Big Three

It is said in The Aerospace Daily & Defense Report that Airbus and Boeing are jointly attempting to unseat Lockheed Martin from South Korea’s KF-X indigenous fighter program, offering stealth know-how from Europe that could not be supplied from U.S. sources.

F/A-18E/F Super Hornets in flight over mountains, snow. In route to India Aero Show.
F/A-18E/F Super Hornets in flight over mountains, snow. In route to India Aero Show.

With Korean Airlines as the local partner, the pair are likely to be proposing the Boeing F/A-18E/F Super Hornet as a base design for the KF-X. The defense ministry’s procurement office, the Defense Acquisition Program Agency (DAPA), issued a request for proposals for KF-X development on December 23, 2014.

The Boeing-Airbus KF-X proposal should be an economical alternative to a fighter design of the defense ministry’s Agency for Defense Development (ADD) that Korea Aerospace Industries has been expected to build with technical assistance from Lockheed Martin.

According to DefenseNews.com, Seoul aims to produce 120 KF-X jets between 2023 and 2030. The state-funded ADD has long studied a twin-engine concept, either of the C103 design that looks somewhat like the F-35 or the C203 design following the European approach and using forward canards in a stealth-shaped airframe. Both of the twin-engine platforms would be powered by two 18,000-pound (80 kN/8,165 kgf) engines, ADD officials said.

The Agency for Defense Development has long studied a twin-engine concept, either of the C103 design that looks somewhat like the F-35
The Agency for Defense Development has long studied a twin-engine concept, either of the C103 design that looks somewhat like the F-35

Korea Aerospace Industries, on the other hand, prefers a single-engine concept, dubbed C501, which is to be built based on the FA-50, a light attack aircraft version of the T-50 supersonic trainer jet co-produced by Lockheed Martin. The C501 aircraft, powered by a 29,000-pound (129 kN/13,154 kgf) engine, is designed to be fitted with a limited low-observable configuration and advanced avionics.

The U.S. limits the technology that its companies can transfer abroad. Thus, South Korea lacks technology in many fields, such as active, electronically scanning radar. Nevertheless, Airbus, as an airframe company, is probably involved in the Boeing bid as a supplier of stealth know-how that the U.S. company is not authorized to provide.

A budget of 8.6991 trillion won ($7.9171 billion) approved by the finance ministry this month must be intended to pay for development of the ADD KF-X. However, parliament has not yet authorized that spending or the launch of full-scale development, nor can it do so before it votes on the government’s 2016 budget next December.

Korea Aerospace Industries, on the other hand, prefers a single-engine concept, dubbed C501, which is to be built based on the FA-50, a light attack aircraft version of the T-50 supersonic trainer jet co-produced by Lockheed Martin
Korea Aerospace Industries, on the other hand, prefers a single-engine concept, dubbed C501, which is to be built based on the FA-50, a light attack aircraft version of the T-50 supersonic trainer jet co-produced by Lockheed Martin

In the meantime, KAL (Korean Air Lines) looks likely to submit the cheaper alternative, based on the Super Hornet, to DAPA in response to its request for proposals.

Industry officials previously told Aviation Week that Boeing was proposing the Advanced Super Hornet, an update of the F/A-18E/F with a weapons pod and conformal tanks. Other industry officials said Boeing was working with Korean Airlines. Now different officials say that Airbus is also on the team.

This is not the first time that Boeing has offered non-U.S. technology to South Korea. When proposing an advanced F-15 version called the Silent Eagle for the separate F-X Phase 3 fighter program, Boeing suggested technology transfer from Israel Aerospace Industries, an industry official says. Lockheed Martin won F-X Phase 3 with the F-35 and in return is supposed to back KF-X development.

Boeing suggested F-15 Silent Eagle for the separate F-X Phase 3 fighter program
Boeing suggested F-15 Silent Eagle for the separate F-X Phase 3 fighter program

Like a smartphone

The third Mobile User Objective System (MUOS) satellite built by Lockheed Martin for the U.S. Navy was encapsulated into its payload fairing. It is scheduled to launch January 20 aboard a United Launch Alliance Atlas V rocket.

MUOS SV1 is encapsulated at the Astrotech facility in Titusville, Florida
MUOS SV1 is encapsulated at the Astrotech facility in Titusville, Florida

«This third MUOS launch is another major step toward achieving a fully operational MUOS end-to-end capability by 2016», said Navy Capt. Joseph Kan, the MUOS program manager in a statement. «The Navy, in close collaboration with the Army, Air Force and our industry partners, is bringing the future of worldwide mobile satellite communications into reality for the United States and potentially allied nations».

MUOS operates like a smart phone network in the sky, vastly improving current secure mobile satellite communications for warfighters on the move. Unlike previous systems, MUOS provides users an on-demand, beyond-line-of-sight capability to transmit and receive high-quality, prioritized voice and mission data, on a high-speed Internet Protocol-based system.

«MUOS is a game changer in communications for our warfighters and will allow them to have high-fidelity voice conversations, networked team calls and data exchange, including video, with anyone connected to a secure terminal around the world», said Iris Bombelyn, vice president of Narrowband Communications at Lockheed Martin. «The launch of MUOS-3 will increase our network coverage to about three-quarters of the globe».

Replacing the legacy Ultra High Frequency (UHF) Follow-On system, MUOS satellites have two payloads to ensure UHF narrowband communications accessibility and new capabilities. MUOS’ advanced Wideband Code Division Access (WCDMA) payload incorporates commercial technology and a new waveform to provide users priority-based capacity. Once fully operational, MUOS will provide comparatively 16 times the capacity of the legacy system. More than 50,000 terminals in the field today can be retrofitted with WCDMA.

The system consists of four satellites in geosynchronous earth orbit (GEO) with one on-orbit spare and a fiber optic terrestrial network connecting four ground stations
The system consists of four satellites in geosynchronous earth orbit (GEO) with one on-orbit spare and a fiber optic terrestrial network connecting four ground stations

MUOS is expected to provide warfighters global coverage before the end of 2015. MUOS-1 and MUOS-2, launched respectively in 2012 and 2013, are already operational and providing high-quality voice communications. MUOS-4 is on track to launch later in the year. The fourth and final required MUOS ground station also is expected to be operational early next year.

For MUOS, Lockheed Martin is building on its proven record of providing progressively advanced spacecraft for protected, narrowband and wideband military satellite communications. Lockheed Martin built the legacy Milstar protected communications satellites, as well as the Defense Satellite Communications Systems (DSCS) wideband communications spacecraft for the U.S. Air Force. Lockheed Martin is also the prime contractor on the U.S. Air Force’s Advanced Extremely High Frequency (AEHF) program, a next-generation military satellite communications system to deliver vastly improved global, survivable, highly secure, protected communications capabilities for strategic command and tactical warfighters operating on ground, sea and air platforms.

According to Sam LaGrone, the USNI Online Editor at the U.S. Naval Institute, MUOS was originally to be paired with the Pentagon’s Joint Tactical Radio System (JTRS) program that was cancelled in 2011. Now there are few program of record radios for the systems, though General Dynamics, Rockwell Collins and Harris have developed MUOS compatible radios.

The MUOS Flt 1 vehicle prepares to enter the DELTA chamber for thermal vac testing
The MUOS Flt 1 vehicle prepares to enter the DELTA chamber for thermal vac testing

 

Communication Service Types

Voice:                                                Conversational and recognition voice

Data:                                                  Low data rate telemetry, short digital messaging, imagery transfer, file transfer, electronic mail, remote computer access, remote sensor reception, sporadic messaging for distributed applications, video, video teleconferencing

Mixed Voice and Data Services:      Mixed transport of voice and data

 

Communication Characteristics

Satellites:                                            4 GEO satellites and an on-orbit spare.                                                                   16 WCDMA beams per satellite.                                                                                 Satellite carries MUOS WCDMA and                                                                       legacy UHF SATCOM payloads

Access Type:                                      WCDMA

Data Rates:

Up to 384 kbps on the move

Bandwidth:

Four 5-MHz carriers

Transport Network:

IPv4 and IPv6 dual stack network

DoD Teleport:

Portal to Defense Information Systems Network:

DSN, SIPRNET, NIPRNET

Access Type:                                      Legacy UHF SATCOM

Bandwidth:

17 25-kHz and 21 5-kHz channels

 

The foundation of the MUOS architecture is a direct sequence spread spectrum WCDMA waveform leveraged from 3G commercial mobile technologies. WCDMA offers adaptive power control to provide the required quality of service to each user while simultaneously maximizing system capacity. MUOS uses Internet Protocol versions 4 and 6 (IPv4/IPv6) to give the warfighter global roaming connectivity to the Global Information Grid. The architecture is also designed for significant growth as capacity demand increases. In fact, the MUOS frequency allocation reserves enough space for four more satellites, providing effortless growth capability.

 

Unmanned Aircraft

Northrop Grumman RQ-4 Global Hawk
Northrop Grumman RQ-4 Global Hawk
MODEL/DESIGNATION LENGTH (FT./M) SPAN (FT./M) GROSS WEIGHT (LB./KG) POWERPLANT (NO./TYPE) POWER/THRUST PAYLOAD, LB./KG (WT./TYPE) SPEED (KT./KM/H) ENDURANCE MAX. ALTITUDE (FT./M)
AAI Corp.
RQ-7Bv2 Shadow 11.8/3.596 20.4/6.217 467/211.8 1 × UEL AR741 rotary 38 hp/28.3 kW 45-80/20.4-36.2 (EO/IR/LD) 90-110/ 166-203 9 hr. 15,000/4,572
AeroVironment Inc.
RQ-11B Raven 3/0.914 4.5/1.371 4.2/1.9 1 × electric 200 W 6.5 oz./184.2 gram (EO/IR) 17-44/31-81 60-90 min. 500/152.4
RQ-20A Puma AE 4.6/1.402 9.2/2.804 13/5.8 1 × electric 600 W EO/IR 20-45/37-83 2 hr. 500/152.4
Elbit Systems
Hermes 450 20/6.096 34.5/10.515 1,200/544.3 1 × UEL AR801 rotary 60 hp/44.7 kW 400/181.4 (EO/IR/LD) 70-95/129-175 17 hr. 18,000/5,486.4
General Atomics Aeronautical Systems
MQ-1C Gray Eagle 28/8.534 56/17.068 3,200/1,451.5 1 × Thielert Centurion 2.0 HFE 135 hp/100.6 kW 1,075/487.6 internal/external 167/309 25 hr. 29,000/8,839.2
MQ-9 Reaper 36/10.972 66/20.116 10,500/4,762.7 1 × Honeywell TPE331-10 900 shp/671.1 kW 3,850/1,746.3 internal/external 240/444 27 hr.+ 50,000/15,240
Insitu
RQ-21A Blackjack 7.2/2.194 16/4.876 135/61.2 1 × NWUAV gas/HFE 8 hp/5.9 kW 37.5/17.0 (EO/IR/LRF) 55-80+/ 101-148+ 24 hr. 15,000+/4,572+
ScanEagle 2 5.6/1.706 10.2/3.108 51.8/23.4 1 × N20 (gas), N21 (HFE) 2.7 hp/2.0 kW 7.7/3.4 (EO/IR+) 50-80/92-148 16 hr.+ 19,500/5,943.6
Israel Aerospace Industries
Heron TP 45.9/13.990 85.3/25.999 10,230/4,640.2 1 × P&WC PT6A 1,200 shp/894.8 kW 4,400/1,995.8 (EO/IR, SAR, Elint, comm) 242/448 36 hr. 45,000/13,716
Super Heron HF 55.8/17.007 3,200/1,451.5 1 × HFE 200 hp+/149.1+ kW 990/449.0 (EO/IR, SAR, Elint, comm) 60-150+/ 111-277+ up to 45 hr. 30,000+/9,144
Lockheed Martin
Fury 1500 14.3/4.358 300+/136.0+ 1 × HFE 75-125/34.0-56.6 (ISR + EW) 65-95/120-175 15 hr.+ 15,000/4,572
Northrop Grumman
MQ-4C Triton 47.6/14.508 130.9/39.898 32,250/14,628.4 1 × R-R AE3007H 9,500 lb./42.25 kN 3,200/1,451.5 internal 2,400/1,088.6 external 357/661 24 hr. 56,500/17,221.2
MQ-8C Fire Scout 41.4/12.618 35/10.668 (rotor diameter) 6,000/2,721.5 1 × R-R M250-C47E 700 shp/521.9 kW 1,000/453.5 internal 2,600/1,179.3 sling load 140/259 12 hr. 17,000/5,181.6
Piaggio Aero
P.1HH HammerHead 47.3/14.417 51.2/15.605 13,500/6,123.5 2 × P&WC PT6A-66B 850 shp/633.8 kW each 500/226.7 (EO/IR, SAR) 395/731 16 hr. 45,000/13,716
Turkish Aerospace Industries
Anka 26.2/7.985 56.8/17.312 3,530/1,601.1 1 × HFE 155 hp/115.5 kW 440/199.5 (EO/IR/LD, SAR) 110/203 24 hr. 30,000/9,144

Eye of Sauron

According to Kris Osborn, Military.com Daily News correspondent, the U.S. Navy is making progress developing a more sensitive, next-generation radar system engineered to integrate onto new Arleigh Burke-class guided missile destroyers by 2023.

AMDR provides greater detection ranges and increased discrimination accuracy compared to the AN/SPY-1D(V) radar onboard today’s destroyers
AMDR provides greater detection ranges and increased discrimination accuracy compared to the AN/SPY-1D(V) radar onboard today’s destroyers

The Air and Missile Defense Radar, or AMDR, is said to be at least 30-times more sensitive than radars configured on existing DDG 51 Arleigh Burke-class destroyers. «Among other things, the additional power and sensitivity will allow the ship to detect a much wider range of threats at much greater distances», said Capt. Mark Vandroff, program manager DDG 51 Shipbuilding.

«I can see a target that is half the size, twice as far away. What this means is an individual destroyer will be able to engage more ballistic missiles at the same time versus what you have today – and it will be able to engage more advanced threats because it can see them farther away», Vandroff said. «It can see smaller objects farther away so it will be better at picking out what is a threat versus what is not a threat».

«The AMDR platform, being developed by Raytheon Co. under an EMD (Engineering and Manufacturing Development) contract awarded in October 2013, will enable next-generation Flight III DDG 51s to defend much larger areas compared with the AN/SPY-1D radar on existing destroyers», Vandroff said.

The Air and Missile Defense Radar (AMDR) Program successfully completed a Hardware Critical Design Review (CDR) in conjunction with prime contractor, Raytheon, in Sudbury, Massachusetts, December 3, 2014.

AMDR provides greater detection ranges and increased discrimination accuracy compared to the AN/SPY-1D(V) radar onboard today’s destroyers. The system is built with individual «building blocks» called RMAs (Radar Modular Assemblies). Each RMA is a self-contained radar transmitter and receiver in a 2’x2’x2’ box. These RMAs stack together to fit the required array size of any ship, making AMDR the Navy’s first truly scalable radar.

A partially-populated, full-sized AMDR array
A partially-populated, full-sized AMDR array

 

This advanced radar comprises:

  • S-band radar – a new, integrated air and missile defense radar;
  • X-band radar – a horizon-search radar based on existing technology;
  • The Radar Suite Controller (RSC) – a new component to manage radar resources and integrate with the ship’s combat management system.

AMDR Advantages:

  • Scalable to suit any size aperture or mission requirement;
  • Over 30 times more sensitive than AN/SPY-1D(V);
  • Can simultaneously handle over 30 times the targets than AN/SPY-1D(V) to counter large and complex raids;
  • Adaptive digital beamforming and radar signal/data processing functionality is reprogrammable to adapt to new missions or emerging threats.

 

 

Pegasus on the rise

The Boeing KC-46 Pegasus development program completed its first flight of Engineering, Manufacturing and Development (EMD) aircraft №1 on December 28. Boeing EMD №1 is a provisioned 767-2C freighter and the critical building block for the KC-46 missionized aerial refueler. The maiden flight took off at 9:29 AM PST from Paine Field in Everett, Washington, and landed at 1:01 PM PST at Boeing Field in Seattle.

The maiden flight took off at 9:29 AM PST from Paine Field in Everett, Washington, and landed at 1:01 PM PST at Boeing Field in Seattle
The maiden flight took off at 9:29 AM PST from Paine Field in Everett, Washington, and landed at 1:01 PM PST at Boeing Field in Seattle

«Getting in the air is a critical step in the development of this important capability for the warfighter», said Brig. Gen. Duke Z. Richardson, the program executive officer for tankers at the Air Force Life Cycle Management Center. «The team at Boeing has done a remarkable job creating an entirely new aircraft that will soon become the backbone of our ability to project power anywhere in the world».

The 767-2C freighter is the initial step toward producing a KC-46. The aircraft will undergo additional finishing work s at the Boeing facility such as installing the refueling boom and other military specific equipment. The first flight of a Boeing KC-46 Pegasus (EMD №2) is expected in the spring of 2015.

«Today’s flight is a key step in the next generation of tankers», said Col. Christopher Coombs, the KC-46 system program manager. «We know flight testing will lead to some discovery; today’s flight kick-starts that work. There is an aggressive schedule going forward into the Milestone C decision point for approval to start Low Rate Initial Production (LRIP), but we remain cautiously optimistic we can meet the mark».

The Air Force contracted with Boeing in February 2011 to acquire 179 Boeing KC-46 refueling tankers to begin recapitalizing the aging tanker fleet. This flight is an early but important step toward meeting the required assets available date – a milestone requiring 18 KC-46 aircraft and all necessary support equipment to be on the ramp, ready to support warfighter needs, by the August 2017 timeframe.

 

Mission

The Boeing KC-46A Pegasus is intended to replace the U.S. Air Force’s aging fleet of KC-135 Stratotankers, which has been the primary refueling aircraft for more than 50 years. With more refueling capacity and enhanced capabilities, improved efficiency and increased capabilities for cargo and aeromedical evacuation, the KC-46A will provide aerial refueling support to the Air Force, Navy, Marine Corps as well as allied nation coalition force aircraft.

The KC-46A is intended to replace the United States Air Force's aging fleet of KC-135 Stratotankers and provides vital air refueling capability for the United States Air Force
The KC-46A is intended to replace the United States Air Force’s aging fleet of KC-135 Stratotankers and provides vital air refueling capability for the United States Air Force

 

Features

The KC-46A will be able to refuel any fixed-wing receiver capable aircraft on any mission. This aircraft is equipped with a modernized KC-10 refueling boom integrated with proven fly-by-wire control system and delivering a fuel offload rate required for large aircraft. In addition, the hose and drogue system adds additional mission capability that is independently operable from the refueling boom system.

Two high-bypass turbofans, mounted under 34-degree swept wings, power the KC-46A to takeoff at gross weights up to 415,000 pounds/188,240 kg. Nearly all internal fuel can be pumped through the boom, drogue and wing aerial refueling pods. The centerline drogue and wing aerial refueling pods are used to refuel aircraft fitted with probes. All aircraft will be configured for the installation of a multipoint refueling system.

MPRS (Multi-Point Refueling System) configured aircraft will be capable of refueling two receiver aircraft simultaneously from special «pods» mounted under the wing. One crewmember known as the boom operator controls the boom, centerline drogue, and wing refueling «pods» during refueling operations. This new tanker utilizes an advanced KC-10 boom, a center mounted drogue and wing aerial refueling «pods» allowing it to refuel multiple types of receiver aircraft as well as foreign national aircraft on the same mission.

A cargo deck above the refueling system can accommodate a mix load of passengers, patients and cargo. The KC-46A can carry up to 18 463L cargo pallets. Seat tracks and the onboard cargo handling system make it possible to simultaneously carry palletized cargo, seats, and patient support pallets in a variety of combinations. The new tanker aircraft offers significantly increased cargo and aeromedical evacuation capabilities.

The aircrew compartment includes 15 permanent seats for aircrew, which includes permanent seating for the aerial refueling operator and an aerial refueling instructor. Panoramic displays giving the ARO (Aerial Refueling Operator) wing-tip to wing-tip situational awareness.

 

Background

The Boeing Company was awarded a contract for the EMD phase of the KC-46 program on February 24, 2011. The first flight of a Boeing KC-46 Pegasus (EMD №2) is expected in the spring of 2015. The current contract, with options, provides the Air Mobility Command an inventory of 179 KC-46 tankers.

Boeing KC-46 Pegasus
Boeing KC-46 Pegasus

 

General Characteristics

Primary Function:                        Aerial refueling and airlift

Prime Contractor:                        The Boeing Company

Power Plant:                                    2 Pratt & Whitney 4062

Thrust:                                                 62,000 lbs/275.790 kN/28,123 kgf – Thrust per High-Bypass engine (sea-level standard day)

Wingspan:                                         157 feet, 8 inches (48.1 meters)

Length:                                                165 feet, 6 inches (50.5 meters)

Height:                                                52 feet, 10 inches (15.9 meters)

Maximum Takeoff Weight:    415,000 pounds (188,240 kilograms)

Maximum Landing Weight:    310,000 pounds (140,614 kilograms)

Fuel Capacity:                                 212,299 pounds (96,297 kilograms)

Maximum Transfer Fuel Load: 207,672 pounds (94,198 kilograms)

Maximum Cargo Capacity:     65,000 pounds (29,484 kilograms)

Maximum Airspeed:                   360 KCAS (knots calibrated airspeed)/ 0.86 M/414 mph/667 km/h

Service Ceiling:                              43,100 ft/13,137 m

Maximum Distance:                    8400 miles/13,518 km

Pallet Positions:                             18 pallet positions

Air Crew:                                            15 permanent seats for aircrew, including aeromedical evacuation aircrew

Passengers:                                       58 total (normal operations); up to 114 total (contingency operations)

Aeromedical Evacuation:         58 patients (24 litters/34 ambulatory) with the AE Patient Support Pallet configuration; 6 integral litters carried as part of normal aircraft configuration equipment

The KC-46A will be able to refuel any fixed-wing receiver capable aircraft on any mission
The KC-46A will be able to refuel any fixed-wing receiver capable aircraft on any mission 

 

Black Panther

According to Jon Grevatt, IHS Jane’s Defence Industry correspondent, South Korean company Hyundai Rotem signed on 29 December a contract to supply an unspecified number of K2 (Black Panther) Main Battle Tanks (MBTs) to the Republic of Korea Army (RoKA).

Main Battle Tank of the Republic of Korea Army
Main Battle Tank of the Republic of Korea Army

The company said that the contract – signed with the government’s Defense Acquisition Program Administration – is worth $820 million and features the supply of a first batch of K2 MBTs fitted with indigenously produced engines and transmission systems.

Hyundai Rotem did not reveal the number of tanks covered by the new contract, although IHS Jane’s understands it features the supply of 100 K2 units. Already in production, these tanks are scheduled to be delivered to the RoKA between the latter half of 2015 and December 2017.

The K2 MBT (Black Panther) is a tank based around a brand-new concept with combat efficiency maximized through digital-based ergonomic designs suited for the 21st century technical combat environment. It features dramatically strengthened firepower due to an extended turret gun and new shells. In addition, it features high mobility and maneuverability through a small powerpack and its advanced suspension and navigation system.

The survivability of the K2 MBT has been reinforced with armored plates made of new material and an active protection system, while its 3D battlefield control capability has been enhanced with the Vetronics system and the combat command and control system. Furthermore, the K2 MBT incorporates advanced intellectualization of its various control systems, most notably including its newest fire control system.

Main gun: 120 mm (55 Caliber)
Main gun: 120 mm (55 Caliber)

 

Specifications

Year of Development:                                      2014

Crew:                                                                         3

Weight:                                                                     55 tonnes

Mobility

Engine:                                                             1,500 hp/1119 kW, Diesel

Underwater fording:                               4.1 m

Attitude Control:                                      Roll/Pitch/Height

Navigation:                                                   GPS/INS

BMS connected with the C4I

Firepower

Main gun:                                                      120 mm (55 Caliber)

Ammo Loading:                                          Automatic

Fire control:                                               Auto Target Detection & Tracking

K2 MBT (Black Panther)
K2 MBT (Black Panther)

The first line of defence

Kongsberg Defence & Aerospace and the Polish Ministry of National Defence have signed a contract worth $173.5 million for a second battalion-sized Nadbrzezny Dywizjon Rakietowy (NDR) unit of the Naval Strike Missile (NSM) Coastal Defence System, reported Doug Richardson, IHS Jane’s Missiles & Rockets correspondent.

A standard NASAMS unit has a modular design comprising a command post FDC, an active 3D radar AN/MPQ64F1 Sentinel, a passive electro-optic and infra-red sensor and a number of missile canister launchers with AMRAAM missiles
A standard NASAMS unit has a modular design comprising a command post FDC, an active 3D radar AN/MPQ64F1 Sentinel, a passive electro-optic and infra-red sensor and a number of missile canister launchers with AMRAAM missiles

NSM was originally developed as a shipboard system for the Royal Norwegian Navy (RNN), and entered service on Norway’s new Fridtjof Nansen-class frigates and Skjold-class corvettes in 2012. An earlier contract signed by Poland in 2008 covered the 6 launchers and 12 missiles needed to arm the first NDR, and deliveries started in mid-2013. This order made Poland the first export customer for the shore-based version. An additional 38 missiles and associated logistics equipment were ordered in December 2008.

A second NDR had always been planned, but in April 2014, Poland decided to speed its procurement as part of the country’s reaction to the current crisis in Ukraine.

The coast-defence variant uses command and weapon control system similar to that of the Kongsberg/Raytheon Norwegian Advanced Surface-to-Air Missile System (NASAMS), while its radar system and communications system are provided by Polish subcontractors, as are the trucks used to carry the missile launchers.

The new contract will also cover the setting-up of a capability to maintain the NSM system in Poland. This will involve the Polish company Wojskowe Zaklady Elektroniczne (WZE). Kongsberg also plans to expand its co-operation with Polish industry to cover what Kongsberg president Harald Ånnestad described as «a broader technological arena».

 

Characteristics:

  • Open architecture provides growth potential;
  • Single and multiple engagement capability;
  • Unprecedented fire capability;
  • Beyond visual range capability with active seeker missile;
  • Strategic and high mobility;
  • Low manpower requirements;
  • Network Centric Warfare principles of operation;
  • High survivability against electronic countermeasures;
  • Look down/shoot down capability;
  • High value asset defense, area and army defense, vital point and air base defense.
The radar and launcher elements can be deployed over a large area separated by up to 25 kilometres, providing an extended coverage with few elements
The radar and launcher elements can be deployed over a large area separated by up to 25 kilometres, providing an extended coverage with few elements

 

Integration of sensors and effectors

The proven, fielded, reliable and highly capable NASAMS system contains a BMC4I (Battle Management, Command, Control, Computers, Communications, and Intelligence) Air Defense capability through the integration of sensors and launchers. It employs the Advanced Medium Range Air-to-Air Missile (AIM-120) as the primary weapon. Targets are detected and tracked by a high-resolution, 3D pencil beam radar. Multiple of these radars and the associated Fire Distribution Centres (FDCs) are netted together via radio data links, creating a real-time recognized air picture.

NASAMS can fire on target data provided by external sensors. Advanced emission control features of the radars minimize the risk of revealing the NASAMS unit’s own position. The FDC automatically performs track correlation, identification, jam strobe triangulation, threat evaluation and weapon assignment. The AMRAAM missiles used within NASAMS are identical to those used on fighter aircraft, yielding considerable rationalization returns for the user.

 

NASAMS in operation

The Royal Norwegian Air Force (RNoAF) was the first customer to introduce the NASAMS program. Because of their success during NATO live flying exercises, NASAMS batteries are taken extremely serious by NATO aircrew. From 2004, NASAMS is earmarked by the Norwegian armed forces to be deployed in support of international crisis management operations. NASAMS is under continuous development and every new program is adapted to the latest available technology. Currently, NASAMS is in use in 6 different nations.

NASAMS uses the Raytheon AMRAAM missile, identical to the AMRAAMs used on fighter aircraft
NASAMS uses the Raytheon AMRAAM missile, identical to the AMRAAMs used on fighter aircraft

 

NASAMS features

Status of NASAMS:                            In production and in operational use

NASAMS Tests & tactical firings:             162 (90,5 % success)

AMRAAM Dual use (identical missile): Fighter Aircraft and NASAMS

AMRAAM combat kills:                                  >9

Target sets:                                                            Aircraft, UAVs (Unmanned Aerial Vehicles), helicopters, cruise missiles, UCAVs (Unmanned Combat Air Vehicles)

NASAMS Architecture:                                  Open SW & HW architecture, COTS (Commercial Off-The-Shelf software), Network Centric

Simultaneous multiple engagements: 72

Engagement modes:                                      Active and/or Passive

Mission of Reference:                                   >70,000 hours in the U.S.(continuous operations (24/7), ongoing)

Transportability:                        Air (C-130 and helicopter), Sea and Land

Data links (implemented and in use):  Link 16, JRE, Link 11, Link 11B, LLAPI, ATDL-1 (Army Tactical Data Link – 1)

Mission Planning Tool:                              Embedded and stand-alone (PC)

NASAMS User nations:                                 6

Air Defence C2 (FDC) User nations:   10

AMRAAM User nations:                             35

 

Aircraft carrier killer

It is said in The Want China Times that The Taiwan Navy formally took delivery of its first locally designed stealth missile corvette, a vessel expected to enhance Taiwan’s anti-ship capabilities. Taiwan defense minister Yen Ming presided over the ceremony in a commercial harbor in Suao, during which the 500-ton corvette – the Tuo Jiang («Tuo River») – was officially handed over from Lung Teh Shipbuilding to the Navy.

Taiwan navy sailors and officers wave as Taiwan made patrol guard Corvette “Tuo Jiang” sets sail during the handover ceremony at Suao port in Yilan county, northeast of Taiwan, Tuesday, Dec. 23, 2014. (AP Photo/Chiang Ying-ying)
Taiwan navy sailors and officers wave as Taiwan made patrol guard Corvette “Tuo Jiang” sets sail during the handover ceremony at Suao port in Yilan county, northeast of Taiwan, Tuesday, Dec. 23, 2014. (AP Photo/Chiang Ying-ying)

The Navy will now begin training personnel to familiarize them with the craft. The vessel, which costs about $66.4 million, is expected to be put into service in March 2015, an unnamed Naval official said. The delivery of the stealth missile corvette comes as part of the Navy’s efforts to replace its aging fleet.

The twin-hull Hsun-hai class corvette will be equipped with several weapons, including the locally developed Hsiung Feng II and Hsiung Feng III anti-ship missiles, a 76-mm gun and Mark-46 torpedoes, the Navy said.

The first-ever captain of the Tuo Jiang will be Lt Cmdr Wang Te-jean, who was formerly the captain of a Chinchiang-class corvette. «I was excited but also nervous when I was told that I would be the captain of the Tuo Jiang», Wang said. Asked by the media about the features of the corvette, he lauded its mobility and high-performance. It also has strong combat capabilities because of the weapons on board, he added. «The ship has good mobility and it can carry as many as eight Hsiung Feng III supersonic missiles, which can be used to attack aircraft carriers», he said. With a range of about 150 kilometers, the supersonic Hsiung Feng III is described as an «aircraft carrier killer».

The Tuo Jiang has a range of 2,000 nautical miles (3,704km), measures 60.4 meters in length and 14 meters in width, and can carry a crew of up to 41 people
The Tuo Jiang has a range of 2,000 nautical miles (3,704km), measures 60.4 meters in length and 14 meters in width, and can carry a crew of up to 41 people

According to its original design, the corvette has a maximum speed of 38 knots (43.7 mph/70 km/h), but has reached 44 knots (50.6 mph/81 km/h) during recent sea trials, Wang said. Another characteristic of the corvette is that the captain can control the vessel via remote control and does not have to stay at the navigation bridge to control the direction of the ship, he said.

Commissioned by the Navy, Lung Teh Shipbuilding began construction of the Tuo Jiang in late 2012, and it was christened in March 2014. It has a range of 2,000 nautical miles (3,704km), measures 60.4 meters in length and 14 meters in width, and can carry a crew of up to 41 people.

The Navy plans to commission between 8 and 12 of the corvettes if sufficient funding can be obtained in the future.

 

Proven, Reliable, Durable

Over the last 30 years, Beretta USA Corporation has delivered over 600,000 M9 pistols (the sidearm of the U.S. Armed Forces) to the Department of Defense (DoD), all of which have been made in the U.S.A. by an American Workforce. On 10 December 2014 Beretta USA submitted to the U.S. Army the new pistol M9 ECP (Engineering Change Proposal) that identifies major improvements to the M9 to increase the operational effectiveness and operational suitability of the weapon. These improvements consist of design and material changes resulting in increased modularity, reliability, durability, and ergonomics.

Beretta M9A3
Beretta M9A3

Beretta USA has also identified a solution to upgrade the existing M9 to an M9A2, nearly replicating the M9A3. The M9A3 features a thin grip with a removable, modular wrap-around grip, MIL-STD-1913 accessory rail, convertible safety/decocker lever to decocker-only lever, removable front and rear tritium sights, extended and threaded barrel for suppressor use, 17-round sand resistant magazine, and numerous improved small components to increase durability and ergonomics, all in an earth tone finish.

The M9A3:

  • requires no new training for users;
  • is compatible with numerous, already-in-service accessories and training systems;
  • minimally impacts the current Integrated Logistics Support Plan (ILSP) for the M9;
  • is more reliable, capable, and durable than the M9;
  • depending on quantities, will cost less than the current M9.

New, enhanced 9 mm ammunition is available on the market today. This ammunition, along with any developmental 9 mm ammunition, should be evaluated for use with the M9A3. In the U.S. Army’s own survey of M9 users, 74% offered recommendations for improvements to the pistol – improvements that are available on the M9A3 today. Small arms program representatives of the U.S. Army have identified and verbalized several concerns regarding ergonomics and performance aspects of the M9; Beretta USA has listened and delivered the M9A3.

The improvements include design and material enhancements resulting in increased modularity, reliability, durability, and ergonomics
The improvements include design and material enhancements resulting in increased modularity, reliability, durability, and ergonomics

 

Specifications

Caliber:                               9 mm Luger (9×19 mm Parabellum)

System of operation:  Short recoil, semiautomic, double/single action

Magazine capacity:     17 rounds standard. Optional 15, 20 and 30 round magazines available

Magazine:                          Sand-resistant magazine with PVD coating

Front sight:                       Blade, dovetailed to slide, tritium dot

Rear sight:                         Notched bar, dovetailed to slide, tritium 2-dot. Adjustable for windage

Safety features:             Decocking/safety lever, automatic firing pin block, loaded chamber indicator, external hammer, half-cock notch, double action first trigger pull (Type F configuration)

Locking system:            Tilting locking block, «3rd Gen» design for increased service life

External hammer:       Provides the energy to the firing pin, virtually eliminating the possibility of misfires due to light primer strikes, even in adverse conditions. Also provides an immediate visual and tactile indicator as to the cocked/uncocked status of the pistol

Finish:                                Flat Dark Earth. CerakoteTM, anodizing, Bruniton, black oxide, PVD. Advanced coatings provide high lubricity, corrosion resistance and excellent wear resistance. Reduced visual and IR signature. Chrome lined bore and chamber

Accessory rail:             Three slot MIL-STD-1913 Picatinny rail

Barrel thread:              1/2″ X 28 standard thread on extended barrel, with thread protector

Accessories:                  Wrap-around backstrap grip unit for larger handed shooters

Grip/frame:                  «Vertec» style smaller gripped frame with straight backstrap and thin plastic grips

Additional features: «Universal» slide design to allow Armorer conversion to «G» decocker-only operation using Conversion Kit. «Over-center» safety lever to prevent inadvertent engagement of lever. Oversize beveled magazine well

Overall height:            5.4 in/13.7 cm

Overall width:             1.5 in/3.8 cm (1.3 in/3.3 cm at grips)

Overall length:            8.7 in/22 cm

Barrel length:              5.1 in/13 cm

Sight radius:                 6.3 in/16 cm

Weight unloaded:     33.3 oz/944 g

M9A3 is compatible with numerous, already-in-service accessories
M9A3 is compatible with numerous, already-in-service accessories

 

The Vietnam Era ended

BAE Systems was awarded a contract worth up to $1.2 billion from the U.S. Army for the Engineering, Manufacturing, and Development (EMD) and Low-Rate Initial Production (LRIP) of the Armored Multi-Purpose Vehicle (AMPV). The program aims to provide the U.S. Army with a highly survivable and mobile fleet of vehicles that addresses a critical need to replace the Vietnam-era M113s.

Armored Multi-Purpose Vehicle (AMPV)
Armored Multi-Purpose Vehicle (AMPV)

«This award represents a significant milestone for the United States Army and BAE Systems», said Mark Signorelli, vice president and general manager of Combat Vehicles at BAE Systems. «The Armored Multi-Purpose Vehicle will provide a substantial upgrade over the Army’s current personnel carrier fleet, increasing the service’s survivability, force protection, and mobility while providing for future growth potential. It also confirms BAE Systems’ role as a leading provider of combat vehicles».

The initial award is for a 52-month base term, valued at approximately $383 million, during which BAE Systems will produce 29 vehicles across each of the variants. The award also provides an option to begin the LRIP phase immediately following the current EMD phase, at which time the company would produce an additional 289 vehicles for a total contract value of $1.2 billion.

The AMPV capitalizes on proven Bradley and M109A7 designs, meeting the Army’s force protection and all-terrain mobility requirements while enabling the AMPV to maneuver with the rest of the Armored Brigade Combat Team (ABCT). The maximized commonality within the AMPV family of vehicles and the ABCT will reduce risk and provide significant cost savings to the Army.

BAE Systems’ AMPV capitalizes on the proven Bradley and Paladin designs
BAE Systems’ AMPV capitalizes on the proven Bradley and Paladin designs

«BAE Systems built and demonstrated prototypes for each of the five variants in order to provide the best solution for the Army», said Greg Mole, AMPV capture director at BAE Systems. «Given the maturity of our design and the commonality both within the AMPV and ABCT fleets, we feel this offers significant opportunity to accelerate the program’s schedule».

The program is essential to the future of the ABCT and will fulfill the Army’s strategy of protection, mobility, reliability, and interoperability. The AMPV, which will be integrated with the ABCT, is required to operate alongside the M1 Abrams tank and the M2 Bradley. AMPV has been identified by the Army as its top priority for the safety and survivability of our soldiers, and therefore, must meet tough protection requirements. Compromising or reducing the survivability requirements would put soldiers’ lives at risk. This is where BAE Systems’ Bradley-based AMPV solution comes in.

BAE Systems’ Bradley-based AMPV is a mature, low-risk and cost-effective solution that rapidly delivers continued combat overmatch capability for the Army. The Bradley platform delivers combat proven mobility, survivability and force protection to fight with the ABCT formation. In June 2013, during testing by the Office of the Secretary of Defense’s Directorate of Test and Evaluation (DOT&E) their report identified that «the Armored Multi-Purpose Vehicle survivability requirement is achievable with a Bradley-like platform».

By the way, General Dynamics has argued that the Army’s request for proposals for the new armored vehicle favors BAE’s tracked Bradley Fighting Vehicle while putting General Dynamics wheeled Stryker vehicles at a disadvantage; nonetheless, the U.S. Army rejected all of General Dynamics’ protests on AMPV program.

Armored Medical Evacuation Vehicle (AMEV)
Armored Medical Evacuation Vehicle (AMEV)