According to Yaakov Lappin, Jane’s Defence Weekly correspondent, the Israel Ministry of Defense (MoD) unveiled on 4 August a new Armoured Fighting Vehicle (AFV) concept, dubbed Carmel, that uses Artificial Intelligence (AI), autonomous capabilities, and enhanced situational awareness to achieve new levels of battlefield effectiveness.
The goal of the programme is to reduce the number of onboard personnel in AFVs like the Merkava tank from four to two and enable them to operate under closed hatches, with the vehicle driving itself, detecting threats in real time, and providing recommendations to the crew on critical decisions.
The vehicles will also be able to control unmanned air and ground vehicles, as well as operate as part of a network that builds a shared picture of the battlefield and co-operate to efficiently engage targets.
The programme will not immediately produce new vehicles, according to the MoD, but will develop capabilities that will gradually be installed on the Israel Defense Forces’ (IDF’s) Merkava Mk-4, the next-generation Barak tank, the Namer tracked Armoured Personnel Carrier (APC), and the Eitan wheeled APC. The MoD will also begin developing an AFV that incorporates the new capabilities at an unspecified time in the future.
Brigadier General Yaniv Rotem, head of research and development at the MoD’s Directorate of Defense Research and Development (DDR&D), told journalists that the programme began around three years ago after the MoD decided to revolutionise the ground forces’ manoeuvring capabilities.
Israel’s three largest defence companies – Israel Aerospace Industries (IAI), Elbit Systems, and Rafael Advanced Defense Systems – were asked to develop their own Carmel prototypes using M113 APCs. These were unveiled on 4 August following a month of trials by a DDR&D team in northern Israel.
The challenge was proving the feasibility of two soldiers conducting closed-hatch operations and integrating technological capabilities that would enhance mission efficiency for the IDF’s manoeuvre forces.
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.
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.
The United States Army recently awarded Lockheed Martin three contracts to produce additional Q-53 systems and outfit the radar with enhanced capabilities, including extended range and Counter Unmanned Aerial System (CUAS) surveillance. The flexible architecture of the Army’s most modern radar allows for these upgrades, which support adaptable growth of the system to address aircraft, drone and other threats in the future.
«We realize the warfighter needs new and improved capabilities. The Q-53 represents a fast path to respond to current and emerging threats», said Rick Herodes, director of the Q-53 program at Lockheed Martin. «The flexibility of the architecture continues to allow the Q-53 to provide capabilities far beyond the original mission and allows for additional upgrades in the future».
Full Rate Production
The Army awarded Lockheed Martin a contract for a third lot of 15 Full Rate Production systems. Once this contract is delivered the Army will own 189 Q-53 systems. The Lot 3 systems will continue to be produced using GAllium Nitride (GaN) transmit-receive modules. This will provide the radar with additional power, reliability and the possibility for enhanced capabilities including extended range, Counterfire Target Acquisition (CTA) and multi-mission, which delivers simultaneous CTA and air surveillance.
Lockheed Martin was also awarded a contract to enhance the Q-53’s CUAS capability. This true multi-mission capability delivers simultaneous counterfire, CUAS and air surveillance.
Lockheed Martin was also awarded a contract by the Army that will extend the operating range of the Q-53 system by utilizing recent next-generation technology insertions already available in the radar.
About the Q-53
The primary mission of the Q-53 is to protect troops in combat by detecting, classifying, tracking and identifying the location of enemy indirect fire in either 90 or 360-degree modes. The Q-53 has protected warfighters around the world since 2010.
Lockheed Martin uses an open GaN foundry model, leveraging relationships with commercial suppliers that utilize the power of the expansive telecommunications market to provide military-grade GaN modules while taking advantage of commercial cost efficiencies.
Northrop Grumman Corporation has been awarded a contract for the U.S. Army Maneuver Short Range Air Defense (M-SHORAD) directed energy prototyping initiative. The initiative includes integrating a directed energy weapon system on a Stryker vehicle as a pathfinding effort toward the U.S. Army M-SHORAD objective to provide more comprehensive protection of frontline combat units.
«Northrop Grumman is eager to leverage its portfolio of innovative, proven technologies and integration expertise to accelerate delivery of next-generation protection to our maneuver forces», said Dan Verwiel, vice president and general manager, missile defense and protective systems, Northrop Grumman. «Our flexible, open systems approach offers an end-to-end solution for the Army’s growing and ever-changing mission requirements in today’s complex threat environment».
Under the initiative from the Rapid Capabilities and Critical Technologies Office and a contract from Kord Technologies, Northrop Grumman will build and integrate a suite of advanced sensors; target acquisition and tracking; a 50-kilowatt class laser system; and battle-tested command-and-control on an Army Stryker combat vehicle. The effort will culminate in a competitive performance checkout leading into a range demonstration that informs M-SHORAD requirements.
The directed energy M-SHORAD prototypes are part of the progression of an Army technology maturation initiative known as the Multi-Mission High Energy Laser (MMHEL).
The integrated platform allows early involvement with warfighter users to develop tactics, techniques, procedures and concepts of operations for future high energy laser weapons.
The Army’s future M-SHORAD protection for forward-deployed soldiers includes laser weapon systems as an effective complement to kinetic capabilities in countering rockets, artillery and mortars; unmanned aircraft systems; and other aerial threats.
The M-SHORAD directed energy prototyping initiative is managed by the U.S. Army Rapid Capabilities and Critical Technologies Office, Redstone Arsenal, Alabama.
Raytheon Company delivered the first Next Generation Jammer Mid-Band (NGJ-MB) Engineering and Manufacturing Development (EMD) pod to the U.S. Navy to begin ground and aircraft integration testing. Raytheon will deliver 15 EMD pods for mission systems testing and qualification as well as 14 aeromechanical pods for airworthiness certification.
NGJ-MB is a high-capacity and power airborne electronic attack weapon system for the EA-18G Growler. It will protect air forces by denying, degrading and disrupting threat radars and communication devices.
«The first NGJ-MB pod is out the door», said Stefan Baur, vice president of Raytheon Electronic Warfare Systems. «We are one step closer to extending the Navy’s jamming range and capability. Delivery of this pod will allow for the initial verification of ground procedures, mass properties, aircraft installation, and Built In Test checks in preparation for future chamber and flight test».
Additionally, in the third quarter of 2019, Raytheon will utilize a Prime Power Generation Capability pod installed on a commercial Gulfstream aircraft in order to conduct power generation flight testing and risk reduction efforts in support of the initial flight clearance process.
Raytheon’s NGJ-MB architecture and design include the ability to operate at a significantly enhanced range, attack multiple targets simultaneously and advanced jamming techniques. The technology can also be scaled to other missions and platforms.
Raytheon Company will deploy two prototype high energy laser weapon systems to troops overseas under a U.S. Air Force contract. The Air Force experimentation includes 12 months of in-field operation against unmanned aerial systems and operator training.
Raytheon’s High-Energy Laser Weapon System (HELWS) uses pure energy to detect, identify and instantly take down drones. It can target a single drone with precision. The HELWS is paired with Raytheon’s Multi-spectral Targeting System. It uses invisible beams of light to defeat hostile Unmanned Aircraft Systems (UASs). Mounted on a Polaris MRZR all-terrain vehicle, the system detects, identifies, tracks and engages drones.
«Every day, there’s another story about a rogue drone incident», said Stefan Baur, vice president of Raytheon Electronic Warfare Systems. «These threats aren’t going away, and in many instances, shooting them with a high energy laser weapon system is the most effective and safest way to bring them down».
The contract follows successful demonstrations of Raytheon’s directed energy systems for the Air Force and the U.S. Army.
The NH90 NATO Frigate Helicopter will be the successor of the Sea Lynx Mk 88A as the helicopter of the German Navy. This ensures a smooth transition and synergies in later operations.
The Federal Ministry of Defense has prepared this decision since the end of 2018 with the support of the Federal Office for Equipment, Information Technology and the Use of the Bundeswehr (BAAINBw). The representative of the Inspector General of the German Armed Forces, Vice Admiral Joachim Rühle, approved this proposal on 29 July.
The Navy is expected to receive from 2025 their new on-board helicopter. Its special designation is «Multi-Role Frigate Helicopter» (MRFH). It will be the German version of the NH90 NATO Frigate Helicopter (NH90 NFH), and closest to the French variant NFH (NFRS) Caiman.
The NFH already flies for the Italian, Norwegian, Belgian and Dutch naval forces.
As the next important milestone in the MRFH procurement process, the Bundestag will deal with a corresponding bill in 2020.
On-board helicopters are an integral part of the «frigate system». Equipped with sonar, radar and torpedoes, they are the essential sensor and weapons carriers in naval warfare, below as well as above water. They can also flexibly support maritime operations through transport and rescue missions.
Overall dimensions (rotors turning)
64.18 feet/19.56 m
53.48 feet/16.30 m
17.42 feet/5.31 m
Maximum Gross Weight
23,369 lbs/10,600 kg
Alternate Gross Weight
24,250 lbs/11,000 kg
14,109 lbs/6,400 kg
9,260 lbs/4,200 kg
8,818 lbs/4,000 kg
Single or dual Rescue Hoist
595 lbs/270 kg
Rescue Hoist on ground
880 lbs/400 kg
7-Cell Internal System
4,486 lbs/2,035 kg
Internal Auxiliary Fuel Tanks (each)
882 lbs/400 kg
External Auxiliary Fuel Tanks (each)
644 lbs/292 kg or 1,102 lbs/500 kg
6.56 feet/2.00 m
15.75 feet/4.80 m
5.18 feet/1.58 m
536.78 feet³/15.20 m³
Sliding doors opening
5.25 × 4.92 feet/1.60 × 1.50 m
Rear ramp opening
5.84 × 5.18 feet/1.78 × 1.58 m
NH90 General Performance (Basic Aircraft)
Maximum Cruise Speed*
162 knots/186 mph/300 km/h
Economical Cruise Speed*
140 knots/161 mph/260 km/h
Maximum Rate Of Climb*
2,200 feet/min/11.2 m/sec
One Engine Inoperative (OEI) Rate Of Climb 2 min Rating*
850 feet/min/4.3 m/sec
OEI Rate Of Climb Continuous Rating at 6,560 feet/2,000 m*
The U.S. Navy commissioned its newest Freedom-variant Littoral Combat Ship (LCS), the USS Billings (LCS-15), during a 10 a.m. ceremony Saturday, August 3, in Key West, Florida.
U.S. Senator Jon Tester, ranking member of the Senate Committee on Veterans’ Affairs, delivered the commissioning ceremony’s principal address. Tester’s wife, Sharla, is the ship’s sponsor. The ceremony was highlighted by a time-honored Navy tradition when Mrs. Tester gave the first order to «man our ship and bring her to life»»!
«The future USS Billings and her crew will play an important role in the defense of our nation and maritime freedom», said Secretary of the U.S. Navy Richard V. Spencer. «She stands as proof of what teamwork – from civilian to contractor to military – can accomplish. This fast, agile platform will deliver her motto, ‘Big Sky Over Troubled Waters,’ worldwide thanks to their efforts».
The ship is named in honor of Billings, the largest city in Montana, as well as the people and military veterans of the state. The USS Billings (LCS-15) is the first ship of its name in naval service.
Montana has a rich history and proud heritage of naval service, with thirty ships named over the years in honor of places and people, including the currently serving Los Angeles-class fast attack submarine USS Helena (SSN-725) and the under-construction Virginia-class fast attack submarine USS Montana (SSN-794). Montana also has one of the highest per capita veteran populations, according to the Veterans Administration.
The USS Billings (LCS-15) is a fast, agile, focused-mission platform designed for operation in near-shore environments yet capable of open-ocean operation. It is designed to defeat asymmetric «anti-access» threats such as mines, quiet diesel submarines and fast surface craft. The ship will be homeported in Mayport, Florida.
The LCS class consists of two variants, the Freedom variant and the Independence variant, designed and built by two industry teams. The Freedom-variant team is led by Lockheed Martin, Marinette, Wisconsin (for the odd-numbered hulls). The Independence variant team is led by Austal USA, Mobile, Alabama, (for LCS-6 and the subsequent even-numbered hulls).
Ship Design Specifications
Advanced semiplaning steel monohull
389 feet/118.6 m
57 feet/17.5 m
13.5 feet/4.1 m
Full Load Displacement
Approximately 3,200 metric tons
Greater than 40 knots/46 mph/74 km/h
Range at top speed
1,000 NM/1,151 miles/1,852 km
Range at cruise speed
4,000 NM/4,603 miles/7,408 km
Watercraft Launch and Recovery
Up to Sea State 4
Aircraft Launch and Recovery
Up to Sea State 5
Combined diesel and gas turbine with steerable water jet propulsion
85 MW/113,600 horsepower
Two MH-60 Romeo Helicopters
One MH-60 Romeo Helicopter and three Vertical Take-off and Land Tactical Unmanned Air Vehicles (VTUAVs)
Less than 50
Accommodations for 75 sailors provide higher sailor quality of life than current fleet
Integrated Bridge System
Fully digital nautical charts are interfaced to ship sensors to support safe ship operation
Core Self-Defense Suite
Includes 3D air search radar
Electro-Optical/Infrared (EO/IR) gunfire control system
Northrop Grumman Corporation has received a $44 million contract award for the Electronic Attack Pod Upgrade Program (EAPUP) from the U.S. Air Force. Placed under an existing contract, this third production order will significantly increase the number of EAPUP systems for the Air Force.
Operating in the modern air warfare environment with advanced, rapidly proliferating electronic warfare systems and radar-guided weapons requires an equally sophisticated level of protection and proven technology. The EAPUP – an upgraded, digital AN/ALQ-131 pod – will replace the Air Force’s current electronic attack pods. The AN/ALQ-131A is currently available to international partners.
«The new technology in EAPUP will protect U.S. Air Force pilots and coalition partner aircraft from modern and future threats», said Michelle Scarpella, vice president and general manager, global logistics and modernization, Northrop Grumman.
Northrop Grumman received the order following a series of rigorous tests designed to verify the system’s capabilities and readiness for operations. The tests were representative of modern combat scenarios and involved multiple, simultaneous threats. The pod demonstrated the ability to identify, locate and counter sophisticated threats and keep aircrews safe during missions in contested airspace.
«The advanced electronic warfare capability integrated in EAPUP is mature, scalable and in production today. Available globally, it is ready to give aircrews the protection they need in dense electromagnetic spectrum environments», said Brent Toland, vice president, land and avionics C4ISR (Command, Control, Communications, Computer, Intelligence, Surveillance, and Reconnaissance), Northrop Grumman.
EAPUP will bring the Air Force’s electronic attack pod inventory into the digital age, delivering fifth-generation capability to fourth-generation aircraft and making it among the most capable electronic warfare pod in the Department of Defense inventory. At the core of EAPUP is Northrop Grumman’s advanced electronic warfare technology, built upon the expertise gained from the company’s broad portfolio of programs for multiple services.
Northrop Grumman has more than 60 years of experience delivering electronic warfare systems for a wide variety of fighter, bomber and transport aircraft.
Raytheon Company and Defense Advanced Research Projects Agency (DARPA) completed a successful baseline design review for the Tactical Boost Glide hypersonic weapons program, establishing the company’s technical approach for a critical design review and moving the system a step closer to development and use.
A boost glide weapon uses a rocket to accelerate its payload and achieve hypersonic speeds – velocities greater than Mach 5. During flight, the payload separates from the rocket and glides unpowered to its destination.
«We understand the urgency of the need and are working fast to deliver this advanced technology to our nation’s military», said Doctor Thomas Bussing, Raytheon Advanced Missile Systems vice president. «The goal is to keep America ahead of emerging threats, and we are well on our way».
The U.S. military will use hypersonic weapons to engage from longer ranges with shorter response times and with greater effectiveness than current weapon systems.
Earlier this year, Raytheon received a $63 million DARPA contract to further develop the Tactical Boost Glide program, a joint effort between the agency and the U.S. Air Force.