Category Archives: Ground Forces

Modular Pods

The U.S. Army awarded Lockheed Martin a $10.5 million contract to develop a new modular pod for Guided Multiple Launch Rocket System (GMLRS) rockets. The new pods will replace the depleting inventory of M26 rocket pods and support the increased production of GMLRS rounds.

Lockheed Martin to develop Modular Pods for Guided Multiple Launch Rocket System

The modular pod is designed to allow for reloading of individual rocket tubes as they are expended, whereas the original GMLRS pods are discarded after use. The pod will be able to fire the GMLRS Unitary and Alternative Warhead variants, as well as the developmental Extended-Range GMLRS rockets and future rounds.

«The new pods will be compatible with both the High Mobility Artillery Rocket System (HIMARS) and MLRS M270 family of launchers», said Gaylia Campbell, vice president of Precision Fires and Combat Maneuver Systems at Lockheed Martin Missiles and Fire Control. «These new pods will improve reload operations and assure our warfighters have adequate rounds available to them when they are most needed».

The modular pods will be produced at Lockheed Martin’s Precision Fires Center of Excellence in Camden, Ark. Ground testing will begin this fall, with a planned flight test before the end of the calendar year. The first deliveries of the new modular pod are anticipated in the fall of 2021.

For more than 40 years, Lockheed Martin has been the leading designer and manufacturer of long-range, surface-to-surface precision strike solutions, providing highly reliable, combat-proven systems like MLRS, HIMARS, the Army Tactical Missile System (ATACMS) and GMLRS to global customers.

Rocket Launcher

Arnold Defense, the St. Louis based manufacturer of 2.75-inch/70-mm rocket launchers, is pleased to announce receipt of the first order for their unique FLETCHER Land Based, Laser Guided Rocket Launcher. The FLETCHER 2.75-inch/70-mm weapon system was first unveiled just 18 months ago at DSEi in London. Since the launch, FLETCHER has been showcased at a number of international exhibitions, generating exceptional levels of interest whilst Arnold Defense have continued with an ongoing development and investment program to broaden and prove the system’s already revolutionary capability.

Arnold Defense announces the first order for Fletcher Laser Guided Rocket Launcher
Arnold Defense announces the first order for Fletcher Laser Guided Rocket Launcher

With FLETCHER, Arnold Defense has made a bold departure from the traditional concept of use for 2.75-inch/70-mm rocket systems; that of an area suppression weapon delivered by aviation assets. Arnold’s evolution has FLETCHER using advanced rocket-guidance technology to utilize ground-based launch platforms, meeting the demands of modern, vehicle-mounted and dismounted asymmetric warfare.

FLETCHER’s unique design allows for ease of operation, maintenance and sustainment. It employs an existing suite of guidance modules, rockets and warheads, already used in well-known programs and readily available to global forces. FLETCHER is supported by a team of global defense industry companies, collaborating under Arnold Defense’s leadership to combine their complimentary expertise.

The first customer for the FLETCHER system, who cannot yet be disclosed, has committed to purchasing FLETCHER due to the system’s ability to accurately engage targets at a range of over 5 km/3.1 miles, with a 100% hit rate in recent test-firings. This first order is for an initial batch of launchers, with a larger order expected to follow once successful user trials and demonstrations have been completed.

Mike Brown, Vice President and COO of Arnold Defense said, «Given that the FLETCHER concept was unveiled to the public only 18 months ago, Arnold Defense is delighted to have signed what we anticipate to be the first of many contracts for the supremely capable FLETCHER surface-based rocket launcher». He added, «FLETCHER has generated huge interest globally with its unique capability to deliver organic, long-range precision firepower to even the smallest tactical element. It is great to see serious international interest now developing into firm orders».

Mobile cruise missile

A new mobile cruise missile system has been tested successfully. This was reported by Secretary of the National Security and Defense Council (NSDC) of Ukraine Oleksandr Turchynov after the tests were completed in the Odesa region.

A new mobile cruise missile system has been tested
A new mobile cruise missile system has been tested

According to him, this new mobile cruise missile system «was created by Ukrainian scientists, designers and manufacturers in record time».

«The system includes a universal self-propelled launch station, a vehicle for transporting missiles, a transport-charging vehicle, and a command-and-staff module», – Mr. Turchynov said adding that all components of the system, as well as the high-precision cruise missile P-360, had never before been produced in Ukraine, «therefore these tests are of fundamental importance for strengthening the defense potential of our state».

The NSDC Secretary informed that during the tests, the work of all components of the missile system and flight characteristics of the missile were checked. «The cruise missile completed a flight task of a unique complexity: flying over 100 km/62 miles in the direction of the sea, it turned 180 degrees, and on the way back, precisely hit the target», – Mr. Turchynov noticed adding that flight and maneuvering of the missile were recorded by technical means of observation both on the coastline and on Snake Island.

«The new mobile cruise missile systems can quickly be put on certain combat positions and be ready to conduct a missile strike in minutes», – he said stressing that Ukrainian cruise missiles P-360 are capable of precisely striking surface and ground targets at distances of over 300 km/186 miles.

According to Mr. Turchynov, all components of the system and the missile itself «perfectly worked out the tasks and proved their conformity to the given characteristics».

The NSDC Secretary said that an interesting feature of today’s tests was the involvement of cadets and officers from the Institute of Naval Forces of the National University «Odessa Maritime Academy» to participate in them.

«Today, we are creating a fundamentally new weapon, which the Ukrainian army had never had, and therefore, yet at the testing level, we begin to prepare military professionals who should be prepared for the operation and combat use of modern and high-precision missile systems», – Mr. Turchynov summarized.

Javelin systems

According to Forecast International, Georgia has received all of the Javelin systems it ordered from the U.S., the Defense Minister of that country said.

Georgia receives all Javelin missile systems
Georgia receives all Javelin missile systems

In a speech to Parliament on April 4, 2019, Georgian Defense Minister Levan Izoria stated that Georgia has completed its purchase of the Javelin and the system «has been delivered to Georgia». He had indicated earlier in 2019 that deliveries should be completed this year.

The U.S. State Department approved Georgia for the purchase of 410 Javelin missiles and 72 launch units in November 2017. A press release announcing the approval of the sale noted, «The Javelin system will provide Georgia with increased capacity to meet its national defense requirements». The systems will boost Georgia’s anti-armor capabilities, allowing it to better defend against enemy tanks and armored vehicles.

Though the sale was small – the State Department estimated the contract would be worth a total of $75 million – it demonstrated deepening ties between the U.S. and Georgia, a nation that has sought NATO membership for years.

Georgia moved quickly to begin procurement after the approval of the sale. Deliveries were already being reported by early 2018 and some systems were on display in May of that year, confirming that a contract was in force.

According to the Georgian defense minister, besides the sale of the Javelins, the U.S. has also been providing assistance in repairing and modernizing helicopters. He said that, in 2019, the Georgian Defense Ministry had allocated GEL23 million (about $8.57 million) and the U.S. a similar amount, covering about GEL50 million ($18.62 million) for the Georgian helicopters.

Rocket System

Lockheed Martin received a $1.13 billion contract from the U.S. Army for Lot 14 production of Guided Multiple Launch Rocket System (GMLRS) rockets and associated equipment.

Lockheed Martin Rocket Launch (PRNewsfoto/Lockheed Martin)
Lockheed Martin Rocket Launch (PRNewsfoto/Lockheed Martin)

The contract calls for the production of more than 9,500 GMLRS Unitary and Alternative-Warhead (AW) rockets, more than 300 Low-Cost Reduced-Range Practice Rockets (RRPRs) and integrated logistics support for the U.S. Army and international customers. Work will be performed at the Lockheed Martin facilities in Camden, Arkansas; Dallas and Lufkin, Texas; and Ocala, Florida, and will be completed by July 2021.

«The demand for GMLRS rounds, both domestically and internationally, continues to remain strong based on the excellent performance of the munition», said Gaylia Campbell, vice president of Precision Fires and Combat Maneuver Systems at Lockheed Martin Missiles and Fire Control. «Our primary focus with GMLRS is to continue producing these combat-proven munitions at a rate that meets the demands of our customers».

GMLRS is an all-weather rocket designed for fast deployment that delivers precision strike beyond the reach of most conventional weapons. The GMLRS AW was the first munition developed to service area targets without the effects of unexploded ordinance. GMLRS unitary rockets exceed the required combat reliability rate and are cost-effective. The RRPR allows users to train with realistic, full-motored rockets with limited flight range, making them ideal for smaller testing ranges.

In combat operations, each GMLRS rocket is packaged in an MLRS launch pod and is fired from the Lockheed Martin-produced High Mobility Artillery Rocket System (HIMARS) or M270 family of launchers. GMLRS was established as an international cooperative program.

For more than 40 years, Lockheed Martin has been the leading designer and manufacturer of long-range, surface-to-surface precision strike solutions, providing highly reliable, combat-proven systems like MLRS, HIMARS, Army Tactical Missile System (ATACMS) and GMLRS to domestic and international customers.

Combat Vehicle Coating

While Soldiers wear camouflage to blend into the environment, it is also important to ensure ground vehicles are not easily detected. The Army now has a new advanced coating system for ground vehicles that suppresses ground vehicle heat signatures, making the vehicles much more difficult to detect.

The US Army has developed a new paint-on surface coating that it says suppresses the vehicle’s heat signature and mitigates the effects of chemical agents; its costs have been reduced by 75% (US Army photo)
The US Army has developed a new paint-on surface coating that it says suppresses the vehicle’s heat signature and mitigates the effects of chemical agents; its costs have been reduced by 75% (US Army photo)

The Ground Vehicle Coating System was developed by a joint venture between the Combat Capabilities Development Command (CCDC) Ground Vehicle Systems Center (GVCS), the Combat Capabilities Development Command Army Research Laboratory (ARL) and the Army’s Manufacturing Technology program to reduce detectable infrared signatures that are emitted from vehicles, making them much more difficult to detect and track. This new coating also mitigates the effects of chemical agents that adversaries may use to injure, incapacitate or kill Soldiers.

«This technology is significant because it embraces the spirit and direction of the Army Futures Command to develop, create and implement technologies that ensure dominance on the battlefield. The technology will be the foundation of a variety of alternatives that will meet and overcome emerging threats to Army platforms», said Thomas Wagner, CCDC Ground Vehicle Systems Center engineer.

The Army’s Manufacturing Technology program, known as ManTech, provided the necessary funding to work with industry to develop, refine, test and validate a process for manufacturing Chemical Agent Resistant Coating-compatible paint products that aid in vehicle detectability avoidance.

In addition to reducing the cost of the coating per gallon by approximately 75 percent from when the program originally started, the coating can be applied to vehicles in existing facilities, including depots and arsenals, using equipment already in the Army’s inventory. This will decrease application costs and increase production output.

“Working with industry allowed for quicker implementation of manufacturing techniques, which enabled the product to be produced on a larger scale. Concurrent Technologies Corporation’s long history of taking engineered products and optimizing designs and processes to reduce per unit prices will allow the Army to gain an advantage that it otherwise may not have,” Wagner said.

By working with the Army, CTC was able to tailor the GVCS to each system’s requirements, allowing for future capabilities as threats change. The new coating does not require additional space, weight or power requirements, which is especially important as the Army focuses on next-generation vehicles that are not only more lethal and survivable than current platforms, but also smaller, lighter and more fuel efficient.

While CCDC ARL managed formulating, testing, verification and validation of the technology, ongoing efforts will be coordinated with the CCDC Ground Vehicle Systems Center to manage requirements, specifications and updates for the technology to enhance its properties for emerging threats and future needs.

In 2018, the team worked with the U.S. Special Operations Command (SOCOM) to develop gray color variants for small watercraft, which resulted in significant cost avoidance for SOCOM. The coating system has joint service appeal since it can be formulated in multiple color variants.

The GVCS program has transitioned to Program Executive Office Ground Combat Systems, which plans to implement the GVCS across its portfolio, including the Bradley fighting vehicle, Abrams main battle tank and the Stryker family of vehicles. First Unit Equipped is scheduled for Second Quarter FY21.

The CCDC Ground Vehicle Systems Center, CCDC ARL and the ManTech Program Management Office work closely with Army leadership to identify projects that support the Army’s greater science and technology strategy. CCDC was formerly known as the U.S. Army Research, Development and Engineering Command. In a recent realignment, CCDC moved from the Army Materiel Command to the Army Futures Command.

The U.S. Army Combat Capabilities Development Command, formerly known as the U.S. Army Research, Development and Engineering Command (RDECOM), has the mission to lead in the discovery, development and delivery of the technology-based capabilities required to make Soldiers more lethal to win our Nation’s wars and come home safely. The command collaborates across the Future Force Modernization Enterprise and its own global network of domestic and international partners in academia, industry and other government agencies to accomplish this mission. CCDC is a major subordinate command of the U.S. Army Futures Command.

Active Protection

Lockheed Martin and industry partners supported U.S. Army integration of three countermeasures and a cueing sensor into the Modular Active Protection Systems (MAPS) framework for a six-week «rodeo» conducted at Redstone Arsenal, Alabama.

MAPS-enabled countermeasures integrated by Lockheed Martin defeat threats in U.S. Army field tests (city road viaduct streetscape of night scene in Shanghai)
MAPS-enabled countermeasures integrated by Lockheed Martin defeat threats in U.S. Army field tests (city road viaduct streetscape of night scene in Shanghai)

In a series of live-fire tests, the MAPS-enabled systems defeated 15 out of 15 anti-tank guided missiles by jamming their signals, causing them to fly off-target.

«The success of the Army’s testing shows the effectiveness of an active protection system that can rapidly refresh with new components to meet specific mission and platform requirements», said Michael Williamson, vice president of Sensors & Global Sustainment at Lockheed Martin.

Lockheed Martin engineers led hardware and software integration of an Ariel Photonics countermeasure into the MAPS framework ahead of the tests. They also supported U.S. Army Combat Capabilities Development Command Ground Vehicle Systems Center efforts with BAE Systems and Northrop Grumman in integrating two other countermeasures and a cueing sensor.

Lockheed Martin was awarded the initial MAPS prototype controller contract in 2014 and continues to manufacture and deliver base kits to MAPS stakeholders. The base kit consists of a controller, user interface, power management distribution system, network switch and application software. It provides processing power to MAPS-enabled sensors and countermeasures and directs them in defeating incoming missiles and rockets.

The base kit supports the rapid integration of MAPS framework-compliant sensors and countermeasures to detect and defeat threats targeting MAPS-equipped vehicles. It is designed to protect current combat vehicles, as well as support future vehicle protection system capabilities.

Medium Tactical Vehicles

Oshkosh Defense, LLC, an Oshkosh Corporation company, announced on February 27, 2019, that the U.S. Army Tank-automotive and Armaments Command (TACOM) Life Cycle Management Command (LCMC) has placed orders for 354 Family of Medium Tactical Vehicles (FMTV) A1P2 trucks and trailers at a value of $75 million.

Whether it’s moving troops and supplies, recovering vehicles and weapon systems, or hauling equipment, the highly capable FMTV has proven itself time and time again to be a reliable asset for the U.S. Army
Whether it’s moving troops and supplies, recovering vehicles and weapon systems, or hauling equipment, the highly capable FMTV has proven itself time and time again to be a reliable asset for the U.S. Army

«Whether it’s moving troops and supplies, recovering vehicles and weapon systems, or hauling equipment, the highly capable FMTV has proven itself time and time again to be a reliable asset for the U.S. Army», said Pat Williams, Vice President and General Manager of U.S. Army and U.S. Marine Corps Programs for Oshkosh Defense. «Together with the U.S. Army, we have established a robust FMTV program. We look forward to successfully completing the remaining FMTV A1P2 deliveries and seamlessly transitioning to FMTV A2 production without interruption».

Oshkosh Defense was first awarded the FMTV A1P2 contract in 2009 and to date, has delivered more than 38,100 trucks and trailers.

In February 2018, Oshkosh Defense was awarded a production contract for the next generation FMTV, the FMTV A2. Since receiving the award, Oshkosh has started building vehicles in support of Production Verification Testing (PVT), Live Fire Testing (LFT) and logistics development. Oshkosh expects the FMTV A2 program to transition to low rate production in FY21.

Laser weapons

Rheinmetall continues to make steady headway in the world of laser weapons, having recently completed a successful serious of comprehensive trials with a weapon station. In combination with a laser, the weapon station demonstrated its speed and precision in tests conducted in December 2018. The weapon station can be armed with lasers in the 100 kW output power range.

Rheinmetall has tested its laser weapons station mounted on a container, but it also can be fitted to an armored vehicle such as the Boxer 8×8 in service with the German Army (RhM image)
Rheinmetall has tested its laser weapons station mounted on a container, but it also can be fitted to an armored vehicle such as the Boxer 8×8 in service with the German Army (RhM image)

During the tests, which were conducted in Switzerland at the company’s Ochsenboden test centre near Zürich, drones and mortar rounds were successfully engaged at operationally relevant ranges.

The laser weapon station is the latest stage and logical continuation of the process in which Rheinmetall has transformed laser weapon technology into a fully functional weapon system. It consists of four main components: the laser source, beam director with the telescope, and coarse tracker (weapon station).

The mobile weapon station performs the task of mechanically aiming the laser toward the target. Now that a weapon station specially designed to meet the requirements of a laser weapon station has been successfully realized, Rheinmetall has all of the principal assemblies for a future laser weapon system at its own disposal.

The laser weapon station was combined with a beam director – successfully employed in multiple tests – and high-performance Rheinmetall lasers. It is also designed to be combined with a soon-to-be-available 20 kW laser source, likewise made by Rheinmetall.

Equally suitable for ground, air and naval operations, the assemblies are modular and scalable in design, and can be deployed regardless of the threat situation on military platforms of all types.

Among the laser weapon station’s outstanding performance parameters are its extremely accurate mechanical aiming function, coupled with an unlimited, 360° traversing zone and an elevation range in excess of 270°. The system architecture (EN DIN 61508) is closely oriented to the Modular, Automatic and Network capable Targeting and Interception System (MANTIS) air defence system now in service with the Bundeswehr, and thus also offers interfaces for connecting it to higher-echelon air defence systems.

Falcon Weapon System

February 18, 2019, Lockheed Martin, Diehl Defence and Saab announced the Falcon air defense weapon system as the short and medium-range air defense solution for current and emerging threats.

Lockheed Martin, Diehl and Saab unveil collaboration to counter emerging short and medium-range threats with Falcon Weapon System
Lockheed Martin, Diehl and Saab unveil collaboration to counter emerging short and medium-range threats with Falcon Weapon System

Falcon integrates Diehl’s 40-kilometer/25-mile range Infra-Red Imaging System Tail/Thrust Vector-Controlled (IRIS-T) SLM interceptor and vertical launcher, Saab’s 360-degree Active Electronically Scanned Array (AESA) Giraffe 4A radar through Lockheed Martin’s flexible SkyKeeper command and control battle manager. Falcon’s open architecture allows the system to easily integrate into any air operations center.

Threats such as unmanned aerial systems carrying lethal payloads, cruise missiles that can attack from any direction, and fixed and rotary winged aircraft capable of delivering ordnance at extended ranges, demand a technologically advanced solution that Falcon delivers.

«Our international customers are looking for the next generation short and medium range air defense solution. Falcon is threat driven and ready now», said Scott Arnold, Lockheed Martin vice president and deputy for Integrated Air and Missile Defense (IAMD). «Falcon is a great example of working with our customers to identify potential gaps and find rapid-response solutions to take on today’s evolving threats».

The Diehl IRIS-T SLM is a highly maneuverable interceptor fired from a 360-degree vertical launcher with the ability to engage multiple targets simultaneously in all weather conditions. The Saab Giraffe 4A AESA radar offers high discrimination capabilities and leverages gallium nitrate technology to detect and track both fixed and rotary-wing aircraft and drones, while simultaneously featuring an Automatic Sense & Warn functionality. Lockheed Martin’s SkyKeeper command and control battle manager gives commanders unparalleled situational awareness with real-time early warning of incoming threats and optimized engagement solutions for critical decision making. Together these elements make the Falcon weapon system the only integrated short and medium-range missile defense system available in the world with the capabilities required to defeat current and emerging air threats.