Category Archives: Rocket

Air defence solution

MBDA and PGZ have unveiled at MSPO 2019 an air defence solution that features MBDA’s Common Anti-Air Modular Missile (CAMM) iLauncher integrated with a Polish Jelcz 8×8 truck chassis.

MBDA, PGZ showcase CAMM air defence solution on Jelcz vehicle

The two parties also re-confirm the will expressed in the Strategic Partnership Agreement for Missile Technology signed 2 February 2017 between PGZ-MBDA for co-operation on missile programmes.

Based around the CAMM family of interceptors, the MBDA proposed co-operation contains a very high level of Polish content and will see extensive transfer of technology and know-how with both the missile and iLauncher being progressively built in Poland. If selected the joint PGZ-MBDA solution offers the best solution for Polish industry and sovereignty.

Sebastian Chwałek, Deputy CEO of PGZ, said: «Implementation of the Narew programme by PGZ is fundamental for our future and the security of Poland. This is why we are demonstrating that there are no limitations for us in foreign co-operation. By joining our competences in communication and command systems, which are key for air defence, with our foreign partners’ missile technologies, we are ready to deliver a final product to the contracting party in a short time».

Jan Grabowski, MBDA’s Delegate in Poland, said: «This further deepening of the relationship between PGZ and MBDA is a great success for European defence co-operation. CAMM provides the Polish military and Polish industry with the best capabilities and technologies available on the world market, and the benefits of a true, European, partnership on missile technologies. Co-operation on CAMM is key to enabling deep co-operation on further missile programmes».

The CAMM family represent the latest generation of air defence technology. Utilising a next-generation active radar seeker and soft-launch technologies, CAMM is able to rapidly defeat large numbers of the most challenging modern air threats and is suitable for both land and maritime applications.

Intercept Test

Lockheed Martin’s Terminal High Altitude Area Defense (THAAD) system successfully intercepted a Medium-Range Ballistic Missile (MRBM) target on August 30, 2019 in a missile defense test led by the U.S. Missile Defense Agency (MDA) with critical support provided by the U.S. Army.

Lockheed Martin’s THAAD System made history by using remote launch capability to successfully detect, track and intercept a threat representative target (Photo by Missile Defense Agency)

During the test, designated Flight Test THAAD (FTT-23), the THAAD system located at U.S. Army Garrison Kwajalein Atoll in the Republic of the Marshall Islands successfully detected, tracked and intercepted a threat representative target using a THAAD launcher that was positioned at distance from the other THAAD end items.

The THAAD radar detected, acquired and tracked the target. The THAAD system then developed a fire control solution and launched an interceptor from a remotely-located THAAD launcher that destroyed the target’s reentry vehicle.

This was the 16th successful intercept in 16 attempts for the THAAD system since 2005.

The THAAD system now has the capability to physically untether a THAAD launcher from the battle manager and launch interceptors remotely, greatly enhancing launcher emplacement options and increasing the defended area.

«The enhanced THAAD system performed flawlessly in today’s test, and we are proud to support the Missile Defense Agency and U.S. Army as they continue to demonstrate the system’s unmatched capabilities», said Richard McDaniel, vice president of Upper Tier Integrated Air and Missile Defense Systems at Lockheed Martin. «This successful test paves the way for delivery of an urgent need capability that will enhance THAAD’s emplacement options resulting in greater asset protection».

THAAD is highly effective at defending against a host of ballistic missile threats to include mass raid scenarios. The system uses hit-to-kill technology to destroy a threat with direct impact neutralizing lethal payloads before they reach protected assets on the ground. The system is rapidly deployable, mobile and interoperable with all other Ballistic Missile Defense System (BMDS) elements, including Patriot/PAC-3, Aegis, forward-based sensors and the Command, Control, Battle Management and Communications system.

Initial production

The U.S. Navy awarded Raytheon Company a $190 million low-rate initial production contract for Evolved SeaSparrow Missile (ESSM) Block 2 missiles featuring a new guidance system with a dual mode active and semi-active radar.

The U.S. Navy completed the first successful guided flight test of the ESSM Block 2 intermediate-range, surface-to-air missile on June 12, 2018 (Photo: U.S. Navy)

This award follows the U.S. Navy’s decision to shift from development to production on the enhanced intermediate-range, surface-to-air missile, placing the Block 2 variant on track for initial operating capability in 2020.

The ESSM missile is the primary ship self-defense missile aboard U.S. Navy aircraft carriers and large deck amphibious assault ships. It is an integral component of the U.S. Navy’s layered area and ship self-defense capability for cruisers and destroyers.

«ESSM plays a critical role in protecting navy sailors worldwide and our international partners share our commitment to evolve this missile», said Doctor Mitch Stevison, Raytheon Strategic and Naval Systems vice president.

ESSM is the foundation of several allied navies’ anti-ship missile defense efforts and is operational on almost 200 naval platforms worldwide.

The ESSM program is a cooperative effort managed by a NATO-led consortium comprising 12 nations: Australia, Belgium, Canada, Denmark, Germany, Greece, The Netherlands, Norway, Portugal, Spain, Turkey and the United States.

Missile Defense System

The Ballistic Missile Defense System (BMDS) operates collectively and continuously through a multi-domain system that connects traditionally autonomous sensors, satellites and weapon systems. Through a $320 million contract, Lockheed Martin will continue to evolve this multi-domain system, the Command, Control, Battle Management and Communications (C2BMC) system.

C2BMC enables an optimized response to threats of all ranges in all phases of flight

Fielded and operational since 2004, C2BMC gives commanders at strategic, regional and operational levels an integrated picture of potential or current threats across the globe. Through C2BMC, commanders can make coordinated decisions about the most effective way to engage ballistic missile threats at any range, in any phase of flight.

With this contract, Lockheed Martin’s team will integrate the Long-Range Discrimination Radar, as well as sensors that provide advanced tracking capabilities for emerging threats into the BMDS. Using an agile development process, the team will enhance C2BMC’s threat characterization, tracking and advanced threat warning capabilities through integration with both new and enhanced sensor capabilities. The team will also further harden the overall cybersecurity posture of the system.

Lockheed Martin’s C2BMC team includes a partnership of highly responsive industry leaders that includes Northrop Grumman, Boeing, Raytheon, General Dynamics and many small businesses with expertise in key areas. The new contract extends the team’s performance on C2BMC through December 2022.

«The critical mission of missile defense requires a full view of incoming threats, actionable options for commanders and the ability to decisively and effectively respond», said JD Hammond, vice president of C4ISR Systems at Lockheed Martin. «C2BMC continues to showcase the benefits of a layered, cross domain defense that can help protect the U.S. and allies from increasing security concerns around the world».

There are C2BMC systems located at 36 locations worldwide, including U.S. Strategic, Northern, European, Indo-Pacific and Central Commands. The C2BMC system ties together elements of the Missile Defense Agency (MDA), Army, Navy and Air Force systems and sensors to provide a responsive and coherent global capability.

Multi-Band,
Multi-Mission

Lockheed Martin, Ball Aerospace, and Kratos Defense & Security Solutions, Inc. were awarded a $7.2 million prototype agreement by the Defense Innovation Unit to develop a new Multi-Band, Multi-Mission (MBMM) prototype phased array as part of a broader initiative to modernize the existing Air Force Satellite Control Network and bring new technology faster to warfighters. MBMM enables multiple satellites to simultaneously connect with a single array antenna over multiple frequencies, a significant performance improvement compared to traditional single contact parabolic dishes.

Lockheed Martin, Ball and Kratos team on Advanced Phased Array for Air Force

The Lockheed Martin team is building prototype transmit and receive Electronically Steerable Arrays (ESA). Each array uses Ball’s advanced phased array technologies and supports L- and S-band frequencies initially. Signal processing is accomplished with Kratos’ digital Intermediate Frequency (IF) technology and cloud-enabled quantumRadio.

«MBMM is a smarter way to quickly and affordably scale satellite transmission while lowering long-term maintenance costs for the Air Force», said Maria Demaree, vice president and general manager of Lockheed Martin Mission Solutions. «Today, when a parabolic antenna goes down, it can take days to repair; with MBMM, it will take hours and won’t take the entire site offline – that’s a tremendous advantage».

Extensive industry research comparing the costs of parabolic antennas to phased arrays over time show that while parabolic antennas have a lower upfront cost, they become much more expensive to maintain. Phased arrays avoid the mechanical maintenance and keyhole effects of parabolic antennas while providing graceful degradation and electronic agility in matching aperture performance to constellation demands.

«One electronically steered antenna can replace multiple dishes, enabling better performance, connectivity and affordability», said Rob Freedman, vice president and general manager, Tactical Solutions, Ball Aerospace.

«Software modems deployed in virtual machines gives MBMM an advantage because it is easy to scale signal processing on a much faster timeline than previously», said Frank Backes, senior vice president of Kratos Federal Space.

Future operational MBMM systems will offer new cyber resilience while reducing long-term sustainment costs for the Air Force. MBMM may eventually support multiple orbits from Low Earth Orbit (LEO) to Geosynchronous Equatorial Orbit (GEO) and can perform multiple missions at the same time, including Command & Control (C2), launch pad and ascent operations, radar and mission data transmission. The Lockheed Martin/Ball team is one of several teams building prototypes for the government.

Guided Weapon

Thales recently conducted firing trials at Royal Artillery Air Defence Range at Manorbier as part of the Integration testing phase of the Future Anti Surface Guided Weapon (Light) (FASGW(L)) programme.

Procured under the Future Anti Surface Guided Weapon (Light), the Lightweight Multirole Missile (LMM) developed by Thales will arm the Royal Navy’s AW-159 Wildcat helicopter with up to four five-round launchers, giving it considerable anti-ship firepower

The FASGW(L) programme includes testing of all parts of the weapon system including the Lightweight Multirole Missile (LMM), the launcher system and all key equipment of the Wildcat helicopter.

The LMM, which the Royal Navy will call Martlet when it enters service in 2020, will provide an enhanced level of protection for both service personnel in the Royal Navy and vital assets at sea, such as the Queen Elisabeth Carrier.

The trials consisted of six LMMs being fired from the Thales-designed launcher system at a small boat target at sea at a distance of 4.5kms. All missiles were test rounds with no warhead, but were fitted with telemetry software enabling data to be gathered to analyse the launcher, the guidance system and missile performance.

The FASGW(L) system accurately guided all missiles to the targets and provided extensive data on the excellent performance of all elements of the ground set-up and inflight performance of the missile.

The successful achievement of the ground firings is a major milestone and key to progressing to future testing including air firing trials later in 2019 and culminating in qualification and verification in 2020.

When it enters service in 2020 LMM will give the Wildcat increased protection capability able to address highly mobile maritime threats such as weaponised speed boats and jet skis.

Thales would like to thank the MOD, The Royal Navy, Leonardo and all Thales personnel in achieving this important milestone.

Thales video of the LMM ground firing trials in March from the same launcher and with the same sensor ball that will be used to fire it from Royal Navy Wildcat helicopters

Missile Defense

The TLVS bidders consortium, an MBDA Deutschland and Lockheed Martin joint venture, has submitted its proposal to the German Federal Office of Bundeswehr Equipment, Information Technology and In-Service Support (BAAINBw) to develop, test and deliver TLVS, Germany’s future Integrated Air and Missile Defense (IAMD) system.

MBDA Deutschland and Lockheed Martin Submit Proposal to Develop TLVS for Germany

The tender proposes an efficient four-phased approach that includes development, integration, testing and delivery of a fielded multi-mission system. The fielded unit will deliver new capabilities and significant performance enhancements well beyond the MEADS program and all known systems.

«A brief glance at the headlines show significant advances in adversarial threats in just the last five years, and we are operating in an environment today where those threats will likely only continue to proliferate», said Dietmar Thelen, managing director of the TLVS joint venture. «Germany needs a future-proof solution that can grow with the emerging threat».

Designed to replace Germany’s aging, sectored Patriot systems designed in the late 1960s, the 2019 TLVS proposal provides protection from a broader threat spectrum with two mission-specific effectors, significantly enhanced radar capabilities for long range engagements and a new communications system to support enhanced interoperability, data fusion and cyber resilience. TLVS will be the first-ever integrated air and missile defense system able to simultaneously detect, track and intercept multiple threat sets, including medium and short-range threats with full 360-degree coverage.

«We’ve completely reimagined TLVS based on customer requirements. Our approach reduces risk, supports lower life cycle costs and enables more effective coalition operations», said Gregory Kee, managing director of the TLVS joint venture. «TLVS will allow Germany to provide regional protection as the Framework Nation for Air and Missile Defense for NATO, with a high degree of system sovereignty».

The TLVS proposal represents the beginning of a new chapter in the longstanding partnership between MBDA Deutschland and Lockheed Martin.

With its integrated plug and fight interface, TLVS is the most advanced, networked 360° IAMD system in the world. It is the only system with the ability to adapt to evolving threats using capabilities that are tailored to the mission. TLVS will transform Germany’s defense capabilities and set an important precedent in how neighboring nations address persistent global threats for years to come.

Hypersonic weapon

Building on years of collaboration, Raytheon Company and Northrop Grumman Corporation have signed a teaming agreement to develop, produce and integrate Northrop Grumman’s scramjet combustors to power Raytheon’s air-breathing hypersonic weapons. The teaming agreement uses the combined capabilities of both companies to accelerate development and demonstrate readiness to produce the next generation of tactical missile systems.

Hypersonic vehicles operate at extreme speeds and high altitudes. Northrop Grumman and Raytheon are teaming to accelerate air-breathing hypersonic vehicle development

Scramjet engines use high vehicle speed to forcibly compress incoming air before combustion to enable sustained flight at hypersonic speeds. Such speeds reduce flight times and increase weapon survivability, effectiveness and flexibility.

«The Raytheon/Northrop Grumman team is quickly developing air-breathing hypersonic weapons to keep our nation ahead of the threat», said Doctor Thomas Bussing, Raytheon Advanced Missile Systems vice president. «This agreement combines Raytheon’s decades of tactical missile expertise with Northrop Grumman’s extensive scramjet engine development experience to produce the best possible weapons».

Northrop Grumman and Raytheon are working under a $200 million Hypersonic Air-breathing Weapon Concept, or HAWC, program contract to deliver an affordable, effective and producible cruise missile for DARPA and the U.S. Air Force.

«This teaming agreement extends our strong partnership with Raytheon on this critical technology capability. Our deep heritage in propulsion, fuzes and warheads will help accelerate readiness of tomorrow’s missiles to meet range, survivability, safety and lethality requirements», said Mike Kahn, vice president and general manager of Northrop Grumman’s Defense Systems. «Together with Raytheon, we intend to make great strides toward improving our nation’s high-speed weapon systems, which are critical to enhancing our warfighters’ capabilities for greater standoff and quicker time to target».

Under the agreement, Raytheon and Northrop Grumman will continue to collaborate on HAWC and future air-breathing hypersonic missiles. Both companies are investing in hypersonic technologies and programs to ensure the military has a robust portfolio.

Surface-To-Air Missiles

Over the five years of grinding war that has pitted Ukrainian forces against Russia-backed fighters, the United States has provided hundreds of millions of dollars in military gear: night-vision goggles, flak jackets, vehicles, counter-battery radars, among other things.

Next Up for U.S. Weapons Supplies to Ukraine? Possibly Surface-to-Air Missiles

Last year, after years of internal debate that preceded his administration, President Donald Trump began supplying Ukraine with sophisticated anti-tank missiles known as Javelins – a move that some feared would antagonize Moscow.

Now, U.S. lawmakers are moving to up the ante again, with legislation that would authorize supplying Kyiv with surface-to-air missiles.

The effort comes in an amendment being attached to legislation providing funding for the Defense Department; the amendment removes existing language prohibiting the sale of such missiles, known as MAN-Portable Air-Defense Systems, or MANPADS.

Sponsored by the two top lawmakers on the House Foreign Affairs Committee – Democrat Eliot Engel and Republican Michael McCaul – the measure, which is expected to pass easily, does not mean that the weapons will be supplied right away.

Any final decision would have to go through multiple approval processes at various U.S. agencies, including the U.S. Defense Department.

Moreover, targets for Ukrainian surface-to-air missiles are limited for now: Russia-backed separatists don’t have fighter jets, and Russia sending its own aircraft over Ukraine would undermine its assertions that it is not involved in the conflict.

Still, the move sends a clear message to the Kremlin of where Congress stands regarding the war in Ukraine. And, according to Steven Pifer, a former U.S. ambassador to Ukraine, it’s a logical next step after the U.S. decision to supply Javelins to the Ukrainian armed forces.

«I don’t see this as generating more problems than the arrival of the Javelins did», Pifer, now a research fellow at Stanford University’s Freeman Spogli Institute for International Studies, told Radio Free Europe/Radio Liberty (RFE/RL). «We’re not talking about providing the Ukrainians with F-35 fighters or M-1 tanks».

The Defense Department did not immediately respond to a query seeking comment on the possibility of supplying the missiles.

One U.S. diplomat who has worked on Ukraine-related issues downplayed the significance of the amendment, telling RFE/RL on the condition of anonymity in order to speak freely that it simply removed «an arbitrary restriction that is not in place for most countries».

The move comes as part of a broader effort in Congress to increase military support for Ukraine. Two separate pieces of legislation making their way through the House and the Senate call for authorizing up to $300 million in annual military support for Ukraine, an increase from past years.

And the House legislation calls for the first time for supplying anti-ship missiles and coastal-defense weaponry to Ukraine in response to an incident in November 2018, when Russian Coast Guard ships seized three Ukrainian boats and 24 sailors in the Kerch Strait near the Crimean Peninsula.

Though the overall death toll has surpassed 13,000, fighting around Ukraine’s Donbas region has ebbed and flowed in intensity since 2014, when the conflict with Russia first erupted.

In recent weeks, there’s been a sharp uptick in artillery shelling and gunfire, with Ukraine’s military reporting that at least six soldiers were killed last week.

It’s unclear how Russia would respond if Washington did in fact move forward to supply the surface-to-air missiles.

And it’s unclear how that would affect stalled peace negotiations, including the so-called Minsk Trilateral Contact Group meetings and the Normandy Format talks. Ukraine’s newly elected president, Volodymyr Zelenskiy, has called for restarting both efforts; last week, the Trilateral Group – comprised of officials from Russia, Ukraine, and the Organization for Security and Cooperation in Europe – met for the first time in weeks.

But Konstantin Kosachyov, a member of Russia’s upper house of parliament and a Kremlin ally, criticized the overall increase in U.S. military funding for Ukraine.

«In this way Washington fuels Ukraine’s internal conflict. Such foreign support may create a dangerous delusion in Kiev that a solution can be achieved by military means», Kosachyov said in a post to his Facebook page on June 11. «Each million dollars of military support to Kiev spells more casualties and months and even years of war against one’s own people, for which the United States will bear its share of responsibility».

The MANPADS would have no immediate battlefield use, Pifer noted, since Russian military aircraft have not been used in the conflict. Drones, however, are widely used by both sides in the conflict.

While Moscow reacted angrily when Washington agreed to supply the Javelins to Ukraine, there have been few remarks by Russian officials on the subject since the 210 missiles and 37 launchers arrived in April 2018.

Ukraine has showcased the Javelins in publicized drills but its armed forces have not used them in combat against Russia-backed forces in eastern battlefields.

The special U.S. envoy for Ukraine, Kurt Volker, has said that the Javelins are being stored in a secure facility far from the front line.

Ukrainian and U.S. sources with knowledge of the storage locations have told RFE/RL that the missiles and launchers have been separated into smaller groups and are held in strategic locations around the country, possibly in underground bunkers, where they can be moved quickly to areas that border Russia or the eastern front line.

In March, the top U.S. military commander for Europe told the Senate Armed Services Committee that even if the Javelins hadn’t been deployed, their presence had been registered by Russia-backed forces.

«They take that into consideration in the deployment of their forces and where they put them», General Curtis Scaparrotti told the committee.

Since 2014, Ukraine has received more than $3 billion in total support, including security and nonsecurity assistance, from the United States.

Anti-Missile System

American troops offload a Terminal High Altitude Area Defense (THAAD) launcher from a C-17 Globemaster III at Mihail Kogalniceanu (MK) Air Base, Romania, May 3, 2019.

The US Army earlier this month quietly deployed a THAAD battery to an air base in Romania to provide temporary anti-missile defense coverage while the Aegis Ashore installation in that country undergoes a scheduled upgrade (U.S. Army photo)

The THAAD deployed to Romania from 69th Air Defense Artillery Brigade, 32nd Army Air and Missile Defense Command out of Fort Hood, Texas.

The deployment of the THAAD is in support of the NATO Ballistic Missile Defense mission and reinforces the strong and unremitting U.S. commitment to the defense of our NATO allies.

The unit arrived in Romania in April to emplace a Terminal High Altitude Area Defense (THAAD) system while NATO’s Aegis Ashore Ballistic Missile Defense site undergoes a long-planned update in the upcoming months.