Category Archives: Ground Forces

First live firing test

According to British Force News, the latest addition to the British Army’s fleet, the AFV Ajax, has successfully completed its first live firing test.

An Ajax armored fighting vehicle developed by General Dynamics for the British Army recently carried out the first live firing trial of its automatic 40-mm gun (GD UK photo)
An Ajax armored fighting vehicle developed by General Dynamics for the British Army recently carried out the first live firing trial of its automatic 40-mm gun (GD UK photo)

Formerly known as the Scout SV, the Armoured Fighting Vehicle (AFV) is being developed by General Dynamics to replace the Scimitar, and is one of six planned variants ordered by the Ministry of Defence (MoD). It will be renamed Ajax when it comes into service.

This early live firing, at Radnor Ranges in Powys, Wales, involved testing the main 40-mm stabilised cannon and machine gun while the vehicle was static.

Throughout the test, AFV Ajax had a huge amount of instrumentation filled to record all aspects of the firing, from recoil and blast stresses to fall of shot.

The next test firing is planned for later this year, and once again will involve a fully instrumented vehicle and be used to gather further evidence before progressing to manned firing in early 2017.

The Senior Requirements Manager for the Ajax Programme, Lieutenant Colonel David Cathro, said: «This a great achievement for the programme. The challenges in getting to this point should not be underestimated and today is the result of a lot of hard work. Seeing the firings today gives us confidence that the Army will receive this battle-winning and transformational capability on time and to budget».

The AFV Ajax, which will come in six variants, will boast 360-degree thermal and visual driving cameras, laser detection ability, and numerous other new features. It’ll have a top speed of 43 mph/69 km/h, and will be able to pull up to 92 tonnes.

It claims to be the first fully-digitised fighting vehicle, with all crew members in the vehicle able to share its camera capabilities.

The MoD placed a £3.5 billion order for 589 in 2014, with delivery expected to begin in 2017 and continue until 2024.

Controversy arose last year over jobs Prime Minister David Cameron claimed would be assured by the deal, after he promised that it would secure 1,300 jobs across the UK.

But according to the Daily Mirror, it later emerged that 40% of the work will be done by overseas firms, meaning Britain will lose £1.4 billion.

A Ministry of Defence spokesperson said: «We are assembling these vehicles in South Wales, supporting thousands of UK jobs and ensuring our servicemen and women have the very best equipment».

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First live fire test for British Army’s Ajax

New Sniper System

Heckler & Koch Defense Inc. was awarded a contract worth up to $44.5 million from the U.S. Army for a new compact sniper rifle. The Compact Semi-Automatic Sniper System (CSASS) will provide the service with a small, lightweight, highly accurate weapon, addressing a critical need to replace older and heavier rifles currently in use.

Standard configuration
Standard configuration

Under terms of the award, HK Defense will produce up to 3,643 rifles. The new HK rifle is a lightweight variant of the 7.62-mm G28 in use by the German Army. The HK CSASS capitalizes on the proven G28 and HK417 designs, meeting the U.S. Army’s requirements for accuracy, reliability, size, and weight. Heckler & Koch will also provide spare parts, support, and training to the U.S. Army.

Patrol configuration
Patrol configuration

«This award represents another significant achievement for Heckler & Koch», said Wayne Weber, President of Heckler & Koch USA. «The HK CSASS rifle is a substantial upgrade over the U.S. Army’s current sniper rifles, enhancing accuracy and reliability while providing for a handier, more compact arm. It also confirms Heckler & Koch as a leader in providing small arms to the U.S. military».

G28 with night vision sight qioptiq Merlin-LR (Long Range)
G28 with night vision sight qioptiq Merlin-LR (Long Range)

According to Daniel Wasserbly, IHS Jane’s Defence Weekly correspondent, the CSASS will more effectively execute a broad spectrum of missions than the current M110. The CSASS will provide the following upgrades: improved reliability, improved accuracy, and improved ergonomics; reduced weight and length; advanced coatings; improved optics; reduced felt recoil; enhanced suppressor performance; enhanced modular rail capabilities; an improved bipod, trigger, pistol grip, and butt-stock.

G28 with thermal sight L3-insight CNVD-T3
G28 with thermal sight L3-insight CNVD-T3

 

Technical data

Calibre 7.62-mm × 51 NATO
Modes of fire Semi Auto Only *
Barrel length **/configuration 420 mm (16.5“)/Hammer forged, chrome plated
Twist length NATO 305 mm/12“
Upper receiver Steel
Trigger pull ca. 25-28 N
Muzzle velocity/energy *** ca. 780 m/s – 3000 J
Functional and ballistic compatibility NATO standard rounds AB22 (FMJ)/AB24 (Tracer)/Selected accuracy rounds with bullet weights up to 12.3 g (190 gr) ****
Gas regulation for suppressor use Two stage design (suppressed/unsuppressed)
Universal interface STANAG 4694 (NATO Accessory Rail) *****
Colour concept RAL-8000 green-brown
HK ACCURACY TESTING PROCEDURE AND TECHNICAL TERMS OF DELIVERY
Ammunition type Accuracy Rounds (OTM/HPBT/Sierra Match King)
No. of rounds 10
Range 100 m
Measuring method Bullet hole centre to bullet hole centre
Maximum dispersion < 45 mm (ca. 1.5 MOA) – Guaranteed with every G28 rifle
SIGHTS & ACCESSORIES – HK RECOMMENDATIONS
Telescopic sight up to 800 m Schmidt & Bender PMII 3-20 × 50/DMR reticle according to international Mildot standard/Full reticle illumination/Laserfilter DIN-EN 207-L4/paralax compensation
Telescopic sight up to 600 m Schmidt & Bender PMII 1-8 × 24/DMR reticle according to international Mildot standard/Full reticle illumination/Laserfilter DIN-EN 207-L4/Combined red dot and reticle illumination
Red dot sight Aimpoint Micro T1
Laser light module Rheinmetall Soldier Electronics LLM-225
Night vision sight Qioptiq Merlin Long Range
Thermal sight L3-Insight CNVD-T3 ******
Laser Range Finder Jenoptik HLR15
Height of sight radius ca. 38 mm
Transportation case Peli 1770-010-195E01 NF / CARAMELC010286

* No full auto conversion option

** Other barrel lengths in preparation

*** With NATO standard round AB22 – M80

**** No general functional guarantee for non-NATO standardised rounds; HK recommendation: functional and ballistic customer acceptance test with the G28 at ammunition manufacturers

***** Full backward compatibility with MIL-STD-1913 rail

****** Also usable as stand-alone sight

 

Mini-Missile interceptor

A Lockheed Martin-built Miniature Hit-to-Kill (MHTK) interceptor was successfully launched from a Multi-Mission Launcher (MML) in an engineering demonstration on April 4 at White Sands Missile Range, New Mexico.

A Lockheed-developed Miniature Hit-to-Kill (MHTK) missile is launched from a Multi-Mission Launcher (MML) during an engineering demonstration at White Sands Missile Range, New Mexico (Lockheed photo)
A Lockheed-developed Miniature Hit-to-Kill (MHTK) missile is launched from a Multi-Mission Launcher (MML) during an engineering demonstration at White Sands Missile Range, New Mexico (Lockheed photo)

The launch demonstrated the agility and aerodynamic capability of the MHTK missile, which is designed to defeat Rocket, Artillery and Mortar (RAM) targets at ranges greatly exceeding those of current and interim systems. Today’s launch advances the program, increasing the level of MHTK integration maturity with the MML.

«Today’s global security environment demands agile, close-range solutions that protect soldiers and citizens from enemy rockets, artillery and mortars», said Hal Stuart, Lockheed Martin’s MHTK Program Manager. «This test is a critical milestone demonstrating the interceptor’s maturity, and we look forward to continuing to build on this success using key data gathered from today’s launch».

The MHTK interceptor was designed to be small in size while retaining the range, lethality and reliability of other Hit-to-Kill interceptors. MHTK is just over two feet (61 cm) in length and weighs five pounds (2.2 kg) at launch. The compact footprint of the MHTK allows multiple rounds to be packaged in a single MML tube.

The MML is a key component of the Army’s Indirect Fire Protection Capability Increment 2 – Intercept program. The program is designed to provide Army forces protection from cruise missiles, Unmanned Aircraft Systems (UAS) and RAM threats. The MML is designed to carry and launch a variety of missiles from a single launcher.

The MHTK uses Hit-to-Kill technology, which destroys threats through kinetic energy in body-to-body contact. Hit-to-Kill technology removes the risk of collateral damage seen in traditional blast-fragmentation interceptors. The MHTK interceptor complements other Lockheed Martin Hit-to-Kill missile interceptors by delivering close range lethality with proven success for a true layered defense.

 

Refurbish CV90

The Swedish government has awarded BAE Systems a contract to refurbish 262 Combat Vehicles 90 (CV90) for the Swedish Army. The company’s work will include refurbishing the chassis and upgrading the vehicle’s survivability and turrets, as well as enhancing combat system performance. Together, these efforts will help increase the vehicles’ lifespan in support of Army capabilities.

BAE Systems has won a contract to refurbish 262 Combat Vehicles-90 (CV-90) which are currently the mainstay of the Swedish army’s armored units (Swedish MoD photo)
BAE Systems has won a contract to refurbish 262 Combat Vehicles-90 (CV-90) which are currently the mainstay of the Swedish army’s armored units (Swedish MoD photo)

«This is a very important program for BAE Systems and the Swedish Army», said Lena Gillström, managing director of BAE Systems Weapons Systems in Karlskoga, which builds the turrets. «With this refurbishment and the introduction of the new Battlefield Management System, these vehicles will take a step into the era of digitized defense to strengthen the Army’s capability to meet future threats».

BAE Systems will work closely with the customer throughout the program. Work starts immediately with deliveries beginning in 2018 and running through 2020.

«For the Swedish Army, CV90 has proven its value and capability over the years», said Tommy Gustafsson-Rask, president of BAE Systems Hägglunds AB in Örnsköldsvik. «CV90 is already in service in seven countries and now, with this refurbishment program, we’ll further extend the CV90’s contribution to Sweden’s defense».

CV90 is a family of Swedish tracked combat vehicles designed by FMV, BAE Systems Hägglunds, and BAE Systems Weapons Systems, with more than 4 million engineering hours contributing to the development of this advanced Infantry Fighting Vehicle (IFV). The Swedish version of the IFV is outfitted with a turret equipped with a 40-mm autocannon.

The Swedish Army has a fleet of 509 CV90s. Other countries currently using the vehicle are Norway, Denmark, Finland, Estonia, the Netherlands, and Switzerland.

The contract was awarded to HB Utveckling AB, a joint venture between BAE Systems Bofors AB, part of BAE Systems Weapons Systems, and BAE Systems Hägglunds AB.

The Swedish Army has a fleet of 509 CV90s
The Swedish Army has a fleet of 509 CV90s

 

Specifications

Top speed 43.5 mph/70 km/h
Range 559 miles/900 km
Payload 16 tonnes
Ballistic > 5
Mine > 4a/4b
Trench crossing 2.6 m/8.5 feet
Step climbing 1.1 m/3.6 feet
Fording 1.5 m/4.9 feet
Remote Weapon Station (RWS) 7.62 – 40-mm Automatic Grenade Launcher (AGL)
Turret 40-mm autocannon
No. of operators 3 + 7
Gradient 60 %
Power to weight ratio 17.1-24.2 kW/ton
Electrical power 570 A
Engine Scania V8
Operating temperature C2-A1
Driveline
Steel or rubber tracks ≤ 28 tonnes
Steel > 28 tonnes
Semi active dampening

 

Double range

Picatinny Arsenal engineers have been working to create a longer, newly modified M777A2 howitzer that has the potential to double the system’s current artillery range. The modification adds six feet/1.8 m to the cannon and less than 1,000 pounds/453.6 kg to the overall system. A mobility demonstration is the first step to determine if the howitzer can be modified for extended range, or if a new system is required.

The newly modified M777A2 howitzer has the potential to double the system’s current artillery range (Photo by Erin Usawicz)
The newly modified M777A2 howitzer has the potential to double the system’s current artillery range (Photo by Erin Usawicz)

«Their user concern is that when the self-propelled program is done they will be left with a towed cannon variant that they can’t tow around, which is its number one mode of transportation», said David Bound, M777ER Lead, Artillery Concepts and Design Branch, which is part of the Armament Research, Development and Engineering Center, or ARDEC.

The Extended Range Cannon Artillery, or ERCA, project is funded by ARDEC’s science and technology office and charged with developing technology to extend the range of all 155-mm artillery.

The ERCA program develops not only the XM907 cannon but also products, such as the XM1113 rocket assisted projectile, the XM654 supercharge, an autoloader, and new fire control system.

Program Manager Towed Artillery Systems, or PM-TAS, which leads the M777ER program, is taking the ERCA cannon design and adapting it to the M777 to determine if it can be a cross-platform solution.

This PM-TAS effort is a dual-funded program by the Army and the Marines.

PM-TAS is part of the Program Executive Office for Ammunition at Picatinny Arsenal.

To begin efforts to test mobility, PM-TAS demonstrated a modified M777A2 Howitzer with an integration kit for the mass mock-up of the modified XM907 ERCA cannon at Yuma Proving Ground, Arizona. Follow-on mobility testing will be conducted at Aberdeen Proving Ground, Maryland, to document the changes in mobility from a standard M777A2, if any.

«The ERCA program is developing the cannon to give it more range. PM-TAS is doing the demonstration to the Marines to show how it would look, feel and move when integrated into the M777A2 carriage», said Bound.

The demonstration will not include firing the weapon, but will show how the gun responds when it travels and how it feels when the crew interacts with the controls.

With nearly 1,000 pounds/453.6 kg added to the system’s overall weight and an additional six feet/1.8 m of cannon tube, the demonstration is taking place to give the Soldiers and Marines more confidence that the gun will still meet all of its mobility requirements.

«The visual prejudice we are up against is that it looks like it may tip over with all that extra cannon. We are trying to increase confidence that the M777 is an acceptable candidate for an extended range upgrade», said Bound.

In efforts to ensure that the gun will meet all of its requirements, a mobility cannon tube was created.

The mobility tube consists of an old 52-caliber tube that was modified to fit into an M777A2 at the weight of the XM907. Additionally, grooves were added to the exterior of the tube to allow Picatinny engineers to hang weights at different positions, enabling them to move the center of gravity of the weapon forward or rear.

This cannon will allow the Army and the Marines to assess the impacts to the M777 and how it’s operated as the ERCA program optimizes the cannon design.

«The weights allow the Center of Gravity to move and get to the point where we can start towing this around as the configuration of the tube changes as the ERCA figures out what they want to do because it’s in flux right now», said Bound.

«We are able to replicate how that tube reacts in the system using the different weight configurations. Then, we can hook this up to a truck so we can see what the users can expect from a human-factors point of view of how much harder it is to elevate, traverse back and forth, and what the trucks are going to see as they tow the system around», said Bound.

Benet Labs designed the tube and Picatinny designed all of the carriage modifications.

 

Increased range

«Right now (the M777) can shoot about 18.6 miles/30 kilometers, but once all of the upgrades are complete it will be able to shoot about 43.5 miles/70 kilometers», said Bound. «So, it will be able to reach out and hit targets well in excess before the targets can reach them. It will also give a lot of operational over match so the warfighter won’t have to worry about coming into a situation where they are under fire before they can return fire».

After the ERCA program, the M777ER program is engaged in making sure that ERCA’s system is suitable for the M777 system.

The final ERCA system will be demonstrated with an M109A7 system, which is the Paladin self-propelled howitzer.

 

New 40-mm cannon

The first production standard Cased Telescoped Cannon System has been handed over to the UK Ministry of Defence (MoD) in Bourges, France by CTA International (CTAI) – a 50/50 joint venture company between BAE Systems and Nexter Systems. It is the first delivery of 515 new 40-mm cannons that have been ordered for the British Army for use in the Ajax and Warrior vehicles and incorporates unique technologies that will provide superior firepower.

New 40-mm cannon system handed over to British Army
New 40-mm cannon system handed over to British Army

Developed by specialist engineers from BAE Systems and Nexter Systems, the cannon system uses an innovative design for both the cannon and its ammunition, and is the first completely new cannon system ordered by the MoD since the 1960s. The new cannon fires 40-mm Cased Telescoped ammunition, manufactured for the British Army by BAE Systems’ munitions factories in Washington, Tyne and Wear and Glascoed in Wales.

The new ammunition is neatly contained in a straight tube instead of the traditional bullet shape and can deliver a more explosive charge – up to four times the power of the 30-mm rounds it replaces. The current types of ammunition developed for the cannon include armour piercing and training rounds – while a new airburst round for engaging light vehicles and infantry spread over a large area, and a point detonating round which can penetrate thick concrete – are currently undergoing qualification. CTAI is also working on an anti-aerial airburst round for airborne targets.

The cannon uses a new rotating breech system, with ammunition loaded at a 90-degree angle to the barrel before being rotated into firing position. Loading the ammunition sideways saves a large amount of space in the vehicle, allowing this to be used to store more ammunition or other equipment. The cannon has been developed and is manufactured by CTAI whose factory is now in full production of the new cannon for the MoD.

Minister of State for Defence Procurement Philip Dunne said: «This next-generation cannon has been developed through close Anglo-French collaboration and adds significantly to the capability of the UK and our NATO allies. The delivery of the first cannon on our Ajax vehicles is another example of how our £178 billion investment in UK Defence is ensuring our Armed Forces have the equipment they need».

Managing Director of CTAI, Craig Fennell, said: «This is a significant milestone for CTAI and a proud moment to see our cannon being handed over to the British Army. We are the only group in the world who can design and manufacture this type of cannon and ammunition, giving us a unique product for export».

The handover of the first cannon follows many years of exhaustive testing and qualification, which has proved the effectiveness and reliability of the system.

PAC-3 Intercepts Target

A Lockheed Martin PAC-3 Missile Segment Enhancement (PAC-3 MSE) Missile successfully detected, tracked and intercepted a Tactical Ballistic Missile (TBM) target on March 17 at White Sands Missile Range, New Mexico, as part of a U.S. Army-led flight test.

PAC-3 MSE Intercepts Missile Target in Flight Test
PAC-3 MSE Intercepts Missile Target in Flight Test

«The PAC-3 MSE continues to demonstrate its reliability and hit-to-kill capability», said Scott Arnold, vice president of PAC-3 programs at Lockheed Martin Missiles and Fire Control. «The enhancements of the MSE will provide the warfighter with the tools needed to defend against current and evolving threats».

The PAC-3 Missile is a high-velocity interceptor that uses hit-to-kill technology to defend against incoming threats, including TBMs, cruise missiles and aircraft.

Building on the battle-proven PAC-3 Missile, the PAC-3 MSE brings a larger, dual-pulse solid rocket motor, larger control fins and an upgraded support system. These enhancements nearly double the missile’s reach, and dramatically improve performance against missile threats.

The PAC-3 MSE missile uses hit-to-kill technology for greater lethality against TBMs armed with weapons of mass destruction. The PAC-3 MSE represents the next generation PAC-3 missile providing expanded battlespace performance against evolving threats. The PAC-3 MSE improves upon current PAC-3 Cost Reduction Initiative (CRI) missile capability with a higher performance solid rocket motor, modified lethality enhancer, more responsive control surfaces, upgraded guidance software, and insensitive munitions improvements.

The PAC-3 MSE incorporates a logistical flexibility over that of PAC-3 CRI through a modular single canister. The PAC-3 MSE single canisters will be kitted as a two-pack for both the shipping and tactical configuration. Additionally, the PAC-3 MSE single-pack canister design modularity enables field replacement of spent/failed missile(s). There will be no anticipated increase in PATRIOT operations or maintenance personnel as a result of integrating the PAC-3 MSE enhancements into PATRIOT.

 

GD to Build AJAX

On March 7, 2016 General Dynamics Land Systems-UK inaugurated its new Armoured Fighting Vehicle (AFV) Assembly, Integration and Testing (AIT) facility at Merthyr Tydfil, South Wales. The facility, which will undergo significant refurbishment through 2016 and be fully operational in 2017, will support the delivery of AJAX vehicles to the British Army.

AJAX incorporates cutting-edge and proven technology to provide an unparalleled balance of protection, weight and agility for a vehicle of its class
AJAX incorporates cutting-edge and proven technology to provide an unparalleled balance of protection, weight and agility for a vehicle of its class

At a short ceremony attended by the Rt Hon Carwyn Jones AM, First Minister of Wales, Philip Dunne MP, Minister for Defence Procurement, and Alun Cairns MP, Wales Office Minister, representatives of the British Army and other local dignitaries, the facility was declared open and reaffirms the UK’s proud history of developing and manufacturing AFVs.

The facility was dedicated in the memory of famous Welshman, Sir Tasker Watkins. Born in Nelson, Caerphilly, which is a short distance from Merthyr Tydfil, Sir Tasker earned the Victoria Cross during the Second World War for his gallantry in the face of the enemy. Following the war, he served Wales with equal distinction in many different roles, including as President of the Welsh Rugby Union.

The Rt Hon Carwyn Jones AM, First Minister of Wales, said: «Today’s news is great for Merthyr and great for Wales. We’ve built a strong and close working relationship with General Dynamics – one of our anchor companies – and we have supported a number of their key projects that have brought new work and technology to Wales and created hundreds of new jobs. I am delighted we were able to support this latest, strategically important, investment and welcome the considerable associated economic benefits it will create».

Philip Dunne, Minister for Defence Procurement, commented: «The opening of this new facility is a major development for both Merthyr Tydfil and the British Army. It is another reminder of the importance of Defence investment right across the UK: the AJAX programme alone is sustaining 2,800 jobs across the country, 550 of which are here in Wales. This new facility, like the next generation vehicle it will produce, is more evidence of our £178 billion commitment to provide our Armed Forces with the equipment they need. Thanks to the close partnership between the UK Government and industry, this site will spring back in to life as a significant centre of employment and bring in valuable skills with a lasting legacy for the entire region».

Alun Cairns MP, Wales Office Minister, remarked: «The UK government is determined to see as many MoD projects designed, built and manufactured here in the UK. General Dynamics’ decision to bring the assembly, integration and testing of AJAX vehicles to south Wales is an enormous vote of confidence in the skills and expertise of the workforce here in Merthyr Tydfil. This grows the defence footprint in Wales and is an excellent example of the UK and Welsh Governments working together in the interests of the Welsh economy. The Welsh manufacturing sector is surging from strength to strength. Today’s event showcases the invaluable contribution our home-grown talent is making in the provision of first-class protection and support to the brave men and women working in front line situations around the world».

Kevin Connell, vice president of General Dynamics Land Systems-UK, said: «Today’s inauguration reaffirms our commitment to delivering world-leading AFVs to the British Army from the UK, and firmly establishes Wales as the home of the UK’s AFV industry. I’d like to thank the UK Government, Welsh Government, local council and community for its support as we establish a facility that we can all be proud of, which will lead the way in the delivery of a cutting-edge, fully-digitised fleet of vehicles for the British Army».

Commenting on the dedication of the facility in the memory of Sir Tasker Watkins, Kevin Connell said: «Sir Tasker put his service to his men and country before his own safety during the Second World War, and his gallantry deserves to be continually remembered. Today’s dedication was our way of honouring his memory, and recognising the service of our Armed Forces, who serve our country with distinction every day».

The new facility will support the creation of 250 new jobs, whilst the entire AJAX programme directly supports approximately 2,800 jobs across the UK at more than 210 UK-based companies. General Dynamics Land Systems-UK will begin initial, limited recruitment for the new facility later this year, with further significant recruitment taking place in mid-2017.

AJAX can operate in combined-arms and multinational situations across a wide-range of future operating environments
AJAX can operate in combined-arms and multinational situations across a wide-range of future operating environments

Army validates PRC-155

General Dynamics Mission Systems AN/PRC-155 MUOS-Manpack radio was the communications hub connecting soldiers located in the U. S. Army Pacific region with the Mobile User Objective System (MUOS) communications network. Multiple two-channel AN/PRC-155 MUOS-Manpack radios, located in and around the Hawaiian Islands, helped soldiers talk, share information and maintain communications aboard Army vessels and in various land-based locations. Equipped with a MUOS high-power amplifier and running the MUOS waveform, the radios helped soldiers share enroute mission command, creating a common operational picture via the MUOS communications network among participating soldiers.

MUOS Manpack is the DoD Radio Terminal for MUOS Program
MUOS Manpack is the DoD Radio Terminal for MUOS Program

«This successful demonstration, in addition to the joint U.S. Army-Navy evaluation in November 2015, exhibits the military readiness of the MUOS communications network and that the AN/PRC-155 MUOS-Manpack radio is the only radio to successfully connect military personnel with the new MUOS network in multiple operational settings», said Mike DiBiase, a vice president of General Dynamics Mission Systems. «As the Army prioritizes where the AN/PRC-155 MUOS-Manpack radios go, soldiers can count on it to provide the connectivity and crystal clear voice communications wherever they are deployed, particularly in areas where the landscape or geographic location seriously impedes network connectivity».

Held in the Army Pacific area of interest, the demonstration continues to validate how the AN/PRC-155 MUOS-Manpack radio using the MUOS network provided consistent, persistent communications connectivity, solving a challenge for Army operations in isolated and austere locations.

Using the Manpack radios with a MUOS applique and the Joint Battle Command Platform (JBC-P) system, soldiers onboard a Logistics Supply Vessel (LSV) that travelled between two islands communicated and transferred data and images to soldiers in Oahu and Hawaii. In addition to communicating continuously via voice and data from the LSV back to land, commanders tracked the ship’s location using the JBC-P. The exercise showed how the networked systems can provide communications and situational awareness data to small units and United States Army Pacific (USRPAC) logistical operations.

The General Dynamics AN/PRC-155 MUOS-Manpack radio is equipped with a MUOS high-power amplifier that provides the radio-signal strength needed to reach the MUOS satellites that are in geo-synchronous orbit. Using both channels, the AN/PRC-155 is the bridge that connects different radios and waveforms used by soldiers across a mission area. The AN/PRC-155 MUOS Manpack receives a call from a tactical radio on one channel, routes and retransmits the call using the second channel, sending the call to a satellite communications network, like MUOS or other tactical communications network.

There are currently 5,326 AN/PRC-155 Manpack radios delivered to the U.S. Army providing secure line-of-sight and satellite communications connectivity for Army personnel deployed in places where other communication networks are unavailable or inaccessible.

The MUOS waveform is the digital dial tone that connects personnel using the AN/PRC-155 MUOS-Manpack radio with the MUOS communications network, allowing them to talk, text and share mission information seamlessly. As the Army moves to a more expeditionary force, soldiers need to be connected to the network at all times, in every environment and during every stage of an operation.

The Lockheed-Martin-built MUOS communications network provides military and government personnel smartphone-like access to the network with the voice clarity civilians enjoy using their cellphones every day.

In addition, the AIM II embedded programmable security allows the dismounted warfighter to seamlessly join any combat net with confidence
In addition, the AIM II embedded programmable security allows the dismounted warfighter to seamlessly join any combat net with confidence

 

PRC-155 Manpack Radio Datasheet

Frequency Range 2 MHz – 2.5 GHz (banded)
Guard 121.5 VHF and 243.0 UHF
Size 236 inch³/3,867 cm³ (378 inch³/6,194 cm³ with battery);

3.0 inch/76 mm × 10.1 inch/256 mm × 7.8 inch/198 mm (without battery bucket);

3.0 inch/76 mm × 10.1 inch/256 mm × 12.5 inch/317 mm (with battery bucket)

Weight <9 lbs/4 kg (<14 lbs/6.3 kg with battery)
Number of Channels 2
Waveform Support SRW, MUOS, SINCGARS, SATCOM, WNW*, V/U LOS*, HQII*, IW*, HF SSB w ALE**
Presets 50 per channel
Maximum Power Output 20 Watts; external 50 Watt PAs available
JTRS Compliance Yes
Army-Certified Waveforms Yes
Fully Programmable COMSEC and TRANSEC (Type 1 & Type 2) Yes
JTRS APIs Yes
Multiple Independent Levels of Security (MILS) Yes
Remote Control Capability Yes
CIK Function, Removable Yes
OTAR Yes
Retransmission, Voice and Data Integral (2 channels)

* Software upgradeable

**Software upgradable, requires additional hardware

With the MHPA attached, the HMS Manpack becomes MUOS enabled providing a worldwide satellite-based communications capability, derived from 3GPP UMTS cellular technology
With the MHPA attached, the HMS Manpack becomes MUOS enabled providing a worldwide satellite-based communications capability, derived from 3GPP UMTS cellular technology

 

PRC-155 Manpack Radio is the first two-channel voice and data radio to connect both soldiers on the ground and vehicles downrange to the U.S. Army’s Tactical Network. With the ability to connect to SATCOM, SINGARS, SRW and the MUOS satellite network, the PRC-155 ensures Soldiers will never be out of contact again

BAE Unveils Terrier

Widely regarded as the «Swiss Army Knife» of combat engineering vehicles, BAE Systems’ Terrier has been fitted with new technologies and systems by its defence engineers. The updated vehicle offers a new telescopic investigation arm and the ability to wade through 6.5-foot/2-meter wave surges.

Terrier with mine plough
Terrier with mine plough

The telescopic investigation arm extends over 26 feet/8 m from the vehicle – one of the longest in the world available for such a vehicle – allowing crews to probe and unearth buried devices from a safe distance. Additionally, the vehicle can now be exported with a rock hammer, ripper and earth augur – hugely extending its capabilities. The hammer can split rocks and penetrate concrete, while the ripper can tear up roads or runways, preventing their use. The earth augur can drill holes for use in combat engineering.

Terrier will also be able to wade through significantly deeper waters, withstanding up to 6.5-foot/2-meter wave surges. Rory Breen, Export Sales Manager for BAE Systems Land (UK) said: «The greater wading depth and surge protection will make Terrier even better suited for use in coastal or low-lying areas, where it can play an important role in disaster relief as well as combat situations. Along with the new telescopic arm and other attachments, Terrier remains the most technologically advanced and flexible combat engineer vehicle in the world. Due to the modular nature of the vehicle, it could also be quickly adapted for a range of other situations, such as clearing paths through jungle or thick foliage».

Terrier Combat Engineer Vehicle
Terrier Combat Engineer Vehicle

Terrier’s existing capabilities include complete remote control from up to 0.6 mile/1 km away, along with a variety of lifting, grabbing and moving capabilities. Its front loader system can lift weights of up to five tonnes and can shift 300 tonnes of earth per hour. In addition, its recently trialled sub-surface mine plough can penetrate to recognised safe depths while travelling at up to 9.3 mph/15 km/h, quickly creating a path free of mines and improvised explosive devices.

Terrier was designed to provide the British Army with maximum flexibility from a single vehicle, allowing them to reduce their equipment and logistic footprint. BAE Systems’ engineers continue to develop new modular attachments, meaning that Terrier customers can upgrade their vehicles to meet new requirements without changing platforms.

Terrier is the most advanced combat engineer vehicle – delivering uncompromising performance from a medium weight chassis