This was the second time the missile scores a direct hit, a testament of the system's capability to deal with highly maneuverable targets
Israel’s Ministry of Defense and Israel Aerospace Industries (IAI) conducted today the first full system flight and intercept test of the Barak 8 missile system developed jointly by Israel and India. Upon the completion of the system verification test series, Barak 8 is expected to achieve initial operational capability next year.
The test was conducted from the Israel Navy SAAR 5 missile corvette INS Lahav, the first Israeli vessel to be equipped with the new air and missile defense system. The scenario began with the launch of a target, representing a reference threat. The MF-STAR on INS LAHAV detected the threat, tracked its course and passed it to the battle management center (BMC) inside the ship. The BMC calculated the optimal interception point, and assigned selected the missile interceptor for the launch. (The Barak-8 system can operate independently, or share assets across several platforms to provide effective area defense for larger battle groups).
Upon receiving the launch command the launcher activated the gas generator pushing the missile upward from the vertical launch canister, once cleared off the vessel the missile employed the thrust vector and aerodynamic controls to turn into its operational trajectory. After a midcourse flight in which the missile received updates about the target’s course and expected position, the missile’s active seeker was activated. Acquiring the target from close range the missile homed in on the target, scoring a direct hit with the target. “This was the second time the missile scores a direct hit, a testament of the system’s capability to deal with highly maneuverable targets” said Boaz Levi, Executive Vice President and General Manager of IAI’s Systems, Missiles & Space Group. “All weapon system’s components successfully met the goals of the test.”
According to the Israeli MOD, today’s test was a continuation of a comprehensive test held on land in late 2014, when the operational capabilities of both the Barak-8 naval system and MRSAM Medium Range land-based air defense systems were successfully proven.
Barak-8, jointly developed by the Israel Ministry of Defense (IMOD) and the Defence Research and Development Organization (DRDO) of India, is a cutting edge air and missile defense capability providing land and naval assets the ultimate protection against a variety of aerial threats. The system includes an advanced Phased Array digital radar, command and control, vertical launchers and missiles carrying a highly advanced seeker.
IAI is the prime contractor, in collaboration with the IMOD’s Directorate of Defense Research and Development (DDR&D), ELTA Systems Ltd., IAI’s group and subsidiary, Rafael Advanced Defense Systems, and other defense industries. A number of Indian companies are sharing significant workshare of the program. Indian state owned missile manufacturer Bharat Dynamics Limited (BDL) produce the missiles destined for the Indian vessels.
The Barak-8 naval version is intended for use by the Israeli and Indian Navies. The system has already been procured by additional customers. The first vessels to be equipped with the system are the three Israeli SAAR 5 missile corvettes (INS LAHAV, EILAT and HANIT) and three P-15A Kolkata class missile destroyers (KOLKATA, KOCHI and CHENNAI) of the Indian Navy. INS Lahav is the first vessel equipped with the missile on the Israeli side. INS Kolkata is already equipped with the systems is expected to begin the missile testing soon, tests are expected to be conducted at India’s missile test center off Odisha. Barak 8 Systems are undergoing integration on the two additional destroyers of this class.
A collection of new products and technologies for law enforcement, homeland security and defense spotted at the recent Milipol 2015 exhibition by Defense-Update team. All photos: Tamir Eshel, defense-Update
Each MOKV interceptor will be equipped with an advanced sensor, as well as divert, attitude-control and communications technologies, to enable each MOKV to home in on an individual target. If successful, by 2030 it could be introduced as a follow-on for the current EKV, enabling a single interceptor to destroy several objects in space.
The U.S. Missile Defense Agency (MDA) and Raytheon have completed the first Program Planning Review on the future Multi-Object Kill Vehicle (MOKV) concept, a key step toward defining critical aspects of its design. This milestone ensures that the development plan is aligned with the MDA’s expectations, and on track for an upcoming Concept Review in December.
Each MOKV will steer itself to a target and destroy it. Multiple MOKVs will be loaded on a launch missile such as the Ground-Based Interceptor (GBI). Each interceptor will be equipped with an advanced sensor, as well as divert, attitude-control and communications technologies, to enable each MOKV to home in on an individual target. Based on illustrations released by the company, each interceptor missile will carry a single bus mounting six MOKVs, each utilising its own sensor and diverting thrusters, thus enabling a single interceptor to engage multiple targets – whether real warheads or decoys – with a high probability of success.
The design work on Raytheon’s MOKV concept is being conducted as part of Raytheon’s Advanced Missile Systems product line, which already has an impressive arsenal of missile-interception systems, some already operational and others, such as the MOKV, still in various stages of development.
The Ground-Based Interceptor (GBI) missile, a three-stage GBI solid rocket booster, currently carries a single Exoatmospheric Kill Vehicle (EKV), capable of intercepting a single ballistic missile target. In case a threat missile is identified, the EKV can be launched into space. Once outside of the Earth’s atmosphere, operating at the edge of space at hypersonic speeds, the EKV’s job will begin.
The EKV will seek out the target using multi-color sensors, a cutting-edge on-board computer, and a rocket motor used only for steering in space. It will hone in on its target with pinpoint precision and destroy it by the sheer kinetic forces resulting from the impact.
This is the third generation of EKV that Raytheon is developing for the GBI. The first prototype was launched in 1998. The program evolved with several variants, undergoing 10 test flights that suffered quite a few failures until two successful flights, in 2013 and 2014, paved the way for further development and optimization. Currently being upgraded with the CE-II KEV variant, the fleet of GBIs is fully operational at Ft. Greely, Alaska.
Since the original GBI and EKV vehicles suffered a large number of failures, the GBI/EKV system was considered unreliable. As a result, the Army has chosen to employ a ‘less-than-optimal shot doctrine,’ allocating more interceptors to each target missile, thus diminishing the number of attacking missiles it could intercept with the fleet of 44 GBIs planned to be on alert by 2017.
The version currently under development is CE-II Block 1, designed to incorporate many improvements implementing lessons learned from past test failures. The first flight test of this missile is expected in 2016. If successful, it will be followed by operational deployment beginning the following year (installed on the next 10 GBI interceptors scheduled for delivery by the end of 2017).
The reliability problems encountered with the EKV have lead the MDA to seek an alternative in the Redesigned Kill Vehicle (RKV – sometime referred to as EKV CE-III), a modified design that leverages mature, proven components to simplify design and improve reliability. The RKV will also have improved target acquisition and discrimination capabilities and will provide for on-demand communications between the RKV and the Ground-Based Midcourse Defense (GMD) fire control system. The development of this kill vehicle is slated to begin in 2016, and the MDA plans to award the RKV production contract by 2018, leading to initial deployment in 2020.
Under the more ambitious Common Kill Vehicle (CKV) program, the MDA is seeking to develop new technologies that will improve its exoatmospheric intercept capabilities. The agency had planned to develop a Multi-Kill Vehicle (MKV) as early as 2004, but abandoned the program in 2009 in favor of ‘ascent-phase-intercept’ capabilities considered with forward deployed weapons such as the AEGIS-BMD.
MOKV, considered as part of that CKV, will therefore revive this plan, with a delay of more than a decade. The definition phase of an operational MOKV concept was launched in August 2015. If successful, by 2030 it could be introduced as a follow-on for the current EKV, enabling a single interceptor to destroy several objects in space. Considered as part of a planned upgrade under the MDA’s CKV program, MOKV will be able to enhance US missile-defense architecture without increasing the number of deployed interceptors, or even reducing the interceptor inventory required to defeat an evolving and more capable threat.
Raytheon has also developed a different ‘hit-to-kill’ vehicle for several Standard-Missile 3 interceptors. These missiles are part of the U.S. Navy defensive shield, designed to destroy short- to intermediate-range ballistic missile threats.
The design work on Raytheon’s MOKV concept is being conducted as part of Raytheon’s Advanced Missile Systems product line, which is responsible for the production of the EKV and the Standard Missile 3, as well as the development of the RKV.
Portable, hand-held explosive detectors are extending security measures in areas beyond the ‘sterile zones’ defined by rigid gateways and inspection lines, enabling the routine inspection of employees, suppliers and cargo over large operational areas such as airports, container farms, industrial facilities and highways. Unveiled this week at Milipol 2015, Israel's explosive detection specialist, Laser Detect Systems, outlines how these new sensors, deployed to roadblocks and patrols, can cast an intelligence network able to track the ‘evolution of bombs’ and disrupt the stockpiling of precursory materials, thus preventing their transformation into devastating car bombs.
Terror attacks directed at air transport have forced airport authorities worldwide to implement extensive security inspection of passengers and cargo. These measures have required the installation of large, complex and expensive, ultra-sensitive explosive detection systems at airports. Whether fully automated or manually-assisted, these systems inspect cargo, hand baggage and personnel as they move into a ‘sterile zone’ likely to be clear of weapons or explosive threats. The goal of these measures is to eliminate even the slightest chance of terrorists smuggling explosive devices or weapons onto aircraft.
But terrorists don’t sit by idly either; they expend huge efforts on finding new ways to outsmart or bypass the scanners. Several attempts that have fortunately been thwarted have included concealing hybrid explosives in liquid form, or cached within organic materials; other explosive materials have been concealed in shoes or body cavities — all in an attempt to exploit the known weaknesses of existing security inspection systems. Each new threat uncovered has required the adoption of new security measures to close the gap.
While the installation of large, ever-more-sophisticated, inspection systems helps tighten overall security at airports, these expensive, bulky and complex systems cannot be placed everywhere. Particularly vulnerable are small airports, serving low-cost carrier destinations.
With sensors becoming smaller, more sophisticated and more affordable, new explosive detection systems are being introduced as portable, hand-held devises. These devices are simple to use and can be operated by security agents as effective, powerful means of extending security measures from security gates into the ‘sterile zone,’ at the terminal area, throughout the operational area and in transit hubs.
Another issue with which current security systems often fail to deal is the insider threat. Security gates or baggage inspection systems, however big and sophisticated, often fail to detect potential threats from employees or suppliers that have access to the operational area. Some of these people could be associated with or assisting in the perpetration of illegal activities – such as the smuggling of drugs, contraband etc.
These criminals become weak links when they are linked to terrorists. Motivated by cultural, social, ideological or financial considerations, insider threats are hard to detect. Although background checks can indicate the evolution of potential dangers, routine, snap checks throughout airports can elevate security within the protected perimeter, potentially deterring and disrupting terrorist plans and preparations to carry out attacks. That’s where these new, portable, explosive and drug detectors can become critical.
Sophisticated, ultra-sensitive sensors that have, until recently, been available only at specialized chemical labs, are now offered in lightweight, hand-held configurations, capable of performing ultra-sensitive tests within seconds. Based on different spectrometry methods, such cutting-edge sensors can be used, individually or in sync, to conduct random security checks on passengers, cargo and baggage anywhere, anytime. They can also be used for the routine inspection of airport employees, in operational areas, and within areas considered ‘sterile zones.’
Sensors based on Laser Raman Spectroscopy enable the rapid, highly-sensitive detection of explosives; this technology ensure high probability of detection, with low false-negative/false-positive results; sensors such as those introduced by Israel’s explosive detection specialist Laser Detect Systems (LDS) can be used by security personnel with minimum training to provide clear and accurate identification of any known explosive substance or precursor.
Such systems can also inspect aircraft cargo bays, prior to or after the loading of baggage or supplies. Different sensors, employing Ion Mobility Spectrometry (IMS), can be used to detect trace materials, as well as vapors, inside containers, to accelerate the testing of cargo or baggage before or after being loaded on board.
Terrorists often use illusive compounds that are not detected by ordinary scanning processes. Widely used compounds, such as TATP and PETN, are transported in liquid form, undetectable by conventional X-ray systems. That’s why the carriage of liquids is forbidden on most flights. New sensors, using Laser Raman Spectroscopy configured as Bottled Liquid Explosive Detection Systems (BLS), are now available as stand-alone or in-line desktop systems, beefing up existing security inspection lines with detection capabilities formerly characteristic of only the largest, most expensive central systems.
These new sensors utilize cutting-edge sensing technologies that miniaturize complex chemical laboratory analysis systems into field-deployable devices. Relying on computerized processing, system automation and advanced man-machine interface, these devices enable ordinary policemen and soldiers to effectively and reliably detect explosive materials.
Networked into larger security and intelligence systems, those hand-held explosive detectors, when widely distributed to field agents, can provide essential intelligence data indicating the movement of explosives and precursory materials, or identify traces of explosives on vehicles, containers or materials. The use of hand-held trace detection systems would also enable law-enforcement agents to detect people involved in the handling of explosives. Tracking the movements of such substances would enable intelligence agencies to track the ‘evolution of bombs,’ by indicating anomalies in the transportation and stockpiling of sensitive materials that could be turned into devastating explosive devices.
Automatic mutual cueing between Ultra and Spectra radars enable instant target acquisition and handover, optimizing resource management, multi-target handling and target loads.
Israel Aerospace Industries (IAI) today unveiled the ELM-2090S Spectra ‘mega radar,’ an ‘S band’ ‘companion’ to the Ultra UHF radar system introduced a few months ago at the Paris Air Show. The two radars are apparently part of a new, strategic, early-warning and defense system which has already become operational overseas. The dual-band, multi-radar, early- warning and missile-defense ‘system of systems,’ known as “Terra,” is designed to offer extended air- and missile-defense coverage against new and evolving ballistic missile threats that are becoming more capable, covering longer ranges at higher speeds, which require new capabilities for missile warning and defense.
Comprising a Dual-band Radar Array (DRA), Terra is optimized for early-warning, detection and accurate tracking of very long range targets such as ballistic missiles, satellites and air-breathing vehicles. Combining the long-range capabilities of the UHF radar and the high resolution offered by the S-band radars, Terra offers very long range and large volume search, accurate tracking and target classification for all object types – ballistic missiles, satellites and air breathing targets, including low Radar-Cross-Section (RCS) class (stealth) targets. In addition to target detection and tracking, Terra also provides accurate prediction of impact and launch point estimation.
“Ballistic and cruise missiles present a significant global threat to nations worldwide,” explained Mr. Nissim Hadas, IAI Executive VP & ELTA President. “The TERRA system provides outstanding performance for its users for very long range early warning, detection and highly accurate tracking. It is designed to confront the full range of modern threats, as the new SPECTRA radar is based on the most advanced modern technology and provides unique capabilities and excellent operational results, placing it among the best radars worldwide.”
According to Moshe Dehokerker, Business Development dept. manager at Elta Systems, this early start positions IAI 3-5 years ahead of international competitors producing strategic air- and missile-defense radars of this type. The Spectra radar is also the first ultra-large-scale radar relying on Elta’s Gallium-Nitride transmit-receive modules, which offer great advantages in power and size optimization. According to Dehokerker, this early start positions IAI 3-5 years ahead of international competitors producing strategic air- and missile-defense radars of this type. The Spectra radar is also the first ultra-large-scale radar relying on Elta’s Gallium-Nitride transmit-receive modules, which offer great advantages in power and size optimization.
The new variant weighs 67 kg. – only two kilograms more than the existing three-motor Panther. The new propulsion system extends the mission endurance of the Panther by 33%, maintaining the same payload capacity (6 kg.) as the all-electric version.
Israel Aerospace Industries (IAI) is unveiling a new variant of its Panther Vertical Take Off and Landing (VTOL) UAV, equipped with a hybrid propulsion system integrating electric and internal combustion engines. The drone, displayed by the Korean Hankuk Carbon company, is designated ‘Front Engine Panther’ (FE-Panther) and is the latest development of IAI’s Panther family.
“Cooperation with Hankuk Carbon is a real opportunity to develop new capabilities and to pursue new business opportunities,” Ofer Haruvi, CTO of IAI’s Military Aircraft Group said. “This cooperation will be beneficial to the Republic of South Korea’s military and civilian authorities.”
IAI and Hankuk Carbon are marketing the FE-Panther to South Korean governmental entities under a Memorandum of Understanding (MoU) signed between the two companies, pursuing the feasibility study of the concept of a VTOL UAS for South Korean requirements.
According to Moon-Soo Cho, CEO of Hankuk Carbon, the new drone will be tailor-made to meet local requirements, which demand independence from runways in Korea’s mountainous region.
The new variant weighs 67 kg. – only two kilograms more than the existing three-motor Panther. Hankuk Carbon provides the fuselage assembly, made of lightweight composite materials, and some sub-systems.
The hybrid propulsion system enables users to employ two different power sources – the tilting electrical motors are optimal for vertical takeoff/landing and hovering, while the internal-combustion engine is employed for cruising.
The new propulsion system extends the mission endurance of the Panther by 33%, maintaining the same payload capacity (6 kg.) as the all-electric version.
“To develop and manufacture this VTOL UAV for Korean civil and military uses, and to meet the different needs of potential customers, both companies are also working on the joint development of another hybrid propulsion system,” Moon-Soo Cho added. “This strategic partnership will become a major manifestation of the Korean government’s policy of creative economy.”
Having multiple launch pads per base can support the fuelling of several liquid-propelled missiles - a relatively lengthy process that normally compromise those missiles to enemy preventive attack. By conducting such operation underground, the Iranian missile operators can prepare liquid propelled missiles (such as Shahab 3 and Ghadr) without exposing their missiles to the enemy.
Such facilities comprise a network of interconnected tunnels, fitted with concrete paved surfaces enabling rapid and efficient transportation of missiles from storage areas to launch points. The missiles are Launched from large underground launched pads supporting the erection, fuelling and launching of missiles.
According to Iranian sources, ballistic missiles are stored in a number of these facilities, located in different regions throughout Iran, at depth up to 500 meters under the surface. Iran typically operates such missile bases in hilly or mountainous areas, each site is fed through multiple entry and exit points; launch pads are often located under roofed structures which may also ‘hide’ plain surfaces for deception. The whole endeavor aims to eliminate enemy intelligence collection and early warning by using earth observation assets such as satellites and unmanned aerial systems.
Having multiple launch pads per base can support the fuelling of several liquid-propelled missiles – a relatively lengthy process that normally compromise those missiles to enemy preventive attack. By conducting such operation underground, the Iranian missile operators can prepare liquid-propelled missiles (such as Shahab 3 and Ghadr) without exposing their missiles to the enemy. Such deep underground also protect these strategic assets from enemy air attacks.
The large tunnels provide ample storage areas for ready-to-launch missile transporters, moved to their launch pads by prime movers. The launch pads are quickly prepared for new missiles, as they provide merely the level surface for standard trailer-mounted erector-launchers. This process is more efficient than the launch silos, employed for non-transportable missiles, which require lengthy reloading after each launch.
IRGC’s strategic missile force also relies on launch silos, the first was unveiled in 2011.
Oshkosh unveiled the MRAP All-Terrain Vehicle (M-ATV) 6×6 Technology Demonstrator today, at AUSA 2015. The vehicle introduces an extended platform, based on the proven M-ATV, providing more interior volume for a full infantry squad – up to 15 soldiers, as well as greater payload capacity. Retaining the M-ATV superior off-road mobility and maneuverability, the 6×6 variant uses all-wheel steering for exceptional maneuverability. The vehicle also retains Oshkosh’s TAK-4 independent suspension for all wheels.
The Oshkosh Corporation is also featuring the winning Joint Light Tactical Vehicle (JLTV) at the exhibition held in Washington DC this week. Oshkosh’s JLTV is the next-generation light military vehicle which will deliver an exceptional combination of troop protection, transportability, off-road mobility, speed, power and life-cycle value.
“The JLTV program fills a critical capability gap for the U.S. Army and Marine Corps by replacing a large portion of the legacy HMMWV fleet with a light, tactical vehicle with far superior protection and off-road mobility,” said U.S. Army Major General (Retired) John M. Urias, executive vice-president of Oshkosh Corporation and president of Oshkosh Defense.
JLTV offers a platform 1/3 smaller and lighter than M-ATV, yet offering the same ballistic and blast protection, with off-road mobility and speed 70 percent faster than M-ATV. The JLTV is transportable by air and sea, in C-130 tactical transport aircraft, as well as in CH-53 and CH-47 helicopters. JLTV is network ready and VICTORY compliant.
For the new JLTV, Oshkosh Defense has developed the CORE 1080 crew protection system, a fully-integrated engineering process designed to deliver full and comprehensive crew protection. The system comprises the hull design, armor materials, a fire-extinguishing system, and energy-absorbing floors, seats and restraint systems for crew members and stowage. Core 1080 also incorporates ergonomic and vulnerability analysis for engineering optimization to determine the location of crew seats.
In order to gain higher precision, EMAD likely integrates inertial and satellite navigation systems with aerodynamic and propulsion control to guide the re-entry vehicle to its target. Potentially, with these capabilities also enable the reentry vehicle to dodge interceptors, posing a new challenge for missile defenses
Iran has successfully test fired a new, domestically-produced, medium-range ballistic missile, named Emad (pillar, in Farsi). “This is Iran’s first medium-range missile that can be guided and controlled until hitting the target,” Iran’s Defense Minister Hossein Dehghan was quoted as saying. According to analyst estimates the new missile could be ready for service next year.
The Islamic Republic of Iran already has surface-to-surface missiles with ranges of up to 2,000 kilometers that can hit Israel and US military bases in the region. The new missile seems to be a derivative of these liquid-propelled Ghadr and Shahab missiles. This Medium-Range Ballistic Missile (MRBM) is also powered by liquid-fuel and; according to unconfirmed sources, it has a range of up to 1,700 km., (1,060 miles) carrying a payload of 750 kg (1,650 pounds). Its accuracy is estimated at 500 meters (1,650 ft), compared of 2,000 meters (1.2 miles) accuracy achieved by the current Shahab 3 missile.
Unlike its predecessors, the new model is equipped with a re-entry vehicle which integrates a guidance system that controls four aerodynamic surfaces for endo-atmospheric flight, and thrusters which can adjust the vehicle’s exo-atmospheric trajectory, before it re-enters the earth’s atmosphere.
In order to gain higher precision, EMAD likely integrates inertial and satellite navigation systems with aerodynamic and propulsion control to guide the re-entry vehicle to its target. Potentially, with these capabilities also enable the reentry vehicle to dodge interceptors, posing a new challenge for missile defenses
Armed with precision guided weapons, the Su-34s attacked from an altitude of 15,000 ft. The effect shown in Battle Damage Assessment (BDA) aerial imagery released by the Russians indicate that some targets were indeed struck by precision guided weapons.
Claiming to target ISIS, Russia conducted its first airstrikes in Syria. According to the Russian Defense Ministry, warplanes targeted eight ISIS positions, including arms, transportation, communications and control positions. The Syrian state-run news agency SANA reported that Russian warplanes had targeted “ISIS dens” in al-Rastan, Talbiseh and Zafaraniya in Homs province; Al-Tilol al-Hmer, in Qunaitra province; Aydoun, a village on the outskirts of the town of Salamiya; Deer Foul, between Hama and Homs; and the outskirts of Salmiya. According to ISW analysis, Talbisah is home to Syrian al-Qaeda affiliate Jabhat al-Nusra, hardline Islamist Ahrar al-Sham, and a number of other local rebel groups, all of which are active in local governance efforts in the area.
Russian sources indicated the strikes were carried out by Su-25 (NATO Reporting Name Frogfoot) close support fighters, Su-24M (NATO Reporting name Fencer) and Su-34 (NATO Reporting name Fullback) strike fighters. While Su-24M and Su-25 were widely deployed in recent conflicts in Afghanistan, Iraq and Georgia, the attack provided the first opportunity for the relatively new Su-34, the Russian Air Force latest generation attack aircraft, to show its worth. Attacks carried out by Su-34 used precision guided bombs, specifically GLONASS (satellite navigation) guided weapons. On video the Su-34s were seen returning to Latakia with a single KA-500S-E weapon, and seven empty weapon stations. The KA-500S-E is a 1000 pound class weapon (similar to the GBU-32 JDAM). Its warhead contains about 200 kg of high explosives.
The Su-34s attacked their targets from an altitude of 15,000 ft. The effect shown in Battle Damage Assessment (BDA) aerial imagery taken by Russian UAVs indicate that some targets were indeed struck by precision guided weapons.
Although the Su-34 shown on video were armed with precision guided weapons, other strikes were not so accurate. Some attacks employed high yield weapons (likely 2000 pound fuel-air explosive bombs) that create significant collateral damage, primarily blast and incendiary effect. In fact, blast damage are clearly visible at ranges of several hundreds of meters from the point of impact. These effects indicate the possible use of fuel-air explosives weapons, widely used by Russian forces.
The ouvert use of such weapons by the Russians is likely done by choice, delivering a clear message of deterrence to all sides taking part in the fight – The Syrian regime, all rebels battling the regime and the coalition forces supporting them.
According to the London-based Syrian Observatory for Human Rights, 28 people were killed in the strikes, including women and children. The Syrian National Coalition reported that 36 people were killed, all civilians. “I want to be careful about confirming information, but it does appear that they (Russian airstrikes) were in areas where there probably were not ISIL forces,” US Secretary of Defense Ash Carter told reporters yesterday.
Although there are small ISIS “sympathetic” cells in the rebel-held pockets of northern Homs, the Russian decision to target terrain that is held by the Syrian opposition and not ISIS signals Russia’s intent to assist the Assad regime’s war effort at large, beyond anti-ISIS operations.
U.S. officials also expressed serious doubts about what the true intentions behind the move may be. “As we see the very capable air defense [systems] beginning to show up in Syria, we’re a little worried about another A2/AD bubble being created in the eastern Mediterranean,” said Gen. Philip Breedlove, commander, U.S. European Command (EUCOM).
Over 50 Russian aircraft and combat helicopters have been deployed at Syria’s Hmaimin airbase, located close to the port of Latakia. The base is guarded by a battalion of marines and is protected by a group of Russian warships from the sea.
Despite the Russian declared intention to assist fighting ISIS in Syria, NATO defense officials are concerned of the Russian military buildup in the country, according to the Washington Post. While the move’s stated goal in moving into Syria is to fight the Islamic State, NATO’s top commander believes Russia is building a strong air defense ‘bubble’ over north-western Syria, that would extend far beyond the Syrian territory, to deny the Western coalition air operations over Syria and, in fact, over the Eastern Mediterranean.
As of last week, Russia has more than two dozen aircraft at a newly renovated airfield in Latakia province, including ground-attack aircraft and helicopter gunships. In addition to the aircraft, there are at least 500 troops and number of tanks and armored personnel carriers.
The Israel Air Force which repeatedly operated over Syria and lebanon since the beginning of the Syrian Civil War in 2011 is also concerned about the Russian move, that could affect IAF operations over Lebanon as well as Syria. Moreover, the de-facto established Israeli freedom of action over Lebanon would be severely degraded, given Russian manned and equipped assets guarding the Lebanese airspace, covering Iranian-backed military buildup in Central and South Lebanon. Israel’s concern of such potential conflict drove Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu to meet Vladimir Putin in Moscow on Sept 21. In its effort to deconflict operations of Russian, Iranian, Iraqi and Coalition forces operating over Syria, Washington has opened direct communications lines with Moscow, while Russia deployed liaison officers to Iraq.
An advanced, distributed real-time IP networking platform known as ‘Orion’ is introducing advanced communications and audio management capabilities on board aircraft, facilitating advanced directional audio and voice command that become essential for modern fighters, flown 'heads out' using of helmet-displays.
With the growing demand for data connectivity and limitations of current airborne network solutions, the Aviation Full-Duplex Switched Ethernet (AFDX) protocol developed by Airbus has emerged as a networking method for safety-critical applications that use dedicated bandwidth and providing deterministic Quality of Service (QoS).
An advanced, distributed real-time IP networking platform known as ‘Orion’, developed in Israel by ORBIT Communications Systems, implements AFDX, IP and Ethernet protocols with proprietary, patented methods to establish a switchless, real-time, distributed airborne network. The patented dual IP ring topology used in this system provides inherent scalability and redundancy, offering unique safety features.
Orion was designed as a certifiable system for aviation standards and, therefore applicable to numerous aerospace applications. Previous generations of ORBIT’s Communications Management Systems are operating on more than 3,500 military, commercial and business aircraft and helicopters.
“The Orion has many possible applications for airborne platforms however at this stage we are focused on specific audio and video management applications that bring forward the systems’ advantages while leveraging ORBIT’s past experience and brand equity,” Eitan Shabbat, VP Airborne Communications Solutions at ORBIT said. For example, Orion Jet, Transport and Airliner designed to provide audio management in combat aircraft and trainers, helicopters, transport planes, and commercial planes. Orion Video is providing airborne video distribution and management, for special mission aircraft, Search and Rescue (SAR) helicopters and for cabin and cargo monitoring in commercial airliners.
The Virtus system is the first infantry combat suite to employ the Dynamic Weight Distribution (DWD) system, an innovative load distribution system developed by the Israeli company Source Tactical Gear over the past three years.
Source Tactical Gear this month began deliveries of the new Virtus ‘Scalable Tactical Vest’ (STV) to the UK Ministry of Defense (MOD), under a new multi-annual contract awarded earlier in 2015. Under the contract the Israeli company will deliver 14,000 Virtus soldier combat suite kits this year, to be followed by annual deliveries of about 10,000 kits through 2017. As the UK Ministry of Defense has a requirement for up to 82,000 kits, it has also secured options to continue purchasing them through 2026. Source is the prime contractor for the Virtus Kit, which includes more than 50 different items designed, developed and produced by the Israeli company and by subcontractors in the U.K., Canada, Israel and the U.S.
The Virtus Soldier System is a new, fully integrated personal protection and load carriage system developed by Source for the British Army. The system employs the Dynamic Weight Distribution (DWD) system, enhancing the operational effectiveness of the dismounted combatant. The Virtus system is the first combat suite to employ the DWD as part of a standard kit. Developed by Source over the past three years, the DWD was unveiled at the Shot Show in Las Vegas this year; it’s European debut was at IWA in Germany in March. The DWD was presented for the first time as part of a complete integrated soldier system at DSEI 2015 in London, following the delivery of first systems to the MOD.
The Israeli Micro-Tactical Ground robot (MTGR) has won a recent US Air Force contract, following a tough competition against several U.S.-Developed systems which have already been widely used by the U.S. military, such as iRobot SUGV and QinetiQ NA Dragon Runner.
The Israeli robot company Roboteam has won a prestigious contract award worth $25 million to deliver and support small, lightweight MTGR Explosive Ordnance Disposal (EOD) robots to the U.S. Air Force. The contract funds the delivery and support of the robots through 2022.
In its quest for a new, small EOD robot the Air Force was looking for an off the shelf system, that has at least three years of operational experience. Such back packable small robot weighing less than 30 pounds (13.6 kg) and be useful in situations where larger robots cannot access the scene. The Air Force required the system to be operated by a single person, being able able to respond to incidents involving unexploded ordnance (UXO) and improvised explosive devices (IED), as well as conducting intelligence, surveillance and reconnaissance (ISR) in hazardous environments.
The Micro-Tactical Ground robot (MTGR) from Roboteam has been in competition with several U.S.-Developed systems which have already been widely used by the U.S. military, such as iRobot SUGV and QinetiQ North America Dragon Runner. Lighter and more agile, particularly in complex environments such as culverts, indoor and underground settings, MTGR has repeatedly won new orders in recent months with the U.S. Special Forces, the Israel Defense Forces (IDF), in Poland and in the UK. Roboteam’s Maryland-based U.S. subsidiary will produce the MTGR robots for the U.S. customers and support them throughout the world.