Canadian X-Ship

Her Majesty’s Canadian Ship (HMCS) Montréal (FFH-336) is now at sea on its first deployment as the Royal Canadian Navy’s (RCN) experimental ship.

A Cyclone helicopter approaches HMCS Montréal (FFH-336) during SPARTAN WARRIOR 2016 off the east coast of North America in October 2016
A Cyclone helicopter approaches HMCS Montréal (FFH-336) during SPARTAN WARRIOR 2016 off the east coast of North America in October 2016

The modernized Halifax-class frigate deployed October 24, 2016 with a full schedule of missions including combat enhancement training, crew trials and operational testing and evaluation of the new Cyclone shipborne helicopter.

The experimental ship – or X-Ship – program is designed to advance innovative and leading-edge naval concepts in all areas of warship deployment, crewing and sustainment. Many of the trials conducted will focus on human factors such as variations of crew size and impacts on crew rest and performance, as well as some operational trials.

«We have been given the extremely important mission of setting the course for the future fleet in manning, innovation and air operations», says Commander Chris Sherban, who adds «it’s an honour» to be Captain of the X-Ship.

As the sea portion of the X-Ship program gets under way, HMCS Montréal (FFH-336) is transiting south with the rest of the Canadian Task Group – HMC Ships Fredericton, St. John’s and Athabaskan – along with Spanish Navy replenishment oiler ship Patino, conducting force generation and force development work.

According to Commander Sherban, the first part of this trial is called the SCORE 217 trial, which will be used to validate a crewing model used by defence research scientists in Toronto.

This evaluation will require X-Ship to conduct a modified work-ups scenario with its full crew of 217. The scenario was specifically developed by the Directorate of Naval Personnel and Training in Ottawa, with experts from Sea Training (Pacific). Outside of the evolutions in the scenario, the crew will be asked to conduct watches, departmental work (including maintenance), meetings, fitness, meals, and so on, in accordance with their regular shipboard routine.

The crew will fill out daily questionnaires on their activities and wear actigraphs (sensors that measure activity) to monitor work/rest balance. The intent is to confirm that estimates made with respect to the time needed to complete evolutions and the time available for activities other than watches and evolutions is consistent with reality. This data will enable improvements to be made to the SCORE model and provide greater confidence in crew requirements for future platforms.

«The crew is very excited that their efforts will directly influence the structure and shape of the future fleet», says Commander Sherban. «As an example, defence scientists hoped that we would have 150 officers and sailors willing to conduct sleep and fatigue studies. We had 178 sailors volunteer».

Although HMCS Montréal (FFH-336) has a dedicated trial program, it will not be completely removed from everyday naval requirements and will continue to participate in scheduled engineering repair, docking work periods and fleet training exercises. The ship will increase its operational readiness with other RCN ships, as well as USN ships and Patino during exercise SPARTAN WARRIOR 16 in November.

«I have been blessed with an amazing bunch of young, dedicated and thoroughly professional men and women who understand how important our mission is and are equally as passionate as I to achieve mission success», says Commander Sherban. «The success of the X-Ship program rests on their shoulders and I could not have asked for a better crew to achieve it».

After this deployment, HMCS Montréal (FFH-336) will enter a work period until early January when it will return to sea in support of the Cyclone project. «We will be searching for the worst weather in the North Atlantic so that we can test the operating limits of the helicopter», Commander Sherban says.

HMCS Montréal (FFH-336) is expected to continue trials as part of the RCN’s experimental program for five years.

Lithuanian sniper

AXMC sniper rifles manufactured by Accuracy International Ltd. (UK) have been brought to Lithuania in early November. By the end of the year the rifles well approved by other NATO allies’ militaries will be distributed among battalions and training facilities of the Lithuanian Land Forces.

New sniper rifles added to the arsenal of the Lithuanian Land Force
New sniper rifles added to the arsenal of the Lithuanian Land Force

The weapons acquired for Euro 1.3 million are unique among sniper rifles because of the suitability to use munitions of two different calibres, 338 Lapua Magnum or 308 Win, by only changing the barrel and the barrel, a several minutes-long that can be completed in field conditions.

Until now the Lithuanian Land Force did not have sniper rifles and used FN SCAR-H PR semi-automatic precision rifles instead. AXMC sniper rifles have more than a double effective range as compared to the FN SCAR-H PR 1,968.5 feet/600 metres.

«Accuracy International of the United Kingdom cherishes old traditions of weapon making and is respected worldwide. The weapons it manufactures are of high quality and reliability in any conditions, including arctic or desert. AXMC rifle has a powerful Kahles sight and night vision. The new weapon will allow Lithuanian Land Force personnel destroy targets at nearly 0,93-mile/1.5-kilometre distance both during the day and at night», Master Sergeant Ernestas Kuckailis, expert of sniper and precision rifles with Juozas Lukša Warfare Training Centre, Lithuanian Land Force, says.

Once equipped with the sniper rifles, Juozas Lukša Warfare Training Centre of the Lithuanian Land Force will begin training qualification of sniper. According to Sergeant Major E. Kuckailis, the training of snipers has many similarities with that of scouts: they have to move in small groups in a territory without being traced, to insert into enemy’s back area, to report on targets and adjust indirect fire, to detect vital targets and neutralise critical personnel of enemy forces with precision fire.

There are examples in history of snipers taking control of a company or a battalion by fire alone due to professional assessment of the situation. Moral impact of the presence of a sniper on the battlefield is not less important: the enemy is always on the watch for a sniper shot and cannot feel safe not even in the territory in controls.

Sea Ceptor for GCS

MBDA has been awarded a £100M Demonstration and Manufacture contract by the UK Ministry of Defence (MOD) for the Sea Ceptor air defence system for the UK Royal Navy’s (RN) new class of frigate, the Type 26 (T26) Global Combat Ship (GCS). This advanced missile system will provide the principal air defence of the T26 and nearby ships against advanced airborne threats including sea-skimming anti-ship missiles, fast jets, helicopters, and Unmanned Aerial Vehicles (UAVs).

Sea Ceptor is the next-generation, ship-based, all-weather, air defence weapon system
Sea Ceptor is the next-generation, ship-based, all-weather, air defence weapon system

The contract is further evidence of the confidence placed in the capability and maturity of the Sea Ceptor system and its CAMM (Common Anti-air Modular Missile) munition by the UK MOD and the RN.

This Demonstration and Manufacture contract will run for 10 years and involves support to the T26 design as well as the manufacture of the electronics equipment required for the class of eight ships.

Welcoming the contract announcement, James Allibone MBDA’s UK Sales & Business Development Director said: «This investment in the Sea Ceptor system is going to give the Royal Navy and partner navies outstanding air defence cover. Thanks to the Portfolio Management Agreement with the UK MOD, MBDA is providing a common missile system for both naval and land use thereby significantly reducing the cost that would have been involved in developing separate systems».

With Sea Ceptor now selected for five different naval platform types around the world, MBDA sees further potential for the system and the CAMM family of missiles with other navies. Dave Armstrong, MBDA Executive Group Director Sales & Business Development and UK Managing Director states: «Naval air defence is more critical than ever given the growing capability of airborne threats. CAMM’s operational flexibility and ease of integration, both as a retrofit or on a new build, combine to offer unrivalled product advantages. Customers appreciate that they are looking at a product which is at the very start of its lifecycle, a product that represents the very latest in air defence technology and one that will be supported with ongoing through life enhancements for at least the next thirty years or more».

 

CHARACTERISTICS

Weight 218 lbs/99 kg
Length 10.5 feet/3.2 m
Diameter 6.5 inch/16.6 cm
Range In excess of 13.5 NM/15.5 miles/25 km
Speed Supersonic

 

Operational charateristics:

  • broad target set including high speed, manoeuvring, low signature targets in high level countermeasure environments;
  • can be used with a variety of surveillance sensor systems;
  • 360º coverage from soft vertical launch.

 

MUOS Reaches Orbit

The Navy’s fifth Mobile User Objective System (MUOS) satellite has reached operational orbit and has successfully deployed its arrays and antennas.

An undated Lockheed Martin artist representation of a MUOS satellite (Lockheed Martin Photo)
An undated Lockheed Martin artist representation of a MUOS satellite (Lockheed Martin Photo)

On October 22, the MUOS team raised the MUOS-5 satellite to an operationally-suitable orbit. The team completed a series of deployments of the satellite’s solar arrays and antennas, with the last occurring successfully October 30.

MUOS-5 launched June 24 from Cape Canaveral Air Force Station and experienced a failure of its orbit raising propulsion system that halted the satellite’s transfer orbit maneuver to its geosynchronous test orbit. The MUOS team ensured the satellite remained stable, safe, and under positive control while it investigated the issue and examined options.

«We are very proud of the commitment our team members demonstrated», said Captain Joe Kan, program manager for the Navy Communications Satellite Program Office. «Working together with industry, we were able to execute an alternative propulsion method to maneuver MUOS-5 to reach a position that is operationally suitable».

MUOS-5 is scheduled to begin on-orbit November 3. It will complete the five-satellite MUOS constellation once on-orbit testing is complete.

«The system will undergo on-orbit testing before final acceptance of the system by the Navy and offering it up for operational use», said Commander Jason Pratt, MUOS principal assistant program manager. «The satellite and its payloads will go through rigorous tests with our ground systems and terminals to make sure everything operates properly».

The MUOS system is designed to provide improved communications capabilities to users around the world, regardless of where they are in relation to a satellite. The MUOS constellation and associated ground network will provide 3G-like cellphone communications for the next decade and beyond.

The Navy’s Program Executive Office for Space Systems, located at the Space and Naval Warfare Systems Command in San Diego, is responsible for the MUOS program.

For MCM Missions

ECA Group, within the framework of the Belgian Navy evaluation of Unmanned Maritime Systems, demonstrated the AUV A9-M capability to remotely survey the seabed in search for mines from its CPV POLLUX.

ECA Group demonstrates its AUV A9-M for MCM Missions
ECA Group demonstrates its AUV A9-M for MCM Missions

The ECA Group AUV A9-M, is a 2 meters long, 70 kg underwater vehicle with a capacity of 10 hours of autonomy, which can easily be deployed and operated from rigid hull inflatable boats by two operators, or directly from a non-specialized Navy ship such as CPVs or OPVs.

The trial took place offshore Zeebruge Naval base mid-September 2016, on the Navy determined and well known area; the intent of the test was for the Navy to evaluate the operation of Unmanned MCM systems in comparison to legacy MCM equipment currently in use by the Belgian Navy, as well as test these systems in specific North Sea conditions. The capability of AUV A9-M to navigate in strong currents and high tide environment without degradation of the side scan sonar image quality was one of the objectives of the test of the ECA equipment. The AUV A9-M dived for 5 hours and covered an area of a square kilometer, with 200% coverage of the surveyed area, enabling detection and classification of more than a hundred potential Mine Like Object (MILCO) on the seabed.

Out of these high number of objects detected, ECA Group post processing software Suite including Perspective data analysis and mosaicing tools, enabled to reduce the number of potential MILCO to 14 potential mines. The Belgian Navy had placed prior to the mission a certain number of dummy mines with precise position recording over the entire 2 square nautical miles in order to evaluate the capability of each of the Unmanned systems tested, to actually detect these mines. Results will be analyzed by the CMRE (NATO Center for Maritime Research Experimentation) and final evaluation of AUV A9-M performance communicated to ECA Group for evaluation and further improvement.

The AUV A9-M performed successfully in this environment, proving its navigation reliability and preciseness, seabed picture data recording quality and demonstrating as well that its deployment could be performed remotely from the CPV, from a RHIB itself deployed from the CPV, which enabled the CPV to stay out of the simulated mine search area; hence proving safe offboard remote capability for mine detection and classification.

The remote operation of A9-M was also performed simultaneously with another UUV being operated directly from the CPV for identification missions, which demonstrated in addition, the capability of multiple UUVs to be operated simultaneously from the same ship, which is a world first as well as a line of thought to future MCM operation time savings.

Further trials are planned by the Belgian Navy in spring 2017 where ECA Group will have another opportunity to demonstrate its latest USV, AUV and ROV solutions for MCM operations.

ECA Group Unmanned Mine Counter Measures Systems

Assigned to Lackland

The newest C-5M Super Galaxy was ferried from the Lockheed Martin facility here on October 28. This C 5M Super Galaxy will be assigned to the 433rd Airlift Wing, the U.S. Air Force Reserve Command unit at Joint Base San Antonio-Lackland, Texas.

Lockheed Martin Delivers C-5M Super Galaxy
Lockheed Martin Delivers C-5M Super Galaxy

The aircraft, formerly assigned to Westover Air Reserve Base, Massachusetts, was flown to Stewart Air National Guard Base, New York, for interior paint restoration and to receive its new Texas state flag tail flash prior to final delivery. It will be the fourth C-5M Super Galaxy assigned to Lackland.

An Air Force Reserve Command aircrew led by Brigadier General James J. Fontanella, the commander of the Force Generation Center (FCG) at Headquarters Air Force Reserve Command, Robins Air Force Base, Georgia, ferried the aircraft.

This aircraft (U. S. Air Force serial number 87-0038, company number 124) was originally delivered to the U.S. Air Force in December 1988 as a C-5B Galaxy and had recorded approximately 18,950 flight hours prior to the ferry flight.

Some of those flight hours came in 2006, when Fontanella, then assigned to Travis Air Force Base, California, led a crew that flew 87-0038 around the world.

 

C-5M Super Galaxy

The C-5M Super Galaxy aircraft is a game changer to the warfighter and America’s premier global direct delivery weapons system. It is also the Air Force’s only true strategic airlifter. While setting 86 world records in airlift, the C-5M Super Galaxy established new benchmarks in carrying more cargo faster and farther than any other airlifter.

A venerable workhorse, the recognized improvements in performance, efficiency and safety it provides validate the tremendous value to the taxpayer in modernizing proven and viable aircraft. As the only strategic airlifter with the capability of carrying 100 percent of certified air-transportable cargo, the C-5M Super Galaxy can carry twice the cargo of other strategic airlift systems. The C-5M Super Galaxy also has a dedicated passenger compartment, carrying troops and their supplies straight to the theater. It can be loaded from the front and back simultaneously, and vehicles can also be driven directly on or off the Galaxy. This means the C-5M Super Galaxy can be loaded quickly and efficiently.

The C-5M Super Galaxy has been a vital element of strategic airlift in every major contingency and humanitarian relief effort since it entered service. The C-5M Super Galaxy is the only strategic airlifter capable of linking America directly to the warfighter in all theatres of combat with mission capable rates excess of 80 percent. With more than half of its useful structural life remaining, the C-5M Super Galaxy will be a force multiplier through 2040 and beyond.

 

General Characteristics

Primary Function Outsize cargo transport
Prime Contractor Lockheed-Georgia Co.
Crew Seven: pilot, co-pilot, 2 flight engineers and 3 loadmasters
Length 247.8 feet/75.53 m
Height 65.1 feet/19.84 m
Wingspan 222.8 feet/67.91 m
Power Plant 4 × General Electric CF6-80C2 turbofans
Thrust 50,580 lbs/22,942.7 kgf/225 kN
Normal cruise speed Mach 0.77/518 mph/834 km/h
Unrefueled Range with 120,000 lbs/54,431 kg 5,250 NM/9,723 km
Max takeoff weight (2.2 g) 840,000 lbs/381,018 kg
Operating weight 400,000 lbs/181,437 kg
Fuel capacity 332,500 lbs/150,819 kg
Max payload (2.0 g) 285,000 lbs/129,274 kg
Cargo Compartment
Length 143.7 feet/43.8 m
Width 19 feet/5.79 m
Height 13.48 feet/4.11 m
Pallet Positions 36
Unit Cost $90 million (fiscal 2009 constant dollars)
Deployed 2009
Inventory
16 C-5Ms have been delivered through December 2013
52 C-5Ms are scheduled to be in the inventory by fiscal 2017

 

C-5M Strategic Airlift Redefined

For self-protection

Northrop Grumman Corporation will help the U.S. Air Force mature its plans to use directed energy systems for self-protection on current and future aircraft under a contract awarded by the Air Force Research Laboratory (AFRL), August 23.

laser-beam-control-system

The contract calls for Northrop Grumman to develop and produce the beam control portion of an airborne laser weapon demonstration system that AFRL is developing under its Self-Protect High Energy Laser Demonstrator (SHiELD) Advanced Technology Demonstration (ATD) program.

The laser weapon will be housed in a pod attached to a fighter-sized aircraft. The system will be tested on a tactical aircraft flying at speeds up to supersonic. AFRL expects to begin flight testing the integrated system by 2019.

«Our Northrop Grumman-led team is integrating an innovative beam director with proven beam control technologies to help the Air Force define and successfully demonstrate a laser weapon capability for current and next generation aircraft», said W. Mark Skinner, vice president, directed energy, Northrop Grumman Aerospace Systems.

The beam control system characterizes the flight environment for atmospheric disturbances that could distort the laser beam, acquires and tracks incoming targets, determines an aim point for the laser, then «shapes» and focuses the outgoing beam on the target, added Skinner.

Northrop Grumman is developing the SHiELD beam control system under a segment of the ATD program known as SHiELD Turret Research in Aero Effects, or STRAFE.

AFRL will integrate STRAFE beam control system with a laser source, and power and cooling systems developed for the SHiELD ATD.

F-35 on USS America

Five Lockheed Martin F-35B Lightning II aircraft landed on the amphibious assault ship USS America (LHA-6) on Friday, October 28. America will embark seven F-35Bs – two are scheduled to begin the third shipboard phase of Developmental Test (DT-III) and five are scheduled to conduct operational testing. America, the first ship of its class, is an aviation-centric platform that incorporates key design elements to accommodate the fifth-generation fighter.

An F-35B Lightning II aircraft launches for the first time off the flight deck of amphibious assault ship USS America (LHA-6) (U.S. Navy photo by Petty Officer 1st Class Benjamin Wooddy/Released)
An F-35B Lightning II aircraft launches for the first time off the flight deck of amphibious assault ship USS America (LHA-6) (U.S. Navy photo by Petty Officer 1st Class Benjamin Wooddy/Released)

The ship’s design features several aviation capabilities enhanced beyond previous amphibious assault ships which include an enlarged hangar deck, realignment and expansion of the aviation maintenance facilities, a significant increase in available stowage of parts and equipment, as well as increased aviation fuel capacity. America is capable of accommodating F-35Bs, MV-22B Osprey tiltrotor aircraft, and a complement of Navy and Marine Corps helicopters.

The third test phase will evaluate F-35B Short Take-off Vertical Landing (STOVL) operations in a high-sea state, shipboard landings, and night operations. The cadre of flight test pilots, engineers, maintainers, and support personnel from the F-35 Patuxent River Integrated Test Force (ITF) are assigned to Air Test & Evaluation Squadron (VX) 23 at Naval Air Station Patuxent River, Maryland.

«It’s exciting to start the execution phase of our detachment with VMX-1 (Marine Operational Test and Evaluation Squadron 1) on USS America», said Lieutenant Colonel Tom «Sally» Fields, F-35 Patuxent River ITF Government Flight Test director assigned to VX-23. «During the next three weeks, we will be completing critical flight test for both Developmental Test (DT) and Operational Test (OT). The F-35 Pax River ITF and VX-23 will be conducting DT work that will establish the boundaries of safe operation for the F-35B in the 3F configuration. VMX-1 will be conducting OT operations focused on preparing maintenance crews and pilots for the first deployment of the F-35B aboard USS Wasp (LHD-1), scheduled to start in just over a year».

The operational testing will also include simulating extensive maintenance aboard a ship, said Colonel George Rowell, commanding officer of VMX-1, based at Marine Corps Air Station Yuma, Arizona. Rowell stated one of the VMX jets on board will be placed in the hangar bay, taken apart, and put together again, just to make sure everything goes well.

The maintenance work will include the replacement of a lift fan, the specialized equipment made by Rolls Royce and Pratt and Whitney that gives the F-35B variant its short take-off, “jump jet” capability, Rowell said. The Marine Corps variant of the F-35 Lightning II reached the fleet first, with the service declaring initial operational capability July 2015.

«The F-35 Lightning II is the most versatile, agile, and technologically-advanced aircraft in the skies today, enabling our Corps to be the nation’s force in readiness – regardless of the threat, and regardless of the location of the battle», said Lieutenant General Jon Davis, deputy commandant for aviation, Marine Corps. «As we modernize our fixed-wing aviation assets for the future, the continued development and fielding of the short take-off and vertical landing, the F-35B remains the centerpiece of this effort».

«The America class of amphibious assault ship design enables it to carry a larger and more diverse complement of aircraft, including the tiltrotor MV-22 Osprey, the new F-35 Lightning II, and a mix of cargo and assault helicopters», added Davis. «America is able to support a wide spectrum of military operations and missions, including putting Marines ashore for combat operations, launching air strikes, keeping sea lanes free and open for the movement of global commerce, and delivering humanitarian aid following a natural disaster».

This graphic illustration depicts the U.S. Navy's first live fire demonstration to successfully test the integration of the F-35 with existing Naval Integrated Fire Control-Counter Air (NIFC-CA) architecture. During the test at White Sands Missile Range, New Mexico, September 12, an unmodified U.S. Marine Corps F-35B acted as an elevated sensor to detect an over-the-horizon threat. The aircraft then sent data through its Multi-Function Advanced Data Link to a ground station connected to USS Desert Ship (LLS-1), a land-based launch facility designed to simulate a ship at sea. Using the latest Aegis Weapon System Baseline 9.C1 and a Standard Missile 6, the system successfully detected and engaged the target (U.S. Navy graphic illustration courtesy of Lockheed Martin/Released)
This graphic illustration depicts the U.S. Navy’s first live fire demonstration to successfully test the integration of the F-35 with existing Naval Integrated Fire Control-Counter Air (NIFC-CA) architecture. During the test at White Sands Missile Range, New Mexico, September 12, an unmodified U.S. Marine Corps F-35B acted as an elevated sensor to detect an over-the-horizon threat. The aircraft then sent data through its Multi-Function Advanced Data Link to a ground station connected to USS Desert Ship (LLS-1), a land-based launch facility designed to simulate a ship at sea. Using the latest Aegis Weapon System Baseline 9.C1 and a Standard Missile 6, the system successfully detected and engaged the target (U.S. Navy graphic illustration courtesy of Lockheed Martin/Released)

Merlin maiden flight

Just in time for the Corps’ 352nd birthday, the Royal Marines new flying steed has taken to the skies for the first time. The Merlin Mk4 – much better adapted to operations at sea than the Mk3 it is replacing – will be the mainstay of Commando Helicopter Force for the next decade and beyond.

The Leonardo Merlin Mk4 helicopter, modified as an assault transport for Britain’s Royal Marines, made its maiden flight last week. A total of 25 Merlin Mk3s will be modified to this new standard, and all should be delivered by late 2020 (RN photo)
The Leonardo Merlin Mk4 helicopter, modified as an assault transport for Britain’s Royal Marines, made its maiden flight last week. A total of 25 Merlin Mk3s will be modified to this new standard, and all should be delivered by late 2020 (RN photo)

You’ve never seen a Merlin like this before. This is the Royal Marines’ flying steed of tomorrow, the fourth incarnation of a battle-proven helicopter – and the one best suited to both commando operations and flying at sea.

The very first Merlin Mk4 took to Somerset skies earlier this week after technicians and engineers at Leonardo – previously Agusta-Westland – in Yeovil completed turning a battlefield Merlin Mk3 into a battlefield Merlin Mk4.

The difference? Well, for a start it’s maritime grey not battlefield green (although it’s easily distinguishable from its submarine-hunting Merlin Mk2 sisters by the lack of a radar dome under the cockpit).

Less obvious to the eye is a folding main rotor head and folding tail which make it much more suited to operating from Royal Navy (RN) carriers and assault ships at sea.

In addition, inside the crew of four have access to a vastly-improved avionics suite.

The first Merlin Mk4 is likely to be ready for front-line operations by late 2017, with the entire fleet of 25 converted by the end of 2020.

At present the two troop-carrying squadrons of Commando Helicopter Force (CHF), based at Royal Naval Air Service (RNAS) Yeovilton – 845 and 846 NAS – operate the Merlin Mk3 and Merlin Mk3i (the latter has undergone enhancements and improvements which plug the gap between Nos.3 and 4).

Watching the Merlin Mk4’s maiden flight was Colonel Lenny Brown, the Royal Marine in charge of CHF – who can’t wait for his men and women to get their hands on the upgraded helicopter.

«What a fantastic achievement for Leonardo, the Merlin project team and all those involved at Commando Helicopter Force», he said.

«This is truly a leap forward in CHF’s capability to support 3 Commando Brigade at the speed and range required on the modern battlefield, whether operating embarked in Royal Navy warships or on land».

Nation at war

The first prototype Stryker Infantry Carrier Vehicle, outfitted with a MCT-30-mm cannon, was delivered to the Army Thursday, October 27, 2016. The upgraded Stryker vehicle will be known as the Dragoon, the name of the 2nd Cavalry Regiment, and the Army recently assigned the nomenclature XM1296 Infantry Carrier Vehicle – Dragoon.

The first prototype Stryker Infantry Carrier Vehicle outfitted with a 30-mm cannon was delivered Thursday to the Army (Photo Credit: courtesy of Program Executive Office Ground Combat Systems)
The first prototype Stryker Infantry Carrier Vehicle outfitted with a 30-mm cannon was delivered Thursday to the Army (Photo Credit: courtesy of Program Executive Office Ground Combat Systems)

The upgrade includes the integration of a Kongsberg MCT-30-mm Weapon System with a remotely-operated, unmanned turret; a new fully-integrated commander’s station, upgraded driveline componentry and hull modifications, according to a Program Executive Office Ground Combat Systems (PEO-GCS) press release.

«It’s important to realize the genesis of this event», said Army Vice Chief of Staff General Daniel B. Allyn, speaking at the General Dynamics Land Systems Maneuver Collaboration Center in Sterling Heights, Michigan.

Following the 2015 Russian invasion of Ukraine, Army leaders in Europe «identified a capability gap that threatened our forces in theater», Allyn explained. «The Russians, it turns out, had upgraded and fielded significant capabilities while we were engaged in Iraq and Afghanistan». Army leaders recognized that existing Stryker weaponry placed U.S. forces at «unacceptable risk», he said.

«The Urgent Operational Needs statement submitted in March 2015 resulted in a directed Stryker lethality requirement, one that included an accelerated acquisition effort to integrate the 30-mm canon on the vehicles», he said.

Fielding to the 2nd Cavalry Regiment in Europe will begin in May 2018, which represents «a near-record time from concept to delivery», according to Allyn. «This is an example of what is possible when government, military and industry leaders unite as one team», he continued, describing the collaboration between General Dynamics Land Systems and the Program Executive Office-Ground Combat Systems.

The goal, he noted, is to offer forces on the ground the best equipment and protection possible. «It’s all about the people on the ground, serving and sacrificing on our behalf, each and every day, around the globe», he said.

According to PEO GCS, the Army has provided programmatic direction to initiate the first two elements of the Stryker Fleet Lethality strategy – providing an under-armor Javelin capability for the Stryker and improving the capabilities of the Stryker Anti-Tank Guided Missile vehicle to better locate and engage targets via networked fires.

«It’s important to know we are a nation at war right now, and our Army remains globally engaged», Allyn said. «Today, over 8,000 Soldiers are in Afghanistan, providing enabling support to an emerging force, fighting a persistent insurgent threat». Nearly 5,000 more are in the Middle East, supporting the fight against the Islamic State, «a ruthless force, intent on destabilizing the region and the globe».

More than 33,000 Soldiers are assigned or allocated to Europe «to assure our allies and to deter a potentially grave threat to freedom», he continued.

Nearly 80,000 are assigned to U.S. Pacific Command, including 20,000 in South Korea, prepared «to respond tonight with our (Republic of Korea) allies», he added.

Supporting the fight around the globe means having the best technologies for Soldiers to ensure overmatch against future adversaries in an increasingly complex and dangerous world where the threat is often «elusive and ambiguous», he said.

This environment will place a premium on unmanned systems, lethal technologies and rapid maneuver capabilities that the new Stryker system exemplifies, Allyn concluded.

The first prototype Stryker Infantry Carrier Vehicle outfitted with a 30-mm cannon was delivered October 27, 2016 to the Army. Video courtesy of PEO Ground Combat Vehicles