Military versions

Airbus Helicopters is introducing the first U.S.-built H125 military configurations, known as AH-125 and MH-125 Ares, to the Airbus range of military helicopters. These combat-capable aircraft will feature militarized options that meet the needs of military and parapublic allies and partners around the world.

AH-125 Ares
Eurocopter AS350 Ecureuil A-Star Helicopter flying over the hills of Malibu, CA during a Fast Rope type military operation

The AH-125 Ares will be configured as the armed variant of the helicopter, while the MH-125 Ares will be configured as a multi-role helicopter capable of a wide range of operations. The new offerings complement the extensive line of military helicopters already produced by Airbus, including the H125M.

«The AH-125 and MH-125 Ares helicopters will offer the capability, reliability and flexibility needed by America’s allies and partners as they perform an array of rotary wing missions, ranging from light attack to disaster response and other parapublic missions», said Scott Tumpak, Vice President of Military Line of Business for Airbus U.S. Space and Defense. «They represent the latest evolution of Airbus’ H125 family of helicopters, and will be produced in the U.S. at Airbus Helicopters, Inc.’s facility in Columbus, Mississippi».

Globally, the H125 family accounts for almost 80% of the single-engine market and has the highest number of certified modifications (supplemental type certificates) available. With the new addition of a flexible weapons capability, the H125 helicopter will easily be re-configured between multiple mission sets in less than 30 minutes, ranging between light attack, air assault, search and rescue, casualty evacuation, and disaster response, as well as other combat and parapublic operations.

MAG Aerospace will perform the weapons installation design, engineering, certification and manufacturing. The helicopter will accommodate a wide range of weapons such as a .50 cal (12.7-mm) gun and unguided rockets, and precision-guided weapons as a growth option. The installation allows for doors-on flight throughout the mission.

«MAG Aerospace is thrilled to team with Airbus to combine our unique platform engineering and modification capabilities with the world-class leader in the single-engine helicopter market. It’s an honor to work with Airbus and expand our ability to serve our partners in the U.S. and around the world», said Matt Bartlett, President of MAG Aerospace.

The H125 is the world’s top-selling helicopter with a long history of use by U.S. law enforcement and government agencies. Currently, the H125 is the light enforcement helicopter used by U.S. Customs and Border Protection, with more than 100 H125 family aircraft in service, making the U.S. government the single largest customer and operator of the aircraft.

Airbus provides a range of reliable and versatile helicopters to the U.S. government and military, enabling them to perform a wide variety of missions. More than 480 UH-72A and UH-72B Lakota helicopters have been delivered to the U.S. Army and National Guard since the program began in 2006. Airbus also continues to support the U.S. Coast Guard’s fleet of nearly 100 MH-65 helicopters, which play a critical role in the USCG’s homeland security, drug interdiction and lifesaving missions.

All-terrain vehicles

Germany is investing in an additional 227 ultra-mobile, protected, all-terrain BvS10 vehicles from BAE Systems.

Germany buys 227 additional BAE Systems BvS10s through framework agreement

The German contract, worth around $400 million, follows the joint procurement by Sweden, Germany, and the United Kingdom in support of Arctic operations for the Collaborative All-Terrain Vehicle (CATV) program, with Sweden as the lead nation. This will extend the deliveries from the framework agreement, which are to begin in 2024, out to 2030.

«This framework agreement streamlines the process by allowing prospective and existing customers to acquire vehicles at previously negotiated terms, while also benefiting from the joint development», said Tommy Gustafsson-Rask, managing director of BAE Systems Hägglunds, which manufactures the vehicles in Örnsköldsvik, Sweden. «This will secure Germany’s access to these highly capable vehicles for decades to come, and demonstrates the strong relationship between BAE Systems and our customer».

BAE Systems’ military all-terrain vehicles are designed for operations in the harshest and most remote environments, and this agreement signals the company’s position as the defense industry’s leader in these capabilities. The new contract is for additional troop transport vehicles and Armored Personnel Carriers (APCs), as well as three new German BvS10 versions; Command and Control (C2), and two logistics variants that will add combat support to the German Armed Forces.

The BvS10 (and Beowulf) are world-leading all-terrain solutions. Their articulated mobility systems provide optimal maneuverability across varying terrains including snow, ice, rock, sand, mud, swamps, and steep mountain environments. The vehicles’ amphibious feature also allows them to swim in flooded areas or coastal waters. The vehicles can deliver personnel and supplies to sustain strategic, tactical, and operational mobility.

BvS10’s unprecedented mobility is based on terrain accessible North Atlantic Treaty Organization (NATO) standards. Its modular design allows it to be reconfigured for varying missions and can be delivered in multiple variants that include carrying personnel, command and control, ambulance, vehicle repair and recovery, logistics support, situational awareness, and a weapons carrier with additional mortar capability.

The vehicle is currently operated by Austria, France, the Netherlands, Sweden, and the United Kingdom. BAE Systems’ Beowulf, the unarmored variant of the BvS10, won the U.S. Army’s competition for its Cold Weather All-Terrain Vehicle (CATV) program in August. The U.S. Army will receive 110 vehicles over a five-year period.


Raytheon Technologies on April 24, 2023 announced the launch of RAIVEN, a revolutionary electro-optical intelligent-sensing capability, which will enable pilots to have faster and more precise threat identification.

Raytheon Technologies unveils next-generation electro-optical intelligent-sensing capability

RAIVEN can identify objects optically and spectrally simultaneously in real-time – a single Electro-Optical/InfraRed, or EO/IR, system has never been able to do this before.

RAIVEN’s ‘intelligent-sensing’ capability uses artificial intelligence, hyperspectral imaging, and light detection and ranging, or LiDAR, to enable operators to see up to five times farther and clearer than traditional optical imaging. This helps increase platform survivability and gives the warfighter decision advantage over peer threats.

«The future battlespace will consist of a myriad of threats from all directions evolving at an unprecedented pace», said Torrey Cady, vice president of Surveillance and Targeting Systems at Raytheon Intelligence & Space. «RAIVEN improves platform survivability and keeps the warfighter safe by providing accurate, persistent target observation coupled with accelerated information sharing. This combination enables a decision-making process that simultaneously reduces pilot workload while accelerating engagement decisions to prosecute targets much faster than adversaries».

Paired with AI, RAIVEN synthesizes reams of data into a detailed picture of the battlespace and the threats within it. The AI automatically detects and identifies threats, delivering a level of automation for the operator to choose what decisions need to be made – providing a critical capability while drastically reducing operator workload.

RAIVEN is a modular, open system that builds upon the successes of Raytheon Technologies’ combat-proven Multi-Spectral Targeting System family of sensors. RAIVEN provides more mission versatility and capability than ever before – all within the same size, weight and power specifications.

The first version of RAIVEN, RT-1000, can support a wide array of missions, including the U.S. Army’s Future Vertical Lift modernization effort, with the first flight test being conducted in 2024.

Work for this program is being done in McKinney, Texas.

Christening of Kingsville

Austal USA celebrated the christening of the future USS Kingsville (LCS-36) Independence-variant Littoral Combat Ship (LCS) in a ceremony at the company’s Gulf Coast shipyard on April 22, 2023. Ship sponsor Katherine L. Kline performed the ceremonial bottle break over the bow of Kingsville, the 18th LCS designed and constructed by Austal USA.

USS Kingsville (LCS-36)
Austal USA christens future USS Kingsville (LCS-36)

Kline is a member of the sixth generation of the King Ranch Family, decedents of Captain Richard King who founded the King Ranch located in Kingsville, Texas in 1853. Her father, Lieutenant Commander Richard Sugden, was a Navy flight surgeon.

LCS-36 is the first U.S. Navy ship named for Kingsville. The town, born from the need for an efficient railroad service connecting Brownsville, Texas to St. Louis, Missouri, was founded in 1904, after Captain King’s wife, Henrietta, deeded 40,000 acres from the King Ranch to be available for the development of the Kingsville townsite. The Kingsville community remains vital to the agribusiness of south Texas and maintains a special relationship with Naval Air Station Kingsville.

«It is an honor and privilege to serve as the sponsor of the future USS Kingsville», stated Kline. «I am so proud of the significant role that the namesake city has played in our nation’s security throughout its long history. I know the ship will carry that legacy of service forward as she and her crew enter the fleet to proudly serve our Navy and our Nation».

The ceremony was widely attended by community and Navy leaders, Austal USA shipbuilders, and the ship’s commanding officer Commander Ludwig Mann III.

«It is said that a ship’s sponsor infuses her spirit into each new ship, providing her strength and inspiration to those who serve aboard her throughout the ship’s service life», stated Austal USA President Rusty Murdaugh. «We know that Katherine will do a great job as sponsor of Kingsville but also know that the pride and values of those who worked so hard to build her, have laid a solid foundation for her to build upon».

Independence-variant Littoral Combat Ships are fast, optimally-manned, mission-tailored surface combatants that operate in near-shore and open-ocean environments, winning against 21st-century coastal threats.

USS Kingsville (LCS-36) is planned for delivery in early 2024 and will be homeported in San Diego, California, where Austal USA will have the capability to dry-dock and provide lifecycle sustainment support for the Independence-variant ship class and other similar sized ships at its waterfront repair facility.


The Independence Variant of the LCS

Construction Hull and superstructure – aluminium alloy
Length overall 421 feet/128.3 m
Beam overall 103 feet/31.4 m
Hull draft (maximum) 14.8 feet/4.5 m
Complement Core Crew – 40
Mission crew – 36
Berthing 76 in a mix of single, double & quad berthing compartments
Maximum mission load 210 tonnes
Mission Bay Volume 118,403 feet3/11,000 m3
Mission packages Anti-Submarine Warfare (ASW)
Surface Warfare (SUW)
Mine Warfare (MIW)
Main engines 2 × GE LM2500
2 × MTU 20V 8000
Waterjets 4 × Wartsila steerable
Bow thruster Retractable azimuthing
Speed 40 knots/46 mph/74 km/h
Range 3,500 NM/4,028 miles/6,482 km
Operational limitation Survival in Sea State 8
Deck area >21,527.8 feet2/2,000 m2
Launch and recovery Twin boom extending crane
Loading Side ramp
Internal elevator to hanger
Launch/Recover Watercraft Sea State 4
Flight deck dimensions 2 × SH-60 or 1 × CH-53 or multiple Unmanned Aerial Vehicles/Vertical Take-off and Land Tactical Unmanned Air Vehicles (UAVs/VTUAVs)
Hanger Aircraft stowage & maintenance for 2 × SH-60
Launch/Recover Aircraft Sea State 5
Standard 1 × 57-mm gun
4 × 12.7-mm/.50 caliber guns
1 × Surface-to-Air Missile (SAM) launcher
3 × weapons modules



Ship Laid down Launched Commissioned Homeport
USS Independence (LCS-2) 01-19-2006 04-26-2008 01-16-2010 San Diego, California
USS Coronado (LCS-4) 12-17-2009 01-14-2012 04-05-2014 San Diego, California
USS Jackson (LCS-6) 08-01-2011 12-14-2013 12-05-2015 San Diego, California
USS Montgomery (LCS-8) 06-25-2013 08-06-2014 09-10-2016 San Diego, California
USS Gabrielle Giffords (LCS-10) 04-16-2014 02-25-2015 06-10-2017 San Diego, California
USS Omaha (LCS-12) 02-18-2015 11-20-2015 02-03-2018 San Diego, California
USS Manchester (LCS-14) 06-29-2015 05-12-2016 05-26-2018 San Diego, California
USS Tulsa (LCS-16) 01-11-2016 03-16-2017 02-16-2019 San Diego, California
USS Charleston (LCS-18) 06-28-2016 09-14-2017 03-02-2019 San Diego, California
USS Cincinnati (LCS-20) 04-10-2017 05-22-2018 10-05-2019 San Diego, California
USS Kansas City (LCS-22) 11-15-2017 10-19-2018 06-20-2020 San Diego, California
USS Oakland (LCS-24) 07-20-2018 07-21-2019 04-17-2021 San Diego, California
USS Mobile (LCS-26) 12-14-2018 01-11-2020 05-22-2021 San Diego, California
USS Savannah (LCS-28) 09-20-2018 09-08-2020 02-05-2022 San Diego, California
USS Canberra (LCS-30) 03-10-2020 03-30-2021 San Diego, California
USS Santa Barbara (LCS-32) 10-27-2020 11-12-2021 04-01-2022 San Diego, California
USS Augusta (LCS-34) 07-30-2021 05-23-2022
USS Kingsville (LCS-36) 02-23-2022 03-27-2023 San Diego, California
USS Pierre (LCS-38)


Patria’s armoured vehicles

The international defence and technology company Patria signed a contract with the Swedish Defence Procurement Agency (FMV) for FMV to purchase 20 Patria 6×6 armoured vehicles. The first deliveries of the vehicles, which in Sweden will be called «Pansarterrängbil 300», will take place within 2023.

Patria 6x6
Sweden to purchase Patria’s armoured vehicles

Patria 6×6 vehicle was chosen as the platform for a unique Common Armoured Vehicle System (CAVS) collaboration programme between several European countries, participated already by Finland, Latvia, Sweden and Germany. The deliveries to Latvia have been ongoing since end of 2021 and Finland received its pre-series vehicles in the summer of 2022. Sweden joined the 6×6 research and development programme in 2022 and the deliveries this year will be the first steps to meet the Swedish demand for several hundred vehicles throughout the 2020s.

The Patria 6×6 vehicle set for delivery is the troop transportation model, which offers the latest vehicle technology such as state-of-the-art protection for up to 12 crew members. While Patria 6×6 is primarily designed for troop transportation, the vehicle is modular and can be configured for a wide range of different purposes, including command & control and ambulance duties.

«The Swedish Armed Forces have operated Patria’s XA 6×6 and AMV 8×8 vehicles for over three decades in many harsh environments around the world and this new contract for our latest Patria 6×6 vehicle proves that the vehicles live up to our promises», notes Mats Warstedt, head of Market Area Nordics at Patria. «Patria 6×6 vehicle is also a very good example of Finnish-Swedish cooperation, where a significant value is provided by Swedish suppliers such as the engine and the steel of its armour».

Most advanced AMRAAM

The U.S. Air Force has completed the Functional Configuration Audit, or FCA, of the latest variant of Raytheon Technologies’ Advanced Medium Range Air-to-Air Missile. The AMRAAM AIM-120D-3 is on-track toward fielding by both the Air Force and Navy this year.

Most advanced AMRAAM variant, AIM-120D-3, completes critical milestone for operational use

The AIM-120D-3 features modernized hardware, including 15 upgraded circuit cards developed with model-based systems engineering initiatives under the Form, Fit, Function Refresh program, and uses the latest System Improvement Program-3F software. The missile brings tremendous capability to counter both current and future threats and is postured to receive continuous Agile software enhancements through upcoming SIP efforts.

«Integrated on 14 platforms in 42 countries, AMRAAM is the only fielded air-to-air weapon with the ability to counter peer threats at extended range», said Paul Ferraro, president of Air Power, Raytheon Missiles & Defense. «The AIM-120D-3 takes the known and trusted AMRAAM to the next level to meet the evolving needs of the warfighter and combatant commanders».

The AIM-120D-3 Functional Configuration Audit follows a test program encompassing captive carry missions, platform bench testing and a series of live firings from multiple Air Force and Navy platforms – proving out the weapon’s effectiveness. F3R testing continues with the AIM-120 C-8 variant – designed for international customers – with FCA expected on that version later this year.

All AMRAAMs planned for production are D3 or C8 variants incorporating the F3R functionality.

Low-cost effectors

Raytheon Technologies was awarded a $237 million U.S. Army contract for Ku-band Radio Frequency Sensors (KuRFS) and Coyote effectors to detect and defeat unmanned aircraft.

As part of the U.S. Army’s Low, slow, small-unmanned aircraft Integrated Defeat System, called LIDS, KuRFS provides advanced 360-degree threat detection, while Coyote low-cost effectors defeat drones

The contract includes a combination of fixed-site and mobile systems as well as a quantity of effectors, designated to support the Army’s U.S Central Command operations.

As part of the U.S. Army’s Low, slow, small-unmanned aircraft Integrated Defeat System, called LIDS, KuRFS provides advanced 360-degree threat detection, while Coyote low-cost effectors defeat drones.

«The KuRFS radar and Coyote effectors effectively detect and defeat unmanned aircraft systems, an increasingly evident and global threat», said Tom Laliberty president of Land Warfare & Air Defense at Raytheon Missiles & Defense. «DS is operationally deployed, providing a proven, reliable, and essential layer of defense against enemy drones».

KuRFS precision targeting radar and the scaled Ku720 mobile sensing radar deliver persistent detection, identification and tracking of airborne threats. The Coyote Block 2 defeats single drones and swarms varying in size and maneuverability, and at higher altitudes and longer ranges than similar class systems.

The U.S. Army’s LIDS integrates KuRFS and the Coyote family of effectors with Northrop Grumman’s Forward Area Air Defense Command and Control system, or FAADC2, and Syracuse Research Corporation’s electronic warfare system. Together, these systems create a multi-mission fixed, relocatable, or mobile deployed system that provides a complete extended-range defense solution.

Raytheon Technologies awarded $237 million counter-UAS contract

2nd KSS III Submarine

According to Naval News, South Korea’s Defense Acquisition Program Administration (DAPA) has announced that the second KSS-III Batch I submarine, ROKS Ahn-moo (SS-085) was commissioned with the Republic of Korea (ROK) Navy. The event took place on April 20, 2023 at Daewoo Shipbuilding & Marine Engineering’s (DSME’s) Okpo shipyard.

ROKS Ahn Mu (SS-085)
The second KSS III submarine for the ROK Navy, ROKS Ahn-moo (SS-085) (DAPA picture)

DAPA said ROKS Ahn-moo (SS-085) will conduct its first operational deployment in 2024 following an operational performance evaluation and training of the crew over the next eight month.

ROKS Ahn-moo (SS-085) was named to honor one of the leaders of early-twentieth Korean nationalist movement against Imperial Japan. Following the keel laying ceremony on July 1, 2016, and the launching ceremony on November 10, 2020, amidst the peak of the pandemic, the vessel has now finally been delivered to ROK Navy where further trials are planned before its planned deployment in early 2024.

Dosan Ahn Chang-ho class submarines are the first submarines in the ROK Navy to be mostly built with indigenous technologies (76% local content according to DAPA). These submarines are equipped with 6 × Vertical Launching System (VLS) cells, capable of carrying and launching Hyunmoo-IV-4 Submarine-Launched Ballistic Missile (SLBM), derivative of the successful Hyunmoo-missile family.

The submarine is 83.5 m/274 feet in length, 9.6 m/31.5 feet in width and 14.7 m/48 feet in height. It displaces 3,358 tons on the surface and 3,705 tons when fully submerged. It can sail at the speed of 20 knots/23 mph/37 kph, with a maximum cruise range of around 10,000 nautical miles/11,508 miles/18,520 km. It also features Air-Independent Propulsion (AIP) system that allows the vessel to operate underwater more quietly for up to a few weeks of time.

Another notable feature of this submarine is the installation of six Air-Turbine Pump (ATP) torpedo launchers that have been previously installed on Royal Navy’s Astute-class and Spanish Navy’s S-80 Plus-class submarines. Babcock International, a British enterprise had a big role in implementing their technologies on KSS-III Batch I vessels.

The ATP allows for the quick acceleration of torpedoes and missiles when launched, while generating a relatively limited level of noise which reduces the chance of detection.

Rear Admiral Kim Tae-Hoon, director of the domestic submarine program at DAPA mentioned: «By successfully commissioning ROKS Ahn-moo (SS-085) today, we have proven our technical abilities on submarine building. Today’s commissioning will serve as a momentum to greatly improve the capabilities on upcoming submarines including KSS-III Batch II and III».

Initial research for Dosan Ahn Changho-class submarines began as early as 2004, as part of the KSS-III program. DSME and Hyundai Heavy Industries (HHI), as well as other companies including Hanwha Defense and LIG Nex1 have been deeply involved in this project in various aspects, ranging from ship’s propulsion system to armaments. The first ship of the class, ROKS Dosan Ahn Changho (SS-083) successfully carried out an SLBM launch test back in 2021 under the supervision of then South Korean President, Moon Jae-In. Third and the last ship of KSS-III Batch I, ROKS Shin Chae-ho (SS-086) will be delivered to ROK Navy in April 2024, according to local sources. It is the only boat in the same class to be built by HHI, the first two having been built by DSME.

42-satellite constellation

Northrop Grumman Corporation recently completed a Critical Design Review (CDR) for its Tranche 1 Transport Layer (T1TL), part of Space Development Agency’s (SDA) low-earth orbit network designed to communicate vital information to wherever it’s needed to support U.S. troops on the ground quickly and securely.

Tranche 1 Transport Layer (T1TL)
The Space Development Agency has formerly announced that Northrop Grumman is under contract to develop and build 42 Tranche 1 Transport Layer satellites and 14 Tranche 1 Tracking Layer satellites as part of its Proliferated Warfighter Space Architecture (Credit: Northrop Grumman)

The Tranche 1 Transport Layer (T1TL) communication satellites will provide resilient, low-latency, high-volume data transport supporting U.S. military missions around the world. Designed to connect elements of an integrated sensing architecture, the network will deliver persistent, secure connectivity, and serve as a critical element for advancing the U.S. Department of Defense’s (DoD) vision for Joint All Domain Command and Control.

«We are leveraging our commercial marketplace partnerships to deliver a rapid, affordable, highly effective solution for SDA», said Blake Bullock, vice president, communication systems, strategic space systems, Northrop Grumman. «Our T1TL solution builds on our decades of end-to-end mission expertise. We are uniquely capable of delivering a credible capability to support the warfighter».

SDA formerly announced that Northrop Grumman is under contract to provide the agency with 56 satellites, including the 42 communication satellites in the Tranche 1 Transport layer and 14 for the Tranche 1 Tracking layer, which includes an infrared sensor payload. The Tracking layer program recently completed its preliminary design review. Northrop Grumman is also providing the ground system for both its Transport and Tracking constellations.

Truck Mounted Howitzer

Elbit Systems Ltd. («Elbit Systems» or the «Company») announced on April 18, 2023 that it was awarded a contract worth approximately $102 million to supply ATMOS artillery systems to an international customer. The contract will be performed over a period of eight years.

Elbit Systems Awarded Contract Worth Approximately $102 Million to Supply ATMOS Artillery Systems to an International Customer

Under the contract Elbit Systems will supply a battalion’s worth of ATMOS (Autonomous Truck Mounted Howitzer) 155-mm/52 caliber truck-mounted howitzers systems.

The ATMOS modular artillery system is a combat proven wheeled Howitzer solution, capable of firing all NATO-certified 155-mm projectiles that has an effective range of over 40 km/25 miles with standard projectiles and offers extended range with Rocket-Assisted Projectiles (RAP). The ATMOS is designed for rapid deployment and operation enabling provision of fire support for a broad range of missions.

Yehuda (Udi) Vered, General Manager of Elbit Systems Land: «Elbit Systems’ comprehensive integrated artillery solutions provide a valuable competitive edge to the ground forces of our customers around the world. This contract is a vote of confidence in the advanced indirect fire solutions we provide».