The U.S. Army’s Tank Automotive Research, Development and Engineering Center (TARDEC) has awarded Lockheed Martin a next-phase contract to continue maturing the Modular Active Protection Systems (MAPS) controller base kit hardware and software and to support government integration efforts ahead of platform demonstrations scheduled to take place through 2019.
MAPS is designed to enable protection of vehicles and their occupants by integrating sensors and countermeasures in a common framework to detect and defeat existing and emerging threats.
Lockheed Martin delivered five MAPS controllers to TARDEC in 2017. As part of the 16-month follow-on effort, its engineers will work with TARDEC to mature the base kit hardware and software and to support integration of the MAPS Base Kit with existing sensors and countermeasures for U.S. Army virtual and range demonstrations on combat vehicles.
«Our MAPS offering is ready to support field tests using today’s platforms and active protection system components», said Paul Lemmo, vice president of Sensors & Global Sustainment at Lockheed Martin Missiles and Fire Control. «A modular and open-architecture design means any component can be selectively upgraded across all MAPS-enabled platforms to address emerging threats. That promotes affordability by extending the system’s life cycle, and boosts protection for the warfighter without increasing vehicle weight».
The TARDEC MAPS Base Kit, delivered by Lockheed Martin, consists of a controller, user interface, power management distribution system and application software. It integrates Modular APS Framework (MAF)-compliant components, sensors and countermeasures to detect and defeat threats targeting MAPS-equipped vehicles. In addition to current combat vehicle platforms, it is designed to support future vehicle protection system capabilities.
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Modular Active Protection Systems: Ahead of the Threat Curve
Under DARPA’s Offensive Swarm-Enabled Tactics (OFFSET) program, Raytheon BBN Technologies is developing technology to direct and control swarms of small, autonomous air and ground vehicles. The technology includes:
a visual interface that allows «drag and drop» creation and manipulation of drone tactics;
a game-based simulator to evaluate those tactics;
a physical swarm testbed to perform live tactics evaluations.
«Operators use speech or gestures to control the swarm. This is a tremendous advantage during operations», said Shane Clark, Doctor of Philosophy (Ph.D.) and principal investigator on the program. «The system provides sensor feeds and mission status indicators for complete situational awareness».
The flexible, scalable programming software and simulation environment means users can coordinate drone behaviors in teams composed of different vehicle types that use various sensors.
Defense Advanced Research Projects Agency (DARPA) is inviting additional organizations to participate in OFFSET as «sprinters» through an open Broad Agency Announcement. Sprinters can create their own novel swarm tactics and the Raytheon BBN team will work with them to evaluate the tactics in simulation, and possibly field them for live trials.
In 2016, Raytheon, as part of the Office of Naval Research Low-Cost UAV Swarming Technology (LOCUST) program, conducted demonstrations that successfully netted together 30 Coyote Unmanned Aerial Vehicles (UAVs) in a swarm. Raytheon BBN Technologies is a wholly owned subsidiary of Raytheon Company.
Nimitz-class aircraft carrier USS Abraham Lincoln (CVN-72) completed fleet carrier qualifications (CQ) for the F-35C Lightning II program, marking another milestone for the new aircraft, while underway March 17-21.
Pilots assigned to the «Rough Raiders» of Strike Fighter Squadron (VFA) 125 and the «Grim Reapers» of VFA 101 accomplished day and night qualifications with 140 traps in anticipation of F-35C operational testing later this year.
Aboard for part of the CQ was Rear Adm. Dale Horan, director of the U.S. Navy F-35C Fleet Integration Office, who was previously embarked aboard Abraham Lincoln during a nine-and-a-half-month deployment in 2002.
«I have tight ties to Lincoln», said Horan. «It’s personally interesting for me, but also professionally, it’s really neat to see this aircraft out there with other aircraft; we haven’t done that before. Previously, all the CQ evolutions have just been F-35s».
The F-35C complements the tactical fighter fleet with a dominant, multirole, next-generation aircraft capable of projecting U.S. power and deterring potential adversaries. The continued integration of the F-35C into the carrier air wing will enable the carrier strike group of the future to be more lethal and survivable in high-end threat environments.
One of the major milestones for this carrier qualification evolution was the operational use of the F-35C’s foldable-wing feature. This feature is a critical component of the integration of F-35Cs with F/A-18C Hornets, F/A-18E/F Super Hornets and EA-18G Growlers, facilitating the movement of the different platforms on the flight deck and rehearsing for operating as part of a full air wing aboard the carrier.
«My original platform is the Hornet, which I’ve flown for the past three years», said Lieutenant Nick Rezendes, a pilot attached to VFA 101, who qualified on the F-35C during this CQ. «I wanted to switch to flying the Navy’s newest aircraft, and now that I have, I wouldn’t mind sticking with it for the rest of my career».
Another important piece of this underway period was the continued integration of the F-35’s Autonomic Logistic Information System (ALIS) with Abraham Lincoln. ALIS is a secure, off-board fleet management tool that integrates F-35 mission planning, maintenance, supply chain and sustainment information. Operators were able to plan, maintain, and sustain F-35C systems by transmitting up-to-date data to users and maintainers worldwide.
During Abraham Lincoln’s previous F-35C Fleet Replacement Squadron (FRS) carrier qualifications in December of 2017, an operational squadron accomplished the use of the Joint Precision Approach and Landing System (JPALS) for the first time. The GPS-based, all-weather landing system works to provide accurate and reliable information for carrier landing approach, allowing F-35Cs to land during inclement weather.
«It’s pretty clear that this aircraft is the Navy’s future for strike warfare», said Horan. «It’s shaping up to be a fantastic aircraft. As with any program, there are always complexities in getting it fielded, but we are working through those. This aircraft is very capable and it’ll be really neat to watch it develop».
By 2025, the Navy’s aircraft carrier air wings are scheduled to consist of F-35Cs, F/A-18E/F Super Hornets, EA-18G Growlers electronic attack aircraft, E-2D Hawkeye battle management and control aircraft, MH-60R/S helicopters and carrier on board delivery logistics aircraft.
F-35С Lightning II specifications
51.5 feet/15.7 m
14.7 feet/4.48 m
43 feet/13.1 m
668 feet2/62.1 m2
Horizontal tail span
26.3 feet/8.02 m
34,800 lbs/15,785 kg
Internal fuel capacity
19,750 lbs/8,960 kg
18,000 lbs/8,160 kg
70,000 lbs class/31,751 kg
Standard internal weapons load
Two AIM-120C air-to-air missiles
Two 2,000-pound (907 kg) GBU-31 JDAM (Joint Direct Attack Munition) guided bombs
Singapore Technologies Marine Ltd (ST Marine), the marine arm of Singapore Technologies Engineering Ltd (ST Engineering), has successfully launched the sixth Littoral Mission Vessel (LMV), Fortitude, designed and built for the Republic of Singapore Navy (RSN).
The ceremony, held at ST Marine’s Benoi Yard, was officiated by Mr. Ng Chee Meng, Minister for Education (Schools) and Second Minister for Transport. Mr. Ng’s spouse, Mrs. Michelle Ng was the lady sponsor who named and launched the vessel in accordance with naval traditions. The event was witnessed by many senior officials from the Ministry of Defence and the Singapore Armed Forces.
Fortitude is part of an eight-vessel LMV programme started in 2013 and is slated to replace the RSN’s current fleet of Fearless-class Patrol Vessels, also designed and built by ST Marine in the 1990s. The LMVs are 2.5 times larger and possess better sea-keeping capabilities to operate in higher sea state conditions, amongst other attributes.
ST Marine has delivered four vessels till date, LMV Independence, LMV Sovereignty, LMV Unity and LMV Justice. The fifth vessel, LMV Indomitable was launched in 2017; the keel was laid for the seventh LMV and steel was also cut for the eighth LMV last year.
«The launch of the sixth LMV Fortitude today brings us another step closer to the completion of the LMV programme. The milestones to date could not have been achieved without the collaboration of the DSTA, RSN and our industry partners, and I extend my warmest appreciation to them», said Ng Sing Chan, President for ST Marine. «We are honoured to be able to contribute to RSN’s robust seaward defence of Singapore, which will be strengthened further when all eight LMVs are delivered in 2020».
Schiebel has successfully demonstrated the heavy fuel variant of the Camcopter S-100 Unmanned Air System (UAS) as part of its customer acceptance program with the Royal Australian Navy (RAN).
Under the directive of the Navy Minor Project (NMP) 1942 to procure a vertical takeoff and landing Maritime Tactical Unmanned Aircraft System – Interim Capability (MTUAS-IC), RAN sought a platform for shipborne Intelligence, Surveillance and Reconnaissance (ISR). Selected for its maturity and demonstrated capability, Schiebel’s Camcopter S-100 UAS successfully completed its flying program for the RAN validation and verification customer acceptance program at the Jervis Bay Airfield facilities in New South Wales, Australia.
In a comprehensive series of tests, the JP-5 (NATO F-44) heavy fuel powered Camcopter S-100, equipped with a Wescam MX-10S payload and at operational ranges of up to 60 nautical miles as well as altitudes above 10 000 feet, presented its ability to deliver world-class imagery to commanders.
As the RAN Contract Manager Kevin Beare noted, «The heavy fuel variant of the S-100 has performed very well during the validation and verification program and the RAN looks forward to utilising this platform to achieve NMP1942 project objectives over the coming years».
«The S-100 will prove to be an effective asset in enhancing the Navy’s ISR capabilities», said Hans Georg Schiebel, Chairman of the Schiebel Group. «We are excited about the positive feedback we are receiving from RAN and are looking forward to continued cooperation in the future».
Founded in 1951, the Vienna-based Schiebel Group focuses on the development, testing and production of state-of-the-art mine detection equipment and the revolutionary Camcopter S-100 Unmanned Air System (UAS). Schiebel has built an international reputation for producing quality defense and humanitarian products, which are backed by exceptional after-sales service and support. Since 2010, Schiebel’s composite division supplies high-tech customers with products of supreme carbon fiber technology – all quality-controlled to meet ISO 9001 standards. With headquarters in Vienna (Austria), Schiebel now maintains production facilities in Wiener Neustadt (Austria) and Abu Dhabi (UAE), as well as offices in Washington DC (USA) and Phnom Penh (Cambodia).
About the Camcopter S-100
Schiebel’s Camcopter S-100 Unmanned Air System (UAS) is an operationally proven capability for military and civilian applications. The Vertical Takeoff and Landing (VTOL) UAS requires no prepared area or supporting equipment to enable launch and recovery. It operates in day and night, under adverse weather conditions, with a beyond line-of-sight capability out to 108 NM/124 miles/200 km, over land and sea. Its carbon fiber and titanium fuselage provides capacity for a wide range of payload/endurance combinations up to a service ceiling of 18,000 feet/5,486 m. In a typical configuration, the Camcopter S-100 carries a 75 lbs./34 kg payload up to 10 hours and is powered with AVGas or JP-5 heavy fuel. High-definition payload imagery is transmitted to the control station in real time. In addition to its standard GPS waypoint or manual navigation, the S-100 can successfully operate in environments where GPS is not available, with missions planned and controlled via a simple point-and-click graphical user interface. The high-tech unmanned helicopter is backed by Schiebel’s excellent customer support and training services.
Successful air defence demands a holistic approach. This is why Rheinmetall – Europe’s foremost maker of military systems and equipment – wants to supply the German armed forces with a path-breaking solution encompassing the whole complexity of ground-based air defence. Here the Düsseldorf-based high-tech group is cooperating closely with America’s Raytheon.
Rheinmetall’s plan calls for networking all relevant sensors, effectors, platforms and C4I assets into a single, scalable, system of systems. This will create a highly effective, modularly scalable and flexible air defence system covering the Bundeswehr’s full mission spectrum.
Short- and very short-range air defence
The phasing out of the Roland and Gepard mobile air defence systems leaves the Bundeswehr with very limited capabilities in the area of short- and very-short range air defence, or SHORAD. Rheinmetall’s lightweight air defence system ensures that this capability is maintained through to 2025.
Effective SHORAD – NNbS in German military parlance – requires a total system concept, one which is capable of neutralizing incoming rockets, artillery and mortar rounds – the so-called RAM threat – as well as bringing down unmanned aerial systems, especially in the low, slow, small (LSS) subset, e.g. quadrocopter drones. Finally, the system has to be able to deal effectively with conventional aircraft flying at close range. As an experienced SHORAD supplier, Rheinmetall’s proposal calls for a mix of automatic cannon and guided missiles, and in the nearby future augmented with high-energy laser weapons.
Tactical air defence systems
Over the next few years, the Bundeswehr will be utilizing the Patriot integrated air and missile defense for defence e.g. against tactical ballistic missiles. Rheinmetall is Raytheon’s national partner for evolving Patriot in Germany.
A phased upgrade from the current Patriot Config 3+ system to next-generation (NextGen) status will meet the future requirements for a long-range ground-based air defence system.
Even in the concept phase, the systemic approach embodied by Rheinmetall SHORAD and the Patriot NextGen meets the requirements for comprehensive, adaptable, modular air defence, enabling a single-source approach covering all aspects of air and missile defence.
Patriot is in the backbone of integrated air and missile defense for six NATO nations and eight other partner countries, making it globally interoperable. A multinational solution, it significantly lowers lifecycle costs thanks to a common threat database and modernization costs shared across the 14-nation partnership.
Scalable tactical C2 design
Rheinmetall envisages a flexible, role-based command and control architecture for its ground-based air defence system. The scalable tactical operation centre concept with flexible C2 architecture enables optimized force composition in line with the given specific operational task.
«VSHORAD» army programme
Complementing the German Air Force capabilities of ground-based air defence, the German Army has articulated the demand for an organic air defence capability against microdrones, to be available for NATO-VJTF 2023. The operational demand envisages a wheelmounted air defence vehicle protecting units in the very short range from aerial threats during deployed operations. Here, Rheinmetall can offer a market-ready system. Future utilization and integration of those VJTF 2023 components into the SHORAD system is assured, thus representing sustained investment.
The U.S. Navy commissioned its newest guided-missile destroyer, the future USS Ralph Johnson (DDG-114), during a 10:00 a.m. EDT ceremony Saturday, March 24, at Columbus Street Pier in Charleston, South Carolina.
The future USS Ralph Johnson (DDG-114) honors Marine Corps Private first class Ralph Henry Johnson, who posthumously received the Medal of Honor for his «conspicuous gallantry and intrepidity» during the Vietnam War. On March 5, 1968, in an observation post overlooking the Quan Duc Valley, Johnson used his body to shield fellow Marines from a grenade, absorbing the blast and dying instantly. The Charleston native had only been in Vietnam for two months when he was killed at the age of 19.
General Robert Neller, commandant of the U.S. Marine Corps, delivered the ceremony’s principal address. Mrs. Georgeann McRaven, wife of retired Admiral Bill McRaven, served as the ship’s sponsor. In a time-honored Navy tradition, she gave the order to «man our ship and bring her to life»!
«The future USS Ralph Johnson will become one of the most capable weapons in our nation’s arsenal», said Secretary of the Navy Richard V. Spencer. «It will serve for decades to come as a fitting tribute to the heroic actions of Private first class Ralph Johnson who, in the face of certain death, sacrificed his own life to save the life of a fellow Marine».
USS Ralph Johnson (DDG-114), the 65th Arleigh Burke-class destroyer to be commissioned, will be able to conduct a variety of operations, from peacetime presence and crisis management to sea control and power projection. Ralph Johnson will be capable of engaging in air, surface and subsurface battles simultaneously and will contain a myriad of offensive and defensive weapons designed to support maritime warfare, including Integrated Air and Missile Defense capabilities.
510 feet/156 m
Beam – Waterline
59 feet/18 m
30.5 feet/9.3 m
Displacement – Full Load
9,140 tons/9,286 metric tons
4 General electric LM 2500-30 gas turbines; 2 shafts; 2 CRP (Contra-Rotating) propellers; 100,000 shaft horsepower/75,000 kW
SPY-1D Phased Array Radar and Aegis Combat System (Lockheed Martin); SPS-73(V) Navigation; SPS-67(V)3 Surface Search; 3 SPG-62 Illuminator; SQQ-89(V)6 sonar incorporating SQS-53C hull mounted and SQR-19 towed array sonars used with Mark-116 Mod 7 ASW fire control system
SLQ-32(V)3; Mark-53 Mod 0 Decoy System; Mark-234 Decoy System; SLQ-25A Torpedo Decoy; SLQ-39 Surface Decoy; URN-25 TACAN; UPX-29 IFF System; Kollmorgen Mark-46 Mod 1 Electro-Optical Director
2 embarked SH-60 helicopters ASW operations; RAST (Recovery Assist, Secure and Traverse)
Rheinmetall has integrated the state-of-the-art MELLS (MEhrrollenfähige Leichte Lenkflugkörper Systems – Multi-role Light Missile System) antitank guided missile into the Marder 1A5 Infantry Fighting Vehicle (IFV). Following successful conclusion of the study phase, the Bundeswehr subsequently ordered 44 MELLS retrofit kits, which were delivered in December 2017. In the meantime, a total of 35 vehicles have been equipped with the new missile system integration kit. The modernized Marder 1A5 is now able to utilize the MELLS, a German acronym standing for «multirole-capable light antitank missile system». This retrofit contributes to the combat effectiveness of the Bundeswehr’s mechanized infantry units and thus to the credibility of the Federal Republic of Germany in international security contexts.
At the end of 2016, Germany’s Federal Office for Bundeswehr Equipment, Information Technology and In-Service Support (www.BAAINBw.de) awarded Rheinmetall Landsysteme GmbH a contract to study ways of integrating the MELLS into the Bundeswehr’s tried-and-tested IFV, which will be reaching the end of its service life in the foreseeable future. Thanks to the MELLS, the Marder IFV now has a new, highly effective antitank capability.
Under a development contract – with the help of two sample vehicles –Rheinmetall examined among other things the extent to which oscillation due to movement of the vehicle and the resulting vibration behaviour would have to be taken into account when integrating the MELLS. The results formed the basis for a modified storage concept, enabling transport of the launcher and missiles in the infantry fighting vehicle. The project was conducted during the first half of 2017. The high point came when the vibration-stressed missiles were successfully fired from the IFV.
Rheinmetall has accumulated massive expertise in all aspects of the Marder. The weapons system first rolled off the assembly lines of Rheinmetall’s forerunner in Kassel. Extremely reliable and battle-tested, the Marder is destined to remain an important workhorse of Germany’s mechanized infantry for several years to come. Rheinmetall is currently looking at ways of integrating the MELLS into the 1A3 and 1A5A1 versions of the Marder as well.
Raytheon’s sophisticated MTS sensor package, combined with a high-energy laser and mounted on the MRZR vehicle, could offer an effective defense against UAVs.
In a windowless room on Raytheon’s campus in McKinney, Texas, a small team of blue jean-clad engineers and physicists is doing something that’s never been done before. They move back and forth between computer screens and a vehicle that looks like it’s straight out of Mad Max.
«Basically, we’re putting a laser on a dune buggy to knock drones out of the sky», said Doctor Ben Allison, director of Raytheon’s high energy laser product line.
It’s actually a little more complicated than that, Allison added. The team is combining a high energy laser with an advanced variant of Raytheon’s Multi-spectral Targeting System – a sophisticated package of electro-optical and infrared sensors – and installing it on a Polaris MRZR, a small, all-terrain vehicle.
In an homage to Austin Powers, Art Morrish, vice president of Advanced Concepts and Technology at Raytheon Space and Airborne Systems, said, «It’s not sharks with laser beams on them, but it’s pretty close».
A defense against drones
According to Allison, the idea grew out of a meeting with Raytheon’s CEO and Chairman Tom Kennedy earlier this year. Kennedy told Allison and Morrish that an allied nation had recently used a Patriot missile to shoot down a cheap, store-bought UAS that was outfitted with a grenade-like munition.
«That cost-to-kill ratio is high», explained Allison, «but the threat is clear. So, the question became, ‘What can we do for a counter-UAS system using a high-energy laser and do it quickly. We didn’t want to go out and do a bunch of research and development. We wanted to take the assets and capabilities Raytheon has today and use them to really affect this asymmetrical threat. We settled on a small system that’s hugely capable».
Good Things Come in Small Packages
The team first looked at putting its laser on a standard-size military container, but soon realized it only took up a quarter of the available space. At the same time, an undisclosed customer was exploring ways to put a laser weapon system on vehicles small enough to fit in an airplane’s cargo bay or inside a helicopter.
«When we saw how small we could make it and we saw a clear customer need, we immediately wanted to find a very tactically relevant vehicle that could get out to forward operating bases and do its mission», said Allison.
The system is standalone, with a footprint of roughly 30 square feet/2.79 square meter. On a single charge from a standard 220v outlet, the same kind you plug your washing machine into at home, the HEL system onboard the MRZR delivers four hours of intelligence, surveillance and reconnaissance capability and 20 to 30 laser shots. The system can also be coupled with a generator to provide virtually infinite magazine depth.
While the laser and the vehicle are sure to draw all the attention, it’s the weaponized MTS sensor package that is the core of the system. In this configuration, the MTS provides its standard setting ISR and tracking capabilities while also serving as a beam director.
That’s something Allison says sets this combo apart from bigger, more power-hungry systems. «If you have a good beam director, then you can use a smaller, more efficient laser. You can make your system smaller and more flexible», said Allison.
Hitting the Road
Morrish believes the solution is particularly suited for expeditionary missions. «Right now, it’s a shoot-on-the-halt capability», said Morrish. «You drive the vehicle wherever you’re going to drive it. You stop and then you fire up the laser. That makes it great for protecting forward-operating bases and places where convoys have to stop. The next step is to set it up so you can actually shoot on the move».
Raytheon began field testing the HELWS MRZR last week and is slated to demonstrate it at the U.S. Army’s Maneuver Fires Experiment at Fort Sill, Oklahoma, in December.
«The idea is to quickly take this solution out of the lab and put it in the hands of the operators», said Morrish. «The folks in uniform are going to find ways to use it that those of us in lab coats never have».
Lockheed Martin successfully tested a production-configuration Long Range Anti-Ship Missile (LRASM) from a U.S. Air Force B-1B Lancer bomber.
During the test, a B-1B Lancer from the 337th Test Squadron at Dyess Air Force Base, Texas, launched a LRASM over the Sea Range at Point Mugu, California, successfully impacting the maritime target and meeting test objectives.
«LRASM has now proven itself in six consecutive flight missions», said David Helsel, LRASM program director at Lockheed Martin Missiles and Fire Control. «The reliability and outstanding capability of LRASM will provide an unmatched weapon to our warfighters in their quest for sea control in contested environments».
LRASM is designed to detect and destroy specific targets within groups of ships by employing advanced technologies that reduce dependence on intelligence, surveillance and reconnaissance platforms, network links and GPS navigation in electronic warfare environments. LRASM will play a significant role in ensuring military access to operate in open ocean/blue waters, owing to its enhanced ability to discriminate and conduct tactical engagements from extended ranges.
LRASM is a precision-guided, anti-ship standoff missile based on the successful Joint Air-to-Surface Standoff Missile – Extended Range (JASSM-ER). It is designed to meet the needs of U.S. Navy and Air Force warfighters in contested environments. The air-launched variant provides an early operational capability for the U.S. Navy’s offensive anti-surface warfare Increment I requirement to be integrated onboard the U.S. Air Force’s B-1B Lancer in 2018 and on the U.S. Navy’s F/A-18E/F Super Hornet in 2019.