Category Archives: Ground Forces

Special Purposes

Oshkosh Defense, LLC, an Oshkosh Corporation company, is showcasing its Special Purposes All-Terrain Vehicle (S-ATV) at the Special Operations Forces Exhibition & Conference (SOFEX), taking place May 8-10 in Amman, Jordan.

The S-ATV is lightweight and agile, with a modular design to meet a diverse range of mission requirements
The S-ATV is lightweight and agile, with a modular design to meet a diverse range of mission requirements

The S-ATV is lightweight and agile, with a modular design to meet a diverse range of mission requirements for armed forces in the United States, Middle East, and around the world.

«Building on the success of Oshkosh’s proven off-road military vehicles, the Oshkosh S-ATV is a military-grade platform that is rugged, versatile, and built for speed», said Mike Ivy, Vice President and General Manager of International Programs, Oshkosh Defense. «With its superior levels of off-road mobility and maneuverability, as well as its ability to disembark aircraft with primary weapons ready to fire in 60 seconds or less, the S-ATV enables Special Forces units to deploy quickly with stealth and agility in the most severe environments».

The S-ATV comes equipped with the Oshkosh TAK-4i intelligent independent suspension system, providing soldiers with superior maneuverability and a smooth ride. The Oshkosh S-ATV can operate in the harshest terrain with a 70 percent off-road profile capability and cruising range of 800 km/497 miles at 110 kilometers per hour/68 mph, with a top speed of 145 kph/90 mph.

The S-ATV is available in multiple configurations with varying protection levels, making the platform easily transportable via both fixed and rotary-wing platforms; it can be carried internally in a CH-47 Chinook or externally under either a CH-47 Chinook or CH-53 Stallion.

Oshkosh Exhibits S-ATVs at SOFEX Show in Jordan
Oshkosh Exhibits S-ATVs at SOFEX Show in Jordan

 

Overview

Rugged, roll-over protected frame safeguards crew at high speeds and over uneven terrain

Turbocharged Duramax diesel engine with a top speed of 145 kph/90 mph and outstanding power-to-weight ratio

Completed 400-hour NATO engine durability test

Light weight design with exceptional payload capacity

Adaptable, modular design to easily reconfigure and upgrade to mission requirements

Proven TAK-4i intelligent independent suspension system with 438 mm (17.25 inches) of wheel travel and a 70% off-road mission profile

Transportable via CH-47 Chinook and CH-53 Stallion rotary wing aircraft

Low ground pressure and lightweight design with unmatched sand and soft soil mobility

Engine cooling system allows continuous full power operation at ambient temperatures up to 54°C (130°F)

Integrated mounting provisions for a wide variety of armaments and ballistic protection options

Plug and play Command, Control, Communications, Computers, and Intelligence (C4I) capabilities to adapt to mission requirements

 

General Characteristics

Engine Duramax 6.6L V8 diesel, 205 kW/275 hp
Transmission Allison 2100 SP automatic 6-speed
Transfer Case 2-speed with neutral – locking differential, 1.18:1 high, 3.21:1 low
Axles/Suspension Oshkosh TAK-4i intelligent independent suspension system
Tires 335/80 R20 on-road, off-road with beadlocks and runflats
Suspension (Durability) Profile 70% off-road/30% on-road
Seating Capacity 5 (4 crew plus 1 gunner) driver in center location, optional kit allows up to 7 crew
Vehicle Curb Weight 3,740 kg/8,250 lbs.
Payload Capacity 1,930 kg/4,250 lbs.
Turret Capacity Turret ring with gunner’s sling
Central Tire Inflation System (CTIS) Optional 2 channel system with 4 terrain settings

 

Passive Radar

Hensoldt, the leading German sensor solutions provider, is presenting its passive radar system called «TwInvis» to the public for the first time in live operation during this year’s International Aerospace Exhibition (ILA) in Berlin. The new product name «TwInvis» is made up from «twin» + «invisible», as neither TwInvis itself nor the targets to be detected emit any signals on their own, which means that they are «invisible». The TwInvis system, which can be integrated into an all-terrain vehicle or a van, does not emit its own signals to monitor air traffic, but simply «passively» analyses the echoes of signals from radio or TV stations.

Hensoldt presents «TwInvis» Passive Radar for the first Time in live Operation
Hensoldt presents «TwInvis» Passive Radar for the first Time in live Operation

«Our newly developed, highly sensitive digital receivers now make it possible for a single TwInvis system to monitor up to 200 aircraft in 3D within a radius of 250 kilometres/155 miles. This was unthinkable even just a few years ago», said Hensoldt CEO Thomas Müller. «This will open up completely new options for application in such fields as air defence, the protection of large events or air traffic control».

Working as mere receivers, passive radar systems detect aircraft by analysing the signals that they reflect from existing third-party emissions. Hensoldt’s TwInvis system excels with a very precise picture of the airspace covered, which is obtained by simultaneously analysing a large number of frequency bands. For example, up to 16 FM transmitters (analogue radio) plus 5 frequencies used by several DAB and DAB+ transmitters (digital radio) as well as DVB-T and DVB-T2 (digital, terrestrial television) can be simultaneously analysed for the first time. Furthermore, Hensoldt’s new generation of software will provide unprecedented performance in terms of range and precision of detection.

In civil applications, passive radar systems make cost-effective air traffic control possible without any additional emissions and without using transmission frequencies, which are in short supply. In military applications, the system enables wide-area surveillance using networked receivers, while offering the advantage that passive radar systems cannot be located by the enemy and are very hard to jam. Moreover, no agreement is required with any other public authority, as there is no radiation, which allows the system to be quickly ready for deployment in new locations and to also be used in urban areas. This results in another advantage of the new technology: the system can be used in places where coverage was previously inadequate, in particular/for example, in mountainous regions.

TwInvis has already shown what it can do in several demonstrations to military customers, air traffic control organisations and other interested parties. Two TwInvis demonstrators have already been delivered to potential customers in Europe.

Panzergrenadiere

Germany’s Panzergrenadiere mechanized infantry will receive one of the most modern armored infantry fighting vehicles in the world with the new Puma. Planning for the successor to the current Marder armored infantry combat vehicle began in 2002, and its operational clearance was granted in April 2015.

Two Puma IFVs during their first public presentation at the Grafenwoehr training ground in Bavaria in September. The 30-mm stabilized gun guarantees a high first-shot hit capability (Bundeswehr photo)
Two Puma IFVs during their first public presentation at the Grafenwoehr training ground in Bavaria in September. The 30-mm stabilized gun guarantees a high first-shot hit capability (Bundeswehr photo)

«Unlike the Marder, the entire crew of the Puma sits in the highly-protected trough, and the turret is unmanned», explains Christoph Jansen of the Koblenz Federal Office for Equipment, Information Technology and Use of the Bundeswehr. The Government Technical Director is Deputy Project Manager for the Puma infantry fighting vehicle. «Due to its exposed position, the turret is the most vulnerable part of the vehicle, and with no crew, less armored space is needed, and at the same time, crew safety increases as does space for radios and other equipment».

This innovation has far-reaching consequences. «It is and must be our goal to keep the Puma under armored protection and not relying on the vehicle to pass through unprotected, which requires the use of modern electronic observation and sighting sensors», Jansen continues. «Therefore, in future, and in addition to the existing visual means, even more powerful cameras will be integrated into the turret and the chassis. This way, the crew of the Puma will remain under armor protection day and night, while both stationary and moving, with good all-round visibility».

 

Maximum protection and air-transportability in the Airbus A400M

The Puma is the first armored vehicle of the Bundeswehr equipped with add-on reactive armor on the sides. This armor can be removed for transport, for example, in the Airbus A400M and replaced with little effort against other protection modules. Furthermore, a so-called distance-active «Multifunctional Self-Protection System» (MUST) ensures maximum protection of the vehicle crew.

 

High hit rate, tactile ammunition

«Another strength of the Puma is its high first hit probability», emphasizes Jansen. «One type of ammunition has a programmable detonator. The explosion time can therefore be determined according to the objective».

With the stabilized 30-millimeter automatic cannon, the fully-tracked vehicle can hit targets up to 3,000 meters/9,843 feet away while moving. The Israeli-manufactured multi-role lightweight missile system (MELLS) can engage heavily armored ground targets, such as battle tanks, at distances up to 4,000 meters/13,123 feet.

 

Full operational readiness planned by 2024

«In addition to the Puma, another important building block in the ‘Panzergrenadier system’ is the armed forces’ Infantryman of the Future (IdZ-ES) soldier equipment. In addition to modern sighting equipment, it also includes modern protection equipment and weapons», explains Jansen. «All in all, the interaction between the vehicle and the IdZ-ES results in a high added value for the Panzergrenadier».

Many additional «features» will be integrated in the future, such as the in 7.62-mm caliber MG 5 machine-gun, which will replace the MG 4 in the Puma. The turret-independent secondary weapons system is also provided, which allows the rifle squad in the rear combat area significantly enhanced capabilities of observation and action, with lethal and non-lethal agents. Threats can be engaged both in the rear and in the flank.

Full operational readiness – with all required services – will be achieved by 2024. But that also has its price. «Each Puma will cost around 12 million euros», says Jansen, «and the Bundeswehr has ordered a total of 350 vehicles».

Operational testing

Marines and Soldiers will finish testing the Joint Light Tactical Vehicle Thursday at the Marine Corps Air Ground Combat Center here.

Marines with Weapons Company, 1st Battalion, 7th Marine Regiment, Twentynine Palms, California, run a Joint Light Tactical Vehicle (JLTV) down the road during JLTV operational testing at Twentynine Palms' Marine Corps Air Ground Combat Center (Photo Credit: U.S. Army photo by William C. Beach, U.S. Army Operational Test Command Test and Documentation Team)
Marines with Weapons Company, 1st Battalion, 7th Marine Regiment, Twentynine Palms, California, run a Joint Light Tactical Vehicle (JLTV) down the road during JLTV operational testing at Twentynine Palms’ Marine Corps Air Ground Combat Center (Photo Credit: U.S. Army photo by William C. Beach, U.S. Army Operational Test Command Test and Documentation Team)

Soldiers from Bravo Troop, 1st Squadron, 33rd Cavalry Regiment, 3rd Brigade, 101st Airborne Division joined with Marines of Weapons Company, 1st Battalion, 7th Marine Regiment, to run the JLTV through its paces by conducting real-world missions in an operational environment as realistic as Iraq or Afghanistan.

Testing began late February, and according to Randall G. Fincher, JLTV test officer with the U.S. Army Operational Test Command, 39 JLTVs in two variants of Combat Tactical Vehicle and Combat Support Vehicle were split, with 18 going to the Marines and 21 to the Army test units.

«The Marines and the Army were equipped with both variants in the following mission packages: Heavy Guns Carrier, General Purpose, Close Combat Weapons Carrier, and the Utility version», said Fincher.

The biggest advantage to testing was the almost unreserved size of the MCAGCC training area and its harsh terrain, providing a true test of the vehicle’s maneuverability.

«The Marine Corps Air Ground Combat Center offers us a large expanse of maneuverable terrain with hardball routes, secondary routes, and cross-country terrain in a realistic desert environment», said Colonel John W. Leffers, director of USAOTC’s Maneuver Support and Sustainment Test Directorate.

«The terrain I see out there, is very indicative of what a Soldier or Marine would see in southern Afghanistan», he continued. «It’s absolutely the conditions the JLTV will be operating in, real-world, based on past deployments and the strong possibility of areas we will operate in for the foreseeable future».

Leffers said the two particular Marine and Army units performing tests represent the JLTV’s primary customers.

«It’s a joint vehicle», he said. «We used the Marines, who picked the company they thought would use the JLTV on a frequent basis. And, for the Army, the Recon Troop was perfect because of the number of JLTVs we wanted to test in a variety of missions that we project the JLTV might be operating under».

Operationally realistic scenarios allowed the test unit Marines and Soldiers to tell the Department of Defense how well the system supports their mission execution.

For the Marines, live fire and helicopter sling load operations, as well as a Marine Amphibious Landing mission at Camp Pendleton, California were added to testing.

One combined anti-armor team section leader Marine who has been deployed to Iraq twice, said training during JLTV testing was beneficial.

«In terms of everything we did specific to Twentynine Palms and the combat center here – all of the scenarios – we’re pretty much experts at», said Marine Sergeant McLennan S. Janes. «That’s all we do. That’s our bread and butter, in terms of movement to contact and conducting deliberate attacks, defense in-depths, and conducting raids and clearances. The things exclusive to JLTV testing included the amphibious landings and sling loads by helicopter that we never get to do».

The 101st Airborne Division Soldiers from Fort Campbell, Kentucky compared the MCAGCC terrain and size to much smaller training areas at their home station.

«It’s not very often my Troop gets to go out anywhere for an extended period of time and train mounted tactics, especially in this kind of terrain», said Captain Michael D. Rodriguez, Bravo Troop commander. «It’s just not what’s at Fort Campbell».

Rodriguez said a Mounted Cavalry Troop is required to spread out over distances up to 15 kilometers and be able to shoot, move and communicate.

«The main thing we can’t get at Campbell that we can get out here is the ability to do our mission over a great distance», he said. We’ve been doing long movements, we’ve been doing missions at distance, and we’ve been identifying enemy outside of our weapons range, which is ideal for what we want to do as Scouts – we want to identify the enemy outside of weapons range and use indirect fire instead of direct fire to disrupt their ability to operate. At Fort Campbell, we come right up on our pretend enemy and get into a direct engagement with them. That’s good training, but it helps to be out here for my Soldiers to be able to see how big the battlespace is that we are required to cover as a Mounted Troop».

Rodriguez also said he welcomed the opportunity to be involved in an operational test without the normal distractions at home station.

«I was able to look at all of my Soldiers and say, ‘Hey, your job is scouting for the next two months.’ That’s pretty valuable», he said.

One of Rodriguez’s platoon leaders said the training experience during the JLTV test will go a long way for him and his Soldiers.

«Traversing in new terrain which is unfamiliar is just like being on a deployment and it’s a good experience for all of us», said First Lieutenant Mike D. Towery. «Now, we have this knowledge base of what it’s like to maneuver in a desert environment, which will most likely be coming up for us, so now we have that experience in our back pocket. We now know the best way to maneuver these vehicles, and especially for myself, I will know how to maneuver a platoon in this type of desert environment».

The operational test’s purpose is to collect data to be used to address operational effectiveness, suitability and survivability of the JLTV in its intended environment, according to Fincher.

The Soldiers and Marines felt their opinions were being listened to and considered when test officers solicited their feedback.

«It is a good opportunity to be able to work out the kinks and provide the future generations in the Marine Corps with a vehicle that is going to be able to operate efficiently in combat», said Janes.

«After every test after action review, I would write about three pages and submit about 20 comment cards per week», said Staff Sergeant Matthew A. Smith, 2nd Platoon Sergeant for the 101st’s Bravo Troop.

With 9-and-a-half years as a Cavalry Scout and five wartime deployments, Smith was content with giving his opinion on what works and what does not work with the JLTV.

Smith said that while USAOTC Commander, Brigadier General John C. Ulrich, was on the ground April 10, he felt the general listened to him with great concern.

«A lot of the comments that I’ve made have been brought up», he explained.

«I was actually able to talk with the general one-on-one about some issues I addressed during data collection», said Smith. «They’re definitely taking our recommendations. It seems like they want to make this the best vehicle possible, so they’re like, ‘Hey, here is what we’ve designed. What do we need to improve upon?’»

Smith said a lot of his Soldiers are young, and outside of JLTV testing, his troops got lots of training on battlefield operations.

«At Fort Campbell, we focus more on dismounted and air assault tactics, and we focus more on the squad level», he said. So, to come here, we have a 100-kilometer square that we can operate in and we’re out here with 20 vehicles fighting as a unit. Space is something that’s limited at Fort Campbell because there’s trees everywhere, and you can’t put every vehicle in the Troop out there and be able to fight a threat like you can here».

The Army, lead for the JLTV portfolio, plans to purchase some 49,000 JLTVs while the Marine Corps plans to purchase 9,000.

Air defence

Successful air defence demands a holistic approach. This is why Rheinmetall – Europe’s foremost maker of military systems and equipment – wants to supply the German armed forces with a path-breaking solution encompassing the whole complexity of ground-based air defence. Here the Düsseldorf-based high-tech group is cooperating closely with America’s Raytheon.

Germany’s Rheinmetall has teamed with US-based Raytheon to develop a new generation of ground-based air-defense systems integrating networked sensors, weapons, platforms and C4I assets into a single system (Rheinmetall image)
Germany’s Rheinmetall has teamed with US-based Raytheon to develop a new generation of ground-based air-defense systems integrating networked sensors, weapons, platforms and C4I assets into a single system (Rheinmetall image)

Rheinmetall’s plan calls for networking all relevant sensors, effectors, platforms and C4I assets into a single, scalable, system of systems. This will create a highly effective, modularly scalable and flexible air defence system covering the Bundeswehr’s full mission spectrum.

 

Short- and very short-range air defence

The phasing out of the Roland and Gepard mobile air defence systems leaves the Bundeswehr with very limited capabilities in the area of short- and very-short range air defence, or SHORAD. Rheinmetall’s lightweight air defence system ensures that this capability is maintained through to 2025.

Effective SHORAD – NNbS in German military parlance – requires a total system concept, one which is capable of neutralizing incoming rockets, artillery and mortar rounds – the so-called RAM threat – as well as bringing down unmanned aerial systems, especially in the low, slow, small (LSS) subset, e.g. quadrocopter drones. Finally, the system has to be able to deal effectively with conventional aircraft flying at close range. As an experienced SHORAD supplier, Rheinmetall’s proposal calls for a mix of automatic cannon and guided missiles, and in the nearby future augmented with high-energy laser weapons.

 

Tactical air defence systems

Over the next few years, the Bundeswehr will be utilizing the Patriot integrated air and missile defense for defence e.g. against tactical ballistic missiles. Rheinmetall is Raytheon’s national partner for evolving Patriot in Germany.

A phased upgrade from the current Patriot Config 3+ system to next-generation (NextGen) status will meet the future requirements for a long-range ground-based air defence system.

Even in the concept phase, the systemic approach embodied by Rheinmetall SHORAD and the Patriot NextGen meets the requirements for comprehensive, adaptable, modular air defence, enabling a single-source approach covering all aspects of air and missile defence.

Patriot is in the backbone of integrated air and missile defense for six NATO nations and eight other partner countries, making it globally interoperable. A multinational solution, it significantly lowers lifecycle costs thanks to a common threat database and modernization costs shared across the 14-nation partnership.

 

Scalable tactical C2 design

Rheinmetall envisages a flexible, role-based command and control architecture for its ground-based air defence system. The scalable tactical operation centre concept with flexible C2 architecture enables optimized force composition in line with the given specific operational task.

 

«VSHORAD» army programme

Complementing the German Air Force capabilities of ground-based air defence, the German Army has articulated the demand for an organic air defence capability against microdrones, to be available for NATO-VJTF 2023. The operational demand envisages a wheelmounted air defence vehicle protecting units in the very short range from aerial threats during deployed operations. Here, Rheinmetall can offer a market-ready system. Future utilization and integration of those VJTF 2023 components into the SHORAD system is assured, thus representing sustained investment.

Antitank Missile

Rheinmetall has integrated the state-of-the-art MELLS (MEhrrollenfähige Leichte Lenkflugkörper Systems – Multi-role Light Missile System) antitank guided missile into the Marder 1A5 Infantry Fighting Vehicle (IFV). Following successful conclusion of the study phase, the Bundeswehr subsequently ordered 44 MELLS retrofit kits, which were delivered in December 2017. In the meantime, a total of 35 vehicles have been equipped with the new missile system integration kit. The modernized Marder 1A5 is now able to utilize the MELLS, a German acronym standing for «multirole-capable light antitank missile system». This retrofit contributes to the combat effectiveness of the Bundeswehr’s mechanized infantry units and thus to the credibility of the Federal Republic of Germany in international security contexts.

Rheinmetall carried out the proof of concept study to integrate the MELLS anti-tank missile onto the Marder infantry combat vehicle, and has now received an initial order to upgrade 44 German army Marder 1As with the missile (Rheinmetall photo)
Rheinmetall carried out the proof of concept study to integrate the MELLS anti-tank missile onto the Marder infantry combat vehicle, and has now received an initial order to upgrade 44 German army Marder 1As with the missile (Rheinmetall photo)

At the end of 2016, Germany’s Federal Office for Bundeswehr Equipment, Information Technology and In-Service Support (www.BAAINBw.de) awarded Rheinmetall Landsysteme GmbH a contract to study ways of integrating the MELLS into the Bundeswehr’s tried-and-tested IFV, which will be reaching the end of its service life in the foreseeable future. Thanks to the MELLS, the Marder IFV now has a new, highly effective antitank capability.

Under a development contract – with the help of two sample vehicles –Rheinmetall examined among other things the extent to which oscillation due to movement of the vehicle and the resulting vibration behaviour would have to be taken into account when integrating the MELLS. The results formed the basis for a modified storage concept, enabling transport of the launcher and missiles in the infantry fighting vehicle. The project was conducted during the first half of 2017. The high point came when the vibration-stressed missiles were successfully fired from the IFV.

Rheinmetall has accumulated massive expertise in all aspects of the Marder. The weapons system first rolled off the assembly lines of Rheinmetall’s forerunner in Kassel. Extremely reliable and battle-tested, the Marder is destined to remain an important workhorse of Germany’s mechanized infantry for several years to come. Rheinmetall is currently looking at ways of integrating the MELLS into the 1A3 and 1A5A1 versions of the Marder as well.

Laser Dune Buggy

Raytheon’s sophisticated MTS sensor package, combined with a high-energy laser and mounted on the MRZR vehicle, could offer an effective defense against UAVs.

Raytheon's sophisticated MTS sensor package, combined with a high-energy laser and mounted on the MRZR vehicle, could offer an effective defense against UAVs. Earlier this year, it targeted and disabled a small UAV during tests in New Mexico (Raytheon photo)
Raytheon’s sophisticated MTS sensor package, combined with a high-energy laser and mounted on the MRZR vehicle, could offer an effective defense against UAVs. Earlier this year, it targeted and disabled a small UAV during tests in New Mexico (Raytheon photo)

In a windowless room on Raytheon’s campus in McKinney, Texas, a small team of blue jean-clad engineers and physicists is doing something that’s never been done before. They move back and forth between computer screens and a vehicle that looks like it’s straight out of Mad Max.

«Basically, we’re putting a laser on a dune buggy to knock drones out of the sky», said Doctor Ben Allison, director of Raytheon’s high energy laser product line.

It’s actually a little more complicated than that, Allison added. The team is combining a high energy laser with an advanced variant of Raytheon’s Multi-spectral Targeting System – a sophisticated package of electro-optical and infrared sensors – and installing it on a Polaris MRZR, a small, all-terrain vehicle.

In an homage to Austin Powers, Art Morrish, vice president of Advanced Concepts and Technology at Raytheon Space and Airborne Systems, said, «It’s not sharks with laser beams on them, but it’s pretty close».

 

A defense against drones

According to Allison, the idea grew out of a meeting with Raytheon’s CEO and Chairman Tom Kennedy earlier this year. Kennedy told Allison and Morrish that an allied nation had recently used a Patriot missile to shoot down a cheap, store-bought UAS that was outfitted with a grenade-like munition.

«That cost-to-kill ratio is high», explained Allison, «but the threat is clear. So, the question became, ‘What can we do for a counter-UAS system using a high-energy laser and do it quickly. We didn’t want to go out and do a bunch of research and development. We wanted to take the assets and capabilities Raytheon has today and use them to really affect this asymmetrical threat. We settled on a small system that’s hugely capable».

 

Good Things Come in Small Packages

The team first looked at putting its laser on a standard-size military container, but soon realized it only took up a quarter of the available space. At the same time, an undisclosed customer was exploring ways to put a laser weapon system on vehicles small enough to fit in an airplane’s cargo bay or inside a helicopter.

«When we saw how small we could make it and we saw a clear customer need, we immediately wanted to find a very tactically relevant vehicle that could get out to forward operating bases and do its mission», said Allison.

The system is standalone, with a footprint of roughly 30 square feet/2.79 square meter. On a single charge from a standard 220v outlet, the same kind you plug your washing machine into at home, the HEL system onboard the MRZR delivers four hours of intelligence, surveillance and reconnaissance capability and 20 to 30 laser shots. The system can also be coupled with a generator to provide virtually infinite magazine depth.

While the laser and the vehicle are sure to draw all the attention, it’s the weaponized MTS sensor package that is the core of the system. In this configuration, the MTS provides its standard setting ISR and tracking capabilities while also serving as a beam director.

That’s something Allison says sets this combo apart from bigger, more power-hungry systems. «If you have a good beam director, then you can use a smaller, more efficient laser. You can make your system smaller and more flexible», said Allison.

 

Hitting the Road

Morrish believes the solution is particularly suited for expeditionary missions. «Right now, it’s a shoot-on-the-halt capability», said Morrish. «You drive the vehicle wherever you’re going to drive it. You stop and then you fire up the laser. That makes it great for protecting forward-operating bases and places where convoys have to stop. The next step is to set it up so you can actually shoot on the move».

Raytheon began field testing the HELWS MRZR last week and is slated to demonstrate it at the U.S. Army’s Maneuver Fires Experiment at Fort Sill, Oklahoma, in December.

«The idea is to quickly take this solution out of the lab and put it in the hands of the operators», said Morrish. «The folks in uniform are going to find ways to use it that those of us in lab coats never have».

New targeting system

Twenty Field Artillery Soldiers are testing the Joint Effects Targeting System Target Laser Designation System (JETS-TLDS) at the Cold Regions Test Center here.

Private first class Anthony Greenwood (left) finds a target in his area using the Joint Effects Targeting System Target Laser Designation System (JETS TLDS), while Private first class Montiel of utilizes Precision Fires-Dismounted (PF-D) to send a fire mission to higher headquarters. Both Soldiers are from Battery D, 2nd Battalion, 8th Field Artillery Regiment, taking part in an operational test of JETS TLDS at the Fox Den Observation Post in the Texas Training Area at the Cold Regions Test Center, Fort Greely (Photo Credit: Scott D. McClellan, Fire Support Test Directorate, U.S. Army Operational Test Command Public Affairs)
Private first class Anthony Greenwood (left) finds a target in his area using the Joint Effects Targeting System Target Laser Designation System (JETS TLDS), while Private first class Montiel of utilizes Precision Fires-Dismounted (PF-D) to send a fire mission to higher headquarters. Both Soldiers are from Battery D, 2nd Battalion, 8th Field Artillery Regiment, taking part in an operational test of JETS TLDS at the Fox Den Observation Post in the Texas Training Area at the Cold Regions Test Center, Fort Greely (Photo Credit: Scott D. McClellan, Fire Support Test Directorate, U.S. Army Operational Test Command Public Affairs)

The JETS-TLDS is a modular advanced sensor suite of three components: the Hand-held Target Location Module (HTLM), Precision Azimuth and Vertical Angle Module (PAVAM), and Laser Marker Module (LMM).

Soldiers from Battery D, 2nd Battalion, 8th Field Artillery (FA) stationed at Fort Wainwright, Alaska and Battery D, 2nd Battalion, 377 Parachute Field Artillery Regiment (PFAR) stationed at Anchorage, Alaska, are teaming up in a rigorous operational test on this new precision targeting device in the rugged Alaska terrain.

The teams used the system in a wide spectrum of operations. They used the InfraRed Imager (IRI) and Color Day Imager (CDI) to detect, recognize, and identify vehicles and personnel at various distances to determine whether they are friend or foe.

They also used the system in a simulated urban environment, where the Soldiers cleared multiple buildings and occupied rooftops and rooms to observe opposing forces in the city.

«Since the system is smaller you don’t have to worry about bumping it around when clearing a building», said Sergeant Nicholas Apperson of Battery D, 2-377 PFAR. «If you have to switch buildings, disassembling and reassembling the system is much quicker than other targeting devices».

When it came time to use the LMM to mark targets for a live-fire with an AH-64 Apache from 1st Battalion, 25th Infantry Division Attack Reconnaissance Battalion, all of the test unit Soldier volunteered at once.

Unfortunately, there was only enough ammo to have four teams participate.

«With the push that the Army is making for all Fire Support Specialists to become Joint Fires Observers (JFO), the LMM provides a tool at the platoon level that allows us to designate and mark targets for aircraft», said Pfc. Anthony Greenwood of Battery D, 2-8 FA. «Its light weight makes it easy to take it out on a mission and utilize it to its fullest capability».

During the last three weeks of the test, all 10 teams exercised the system’s ability to determine target location.

Soldiers were set at randomized Objective Rally Points (ORPs) ranging from 500 meters/1,640 feet to 2 kilometers/1.24 miles from their Observation Posts (OPs). They then conducted a tactical movement from ORP to OP.

After occupying their individual OPs, they would find targets all around them and determine exactly where they were at using the JETS TLDS.

The Soldiers would then use the Precision Fires-Dismounted (PF-D), which is an application used on NET Warrior by fire supporters to digitally transmit fire missions, to develop a fire mission and send it to a simulated company fire support team (FIST).

On average, they sent 40 fire missions each 10-hour day.

«The JETS system is definitely much lighter and a lot easier to pick up and learn all the functions quickly», said Staff Sergeant Christopher McKoy of Battery D, 2-8 FA. «It is so simple that you can pick it up and learn it in five minutes».

Other real-world training was forward observers conducting movement with a maneuver unit. Here, they would walk a ridge line and receive simulated intelligence reports of enemy targets at certain points along their route. After receiving the reports, the teams would be forced to establish a hasty OP and acquire targets quickly.

After spending a month with the targeting systems, most Soldiers were ready for the system to be fielded.

«This system is definitely a major jump from what forward observers are used to and makes our job much more efficient», said Specialist Tyler Carlson of Battery D, 2-377 PFAR. «I believe that this system would be an effective tool to detect and acquire targets of opportunity in many of the theaters that we are fighting in today», McKoy said.

Air surveillance radar

This week National Armed Forces of Latvia will finalise the delivery of the first Multi-Role radar TPS-77 MRR by testing its air surveillance capabilities. The new radar will significantly boost air surveillance capabilities of Latvian army.

The first TPS-77 MRR recently completed production and rolled out of the Syracuse, New York facility for further testing
The first TPS-77 MRR recently completed production and rolled out of the Syracuse, New York facility for further testing

«Acquisition of TPS-77 MRR is a huge investment in the strengthening of combat capabilities of the National Armed Forces, enabling Latvian army to address the current security challenges with appropriate response tools. Surveillance, especially low-level flight surveillance and identification is a vital part of Latvian airspace surveillance capabilities. New MRR technology is compatible with other types of radars used by other countries», emphasises Minister for Defence Raimonds Bergmanis with satisfaction.

As reported earlier, in autumn 2015, Minister for Defence Raimonds Bergmanis and Greg Larioni, Vice-President of US company Lockheed Martin, signed contract for production of three TPS-77 MRR units.

The TPS-77 MRR is designed for ultra-low power consumption and is the most transportable version of Lockheed Martin’s TPS-77 product line. Latvia variant of this high-performing radar can be truck mounted for operation at unprepared sites or dismounted for use at fixed sites.

The radar’s multi-role single scan technology allows operators to select specific roles for the radar such as long range or medium range low-level flight surveillance in specific sectors. As the radar rotates through each 360-degree scan, the system automatically adjusts to the operator selected mission. Changes can be easily made. Once set, no further operator inputs are required.

As with current production TPS-77s and other next generation Lockheed Martin radars, the TPS-77 MRR uses Gallium Nitride (GaN) technology in its design. The GaN technology has already been installed and tested in operational radars. Utilizing GaN, the radars high power amplifiers consume much less power, ultimately increasing reliability, lowering life-cycle costs and extending the useful life of the radar. The Latvia TPS-77 MRRs will be delivered with a complete suite of GaN technology.

The TPS-77 MRR is adaptable to a variety of surveillance missions
The TPS-77 MRR is adaptable to a variety of surveillance missions

New radar complies with all relevant safety requirements adopted by Latvia. It is not harmful to human health or environment. The power of TPS-77 MRR is below any regular television or mobile tower operated anywhere in Latvia.

«As part of the TPS-77 MRR program, Lockheed Martin will continue to engage with local Latvian industry for procurement and production. These relationships will form the basis for long-term local maintenance and support of the new systems after delivery. Latvian industry played important role in development and production of TPS-77 MRR. This collaboration boosted the capacity of Latvian industry», underlines Rick Cordaro of Lockheed Martin.

Lockheed Martin is a security and aviation technology company with global presence. It has produced and maintains more than 180 surveillance-range radars, all of which are operational around the world detecting targets at ranges up to 400 kilometres/248.5 miles, 24 hours a day.

There are already three Lockheed Martin AN/TPS-77 radars in Latvia, positioned in Čalas, Lielvārde and Audriņi surveillance radar stations of National Armed Forces. These radars have improved the airspace security and efficiency of air traffic surveillance, civil flights have become safer and coordination of search and rescue operations has become better. Lockheed Martin and Latvia created partnership for production and maintenance of radars more than 16 years ago.

Strengthening of air defence and air surveillance capabilities is one of the priorities for the National Armed Forces. Enhanced capability to detect potential threat and defend against, or eliminate such threats, is essential for protection of critical infrastructure and National Armed Forces from aerial attack.

 

Radar Characteristics

GENERAL CHARACTERISTICS
Multi-Role Radar System
Frequency Band (D/L) 1215 to 1400 MHz
Active Electronic Elevation Scanning Array
Solid State Transmitters
MULTI-ROLE CHARACTERISTICS
Performance Designed to Meet Customer Requirements
Highly Configurable Performance due to Flexible Time Energy Management
Operator Mission Selection by Azimuth
Identification
CONFIGURABLE PARAMETERS
Instrumented Ranges and Height Rotation Rate
Maximum Elevation Coverage Transmit Power
EXAMPLE MISSIONS
Long Range
Gap Filler Radar
Unmanned Aerial Vehicle (UAV) Detection
Low Level Flight Surveillance
Tactical Ballistic Missile Warning
Ground Based Air Defense
Maritime Surveillance
Border Security/Surveillance
Ground Control Intercept Drug Interdiction
Terminal Control Radar
Customer Unique
SYSTEM RELIABILITY
Availability 99.9%
Critical Mean Time Between Failure (MTBF) > 2000 Hours
Mean Time To Repair (MTTR) < 45 Minutes
FREQUENCY CONTROL
4 Agility Modes
100 Center Frequencies
Azimuth Based Control
TARGET LOADING
1500 Plots
TRANSPORTATION CONFIGURATION
C-130, Helicopter, Truck, Train
LONG RANGE SURVEILLANCE MISSION
Range 5-250 NM/6.2-287.7 miles/10-463 km
Azimuth 360°
Height Coverage 0-16.47 NM/0-18.95 miles/0-30.5 km
Elevation Coverage 0° – +20° with electronically adjustable tilt
Scan Rate 5 Revolutions Per Minute (RPM)
Target Size Typical fighter aircraft
Probability of Detection (PD) 80%
PD Range 140 NM/160.9 miles/259 km
PD Height up to 16.47 NM/18.95 miles/30.5 km
Accuracies up to 8.2 NM/9.4 miles/15.2 km
Range < 164 feet/50 m out to 120 NM/138 miles/222 km
Azimuth < 0.22° out to 120 NM/138 miles/222 km
Height < 3,000 feet/915 m out to 100 NM/115 miles/185 km
LOW LEVEL FLIGHT SURVEILLANCE MISSION
Range 1-81 NM/1.2-93.2 miles/2-150 km
Azimuth 360°
Height Coverage 0-8 NM/0-9.3 miles/0-15 km
Elevation Coverage 0° – +30° with electronically adjustable tilt
Scan Rate 10 Revolutions Per Minute (RPM)
Target Size Typical fighter aircraft
Probability of Detection (PD) 90%
PD Range 81 NM/93.2 miles/150 km
PD Height up to 6.48 NM/7.45 miles/12 km
Accuracies up to 6.48 NM/7.45 miles/12 km
Range < 164 feet/50 m out to 81 NM/93.2 miles/150 km
Azimuth < 0.20° out to 81 NM/93.2 miles/150 km
Height < 2,800 feet/850 m out to 81 NM/93.2 miles/150 km

 

 

The Multi-Role Radar (TPS-77 MRR) is designed for ultra-low power consumption and is the most transportable version of Lockheed Martin’s successful TPS-77 product line. This high-performing radar can be truck mounted or easily transported via C-130, truck, rail or helicopter

Advance Railgun

General Atomics Electromagnetic Systems (GA-EMS) announced that it has been awarded a contract from the U.S. Army through the Defense Ordnance Technology Consortium (DOTC) to evaluate and mature electromagnetic railgun weapon system capabilities to support the U.S. Army Armament Research, Development, and Engineering Command (ARDEC). The three year period of performance contract will team GA-EMS with ARDEC to advance railgun technologies, deliver a series of prototypes, and perform system integration and testing for mission effectiveness and possible integration with existing and future Army vehicles.

General Atomics Awarded Army Contract to Advance Railgun Weapon System Technology
General Atomics Awarded Army Contract to Advance Railgun Weapon System Technology

«This contract allows the ARDEC to leverage our on-going research, development, and testing to advance railgun technologies and further develop railgun weapon systems for Army applications enhancing their effectiveness against multiple types of threats», stated Nick Bucci, vice president of Missile Defense and Space Systems at GA-EMS. «The railgun weapon system is intended to integrate with existing Army systems and complement conventional capabilities, providing an effective counter to aircraft, rocket and cruise missile raids as well as other threats».

«Using hypersonic projectiles, railgun provides the soldier with shorter time to target, achieves effectiveness at longer range, and provides a lower cost per engagement than conventional interceptors», added Mike Rucker, director of Programs for Missile Defense Systems.

GA-EMS has successfully designed and built multi-mission railgun systems ranging from an integrated 3 Mega Joule (MJ) test asset and a larger 32MJ system, to a new mobile 10MJ railgun system. GA-EMS’ unique approach to packaging and distribution of pulsed power reduces the system footprint required to launch guided hypersonic projectiles. This contract award will leverage over four years of engineering, development and testing of railgun launched hypersonic projectiles to advance and mature the railgun system to meet future Army mission requirements.