Tag Archives: BAE Systems

New ARCHER

BAE Systems is unveiling a new ARCHER Mobile Howitzer at DSEI on 10 September 2019 that is highly adaptable to diverse terrains and battlefield conditions, giving it the flexibility needed to meet a wide range of mission requirements for militaries around the world.

BAE Systems unveils new ARCHER Mobile Howitzer at DSEI

The key is a modular design that allows it to be integrated onto different truck chassis and then seamlessly introduced into existing vehicle fleets. The ARCHER’s modularity makes it a cost-effective solution that provides critical battlefield capabilities. The ARCHER system displayed at DSEI 2019 is mounted on a Rheinmetall RMMV HX2 8×8 truck – meaning it could be common to systems already in service with the British Army. The original ARCHER, first delivered to the Swedish Armed Forces in 2013, is mounted on a Volvo A30 6×6 articulated hauler.

«This new international version of the ARCHER can be easily integrated onto a variety of different chassis, allowing the customer to specify the vehicle best suited to their needs», said Ulf Einefors, director of marketing and sales at BAE Systems Weapon Systems business in Sweden. «We’re pleased to display this new version at DSEI to demonstrate the versatility that ARCHER could add to any allied military force».

The long-range, self-propelled ARCHER brings speed, mobility, and high rates of fire to support ground troops. From the safety of ARCHER’s armored cabin, a three-person crew needs less than 30 seconds to deploy or displace the system, making ARCHER the ultimate shoot-and-scoot artillery system. As the most advanced wheeled 155-mm, 52-calibre system in operation today, ARCHER features a 21-round auto-loader and onboard ballistic calculation. The system can fire up to eight rounds per minute at ranges approaching 40 kilometers/25 miles with conventional 155-mm ammunition and 60 kilometres/37 miles with precision guided munitions such as Excalibur.

Machine learning

BAE Systems has been awarded a Phase 2 contract to develop machine learning capabilities aimed to help the military gain better awareness of space scenarios for the U.S. Defense Advanced Research Projects Agency (DARPA). The goal of DARPA’s Hallmark Tools, Capabilities, and Evaluation Methodology (Hallmark-TCEM) program is to not only develop and evaluate tools and capabilities that increase an operator’s understanding of space events, but also enhance the ability to select effective courses of action for any given situation.

Machine learning capabilities aimed to help the military gain better awareness of space scenarios

Space assets such as satellites are becoming increasingly important and relied upon by the Department of Defense for communications, surveillance, and security. As part of Hallmark-TCEM, BAE Systems’ FAST Labs research and development team will build cognitive-based machine learning algorithms and data models aimed to give space operators the ability to identify abnormal activities and predict possible threats. The team will build on Phase 1 work of the program, and continue to leverage the decade-long development of the company’s Multi-INT Analytics for Pattern Learning and Exploitation (MAPLE) technology with a solution called MAPLE Automates Joint Indications and Warnings for Cognitive Counter-Space (MAJICS).

«Our technology builds data models based on normal activity and then ingests large amounts of real-time, streaming data to compare against the normal model and determine if any abnormal activity is occurring or will occur», said Doctor John Hogan, product line director of the Sensor Processing and Exploitation group at BAE Systems. «By using this technology, we hope to reduce the operator’s workload by providing a solution that will automatically predict space events such as launches or satellite movements based on millions of pieces of data, helping them make rapid decisions to avoid any potential threats».

BAE Systems’ research on the Hallmark-TCEM program adds to the company’s machine learning and artificial intelligence segment of its autonomy technology portfolio. The capabilities developed under the Hallmark-TCEM effort will be integrated into DARPA’s Hallmark Software Testbed (Hallmark-ST) program. Work for the program will be completed at the company’s facilities in Burlington, Massachusetts and Reston, Virginia.

Steel cut

BAE Systems has cut steel for the second Type 26 Global Combat Ship, HMS CARDIFF, marking an important milestone in the programme to deliver the most advanced Anti-Submarine Warfare (ASW) capability to the Royal Navy.

The hull of the Royal Navy’s second Type 26 Frigate, HMS Cardiff, has now entered construction

In a traditional steel cut ceremony at our shipyard in Govan on the River Clyde, attended by our employees and representatives from the Royal Navy, Anne-Marie Trevelyan MP, Minister for Defence Procurement, performed the official duties; setting the plasma cutting machine to work on a plate of steel that will form part of the unit that holds vital fuel stores for the ship.

We have designed and built the Type 26 Global Combat Ship in Glasgow. The Type 26 frigate is an advanced ASW warship designed for the critical protection of the Continuous At Sea Deterrent and Carrier Strike Group. The City Class Type 26 will build on the pedigree of the Royal Navy’s current Type 23 Anti-Submarine Warfare frigates which have served the Nation well. Each Type 26 will be equipped with a range of capabilities including the Sea Ceptor missile defence system, a 5-inch/127-mm medium calibre gun, flexible mission bay, Artisan 997 Medium Range Radar, powerful bow and towed array sonars and a vertical launch silo capable of hosting a variety of weapons.

The ceremony to mark the formal start of manufacture on the second of the Type 26 Global Combat Ships, HMS CARDIFF, comes two years after steel was cut on the first in class, HMS GLASGOW. Momentum on HMS GLASGOW continues with over one half of the ship now in production and she remains on track to enter service in the mid-2020s.

We have now marked the start of construction of seven complex warships for the UK Royal Navy in just five years, with HMS CARDIFF following her sister ship, HMS GLASGOW, and the five River Class Offshore Patrol Vessels (OPV). All five OPVs are now in the water with the first, HMS FORTH, already in active operation for the Royal Navy.

Defence Procurement Minister Anne-Marie Trevelyan MP said: «The Royal Navy’s new world beating Type 26 anti-submarine frigates are truly a UK-wide enterprise, supporting thousands of jobs here in Scotland and across the UK. These ships will clearly contribute to UK and allied security, but also make a strong economic contribution to the country. With 64 sub-contracts already placed with UK-based businesses, there will be new export opportunities for them to tender for through the selection of the Type 26 design by Australia and Canada too».

We are working alongside 80 companies across the UK and international supply chain to deliver the programme, helping to sustain 4,000 jobs across the UK and providing a foundation for work on the Clyde into the next decade.

Commenting on today’s significant milestone, Steve Timms, Managing Director, BAE Systems Naval Ships, said: «Today’s steel cut ceremony demonstrates the significant and positive progress we are making on this hugely complex, sophisticated and important programme. The Type 26 ships will be the most advanced anti-submarine warfare frigates the Royal Navy has ever had and, together with the five-ship River Class Offshore Patrol Vessel programme, we are proud of the role we play at BAE Systems, alongside many thousands of dedicated people in our supply chain, to deliver this critical capability for the UK Royal Navy».

The Global Combat Ship supports a close partnership between the UK Royal Navy, Royal Canadian Navy and the Royal Australian Navy, all of whom have selected a variant of the Type 26 design for their anti-submarine frigate programmes, supporting greater operational, training and intelligence ties.

Steel cut ceremony signals important progress on UK Royal Navy programme

Signals Intelligence

BAE Systems has been awarded funding from the Defense Advanced Research Projects Agency (DARPA) to integrate Machine-Learning (ML) technology into platforms that decipher radio frequency signals. Its Controllable Hardware Integration for Machine-learning Enabled Real-time Adaptivity (CHIMERA) solution provides a reconfigurable hardware platform for ML algorithm developers to make sense of Radio Frequency (RF) signals in increasingly crowded electromagnetic spectrum environments.

The solution provides a reconfigurable hardware platform for developers to make sense of radio frequency signals in increasingly crowded electromagnetic spectrum environments

The up to $4.7 million contract, dependent on successful completion of milestones, includes hardware delivery along with integration and demonstration support. CHIMERA’s hardware platform will enable algorithm developers to decipher the ever-growing number of RF signals, providing commercial or military users with greater automated situational awareness of their operating environment. This contract is adjacent to the previously announced award for the development of data-driven ML algorithms under the same DARPA program (Radio Frequency Machine Learning Systems, or RFMLS).

RFMLS requires a robust, adaptable hardware solution with a multitude of control surfaces to enable improved discrimination of signals in the evolving dense spectrum environments of the future.

«CHIMERA brings the flexibility of a software solution to hardware», said Dave Logan, vice president and general manager of Command, Control, Communications, Computers, Intelligence, Surveillance, and Reconnaissance (C4ISR) Systems at BAE Systems. «Machine-learning is on the verge of revolutionizing signals intelligence technology, just as it has in other industries».

In an evolving threat environment, CHIMERA will enable ML software development to adapt the hardware’s RF configuration in real time to optimize mission performance. This capability has never before been available in a hardware solution. The system provides multiple control surfaces for the user, enabling on-the-fly performance trade-offs that can maximize its sensitivity, selectivity, and scalability depending on mission need. The system’s open architecture interfaces allow for third party algorithm development, making the system future-proof and easily upgradable upon deployment.

Other RF functions, including communications, radar, and electronic warfare, also can benefit from this agile hardware platform, which has a reconfigurable array, front-end, full transceiver and digital pre-processing stage. Work on these phases of the program will take place at BAE Systems’ sites in Hudson and Merrimack, New Hampshire, and Dallas, Texas.

Mobile Protected
Firepower

Infantry Soldiers are closer to getting their hands on a «light tank» that will boost the firepower of their formations without slowing them down.

The 82nd Airborne Division will test two competing Mobile Protected Firepower vehicles, otherwise known as light tanks, beginning next year; illustrated here is the candidate design from BAE Systems (BAE photo)

The Mobile Protected Firepower (MPF) vehicle, part of the Next-Generation Combat Vehicles suite, is currently in competition after two vendors were chosen in December to each build 12 prototypes for under $376 million.

Beginning in March, those prototypes will be put through the wringer in a series of lethality, survivability and mobility tests. A light infantry unit at 82nd Airborne Division will also conduct an assessment later next year to gain Soldier input.

«It will be the first time anybody really puts their hands on it», said David Dopp, the vehicle’s project manager at Program Executive Office Ground Combat Systems (PEO GCS). «That’s a real key test».

The Army expects to receive about 500 MPFs, which it will start fielding in fiscal 2025. Each infantry brigade combat team will get their own 14-vehicle company for armor support.

One vendor will be chosen to begin producing the vehicles in fiscal 2022.

The «light tanks» would help infantry Soldiers blast through obstacles, take out machine-gun nests and defend against other armored vehicles.

«Infantry would go out on foot or in a Humvee, but then if they ran into some fortification, a bunker or other vehicles, everything kind of stopped», Dopp said Wednesday at the International Armored Vehicles USA conference. «With MPF, we can break through that».

The «light tank» will be a tracked vehicle with likely a 105-mm cannon and 7.62-mm coaxial machine gun for firepower, he said.

At least two of them would need to fit on a C-17 Globemaster III cargo aircraft, and each vehicle would weigh less than 40 tons, much lighter than an M1 Abrams tank that can weigh 60 tons or more.

«It has better mobility for the infantry than an Abrams tank», Dopp said. «It goes where the infantry goes».

The MPF could be a game-changer for infantry units and fill a lethality gap they have had since 1996, when the M551 Sheridan light tank was officially retired without a replacement.

«We haven’t put a ‘tank’ in a light infantry unit for a long time», said Major General Brian Cummings, head of PEO GCS.

Today, an infantry brigade combat team has little to protect itself from an adversary with light armored vehicles, particularly Russia, which the Defense Department considers to be a near-peer adversary.

«In flows a company’s worth of MPFs to help give an armor capability against the threat», Cummings said, «so they’re not just there all by themselves with their javelin missiles».

While the MPF will have some of the latest available technology, autonomous features as well as additional sensors and other improvements could be implemented into it in the future.

«When we get it out there, we’ll start looking to put on those more advanced technologies», Dopp said. «It was all about getting it out there in a hurry».

Military Vehicle

Rheinmetall and BAE Systems have today launched a new, independent UK-based joint venture for military vehicle design, manufacture and support – known as Rheinmetall BAE Systems Land (RBSL). Headquartered in Telford in the West Midlands, the joint venture will sustain around 450 jobs across the UK and is well positioned for future growth.

Rheinmetall has selected this Union Jack-emblazoned Boxer 8×8 armored fighting vehicle to symbolize its new military vehicle joint venture with BAE Systems, prosaically named «Rheinmetall and BAE Systems Land» (Rheinmetall photo)

RBSL intends to play a major role in manufacturing the Boxer 8×8 for the British Army’s Mechanised Infantry Vehicle (MIV) programme and other strategic combat vehicle programmes, while also providing support to the British Army’s in-service bridging and armoured vehicle fleets.

Defence Secretary Penny Mordaunt said: «This announcement is a clear vote of confidence in the UK’s defence industry as a world-leader in designing, supplying and supporting military vehicles. This exciting venture clearly demonstrates how Defence sits at the heart of the prosperity agenda. Its benefits will be felt in the West Midlands and across the UK defence supply chain, creating jobs, boosting exports and guaranteeing our technical skills base into the future».

RBSL will draw on Rheinmetall’s broader military vehicle technologies combined with the additional capabilities and systems brought to the Joint Venture by BAE Systems’ Land UK business, such as Trojan, Terrier, Warrior, military bridging and the AS90 self-propelled artillery system. RBSL will have the potential to create hundreds of additional UK jobs, both in Telford and the wider supply chain.

Peter Hardisty, formerly of Rheinmetall UK, has been appointed as Managing Director of the new company. He said: «RBSL is a new business drawing on the significant strengths and expertise of both BAE Systems Land UK and Rheinmetall. Our employees in Telford, Bristol, and Washington (UK) have a valuable skill set and extensive experience in combat vehicle engineering. With new orders, we shall be able to sustain these capabilities and expand over the coming years, seeking new opportunities in the UK and overseas».

The new management team that will lead RBSL into the future also includes Carrie White as Finance Director and Phil Simon as Operations Director, both of whom join from BAE Systems.

Regulatory approval for the joint venture was granted on 13 June 2019.

Sensor technology

The successful LRASM sensor program demonstrates BAE Systems’ ability to quickly deliver advanced EW technology to warfighters.

Sensor technology guides next-generation missile to readiness
Sensor technology guides next-generation missile to readiness

BAE Systems worked closely with Lockheed Martin to deliver Long-Range Anti-Ship Missiles (LRASM) to the U.S. Air Force, achieving Early Operational Capability (EOC) for the B-1 B Lancer bomber ahead of schedule. The Air Force accepted delivery of production LRASM units following successful simulation, integration, and flight tests that demonstrated the missile’s mission readiness.

«We’re quickly delivering critical capabilities to warfighters to meet their urgent operational needs», said Bruce Konigsberg, Radio Frequency (RF) Sensors product area director at BAE Systems. «Our sensor systems provide U.S. warfighters with a strike capability that lets them engage protected, high-value maritime targets from safe distances. The missile provides a critical advantage to U.S. warfighters».

BAE Systems’ long-range sensor and targeting technology enables LRASM to detect and engage protected ships in all weather conditions, day or night, without relying on external intelligence and navigation data.

BAE Systems and Lockheed Martin are working closely together to further mature the LRASM technology. The companies recently signed a contract for the production of more than 50 additional sensors and are working to achieve EOC on the U.S. Navy’s F/A-18E/F Super Hornet in 2019.

The advanced LRASM sensor technology builds on BAE Systems’ expertise in Electronic Warfare (EW), signal processing, and targeting technologies, and demonstrates the company’s ability to apply its world-class EW technology to small platforms. The successful LRASM sensor program demonstrates the company’s ability to quickly deliver advanced EW technology to warfighters.

As part of the company’s electronic warfare capacity expansion initiatives, it locates key programs where they will be optimally staffed to quickly transition from design to production, accelerate deliveries, and improve product affordability. The company’s work on the LRASM program is conducted at state-of-the-art facilities in Wayne, New Jersey and Nashua, New Hampshire, where it benefits from highly skilled EW engineering and manufacturing workforces.

HMS King George VI

This year marks the 50th anniversary of Continuous At Sea Deterrent – CASD50 – the longest unbroken operation ever delivered by the UK. It is known as Operation Relentless.

Continuous At Sea Deterrent
Continuous At Sea Deterrent

For five decades we have worked side-by-side with the Royal Navy to help keep our nation safe. At BAE Systems, we are proud of our heritage in manufacturing and engineering excellence, of our role in delivering the world’s most advanced and complex defence programmes and of the dedication, passion and innovation of our people.

Today, we remain as proud to work alongside the Royal Navy in defending our nation as we design, build and deliver the next class of deterrent submarines – Dreadnought. Over the next five weeks we will be shining the spotlight on our heritage, our people, our use of technology, our contribution to the UK and the future of our business.

The Defence Secretary has announced the fourth Dreadnought submarine as HMS King George VI ahead of a special service at Westminster Abbey today to recognise the Royal Navy’s Continuous at Sea Deterrent (CASD) over the past 50 years.

Since April 1969, a Royal Navy ballistic missile submarine has patrolled every single day, without interruption, providing the nation’s deterrent and helping keep the UK and our allies safe. This is the UK’s longest sustained military operation ever undertaken and is known as Operation Relentless.

Defence Secretary Penny Mordaunt said: «Operation Relentless has seen generations of submariners from HMS Resolution to HMS Vengeance on constant watch, for every minute of every day for the last five decades. This is the longest military operation we have ever undertaken and continues right this minute deep under the sea. We pay tribute to those incredible crews, their supportive families, the Royal Navy and the thousands of industry experts who will continue to sustain this truly national endeavour for many years to come».

CASD50 provides a chance to not only remember the national endeavour of the past half century but to look to the next-generation of ballistic missile submarines, the Dreadnought class. This will consist of four boats helping to ensure the security of generations to come. The Dreadnought-class are expected to enter service in the early 2030s, helping to maintain Operation Relentless.

Flight control

For the first time in aviation history, an aircraft has been manoeuvred in flight using supersonically blown air, removing the need for complex movable flight control surfaces.

Successful demonstration of breakthrough blown-air flight technologies to revolutionise future aircraft design
Successful demonstration of breakthrough blown-air flight technologies to revolutionise future aircraft design

In a series of ground-breaking flight trials that took place in the skies above north-west Wales, the MAGMA Unmanned Aerial Vehicle (UAV) demonstrated two innovative flow control technologies which could revolutionise future aircraft design.

MAGMA, designed and developed by researchers at The University of Manchester in collaboration with engineers from BAE Systems, successfully trialled the two ‘flap-free’ technologies earlier this month at the Llanbedr Airfield.

The technologies have been designed to improve the control and performance of aircraft. By replacing moving surfaces with a simpler ‘blown air’ solution, the trials have paved the way for engineers to create better performing aircraft that are lighter, more reliable and cheaper to operate. The technologies could also improve an aircraft’s stealth as they reduce the number of gaps and edges that currently make aircraft more observable on radar.

Developing such technologies helps to ensure the UK has the right technologies and skills in place for the future and could be applied to the development of a Future Combat Air System. It is the latest technological breakthrough to come from a number of BAE Systems collaborations with academia and industry, that will help the UK to deliver more advanced capability, more quickly, and through shared investment.

Julia Sutcliffe, Chief Technologist, BAE Systems Air, said: «MAGMA is a great example of how collaborating with bright minds at British universities can deliver ground-breaking research and innovation. Our partnership with The University of Manchester has identified cutting-edge technology, in this case flap-free flight, and turned what began as a feasibility study into a proven capability in just a number of months. It demonstrates how Science, Technology, Engineering and Mathematics (STEM) can be applied in the real-world and I hope the success of these trials inspires the next generation of much-needed engineers and scientists».

Bill Crowther, senior academic and leader of the MAGMA project at The University of Manchester, added: «We are excited to have been part of a long-standing effort to change the way in which aircraft can be controlled, going all the way back to the invention of wing warping by the Wright brothers. It’s been a great project for students to be part of, highlighting that real innovation in engineering is more about finding practical solutions to many hundreds of small technical challenges than having single moments of inspiration. The partnership with BAE Systems has allowed us the freedom as a university to focus on research adventure, with BAE Systems providing the pathway to industrial application. We made our first fluidic thrust vectoring nozzle from glued together bits of plastic and tested it on a hair drier fan nearly 20 years ago. Today BAE Systems is 3D printing our components out of titanium and we are flight testing them on the back of a jet engine in an aircraft designed and built by the project team. It doesn’t get much better than that».

The technologies demonstrated in the trials were:

  • Wing Circulation Control: Taking air from the aircraft engine and blowing it supersonically through narrow slots around a specially shaped wing tailing edge in order to control the aircraft.
  • Fluidic Thrust Vectoring: Controlling the aircraft by blowing air jets inside the nozzle to deflect the exhaust jet and generate a control force.

The trials form part of a long-term collaboration between BAE Systems, academia and the UK government to explore and develop flap-free flight technologies, and the data will be used to inform future research programmes. Other technologies to improve the aircraft performance are being explored in collaboration with NATO Science and Technology Organisation.

City-class frigate

This is the first of the Navy’s next-generation frigates, gradually taking shape in a huge shed on the Clyde.

HMS Glasgow begins to take shape
HMS Glasgow begins to take shape

This is HMS Glasgow, the lead ship in the new City-class, successor to the workhorse of today’s Fleet, the Duke-class Type 23 frigates.

Eight of these Type 26 ships will replace the «souped-up» submarine-hunting variant of the 23s (those equipped with Sonar 2187 – the towed array streamed from the quarterdeck) from the middle of next decade. (The five general purpose 23s, such as HMS Montrose, will be superseded by the Type 31e frigate which is still at the design stage.)

Work has been under way on the £1.2bn warship since mid-July 2017 at BAE Systems’ yard in Govan.

She’ll comprise more than 60 blocks in her finished form, with all but half a dozen of those giant segments in place by the end of next year.

The size of the vessel and the Govan shed means the ship will be pieced together in two huge sections: first the forward part of the frigate, followed by the stern.

Once the two parts are joined on the slipway outside the shed, the main mast and bridge section will be lifted into place and the mostly-complete frigate will be taken downstream for fitting out at BAE’s yard on the north bank of the Clyde at Scotstoun.

All of which is a couple of years off. For now, Vice Admiral Chris Gardner wanted to see how far Glasgow had progressed in his new role as Chief of Materiel (Ships) at the Defence Equipment and Support organisation – the arm of the MOD which oversees new projects and programmes and provides engineering and technical support to existing military kit.

«You can now stand inside a Type 26 as the zones come together and get a real sense of HMS Glasgow as she takes shape», he said.

Three ships have been ordered from BAE: Glasgow, Cardiff and Belfast, while the remaining five vessels in the class have been named: Birmingham, Sheffield, Newcastle, Edinburgh and finally London.

The admiral also dropped in on «mega Medway» – No.2 of five new RN patrol ships – which is about to sail from Scotstoun on her second period of trials; all five vessels have been built in Glasgow, four are in the water and one, HMS Forth, is in Royal Navy hands.