The frigate Carabiniere (F593) was delivered on April 28, 2015 at the Muggiano (La Spezia) shipyard. It is the fourth vessel of the FREMM program – Multi Mission European Frigates – commissioned to Fincantieri within the international Italian-French program, coordinated by OCCAR (the Organisation for Joint Armament Cooperation). Orizzonte Sistemi Navali (51% Fincantieri and 49% Finmeccanica) is the prime contractor for Italy in the FREMM program, which envisions the building of 10 units, all already ordered.
The ship has been named Carabiniere (F593) to celebrate in 2014, year of the launching, the 200th anniversary of the foundation of the Italian Carabinieri Force. Carabiniere (F593) is the fourth FREMM unit which Fincantieri builds and delivers to the Italian Navy completed with a combat system (the third with the ASW – Anti Submarine Warfare configuration), that is the ability of silent navigation speed in significant anti-submarine hunting.
144 meters long and a displacement at full load of approximately 6,700 tonnes, the FREMM frigates represent technological excellence: designed to reach a maximum speed of 27 knots/31 mph/50 km/h and to provide accommodation for 200 people (crew and staff), these vessels are able to always guarantee a high degree of flexibility and to operate in a wide range of scenarios and tactical situations.
The program faces the fleet renewal need of the Italian Navy’s units of the class frigates Lupo (disarment completed in 2003) and Maestrale (close in reaching its operational life limit). It is coordinated by OCCAR (l’Organisation Conjointe de Coopération en matière d’ARmement).
These units significantly contribute to the tasks assigned to the Italian Navy, being able to operate in various sectors: anti-aircraft, anti-submarine and anti-naval warfare, fire support from the sea as well as an organic helicopter component embarked. The FREMM units are set to become the backbone of the Italian Navy of the next decades.
The Air Force Research Laboratory (AFRL), Space and Missile Systems Center (SMC), and Rapid Capabilities Office (RCO) are collaborating to host a Hall thruster experiment onboard the X-37B flight vehicle (Boeing). The experiment will be hosted on Orbital Test Vehicle (OTV) mission 4, the fourth flight of the X-37B reusable space plane.
The first three OTV flights have accumulated a total of 1,367 days of on-orbit experimentation prior to successful landings and recoveries at Vandenberg Air Force Base, California. The X-37B program performs risk reduction, experimentation, and concept of operations development for reusable space vehicle technologies, and it is administered by RCO.
The Hall thruster that will fly on the X-37B experiment is a modified version of the units that have propelled SMC’s first three Advanced Extremely High Frequency (AEHF) military communications spacecraft. A Hall thruster is a type of electric propulsion device that produces thrust by ionizing and accelerating a noble gas, usually xenon. While producing comparatively low thrust relative to conventional rocket engines, Hall thrusters provide significantly greater specific impulse, or fuel economy. This results in increased payload carrying capacity and a greater number of on-orbit maneuvers for a spacecraft using Hall thrusters rather than traditional rocket engines.
This experiment will enable in-space characterization of Hall thruster design modifications that are intended to improve performance relative to the state-of-the-art units onboard AEHF. The experiment will include collection of telemetry from the Hall thruster operating in the space environment as well as measurement of the thrust imparted on the vehicle. The resulting data will be used to validate and improve Hall thruster and environmental modeling capabilities, which enhance the ability to extrapolate ground test results to actual on-orbit performance. The on-orbit test plans are being developed by AFRL and administered by RCO.
The experiment has garnered strong support from AFRL senior leadership. «Space is so vitally important to everything we do», said Major General Tom Masiello, AFRL commander. «Secure comms, Intelligence, Surveillance and Reconnaissance (ISR), missile warning, weather prediction, precision navigation and timing all rely on it, and the domain is increasingly contested. A more efficient on-orbit thruster capability is huge. Less fuel burn lowers the cost to get up there, plus it enhances spacecraft operational flexibility, survivability and longevity».
Dr. Greg Spanjers, the AFRL Space Capability Lead and Chief Scientist of the Space Vehicles Directorate, added, «AFRL is proud to be able to contribute to this research teamed with our partners at SMC, RCO, NASA, Boeing, Lockheed Martin, and Aerojet Rocketdyne. It was great to see our Government-Contractor team identify an opportunity and then quickly respond to implement a solution that will offer future Air Force spacecraft even greater capabilities».
It is said in The Press Trust of India that Defence PSU (Public Sector Undertakings) Garden Reach Shipbuilders and Engineers Ltd has bagged its biggest order of building three advanced stealth frigates for Rs 20,000 crore (approximately $3.14 billion) from the Indian Navy (IN).
«This is the highest-ever order which Garden Reach Shipbuilders and Engineers (GRSE) has got. This shows how much trust the government and the Navy has on us. It is a big shot in the arm for us», GRSE’s Chairman and Managing Director Rear Admiral A K Verma told reporters. Under the Project P-17A, Mazagon Dock Ltd (MDL), Mumbai, will make four stealth frigates while the Kolkata shipyard will make three such frigates, all of which will be of the same design.
«Frigates are one-man army which can attack under water, surface level and also at air. It can also carry helicopters and has detection abilities as well. It will become the most potent weapon of the Indian Navy», Verma said. Once the final design is ready, the construction at GRSE will begin after three years and the first ship will be ready by 2023. «The rest will come at one-year intervals and within ten years all the ships would be ready. We would be working in close collaboration with both the Indian Navy as well as MDL», the official said.
Commodore Ratnakar Ghosh, Director (shipbuilding), GRSE, also noted, they are building a new modernised integrated modular construction unit, which would be used for manufacturing the frigates. «It is because of the modular construction that we can bring down the time of construction to five years. Traditional shipbuilding method takes much more time», Commodore Ratnakar Ghosh said.
GRSE already has Goliath cranes and workshops with sliding roofs from where 200-tonne blocks can be lifted out. The ship will have a displacement of 6,000 tonnes.
The most iconic section of the second Queen Elizabeth Class aircraft carrier is setting sail on April 24, 2015 from Glasgow on its first sea voyage to Rosyth. Upper Block 07 is where HMS Prince of Wales (R09) will be commanded atop the flight deck and is known as the «Forward Island». As the main hub of the ship, it contains the bridge and approximately 100 vital mission systems compartments.
Mick Ord, Managing Director at BAE Systems Naval Ships, said: «This Forward Island is a remarkable feat of engineering designed to command one of the UK’s largest ever warships for more than half a century to come so the last Commanding Officer who will take the helm is not even born yet. I’d like to congratulate everyone involved in building and delivering this iconic aircraft carrier section ahead of schedule and to an incredibly high standard».
The tug delivering the Forward Island will blast its horn passing Ferguson Marine Engineering in Greenock as a final farewell to Glasgow and a salute to BAE Systems’ fellow shipbuilders along the Clyde. Due to stormy weather expected around the north coast of Scotland, the Forward Island will travel around the south coast of the UK on a nine-day voyage before entering the Firth of Forth.
Construction of the Forward Island began in December 2013. It left its dock hall in Govan for the first time last weekend before being driven onto a barge using a single remote control and 144 wheels beneath it.
The Queen Elizabeth Class are the first aircraft carriers to use an innovative twin island design. The second «Aft Island» operates as an airport control tower to co-ordinate aircraft movements, but both islands are designed with the ability to incorporate the other’s role in an emergency, thus increasing the survivability of the ship.
The Forward Island has deck-to-deck windows, which are up to two metres tall to ensure a level of visibility far beyond previous aircraft carriers and are designed to withstand a significant impact, such as a helicopter’s spinning rotor blade.
The 65,000 tonne Queen Elizabeth Class aircraft carriers will be the centre piece of the UK’s military capability.
Weapons and sensors
Mission systems complex
Artisan 3D medium range radar
S1850m long-range radar
Highly mechanised weapon handling system
Phalanx automated close-in weapons systems
30-mm guns & mini guns to counter seaborne threats
Capacity to accommodate up to 40 aircraft
280-m flight deck, capable of landing Chinook and Merlin helicopters
Hangar, capable of accommodating and maintaining fixed and rotary wing aircraft
Aircraft lifts (forward and aft)
2 × Rolls Royce MT30 gas turbines (36 MW/48,000 hp)
Northrop Grumman Corporation (NOC) and the U.S. Navy successfully demonstrated fully Autonomous Aerial Refueling (AAR) with the X-47B Unmanned Combat Air System Demonstration (UCAS-D) aircraft on April 22, 2015, marking the first time in history that an unmanned aircraft has refueled in-flight.
This is another historic aviation milestone for the X-47B, which in 2013 became the first unmanned aircraft to autonomously launch from and recover aboard an aircraft carrier. In combination, these landmark demonstrations constitute a major step forward in autonomy that has application in both manned and unmanned aircraft. Autonomous launch, recovery and refueling have the potential for reducing operational costs in the future.
«AAR testing with the X-47B helps solidify the concept that future unmanned aircraft can perform standard missions like aerial refueling and operate seamlessly with manned aircraft as part of the Carrier Air Wing», said Captain Beau Duarte, the Navy’s Unmanned Carrier Aviation program manager.
During the probe and drogue (or «Navy-style») AAR demonstration, the X-47B performed a close formation flight rendezvous with an Omega K-707 tanker. Upon clearance from the tanker crew, the X-47B maneuvered into position behind the K-707 and successfully engaged the drogue. On completion of the refueling, the X-47B autonomously disengaged the drogue and maneuvered away from the tanker before returning to base.
«We are very pleased with the outcome of this first round of probe and drogue flights with the X-47B», said Pablo Gonzalez, UCAS-D program manager, Northrop Grumman Aerospace Systems. «The AAR system and X-47B both performed as expected. While we would certainly benefit from additional probe and drogue flight testing, we have reached a tipping point at which AAR is now feasible».
Northrop Grumman began developing AAR technology for both Navy and Air Force application nearly a decade ago, pioneering a «hybrid» approach that integrates both GPS and infrared imaging to enhance navigational precision and hedge against GPS disruption. Initial UCAS-D flight-testing began in 2012 using a manned Learjet as a surrogate for the X-47B. These successful proof-of-concept flights demonstrated the overall feasibility of the X-47B AAR system and helped refine its navigation, command and control, and infrared sensor processing components.
Northrop Grumman is the Navy’s UCAS-D prime contractor. The UCAS-D industry team includes Lockheed Martin, Pratt & Whitney, GKN Aerospace, Eaton, General Electric, UTC Aerospace Systems, Dell, Honeywell, Moog, Wind River, Parker Aerospace, Sargent Aerospace & Defense, and Rockwell Collins.
38.2 feet/11.6 m
62.1 feet/18.9 m
30.9 feet/9.4 m
10.4 feet/3.2 m
13.9 feet/4.2 m
Pratt & Whitney F100-PW-220U
Max Gross Take-Off Weight (MGTOW)
44,000 lbs/19,958 kg
Twin Internal Weapons Bay
4,500 lbs/2,041 kg
>40,000 feet/12,192 m
>2,100 NM/3,889 km
X-47B First to Complete Autonomous Aerial Refueling
The British Army’s Warrior armoured vehicle has demonstrated its firepower and fighting capability during successful firing trials in Scotland. Pictures and video released by Lockheed Martin UK show the Warrior vehicle’s new turret and cannon successfully firing against targets while on the move.
These are the latest trials that Lockheed Martin UK are undertaking as part of the Warrior Capability Sustainment Programme to upgrade the Army’s fleet of 380 Warrior Infantry Fighting Vehicles (IFVs). Senior members of the Army and potential international customers were invited to the Ministry of Defence’s ranges in Kirkudbright to see the Warrior IFV in action and get an update on the progression of the programme.
Modified, designed and installed by engineers at Lockheed Martin UK’s Ampthill site in Bedfordshire, the infrastructure of the Warrior vehicle will be significantly improved, including fitting the new turret with the ultra-modern CT40 weapon system, an updated environmental control system to improve crew comfort, better all-round awareness cameras and driver’s night vision, along with a modular protection fitting system to the chassis to enable quick change of armour for specific threats.
Alan Lines, Vice President and Managing Director, Lockheed Martin UK’s Ampthill site said: «These successful trials demonstrate both the accuracy and lethality of the new generation Warrior IFV, which has been designed and manufactured in the UK. This is the latest in a number of trials that have increased confidence in these modifications. We remain on track for critical design review later this year where the maturity of our design and technical effort will take place».
The Warrior IFV has the speed and performance to keep up with Challenger 2 Main Battle Tanks (MBTs) over the most difficult terrain, and the firepower and armour to support infantry in the assault. The Warrior family of seven variants of armoured vehicles, which entered service in 1988, has been highly successful for armoured infantry battlegroups in the Gulf War, Bosnia and Kosovo and Iraq.
They provide excellent mobility, lethality and survivability for the infantry and have enabled key elements from the Royal Artillery and Royal Electrical and Mechanical Engineers to operate effectively within the battlegroup. A highly successful armoured fighting vehicle, Warrior can be fitted with enhanced armour and is continuously being updated – the battlegroup thermal imager was fitted to increase its night-fighting capability.
Warrior variants include artillery Observation Post Vehicle (OPV), Command Post Vehicle (CPV), and a REME recovery and repair vehicle. All variants are equipped with a 7.62-mm chain gun. Both chain gun and CT40 cannon have an anti-helicopter capability.
The 40 CTAS cannon is the next generation weapon of choice for medium calibre systems within Armoured Fighting Vehicles (AFV) and Infantry Fighting Vehicles. It provides with firepower superior to any other Medium-Calibre.
The suite of ammunition developed in association with the weapon is designed to give increased effect against armoured vehicles including some Main Battle Tanks, defeat of reinforce concrete, buildings, and soft targets.
The 40 CTAS can incorporate unlimited natures of ammunition within the same ammunition handling system, which gives the end user the capability to quickly engage threats across the modern battlefield spectrum including those within urban environments through selection of the most pertinent nature of ammunition.
40-mm Cased Telescoped Armament System
Novel rotating breech mechanism
Up to 200 rounds per minute rate of fire, single shot, burst and continuous
Ability to fire over a wide range of elevation (-10° to +75°)
Ammunition Natures (GPR-AB-T, GPR-PD-T, APFSDS-T, TP-T and TPRR-T)
Ammunition Handling System (AHS) automatically handling the ammunition to be fed into the cannon
The currently available ammunition types are:
GPR-AB-T (General Purpose Round – Air-Burst – Tracer) programmable round to neutralize dismounted infantry and soft targets
GPR-PD-T (GPR – Point Detonation – Tracer) to breach or defeat reinforced concrete walls
APFSDS-T (Armour Piercing Fin Stabilised Discarding Sabot – Tracer) able to penetrate 140-mm of RHA (frontal arc of some first generation МВТ and all IFVs)
TP-T (Target Practice – Tracer) and TPRR-T (Target Practice Reduced Range – Tracer)
Airbus Helicopters and its partner Heli Invest Services welcome the decision of the Polish Ministry of Defence to pre-select the H225M Caracal from Airbus Helicopters. According Polish Ministry of National Defense, after verification of the operational needs of the Armed Forces, and in particular taking into account the possibility of further use of the Mi-17 helicopters no in service over the next decade, it was decided to buy 50, instead of the 70 it originally planned. The deal is estimated to be worth $3 billion.
In recent years, Poland has proven its technological and industrial capacity with a highly skilled workforce and impressive resources. The country has become an established and internationally recognised industry leader, supplying parts for the full range of Airbus aircraft. Airbus Group’s sourcing from Poland amounts to around €191 million, including aerostructures, systems and services, and the Company employs a local workforce of 850 highly skilled employees.
Poland is among the few countries continuously maintaining and reinforcing its military power. It has a vibrant economy, a growing GDP and stable political system, as well as engineering expertise supported by long-term investment plans.
Airbus Helicopters’ H225M (former EC725) Caracal project has the potential to significantly accelerate the integration of the country’s aerospace and defence industry in Airbus Group’s value chain. Together with substantial research and technology development investments, transfer of technology and engineering capabilities, this project is aimed at laying the basis for a joint and mutually beneficial future.
In this context of Poland’s multirole military helicopter acquisition, the Polish Ministry of Defence has already pre-selected the H225M Caracal. Airbus Helicopters and its partner Heli Invest Services are now preparing for the next steps of the tender process.
Airbus Group’s ambition is to partner Poland and have the country play a much bigger role in Europe’s defence industry. The Group aims to widen its industrial presence in the country, going far beyond low-cost or mono-product partnerships by further opening its Divisions in a structured and lasting relationship.
Designed for the most demanding missions, the H225M’s reliability and durability have been demonstrated in combat conditions and crisis areas that include Lebanon, Afghanistan and Mali, while also supporting NATO-led operations in Libya. As the latest member of Airbus Helicopters’ military Super Puma/Cougar family, this 11-metric-ton helicopter, previously named the EC725, is ready for multiple missions.
As a true multi-role platform, the H225M enables military forces to deploy wherever and whenever needed. Operating both from ships and land, this helicopter has an all-weather capability – including flight in icing conditions – supported by state-of-the-art night vision goggle compatibility.
The helicopter’s outstanding 700 nautical mile range is extended with air-to-air refueling, which can be performed while in forward flight and during hover.
Powered by two latest-generation engines, the H225M’s five-blade rotor provides an exceptionally low vibration level, and the modular design of rotor mechanical assemblies allows for easier maintenance.
The H225M is equipped with state-of-the-art avionics and communication systems that reduce crew workload while enhancing mission capability and safety. Airbus Helicopters has incorporated significant advances in terms of man-machine interface, ensuring the most important information arrives to the pilot for the most effective decision-making process.
The flight crew has at their fingertips all navigation and piloting data from the electronic flight instruments in the glass cockpit, including dual-channel full-authority digital engine control for the H225M’s two Turbomeca turboshaft engines.
Airbus Helicopters’ renowned 4-axis, dual-duplex autopilot provides outstanding precision and stability and enables flight in search and rescue patterns as well as automatic approaches in Instrument Flight Rules (IFR) procedures.
Unrivalled redundancy is provided in key onboard systems to maintain full functionality, including the dual-duplex Automatic Flight Control System (AFCS), dual-engine Full Authority Digital Engine Control (FADEC) with backup; five LCD electronic flight instruments; and two Vehicle Monitoring Displays, among other features.
Using the proven military heritage of Airbus Helicopters’ Puma and Super Puma rotorcraft, the H225M was conceived with survivability in mind. Its airframe has reinforced structural main frames and is equipped with high energy-absorbing landing gear, along with self-sealing and crashworthy fuel tanks.
Cockpit protection is provided by armored and energy-absorbing crew seats, while the cabin can be equipped with armor plating in the floors and walls or fitted with armor-plated carpets. The rotor blades’ multi-box construction enhances their resistance to bullet impacts.
Contributing to the H225M’s survivability is a radar-warning receiver, missile approach warning system, and chaff/flare dispensers. The engine exhausts can be fitted with infrared suppressors, with protection against sand and ice provided by inlet design and with installable filters.
The H225M carries a strong «punch» when called on, ready for everything from front-line missions to critical logistics support. Qualified armament includes a 7.62-mm machine gun in the forward cabin windows; along with 180-round 20-mm gun pods and 19-tube 2.75-inch/70-mm rocket launchers.
Included in the mission avionics are a flight management system with Doppler, GPS satellite navigation and SAR (Search And Rescue) modes; a digital moving map; a personal locator system; a loud speaker and a searchlight, among others.
From home base to the most remote locations, Airbus Helicopters conceived the H225M with maintainability in mind.
The Turbomeca Makila 2A1 turboshaft engines are of modular design for easy maintenance, and Airbus Helicopters’ Spheriflex fiberglass main rotor head is easy to adjust. The airframe includes a built-in step to access the engines.
Overall maintenance information is provided through the integrated HUMS (Health Usage Monitoring System).
2 pilots + 1 chief of stick + 28 seats
2 pilots + 8 to 12 passengers
2 pilots + up to 11 stretchers + 4 seats
4,750 kg/10,472 lbs
16.79 m/55.08 feet
3.96 m/13 feet
4.60 m/15.09 feet
Maximum Take-Off Weight (MTOW)
11,000 kg/24,251 lbs
MTOW in external load configuration
11,200 kg/24,690 lbs
5,715 kg/12,600 lbs
5,285 kg/11,651 lbs
Maximum cargo-sling load
4,750 kg/10,472 lbs
Standard fuel capacity
2,247 kg/4,954 lbs
ENGINES 2 TURBOMECA MAKILA 2A1
Take-off power per engine
1,567 kW/2,101 shp
PERFORMANCE AT MAXIMUM GROSS WEIGHT, ISA*, SL**
Maximum speed (Vne***)
324 km/h/175 knots
Fast cruise speed (at MCP****)
262 km/h/142 knots
Rate of climb
5.4 m/s/1,064 feet/min
Service ceiling (Vz = 0.508 m/s = 100 feet/min)
3,968 m/13,019 feet
Hover ceiling OGE***** at ISA*, MTOW, take-off power
792 m/2,600 feet
Maximum range without reserve at Economical Cruise Speed
The First ship of Project – 15B, Guided Missile Destroyer, christened «Visakhapatnam» was launched on 20 Apr 15 at a magnificent ceremony at Mazagaon Dock Limited (MDL), Mumbai. The ship was launched from Slip Way No. 2 in MDL. The Chief of the Naval Staff, Admiral RK Dhowan, was the Chief Guest for the occasion. In keeping with the nautical traditions, the ship was launched by Smt Minu Dhowan, wife of The Chief of the Naval Staff. After an invocation to the Gods was recited, she broke a coconut on ship’s bow, named the ship and wished the ship and «crew to be», good luck.
Speaking on the occasion, the Chief Guest, Admiral RK Dhowan lauded the contributions made by MDL in meeting the growing requirements of the Navy. He also commended the efforts put in by Director General Naval Design (DGND) and his team in the design of the state of the art warships. He was also appreciative of the role played by Defence Research and Development Organisation (DRDO) and the industry for relentlessly contributing towards achieving Indian Navy’s dream of transforming itself from a «Buyers Navy» to a «Builders Navy».
The four ships of Project 15B ships being built at MDL, Mumbai have been designed indigenously by the Directorate of Naval Design, Delhi and bear testimony to the acclaimed legacy of Naval designers. With a displacement of 7300 tons, each ship will be spanning 163 meters/535 feet in length and 17.4 meters/57 feet at the beam and will be propelled by four gas turbines to achieve speed in excess of 30 knots/34 mph/55 km/h. The Project 15B destroyers incorporate new design concepts for improved survivability, sea keeping, stealth and maneuverability. Enhanced stealth features have been achieved through shaping of hull and use of radar transparent deck fittings which make these ships difficult to detect. These ships will be equipped to carry and operate two multiple role helicopters.
These ships are also packed with an array of state of the art weapons and sensors, including vertically launched missile system for long distance engagement of shore and sea-based targets. With significant indigenous content, these ships are a true hallmark of self-reliance attained by India in warship design and shipbuilding.
According to Rahul Bedi, Jane’s Navy International correspondent, Vishakhapatnam would be commissioned in July 2018 and delivery of the three follow-on platforms at two year intervals will be completed by 2024 at an overall cost of INR293.40 billion ($4.89 billion).
The IN officials claims that over 65% of the 164 m-long Vishakhapatnam is indigenously sourced, including its DMR249 A steel and 11 of its weapon and associated sensor systems. Its imported components include four Ukrainian-built Zorya-Mashproekt DT-59 gas turbines.
Vishakhapatnam would be fitted with the IAI-Elta-designed EL/M-2248 Multi-Function Surveillance Threat Alert Radar (MF-STAR) to provide guidance to 32 Barak-8/NG air-defence missiles, which have a 70 km/43.5 miles range. IN officials claim that MF-STAR is capable of simultaneously tracking multiple seaborne targets up to a distance of 25 km/15.5 miles and fighter aircraft up to 250 km/155 miles away.
Vishakhapatnam’s principal weapon will be eight BrahMos anti-ship cruise missiles. The ship’s anti-submarine warfare capability includes twin-tube launchers and RBU-6000 SMERCH-2 rocket launchers built by private defence contractor Larsen & Toubro (L&T). Other armaments include a licence-built 76-mm OTO Melara Super Rapid Gun, and a 127-mm main gun, which is still under negotiation.
After extensive testing by the Bundeswehr’s Technical services, many months of testing in extreme heat and cold abroad, and several field trials by the military, another milestone has now been achieved in the project PUMA Infantry Fighting Vehicle (IFV) with the authorization for use granted by the BAAINBw defence procurement agency.
Many conditions had to be met for this, some of which key are listed below. On the basis of tests and test results, technical optimizations were repeatedly developed, qualified and continuously introduced into series production vehicles. Thereafter, the test report was finalized by the Central Military Motor Vehicles office (Zentrale Militärkraftfahrtstelle), which issued the necessary approval and made it street-legal. Finally, the Army Inspector (Inspekteur Heer) formally declared April 13 that the Schützenpanzer (SPz) PUMA was ready to enter service. This was on the same day that the BAAINBw granted the clearance for service.
Thus, operations are scheduled to begin next week with the training of instructors on the first seven armored vehicles. Others will follow in the coming months. This training period will continue until the end of the year at the training center in Munster. There, an introduction organisation PUMA eine Einführungsorganisation (EFO) was set up specifically for the PUMA, and will perform the initial training of mechanized infantry companies on IFV PUMA for three months, also at the Munster training center. The EFO will also accept delivery of the vehicles by the manufacturer, adds Bundeswehr-furnished equipment and hands them over to the trainee soldiers there. Thus, the Panzer Grenadiers will take «their» own SPz PUMA after the three-month training cycle, in order to further familiarize themselves with «their» new vehicles on their bases.
The contracts necessary for the repair and technical and logistical support have been concluded between the army and the PSM GmbH, so the support of the PUMA by industry is thus ensured.
PUMA Infantry Fighting Vehicle
The PUMA combines the contrary requirements for high strategic and tactical mobility on the one hand and maximum protection and maximum fire power on the other in an optimum manner in one single high-performance weapon system, capable to react adequate and flexible at any time, at any location and at any level of intensity.
Therefore, the PUMA offers with its innovative and forward-looking solutions:
optimum protection against any type of threat for maximum survivability of the crew;
optimum armament for escalation and de-escalation in all missions;
rapid, strategic, global deployability and high tactical mobility;
network centric warfare capability;
sustainability under extreme climatic conditions and inadequate infrastructural conditions.
Some important technical solutions improve the PUMA’s combat effectiveness significantly:
integration of the German Battlefield-Management-System «FüInfoSys»;
integration of the German Future Soldier System «IdZ»;
the MUltifunctional Self-protection System (MUSS), a softkill system against guided missiles, will be integrated. Integration of a launcher for two missiles for the Anti Armour/Multi-Purpose Missile System SPIKE LR (EuroSpike).
Available interfaces for:
alternative active protection systems;
remote controlled grenade launcher.
The PUMA achieves this firepower through the interaction of different innovative elements:
The main armament is the fully stabilized, automatic 30-mm Mk-30-2 ABM fitted to the remote-controlled turret. This weapon designed for target engagement on great distances also on the move.
200 rounds of two types of ammunition are available ready to use. Further 200 rounds are stowed in the chassis.
A variety of state of the art optical and optronic vision devices enables the whole crew 360° all-around surveillance, recognition and identification of targets on long distances.
The hunter-killer functionality, as available in the Leopard 2 main battle tank, allows the rapid engagement of several targets within a very short time
PUMA receives an additional weapon system with the integration of the Anti Armour/Multi-Purpose Missile System SPIKE, provided by EuroSpike. The integration of SPIKE boosts the PUMA’s lethality significantly.
ANTONOV State Company sincerely welcomes its partners on the program of the AN-178 new transport creation with finalization of an important stage – construction of this aircraft first prototype and its transmission to start the certification tests program.
The AN-178, created on the basis of wide ANTONOV experience in the field of transport aircraft design in combination with the newest aviation technologies in the world, is the further development of the AN-148/AN-158 family of regional jets of different purposes. Until present, there was not ramp transport aircraft in the family, i.e. the class that is core for ANTONOV and where the enterprise’s experience is recognized all over the world. The AN-178 refers to this class. With creating this aircraft, ANTONOV made one more important step toward realization of the enterprise development formula:
To develop what the market needs;
To develop with minimum expenses;
To develop families of aircraft;
To support and maintain own product within its full lifetime.
Decision as for start of the AN-178 program was taken basing on estimation of the world market demands. While the AN-178 designing, requests of both commercial airlines and military aircraft operators including Ministry of Defence (MoD) of Ukraine were taken in account. As a result, while the aircraft creation a replacement of the AN-12 medium four turboprop-powered transport at higher technical level was defined to be the priority task. Overall more than 1,400 AN-12 were produced. These aircraft are still widespread in CIS countries, Africa and Asia. Besides, the AN-178 is suggested as a replacement for the C-160 European twin turboprop-powered transport for customers focused on the Western aircraft (214 aircraft were assembled).
The AN-178 with km fuel consumption practically equal to the AN-12 will have essentially higher productivity owing to cruising speed increased on 35%. Besides, the new aircraft will be able to be operated at the altitudes of up to 12,200 m/40,026 feet, while the AN-12 cruising speed is limited by 8,500 m/27,887 feet. One of the most important advantages of the AN-178 over AN-12 is its correspondence to modern standards of airworthiness, and to perspective demands taking into account further aircraft development.
The unique feature of the AN-178 is ability to carry all the types of the existing packaged freights (containerized and palletized ones), including high capacity 1C containers (sea container) with lateral sizes of 2.44×2.44 m/8×8 feet. This makes it an indispensable transport to provide logistic support in commercial operation and in armed forces, as well as operations under emergency situations. As all ANTONOV aircraft, the AN-178 inherits such necessary for military transport aircraft qualities as basing on poor equipped, unpaved airfields, autonomy, high reliability and vitality.
Being a representative of the family of regional aircraft, already known worldwide, the AN-178 is also being considered as a basic platform for designing of a number of modifications of civil and military destinations. This development is possible not only in direction of development of functionally different variants and modifications, but also by the way of setting units, systems and equipment of alternative designers on it. This let extend potential aircraft market and maximally adapt it to unique customers’ requirements.