Category Archives: Ground Forces

First JLTVs

An infantry brigade combat team of the 10th Mountain Division will be the first unit to get the new Joint Light Tactical Vehicles, or JLTVs, around January 2019 once full-rate production kicks in, said Colonel Shane Fullmer.

A Joint Light Tactical Vehicle does a demonstration run around Marine Corps Base Quantico, Virginia, June 14, 2017 (Photo Credit: David Vergun)
A Joint Light Tactical Vehicle does a demonstration run around Marine Corps Base Quantico, Virginia, June 14, 2017 (Photo Credit: David Vergun)

Fullmer, the joint program manager for the JLTV program, spoke at a JLTV demonstration and media roundtable here on June 14.

The brigade will receive 500 JLTVs on a one-for-one replacement of the unit’s current fleet of Humvees, he said.

Officials said that a total of about 100 JLTVs are being provided this year by Oshkosh Defense, the maker of the vehicle, at a low-rate initial production of about 10 per month to the Army and Marine Corps for testing.

The full suite of testing includes command, control, communications, computers, intelligence, surveillance and reconnaissance; reliability qualification; and live-fire, according to a chart provided at the media roundtable.

The Army plans to purchase at least 50,000 JLTVs and the Marine Corps so far plans to buy about 5,500 for a total cost to both services of about $24 billion, with production extending over the course of 20 years, according to Army officials.

Andrew Rogers, program manager, Light Tactical Vehicles at Program Executive Officer (PEO) Land Systems Marine Corps, said the Marine Corps is re-evaluating its order and may order upwards of 10,000. The first JLTVs for the Marine Corps, he said, will go to a battalion at Camp Lejeune, North Carolina, in late 2019.

 

FOUR VARIANTS

Fullmer said there are four variants of the JLTV that will be produced: general purpose, close-combat weapons carrier, heavy gun carrier and utility. Of those four variants, each comes in two door or four door options.

The two-seaters have an extended bed and are built to carry up to 5,100 pounds/2,313 kg of supplies, he said. The four-seaters carry about 3,500 pounds/1,588 kg, including four Soldiers seated and a fifth manning the weapons turret.

Weapons that can be carried in the JLTV include .50-caliber/.5 inches/12.7-mm machine guns, Mk-19 grenade launchers and TOW missiles, he noted.

Requirements for the JLTV production included the ability to be airlifted by Boeing CH-47 Chinook or Sikorsky CH-53 helicopters and to have a similar footprint as the Humvee so they’d fit inside the decks of amphibious ships, Fullmer said.

 

DRIVING CHARACTERISTICS

Learning to drive the JLTV is a breeze, Fullmer said. The first item that a driver will notice is the floating suspension, which can be adjusted. So, for example, if the vehicle is in a 30-degree incline, the driver can flatten out the suspension to level the vehicle.

Also, the operator has a display that shows the condition of the vehicle, including the engine, transmission and suspension.

The venerable Humvee had great maneuverability and payload but very little protection, particularly in the underbody, Fullmer said, while the Mine Resistant Ambush Protected (MRAP) vehicle had high protection levels but poor maneuverability, particularly in the mountainous terrain of Afghanistan. JLTV has all the advantages of payload, protection and performance, he concluded.

David Diersen, vice president and general manager of Joint Programs for Oshkosh Defense, said the JLTV has one-third the weight and half the price tag of the MRAP, and the JLTV is about 70 percent faster than the MRAP and much more maneuverable.

Diersen added that the JLTV’s Banks Engineering 866T Turbo diesel engine consumes diesel as well as JP8 and DF2 at fuel-efficient levels.

There have been discussions with the U.S. Army Tank Automotive Research, Development and Engineering Center as well as Defense Advanced Research Projects Agency for future autonomous operations, he noted.

Finally, Diersen explained that Oshkosh was able to keep the cost per vehicle down because the company also builds civilian vehicles and therefore has an economy of scale advantage. «So, you might see a JLTV rolling down the assembly line followed by a snowplow and garbage truck».

Fullmer said the JLTV was kept on schedule and within budget because of cooperation and close dialog between the Army, Marine Corps, Oshkosh and the requirements and acquisition communities.

The JLTV in action during a media showing at Marine Corps Base Quantico, Virginia

Ukrainian brigades

By 2018, Ukrainian brigades will be better equipped to face separatists in the Donbass region after rotating through a combat training center in western Ukraine that the California National Guard helped to establish.

A BMP-2 provides support by fire to Ukrainian infantry during a platoon live-fire on June 23, 2016 at the International Peacekeeping and Security Center near Yavoriv. The location is also the site of a new combat training center, developed with assistance from the 79th Infantry Brigade Combat Team out of the California National Guard. It's expected that by 2018, the Ukrainian ground forces will be able to put brigade-sized elements through training at the CTC (Photo Credit: Captain Scott Kuhn)
A BMP-2 provides support by fire to Ukrainian infantry during a platoon live-fire on June 23, 2016 at the International Peacekeeping and Security Center near Yavoriv. The location is also the site of a new combat training center, developed with assistance from the 79th Infantry Brigade Combat Team out of the California National Guard. It’s expected that by 2018, the Ukrainian ground forces will be able to put brigade-sized elements through training at the CTC (Photo Credit: Captain Scott Kuhn)

Colonel Nick Ducich, who serves as commander of the 79th Infantry Brigade Combat Team, which is part of the California National Guard, was instrumental in helping the Ukrainian military build the combat training center. He began formulating the idea for the center back in November 2015, when he was beginning a 14-month deployment to the region.

Ducich met June 7 with reporters in the Pentagon to discuss operations in Ukraine during his deployment. He relayed that he took 54 Soldiers from the California National Guard with him to the Ukraine, which has had a partnership with the California National Guard for more than 24 years as part of the National Guard State Partnership Program.

Ducich explained that the new combat training center is co-located with the existing International Peacekeeping and Security Center (IPSC) in Yavoriv, near the country’s border with Poland. The IPSC already hosts the Rapid Trident exercise each year and so is used to the demands of a training center, Ducich said. «It’s a pretty immense training area, so the foundation was there», Ducich said.

At the IPSC, he said, efforts focused on the training and mentoring of newly assigned personnel, including Ukrainian staff, instructors, and observer-controller trainers, and the soldier participants. The effort was part of an ongoing effort to help Ukrainian forces to achieve defense reform as well as full interoperability with NATO by 2020.

The IPSC added infrastructure such as a site for dedicated to training for military operations in simulated urbanized terrain. Staff instituted «effective range control for terrain management, safety procedures and remediation of unexploded ordnance, among other requirements», Ducich said. These additions «elevated the efficiency and effectiveness of the training area».

During his time in the Ukraine, Ducich reported that he saw five battalions of soldiers from the Ukrainian Ministry of Defense rotating through the training center, with each unit on 55-day rotations. Those battalions had previously been fighting separatist forces to regain full control of the Donbass, a heavily populated region that makes up the eastern half of Ukraine.

«These rotations consisted of individual and collective training requirements, emphasizing leader development, team building, and combat arms synchronization, to reflect the necessary interoperability defense reforms», Ducich explained.

«The individual training included marksmanship, movement techniques, communications, and medical combat care», he continued. «The collective training began with pairs, elevating through squad, platoon, company and finally battalion-level events, highlighting defensive operations».

After their training rotations, the Ukrainian units returned to fighting. Ducich said some of the soldiers from each rotation were interviewed within 60 to 90 days after their rotations regarding the effectiveness of their training they received at the center.

«From that, we also learned what the newest techniques that the enemy was using, to try to see how we could adjust the training», Ducich said. «So, we were a learning, adaptive organization, within ourselves, of taking that flow of combat scenarios and actualities from the Donbass and incorporating them into the training plan within the 55-day construct».

Those lessons learned helped refine the focus at the training center to implement enhancements in training for large-scale movement, gunnery, indirect fires, and integration of weapons systems such as air defense capabilities.

The new combat training center is in its infancy, according to Ducich, and there’s still a lot to accomplish. Right now, there are only battalions rotating through the training center, but he hopes that brigade-sized elements will be able to rotate through by 2018.

Ducich said that from what he has seen, he thinks the Ukrainian ground forces are doing remarkably well.

«At brigade level, they are outstanding», he said. «They have been able to hold the line and begin the integration of the new weapons systems and rectify some of the logistical shortfalls that those brigades went to the Donbass with. I see the Ukrainian armed forces getting only stronger each day, whether it be logistically, or in their defensive posture, and in their capabilities».

Ducich said the Ukrainian army had suffered from more than 20 years of «neglect» in terms of funding, but the country is now mobilizing its defense industry, ramping up new capabilities, and focusing on both officer and NCO development.

«So, they are playing catch-up while engaged in conflict at the same time», he said. «So, I have a lot of patience for where they are right now. They are getting stronger every day. They had so many obstacles they had to overcome, on top of engaging an enemy in their own backyard».

Multi-domain battle

Imagine an enemy intent on destroying U.S. ships, say, somewhere in the Western Pacific. A novel but technologically feasible concept called multi-domain battle, or MDB, could frustrate that intent, said General David G. Perkins.

In the Multi-Domain Battle concept, howitzers might one day protect U.S. ships from enemy vessels by firing anti-ship projectiles. Shown here, two CH-47 Chinook helicopters assigned to 3rd General Support Aviation Battalion, 82nd Combat Aviation Brigade, 82nd Airborne Division perform tactical maneuvers to place two M777A2 Howitzer's in position for onlookers during the 82nd ABN Division All-American Week Airborne Review on Sicily Drop Zone at Fort Bragg, N.C., May 25, 2017 (Photo Credit: U.S. Army photo by Sergeant Steven Galimore)
In the Multi-Domain Battle concept, howitzers might one day protect U.S. ships from enemy vessels by firing anti-ship projectiles. Shown here, two CH-47 Chinook helicopters assigned to 3rd General Support Aviation Battalion, 82nd Combat Aviation Brigade, 82nd Airborne Division perform tactical maneuvers to place two M777A2 Howitzer’s in position for onlookers during the 82nd ABN Division All-American Week Airborne Review on Sicily Drop Zone at Fort Bragg, N.C., May 25, 2017 (Photo Credit: U.S. Army photo by Sergeant Steven Galimore)

Perkins, commander at the U.S. Army Training and Doctrine Command (TRADOC), spoke at the «Land Forces in the Pacific: Advancing Joint and Multi-National Integration» conference on May 24. The Association of the United States Army Institute of Land Warfare sponsored the symposium.

Perkins described MDB as a concept that maximizes utilization of all five domains: air, sea, land, space and cyber, in a joint coalition effort.

For MDB to work, the military needs to do away with domain «hogging», he said.

Perkins described domain hogging in the following way: When a crisis occurs in a land domain, the Army or Marine Corps is considered the «owner» of that domain and is expected to respond in a traditional manner, perhaps with mortars or howitzers. If a crisis occurs at sea, the Navy is viewed as owning that domain, so a ship or sub-surface solution is applied.

To demonstrate the usefulness of MDB as an alternative to domain hogging, Perkins described a fictitious MDB-type scenario in the Western Pacific.

Enemy ships armed with mines, torpedoes and missiles are pursuing friendly vessels. The enemy knows the whereabouts of U.S. ships that might come to the aid of friendly vessels. What the combatants not aware of are the presence of Army howitzers or missile batteries, located on islands in the area, which are armed with anti-ship precision fires.

So now, the enemy isn’t just worried about the U.S. Navy – they’re also worried about the U.S. Army, which can emplace its guns in hard-to-detect areas on land.

This type of scenario gives the combatant commander multiple options and the enemy multiple dilemmas, Perkins explained.

MDB also provides the option of relying on partner nation capabilities, in addition to those of sister services in the U.S. military.

Royal Australian Army Major general Roger Noble, who is on loan to the U.S. Army as deputy commanding general of U.S. Army Pacific, provided an example of partner nation-based MDB.

IN a previous assignment last year, Noble was attached to the 101st Airborne Division, which was assisting the Iraqi army in its drive to push the Islamic State out of Iraq. During the fighting, the U.S. Army wanted to use its offensive cyber capabilities to perform a mission that is still classified.

The U.S. Army didn’t have the proper authorities and permissions in place to use that capability, however, but Australia and the United Kingdom did. So, the Army relied on its partner’s capability in the cyber domain, Noble said.

Perkins added that cyber or space domains, regardless of which service or nation owned those assets, could also be used to shut down the enemy’s naval navigation system or anti-ship missiles. It doesn’t matter which partner owns the domains; the assets should be available to whoever needs them, he said.

Some partner nation leaders look at the busy slides Perkins uses to explain MDB, and are intimidated by the complexity. They think «ray guns and flying saucers», Perkins said.

They believe MDB to be complicated and expensive, but Perkins said he tries to reassure partners that they don’t need to be equipped with the most modern hardware to provide MDB assets within a multi-partner force.

For example, a small Pacific nation without a large navy might have a number of small, shallow-water vessels that could contribute to force protection in areas where U.S. and coalition forces are operating.

Or, some small nation with hardly any assets at all might have land located in a strategic area from which land, air and naval power of the coalition forces might be projected. Everyone, he assured, has something to bring to the fight.

Perkins explained that the DOD rolled out the MDB concept last October. Noble said that the first time he saw Perkins’ slides, he immediately understood the concept from his previous experiences.

Noble described that when he was in Iraq last year, coalition forces utilized MDB even before the concept went by that name. Naval aircraft, launched from ships, delivered precision ground fire as multiple nations and military services were worked in and shared multiple domains.

Perkins said there’s nothing like a war situation to test concepts like MDB and to flesh out problems, such as when one nation’s radios don’t communicate another.

The next best learning environment, he said, is conducting rigorous exercises like the ones U.S. Army Pacific Command does year-round in the Pacific with various partner countries.

«We see multi-domain battle as something to put in place right now», Perkins advised.

He added that the Pacific region is a perfect place to test out MDB in rigorous exercises because all domains are well-represented there, and there are multiple coalition partners available to bring multiple capabilities.

Perkins said he’s working with General Robert B. Brown, commander, U.S. Army Pacific (USARPAC), to establish an MDB task force «to try to take stuff we have in the Army now and repurpose it», he explained. For example, USARPAC has equipment that could be used in anti-access, area denial.

Perkins added that Brown comes from TRADOC, so he understands MDB and has been an advocate of the concept.

Brown’s supervisor, Admiral Harry B. Harris Jr., commander, U.S. Pacific Command, said he’s excited about MDB. «I want to see the Army shoot down a missile, fired from a plane that launched from a ship», he said. «Then, I want to see the Army shoot down the aircraft that launched the missile and then I want the Army to sink that ship».

«I’m convinced this is the way to fight, particularly when you don’t have a clear advantage over our adversaries», he said. «Adversaries are now fielding new weapons in quantities approaching the zombie apocalypse».

MDB «must be incorporated in the way we train year round», he emphasized.

Harris added that MDB will be hard, risky and expensive, but it will be essential to winning the next campaign in a complex battlespace. «We can’t be afraid to fail in public», he said, pushing for experimentation with out-of-the-box ideas.

Liquid armour

BAE Systems and Helios Global Technologies have signed a Memorandum of Understanding (MoU) to further develop liquid armour technology.

Liquid armour to become a future choice for protecting soldiers
Liquid armour to become a future choice for protecting soldiers

In tests this bullet proof style ‘custard’ has been shown to stop projectiles more effectively, and when combined with Kevlar, the two materials could provide a number of benefits for wider application. What makes the technology so unique is that it features a liquid which actually hardens when struck.

Speaking about liquid armour, Anne Healey, BAE Systems’ General Manager – Canada said: «Liquid armour could offer our troops increased protection but be lighter, allowing for greater manoeuvrability. I’m pleased we have been able to sign this MoU with Helios as their reputation in ballistic and blast protection means they’re well placed to help deliver this capability to Canada in the future».

 

About Helios Global Technologies

Helios Global Technologies is a safety and survivability technology company. They supply products for tracking and communications in remote and hazardous environments. They have development projects in the area of advanced materials for ballistic and blast protection and sensors for stand-off detection of threats. They work closely with the Surviving and Thriving Applied Research Facility of the University of British Columbia (Okanagan).

 

About Liquid Armour

Liquid armour is a material that offers increased protection with reduced mass, wider area coverage, greater manoeuvrability and easy integration with other systems. It can also be incorporated into standard Kevlar body armour. In studies when combined, the two materials offer superior freedom of motion and a reduction in overall thickness of up to 45 per cent.

When a projectile impacts the material at speed, it hardens very quickly and absorbs the impact energy. When combined with Kevlar, the reduced flow of the fluids in the liquid armour restricts the motion of the fabric yarns. This means an increase in area over which the impact energy is dispersed. The material is therefore far less likely to distort than standard body armour, which generally bends inwards when a bullet strikes, preventing death, but causing considerable pain.

Saber Strike in Latvia

The official ceremony in the parade field at Adazi marked the beginning of Saber Strike in Latvia, June 3.

Saber Strike officially opens on Adazi Military Base, Latvia, June 3, 2017 (U.S. Army photo by Sergeant Shiloh Capers)
Saber Strike officially opens on Adazi Military Base, Latvia, June 3, 2017 (U.S. Army photo by Sergeant Shiloh Capers)

The eight countries (Italy, Latvia, Lithuania, Norway, Poland, Slovakia, United Kingdom and United States) participating in the operation in Adazi gathered together for the annual U.S. Army Europe-led multinational combined forces exercise which occurs in the Baltic region.

Key speakers were Major General Leonids Kalnins, Chief of Defense of Latvia, and Major General Neal Loidolt, commanding general, 34th Infantry Division, Minnesota National Guard.

The exercise is a time for Allies to demonstrate strong commitment to readiness against threats, Major General Kalnins declared in his speech for the ceremony.

Major General Loidolt stated the 2017 exercise held a particular focus for improving land, sea and air integration capabilities. An additional objective was to train with NATO’s Enhanced Forward Presence Battlegroups.

The battle groups stationed in Latvia, Lithuania and Poland are a portion of NATO’s overall deterrence and defense posture, designed to demonstrate the Allies’ determination and ability to act cohesively as a single unit, Loidolt explained.

The demands of the exercise should reflect real experience, as leaders guide their units through the exercise.

«I’m looking forward to the challenging, realistic and successful exercise», Loidolt said.

Operation Saber Strike encourages the multiple nations to demonstrate their professional expertise through their active participation in the exercise, Kalnins relayed.

The ceremony closed with raising the flags of the nations participating in Latvia.

Overall, 20 nations will be involved in the exercise and will span across four countries. The nations in the exercise are Belgium, Canada, Croatia, Denmark, Estonia, Finland, France, Germany, Italy, Latvia, Lithuania, Luxembourg, Netherlands, Norway, Poland, Portugal, Slovenia, Slovakia, United Kingdom and the United States.

Cyber Soldier

The term «cyber Soldier» sounds like something out of a futuristic action film. But that’s exactly what to call the Soldiers from the 780th Military Intelligence (MI) Brigade who serve under U.S. Army Cyber Command (ARCYBER). These Soldiers are part of the elite team at ARCYBER tasked with defending Army networks and providing full-spectrum cyber capabilities.

Spc. Nathaniel Ortiz, Expeditionary CEMA (Cyber Electromagnetic Activities) Team (ECT), 781st Military Intelligence Battalion, conducts cyberspace operations at the National Training Center at Fort Irwin, California, May 9 (Photo Credit: Mr. Bill Roche (Army Cyber Command))
Spc. Nathaniel Ortiz, Expeditionary CEMA (Cyber Electromagnetic Activities) Team (ECT), 781st Military Intelligence Battalion, conducts cyberspace operations at the National Training Center at Fort Irwin, California, May 9 (Photo Credit: Mr. Bill Roche (Army Cyber Command))

In addition, the 780th MI Brigade also conducts expeditionary cyberspace operations and training in support of armored brigade combat teams stationed at the National Training Center, Fort Irwin, California. It has offered home station training for the 2nd Armored Brigade Combat Team, 1st Infantry Division (2-1 ABCT), Fort Riley, Kansas, in preparation for its NTC rotation since last November.

This is not the first time the cyber brigade has supported an Army combat training center rotation. ARCYBER established a pilot program in 2015 to build unit cyber capacity and to help the Army to operationalize cyber at all echelon levels. Additionally, the program seeks to strengthen other capabilities including information operations, intelligence and electronic warfare.

Helping tactical units maintain the initiative in cyberspace domain requires clear communication between the cyber brigade and the tactical unit’s leaders. «From our experience over several rotations, we have learned that early integration with the supporting BCT is paramount to success at NTC», said Lieutenant Colonel Justin Considine, commander of the 781st MI Battalion, Fort Meade, Maryland.

«Only when we gain the trust and confidence of the BCT Commander and his staff are we able to successfully integrate our capabilities into his operational planning», he said. «Simply put, the supported Commander will not trust our technology if he does not trust that we are members of his team. This process begins at the BCT’s home station six months prior to NTC and also ensures our cyber troops understand as much as possible about how the BCT fights and what is important to the Commander».

Additionally, the 780th MI Brigade has also trained units to develop cyber warfighting scenarios that enhance the cyber training environment at NTC. According to Major Scott Bobier, the cyber brigade support operations officer-in-charge, «This program offers maneuver combat units awareness of cyber key terrain that, if controlled, will provide a clear tactical advantage for the Soldiers who complete the training».

The training also offers feedback for the cyber brigade as well, helping to inform Army discussions about offensive and defensive cyber doctrine that will help define the future structure and integration of cyber training and support into tactical units and decision-making processes.

«What we are learning and applying must be applicable to real-world operations, which is the ultimate test of anything conducted in a training environment», said Considine. «Secondly, the future of multi-domain battle demands we build our capacity to conduct expeditionary cyber warfare in all phases of operational planning – from initial access and reconnaissance in Phases 0 and 1 through open hostilities in Phase 2 and 3».

C-RAM Test

The U.S. Army selected Northrop Grumman Corporation’s Highly Adaptable Multi-Mission Radar (HAMMR) to demonstrate its multi-mission capability at the 2017 counter-rocket, artillery and mortar (C-RAM) test at Yuma Proving Ground earlier this year.

HAMMR incorporates an Active Electronically Scanned Array fighter radar mounted on a ground vehicle or towable trailer to provide continuous 360-degree protection against multiple ground and airborne targets – all while operating on-the-move so soldiers on the ground can maintain their operational pace without sacrificing protection
HAMMR incorporates an Active Electronically Scanned Array fighter radar mounted on a ground vehicle or towable trailer to provide continuous 360-degree protection against multiple ground and airborne targets – all while operating on-the-move so soldiers on the ground can maintain their operational pace without sacrificing protection

HAMMR is a multi-mission sensor that provides the warfighter with situational awareness, counter-fire operations, air defense, early warning and airspace management capabilities. During this test, the system successfully detected and identified Groups I and II unmanned aerial systems, providing real-time situational awareness to the operator. HAMMR also validated its ability to connect to the Army’s Forward Area Air Defense command and control system, which enables the communication of information from the system back to the force.

HAMMR incorporates an Active Electronically Scanned Array (AESA) fighter radar mounted on a ground vehicle or towable trailer to provide continuous 360-degree protection against multiple ground and airborne targets – all while operating on-the-move so soldiers on the ground can maintain their operational pace without sacrificing protection. The modular self-contained system includes on-board prime power and cooling, AESA and radar electronics, and operator/maintainer display modules. These modules support multiple packaging concepts, making HAMMR easily adaptable to multiple vehicle types, fixed installations and C2 interfaces.

«HAMMR is the only AESA radar out there today that can support our maneuver forces’ on-the-move multi-mission operation», said Roshan Roeder, vice president, mission solutions, Northrop Grumman. «Since HAMMR shares common hardware with our fighter aircraft radars, our customers realize the cost advantages of high-volume AESA production and benefit from the inherent reliability of this mature, proven technology».

For Special Forces

On May 10th, 2017, IMI Systems announced it will attend the «Latrun Week» Exhibition & Conference – The 2nd International Conference for Ground Warfare and Logistics, which brings together high-level IDF officials, defense industry leaders, foreign militaries and academia.

The special forces version of the ACCULAR 122-mm multiple rocket launcher seen here consists of a smaller number of rockets on a lightweight launcher that can be fitted to a Humvee light truck and airlifted by C-130 Hercules (IMI photo)
The special forces version of the ACCULAR 122-mm multiple rocket launcher seen here consists of a smaller number of rockets on a lightweight launcher that can be fitted to a Humvee light truck and airlifted by C-130 Hercules (IMI photo)

During the event, to be held this year on May 16-18 at the Armed Corps Memorial, Latrun, IMI Systems will present for the first time an innovative new rocket system for Special Forces, developed based on the first of its kind ACCULAR precision rocket and designed to assist forces in urban warfare and neutralize targets in ranges up to 21.75 miles/35 km.

Developed at the IMI Systems Givon plant, the new system joins other innovative and precision rockets systems developed and manufactured by the company for ranges from 24.85 miles/40 km to 186.4 miles/300 km, including the Extra rocket for the range of 93.2 miles/150 km and the Predator Hawk rocket for the range of 186.4 miles/300 km.

The new rocket system was developed in response to Special Forces who flown to high-risk locations which are beyond the range of traditional artillery fire support hence usually need to carry out their missions without any significant and sufficient fire assistance.

The ACCULAR 12 is 122-mm caliber rocket is equipped with a 44 lbs/20 kg of penetration or controlled fragmentation warhead suitable for most of the targets in today’s battlefield.

Recently, the Givon plant of IMI Systems also development the C-LYNX – a designated lightweight dedicated launcher capable of carrying up to 8 ACCULAR 12 rockets and can be delivered by a C-130 (Hercules) or similar aircraft. Designed to be used by Special Forces, the system provides accurate and effective fire support to the entire forces’ line of operation.

Equipped with advanced navigation and command & control systems the C-LYNX launcher operates completely autonomous and can provide fire response immediately according to the combat forces requirements. For the first time, the system will be presented at the SOFIC exhibition for Special Forces, to be held this year on May 2017 in the United States.

ACCULAR 122-mm – The most Cost-Effective Accurate Rocket for Neutralizing Targets in the Tactical Battlefield & for ground forces Support. The ACCULAR was designed to support ground forces and neutralize targets in areas where traditional artillery is limited by the accuracy and long range missiles are not cost-effective (too expensive).

This accurate rocket is equipped with advanced warheads, either controlled fragmentation or for penetration, and offers an accuracy of less than 32.8 feet/10 m Circular Error Probable (CEP).

Exoskeleton
Helps Soldiers

Their demanding missions often require soldiers to carry heavy equipment packs long distances over rough terrain, or up and down stairs and underground infrastructure in urban environments. Exhaustion and injury are frequently a consequence of these challenging operational scenarios. A new exoskeleton from Lockheed Martin offers a solution.

FORTIS K-SRD helps soldiers climb and walk carrying heavy mission equipment loads by supporting the legs and boosting knee capacity
FORTIS K-SRD helps soldiers climb and walk carrying heavy mission equipment loads by supporting the legs and boosting knee capacity

Using licensed Dermoskeleton bionic augmentation technology, the FORTIS Knee Stress Release Device (K-SRD) is a computer-controlled exoskeleton that counteracts overstress on the lower back and legs and increases mobility and load-carrying capability. It boosts leg capacity for physically demanding tasks that require repetitive or continuous kneeling or squatting, or lifting, dragging, carrying or climbing with heavy loads.

«FORTIS K-SRD features military-specification batteries that are approved for infantry use, improved control box ergonomics and faster actuators that generate more torque», said Keith Maxwell, FORTIS program manager at Lockheed Martin Missiles and Fire Control. «These system upgrades resulted from soldier feedback on the initial design».

Sensors on the exoskeleton report the soldier’s speed, direction and angle of movement to an on-board computer that drives electro-mechanical actuators at the knees. The exoskeleton delivers the right torque at the right time to assist knee flex and extension. FORTIS K-SRD ultimately reduces the energy needed to cross terrain, squat or kneel. These benefits are most noticeable when ascending or descending stairs or navigating inclined surfaces.

Versions of the exoskeleton are also available for industrial workers and first responders who have to perform strenuous tasks in difficult environments.

«For any mission that combines heavy man-portable gear and climbing, FORTIS K-SRD can enhance strength and endurance», Maxwell said.

Europe Tank Challenge

The Austrian platoon took top honors in the second annual Strong Europe Tank Challenge with Germany and the U.S. placing second and third, May 12, 2017.

An Bundesheer (Austrian Armed Forces) Leopard 2A4 tank crushes car as part of the precision driving lane, during the Strong Europe Tank Challenge at the 7th Army Training Command's Grafenwoehr Training Area (Photo Credit: Spc. Nathanael Mercado)
An Bundesheer (Austrian Armed Forces) Leopard 2A4 tank crushes car as part of the precision driving lane, during the Strong Europe Tank Challenge at the 7th Army Training Command’s Grafenwoehr Training Area (Photo Credit: Spc. Nathanael Mercado)

«We tried as hard as we could to prepare ourselves and our crews for competition, and it was just the right way», said Staff Sergeant Thomas Krims, a loader on the platoon commander’s tank.

The challenge was a five-day competition that tested offensive and defensive operations as well as vehicle identification, battle damage assessment and precision maneuvers.

Multinational platoons from six NATO and partner nations took part in the U.S. Army Europe and German Bundeswehr co-hosted event, here, May 7-12, 2017.

Participating nations included Austria, France, Germany, Poland, Ukraine and the United States, who each brought a platoon with four tanks to compete. Four-person crews manned Austria’s Leopard 2A4 tanks, Germany’s Leopard 2A6 tanks and Poland’s Leopard 2A5 tanks. Three-person teams operated France’s Leclerc tanks and Ukraine’s T-64BM tanks. And the U.S. used the M1A2 SEP tanks with four Soldiers per tank.

Platoons rotated throughout 12 events with 1,500 possible points in total. Teams tested their live-fire maneuvers in defensive and offensive operations, with the possibility of scoring up to 500 points in each event. The other events were worth 50 possible points each.

The teams ran through lanes that challenged their abilities to react to indirect fires, chemical attacks and improvised explosive devices while treating and evacuating casualties, and providing vehicle recovery.

Platoons identified 30 friendly and enemy vehicles, determined the range of targets without using the tank’s main sight or laser ranger finders, and called for fire to engage targets.

Each crew was also tested on their abilities to report accurate information during an urban area patrol and navigate tanks through an obstacle course without vehicle optics.

The remaining events required the Soldiers to dismount from their tanks to compete in a team run, a relay race with tank-related objects, and a combat pistol shoot. The final day of the challenge ended with a friendship shoot.

Along with building an environment for a friendly competition, the event also built camaraderie.

«We learned that every nation has their pride in being a tanker», said Krims. «Every team has their own way, but we learned that our way of performing as a team in every task we got is what brought us success».

«This is a competition, but it’s not really about the competition», said Sergeant Major David Glenn, 7th Army Training Command’s operations senior noncommissioned officer. «It’s really about training, partnership, esprit de corps and interoperability».

The challenge fosters military partnership and promoted interoperability, while providing an environment to share tactics, techniques and procedures.

«We truly appreciate the opportunity to come here and see what other nations do as tankers», said Krims.