at the 2018 Sea-Air-Space Exposition hosted by the Navy League, at the Gaylord National Convention Center in National Harbor, Maryland. The new Iver PW is the first in a family of advanced, highly capable military AUVs to address a wide variety of customer missions, including multi-domain Intelligence, Surveillance and Reconnaissance (ISR), Anti-Submarine Warfare (ASW), seabed warfare and mine warfare.

L3 Technologies' Iver Precision Workhorse autonomous undersea vehicle with low-drag side scan and bathymetry transducers (Photo courtesy of L3 Technologies)
L3 Technologies’ Iver Precision Workhorse autonomous undersea vehicle with low-drag side scan and bathymetry transducers (Photo courtesy of L3 Technologies)

«L3 is making strategic investments in advanced C6ISR (Command, Control, Communications, Computers, Cyber-Defense and Combat Systems and Intelligence, Surveillance, and Reconnaissance) capabilities that position us as a prime integrator in the emerging undersea market», said Christopher E. Kubasik, L3’s Chief Executive Officer and President. «Iver PW offers a broad range of innovative technologies to our U.S. Navy and international customers to aid in executing their missions».

Iver AUVs support a range of military AUV tasks, with longer endurance, enhanced reliability and survivability, multi-sensor support and increased autonomy. With advanced capabilities, the new Iver PW extends critical features that have made the Iver product family the AUV of choice for military and commercial missions.

«The Iver PW demonstrates L3’s ingenuity and customer focus in developing next-generation processing, autonomy and power technologies to enable new capabilities and missions for a real-time tactical advantage in the field», said Jeff Miller, L3’s Senior Vice President and President of its Sensor Systems business segment.

The company plans to demonstrate other AUV technologies at Sea-Air-Space, including its novel aluminum-water AUV power module developed by L3 Open Water Power for lithium-free safety and extended range, as well as its theatre ASW simulator developed by L3 Adaptive Methods.

The Iver PW is developed and manufactured by L3 OceanServer in Fall River, Massachusetts, which is part of the Advanced Programs sector within L3’s Sensor Systems business segment. Since its inception in 2003, L3 OceanServer has sold more than 300 AUVs worldwide, providing highly capable solutions to a broad array of military, commercial and international customers.

Headquartered in New York City, L3 Technologies employs approximately 31,000 people worldwide and is a leading provider of a broad range of communication, electronic and sensor systems used on military, homeland security and commercial platforms. L3 is also a prime contractor in aerospace systems, security and detection systems, and pilot training. The company reported 2017 sales of $9.6 billion.