All posts by Dmitry Shulgin

rMCM program

On 14 June 2022, Naval Group has laid the keel for the second of the twelve mine countermeasure platforms of the Belgian-Dutch rMCM program, the HNLMS Vlissingen, intended for the Royal Netherlands Navy. The keel laying ceremony took place in Lanester, in the presence of Vice Admiral René Tas, Commander of the Royal Netherlands Navy, Commodore Harold Boekholt, Director of Projects of the Netherlands Defence Material Organisation, Lieutenant General Marc Thys, Belgian Deputy Chief of Defence and Major General Ivan De Tender, Belgian Material Resources Public Procurement.

HNLMS Vlissingen
Naval Group lays the keel for the second mine countermeasure platform of the Belgian-Dutch rMCM programme

This programme was awarded in 2019 to Belgium Naval & Robotics, the consortium formed by Naval Group and ECA Group, following an international competition. It provides for the supply to the Belgian Navy and the Royal Netherlands Navy of twelve mine countermeasures platforms and around a hundred drones integrated inside a toolbox that will equip the vessels.

Kership, a joint venture between Naval Group and Piriou, is in charge of the production of the twelve platforms which are assembled in Concarneau and Lanester. They will be then all armed afloat by Piriou in Concarneau. Naval Group, as overall architect and prime contractor, is responsible for the design of the ships, the overall integration, and the testing and commissioning of the mission system (combat system and mine countermeasures system). ECA Group, as co-contractor, is in charge of the unmanned drones’ system. The drones will be produced in ECA Group factory (Ostend, Belgium). The maintenance of the ships will be carried out in Belgium in close collaboration between the Belgian Navy and Naval Group Belgium, with the assistance of its partner Flanders Ship Repair.

Pierre Eric Pommellet, CEO of Naval Group said: «I am very pleased to welcome our customers here in Lanester to take this new important step in the programme. The rMCM programme is a great story of cooperation between European partners, but also between industrial partners. It is also the story of a shared vision for the future of mine warfare and naval defence. Together, we are preparing the future of mine countermeasures by sharing a common game-changing defence solution».

Dominique Giannoni, CEO of ECA Group added: «We are very happy to be present at this ceremony alongside our partner Naval Group. All ECA Group teams are mobilised for the success of this highly innovative program: it aims at an unprecedented level of automation of mine warfare operations, with the coordinated implementation of underwater, surface and aerial drones. In close collaboration with Naval Group teams, we are developing an integrated and optimised system to meet the requirements of our Belgian and Dutch customers».

Chief of the Royal Netherlands Navy, Vice Admiral Rene Tas stresses the importance of these platforms for the future proofing of mine counter measures and therefore, the safety of (commercial) vessels at sea for the Netherlands and our NATO Partners.

These specialised Mine CounterMeasures (MCM) platforms are the first to have the capability to embark and launch a combination of surface drones (themselves 12-metre/39-foot, 20-tonne vessels), underwater drones and aerial drones. The mine countermeasures platforms will use a mainly autonomous system for detection, classification and neutralisation of mines. They can withstand underwater explosions and have very low acoustic, electrical and magnetic signatures, in line with the missions to be carried out.

 

These mine countermeasure platforms have the following characteristics:

Length 82,6 m/271 feet
Width 17 m/56 feet
Displacement 2800 t
Maximum speed 15,3 knots/46 mph/74 km/h
Range >3500 nautical miles/4028 miles/6482 km
Crew 63 people (base crew 33 people)
Drone capabilities ECA Group’s UMISOFT System, 2 unmanned surface vehicles (ECA Group’s Inspector 125), 3 autonomous underwater vehicles (A-18 equipped with ECA Group’s UMISAS 120 sonar), 2 towed sonars (T-18 equipped with ECA Group’s UMISAS 240 sonar), 2 Mine Identification & Disposal Systems (MIDS) systems (ECA Group’s Seascan et K-Ster C), 2 unmanned aerial vessels (UMS Skeldar’s V200), 1 ECA Group influence mine sweeping system integrating 5 CTM magnetic modules et 1 PATRIA acoustic module
Embarkation capacity 2 SOLAS rigid hull inflatable boats of 7 m/23 feet
Handling 2 side gantries with floating cradle for surface drones and commando boats, a 15 t dedicated rear crane and a 3 t overhead crane

 

Proteus LDUUV

All-domain defense and technologies partner Huntington Ingalls Industries (HII) announced on June 13, 2022 the successful demonstration of capabilities enabling HII-built amphibious warships to launch, operate with and recover HII-built Large-Diameter Unmanned Underwater Vehicles (LDUUV).

Proteus LDUUV
HII’s Pharos prototype platform being towed behind a small craft in the Pascagoula River while recovering HII’s Proteus LDUUV during a demonstration June 8, 2022

The research and development initiative between HII’s Ingalls Shipbuilding and Mission Technologies divisions is among a portfolio of corporate led and funded internal research and development efforts aimed at advancing mission-critical technology solutions in support of HII’s national security customers.

«HII is committed to advancing the future of distributed maritime operations and demonstrating our capability to support unmanned vehicles on amphibious ships», said Kari Wilkinson, president of Ingalls Shipbuilding, which hosted and partnered in the demonstration. «I am very proud of our team’s initiative to strengthen the flexibility of the ships we build by anticipating the challenges and opportunities that exist for our customers».

«This is a great example of how HII can leverage expertise across divisions to develop unique solutions for customers», said Andy Green, president of Mission Technologies. «HII is focused on growing critical enabling technologies, like unmanned systems and Artificial Intelligence / Machine Learning (AI/ML) data analytics, to help further enhance the capabilities of our national security platforms».

HII-built San Antonio-class amphibious warships have unique well decks that can be flooded to launch and recover various maritime platforms. The U.S. Navy has previously demonstrated the ability to recover space craft from the amphibious warship well deck.

HII’s Advanced Technology Group, comprised of employees from across the company, performed the launch and recovery demonstration with a prototype platform called Pharos and HII’s LDUUV Proteus. The demonstration took place in the Pascagoula River.

The demonstration involved having the LDUUV approach and be captured by the Pharos cradle, while Pharos was being towed behind a small craft that simulated an amphibious ship at low speed. Pharos was put in a tow position, then using a remote control, it was ballasted down in the trailing position allowing the LDUUV to navigate into Pharos. Once the unmanned vehicle was captured, Pharos was deballasted back up into a recovery and transport position. The demonstration also included ballasting down to launch the LDUUV after the capture.

Pharos is outfitted with heavy duty wheels to allow its transport maneuverability within the well deck of an amphibious ship for stowage on the vehicle decks. Pharos can be rolled off the back of an amphibious ship while using the ship’s existing winch capabilities to extend and retract the platform from the well deck. The Pharos design is scalable and reconfigurable to fit various unmanned underwater or unmanned surface vehicles.

The Pharos design was conducted by HII, and three main partners supported the development. The University of New Orleans, in conjunction with the U.S. Navy, performed the initial model testing, and the prototype device was fabricated by Metal Shark in Louisiana.

HII is currently exploring modifications for other UUV’s and participating in live demonstrations with the fleet within the next year. HII will use results from the Pharos demonstration to further mature concepts and continue to develop innovative national security solutions.

HII is an all-domain defense and technologies partner, recognized worldwide as America’s largest shipbuilder. With a 135-year history of trusted partnerships in advancing U.S. national security, HII delivers critical capabilities ranging from the most powerful and survivable naval ships ever built, to unmanned systems, Intelligence, Surveillance, and Reconnaissance (ISR) and AI/ML analytics. HII leads the industry in mission-driven solutions that support and enable an all-domain force. Headquartered in Virginia, HII’s skilled workforce is 44,000 strong.

Light Tactical Vehicle

General Dynamics European Land Systems (GDELS) presents its new 4×4 Light Tactical Vehicle MERLIN at the EUROSATORY Defense & Security International Exhibition 2022, on June 13th in Paris.

MERLIN
World premiere at EUROSATORY 2022 – General Dynamics European Land Systems LTV: MERLIN

MERLIN, a small Falcon, is the name of GDELS ́ newest Light Tactical Vehicle (LTV) responding to the latest operational requirements of modern Airborne, Special Forces and Light Infantry Forces. The vehicle, designed by GDELS, is based upon the same engineering principles as the combat-proven EAGLE, which sets the standard in its class.

 

A new member in the GDELS Wheeled Vehicles Family

The LTV MERLIN is an extremely durable, compact, light and robust vehicle platform, which provides superior multi-role as well as payload potential and protection for its military users. The MERLIN provides unmatched payload range and user space in its 4×4 wheeled vehicle configuration. The compact 4×4 vehicle fits inside CH-47 Chinook and/or CH-53 Stallion transport helicopters and can accommodate up to 10 soldiers.

 

Based on the proven DURO/EAGLE platform

The unique driveline and suspension technology of the vehicle is a derivate of GDELS` proven and in-service DURO/EAGLE 4×4 chassis. This provides significant savings in operator and maintenance training and maximizes commonality in tools and spare parts. Powered by a modern diesel engine, MERLIN provides superior agility, manoeuvrability and cross-country mobility. Due to the flexibility and versatility of the vehicle body design, the MERLIN can be configured in different variants for personnel transport, ambulance, logistic and combat missions.

With the MERLIN, GDELS is proud to introduce a new class of robust military vehicles based on combat proven technology.

Halvorsen aircraft loader

The Air Force Research Laboratory (AFRL) is leading a Department of the Air Force effort to develop and test a diesel-electric mobility aircraft cargo loader, the hybrid Halvorsen prototype.

Halvorsen aircraft loader
Master Sergeant Ryan Young, lead Halvorsen mechanic, 441st Vehicle Support Chain Operations Squadron, signals acceptance of the Hybrid Halvorsen prototype design, operational performance and charging interface

Airlift and flightline cargo loading are critical for military operations and worldwide humanitarian missions. For successful operations and missions, a strong cargo supply backbone is a necessity. Mobility aircraft cargo loading generally relies on two worldwide deployable flightline weapon system vehicles, the Tunner 60K and the Halvorsen 25K.

Presently, continuously running diesel engines power the USAF’s primary aircraft loaders. However, the worldwide environment is changing, and a small USAF Vehicle Loader Team has been preparing for a more electrified future. This team recently completed the hybrid Halvorsen prototype and obtained operator and maintainer feedback at Air Mobility Command’s Dover and Joint Base Charleston Aerial Ports.

The hybrid Halvorsen prototype is an AFRL-led effort that includes the office of the Assistant Secretary of the Air Force for Energy, Installations and Environment; Headquarters (HQs), Air Mobility Command’s A4 Logistics, Engineering and Force Protection Directorate; the Air Force Life Cycle Management Center’s Agile Combat Support Program Executive Office; the 441st Vehicle Support Chain Operations Squadron at Joint Base Langley-Eustis, Virginia; and industry partners Concurrent Technologies Corporations and SAFT.

Chief Master Sergeant Troy Saunders, now retired USAF vehicle career fleet manager, launched the initiative for the Halvorsen prototype. He envisioned the best future flightline vehicles would be electric and the USAF need to start preparing for that future. The Future Force Energy and Power Office at AFRL’s Materials and Manufacturing Directorate took the lead to organize the team, develop the prototype and obtain maintainer and operator feedback in order to draft technical specifications for the next generation aircraft loader acquisition.

«This was a game-changing proof of concept that links a strong history of diesel-based global power projection with new electrification technologies … it revolutionizes the future vision for flightline vehicle and weapon systems capabilities», said Chief Master Sergeant Patrick Kelleher, USAF vehicle fleet manager with 441st Vehicle Support Chain Operations Squadron (VSCOS).

«We wanted to put this prototype in the hands of the mechanics and drivers to get their feedback – they liked it and they were impressed – more than I anticipated», said Tim Clear, Halvorsen weapon system manager at HQ Air Mobility Command. «It proved that the electric-based performance was as good as or better than the diesel-based performance».

While Dover and Charleston evaluation teams had favorable reviews of the hybrid Halvorsen’s performance, the USAF is working technical details that are still under evaluation.

«Battery capacity, charging times and modernization strategy are still concerns that we need to work through», Clear explained. «But after seeing the results of this project, a more electric aircraft loader could be in our future».

Prototype projects like the hybrid Halvorsen are critical to leading change and transformation for future endeavors.

«The development of the hybrid Halvorsen loader prototype and successful operational evaluations were valuable», said Rob Woodruff, a lead engineer from the program office at Robins Air Force Base (AFB). «The electric drive provides significantly less noise during driving, loading and lifting operations, and enables a reduction in fossil fuel usage. We will use this learning as we modernize our vehicle fleet».

Tom Layne, AFRL project lead, said programs such as this encourage leaders to consider the future force.

«Projects like this allow our enterprise leaders at all levels to come together, work through challenges, make decisions and critically evaluate the hits and misses … mechanics are just as critical as engineers in these projects», Layne said. «These leaders go back to their organizations, interact with their colleagues … The intellectual power multiplies as well as the acceptance of new technology».

«One of the most critical decisions we made together was to integrate the SAE J1772 Interface Standard for vehicle and equipment battery charging commonality and interoperability on the flightline», Layne added. «We believe this will have a very large impact on our defense and national aviation infrastructure and industry».

Ship to Shore Connector

The U.S. Navy accepted delivery of the next generation landing craft, Ship to Shore Connector (SSC), Landing Craft, Air Cushion (LCAC) 104, June 9.

LCAC-104
Navy Accepts Delivery of Ship to Shore Connector, Landing Craft, Air Cushion 104

LCAC 104’s delivery follows the completion of Acceptance Trials with the U.S. Navy’s Board of Inspection and Survey (INSURV) to test the readiness and capability of the craft and to validate requirements.

«These next generation craft provide our Navy and Marine Corps team with essential agility and speed to complete their missions», said Captain Jason Grabelle, program manager, Amphibious Assault and Connectors Programs, Program Executive Office (PEO) Ships. «The reliability and flexibility of the LCAC make them an essential asset to the fleet – protecting the maritime domain now and in the future».

LCACs are built with similar configurations, dimensions, and clearances to the legacy LCAC, ensuring the compatibility of this next-generation air cushion vehicle with existing well deck-equipped amphibious ships.

The LCAC program is currently in serial production on LCACs 105-116 at Textron Systems.

As one of the Defense Department’s largest acquisition organizations, PEO Ships is responsible for executing the development and procurement of all destroyers, amphibious ships, special mission and support ships, boats and craft.

Missile Defense Radar

On May 26, 2022, the Search Track Acquire Radiate Eliminate (STARE) Project Office, U.S. Army Sentinel Product Office received the first five radars of its initial contract with Lockheed Martin. The Sentinel A4 radar is developed and manufactured by Lockheed Martin in Syracuse, New York, and has been on an accelerated schedule since the project was awarded in September 2019.

Sentinel A4
Lockheed Martin Delivers First Five Sentinel A4 Air & Missile Defense Radars To U.S. Army, Providing Improved Capability As Part Of The Army’s Modernization Efforts

«We are one step closer to getting this enhanced capability to our warfighters», stated Leah Cook, Sentinel Product Director for the U.S. Army Sentinel A4 program office. «The delivery of the first five radars is a result of collaboration and a continued commitment to the U.S. Army».

The U.S. Army and Lockheed Martin have a strong partnership founded on collaboration and trust. The process has included virtual reviews and working groups to maintain momentum through all program development phases.

«Our team understands the criticality of this technology and the need to get it fielded», said Mark Mekker, director of Army Radars for Lockheed Martin. «Our soldiers are in unpredictable environments, and the Sentinel A4 will provide improved eyes on the field to keep them safe».

 

What’s Next?

Lockheed Martin will support the Army in the government test program phase into early 2023. The radars will undergo mobility, environmental, radar performance and logistics testing. Production of the next five radar systems is already underway, and delivery is expected to begin in March 2023.

 

Future Forward to Protect Against Evolving Threats

The Sentinel A4’s open scalable radar architecture is the cornerstone of the radar system’s design and allows for addressing evolving threats with software modifications only.

The new air and missile defense radar will provide improved capability over the previous iteration, the Sentinel A3. It will outperform the legacy radar, delivering improvements in contested environments against cruise missiles, unmanned aerial systems, rotary wing and fixed wing aircraft, and rocket, artillery, and mortar threats. This includes enhanced surveillance, detection, and classification capabilities to protect U.S. Army maneuver formations.

 

Efficiencies & Cost Savings

Lockheed Martin radars are designed with a high degree of commonality. The company’s TPY-4 ground based air surveillance radar was built and validated under Lockheed Martin investment and significantly leveraged the Sentinel A4 radar design.

«Commonality across the radar portfolio enable sustainment efficiencies and significant cost savings for our customers. Our scalable technology, coupled with these efficiencies, has resulted in significant international interest in both the Sentinel A4 and TPY-4 radars to replace older assets that simply cannot be upgraded to match what our next generation systems are offering», said Chandra Marshall, Vice President and General Manager of Lockheed Martin’s Radar and Sensor Systems business.

Lockheed Martin continues to invest significantly in the advancement of its software-defined radar technology, including its automated manufacturing processes which improves quality and will lead to even further cost reductions.

Sentinel-A4

Christening of McCool

The U.S. Navy christened its newest amphibious transport dock, the future USS Richard M. McCool, Jr. (LPD-29), during a 9 a.m. CDT ceremony Saturday, June 11, at the Huntington Ingalls Industries (HII) Ingalls Division shipyard in Pascagoula, Mississippi.

USS Richard M. McCool, Jr. (LPD-29)
U.S. Navy christened Amphibious Transport Dock Ship USS Richard M. McCool, Jr. (LPD-29)

The principal speaker is Undersecretary of the U.S. Navy Erik Raven. Additional speakers include Lieutenant General David Bellon, commander, United States Marine Corps Reserve and Marine Corps Forces, South; Vice Admiral Randy Crites, deputy chief of naval operations for integration of capabilities and resources; and Ms. Kari Wilkinson, president of Ingalls Shipbuilding. In a time-honored Navy tradition, the ship’s sponsors and granddaughters of its namesake, Shana McCool and Kate Oja, christened the ship by breaking a bottle of sparkling wine across the bow.

The ship is named in honor of Navy veteran and Medal of Honor recipient, retired Captain Richard Miles McCool, Jr., who was awarded the Medal of Honor for the heroism he displayed June 10 and 11, 1945, in coordinating damage control and rescue operations after a series of Japanese kamikaze aircraft attacks during the Battle of Okinawa. On June 10, 1945, his leadership efforts greatly assisted in evacuating survivors from a sinking destroyer. After his ship was struck by a kamikaze June 11, 1945, then Lieutenant McCool, Jr., despite suffering from shrapnel wounds and painful burns, led vigorous damage control efforts to save his ship from destruction and personally rescue Sailors trapped in blazing compartments. McCool passed away on March 5, 2008.

«We christen the future USS Richard M. McCool, Jr. (LPD-29), recognizing a Medal of Honor awardee and true American hero for his unwavering devotion to duty and service to our country», said Secretary of the U.S. Navy Carlos Del Toro. «This historic occasion brings us one step closer to ‘manning the rails’ with the men and women who will carry on the proud naval tradition of defending our nation and working towards a more peaceful world».

The future USS Richard M. McCool, Jr. (LPD-29) is the 13th San Antonio-class ship, designed to support embarking, transporting, and bringing elements of 650 Marines ashore by landing craft or air-cushion vehicles. A flight deck hangar further enhances the ship’s capabilities, which can support the Osprey tilt-rotor aircraft (MV-22).

San Antonio-class ships can support a variety of amphibious assault, special operations, or expeditionary warfare missions, operating independently or as part of Amphibious Readiness Groups (ARGs), Expeditionary Strike Groups, or joint task forces. These capabilities allow the U.S. Navy to protect America’s security abroad and promote regional stability and preserve future peace.

 

Ship Facts and Characteristics

Propulsion Four sequentially turbocharged marine Colt-Pielstick Diesels, two shafts, 41,600 shaft horsepower/31,021 kW
Length 684 feet/208.5 m
Beam 105 feet/32 m
Displacement Approximately 24,900 long tons/25,300 metric tons full load
Draft 23 feet/7 m
Speed In excess of 22 knots/24.2 mph/38.7 km/h
Crew Ship’s Company: 380 Sailors (29 officers, 351 enlisted) and 3 Marines. Embarked Landing Force: 699 (66 officers, 633 enlisted); surge capacity to 800
Armament Two Mk-46 30-mm close in Guns, fore and aft; two Rolling Airframe Missile (RAM) launchers, fore and aft: ten .50 caliber/12.7-mm machine guns
Aircraft Launch or land two CH-53E Super Stallion helicopters or two MV-22 Osprey tilt rotor aircraft or up to four AH-1 Cobra or UH-1Y Venom helicopters
Landing/Attack Craft Two Landing Craft Air Cushions (LCACs) or one Landing Craft Utility (LCU); and 14 Amphibious Assault Vehicles

 

San Antonio-class

 

Flight I

Ship Builder Launched Commissioned Homeport
USS San Antonio (LPD-17) Avondale 07-12-2003 01-14-2006 Norfolk, Virginia
USS New Orleans (LPD-18) Avondale 12-11-2004 03-10-2007 San Diego, California
USS Mesa Verde (LPD-19) Ingalls 11-19-2004 12-15-2007 Norfolk, Virginia
USS Green Bay (LPD-20) Avondale 08-11-2006 01-24-2009 San Diego, California
USS New York (LPD-21) Avondale 12-19-2007 11-07-2009 Norfolk, Virginia
USS San Diego (LPD-22) Ingalls 05-07-2010 05-19-2012 San Diego, California
USS Anchorage (LPD-23) Avondale 02-12-2011 05-04-2013 San Diego, California
USS Arlington (LPD-24) Ingalls 11-23-2010 02-08-2013 Norfolk, Virginia
USS Somerset (LPD-25) Avondale 04-14-2012 05-01-2014 San Diego, California
USS John P. Murtha (LPD-26) Ingalls 11-02-2014 10-08-2016 San Diego, California
USS Portland (LPD-27) Ingalls 02-13-2016 12-14-2017 San Diego, California
USS Fort Lauderdale (LPD-28) Ingalls 03-28-2020
USS Richard M. McCool (LPD-29) Ingalls 01-05-2022

 

Flight II

Ship Builder Launched Commissioned Homeport
USS Harrisburg (LPD-30) Ingalls
USS Pittsburgh (LPD-31) Ingalls

 

Solid rocket booster

Northrop Grumman Corporation has been awarded a multi-year contract valued at more than $2 billion from United Launch Alliance (ULA) for increased production of its 160-centimeter diameter/63-inch-diameter Graphite Epoxy Motor (GEM 63) solid rocket booster and the extended length variation (GEM 63XL). The award, which supports Amazon’s Project Kuiper and additional ULA customers, includes both an increased production rate and significant facility expansion. This will enable Northrop Grumman to increase capacity and allows for the modernization of current and new state-of-the-art facilities and tooling.

Vulcan Centaur
Solid rocket boosters will support existing ULA customers and Amazon’s Project Kuiper

«Northrop Grumman’s GEM 63XL is the longest monolithic, single-cast solid rocket booster ever produced», said Wendy Williams, vice president, propulsion systems, Northrop Grumman. «Built on decades of expertise, our newest GEM motors provide customers with an affordable, repeatable and reliable product they can trust to boost their most important missions».

The company began development of the fourth- and fifth-generation GEM strap-on boosters in 2015 under a cooperative agreement with ULA to provide additional lift capability for the Atlas V and Vulcan launch vehicles. Leveraging decades of flight-proven heritage while utilizing advanced technologies, teams successfully developed and tested innovative solutions to meet ULA design objectives. Both boosters use common materials and processes to offer a low cost, high-reliability, repeatable product.

The GEM 63 solid rocket booster flew its inaugural flight on ULA’s NROL-101 mission in November 2020. To date, 13 GEM 63 boosters have supported four Atlas V launches, with nine more scheduled to support three more Atlas V launches in 2022. Each booster contributes 371,500 pounds/168,510 kg of additional maximum thrust to the launch vehicle, and up to five boosters can support an Atlas V launch.

The GEM 63XL booster is scheduled to support ULA’s Vulcan Centaur rocket later this year in the extended length variation’s first flight. Each booster will contribute 463,249 pounds/210,126 kg of additional thrust to the rocket, and as many as six boosters can be used on a single launch to support the vehicle’s heavy-lift capabilities.

Northrop Grumman is a technology company, focused on global security and human discovery. Our pioneering solutions equip our customers with capabilities they need to connect, advance and protect the U.S. and its allies. Driven by a shared purpose to solve our customers’ toughest problems, our 90,000 employees define possible every day.

AKERON

MBDA presents AKERON, a unique family of fifth-generation tactical combat missiles, a quantum leap from the third and fourth generation weapons currently available on the market. This family includes the MMP and MHT missiles, now renamed AKERON MP and AKERON LP respectively.

AKERON
AKERON, the new unique family of fifth-generation combat weapons

With AKERON, MBDA is now offering a family of missiles that can adapt to the needs of collaborative tactical combat.

Today’s combat units operate in a variety of complex environments. These can be urban areas, open countryside, deserts or mountains, during the day or at night; and can also feature a combination and/or variety of forces, both allied and adversary. To respond to the wide range of threats they face, operators must be equipped with a versatile and precise capability enabling them to destroy fixed or mobile land targets – including the latest-generation tanks and light combat vehicles – but also neutralize dismounted adversaries or adversaries in hardened or defensive fighting positions. All whilst minimizing the risk of collateral damage. Operators also need to be protected during engagements with simplicity of implementation, the capacity to «fire and forget» or engage a target while remaining hidden from sight.

Designed for these operational realities, the AKERON family of missiles incorporates the latest technologies in terms of high-resolution multi-band imagers, multi-effect warheads (anti-tank, anti-infrastructure, anti-personnel), data links, and multi-mode guidance algorithms based on Artificial Intelligence (AI) techniques. All ensuring robust and precise guidance at any distance, in all conditions. Each has their own specifications in order to be perfectly adapted to the missions of the combat units and platforms using them.

Operators thus have the broadest spectrum of tactical options to deal with their targets, thanks to the many possible modes of engagement. These include ‘fire and forget’, human-in-the-loop, locking the target before firing (LOBL), or locking on after firing (LOAL), which facilitates firing beyond line of sight (BLOS).

The missiles of the AKERON family meet current and future operational needs for dismounted combat as well as from land, air (helicopter, Unmanned Aerial Vehicle) and even naval platforms. They are also ideal for integration into the digital environment of the battlefield, and suited for collaborative combat.

Military Utility Vehicle

One of HENSOLDT’s core competences is recognizing threats and protecting end users. At EUROSATORY 2022 in Paris, HENSOLDT presents its broad range of sensor solutions for intelligence, surveillance and reconnaissance operations as well as sensors to improve the safety and operational effectiveness.

Military Utility Vehicle (MUV)
In Paris, HENSOLDT and IVECO Defence Vehicle are jointly presenting the Military Utility Vehicle (MUV) concept demonstrator (Photo: HENSOLDT AG)

In Paris, HENSOLDT and IVECO Defence Vehicle are jointly presenting the Military Utility Vehicle (MUV) concept demonstrator. For the first time, the MUV will present a modular sensor fusion platform that can be used in the civilian and military sectors for reconnaissance as well as for self-protection and convoy protection. The basis of the MUV concept demonstrator is an all-terrain chassis from IVECO DV with a maximum payload of four tonnes. A sensor suite from HENSOLDT is installed on it, with the See Through Armour System (SETAS), Multifunctional Self-Protection for Vehicles (MUSS), Radio Direction Finder and S3 MIMO systems. All systems are connected by a Central Processing Unit (CIPU), which forms the backbone of the sensor suite.

With TRML-4D, the latest member of its C-Band (NATO G-Band) ground-based air defence radar family, HENSOLDT is showing a state-of-the-art system regarding naval and ground tactical radars. TRML-4D uses the latest Active Electronically Scanned Array (AESA) radar technology, with multiple digitally formed beams. It is designed for near- to long-range ground-to-air detection and for weapon assignment. It is capable of detecting, tracking, and classifying various types of air targets, with an emphasis on small, fast, and low-flying and/or manoeuvring cruise missiles and aircraft as well as hovering helicopters. It ensures rapid response detection and tracking of approximately 1,500 targets in a radius of up to 250 km/155.3 miles and at an altitude of up to 30 km/18.6 miles.

HENSOLDT is showcasing a very precise picture of the airspace, created by its passive radar system Twinvis. The system does not emit actively any signal but uses several transmission sources from various locations. It can also interconnect several sensors into one sensor cluster. The transmitters and the Twinvis sensors can be separated from each other at a distance of up to 100 kilometres/62.1 miles. Unlike systems based on passive emitter tracking, requiring aircraft to emit, Twinvis does not depend on any such transmission and does not emit itself, thus being a truly passive system.

Alongside the ground-based radars, HENSOLDT is showing its counter-UAV (Unmanned Aerial Vehicles) system Xpeller for 24/7 protection from illicit intrusions of UAVs over critical areas – even at long ranges – offering a low false alarm rate and high probability of interception. The system is highly modular and combines numerous sensors (radar, electro-optics, direction finders) and target neutralization effectors such as jammers and drone catchers through a single Command and Control (C2) system.

At EUROSATORY, HENSOLDT will demonstrate ARGOSIA, which is a range of embedded Maritime Surveillance (SURMAR) and Intelligence, Surveillance and Reconnaissance (ISR) mission systems designed to meet the requirements of air surveillance and intelligence missions. Together with battle-proofed sensors and equipment selected for their reliability and performances, ARGOSIA proposes many system configurations meeting the needs of defence, maritime and overland surveillance, law enforcement, Search & Rescue as well as imagery intelligence (IMINT) and signals intelligence (SIGINT) missions. This modular and multi-console system consists of the Mission Management System software ARGOSIA, which integrates an advanced digital cartography engine, a sensor-fusion algorithm and powerful decision-support tools that help optimize operator workload.