nEUROn – 100th flight

With the completion of its 100th flight in February, the nEUROn Unmanned Combat Air Vehicle (UCAV) technology demonstrator has completed its test campaign in France. Throughout this entire campaign, the nEUROn and associated equipment demonstrated exemplary availability and reliability.

Powerplant: 1 × Rolls-Royce/Turboméca Adour/Snecma M88, 40 kN/8,992 lbf thrust each
Powerplant: 1 × Rolls-Royce/Turboméca Adour/Snecma M88, 40 kN/8,992 lbf thrust each

In the first phase, the purpose of the tests was to open the flight envelope (including with weapon bay doors open), to test the electro-optical sensor and to evaluate datalink performance. In the second phase, most flights were dedicated to infrared and electromagnetic signature/detection confrontations against operational systems.

These confrontations, which produced all the expected results, were performed under the authority of the French defense procurement agency DGA (Délégation Générale pour l’Armement). The nEUROn, in full stealth configuration, was operated by Dassault Aviation. Stealth-related data and feedback will serve as a reference for future aircraft projects.

This success demonstrates Dassault Aviation’s know-how in strategic technologies and prime contractorship, as well as its ability to lead programs involving European cooperation. A new chapter now opens for the nEUROn with evaluations that will take place in Italy, then Sweden. This success augurs well for preparing the programs of the future.



For the coming twenty years, the European combat aircraft industry will face three main challenges:

  • the need to develop strategic technologies;
  • the necessity to uphold skills of excellences in areas in which the European industry has gained technical competences and fields of excellence;
  • the goal to provide workload to the European design offices.
Maximum speed: 980 km/h/608 mph
Maximum speed: 980 km/h/608 mph

Facing such a situation, the French government took the initiative by launching in 2003 a project for a technological demonstrator of an Unmanned Combat Air Vehicle, elaborated in the frame of a European cooperation scheme. The aim of the nEUROn demonstrator is to provide the European design offices with a project allowing them to develop know-how and to maintain their technological capabilities in the coming years.

This project goes far beyond the theoretical studies that have been conducted until now, as it plans the building and the flight demonstration of an unmanned aircraft. It is also a way to implement an innovative process in terms of management and organisation of a European cooperative programme.

To be fully effective, a single point of decision, the French Defence Procurement Agency, and a single point of implementation, Dassault Aviation company as prime contractor, were settled to manage the nEUROn programme.

The Italian, Swedish, Spanish, Greek and Swiss governments acting together with their related industrial teams, Alenia, SAAB, EADS-CASA, Hellenic Aerospace Industry (HAI) and RUAG, have joined the French initiative.


Aim of the programme

The aim of the nEUROn programme is to demonstrate the maturity and the effectiveness of technical solutions, but not to perform military missions. The main technological challenges addressed during the design phase of the nEUROn are:

  • the shapes of the air vehicle (aerodynamic, innovative composite structure, and internal weapon bay);
  • the technologies related to low observability issues;
  • the insertion of this type of aircraft within the test area;
  • the high-level algorithms necessary to the development of the automated processes;
  • as well as the place of the human factor within the mission loop.
Service ceiling: 14,000 m/45,900 feet
Service ceiling: 14,000 m/45,900 feet

The last, but certainly not the least, important technology to be demonstrated is the capability to carry and deliver weapons from an internal bay. Today, European aircraft are designed with external loading capabilities for bombs and missiles. The demonstration goals are the followings:

  • the performance of an air-to-ground mission based on the detection, localization, and reconnaissance of ground targets in autonomous modes;
  • the evaluation of the detection results of a stealth platform facing ground or aerial threats, in terms of radar cross section and infrared signature;
  • the weapon release from an internal bay, with the very stringent tempo constraints of a fast decision loop.

It is clear that through these demonstration missions, the goals are to validate technologies around command and control of an unmanned air vehicle of a size similar to a combat aircraft, with all back-up modes insuring necessary safety and security. The nEUROn system will be network-centric capable.


Related industrial team

Dassault Aviation (France), in addition to being the design authority, takes care of the general design and architecture of the system, the flight control system, the implementation of low observable devices, the final assembly, the systems integration on the «global integration tests rig», the ground tests, and the flight tests.

Alenia Aermacchi (Italy) contributes to the project with a new concept of internal weapon bay (Smart Integrated Weapon Bay – SIWB), an internal EO/IR sensor, the bay doors and their operating mechanisms, the electrical power and distribution system, and the air data system.

SAAB (Sweden) is entrusted with the general design of the main fuselage, the landing gear doors, the avionics and the fuel system.

EADS-CASA (Spain) brings its experience for the wings, the ground station, and the data link integration.

Hellenic Aerospace Industry – HAI (Greece) is responsible for the rear fuselage, the exhaust pipe, and the supply of racks of the «global integration tests rig».

RUAG (Switzerland) is taking care of the low speed wind tunnel tests, and the weapon interfaces between the aircraft and the armaments.


Programme Milestones

The nEUROn programme was launched in 2003. The main contract was notified to the prime contractor in 2006, the industrial partnership contracts were signed concurrently. The first flight of the technological demonstrator was completed on December 1, 2012, in Istres (France).

Demonstration flights

The scenarios to be validated through the demonstration flights will be as follows:

  • insertion in the test range airspace;
  • air-to-ground subsonic mission;
  • detection, localisation and autonomous reconnaissance of ground targets without being detected («to see without being seen»);
  • air-to-surface weapon release from an internal bay.

Programme status

At the end of 2012, the status of the nEUROn programme is the following:

  1. a) The different parts of the airframe have been manufactured and are delivered to Dassault Aviation in Istres facilities (France):
  • the main fuselage by SAAB;
  • the rear fuselage and the exhaust nozzle by HAI;
  • the wings by EADS-CASA;
  • the bay doors by Alenia;
  • the weapon interface by RUAG;
  • the structural parts contributing to the low observability by Dassault Aviation factories of Argenteuil and Biarritz.
  1. b) The final assembly and the final layout of the piping, electrical wiring and equipment installation, including the engine and the landing gear, were completed in the Dassault Aviation facilities.
  2. c) The software integration in the various electronic equipment was completed, using the «global integration tests rig» in Istres.
  3. d) The ground tests (hydraulics, electrical, fuel), soon to be followed by comprehensive engine tests, took place throughout 2012 with a first flight at the end of 2012.
  4. e) The maiden flight was completed on December 1, 2012. This first sortie proceeded exactly as expected. It lasted twenty-five minutes and validated the vehicle’s main flight parameters. Take-off was entirely automatic and the aircraft reached an altitude of about 2,000 meters/6,561 feet, before turning round, completing the approach and then landing.

100th flight of the nEUROn, Istres, the 26th February 2015


Keel laying

The keel of the 15th Virginia-class nuclear-powered fast attack submarine named for Colorado was laid at the Rhode Island manufacturing plant for General Dynamics Electric Boat Division on Saturday, March 7, at 1:30 pm. Colorado Secretary of State Wayne Williams represented the state at the keel laying ceremony.

Commander Ken Franklin was designated to be the Commander of the USS Colorado
Commander Ken Franklin was designated to be the Commander of the USS Colorado

The construction milestone for SSN-788 was being marked at the North Kingstown shipyard. Annie Mabus, daughter of Navy Secretary Ray Mabus, is the ship’s sponsor. She authenticated the keel by chalking her initials onto a metal plate. The initials were welded and the plate was permanently affixed to the ship.

By the way, the submarine doesn’t have a traditional keel that runs the length of the ship. USS Colorado is built in modules. Construction on the nuclear-powered fast attack submarine began in 2012. Colorado is slated to be delivered in 2017. When complete, the USS Colorado (SSN-788) will be a high-tech attack submarine. It is the third Navy ship to bear the name Colorado. The first was an armored cruiser commissioned in 1905. The second USS Colorado was a battleship that took part in the invasion of Tarawa during World War II.

USS Colorado is so-called Block III submarine. The Third Block of the Virginia-class submarine began construction in 2009. Block III submarines feature a revised bow with a Large Aperture Bow (LAB) sonar array, as well as technology from Ohio-class SSGNs (two Virginia Payload Tubes each containing 6 missiles). The horseshoe-shaped LAB sonar array replaces the spherical main sonar array, which has been used on all U.S. Navy SSNs since 1960. The LAB sonar array is water-backed – as opposed to earlier sonar arrays, which were air-backed – and consists of a passive array and a medium-frequency active array. Compared to earlier Virginia-class attack submarines about 40% of the bow has been redesigned.

Annie Mabus, ship sponsor of the Virginia-class attack submarine USS Colorado (SSN-788), delivers remarks during the ship's keel laying ceremony. Annie is the daughter of the Secretary of the Navy (SECNAV), Ray Mabus. U.S. Navy photo by Mass Communication Specialist 2nd Class Armando Gonzales (Released)
Annie Mabus, ship sponsor of the Virginia-class attack submarine USS Colorado (SSN-788), delivers remarks during the ship’s keel laying ceremony. Annie is the daughter of the Secretary of the Navy (SECNAV), Ray Mabus. U.S. Navy photo by Mass Communication Specialist 2nd Class Armando Gonzales (Released)


General Characteristics

Builder General Dynamics Electric Boat
Propulsion One S9G nuclear reactor, one shaft
Length 377 feet/114.8 m
Beam 33 feet/10.0584 m
Hull Diameter 34 feet/10.5156 m
Displacement Approximately 7,800 tons/7,925 metric tons submerged
Speed 25+ knots/28+ mph/46.3+ km/h
Diving Depth 800+ feet/244+ m
Crew 132: 15 officers; 117 enlisted
Armament: Tomahawk missiles two 87-in/2.2 m Virginia Payload Tubes (VPTs), each capable of launching 6 Tomahawk cruise missiles
Armament: MK-48 ADCAP (Advanced Capability) Mod 7 heavyweight torpedoes 4 torpedo tubes
Weapons MK-60 CAPTOR (Encapsulated Torpedo) mines, advanced mobile mines and UUVs (Unmanned Underwater Vehicles)

Tactical Mobility

BAE Systems has handed over the first CV9030 Infantry Fighting Vehicle (IFV) in serial production to the Norwegian Defence Logistics Organisation (FLO) on time and on budget. A rollout ceremony was held in Moelv, Norway, at the facilities of BAE Systems Hägglunds’ business partner CHSnor AS. More than 200 guests attended, representing FLO and the Norwegian Armed Forces, as well as BAE Systems Hägglunds and its Norwegian industrial partners.

The CV90 platform is engineered to provide optimum mobility and agility
The CV90 platform is engineered to provide optimum mobility and agility

BAE Systems Hägglunds’ contract, signed in 2012, includes the upgrade of the Norwegian Army’s existing fleet of 103 CV9030s and 41 new-build vehicles, giving the Army a total of 144 state-of-the-art CV90s in varying configurations. They will all include enhanced capabilities for future battlefield and conflict scenarios, such as in the areas of protection, survivability, situational awareness, intelligence, and interoperability.

«I’m really pleased that we are able to reach this key milestone», said Colonel Ragnar Wennevik, Norwegian Army CV90 project leader. «BAE Systems Hägglunds is an impressive supplier, and with the new CV9030, we are buying the world’s most advanced armored combat vehicle family. Already proven in combat, we are now taking it to the next generation with state-of-the-art survivability, lethality, digitalization, and mobility».

This program is a key element of the modernization of the Norwegian Army, providing them with the next-generation CV90, one of the world’s most advanced IFV and a low-risk proven solution. The Norwegian Army will incorporate five different configurations of the CV90 from 2015 onwards: 74 infantry fighting, 21 reconnaissance, 15 command, 16 engineering, and 16 multi-role and tow driver-training vehicles. The multi-role vehicles can fulfill different functions, including mortar carrier and logistics roles.

In 2014, BAE Systems rolled out three variants of the Norwegian vehicles in Sweden, which were subsequently handed over to Norwegian industry for completion, as part of in-country partnerships.

Both the Norwegian customer and BAE Systems Hägglunds have been extremely focused on meeting every milestone in the contract from the outset. This focus has ensured that the two parties have developed a strong relationship based on mutual respect and openness, which has ensured project success.

BAE Systems Hägglunds is working closely with Norwegian industry in a comprehensive industrial cooperation contract, which is part of the main vehicle contract. Companies such as Kongsberg Defence & Aerospace, Nammo Raufoss AS, CHSnor AS, Moelv, and Ritek AS Levanger are key parties to the contract. The turret upgrade work, for example, takes place at CHSnor AS, and yesterday’s handover was the first in a series of vehicle deliveries from CHSnor AS and Ritek through 2018.

«The Norwegian industrial cooperation is extensive and important to us, especially when industrial cooperation is one of the major factors for international success», said Tommy Gustafsson-Rask, managing director for BAE Systems Hägglunds. «We want to thank all industry partners for their commitment and dedication, and also our professional and supportive customer».

With a full range of armament options, the CV90 can be developed or configured to match any situation, from patrol to combat
With a full range of armament options, the CV90 can be developed or configured to match any situation, from patrol to combat


CV9030 Infantry Fighting Vehicle


The CV9030 has the most advanced protection kits available in the world, providing flexible solutions for any mission requirements. The platform utilises a modular approach to armour. Its base structure is designed to carry any add-on armour without adding parasitic weight to the overall vehicle.

It provides crew protection from the latest heavy weaponry including:

  • Improvised Explosive Devices (IEDs);
  • Anti-tank mines.

It also protects occupants from Chemical, Biological, Radiological, and Nuclear (CBRN) threats with a specialised filter system.

To meet modern day battlefield threats, the vehicle can be fitted with further protection including:

  • Different types of armour to protect against diverse threats, such as shaped charge warheads and RPG-7s;
  • A Defensive Aid Suite (DAS) that classifies targets, gives threat warnings via the Vehicle Information System (VIS) and supports the driver with speed corrections to reduce the risk of being hit;
  • Adaptive camouflage, which offers an active multi-spectral defence system, rendering the vehicle appearance to match its environment.

The technology also takes on the textures of other objects, minimising the vehicle’s radar and IR signature and further increasing crew survivability.

The CV90120 is also equipped with a modern 120-mm anti-tank gun and adaptive armour
The CV90120 is also equipped with a modern 120-mm anti-tank gun and adaptive armour



Powered by a high torque V8 diesel engine, the CV9030 can reach speeds of 70 km/h/43.5 mph. The vehicle’s road range is also constantly improving, with new variants capable of travelling up to 900 km/559 miles.

While upgrades to the CV90’s armour have seen the platform’s curb weight rise from 23 to 35 tonnes, power-to-weight ratio has remained approximately the same thanks to stronger diesel engines.

The CV90’s track suspension has also been improved. The new track system allows the vehicle to travel effortlessly through both snow and sand, enabling:

  • Quieter movement and improved stealth;
  • Greater speed over rough terrain;
  • Higher ground clearance for protection against mines and improvised explosive devices.

The platform’s semi-active damping reduces the pitch accelerations of the vehicle by approximately 40 percent. For the crew this means:

  • A smoother ride for reduced fatigue;
  • Reduced vertical motion (increasing the gunner’s hit probability and ability to find targets);
  • Higher all-terrain speeds;
  • Increased life expectancy for components in the drive line.
The CV90’s C4I capability provides the crew with decision superiority, enabling your forces to stay one step ahead of the enemy
The CV90’s C4I capability provides the crew with decision superiority, enabling your forces to stay one step ahead of the enemy



As a first class combat vehicle, the CV9030 is compatible with a range of armaments to suit any mission requirements.

The vehicle is normally fitted with a two-man turret, which is equipped with the well-proven 30-mm Bushmaster II cannon. This can be supplied in different configurations, including unmanned and uses programmable ammunition to meet precise lethality performance needs.

The CV90 Mk-III incorporates a Munition Programmer for Air Burst Munition (ABM) and has a target-driven gunner Man Machine Interface (MMI). The Fire Control System also has the ability to choose:

  • The type of ammunition;
  • Offset;
  • Fuse setting;
  • Burst pattern.

This significantly decreases operator workload allowing the gunner to focus on the type of target that he wants to engage.

The vehicle’s hunter-killer function features an independent sight system for the commander, enabling him to search, engage or hand over targets to the gunner. The CV90’s state-of-the-art systems allow the crew to rapidly discover and identify targets in minimal time. This enables them to be the first to shoot, whether the target is on the ground or in the air.

Its advanced Human Machine Interfaces and ergonomics make the vehicle’s operation as easy and efficient as possible
Its advanced Human Machine Interfaces and ergonomics make the vehicle’s operation as easy and efficient as possible



Top speed:                                        70 km/h/43.5 mph

Range:                                                 900 km/559 miles

Payload:                                             16 tonnes

Protection level:                            Standardization Agreement (STANAG)

Ballistic:                                              > 5

Mine:                                                    > 4a/4b

Trench crossing:                            2.6 m/8.5 feet

Step climbing:                                 1.1 m/3.6 feet

Fording:                                              1.5 m/4.9 feet

Remote Weapon Station (RWS):      7.62 – 40 mm Automatic Grenade Launcher (AGL)

Turret:                                                  25-120 mm/0.98-4.72 inch

No. of operators:                            3 + 7

Gradient:                                            60 %

Power to weight ratio:                17.1-24.2 kW/ton

Electrical power:                            570 A

Engine:                                                 Scania V8

Operating temperature:           C2-A1


Steel or rubber tracks:     ≤ 28 tonnes

Steel:                                           > 28 tonnes

Semi active dampening


BAE Systems designed the CV9030 with a clear vision: to create a vehicle that provides high tactical and strategic mobility, air defense, anti-tank capability, high survivability and protection in any terrain or tactical environment


Due Regard Radar

According to Marina Malenic, Jane’s Defence Weekly reporter, the U.S. Navy (USN) plans to add a Due Regard Radar to its Northrop Grumman MQ-4C Triton unmanned maritime surveillance aircraft after it is deployed to the fleet.

U.S. Navy's First Triton Unmanned Aircraft
U.S. Navy’s First Triton Unmanned Aircraft

The radar «will be an upgrade to the initial capability in the 2020 time frame», said Sean Burke, the programme manager for the navy’s persistent maritime unmanned aircraft systems programme office. Due Regard Radar would allow «non co-operative» detection of other aircraft.

The name «Due Regard» comes from an International Civil Aviation Organization (ICAO) requirement that military aircraft be flown with «Due Regard for the safety of navigation of civil aircraft». Burke said the navy will begin conducting Triton sensor test flights within the next three weeks and delivering the aircraft to the fleet at the end of 2017 and early 2018.

USN officials have previously said Triton will come equipped with a Traffic alert and Collision Avoidance System (TCAS) and Automatic Dependent Surveillance-Broadcast (ADS-B). Both TCAS and ADS-B are transponder-based systems that require other aircraft to have such systems so that they can «see» and avoid one another.

Though neither TCAS nor ADS-B meets the U.S. Federal Aviation Administration’s (FAA’s) requirements for Unmanned Aerial Vehicle (UAV) sense-and-avoid on its own, the USN and the FAA are working with other international regulatory bodies to develop a plan whereby they can be used in conjunction.

Previously known as the Broad Area Maritime Surveillance (BAMS), the Triton is a derivative of Northrop Grumman’s RQ-4 Global Hawk being developed to provide the USN with persistent maritime Intelligence, Surveillance, and Reconnaissance (ISR) as a companion to the Boeing P-8A Poseidon manned maritime surveillance aircraft. It will operate in US national airspace, as well as international, foreign, civil, and military airspace.

Based on the proven Global Hawk UAS, Triton incorporates a reinforced airframe and wing, along with de-icing and lightning protection systems
Based on the proven Global Hawk UAS, Triton incorporates a reinforced airframe and wing, along with de-icing and lightning protection systems


MQ-4C Triton

Northrop Grumman’s MQ-4C Triton Unmanned Aircraft System (UAS) provides real-time Intelligence, Surveillance and Reconnaissance over vast ocean and coastal regions. Supporting missions up to 24 hours, the high-altitude UAS is equipped with a sensor suite that provides a 360-degree view of its surroundings at a radius of over 2,000 nautical miles/3,704 km.

Triton builds on elements of the Global Hawk UAS while incorporating reinforcements to the airframe and wing, along with de-icing and lightning protection systems. These capabilities allow the aircraft to descend through cloud layers to gain a closer view of ships and other targets at sea when needed. The current sensor suite allows ships to be tracked over time by gathering information on their speed, location and classification.

Built to support the U.S. Navy’s Broad Area Maritime Surveillance program, Triton will support a wide range of intelligence-gathering and reconnaissance missions, maritime patrol and search and rescue. The Navy’s program of record calls for 68 aircraft to be built.

Triton will also be equipped with a sensor suite that provides a 360-degree view of its surroundings and allows ships to be tracked over time by gathering information on their speed, location and classification
Triton will also be equipped with a sensor suite that provides a 360-degree view of its surroundings and allows ships to be tracked over time by gathering information on their speed, location and classification


Key Features

  • Provides persistent maritime ISR at a mission radius of 2,000 NM/3,704 km; 24 hours/7 days per week with 80% Effective Time On Station (ETOS)
  • Land-based air vehicle and sensor command and control
  • Afloat Level II payload sensor data via line-of-sight
  • Dual redundant flight controls and surfaces
  • 51,000-hour airframe life
  • Due Regard Radar for safe separation
  • Anti/de-ice, bird strike, and lightning protection
  • Communications bandwidth management
  • Commercial off-the-shelf open architecture mission control system
  • Net-ready interoperability solution
Built for the U.S. Navy, Triton will support a wide range of missions including maritime patrol and search and rescue
Built for the U.S. Navy, Triton will support a wide range of missions including maritime patrol and search and rescue


Payload (360-degree Field of Regard)

Multi-Function Active Sensor Active Electronically Steered Array (MFAS AESA) radar:

  • 2D AESA;
  • Maritime and air-to-ground modes;
  • Long-range detection and classification of targets.

MTS-B multi-spectral targeting system:

  • Electro-optical/infrared;
  • Auto-target tracking;
  • High resolution at multiple field-of-views;
  • Full motion video.

AN/ZLQ-1 Electronic Support Measures:

  • All digital;
  • Specific Emitter Identification.

Automatic Identification System:

  • Provides information received from VHF broadcasts on maritime vessel movements.
The Navy’s program of record calls for 68 aircraft to be fielded
The Navy’s program of record calls for 68 aircraft to be fielded



Wingspan:                                                 130.9 feet/39.9 m

Length:                                                         47.6 feet/14.5 m

Height:                                                         15.4 feet/4.6 m

Gross Take-Off Weight:                     32,250 lbs/14,628 kg

Maximum Internal Payload:           3,200 lbs/1,452 kg

Maximum External Payload:          2,400 lbs/1,089 kg

Self-Deploy:                                              8,200 NM/15,186 km

Maximum Altitude:                              56,500 feet/17,220 m

Maximum Velocity:                              331 knots True Air Speed (TAS)/ 381 mph/613 km/h

Maximum Endurance:                        24 hours


MQ-4C Triton unmanned aircraft system flies from Palmdale, California, to Naval Air Station Patuxent River, Maryland


Flight III Final

The Department of the Navy (DoN) is committed to the acquisition of the DDG 51 Flight III destroyers with an integrated Air and Missile Defense Radar (AMDR) to meet the requirements for Integrated Air and Missile Defense (IAMD) capabilities. After several years of study, analysis, requirements validation, and prototype testing, the AMDR S-Band system is poised for successful integration into the DDG 51 Class ships as the Flight III upgrade. (Prepared by: Assistant Secretary of the Navy Research, Development, and Acquisition 1000 Navy Pentagon Washington, DC 20350-1000)

Flight III Operational View
Flight III Operational View

The AMDR has successfully completed Milestone B, a full system Preliminary Design Review, a hardware Critical Design Review, and will deliver its first full ship set of production equipment by early FY 2020. The remaining equipment required to provide power and cooling to the AMDR are all based on currently existing equipment and therefore induce low technical risk to the program. Given the tremendous capability improvement AMDR provides to defeat emerging air and ballistic missile threats over current radars, the low to moderate technical risk associated with implementing this radar on an FY 2016 DDG 51 justifies execution of the ECP during the FY 2013-2017 multiyear procurement contract.

The DDG 51 Class Program has awarded a total of 76 ships from 1985 to 2017 between two shipbuilders, General Dynamics Bath Iron Works (BIW) and Huntington Ingalls Industries (HII). Most recently, 10 were awarded in June 2013 under Multi-Year Procurement (MYP) authority for FY13-17. Sixty-two ships have been delivered. Of the remaining 14, six are in various stages of construction and will deliver in 2016 and beyond. The Flight III configuration will be integrated via the Engineering Change Proposal (ECP) process onto the last three ships of the FY13-17 MYP: one ship in FY16 and both FY17 ships. A follow-on FY18 MYP will continue the production line.

Prior to Flight III, the program has produced three flights (I, II and IIA). Flights II and IIA included important modifications for changing mission requirements and technology updates, thus demonstrating the substantial capacity and flexibility of the base DDG 51 hull form. Flight II introduced enhanced capability in Combat Systems and Electronic Warfare. Flight IIA constituted a more significant change to the ship by incorporation of an organic dual hangar/dual helicopter aviation facility, extended transom, Zonal Electrical Power Distribution (ZEDS), enhanced missile capacity, and reconfigured primary radar arrays.

The combined scope and means for integrating the changes for Flight III is similar to the approach used in the Flight IIA upgrade. Additionally, during Flight IIA production in the middle of the FY98-01 MYP, the class was significantly upgraded with a new radar, the AN/SPY-1D(V), and an improved combat management computing plant, AEGIS Baseline 7.1. The previous ship system changes were successfully executed by ECPs introduced via the existing systems engineering processes on both Flight II and IIA in support of the ongoing construction program. This methodology takes advantage of the U.S. Navy and prime contractor experience with the proven processes while offering effective and efficient introduction of the desired configuration changes. It also provides the more affordable and effective approach toward producing this enhanced ship capability in lieu of starting a new ship design to incorporate the same capabilities into a new production line for ship construction.

DDG 51 Flight III will be the third evolution of the original DDG 51 Class and will achieve the U.S. Navy’s critical need for an enhanced surface combatant integrated IAMD capability. Flight III will build on the warfighting capabilities of DDG 51 Flight IIA ships, providing this capability at the earliest feasible time. Its defining characteristics include integration of the AMDR, associated Combat Systems elements, and related Hull, Mechanical, and Electrical (HM&E) changes into a modified repeat Flight IIA design. AMDR will give Flight III ships the ability to conduct simultaneous Anti-Air Warfare (AAW) and Ballistic Missile Defense (BMD) operations. Flight III will contribute to mitigating the capability gaps identified in the Maritime Air and Missile Defense of the Joint Force (MAMDJF) Initial Capabilities Document (ICD). The integrated Flight III ship system as delivered will meet the program requirements as stated in the DDG 51 Class Flight III Capabilities Development Document (CDD).

DDG 51 Flight III will execute four primary missions:

  • Integrated Air and Missile Defense,
  • Anti-Surface Warfare,
  • Anti-Submarine Warfare,
  • Strike Warfare,

and will have the ability to plan, coordinate and execute alternate warfare commander responsibilities for either anti-air warfare or ballistic missile defense.

In addition to the incorporation of AMDR-S and HM&E upgrades, the AMDR system will be integrated into the AEGIS Combat System
In addition to the incorporation of AMDR-S and HM&E upgrades, the AMDR system will be integrated into the AEGIS Combat System
Flight III Systems Technological Maturity
AMDR In Engineering & Manufacturing Development, LRIP scheduled for FY 2017
MT-5 Gas Turbine Generator Fielded on DDG 1000 class
4160VAC Electric Plant Fielded on LHA 6 Class
300 Ton A/C Plant In operation at vendor plant, environmental qualification in progress
4160VAC to 1000VDC Power Conversion Module Fielded on DDG 1000 Class

Throughout the five-year span of evaluation and refinement as the ship concept was being matured, the Flight III ship capability requirements were also being clarified and validated. A meticulous and concerted effort was applied in considering the secondary effects of ship impacts created from the Flight III changes to avoid degrading or compromising the existing DDG 51 Flight IIA requirements. A substantial milestone achievement was reached on 28 October 2014 when the Flight III CDD was validated and approved by the Joint Requirements Oversight Council (JROC). The Flight III CDD requirements reflect an achievable set of goals for upgrading the DDG 51 Class with the AMDR S-Band. The new requirements that could only be met by modifying the ship include the IAMD, Space, Weight, Power, and Cooling Service Life Allowance (SWaP-C SLA), Manpower, and Alternate Warfare Commander requirements. The majority of the remaining CDD requirements are met by the current DDG 51 Class design.

Most Recent AEGIS Baselines
Most Recent AEGIS Baselines

ECP development is a fundamental systems engineering approach; an approach currently implemented in the DDG 51 program that has been continuously updated and improved since the program’s inception in the early 1980s and has resulted in the successful delivery of 62 DDG 51 Class destroyers. The last three ships of the FY13-17 MYP are designated as Flight III beginning with one of the FY16 ship. The Flight III is a modified repeat of the existing baseline and will be centered on the addition of an IAMD capability in the form of the AMDR-S, associated enhanced combat systems elements and requisite supporting HM&E changes. These changes will be incorporated via discrete ECPs with the same proven processes and rigor that produced successful Flight II and IIA upgrades to the class.

Flight III CDD Requirements Summary
Flight III CDD Requirements Summary

The AMDR suite consists of an S-Band radar (AMDR-S), X-Band radar (SPQ-9B), and a Radar Suite Controller (RSC). AMDR-S is a new development IAMD radar providing sensitivity for long-range detection and engagement of advanced threats. The X-Band radar is a horizon-search radar based on existing technology. The RSC provides radar resource management and coordination for both S and X-Band, and interface to the combat system. The SPQ-9B, radar is already slated for installation on the FY14 Flight IIA ships.

AMDR System Overview
AMDR System Overview

AIU – Array Interface Unit

APDU – Array Power Distribution Unit

CEU – Cooling Electronics Unit

DBFS – Digital Beamforming System

DSPS – Digital Signal Processing System

FTS – Frequency Time System

MPDU – Main Power Distribution Unit

RCPS – Radar Control Processing Subsystem

RSC – Radar Suite Controller

RTSS – Real-Time Simulation Subsystem

UPS – Uninterruptible Power Supply


Accelerating VPM

The U.S. Navy is looking into the feasibility of accelerating design and development work on the Virginia Payload Module (VPM) in case the service decides to begin production earlier than the 2019 planned start, Navy acquisition chief Sean Stackley said Wednesday at a House Armed Services Committee (HASC) hearing.

The concept of the Virginia Payload Module
The concept of the Virginia Payload Module

The VPM will add 28 missile tubes to Block V Virginia-class attack submarines (SSN-802-805), to provide more strike capability from undersea as the fleet prepares to lose the Ohio-class SSGN guided missile submarine fleet in the mid-2020s. The Navy planned to start VPM construction in conjunction with the next Virginia-class multiyear contract in 2019, but Stackley said that the SSGNs represent a 600-missile capacity and that sooner is better when it comes to rebuilding that strike capacity.

According to Megan Eckstein, staff writer for USNI News, Stackley told the HASC Seapower and Projection Forces Subcommittee that he had spoken to the Program Executive Office for Submarines and to the submarine industrial base «to take a look at, can we in fact complete those design and development activities earlier than the 2019 timeframe to give the Navy and the nation the option to determine whether or not we want to advance Virginia Payload Modules earlier than the submarine build cycle».

«We’re looking at first, can we pull design and development to the left a year, and the other aspect is what would be our ability to increase the rate of production of VPMs beyond one per year, which is in our current long-range plan», Stackley later elaborated. «Affordability comes into play, industrial base capacity comes into play».

The DFA program focuses primarily on the redesign of the submarine's bow, lowering program costs by $800 million, increasing capability and providing the capacity for additional growth at no additional cost
The DFA program focuses primarily on the redesign of the submarine’s bow, lowering program costs by $800 million, increasing capability and providing the capacity for additional growth at no additional cost

Sean Stackley said the discussions were ongoing and he would know by March or April what the options were in terms of accelerating VPM progress, though Randy Forbes (R-VA), Chairman of the Subcommittee on Seapower and Projection Forces, pressed for the information sooner to help inform ongoing budget discussions in Congress: «As to specific elements of the budget request, I continue to have concern about the submarine industrial base and the significant workload that stands before us. The 30-year shipbuilding plan presumes a stiff ramp in FY19 with the start of construction of the Ohio-class replacement program. This effort will require an almost 50% increase in our overall submarine industrial capacity. I think that we should review options to better manage the industrial base and to accelerate collateral submarine investments like the Virginia Payload Module» (Source: Subcommittee on Seapower and Projection Forces).

The U.S. Navy decided in November 2013 that it would add a 70-foot (21-meter) section to the new-construction Virginia-class subs, and that section would include four Virginia Payload Tubes. Each tube would contain seven Tomahawk Land Attack Missiles (TLAM), bringing the submarine’s total load from 12 to 40 TLAMs. The VPM addition would be made beginning with the Block V version of the subs, which would be bought in the 2019-multiyear contract.

One problem the Navy and industry will face, however, is a sharp spike in workload by the end of the decade. Virginia-class submarine procurement is set at two-a-year, but General Dynamics Electric Boat and Newport News Shipbuilding are not currently delivering the subs that quickly. Even as the yards are ramping up to achieve two-a-year delivery, they will need to prepare for one-a-year – or more – VPM production in 2019 and Ohio-replacement ballistic missile submarine production in 2021, according to current Navy plans.

Sean Stackley told reporters after the hearing that the Ohio-replacement was the top priority and needed to stay on schedule regardless of what happens. An ongoing Submarine Build Strategy is looking at what options the Navy and industry have to prepare for the steep uptick in work as the new programs head toward construction.

Italian HammerHead

The Italian Air Force will be the launch customer of the P.1HH HammerHead Unmanned Aerial System (UAS), a state-of-the-art multipurpose UAS, designed and developed by Piaggio Aerospace. This decision was announced at IDEX 2015 in Abu Dhabi, in presence of the Italian Air Force Chief, Lt. Gen. Pasquale Preziosa. Piaggio Aerospace will deliver three UAS systems – 6 air vehicles and 3 ground control stations – complete with Intelligence, Surveillance and Reconnaissance (ISR) configuration to the Italian Air Force in early 2016.

The first flight marks the start of an initial trials phase for the P.1HH, which is expected to total about 150 flight hours and is due to be completed in the summer
The first flight marks the start of an initial trials phase for the P.1HH, which is expected to total about 150 flight hours and is due to be completed in the summer

Carlo Logli, CEO of Piaggio Aerospace, said: «We are truly delighted about this decision. It confirms the strong partnership we have with the Italian Air Force and showcases the P.1HH as one of the most advanced systems to enter the market. We are grateful for the continued support of our partner Finmeccanica-Selex ES, the Italian Ministry of Defence, our shareholders and the valuable teamwork with the Italian hi-tech industry». The P.1HH platform is a derivative of the very successful Piaggio Aerospace P.180, the fastest twin turboprop aircraft in the world, with a proven service record of over 20 years and more than 800,000 flight hours.

The P.1HH HammerHead is designed with a variety of operational capabilities that can be tailored to specific customer requirements, enabling the UAS to perform a wide range of ISR missions. Developed in partnership with Finmeccanica-Selex ES, the P.1HH HammerHead UAS is currently going through a comprehensive development and certification flight test campaign, conducted at the Trapani Birgi Italian Air Force base.


THE P.1HH HammerHead UAS

The Piaggio Aerospace P.1HH HammerHead is a new, state-of-the-art Unmanned Aerial System (UAS) designed for Intelligence, Surveillance and Reconnaissance (ISR) missions whose combination of performance and operational characteristics is at the very top end of the UAS MALE category. An unmatched combination of range, wide operative speeds, fast climb gradient, high operative ceiling and variety of payloads, provides end-users with a powerful yet flexible Defense System that outperforms other Medium Altitude Long Endurance (MALE) Systems, identifying the P.1HH HammerHead as a Super MALE UAS.

A second P.1HH prototype is due to join the test-fleet later this year
A second P.1HH prototype is due to join the test-fleet later this year

P.1HH HammerHead, is suited for a wide range of ISR, Defense and Security missions, and defines an unsurpassed mission role flexibility and sets a new frontier of CONcept of OPerationS (CONOPS) for Defense. The P.1HH HammerHead Unmanned Aerial Vehicle (UAV) is derived from the successful Piaggio Aerospace P.180 Avanti II business aviation aircraft, the fastest twin turboprop aircraft in the world with a proven, uneventful, service record of more than 20 years and 800,000 flight hours.

The design of the P.1HH HammerHead aims at being a unique ISR platform, able to climb up to 45,000 feet/13,716 m, loitering quietly at low speed (135 KTAS/155 mph/250 km/h) for an endurance of up to 16 flight hours and dashing at very high speed (up to 395 KTAS/454 mph/731 km/h) to target. Its capabilities include being able to host several payload combinations and to perform multiple missions: aerial, land, coastal, maritime and offshore security, COMINT/ELINT (COMmunications INTelligence/ELectronic INTelligence), electronic warfare as well as other roles.

Based on the P.180 Avanti II proven architecture and technologies (tested and certified for passenger transportation) and, on the outstanding experience and capability of Selex ES in the mission management systems for manned/unmanned ISR, P.1HH HammerHead is designed to be an all-weather aircraft with twin turboprop propulsion providing maximum safety, operational reliability and the lowest incident rate in its category.

The P.1HH HammerHead design is fully compliant with STANAG USAR 4671 (Standardization Agreement UAV Systems Airworthiness Requirements 4671) standards to fly in both restricted and unrestricted flight areas, according to the relevant authorities’ permission.


The UAV Platform

The P.1HH HammerHead UAV platform has an aerodynamic configuration largely similar to P.180 Avanti II. This is very versatile thanks to its unique patented 3 Lifting Surfaces Configuration (3 LSC) and high aspect ratio laminar wings, adapted for the P.1HH design by moderately increasing the wing span to sustain larger vehicle masses and allocating a quick detachable joint to the outer wings for rapid aerial deployment of the UAS in remote areas. Being based on a certified Mach 0.70 aircraft, P.1HH HammerHead is the fastest MALE.

The HammerHead Demo undertook between 40 and 50 flights in preparation for Prototype 001's maiden flight
The HammerHead Demo undertook between 40 and 50 flights in preparation for Prototype 001’s maiden flight

The P.1HH HammerHead power plant has two, highly reliable Pratt & Whitney Canada PT6A-66B turbine engines integrated with low noise 5 blade scimitar propellers. The Power Plant is controlled by two Engine Interface Units that receive commands from the Flight Control Computer (FCC) to drive the turbine and the propeller governors while managing engine and propeller data. A large upper fuselage tank, supported by a robust yet efficient carry through beam, is integrated to provide the required fuel quantity for long range and endurance.

A smart fuel system is designed to control and minimize the movement of the aircraft center of gravity for maximum operational flexibility in a wide range of mission payloads. The triple redundant 28VDC electrical generation and distribution system supplies energy for all aircraft functions with adequate operational reserve through the envelope, and fully satisfies large power demands from a variety of power consuming payloads. P.1HH HammerHead inherits proven Piaggio Aerospace P.180 aircraft general systems, e.g.: Anti Ice, with hot air on main wing, electrical on forward wing and pneumatic boots on the engine nacelle inlet. It also has a hydraulic dual pressure system for landing gear extensions/retraction and brake activation, plus other ancillary systems like fire extinguishing for the engine nacelle area. These subsystems are all commanded by the Vector Control & Management System (VCMS), via fail-safe Remote Interface Units.

The large but low drag P.180 aircraft fuselage provides capability for aerodynamically effective payload arrangements, with plenty of available volume from the variety of Line Replaceable Unit’s (LRU’s) equipment, sensors and communication equipment comfortably located inside the fuselage.


The UAV Brain

P.1HH HammerHead features a technologically advanced Vehicle Control & Management System (VCMS) that when combined with the advanced Mission Management System (MMS) manages the UAV and its mission specific equipment.

The company announced that the first full prototype of the P.1HH HammerHead UAV made its first flight on 22 December
The company announced that the first full prototype of the P.1HH HammerHead UAV made its first flight on 22 December

The VCMS, commanded from the Ground Control Station (GCS) via an airborne datalink system, conducts the vehicle commanding aerodynamic control surfaces and manages on-board equipment with a triple redundant Flight Control Computer (FCC) system and multiple remote multi-lane Servo Interface Units (SIU), developed to achieve the required level of safety and mission reliability.

Position, attitude and air data are guaranteed by triple redundant Inertial Sensors (INS) and Air Data Probes (ADS), mounted in the VCMS. P.1HH HammerHead VCMS features an Automatic Take-Off and Landing (ATOL) system served with dual redundant external sensors for required reliability and safety.

All VCMS LRU’s are installed inside the large volume fuselage, in a very protected optimized operative environment, in a specific lay-out that provides zonal separation and temperature analysis to achieve a state of the art operative temperature range, highest VCMS reliability and finally, P.1HH HammerHead safety. Very easy access is provided through the large entry door and a multitude of access doors for the best maintainability within the segment.


Ground Control Station & Datalink System

An advanced Ground Control Station (GCS) is the P.1HH HammerHead UAS’s command & control center. The GCS is located in an autonomous shelter that hosts crew, equipment and consoles necessary to manage three UAVs (two operational, one in transfer mode) and their related Payloads.

An unmanned version of the P.180 first flew in November 2013
An unmanned version of the P.180 first flew in November 2013

The Crew processes functions necessary to execute tactical unmanned missions and stand-off surveillance unmanned missions, remotely commanding and controlling through VCMS and MMS the on-board surveillance system with an advanced human/machine interface integrating display and control system. The GCS is provided with multiple Ground Data Terminals (GDT) that when coupled with the associated Air Data Terminals (ADT) on the vehicles provide Line Of Sight (LOS) and Beyond Line Of Sight (BLOS) Link for Vehicle and Payload Control.

The Links System allows LOS & BLOS air vehicle command & control and payload digital encrypted data transmission via redundant, multi-frequency, high bandwidth RF links and via Ku/Ka Band Satellite Communications (SATCOM).

Mission data is eventually relayed to the headquarters either via ground communication systems or eventually with the same LOS/BLOS data link.

VCMS/GCS is developed and supplied by Selex ES thanks to their long experience in Avionics for many different platforms and Unmanned Aerial System.


Mission Management System

The P.1HH HammerHead UAS Mission Management System is based on Selex ES skyISTAR innovative technology, which redefines the concept of patrolling and ISR missions, to encompass threats that range from terrorist attacks to illegal immigration, as well as protection of Exclusive Economic Zones (EEZ), infrastructures and critical sites.

Known as Prototype 001, the first aircraft flew from the Trapani-Birgi military base in Sicily, performing a shakedown flight over the Mediterranean Sea at varying speeds and altitudes that also checked out the basic functions of its ground station
Known as Prototype 001, the first aircraft flew from the Trapani-Birgi military base in Sicily, performing a shakedown flight over the Mediterranean Sea at varying speeds and altitudes that also checked out the basic functions of its ground station

The on board airborne Mission Management System (MMS) manages sensors, video and data, communications, and ISR functions and it is capable of recording video and mission data.

The MMS is modular and reconfigurable with effective and fully integrated open system architecture possessing significant growth capability.

Sensor fusion technology, data management and exploitation features of skyISTAR enable highly effective border control, wide area surveillance, targeted surveillance environmental and disaster control missions.


Main Competitive Characteristics

  • Capable to perform ISR – COMINT/ELINT – SIGINT missions
  • Twin turboprop, all weather, proven system architecture and technologies
  • Vehicle Control Management System compliant with STANAG USAR 4671 standards with Automatic Take Off and Landing
  • Full redundancy – Safety requirements Cat. Event Prob. 10-6 FH, SW Critical functions DO178B level B
  • System is ground/sea/air transportable (removable wings)
  • 24 hours deployment capability
  • LOS/BLOS wide narrow band Datalink

Unpaired combination of performances for range and operational speed

Operational Ceiling:                               45,000 feet/13,716 m

MMO (Mach Max Operating):          0.70 Mach

Climb to 35,000 feet/10,668 m in 20 minutes at maximum weight

Loiter at 135 KTAS/155 mph/250 km/h (1 to 3 NM/1.8 to 5.5 km turning radius)

Maximum speed up to 395 KTAS/454 mph/731 km/h

Endurance: 16 hours plus, with ISR payload

Range: up to 4,400 NM/8,149 km

Medium Altitude Long Endurance ISR Unmanned Aerial System
Medium Altitude Long Endurance ISR Unmanned Aerial System


Technical Specifications


Span:                                                           15.600 m/51.18 feet

Length:                                                       14.408 m/47.27 feet

Height:                                                        3.980 m/13.05 feet


Wing:                                                           18.00 m2/193.75 feet2

Horizontal Tail:                                      3.834 m2/41.27 feet2

Vertical Tail:                                            4.731 m2/50.92 feet2

Forward Wing (Exposed):               1.300 m2/13.99 feet2


Max Take Off Weight (MTOW): 6,146 kg/13,550 lbs


2 × Pratt & Whitney Canada PT6A-66B, 850 sph/634 kW, ISA (International Standard Atmosphere), sea level

Hartzell five blade low noise propellers counter rotating

Mission system

Selex ES SkyISTAR with

  • FLIR EO/IR StarSafire 380HD
  • Seaspray 7300 E Radar


Maximum speed:                                 395 KTAS/454 mph/731 km/h

Cruise speed:                                         320 KTAS/368 mph/592 km/h

Loiter speed:                                          135 KTAS/155 mph/250 km/h

Max range:                                               4,400 NM/8,149 km

Max endurance (500 lbs/227 kg payload):                 16 hours

Endurance (500 lbs/227 kg payload) at 1,500 km from takeoff & landing base:                                           10.5 hours

Service ceiling:                                       45,000 feet/13,716 m


British Scout

General Dynamics UK has successfully completed the Critical Design Review (CDR) for the Scout Reconnaissance variant, as part of the Scout Specialist Vehicle (SV) programme. The completion of the Scout Reconnaissance variant CDR is a significant marker in the Scout SV programme, with the first Scout Reconnaissance pre-production prototype to be completed later this year.

Scout Specialist Vehicle
Scout Specialist Vehicle

The CDR covered the fully-integrated Scout Reconnaissance platform, including the platform hull design, the Lockheed Martin UK-developed turret, Electronic Architecture, onboard software solutions, sub-systems and variant-specific products, such as the Primary Sight.

In service, the Scout Reconnaissance variant will provide best-in-class protection and survivability, reliability and mobility and all-weather Intelligence, Surveillance, Target Acquisition and Recognition (ISTAR) capabilities. It will enable the soldier to be at the point of collection of accurate all-weather commander information within a network-enabled, fully-digitised platform.

Protected Mobility Reconnaissance Support (PMRS) variant
Protected Mobility Reconnaissance Support (PMRS) variant

Kevin Connell, vice president at General Dynamics UK – Land Systems, said: «The Scout Reconnaissance variant is the flagship of the Scout SV programme and will provide a step-change in ground-based ISTAR capability to the British Army. The completion of the Scout Reconnaissance variant CDR is a significant step in delivering a family of Scout SV platforms, which represent the future of Armoured Fighting Vehicles for the British Army».

The Scout Reconnaissance variant CDR is the final variant-specific CDR to be completed ahead of the pending Scout SV System CDR, which will examine all aspects of each Scout SV platforms under a single review.


Defence Minister, Philip Dunne, said: «The Scout programme has already passed several of its key milestones, including the live blast trials. This latest achievement shows great progress, with Scout SV vehicles well on their way to being ready for Army user trials in 2017. This is an exciting time for the armoured vehicles business in the UK and it is great news that the Scout programme is already securing approximately 2,400 jobs across the country».

The range of Scout SV variants will allow the British Army to conduct sustained, expeditionary, full-spectrum and network-enabled operations with a reduced logistics footprint. Scout SV can operate in combined-arms and multinational situations across a wide-range of future operating environments.

Recovery SV
Recovery SV

According to Nicholas de Larrinaga, Jane’s Defence Weekly correspondent, the UK has ordered a total of 589 of the vehicles, intended to replace the less capable CVR(T) family, at a cost of £3.5 billion ($5.420 billion). These are divided between two principal variant families: the 40-mm turret armed reconnaissance vehicle and the Protected Mobility Reconnaissance Support (PMRS) variant.

Command & Control
Command & Control

For use in crisis

It is said in The Jane’s Defence Weekly that Finland’s Special Forces have selected the Belgian FN SCAR-L assault rifle as a new standard firearm. The FN SCAR-L will be the first 5.56×45 mm NATO calibre firearm introduced to the Finnish Defence Forces (FDF). It will supplement the current RK 95 TP assault rifle chambered in the Russian 7.62×39 mm cartridge. Both weapons will be used in parallel by Finnish soldiers.


«We decided that the rifle for the Special Forces should be compatible with other nations for use in crisis management and national defence», said infantry inspector Colonel Jukka Valkeajärvi.

The weapon was approved after field tests. A contract for FN SCAR-L rifles and FN40GL-L under-barrel grenade launchers is to be signed in March. The Special Forces units are also seeking a new light machine gun chambered in 5.56×45 mm. The FN Minimi and the H&K MG4 are being tested at the Finnish Army training centre (Utin Jääkärirykmentti).

Finland launched its ‘reconnaissance weapon system’ for the Special Forces in March 2014. Under it, the country was looking for 200-300 rifles chambered in 5.56×45 mm and 50-75 grenade launchers chambered in 40×46 mm low velocity ammunition. Rifles are set to be equipped with additional accessories, including the tactical light and laser pointer Insight Model 7500 (AN/PEQ-2A). The contract is estimated to be worth €750,000 ($851,378) with all weapons to be delivered in 2015.




Early 2004, United States Special Operations Command (USSOCOM) issued a solicitation for a family of Special Forces Combat Assault Rifles, the so-called SCAR, designed around two different calibers but featuring high commonality of parts and identical ergonomics.

FN Herstal took part in the full and open competition and released prototypes of a brand new family of weapons within timeframe taking advantage of our long-standing firearms know-how.

From the first pre-selection tests, the FN SCAR system developed by FN Herstal has remained the first and only choice of USSOCOM.

FN40GL-L grenade launcher
FN40GL-L grenade launcher



The FN SCAR-L STD assault rifle is chambered in 5.56×45 mm NATO caliber and is fitted with a standard 14.5″ barrel.

The operator can replace the standard barrel with a short 10″ barrel for close quarter combat in less than five minutes. The rifle is then called FN SCAR-L CQC.

The FN SCAR-L STD assault rifle can be fitted with a FN40GL-L grenade launcher mounted on the lower rail of the rifle, for additional firepower.


The FN SCAR assault rifle features a foldable buttstock, an adjustable cheek piece (2 positions) and an adjustable length of pull (6 positions) to adapt to any operators.


The FN SCAR assault rifle features a reversible charging handle and an ambidextrous safety/firing selector and magazine release.

Right- and left-handed operators are at ease with any FN SCAR® assault rifle.


The FN SCAR-L STD weighs no more than 3.545 kg (without magazine) and does not exceed 653 mm in length with folded buttstock.


The FN SCAR assault rifle fires semi-automatic or full automatic maintaining high firing accuracy in either mode.

Wide range of Accessories

The FN SCAR assault rifle features an upper Picatinny rail for optional day or night sighting systems (in-line mounting possible) and lower and side rails for optional accessories (e.g. light, laser, foregrip).

Further accessories are available, such as sling, bipod, carrying bag and blank firing system.

Easy Field Stripping

The FN SCAR assault rifle consists of 5 major assemblies:

  • Buttstock;
  • Receiver;
  • Bolt carrier;
  • Trigger module;
  • Magazine.
5 major assemblies
5 major assemblies


Technical data

Calibre 5.56×45 mm NATO
Operating principle Gas operated, rotating bolt
Overall length 655 mm
Buttstock unfolded maximum overall length 903 mm
Buttstock unfolded minimum overall length 840 mm
Weight 3.5 kg (without magazine)
Barrel type Standard
Barrel length 14.5″
Buttstock type Foldable, adjustable for length of pull
Design type Traditional
Feed M16 type magazine
Firing mode Semi-auto, full auto
Length of pull 6 positions adjustable
Magazine capacity 30 rounds
Rate of fire 550-650 rounds/min
Sighting system Co-witnessed flip-up sights
Folded buttstock
Folded buttstock

BMD co-ordination

The Missile Defense Agency (MDA) and Sailors aboard the USS Carney (DDG-64), USS Gonzalez (DDG-66) and USS Barry (DDG-52) successfully completed a flight test today involving the Aegis Ballistic Missile Defense (BMD) weapon system.

Distributed Weighted Engagement Scheme helped ships avoid launching multiple missiles to counter threats
Distributed Weighted Engagement Scheme helped ships avoid launching multiple missiles to counter threats

At approximately 2:30 a.m. EST, three short-range ballistic missile targets were launched near-simultaneously from NASA’s Wallops Flight Facility, Virginia. Two Aegis BMD destroyers acquired and tracked the targets, while another destroyer participated in associated operations. Using this data, the Aegis BMD ships conducted simulated Standard Missile-3 (SM-3) Block IB guided missile engagements with the Distributed Weighted Engagement Scheme (DWES) capability enabled.

The DWES provides an automated engagement coordination scheme between multiple Aegis BMD ships that determines which ship is the preferred shooter, reducing duplication of BMD engagements and missile expenditures while ensuring BMD threat coverage. Several fire control, discrimination, and engagement functions were exercised. Since no SM-3 guided missiles were launched, the test did not include an attempted intercept.

This test was designated Flight Test Other 19 (FTX-19). This was the first flight test to assess the ability of the Aegis BMD 4.0 weapon system to simulate engagements of a raid consisting of three short-range, separating ballistic missile targets. This was also the first time Aegis BMD 4.0 ships used the DWES capability with live targets.

According to Geoff Fein, Jane’s Defence Weekly reporter, in this scenario one ship took two shots and one ship took one. The USS Gonzalez (DDG-66) took two shots based on how DWES determined who had best shot. The system can be configured to automatically fire or have operator intervention. Both ships fired simulated Standard Missile-3s. A third ship, USS Barry (DDG-52), equipped with Aegis baseline 9, also took part in the test, but it did not participate in the co-ordinated tracking and engagement of the three ballistic missile targets.

Three short-range ballistic missile targets are launched from NASA’s Wallops Flight Facility, Wallops Island, Virginia, in support of FTX-19
Three short-range ballistic missile targets are launched from NASA’s Wallops Flight Facility, Wallops Island, Virginia, in support of FTX-19

USS Barry (DDG-52) was tracking the three targets and doing simulated engagements similar to what the other ships were doing, except that USS Carney (DDG-64) and USS Gonzalez (DDG-66) were testing out DWES. USS Barry (DDG-52) gave an opportunity to use the latest Baseline 9 build and make sure Navy could do simultaneous engagements in the same raid-type scenario.

The difference between USS Carney (DDG-64) and USS Gonzalez (DDG-66) equipped with Aegis Baseline 4 and USS Barry (DDG-52) equipped with Baseline 9 is that the baseline 4 ships have a combination of the older UYK military-based and commercial off-the-shelf computers and rely on the ballistic signal processor functionality.

USS Barry (DDG-52) just received Baseline 9, which has the latest software configuration that brings an integrated air and missile defence capability to the ship. Baseline 9 also has the multi-mission signal processor, which is capable of conducting both air and BMD missions simultaneously. Aegis Baseline 9 has DWES capability built in. Additionally two cruisers, USS Lake Erie (CG-70) and USS Shiloh (CG-67), have DWES functionality.

The MDA will use test results to improve and enhance the Ballistic Missile Defense System and support the advancement of Phase 2 of the Phased Adaptive Approach for missile defense in Europe to provide protection of U.S. deployed forces and European allies and partners.