Tamir Eshel

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ALIS provides the IT backbone and capabilities to support current and future Warfighters across the U.S. and allied military services. ALIS integrates a broad range of capabilities including operations, maintenance, prognostics, supply chain, customer support services, training and technical data. A single, secure information environment provides users with up-to-date information on any of these areas using web-enabled applications on a distributed network. Photo: Lockheed Martin

The US Department of Defense has assigned F-35 Regional Maintenance, Repair, Overhaul and Upgrade (MRO&U) capability for airframes and engines for the European and Asia Pacific Regions. Participating nations were provided with requirements for Regional MRO&U, or “heavy maintenance” needs for both F-35 engines and airframes.

As part of the life cycle support plan, each of the F35 participating nations and future operators was afforded the opportunity offer support other F-35 operators in the region, based on its domestic industrial base capabilities. Assignment decisions also considered forward basing of US F35s, aircraft phasing, and transportation.

In the European region, F-35 initial airframe capability will be provided by Italy by 2018. Should additional airframe capability be required, the UK would be assigned to supplement the existing capability. Turkey will initially provide engine heavy maintenance beginning in 2018, with Norway and the Netherlands providing additional capability approximately 2-3 years later. Israel is expected to retain an independent MRO&U capability for both airframes and engines.

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Training the maintainers: Tech. Sgt. Brandon Sullivan, an aircraft armament systems technician with the 33rd Aircraft Maintenance Squadron, is using a portable maintenance device loaded with joint technical data and plugged into an F-35 life-sized trainer during a weapons familiarization course. Photo: US Air Force by Karen Romanov

In the Pacific region, F-35 airframe capability will be provided by Japan for the Northern Pacific and Australia for the Southern Pacific, with both capabilities required not later than early 2018. For F-35 engine maintenance, the initial capability will be provided by Australia by early 2018, with Japan providing additional capability at least 3-5 years later. Japan’s mainenance facilities are likely to support both Japanese and US jets. In addition, South Korea is expected to join such agreements to support its planned F-35 fleet.

South Korea announced it will not send its F-35 fleet to Japan for heavy airframe maintenance, and will rather send the 40 jets it plans to operate down under to to be maintained in Australia. The maintenance facilities will likely be based at RAAF Base Amberley and RAAF Base Williamtown.

Israel and South Korea could also service those jets in country, but such a deal would require significant investments and specialized equipment for the treatment and testing of the jets’ stealth.

These maintenance assignments do not preclude the option for other F-35 Partners and FMS customers, including those assigned initial airframe and engine capabilities, to participate and be assigned additional future sustainment work, to include component and system repairs, as the fleet grows and the F-35 global presence expands.

The assignments were based on data compiled and analyzed by the F-35 Joint Program Office that was collected from European Partners and their industries. These initial MRO&U assignments will support near-term engine and airframe F-35 overseas operations and maintenance and will be reviewed and updated in approximately five years.

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United Kingdom and U.S. Air Force F-35 maintainers support ALIS testing at Lockheed Martin’s Orlando facility in August 2014. Photo: Lockheed Martin, by Mike Wilhelm.

“This is another example of the continuing expansion of global sustainment opportunities for the international F-35 community,” said Lt. Gen. Chris Bogdan, F-35 Program Executive Officer.” The F-35 international users will remain a vital part of the support structure of the Program. Their continuing participation is critical to driving down costs and getting the best-value for the F-35 team, while improving the strength of the global sustainment base for many years to come.”

“This is the first of many opportunities we will have to assign F-35 global sustainment solutions,” said F-35 Program Executive Officer, Lt. Gen. Chris Bogdan. “As international F-35 deliveries increase and global operations expand, support provided by our international F-35 users becomes increasingly more important. We are grateful for the opportunity to work alongside these nations on a daily basis; this close teamwork enables the US Defense Department to make well-informed, best-value decisions to shape the F-35 global sustainment posture for decades to come.”

An important milestone for the F-35 support was the delivery of a new version of the Autonomic Logistics Information System (ALIS). F-35 operators are using ALIS to provide logistics and operational data analysis. As the F-35 fleet management tool, ALIS integrates preventative maintenance, flight scheduling and the mission planning system. Pilots plan and debrief missions, and maintenance professionals sustain the F-35 using ALIS.

During flight test operations, the military will confirm new ALIS capabilities, including high-speed data download for increased aircraft availability. The release also provides each nation flying the F-35 with advanced reporting features for fleet management and trend analysis.

Following validation at test sites, the software will be installed at all F-35 locations and deployed for military operations beginning in 2015.

“The men and women who will take the F-35 into operations are charting a new course for fighter aircraft, from tactics development to fleet sustainment,” said Mary Ann Horter, vice-president of F-35 Sustainment Support at Lockheed Martin Mission Systems and Training. “ALIS provides them with a complete picture of the fleet’s status, so that they are equipped with the information needed to make proactive decisions and keep the jets flying.”

The F-35 is the first tactical aviation system to have sustainment tools engineered in concert with the aircraft for efficiency and cost effectiveness. ALIS is currently operating at nine locations, supporting more than 12,000 sorties to date. Compared to previous aircraft, a higher fidelity of information about the F-35 fleet is tracked within ALIS to reduce operations and maintenance costs and increase aircraft availability.

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F35 maintenance and support technicians are trained at the F35 Academic Training Centre (ATC) at Eglin AFB. The ATC is a first-of-its-kind facility for F-35 pilot and maintenance training and uses a cascading style of learning using computers and hands-on equipment to build upon skills . Photo: US Air Force, by Karen Roganov

The German Army has received the first modernized Leopard 2A7 Main Battle Tank (MBT) upgraded by the original manufacturer Krauss-Maffei Wegmann. Delivered on December 10, 2014 , the tank was the first of a batch of 20 former Dutch MBTs to be upgraded for the German Army.

Inspector general of the German Army, Lieutenant General Rainer Korff receives the 'key' for the first of 20 Leopard 2A7 main battle tanks upgraded by KMW to the latest A7 version. Photo: KMW

Inspector general of the German Army, Lieutenant General Rainer Korff receives the ‘key’ for the first of 20 Leopard 2A7 main battle tanks upgraded by KMW to the latest A7 version. The tank on the right is an A7+, fitted with enhanced side armor improving protection against IEDs and RPGs. The German tanks are prepared to carry the side armor but are not yet equipped with these armor systems. for includes Photo: KMW

The German Army (Bundeswehr) has received the first modernized Leopard 2A7 Main Battle Tank (MBT) upgraded by the original manufacturer Krauss-Maffei Wegmann. Delivered on December 10, 2014 , the tank was the first of a batch of 20 former Dutch MBTs to be upgraded for the German Army. In addition, KMW is gearing up to begin the production of 62 Leopard 2A7s for the armed forces of the Emirate of Qatar. These new tanks will be delivered next year.

The 20 upgraded Leopard 2A7s are based on German-built 2A6 models bought by the Canadians from the Royal Dutch army and transferred back to Germany. This reciprocal action enabled the Canadians to retain the 20 tanks they loaned from Germany in 2007 for operations in Afghanistan. These tanks were modified specifically for the Canadian forces that operated for four years in the country.

When it was time to return the vehicles, Canada opted to acquire surplus Dutch tanks that would be stripped of the Dutch specific modifications and rebuilt to the German standard model. However, the Bundeswehr decided, along with the Canadians, that it would be a good opportunity to remodel these tanks into the latest A7.

These 20 modified MBTs will be the most advanced of the 225 Leopard 2 tanks of several models that remain with the German Army, from the original fleet of 2,125 Leopard 2 tanks produced for it since 1979.

The Leopard 2A7 received new optronics systems for the commander and driver, air conditioning system for the crew and auxiliary power unit augmenting the tank's endurance on silent watch. The choice of ammunition has also increased to include the DM12 multi-purpose high explosive cartridge. Photo: KMW

The Leopard 2A7 received enhanced belly and side protection against asymmetric threats (IEDs, RPGs and mines), new optronics systems for the commander and driver, air conditioning system for the crew and auxiliary power unit augmenting the tank’s endurance on silent watch. The choice of ammunition has also increased to include the DM12 multi-purpose high explosive cartridge. Photo: KMW

The commander's position inside the Leopard 2A7 showing the different displays of the fire control computer, tactical picture and thermal/electro-optical (day/night) sight.

The commander’s position inside the Leopard 2A7 showing the different displays of the fire control computer, tactical picture and thermal/electro-optical (day/night) sight.

The Leopard 2 A7 features optimized protection against asymmetrical and conventional threats, particularly IEDs, mines and RPGs. It is also prepared to carry additional passive side armor if such a need should arise. The tank is equipped with accessories attachments, enabling the tank to be fitted with a mine plow, a mine roller or a dozer blade for clearing mines, booby traps or building debris blocking the way. The fighting compartment and turret are air conditioned, enabling the crew to operate inside on extended missions in hot or cold climates. To support the air conditioning and some of the electronic and electrical systems even when the main engine is shut down, the tank uses a 17kW auxiliary power unit (APU).

The driver is equipped with an imaging device combining thermal and 3Gen night vision device, improving driving safety even low-visibility conditions, such as fog, dust, smoke and total darkness). The tank’s Improved, stabilized, panoramic commander sight also features combined thermal and daylight optronic sensors, along with a laser rangefinder, providing better situational awareness and observation at longer range.

combines a shaped charge and fragmentation effect, the DM 11, a 120mm HE-MP 120mm tank round utilises a programmable time-delay fuse,to enhance performance against 'soft' and 'hard' targets alike.  After loading, an electronic module programs the time-delay fuse to detonate at a specific point in the projectile's flight path: the round can be timed to explode for maximum effect either above, in front or inside of a target (e.g. after penetrating a wall as shown in this picture). Photo: Rheinmetall defence

combines a shaped charge and fragmentation effect, the DM 11, a 120mm HE-MP 120mm tank round utilises a programmable time-delay fuse,to enhance performance against ‘soft’ and ‘hard’ targets alike. After loading, an electronic module programs the time-delay fuse to detonate at a specific point in the projectile’s flight path: the round can be timed to explode for maximum effect either above, in front or inside of a target (e.g. after penetrating a wall as shown in this picture). Photo: Rheinmetall defence

The tank retains the L/55 120mm smooth-bore gun, but adds the Rheinmetall DM11 high explosive multi-purpose (HE-MP) round, fitted with a programmable fuse, which improves effectiveness in urban warfare, when firing at buildings, bunkers and fortified positions.

Many of these upgrades are not new; nor are they exclusive to Germany. Some have already been implemented by a number of the Leopard 2 operators, including Canada, Greece, Singapore, Spain and Sweden, but Germany is only just now introducing them.
“The obvious question is of course: ‘When can we convert the remaining 205 Leopard 2A6M +, A6 and A5 convert to the A7, so that not only 20 crews can use the most advanced and safest system?” commented Frank Haun, KMW Chief Executive Officer.

Seoul plans to spend nearly a trillion won ($900 million) buying four Global Hawn HALE and three Heron I MALE drones from the USA and Israel.

Heron UAS are currently operated by several air forces in Asia Pacific, including Australia, India, Indonesia and Singapore and

Heron UAS are currently operated by several air forces in Asia Pacific, including Australia, India, Indonesia and Singapore. Photo: Australian MOD

The Defense Acquisition Program Administration (DAPA) of the Republic of Korea has selected the Heron Medium Altitude, Long Endurance (MALE) Unmanned Aerial System (UAS) from Israel Aerospace Industries (IAI) for its corps-level UAS upgrade project. At the same time, in the USA, Northrop Grumman moved forward with the manufacturing of four Global Hawk High Altitude, Long Endurance (HALE) drones for Seoul, under a foreign military sale contract awarded by the US Air Force.

Seoul plans to spend 40 billion won (US$36.5 million) buying three Heron-I drones from Israel by the end of 2015. The drones will support the Korean Army corps deployed along the northwestern frontline, covering the demilitarized zone along the 38th parallel and the northwestern border islands at the yellow sea, as well as inland, near the Seoul metropolitan area. The Global Hawk drones are expected to replace the US Air Force drones currently conducting providing strategic, high altitude recce missions over the Korean peninsula.

Northrop Grumman was awarded the $657 million contract yesterday, to build and deliver four RQ-4B Block 30 Global Hawk HALE unmanned aircraft for the Republic of Korea. Seoul expects to pay around 900 billion won ($820 million) for the four drones. The contract also covers four Enhanced Integrated Sensor Suites for the aircraft, two spare engines, and the applicable Ground Control Environment elements. Deliveries will begin in 2017 and end in 2019. This foreign military sales (FMS) contract is managed by the US Air Force on behalf of the Republic of Korea.

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The IAI Heron-1 is a medium-altitude long-endurance unmanned aerial vehicle with a range of 250 kilometers. It is capable of flying for more than 24 hours, or six times longer than the drones the locally produced KUS-7 and KUS-9 stand-in UAVs supplied to the Korean military since 2007.

IAI will supply three Heron I UAS to South Korea, as the first phase of a contract expected to be signed next year. Photo: IAI

IAI will supply three Heron I UAS to South Korea, as the first phase of a contract expected to be signed next year. Photo: IAI

As expected, the US Army and Marine Corps have issued a formal Request For Proposal (RFP) for the procurement of 55,000 light armoured vehicles, intended to replace many of the HMMWVs currently in service, and to enable the military to restore the light tactical mobility lost with the introduction of heavy and slow MRAPs.

The RFP for the procurement of 17,000 JLTVs is the kickstart of the final phase of the race - the final line would be the source selection of a single supplier - expected in seven months.

The RFP for the procurement of 17,000 JLTVs is the kickstart of the final phase of the race – the final line would be the source selection of a single supplier – expected in seven months.

The Joint Tactical Light Vehicle (JLTV) program is moving forward on schedule – on Friday December 12, 2014, the US Army issued a final-version RFP for the procurement of 55,000 armored vehicles to three potential suppliers, clearing the way for AM General, Lockheed Martin, and Oshkosh Defense to submit their final proposals. Source selection is expected in July 2015 with a contract awarded to the winner next year as well.

“The JLTV program remains on track to deliver an affordable, protected-mobility solution that fills today’s critical capability gap with substantial advances in the balance of payload, performance, and protection,” Army Col. John Cavedo, the JLTV project manager, said in a statement. He said the program is on-budget. Both services expect to field their first JLTVs by 2018. Production will total 49,500 JLTVs for the Army and 5,500 for the Marines, with the production cycle ending sometime in the 2030s. Deliveries to the Marine Corps are expected to complete by 2022.

Balancing mobility, protection and payload, JLTV is meant to restore light tactical mobility

Following the Milestone C decision expected within a year, the Army will award a firm-fixed-price contract to a single vendor. The award period will cover three years of low rate initial production and five years of full-rate production, for a total of 17,000 vehicles for the Army and Marine Corps. The kits for those 17,000 will be produced by the selected OEM but follow-on kits might use a different vendor, the Army said. At a target price of US$250,000 per vehicle this phase could be worth over $4 billion.

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The Army and Marines will select a single contractor to supply at least 17,000 JLTVs. The three candidates are (Left to right) AM General BRV-O, the LATV from Oshkosh Defense and the light tactical vehicle from Lockheed Martin.

The new vehicle will fill a gap between the High-Mobility, Multi-purpose Wheeled Vehicles (HMMWV) that serve the Army, the Marine Corps and nations throughout the world as their standard military vehicle since 1984 and the heavy and slow MRAPs that were introduced in some theaters since 2007.

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Before leaving office, outgoing Secretary of Defense Chuck Hagel has directed the Navy "to move forward with a multi-mission small surface combatant based on modified Littoral Combat Ship (LCS) hull designs."

USS Independence LCS at the US Naval Base at San Diego. Photo: US Navy, by Doug Sayers

USS Independence LCS at the US Naval Base at San Diego. Photo: US Navy, by Doug Sayers

The US Navy wants its Littoral Combat Ships to be better armed and survivable. Consistent with the Fleet’s views of the future small surface combatant (SSC), a future combat vessel to provide multi-mission anti-surface warfare (SUW) and anti-submarine warfare capabilities (ASW), as well as continuous and effective air, surface and underwater self-defense. The enhanced capabilities are required by the Navy to meet estimated theater threat environment for the 2025 time frame.

Before leaving office, outgoing Secretary of Defense Chuck Hagel has directed the Navy “to move forward with a multi-mission SSC based on modified Littoral Combat Ship (LCS) hull designs.” The decision rules out other choices previously considered, that included several new frigate size designs. However, the decision does not say which of the two LCS classes should be selected for the SSC.

Based on the Littoral Combat Ship (LCS), the small surface combatant (SSC) will be more lethal and survivable

The planned enhancements will be provided to 20 vessels that will complement the baseline configured LCS currently in production. Some of the vessels currently in production will receive some of the improvements as well.

The LCS vessels (available in Freedom and Independence classes) are currently armed with relatively light armament that consists of the 57mm gun and SeaRAM missile system. The 0+ baseline configurations, will be equipped with a weapon complement typically used on frigate size ships – over-the-horizon surface-to-surface missiles. The type is yet to be specified but is likely to enable both anti ship and land attack capabilities, thus significantly extending the current missile range of the LCS, limited by the Hellfire’s 8km. Air defense upgrades are also considered, but these will be limited to minor improvements to part of the vessels and enhancement of sensors and radar capability, which will also be augmented by more capable and advanced electronic warfare (EW) system; advanced decoys; a towed array system for submarine detection and torpedo defense. In addition, the ship will also get two 25mm Mk38 Mod2 remotely controlled turrets in addition to the 30mm guns currently installed. The armed MH-60 helicopter is also part of the weapons suite on board, capable of engaging targets with either Hellfire missiles or MK-54 torpedoes. The unmanned MQ-8B FireScout helicopter will be used for surveillance, reconnaissance, and targeting.

The littoral combat ship USS Independence (LCS 2) conducts manoeuvres with the aircraft carrier USS Ronald Reagan (CVN 76) during Rim of the Pacific (RIMPAC) Exercise 2014. Photo: U.S. Navy, by Dustin Kelling

The littoral combat ship USS Independence (LCS 2) conducts manoeuvres with the aircraft carrier USS Ronald Reagan (CVN 76) during Rim of the Pacific (RIMPAC) Exercise 2014. Photo: U.S. Navy, by Dustin Kelling

Gunners load high-explosive incendiary tracer rounds into the ammunition feeder-can of a 30mm weapons system aboard the littoral combat ship USS Fort Worth (LCS 3). Photo: U.S. Navy, by Antonio Turretto

Gunners load high-explosive incendiary tracer rounds into the ammunition feeder-can of a 30mm weapons system aboard the littoral combat ship USS Fort Worth (LCS 3). The Navy wants its future LCSs to have more firepower on board. Photo: U.S. Navy, by Antonio Turretto

Modularity design features will also be retained to augment SUW and ASW capabilities as directed by the Fleet Commanders. Available mission modules include Longbow Surface to-Surface Missiles (Hellfire), two MK46 30mm guns, and two 11M RHIBs for Surface Warfare, or a variable depth sonar for submarine warfare which, when added to the ship’s organic multi-function towed array and embarked helicopter, make this an extremely effective anti-submarine warfare platform.

Absent from the new concept is a significant air defense capability, since the Navy’s current vertical launch system is not suitable for these ships. However, Navy officials said the SSC would be able to operate independently, outside the coverage of other air-defense ships. The current LCS is protected by the short range Rolling Airframe Missile (SeaRAM).

In addition to the improved weapon systems capabilities for this ship, which reduce its susceptibility to being hit by a threat weapon, the small surface combatant will also include improved passive measures – measures that will reduce the ship’s signature against mine threats, and measures that will harden certain vital spaces and systems against potential damage caused by weapon impact – to further enhance its overall survivability.

An MQ-8B Fire Scout unmanned autonomous helicopter from the Magicians of Helicopter Maritime Strike Squadron (HSM) 35, Detachment 1, lifts off the flight deck of the littoral combat ship USS Fort Worth (LCS 3) during flight operations. HSM-35 is the Navy's first composite expeditionary helicopter squadron. Fort Worth departed its homeport of San Diego Nov. 17 for a 16-month rotational deployment to Singapore in support of the Navy's strategic rebalance to the Pacific. Photo: U.S. Navy by Antonio P. Turretto Ramos

An MQ-8B Fire Scout unmanned autonomous helicopter from lifts off the flight deck of the littoral combat ship USS Fort Worth (LCS 3, a Freedom class LCS) during flight operations. Fort Worth departed its homeport of San Diego Nov. 17 for a 16-month rotational deployment to Singapore in support of the Navy’s strategic rebalance to the Pacific. Photo: U.S. Navy by Antonio P. Turretto Ramos

From an operational perspective, the sum of these improvements will increase the ship’s capability and availability to participate in SUW Surface Action Groups, ASW Search and Attack Units; escort of High Value Units, and support of Carrier Strike Group (CSG) SUW and ASW operations.

With increased lethality and survivability, the modified LCS will provide the flexibility to operate both independently and as a part of an aggregated force. This decision allows the Navy to add organic multi-mission capabilities to the small surface combatant force while leveraging the benefits and affordability of the LCS program.

The Navy wants the current LCS class to be configured with more weapons, self protection. US Navy images

The Navy wants the current LCS class to be configured with more weapons, self protection. US Navy images

Lockheed Martin and Austal USA, builders of the current LCSs have already submitted SSC proposals to the Navy, both are based on more powerful versions of their current designs. Due to the commonality with existing designs the increased multi-mission capability could be achieved at less than 20% more cost than the current LCS, Navy sources noted.

The modified LCS ships will complement the planned 32 LCS ships, resulting in a 52 ship Small Surface Combatant Fleet in keeping with the Navy’s Force Structure Analysis. The baseline 32 LCS ships will retain  their full modular capability, while the later 20 will be able to carry modules but will have more systems permanently installed on board. Both versions will allow the Navy to deploy assets to meet the Navy’s mine warfare, SUW, and ASW demands.

An MQ-8B Fire Scout unmanned helicopter assigned to Helicopter Maritime Strike Squadron (HSM) 35 prepares to land on the littoral combat ship USS Freedom (LCS 1) during visit, board, search and seizure (VBSS) training off the coast of Southern California. Photo: U.S. Navy  by Tim D. Godbee

An MQ-8B Fire Scout unmanned helicopter assigned to Helicopter Maritime Strike Squadron (HSM) 35 prepares to land on the littoral combat ship USS Freedom (LCS 1) during visit, board, search and seizure (VBSS) training off the coast of Southern California. Photo: U.S. Navy by Tim D. Godbee

The US Navy announced the successfully deployment of the laser weapon system (LaWS) aboard USS Ponce (AFSB[I] 15) that operated with other naval vessel in the Arabian Gulf. The operational demonstrations took place from September to November 2014

Chief Fire Controlman Brett Richmond and Lt. j.g. Katie Woodard operate the Office of Naval Research (ONR)-sponsored Laser Weapon System (LaWS) installed aboard the Afloat Forward Staging Base (Interim) USS Ponce (ASB(I) 15) during an operational demonstration in the Arabian Gulf. Directed energy weapons can counter asymmetric threats, including unmanned and light aircraft and small attack boats. Photo: U.S. Navy photo by John F. Williams

Chief Fire Controlman Brett Richmond and Lt. j.g. Katie Woodard operate the Office of Naval Research (ONR)-sponsored Laser Weapon System (LaWS) installed aboard the Afloat Forward Staging Base (Interim) USS Ponce (ASB(I) 15) during an operational demonstration in the Arabian Gulf. Directed energy weapons can counter asymmetric threats, including unmanned and light aircraft and small attack boats. Photo: U.S. Navy photo by John F. Williams

Officials at the Office of Naval Research (ONR) announced the successfully deployment of the laser weapon system (LaWS) aboard a naval vessel in the Arabian Gulf. The operational demonstrations, which took place from September to November aboard USS Ponce (AFSB[I] 15), were historic not only because they showed a laser weapon working aboard a deployed U.S. Navy ship, but also because LaWS operated seamlessly with existing ship defense systems.

The system is operated by a video-game like controller, and can address multiple threats using a range of escalating options, from non-lethal measures such as optical “dazzling” and disabling, to lethal destruction if necessary. It could prove to be a pivotal asset against what are termed “asymmetric threats,” which include small attack boats and UAVs.

“Laser weapons are powerful, affordable and will play a vital role in the future of naval combat operations,” said Rear Adm. Matthew L. Klunder, chief of naval research. “We ran this particular weapon, a prototype, through some extremely tough paces, and it locked on and destroyed the targets we designated with near-instantaneous lethality.”

During the tests, LaWS hit targets mounted aboard a speeding oncoming small boat, shot a Scan Eagle unmanned aerial vehicle (UAV) out of the sky, and destroyed other moving targets at sea. Through the mission that lasted few months sailors worked daily with LaWS. They reported the weapon performed flawlessly, including in adverse weather conditions of high winds, heat and humidity. They noted the system exceeded expectations for both reliability and maintainability.

Researchers say the revolutionary technology breakthroughs demonstrated by LaWS will ultimately benefit not only U.S. Navy surface ships, but also airborne and ground-based weapon systems.

Data regarding accuracy, lethality and other factors from the Ponce deployment will guide the development of weapons under ONR’s Solid-State Laser-Technology Maturation program. Under this program, industry teams have been selected to develop cost-effective, combat-ready laser prototypes that could be installed on vessels such as guided-missile destroyers and the Littoral Combat Ship in the early 2020s.

While laser weapons offer new levels of precision and speed for naval warfighters, they also bring increased safety for ships and crews, as lasers are not dependent on the traditional propellant and gunpowder-based ordnance found on ships. Lasers run on electricity and can be fired as long as there is power. They also cost less to build, install and fire than traditional kinetic weapons — for example a multimillion-dollar missile.

“At less than a dollar per shot, there’s no question about the value LaWS provides,” said Klunder. “With affordability a serious concern for our defense budgets, this will more effectively manage resources to ensure our Sailors and Marines are never in a fair fight.”

LaWS is a collaborative effort between ONR, Naval Sea Systems Command, Naval Research Laboratory, Naval Surface Warfare Center Dahlgren Division and industry partners.

The Afloat Forward Staging Base (Interim) USS Ponce (ASB(I) 15) conducts an operational demonstration of the Office of Naval Research (ONR)-sponsored Laser Weapon System (LaWS) while deployed to the Arabian Gulf. Photo: U.S. Navy, by John F. Williams

The Afloat Forward Staging Base (Interim) USS Ponce (ASB(I) 15) conducts an operational demonstration of the Office of Naval Research (ONR)-sponsored Laser Weapon System (LaWS) while deployed to the Arabian Gulf. Photo: U.S. Navy, by John F. Williams

The Scorpion program provides the combat and support systems for the modernisation of the French Army combined arms Battlegroups (GTIA) beginning in 2018. The contract estimated to be worth about €5 billion for the three companies is split into development, manufacturing and life cycle support phases

The VBMR is a 24.5 ton mine protected armoured vehicle designed to carry and support an infantry squad in the battlefield.

The VBMR is a 24.5 ton mine protected armoured vehicle designed to carry and support an infantry squad in the battlefield.

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French Minister of defence, Jean-Yves Le Drian, formally awarded the Scorpion contract to representatives of the GME consortium today at Varces barracks, during a visit to the 27th mountain infantry brigade and the 93rd Mountain Artillery Régiment. (Photo AFP)

The French ministry of Defense has awarded a development and production contract for nearly 2,000 armoured vehicles of two new armoured vehicles to be built jointly by the GME consortium formed by Nexter, Renault Trucks Defense and Thales. The two vehicle types – called ‘Griffon’ and ‘Jaguar’ are both part of the French land forces modernisation program known as ‘Scorpion’. Almost 2,000 vehicles will be delivered to the French Army beginning in 2018, along with a new electronic and C4ISR architecture, weapon systems and associated logistical support equipment.

The contract estimated to be worth about €5 billion for the three companies is split into development, manufacturing and life cycle support phases, the first contract worth €752 million covers development work on 6×6 and 4×4 véhicule blindé multirole (VBMR) troop carriers, now named Griffon, and the 6×6 engin blindé de reconnaissance et de combat (EBRC) combat vehicle called Jaguar.

EBRC is the future combat vehicle to replace three types of wheeled combat/ reconnaissance vehicles currently in service - the AMX-10RC, ERC Sagie and the VAB HOT tank hunter.

EBRC is the future combat vehicle to replace three types of wheeled combat/ reconnaissance vehicles currently in service – the AMX-10RC, ERC Sagie and the VAB HOT tank hunter.

Upon delivery, Griffon will replace VAB, while Jaguar will replace several types of armoured combat vehicles such as the AMX10RC, ERC Sagaie and VAB Hot – all combat vehicles produced in the 1970s and 80s and used extensively by the French Army in all theatres of operation for thirty years.

The program funds the total production of 1,970 vehicles – including 1,722 VBMR Griffons and 248 EBRC Jaguars.

The Scorpion program will also provide a new command, control and networking system (designated SICS V1), to be shard by the future force. The program will also fund the S1 modernisation of 200 Leclerc tanks, to be fitted with new veronicas and embedded simulation for enhanced training experience. This task is planned to begin in the year 2020.

The BMX01 Renault Trucks defense has built for the Scorpion under the risk reduction demonstration phase, as displayed during Eurosatory 2014. Photo: Noam Eshel, defense-Update

The BMX01 Renault Trucks defense has built for the Scorpion under the risk reduction demonstration phase, as displayed during Eurosatory 2014. Photo: Noam Eshel, defense-Update

In addition to Nexter, Thales and RTD, that have joined forces under the GME consortium, the program also involves Sagem Defense of the Safran Group, as the electro-optics system provider for the EBRC, CTA International a joint venture between Nexter and BAE Systems, providing the 40 mm gun and MBDA providing the medium range Missile (MMP) which will also be used on board. The program is expected to support about 1,000 new jobs in its development phase and 1,700 jobs in its production phase.

The T40 turret Nexter is developing for the ERBC integrates the CTA 40 mm cannon, MMP missiles (carried in armoured containers on the turret sides) and remotely operated 7.62mm machine gun on the top. The turret also mounts multiple optronic systems supporting the different weapons. The T40 was shown by Nexter for the first time during Eurosatory 2014. Photo: Tamir Eshel, Defense-Update

The T40 turret Nexter is developing for the ERBC integrates the CTA 40 mm cannon, MMP missiles (carried in armoured containers on the turret sides) and remotely operated 7.62mm machine gun on the top. The turret also mounts multiple optronic systems supporting the different weapons. The T40 was shown by Nexter for the first time during Eurosatory 2014. Photo: Tamir Eshel, Defense-Update

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The U.S. Air Force is developing an automated targeting workflow that would help planners accelerate the targeting cycle, while reducing operational risks of fratricide and collateral damage, by increasing processing automation and precision of targeting products supported by the new “CATALiST” targeting platform.

Coalition air strikes in the Syrian town of Ein al Arab (Kobane) were clearly visible across the Turkish border.

Coalition air strikes in the Syrian town of Ein al Arab (Kobane) were clearly visible across the Turkish border.

The U.S. Air Force is developing an automated targeting workflow that would help planners accelerate the targeting cycle, while reducing operational risks of fratricide and collateral damage, by increasing processing automation and precision of targeting products supported by the new “CATALiST” targeting platform.

“Today’s targeting enterprise lacks efficient workflow and data hand-offs, causing lost time, redundancy of effort, and lesser quality products and effects across air, space, & cyberspace.” An air force documents stated, asking industry to offer technological workflow solutions to expedite the process. Today, most of this process is operated manually, particularly the preliminary planning and sensitive phases of collateral damage and battle damage assessments. Lacking efficient analytical tools, these phases are prone to human errors and require extensive, lengthy processing.

Today’s targeting enterprise lacks efficient workflow and data hand-offs, causing lost time and redundancy of effort

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Modus Operandi is implementing the Modus Flow in CATALiST, an process automation system and knowledge management framework that has been utilised in previous government projects.

Modus Operandi, a company that delivers Big Data analytics solutions for national security and commercial organizations, has been selected by the U.S. Air Force Research Laboratory (AFRL) to develop such workflow modules for CATALiST.

Under terms of the two-year contract worth under a million US$, the company will develop a system that effectively automates, monitors, and improves the targeting process. The company said the system will be based on Modus Flow, a distributed, semantically-enhanced process automation and knowledge management framework.

CATALiST enables planners and targeteers to prioritise, process and monitor the targeting workflow through a globally distributed, secure enterprise system, that would help targeteers to collect, visualise, assess and automatically retrieve and process data sets relevant to each mission. The process also support the intelligence assessment of the objective, enabling targeteers, planners and commanders to visualise the target area and ongoing operations in its vicinity, at different scales – from tactical to strategic levels.

Aiding the planning process, decision support could be used to assess the damage inflicted to specific elements in each target set and to the objective as a whole. Unlike the present assessment narrowed to kinetic effect only, CATALiST’s assessment would combine the effects achieved by the application of kinetic and non-kinetic weapons – applying Multi-INT information fusion algorithms and cognitive workflow processes that will also support Battle Damage Assessment (BDA). This automated process would also recommend and assign automatic restrike, in case the targeting goals were not achieved.

CATALiST uses “smart” data to optimize the targeting processes, thus shortening the targeting cycle

A unique aspect of the workflow approach implemented by Modus Operandi will be the ability to utilize semantically-enhanced or “smart” data to optimize the targeting processes, thus shortening the targeting cycles. As a result, the CATALiST platform will provides the Air Force Targeting Enterprise (AFTE) with the necessary tools to promote a continuous targeting process—supported by distributed process automation and auditing, with enterprise collaboration capabilities, culminating in the real-time dissemination and discovery of the targeting products through a multi-media Electronic Target Folder (ETF).

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    The Russian Navy successfully test-fired a Bulava intercontinental ballistic missile for a second time in two months. Another imminent test expected in the upcoming days is the last test launch of the solid propellant inter-continental ballistic missile RS-26. Both missiles are two part of the Russian nuclear triad, which also include new cruise missiles and a new bomber, to enter service in the next decade.

    The second Borei class submarine Alexander Nevsky, in service with the Russian Navy strategic force.

    The second Borei class submarine K550 Alexander Nevsky, in service with the Russian Navy strategic force.

    The Russian Navy successfully test-fired a Bulava intercontinental ballistic missile for a second time in two months, proving the new Russian submarine launched ballistic missile (SLBM) has improved its reliability and is now ready for deployment. The test was performed at night, on Friday November 28, 2014 was the third successful flight in a series of five developmental testing designed to verify the missile’s reliability after it suffered a series of failures in earlier flights. The Russians plan to launch two additional Bulava missiles next year as part of their routine operational readiness testing plan.

    An RSM-56 Bulava missile fired from Borei class submarine Alexander Nevsky at the Barnets sea. Photo: Russian northern fleet

    An RSM-56 Bulava missile fired from Borei class submarine Alexander Nevsky at the Barnets sea. Photo: Russian northern fleet

    Another imminent test expected in the upcoming days is the last test launch of the solid propellant inter-continental ballistic missile RS-26 (also known as Avangard and Rubezh). On this test the missile will be launched from a mobile surface vehicle. There are no plans for its silo deployment.

    RS-26 is designed as a derivative of the operational RS-24 Yars missile. The next test, announced to be the ‘last in the test series’ has been scheduled for December, Russian news agency Tass reports. According to the current plans the new missile is to enter duty in 2015. RS-26 offers improved combat capabilities over previous Russian ICBMs. It also carries multiple warheads, and is lighter than its predecessor RS-24 Yars.

    The Defense Ministry said the Alexander Nevsky nuclear submarine test-fired a Bulava missile from an submerged position in the Barents Sea. The missile’s warheads reached designated targets at the Kura testing range in Russia’s far eastern Kamchatka Peninsula. On this test the submarine was loaded with a single Bulava missile. In October the lead submarine of this class, Yuri Dolgoruky carried out a similar test launch with a full load of Bulava missiles on board. Yuri Dolgoruky was the lead ship of the Borei class – the 4th generation ballistic missile submarine of the Russian Navy.

    Bulava’s recent series of successful test flights seems to indicate that the missile’s problems have been solved.

    The Russian Navy now has two operational Borei-class nuclear submarines armed with the Bulava SLBM. Alexander Nevsky is this is the first serial ship of Project 955 “Borey” after the commissioning of lead ship Yuri Dolgoruky. It was built by the Sevmash shipyard in Severodvinsk and commissioned into service on December 23, 2013. The third one – Vladimir Monomakh, has been completed and is waiting to be formally commissioned by the Navy. Two additional submarines of this class are currently under construction. Overall, eight Borei-class submarines are set to be built.

    With Soviet-built nuclear submarines approaching the end of their lifetime, the Kremlin has made replacing them a top priority in the arms modernization program. The Bulava has a range of more than 8,000 kilometers (nearly 5,000 miles) and is capable of carrying up to 10 independently targeted nuclear warheads.

    Bulava testing has encountered several failures in the past. In September 2013, during trials of the Aleksander Nevsky nuclear submarine a Bulava rocket engine malfunctioned two minutes after launch. Following this incident, Russian Defense Minister Sergei Shoigu ordered five additional launches of Bulava missiles. All recent missions were successful. Two additional missions are set for 2015. Despite the test failures, the Russian military insisted there was no alternative to the Bulava as the main armament for Russia’s new Borey-class strategic missile submarines that are expected to become the backbone of the Russian Navy’s strategic nuclear deterrent force.

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