Tuesday, May 26, 2015

Tamir Eshel

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NICE’s acquired business will be merged into CYBERBIT LTD., an Elbit Systems subsidiary, recently established, in order to consolidate Elbit Systems’ cyber activities. Elbit Systems will pay up to $157.9 Million - $117.9 million will be paid in cash at the time of the closing and up to $40 million will be paid as earn-out, subject to the acquired division’s future business performance.

Elbit Systems Ltd. announced today that it has signed an agreement to acquire NICE Systems Ltd.’s Cyber and Intelligence division for a total amount of up to $157.9 million. The deal closing is expected to take place in the third quarter of 2015. NICE’s Cyber and Intelligence division offers solutions which provide law enforcement agencies and intelligence organizations with tools for creating communication intelligence. The division’s yearly revenue in 2014 was about US$80 million, representing nearly eight percent of Nice’s annual revenues. “As we continue to execute our long-term strategic plan, we have arrived at a juncture where we believe it is in our best interest to divest Intelligence in order to focus on the company’s more synergetic, core businesses.” Barak Eilam, CEO of NICE said, adding that this divestiture will allow NICE to place greater focus on the execution of its long-term strategic plan and business model.

“The acquisition of NICE’s division is a significant milestone in our strategy to bring Elbit Systems cyber capabilities to the level of global leaders.” Bezhalel (Butzi) Machlis, President and CEO of Elbit Systems, said, “NICE is a well- known world leader in the cyber intelligence industry, and its business activities and capabilities are complementary to ours.

The Cyber and Intelligence division will be acquired by CYBERBIT LTD, Elbit Systems’ subsidiary, recently established in order to consolidate Elbit Systems’ existing activities relating to the Cyber Intelligence and Cyber Security markets. CYBERBIT will focus on both the emerging government and commercial cyber markets, leveraging Elbit Systems extensive and proven cyber experience and technologies.

“I believe that our combined technology synergetic forces, backed by on-going investment in the cyber field and the joint market position will lead CYBERBIT to success and a world leading position”. Machlis concluded.

Special Ops Gunship Pilots to Get Fighter-Style Helmet Sights

New helmet sights to be introduced on U.S. Air Force AC-130W Stinger II gunships in the next two years will improve situational awareness and responsiveness, and enable their pilots to better support ground forces and employ precision weapons from a safe distance. The upgrade is part of a system integration that also includes the re-installation of 105mm gun and introduction of Hellfire missiles.

Lessons learned from overseas contingency operations have modified the near-term fire-support requirements of the U.S. Special Operations Command (SOCOM), resulting in a demand for more gunship aircraft. In May 2012 the MC-130 Dragon Spear II was renamed AC-130W Stinger II, representing a new effort to increase the gunship’s precision fire capability. Field-proven weapons such as the AGM-176 Griffin and the GBU-39 small diameter bomb (SDB) were added to the aircraft through an accelerated acquisition and integration process that took only 18 months. Currently there are 12 AC-130W aircraft in active service, supporting SOCOM operations worldwide.

In two years the pilots of the AC-130W Stinger II gunship will operate the JHMCS II helmet mounted display, just like fighter pilots are using the helmet now. Photo: US Air Force & ELbit Systems
In two years the pilots of the AC-130W Stinger II gunship will operate the JHMCS II helmet mounted display, just like fighter pilots are using the helmet now. Photo: US Air Force & ELbit Systems

Over the next two years the AC-130W gunships will be equipped with helmet-mounted sights, to enable the gunship crew to control the weapons and avionics on board just by looking at targets. This capability has become the norm for fighter pilots, but has not yet been implemented in the military transport fleet. The AC-130W will be the first implementation of the Joint Helmet Mounted Cueing System (JHMCS), developed for fighter pilots, in a military transport plane.

The JHMCS helmet is lightweight and well balanced, to accommodate its integrated electronics. Its center of gravity is especially placed to reduce pilot fatigue, especially on the long-duration missions common to AC-130s. Designed to improve pilot situational awareness, JHMCS II uses a helmet-mounted display system to project color symbology on the visor, at an intensity level adjustable for day and night modes.

Head tracking provides accurate measurement of the line of sight, giving pilots increased situational awareness in any direction they are looking. The applications supported by the system enable immediate and accurate recognition of friendly, threat and unknown targets.

The first AC-130J lands at Hurlburt AFB for testing. This is the latest variant - AW-130J. As all J models, it is using Head Up Displays. In the future it could also be equipped with the latest helmet sights. Photo: US Air Force
The first AC-130J lands at Hurlburt AFB for testing. This is the latest variant – AW-130J. As all J models, it is using Head Up Displays. In the future it could also be equipped with the latest helmet sights. Photo: US Air Force

The JHMCS developers – Elbit Systems of America and Rockwell Collins, will integrate the cueing system over the next 24 months. This first integration on the C-130J platform will open further opportunities to install similar systems on other C-130J derivatives. “With this awareness, AC-130 pilots flying with JHMCS II will have a decided advantage” says Raanan Horowitz, President & CEO of Elbit Systems of America.

The AC-130W Stinger II is the latest, most advanced version of the AC-130 gunship operated by the U.S. Air Force under the Special Operations Command. Its primary missions are close air support and air interdiction. The aircraft is a highly-modified C-130H, featuring improved navigation, threat detection, countermeasures, and communications suites. All 12 AC-130W aircraft are modified with a precision strike package (PSP) to perform their gunship missions. Furthermore, 37 MC-130Js will be modified with the same package, enabling the unarmed Super-Hercules to convert into AC-130J gunships.

Modifications to the AC-130W include a mission-management console, a communications suite, two electro-optical/infrared sensors, fire control equipment, precision guided munitions delivery capability, and one side-firing, trainable, 30mm gun with tracer-less ammunition and an associated munitions storage system. These aircraft will also equip with the 105mm gun removed from the recent models; it will also be fitted to carry Hellfire missiles, in a similar way the US Marine Corps’ Harvest Hawk does.

The mission management system will fuse sensor, communications, environment, order of battle and threat information into a common operating picture. The AC-130W Stinger II Precision Strike Package modification provides ground forces with an expeditionary, persistent, direct-fire platform that delivers precision, low-yield munitions, ideally suited for urban operations.

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The AC-130 can carry AGM-137 Griffin guided missiles internally, and Small Diameter Bombs packed on a multiple bomb rack carried underwing.
The AC-130 can carry AGM-176 Griffin guided missiles internally, and GPS and laser guided Small Diameter Bombs packed on a multiple bomb rack carried underwing. The aircraft is also prepared to carry other precision guided weapons such as the Nemesis, stored in Common Launch Tubes (CLT).

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The State Department published a request for Congress approval for a possible arms sale to Israel, worth $1.879 billion. The package includes several types of GPS and laser guided munitions, missiles and deep target penetrating bombs shells that can defeat deeply buried targets.

The Defense Security Cooperation Agency delivered the required certification notifying Congress of this possible sale on May 18, 2015.

The majority of the weapons included in the announced package are Joint Direct Attack Munition (JDAM) Tail Kits built by Boeing. Israel requested 14,500 such tail kits (KMU-556C/B), fitted to general purpose bombs, enabling the fighter planes to target each bomb to a specific target, defined by GPS coordinates. The majority of tail kits are designed for 900 kg (2,000 lb) Mk-84 bombs. while 4,000 are designed to fit the smaller, quarter-ton class Mk-82 weapons (500 pounds).

The ordnance package also include 12,000 general purpose bombs associated with those kits – including Mk-82, Mk-83 and Mk-84 types. Israel is also producing those bombs in country, at the IMI heavy ordnance plant. The company developed the MPR-500 which has been type qualified by Boeing for the JDAM. The shipment will also include 500 DSU-38A/B Detector Laser Illuminated Target kits, enabling the JDAMs to engage laser-designated moving targets. These weapons can be carried by all of israel’s fighter jets, including the future F-35 expected to arrive in Israel by 2017.

Israel will also receive 4,100 GBU-39 Small Diameter Bombs (SDB), a compact precision guided weapon produced by Boeing, and employed by Israel’s Boeing F-15I strike fighters. These aircraft will also receive 50 deep penetration bombs of the BLU-113 type (GBU-28) and 700 BLU-109 penetrating warheads. The BLU-113 5,000-pound ‘Bunker Busters’ carry 630 pounds of high explosives, encased in a hard steel shell that can penetrate 20 feet (six meters) of reinforced concrete. The BLU-109 packs 530 pounds (240 kg) of explosives, in a case weighing 1,927 pounds (874 kg) that can penetrate about six meters of reinforced concrete. These bomb shells are produced by the Ordnance Technical Systems division of General Dynamics (GDOTS)

GBU-28 dropped from an U.S. Air Force F-15E. The Strike Eagle and B-2A are the only two aircraft in U.S. Air Force inventory capable of carrying this heavy weapon. Photo: USAF
GBU-28 dropped from an U.S. Air Force F-15E. The Strike Eagle and B-2A are the only two aircraft in U.S. Air Force inventory capable of carrying this heavy weapon. Photo: USAF

The BLU-113 is often joined with a laser guidance kit enabling the weapon to strike stationary or moving targets with very high precision. The arms package includes 1,500 such kits, The BLU-109 is also coupled with a similar laser guidance kit. As part of the new package the IAF will receive 1,500 Mk-83 Paveway kits and 700 BLU-109 Paveway kits. It will also include the supply of 3,000 AGM-114K/R Hellfire missiles often used by the AH-64 Apache helicopter gunships, and 250 AIM-120C Advanced Medium Range Air-to-Air Missiles, providing the primary interceptor for Israel’s F-16s, F-15s and future F-35. These missiles are produced by Raytheon and Lockheed Martin.

Major general Thomas Masiello says the technology, which fries electronic equipment with bursts of high-power microwave energy, is mature and will be miniaturised to suite the JASSM-ER.

CHAMP payloads are scalable and can be packed in different types of delivery systems. The effector, a coil and capacitor, are designed to release very high electromagnetic peak power at a very short time, disabling electronic equipment without causing any damage to other infrastructure.

One of the displays at the Pentagon Lab Day yesterday was the Air Forces’ Electro-Magnetic Pulse (EMP) weapon developed by Boeing under the Counter-electronics High-powered Microwave Advanced Missile Project (CHAMP). AFRL has tested the weapon in 2012, using an AGM-86 Conventional Air-Launched Cruise Missile used as a surrogate vehicles the Air Force has now selected the stealthy, long-range Joint Air-to-Surface Standoff Missile (JASSM-ER) as the optimal air vehicle to carry the CHAMP weapon.

“The capability is real … and the technology can be available today…”

The research laboratory tested the counter-electronics device on the cruise missile at a military test range in Utah, where it successfully shut down a room full of computers. The effect similar to the electromagnetic pulse from a high-altitude nuclear explosion.

Major general Thomas Masiello says the technology, which fries electronic equipment with bursts of high-power microwave energy, is mature and will be miniaturised to suite the JASSM-ER.

“The capability is real … and the technology can be available today,” The Air Force Research Laboratory commander Maj. Gen. Tom Masiello said. “That’s an operational system already in our tactical air force,” Masiello says at the science and technology exposition held at the Pentagon yesterday.

Light and fast, the ULCV will deliver soldiers from a remote landing zone (LZ), remotely from the objective, thus enabling to locate LZs far from enemy air defenses or indirect fire systems. The ULCV is slated to enter service in 2016. The Army has an initial requirement for 300 vehicles.

In recent years the military have increasingly been using light-weight all-terrain vehicles (ATV) for a number of applications: from utility transport within staging areas to air-mobile and light-forces support, infantry formations are required to sustain operations with minimal transportation support. Being light, agile and versatile, ATVs are available to support light-forces and special operations. Some were custom built for the military while others utilize civilian platforms, hardened and adapted for these missions.

The DAGOR is designed to carry nine troops with their equipment. Five vehicles will carry a platoon. Photo: Polaris defense
The DAGOR is designed to carry nine troops with their equipment. Five vehicles will carry a platoon. Photo: Polaris defense

Most of the vehicles were acquired under urgent operational requirements (UOR), as part of the War on Terror budget. As the deployment in Afghanistan winds down, military forces in the US, Europe and Asia-Pacific are assessing their way forward, acquiring and fielding those assets through a methodical, sustained approach.

“I need tactical mobility for the future, so we need to move toward mobility and figure out how we sustain survivability while increasing mobility.” US Army Chief of Staff Gen. Ray Odierno stated. The Army is addressing those directives with plans to equip select infantry and airborne forces with dedicated vehicles that will support reconnaissance, offensive security operations and move infantry units off-road thus increasing their security and survivability to enemy ambushes and IEDs.

Nine troops from the 8snd Airborne are seated in the Vyper, configured as a troop carrier. Photo: Vyper Adams.
Nine troops from the 8snd Airborne are seated in the Vyper, configured as a troop carrier. Photo: Vyper Adams.

Supporting future ‘joint forcible entry’ missions, the Army intends to develop and field a family of specialized vehicles comprising three different platforms – the Ultra Light Combat Vehicle (ULCV) – general-purpose troop carrier, a light tank called ‘Mobile Protected Firepower’ (MPF) and a Light Reconnaissance Vehicle (LRV).

The ULCV, is the highest-priority vehicle, is slated to enter service in 2016. The Army has an initial requirement for 300 vehicles, at a cost of $150,000 per unit.

The special operations community has been searching for such an ‘all-terrain vehicle’ for years — a versatile platform that could fit into the cargo bay of the Chinook, and be light enough to allow each helicopter to carry three (two inside, one sling-loaded). One such vehicle could be carried (sling-loaded) by a UH-60 class helicopter (Blackhawk), providing ground mobility for a squad deployed on air assault operations.

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Boeing's Phantom Badger all-terrain vehicle. Photo: Boeing
Boeing’s Phantom Badger all-terrain vehicle. Photo: Boeing
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Due to size limitations, ULCV will not fit into the cargo bay of the Osprey V-22. Photo: Boeing

Configuring vehicles for specific missions would be done in the field: ULCVs should be able to transform from troop carriers into weapon carriers, medical evacuation vehicles, or even unmanned robots, in minutes. However, due to size limitations, ULCV will not fit into the cargo bay of the Osprey V-22. The Marine Corps and SOCOM, both operating V-22 variants, are operating customized versions of ATVs.

Light and fast, the ULCV will transport soldiers from a remote landing zone (LZ), remotely from the objective, thus enabling to locate LZs far from enemy air defenses or indirect fire systems. Five vehicles would be needed to carry a light platoon including three rifle squads, a weapons squad and headquarters.

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Specially customized version of the Phantom badger was proposed for SOCOM, to meet their Internally Transported Vehicle (ITV) requirement. Photo: Boeing

The ULCV should be fast, agile and safe to drive on and off road. Survivability and protection woutdoor be attained by gaining flexibility of movement, allowing forces to traverse more concealed and unpredictable routes over terrain usually traveled on foot. While no armor is currently required by the user, these vehicles will be safe to drive – fitted with roll cages protecting the entire vehicle. Threshold requirements identify the maximum curb weight of the vehicle at 4,500 lb. (about two metric tons) with a range of 250 mi (about 400 km.), utilizing an engine capable of running on a variety of fuels.

Several designers are pursuing this opportunity. The Army evaluated some of the candidates last year at Fort Bragg. Some of the vehicles were developed specifically for the military, others, adapted by these missions by experienced off-road and racing sports specialists.

General Dynamics is proposing the Flyer 72 ASLV variant for ULCV. Photo: General Dynamics
General Dynamics is proposing the Flyer 72 ASLV variant for ULCV. Photo: General Dynamics

Among the vehicles tested were the Flyer-72 ASLV from General Dynamics, a vehicle designed by Flyer Defense for the Special Operations Command (SOCOM). The Phantom Badger developed by Boeing and MSI Defense was also evaluated. Lockheed Martin submitted a derivative of the British LRV 400, a fast reconnaissance vehicle based on the QT Wildcat from Supacat. Although the vehicle was successfull in testing Lockheed Martin decided to past this opportunity. Another specially modified vehicle considered by the Army is the Commando Jeep from Hendrick Dynamics. Other companies have recently announced that they had submitted final offers for the tender include Polaris Defense, offering the Dagor, and Vyper Adams, submitting their specially developed Vyper.

LRV-400 was developed by Supacat, based on the Wildcat from QT Systems. Photo: Supacat
LRV-400 was developed by Supacat, based on the Wildcat from QT Systems. Photo: Supacat

“We came from the off-road business as opposed to the defense contractor business,” said Rich Haddad, general manager for Polaris Defense. Haddad noted his company brings game-changing resources to the military in the area of off-road mobility as part of a larger, commercial company. He added that DAGOR went from a design to a concept vehicle tested at the National Test Center in only nine months. “DAGOR looks to be a great natural fit for the ULCV requirements as they are provided today,” he added. “We’ve heard from our Special Forces customers that DAGOR gets them places they have not gone in a vehicle before,” said Haddad.

A different approach from Vyper Adams is introducing a high performance platform designed almost as a transformer – the Vyper VX4 has a maximum road speed of 120 mph (190 km/h) and excellent off-road mobility. Its unique advantage is the fact that the vehicle is designed around the modular POD area, enabling rapid reconfiguration with a number of mission-specific kits. “The Viper shows that the relationship between racing technology and industrial reliability is obtainable in a COTS form at reasonable cost effectiveness,” Vyper Adams CEO, Nicholas Chapman said. These interchangeable PODs simply slide into the vehicle platform, allowing the vehicle to be multi-functional and modular in construction, resulting in units that can be easily be mission-transformed or repaired.

Vyper Dynamics developed the pod system, enabling rapid configuration of the Vyper for different missions. This photo shows the POD frame designed to carry two litters for medical evacuation missions. Photos: Vyper Dynamics.
Vyper Dynamics developed the pod system, enabling rapid configuration of the Vyper for different missions. This photo shows the POD frame designed to carry two litters for medical evacuation missions. Photos: Vyper Adams.

Another vehicle that proved itself in the racing world is the Light Reconnaissance Vehicle 400 (LRV 400) designed by Supacat, based on QT Services Wildcat off-road race car. According to the company this race proven design incorporates a tubular space-frame chassis with state of the art suspension providing superb performance, reliability and safety. The vehicle’s size and weight enables effective air portability, including tactical CH-47 internal loading. “Whilst primarily fulfilling light force reconnaissance and strike concepts of operation, low-weight armor solutions can also be fitted as an option” Supacat sources said.

The Phantom Badger from Boeing is a light truck designed for a top speed of 80 mph (130 km/h). While the vehicle itself was custom designed for the military, the company said 60 percent of its parts utilize commercial off-the-shelf automotive parts, including the engine, derived from the 2014 Jeep Grand Cherokee, thus keeping costs down.

Boeing partnered with MSI Defense, a company with years of experience in off-road racing, NASCAR and Formula 1. The Badger is also designed with mission modules that are interchangeable within minutes and are also compatible with the Phantom Badger trailer. Optional accessories can include a customized communication package, power inverters, additional storage and utility kits, a cold weather kit, a deep-water fording kit, hard/soft tops, etc.

Another Jeep platform that has already been supplied to the military and proposed for ULCV is the Commando Jeep developed by Hendrick Dynamics. The Commando Jeep has a low silhouette, special attachments and improvements to gain air-mobility, versatility, and rapid configuration required for the role.

All platforms (except the brand-new DAGOR) are already in service with unspecified DOD applications.

The Commando Jeep is designed to fit into the CH-47 for internal carraige as well as sling loading.
The Commando Jeep is designed to fit into the CH-47 for internal carriage as well as sling loading. Photo: Hendrick Dynamics
Commando Jeep can be configured to different missions, using special conversion kits. Photo: Hendriks
Commando Jeep can be configured to different missions, using special conversion kits. Photo: Hendrick Dynamics

 

CAMEL is one of some 100 displays shown in public during the Lab Day (May 14, 2015) at the Pentagon Yard.

The US Army presented today a new concept vehicle designed to explore how to design current and future combat vehicles to better protect the warfighters riding in those vehicles to combat. The Concept for Advanced Military Explosion-Mitigation Land (CAMEL) vehicle designed by the Tank Automotive Research, Development & Engineering Center (TARDEC), demonstrates the ‘Occupant Centric Platform’ (OCP) concepts developed at the center. A 30-ton 8×8-class troop carrier, CAMEL is designed to safely and securely transport nine troops and two crew-members safely and securely. The goal is to reduce combat vehicle casualties well below 50 percent, compared to current combat vehicles.

This CAMEL demonstrator is ergonomically designed around the Soldiers and their gear, incorporating cutting edge technologies to increase comfort and efficiency while improving soldier safety, by diverting blast energy away from its occupants. TARDEC recently evaluated the vehicle with fully equipped active-duty troops, to gather feedback from soldiers who would use such vehicles in the future. The demonstrator is undergoing tests, including live fire, that are designed to evaluate its safety, comfort and blast resistance.

“This is a new concept in that we are designing the vehicle around the soldier,” said Steve Knott, the Associate Director of Ground Systems Survivability at TARDEC. “There are a lot of vehicles that, when you get in the back, it is tight. There are protrusions that could cause injury and loose gear that can be harmful in certain situations. These OCP demonstrators are designed around the occupant and offer a new level of survivability for our warfighters”.

The OCP Technology Enabled Capability Demonstrator (TECD) program aims to reduce casualties on legacy platforms by as much as 50 percent, using OCP concepts. The ultimate goal is to eliminate crew injuries for any occupant position.

Blast protection is the basic consideration for the design of the hull, seating and ergonomics. Two primary factors contribute to the dissipation of blast effect caused by an underbelly explosion – the distance (height) from the source and the shape of the hull. An OCP-designed vehicle uses a U-shaped hull, with a deflector shield that channels shock waves away from the vehicle’s hull and interiors.

An internal view of the CAMEL demonstrator. Click to subscribe, to get enlarged more detailed photos.
An internal view of the CAMEL demonstrator. Click to subscribe, to get enlarged more detailed photos.

OCP-designed vehicles are equipped with individual seating, fitted with harness straps and foot rests – their role is to isolate the passenger from the blast affecting the hull, while maintaining comfortable and ergonomic design. Seat angles are designed and shaped to prevent spinal injuries, and the ceiling contains impact-absorbing materials to reduce the chance of head injury. The hull is designed with protective trim on the top and sides, also reducing the danger of injury. 360-degree views with cameras capturing the surroundings outside the vehicle and beaming the video onto internal screens provide situational awareness inside, without exposing the crew to hostile fire.

The fighting compartment can be reconfigured to provide space for stretchers, carrying injured squad members. The litters are designed specifically for the vehicle and hang from straps attached to hooks on ceiling-mounted anchor tracks to isolate the wounded from the floor (preventing further injury from blast).

An image clearly showing how the passenger capsule is separated from the carriage, contributing to the dissipation of explosion and survival of the crew. Photo: Tom Faulkner, US Army
An image clearly showing how the passenger capsule will be separated from the carriage, contributing to the dissipation of explosion and survival of the crew. The wheels shown in this image represent the distance and position of the wheels, relative to the capsule. Photo: Tom Faulkner, US Army
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The CAMEL concept vehicle demonstrator is shown here with its carriage, peripheral cameras, and C-IED devices adding to the vehicle’s protection. Photo: US Army

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The new radar combines S-band and X-band modules, The S-band is supporting a new air and missile defense capability with existing X-band horizon-search radar based technology. The application also includes the Radar Suite Controller (RSC) – a new component to manage radar resources and integrate with the ship’s combat management system.

The Air and Missile Defense Radar provides greater detection ranges and increased discrimination accuracy compared to the AN/SPY-1D(V) radar onboard today’s U.S. Navy destroyers. Illustration: Raytheon
A partially-populated, full-sized AMDR array installed on an outdoor test bench. Photo: Raytheon
A partially-populated, full-sized AMDR array installed on an outdoor test bench. Photo: Raytheon

The U.S. Navy and Raytheon Company have completed the critical design review (CDR) of the AN/SPY-6(V) Air and Missile Defense Radar (AMDR). This radar will be installed on US Navy DDG-51 Flight III missile destroyers, improving their fighting and self-defense capabilities. The company said the Engineering and Manufacturing Development (EMD) phase of the program continues and is now more than 40 percent complete.

As a scalable radar, built with Radar Modular Assemblies (RMA) building blocks, AMDR can be grouped to form any size radar aperture, either smaller or larger than currently fielded radars. With much larger arrays, AMDR, is said to be at least 30-times more sensitive than radars configured on existing DDG 51 Arleigh Burke-class destroyers. The new radar can simultaneously handle over 30 times the targets than existing AN/SPY-1D(V), to counter large and complex raids. Using adaptive digital beamforming and reprogrammable radar signal/data processing functionality enables users to rapidly adapt to new missions or emerging threats.


amdr_infographic300The RMAs are leveraging Gallium Nitride (GaN) technology to optimize power in a smaller size and using less space, power and cooling than older technology would require for the same performance. The first Engineering Development Model production-representative Radar Modular Assembly (RMA) is currently undergoing testing in the risk-reduction pilot array at the company’s Near Field Range in Sudbury, Mass.

“With customer validation in hand, we will now advance production, driving toward the ultimate – and timely – delivery of this highly capable and much-needed integrated air and missile defense radar capability to the DDG 51 Flight III destroyer.” said Raytheon’s Kevin Peppe, vice president of Integrated Defense Systems’ Seapower Capability Systems business area. The first Flight III ship is scheduled to be the second of two destroyers to be funded in 2016.

Raytheon is developing the new radar under a $385.7 million cost-plus contract awarded by the Navy in 2013.

The MEKO patrol corvettes designed by Blohm+Voss combine the fighting power of a corvette with the economy of an OPV ship platform. As the largest, most modern surface vessels to enter service with the Israeli Navy, the new boats are likely to receive a full complement of sensors, defensive and offensive systems, becoming the centerpiece of the Israeli Navy modernization program

The German shipbuilder ThyssenKrupp Marine Systems (TKMS) has signed today a contract to build four patrol corvettes for the Israeli Navy. Israel will pay €315 million of the €430 million contract, the remaining €113 million will be subsidized by the German Federal Government. Israel plans to use the new boats to protect the expanded Economic Exclusion Zone (EEZ) in the Eastern Mediterranean, where recent explorations discovered major oil and gas resources. The first new boat will be delivered in 2019, to follow with the other three over the next three years.

The Israeli Government approved the procurement of the new boats as part of the security measures protecting those assets in the Eastern Mediterranean. Those security measures would include an array of unmanned systems surveillance and security systems operating in the air, above and under water. “This contract signed today is a significant event, representing a major increase in the defensive capability of the Israeli Navy, protecting offshore strategic sites located tens and hundreds of kilometers offshore” said Maj. General (ret) Dan Harel, Director General of the Israel MOD.

As part of the agreement, the German Thyssenkrupp concern, the owner of TKMS, will expand its procurement in Israel, buying goods worth at a value over €150 million.

TKMS is offering two versions of patrol vessels – the 1,500 ton Meko class 80 ‘Patrol corvette’ which is also available in 1,900 and 2,100 ton versions, and the 87 m’ long 1,800 ton Offshore Patrol Vessel (OPV). In comparison, Saar V, the largest boat class currently in service with the Israeli Navy is 85 meter long and has a fully loaded displacement of 1,275 tons. The new Israeli boat to be designated Saar 6, will be a version of the K-130, a 2,000 ton class in service with the German Navy.

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Depending on the type of engine used (combined diesels or diesel-gas turbine), the Meko Patrol Corvette can develop a speeds of up to 26 knots, but is also equipped with electrically powered motors propelling the vessel at a highly economical speed of 12 knots. At a speed of 14 knots the Patrol Corvette has the autonomous mission range of 4,500 nautical miles, representing a two-week mission endurance. The vessel is operated by a crew of 65, and has accommodations for 23 more. The boat has a helicopter deck supporting helicopters up to ten tons.

The first pre-production vehicles delivered for operational testing were publicly unveiled prior to the May 9 parade in 2015. Following those tests the manufacturer, VPK is expecting orders for 2,000 vehicles in various configurations.

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The Boomerang 8×8 armored infantry fighting vehicle is the latest wheeled armored vehicle developed in Russia. Its design introduces significant changes from that of the BTR-60, 70 and 80, which have been in service since the early 1960s. VPK, the designer and manufacturer of the Russian wheeled combat vehicles, preferred to invest in the BTR-90, a more powerful, well-armed version of the successful BTR-60-70-80, of which +25,000 were produced over the past 50 years. But the Russian military wanted something else. VPK shelved the BTR-90, modified the BTR-80 into the BTR-82 as a temporary solution, and began to design a new 8×8 platform to address the Russian military needs reflected by the official requirement issued in 2011.

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Boomerang Infantry Fighting Vehicle moving toward Moscow red square prior to the 70th Victory parade – May 9, 2015. It was the first public appearance of this new Russian 8×8 combat vehicle. Photo: Vitaly Kuzmin.

The first prototypes of the Boomerang were delivered in 2013. The first pre-production vehicles delivered for operational testing were publicly displayed in 2015. Following those tests VPK is expecting orders for 2,000 such vehicles, in various configurations.

The Boomerang is operated by a crew of three, and has a carrying capacity of 9 troops. In line with other modern 8×8 APCs, its fighting compartment is more spacious than previous BTRs. Its engine, which is located on the right side and its turret, mounted on the deck, not penetrating the armor, do not obstruct its internal space. This layout enables the troops to exit from the rear ramp, similar to the tracked BMPs. Although common with western 8×8 APCs, it did not exist in earlier Russian 8×8 vehicles.

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BTR-82 is the last version of the BTR-60-70-80 family of 8×8 vehicles produced by VPK since 1959. Photo: Vitaly Kuzmin

Their previous models – BTR-82, followed the same design introduced with the BTR-60, which used side doors for troop access, since the engines prevented access to the protected capsule from the rear, while the manned 14.5 mm gun turret blocked it in the front. The only way out was through a clamshell access door on the side, or personnel hatches on the top and side. This proved to be a major drawback in combat, as the troops had to dismount the vehicle exposed to enemy fire from the front and side. It also limited communications between the crew and squad during dismounted operation.

Also gone are the personal periscopes and firing ports which enabled mounted fighting for the troops. Instead, the Boomerang provides a panoramic view generated by video cameras covering the vehicles to a full 360 degrees (3).

Two hatches are mounted on top (7), retaining some functions for the troops. These hatches are likely blocked in models provided with active protection systems.

The Boomerang is built with a different approach – enabling protected mobility for an infantry squad, while providing fire support for them, both on the move and in stationary positions. It is a bigger platform than that of its predecessor, also heavier and more powerful. As opposed to its predecessor’s simple steel armor, the Boomerang has compound, modular armor, combining different materials and an optional (6) active protection system. (Such a system was not visible in the photos we have obtained thus far, but is shown one appears on the model released by the Russian Ministry of Defense).

The vehicle is protected with additional, modular armor at the front, which could also be part of a belly protection plate (8). The V shaped hull is designed to deflect blast away from the floor, in case of a mine or IED explosion underneath the vehicle or under a wheel. Boomerang can be fitted with heavier armor, but such configuration is likely damage its floating ability.

Like the tracked Kurganets-25, the Boomerang comes in two basic models, differing from each other by the type of armament with which they are equipped – an armored infantry fighting vehicle (1) mounting the EPOCH (2) remotely-controlled weapon system (RWS) fitted with a single 2A42 30 mm cannon, 7.62 mm coaxial machine gun and four Kornet-EM guided missiles. These are significant improvement over the previous 14.5 mm heavy machine gun turret used on the BTR-82. The armored personnel carrier is armed with a smaller RWS, mounting a 12.7 mm heavy machine gun (5).

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The Boomerang is powered by a 500 hp turbo-charged diesel engine. the vehicle has an all wheel drive plus extra propulsion for the two waterjets used for amphibious operations. Photo: Vitaly Kuzmin

The Boomerang is powered by a single turbo-charged diesel engine, the same type that powers the Kurganets-25 platform. It is an 8×8 vehicle, with steering on the two front axles. All wheels use MacPherson-type suspension (4), with both front and rear wheels fitted with double shock absorbers. The drive train also has two extensions powering the water jets for amphibious operation (10). A folding wave breaker (9) mounted above the front hull, extracted to is released to clear the deck while operating in water.

Other variants expected to follow include a self-propelled gun, a mortar carrier, a command vehicle and other combat support variants. An 8×8 vehicle called ‘ATOM’ was displayed at the ARMS 2013 expo in Nizhny Tagil, fitted with a 57mm cannon. At the time ATOM was presented as a collaborative effort between UralVagonZavod (UVZ) and Renault Defense Trucks of France, though to be a competing track to the Boomerang.

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Unlike the BTR-82 Boomerang has a rear access ramp and door. The vehicle also has two hatches on the top deck, but unlike the BTR-82, it has no firing ports, except the rear port placed on the rear door. A set of peripheral cameras (two are seen above the door) are providing situational awareness for the crew and troops inside. Photo: Vitaly Kuzmin
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The Boomerang has a wave breaker at the front, deployed when the vehicle enters the water. THe belly is also protected by an armor plate seen at the lower front. Photo: Vitaly Kuzmin
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The 8×8 Boomerang uses all-wheel drive mechanism. This image clearly shows the two front axles are steerable. Photo: Bastion Karpenko.

Part II of our preliminary analysis of the new Russian armor focuses on the Kurganets-25 family of amphibious armored combat vehicles - based on images collected prior to the May 9, 2015. This analysis will be updated throughout the week, to reflect new insight gained following the public debut of the new Russian armor.

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Kurganets-25 family of armored combat vehicles includes two members of a new family of medium- armored vehicles designed to replace the BMP-2 and MT-LB platforms in mechanized formations of the Russian army. Like their predecessors, the new vehicles have amphibious capability, enabling uninterrupted mobility across rivers. The Kurganets is manufactured by Kurganmashzavod, the plant that produced the previous generations of BMP-1, BMP-2 and BMP-3 vehicles.

The new platform is significantly heavier and larger than its predecessors, primarily due to the increased level of protection it offers. The Russians have displayed two variants of the Kurganets – the armored infantry fighting vehicle (Object 695) and the armored personnel carrier (Object 693). The Kurganets-25 infantry fighting vehicle is currently undergoing trials in the Russian army, and mass production is expected to start in 2016. Following is an overview of the different elements visible on the vehicles shown in the May 9th parade in Moscow.

Both vehicles share the same hull, suspension and drive train powered by a 800 hp diesel engine, enabling mobility, as stated, both on land and in water. Their steel tracks are fitted with rubber pads (6), designed to reduce ground pressure and damage to roads, while retaining the capability of travelling at high speeds. Both can reach speeds of up to 80 km/h on land, and 10 km/h in water. When travelling in water the vehicle deploys its wave breaker (5) and water jets (7) for forward movement and steering.

The main difference between the two variants is the turret and active protection systems used. The thick armor covering (18) seen on both sides of the vehicle is designed to provide armor protection while retaining the floating capability necessary to enable the amphibious operation.

Due to the wide interest in the new Russian armored vehicles we are opening our analysis to all readers. This kind of analysis is regularly provided to subscribers on regular basis. You are invited to join our Gold membership today.

The Kurganets-25 infantry fighting vehicle is equipped with the KBP EPOCH turret (1), introduced as standard in all recent AFVs, such as the Armata T-15, Boomerang and Kurganets-25. This unmanned turret carries the 2A42 30mm cannon (15) with 500 rounds, a PKT 7.62 mm coaxial machine gun (16), four Kornet-EM guided missiles (two on each side – 13), two electro-optical target acquisition and missile guidance systems (17), and a meteorological mast (14). Also an array of sensors (9) and counter-measures, part of the vehicle’s active protection system ‘soft kill’ elements (10).

The hull also mounts 16 large tubes and four sensors (11) associated with the Afghanit ‘hard kill’ active protection system. A LED spotlight (4) located at the turret’s front end could also be part of the APS, acting as a decoy against 2nd-generation anti-tank guided missiles (ATGM).

The Kurganets-25 is equipped with several cameras, covering a full 360 degrees (3). Some of these cameras are stacked to cover wide fields of view. Others are tucked into the armor. For example, the side-looking cameras required special adaptation of the armor to clear their fields of view (8).

Unlike Russia’s previous armored personnel carriers, the Kurganets-25 lacks firing ports or personal hatches which would enable the infantry team to fight from within the vehicle. Part of the reasons for that could be the APS that fires automatically against incoming threats, creating flash and blast that could incapacitate exposed personnel nearby. Similar installations used on Israeli Merkava Mk4 tanks were equipped with blast deflectors, protecting the tank commander that could be exposed in his cupola.

Both variants are operated by crews of three. The infantry fighting vehicle is designed to carry six infantrymen. The armored personnel carrier (APC) variant can carry eight.

The APC carries a smaller remotely-operated turret (2), mounting a single 12.7 mm heavy machine gun. The vehicle retains the same active protection system ‘ring’ used on the BMP, but does not include the heavier Afghanit the BMP uses. Instead, it’s infra-red spotlight (4) is mounted at a higher level, and can serve both as a forward looking counter-measure and a signalling element, displaying numerical symbols backward, thus enabling communications with the infantry squad or other vehicles without relying on radio communications (similar to using flags). If coupled to the laser warning system on the vehicle, such a device could act as an unaided ‘blue force identification’ mechanism, responding to laser signals with a coded message. It would probably operate in visible and thermal bands, enabling both day and night operation.

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Kurganets-25 armored infantry fighting vehicle (BMP – Object 695). The Kurganets-25 infantry fighting vehicle is currently undergoing trials in the Russian army and mass production is expected to start in 2016. Photo: Vitaly Kuzmin
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A close up view of the KBP EPOCH remotely operated turret – on the Object 695 Kurganets-25. Photo: Vitaly Kuzmin.
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Another view of the EPOCH turret, showing the active protection (soft-kill) elements and IR projector. Photo: Vitaly Kuzmin
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A rear view of Kurganets 25 BMP (Object 695) showing the access ramp, integrated door and firing hatch. Two covered exhausts of the waterjets are also visible. Also visible are the four rear-looking launchers of the Afghanit hard-kill APS and their associated sensors on the two edges. The soft kill elements of the APS are visible on the turret’s rear edges. Photo: Vitaly Kuzmin
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Kurganets-25 BMP Object 695 – right side view. Photo: Vitaly Kuzmin
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Kurganets-25 BTR (Object 693) troop carrier. This variant carries a troop of eight soldiers, three crew members.It is armed with a protected remotely operated turret mounting 12.7mm heavy machine gun. Photo: Vitaly Kuzmin.
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A close-up view on the 12.7mm heavy machine gun turret shows the IR projector, that also provides signaling in day and night. Photo: Vitaly Kuzmin
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Another view of the remotely operated turret on the Kurganets-25 BTR. Photo: Vitaly Kuzmin

Preliminary analysis of the new Russian Armata family of vehicles - based on images collected prior to the May 9, 2015. This analysis will be updated throughout the week, to reflect new insight gained following the public debut of the new Russian armor.

The first two representatives of the Armata family of heavy armored vehicles developed in Russia in the past decade - T-14 battle tank and T-15 armored infantry fighting vehicle. Design & analysis: Tamir Eshel.
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The Russian Ministry of Defense today publicly presented the first members of the Armata family of heavy armored vehicles – the T-14 main battle tank and T-15 armored infantry fighting vehicle. The two vehicles are designated to become the spearhead of the armored formations of the Russian Army – replacing the T-72, BMP-2 and MT-LB-based platforms. In Armata-centered formations, these two combat vehicles will be augmented by additional variants that have not yet been unveiled, which could include a combat engineer and counter-mine vehicle (BREM), support platforms mounting automatic cannons, missiles (Terminator) and thermobaric rockets (TOS), self-propelled guns (Coalitzia), bridge layers (MTU), and armored recovery vehicles (ARV).

The 24 Armata platforms shown on the May 9th parade in Moscow are likely to be part of the early production series, some were especially prepared for the parade, according to a Russian MOD tender published in November 2014. Nevertheless, these models represent an innovative ‘clean sheet’ design of an armored vehicle. Although the two vehicles presented have different configurations they also have much in common, as their designers have used common subsystems to simplify training, improve field support and reduce life-cycle cost. These common elements include the suspension system, tracks, drivetrain, and some of the armor and active protection systems. Both vehicles use seven torsion bars with shock absorbers for the rubber-protected road wheels.

The optronics, however, are tailored specifically for each weapon system, and therefore differ considerably in each application. Seating arrangements are also similar, with two crew members seated side-by-side and a third in tandem with the driver in the T-14, and with the commander, in the T-15. According to some sources there are ‘dozens of cameras’ on the tank, providing full situational awareness around the tank and beyond, in day, night and under adverse weather conditions.

Due to the wide interest in the new Russian armored vehicles we are opening our analysis to all readers. This kind of analysis is regularly provided to subscribers on regular basis. You are invited to join our Gold membership today.

The armor suite used on the T-14 also seems to share some common elements with the T-15. Many of the passive armor modules are similar, if not identical, in some locations. Same concepts are also employed – steel, hybrid and reactive armor, mine countermeasures in front, bar armor protecting the engine compartment and dual active protection system. Both vehicles employ remotely-operated weapon turrets, separating the crew from the armament and ammunition. Both vehicles are operated by a crew of three. The T-15 can also accommodate an infantry squad in the passenger compartment. However, unlike the BMP-2, these soldiers do not have periscopes, firing ports or individual access hatches. Therefore, the infantry squad would come into effect only after dismounting.

The crew seating arrangement in the T-14. The commander is in the right side position, the driver in the left and gunner in the position with closed hatch behind the driver. The turret must be turned sideways to enable the gunner to open his hatch. It is likely that in emergency he can escape from the driver's hatch.
The crew seating arrangement in the T-14. The commander is in the right side position, the driver in the left. In a ‘buttoned up’ driving position, the driver uses a reclining seat, looking out through the separate vision blocks positioned behind his hatch. The location of the gunner is unclear. The muzzle reference measurement unit is clearly seen on the barrel base. Photo: Andrey Kryuchenko
The Armata platform is configured with an active mine countermeasure system, designed to detect or trigger mines ahead of the tank. The system is mounted on the lower front edge of the vehicle. Photo: vitaly-Kuzmin
The Armata platform is configured with an active mine countermeasure system, designed to detect or trigger mines ahead of the tank. The system is mounted on the lower front edge of the vehicle. Photo: vitaly-Kuzmin

The current turret mounts a 125mm smooth bore cannon, without a coaxial weapon (previous reports indicated it had a 30mm coaxial gun and 7.62mm machine gun). While the turret has a distinctive shape dictated by the panels covering its various systems, its basic structure is likely to be thinner, providing a framework for a modular weapon system that could also support cannons of various calibers, automatic mortars or other support weapons.

The shrouded 125mm 2A82-1M cannon is different from previous models used on the T-90 and T-72. The main difference is the absence of a bore evacuator (since the gun compartment is separate from the crew compartment, extracting the combustion gasses from the gun is not necessary for crew safety.) A small box likely to be a gun reference system is located above the gun, providing exact measurement of barrel deformations for ballistic calculation (13). A meteorological mast is also located on the turret of the T-14, or the rear section on T-15 (10), feeding data to the ballistic computer. The cannon fires standard ammunition as well as gun-launched missiles, with a range of eight kilometers.

An elevated view of the new T-15 BMP, based on the Armata chassis. Photo: Vitaly Kuzmin
An elevated view of the new T-15 BMP, based on the Armata chassis. The mine countermeasures at the lower front area is clearly seen. Photo: Vitaly Kuzmin

The T-15 uses an ‘off the shelf’ KBP EPOCH turret, also used on the Kurganets-25 BMP. This turret integrates a single 30mm cannon with 500 rounds (AP/HE), a 7.62mm coaxial machine gun, four Kornet-EM missiles (two on each side), and two fire control systems, integrating electro-optical sights, a laser rangefinder and laser guidance system (for the Kornets). The two systems are contained in ballistic protected modules, adding resilience to this combat vehicle. (6, 9)

A 7.62mm machine gun is mounted on the remotely-operated weapon station, integrated with what seems to be the independent, panoramic sight of the commander. (2) The gunner’s main sight (4) is located in a protected cell to the right of the main gun, enabling the gunner and commander to engage different targets.

Additional weapons could be introduced in an alternative turret design; the current one lacks the installation for such weapons. A compartment located above the gun could provide space for an additional weapon assembly mounted above the gun.

(1, 7) The T-14 turret also houses two active protection systems, comprising the Afghanit hard-kill APS (five launch tubes recessed at the turret base), and four soft-kill countermeasure launchers – two are positioned on rotating pedestals and two are pointing upwards (3, 10). These are likely to launch salvos of projectiles instantly creating a thick, multi-spectral smoke screens designed to defeat guided missiles, laser and targeting systems by blocking infrared, visible light and millimeter-wave radar radiation. These soft-kill countermeasures are designed to protect the vehicle from 3rd and 4th generation missiles such as direct attack Hellfire, TOW and BILL, or Brimstone, JAGM, Javelin or Spike missiles, approaching at high trajectory, as well as from nearly vertical top-attack by sensor-fused weapons (SFW).

A total of 10 Afghanit canisters are used, five on each side of the turret. When the turret points forward, they protect the forward arc (about 60 degrees on each side). When a threat coming from the sides or rear is detected, the turret will automatically slew toward the threat, enabling the APS to launch. Lacking this turntable function, T-15 uses the same five tubes in fixed positions, on both sides of the vehicle, covering only the forward arc. The tube objects are seemingly a smaller, more efficient evolution of the Drozd ‘explosive screen’. Afghanit is likely employing these countermeasures at close range, neutralizing incoming threats before they hit the tank armor. A previous version of APS from Russia, the Arena, employed an explosive ‘cassette’ launched above the incoming threat, firing a screen of blast and fragments downward.

Each of the APSs has its own sensors as well, mounted on each side of the turret, covering the rear and front quadrants left and right. The sensor (5) coupled with the pedestalled and upward pointing fixed countermeasures seems to be covered by a flat panel. Several sources indicated the Armata (T14 and T15) have the capability to detect, and simultaneously track and locate 40 land targets and 25 air targets. If this is indeed that sensor, it is likely to be AESA radar panels. There is no indication of such radar on the vehicle except those flat objects mounted on both sides of the turret. There are four such sensors on each vehicle (T-14, T-15), providing hemispheric coverage, thus detecting potential top attack threats before they enter a lethal zone (SFW).

Although the two designs share the same suspension and drive train, the layout of those systems is different. Both have seven road wheels, four suspension idlers and steel tracks. The T-14 has the turbo-charged diesel engine is mounted in the rear section, with a rear sprocket and front tension wheel. This design places the main weapon system in the center and the crew in the front for best visibility. The T-15 has its engine in the front, with the sprocket pulling its tracks also placed in the front and a tension wheel at the rear. This design clears space for the infantry squad at the rear and also adds some protection up front.

The engine develops 1,500 hp (moderated to 1,200 hp for optimal range). Serving the engine air intakes, cooling and exhaust require special armor adaptations. The T-14 uses a slat armor (11) to protect these elements and the engine compartment from RPGs, leaving the necessary space for air intake and exhaust. The T-15 uses a skirt (8) of oblique armor panels covering the exhaust from above, but these leave enough space to direct the exhaust gases away from the vehicle. The external fuel tanks (12) positioned on the engine’s sides also add protection. Unlike the jettisonable barrels used on the previous Russian tanks, these external tanks are fixed, and, therefore, are likely to be consumed first to reduce vulnerability in combat.

A front view of the T-15 showing the outer skirts protecting the engine exhaust and intakes.
A front view of the T-15 showing the outer skirts protecting the engine exhaust and intakes.
A rear view of the T-15 showing part of the bar armor protecting the rear ramp door. Photo: Bastion Karpenko
A rear view of the T-15 showing part of the bar armor protecting the rear ramp door. Photo: Bastion Karpenko
The commander and weapon operator both have vision blocks surrounding their cupola, providing relatively good peripheral vision under armor. For complete coverage, panoramic cameras are positioned around the vehicle. One pair of these cameras can be seen left of the flat sensor under the Kornet missile launcher tubes.
The commander and weapon operator both have vision blocks surrounding their cupola, providing relatively good peripheral vision under armor. The T-15 driver has three vision blocks integrated in the cupola. For complete coverage, panoramic cameras are positioned around the vehicle. One pair of these cameras can be seen left of the flat sensor under the Kornet missile launcher tubes. The sensor is coupled with the ‘Soft Kill’ pedestal seen at the center, just behind the Afghanit APS Hard Kill tubes. system Photo: Bastion Karpenko
The T-14 tank mounts two active protection assemblies on both sides of the turret. Covered by passive armor for ballistic protection, these modules integrate the Afghanit sensor (trapezoidal unit), five hard-kill launch tubes mounted at the turret's base, two peripheral cameras and flat (possibly covered) sensor, likely  radar coupled with the soft-kill system. Some sources indicate these sensors are derived from AESA radar technology developed and implemented on the Sukhoi T-50 stealth fighter jet. The rotatable soft-kill launcher containing 12 cartridges can be seen above, mounted on a rotating pedestal.
The T-14 tank mounts two active protection assemblies on both sides of the turret. Covered by passive armor for ballistic protection, these modules integrate the Afghanit sensor (trapezoidal unit), five hard-kill launch tubes mounted at the turret’s base, two peripheral cameras and flat (possibly covered) sensor, likely radar coupled with the soft-kill system. Some sources indicate these sensors are derived from AESA radar technology developed and implemented on the Sukhoi T-50 stealth fighter jet. The rotatable soft-kill launcher containing 12 cartridges can be seen above, mounted on a rotating pedestal.
A front view of the T-14. Photo: Andrey Kryuchenko
A front view of the T-14. Note the driver has no vision blocks or other notable viewing devices on his position, although, when buttoned up, the driver may be using the vision system seen at the center of the tank. but a full set of fixed periscopes is placed behind his position. The two headlights use lensed LEDs providing different intensity of visible or infrared lighting on demand. Photo: Andrey Kryuchenko
A forward left side view of the T-14 tank based on Armata platform preparing for the May 9th parade in  Moscow.
A forward left side view of the T-14 tank based on Armata platform preparing for the May 9th parade in Moscow.
T-15 top view
T-15 top view, Photo: Andrey Kryuchenko

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Unlike the American, British, German and Israeli armies that favor heavy, tracked vehicles for troop carrying missions, Denmark decided to follow France opting for 8x8 wheeled vehicles replacing tracked APCs.

GDELS Piranha 5. Photo: GDELS
Piranha 5 undergoing evaluation in Denmark, 2013 - Photo: Lars Bøgh Vinther
Piranha 5 undergoing evaluation in Denmark, 2013 – Photo: Lars Bøgh Vinther

The Danish Ministry of Defense announced the selection of the Swiss Piranha 5 8×8 wheeled APC for the future armored personnel carrier of the Danish Army (Forsvaret).

Piranha 5, developed by Mowag GmbH, the Swiss subsidiary of General Dynamics Europe Land Systems (GDELS) was selected after a thorough evaluation of four candidates. In the final round the Swiss 8×8 APC has beaten the the tracked Swedish Armadillo CV90 from BAE Systems, GDELS ASCOD (recently selected for the British Scout SV program) and PMMC G5 modified M-113. Piranha 5 was one of two wheeled APCs evaluated – the other was its French rival, the 8×8 VBCI from Nexter.

The Danish M-113 replacement program was considered one of the largest procurement of armored vehicles in Europe, evaluating both wheeled and tracked variants ‘head to head’.

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Four finalists lined up for the final Danish evaluations in 2013 – the CV90 Armadillo, Piranha 5, VBCI and PMMC G5. Photo: Lars Bøgh Vinther
An internal view of the Piranha 5 showing two blast protecting passenger seats, the gunner station remotely operating the Protector overhead weapon station, and the driver station in the far-left side. Photo: GDELS
An internal view of the Piranha 5 showing two blast protecting passenger seats, the gunner station remotely operating the Protector overhead weapon station, and the driver station in the far-left side. Photo: GDELS

Almost all candidates considered by the Danes were new vehicles. Except VBCI, which is in service with the French Army, the Piranha 5, Armadillo and G5 represent new designs. The ‘Protected Mission Module Carrier’ (PMMC) G5 is considered a ‘modified M113′ remanufactured into the G5, based on the design proposed by the German company FFG. However, all three represent model improvements of vehicles currently operational with the Danish Army (CV9035, Piranha IIIC and M-113). The M-113 replacement program was launched in 2011 with a procurement options for 206, 360 or 450 vehicles, in an armored personnel carrier, command vehicle, ambulance, mortar carrier, engineering and technical support variants. The Danish contract requires the supplier to bind to support the fleet over a period of 15 years.

Denmark is planning to order at least 206 vehicles, but according to Danish Defense Minister Nicolai Wammen, the exact number is yet to be determined. Analysts forecast the total number could increase to 450. “With Piranha 5 we have found the armored personnel carrier that can best solve our defense tasks in the future” Wammen said.

The defense department will cancel a planned tender for a new artillery system, thus clearing the necessary funding for the new APCs. Denmark is exploring options to rent or borrow artillery systems from another country to enable its military to retain proficiency operating modern artillery systems. Denmark is operating a battalion of M-109A3 self-propelled howitzers. Potential bidders for that program where Nexter of France, Samsung Techwin from South Korea and Israeli Elbit Systems Soltam.

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Danish M-113G3 on patrol in Afghanistan. Note this is the extended variant with six road wheels. Photo: Ronny Benjamin Vossen Rasmussen

As the Danish government require significant offset buying for such significant military acquisitions, GDELS said it has already signed Industry Cooperation agreements with 40 Danish companies of all sizes and has already defined projects in excess of €0.5 billion (3,7 billion kroner) covering all of the technology areas defined in the Danish Government’s Defence Industry strategy.

The new family of vehicles consists of the Armata, a new tracked platform that will replace existing platforms that have been used in the T72 and T90 tanks since the mid-70s. The platform provides a common chassis for some 13 different combat vehicles weighing below 50 tons.

The T-14 main battle tank is armed with a new model of the 125mm cannon, comprising a larger auto-loader packing 32 rounds. The weapon system is mounted on an unmanned turret with the two crew members seated in a protected cell in the hull. (Subscribers can click to enlarge) Photo: Vitaly Kuzmin
The T-14 main battle tank is armed with a new model of the 125mm cannon, comprising a larger auto-loader packing 32 rounds. The weapon system is mounted on an unmanned turret with the three crew members seated in a protected cell in the hull. (Subscribers can click to enlarge) Photo: Vitaly Kuzmin

The Russian Ministry of defense is lifting the veil on a new family of combat vehicles that has been under development in the past years. The new family scheduled to enter service with the Russian ground forces in the next years will be unveiled in public for the first time May 9th, 2015 on the traditional ‘Victory Day Parade’, marking the 70th anniversary of the victory over Nazi Germany.The new family of vehicles consists of the Armata, a new tracked platform that will replace existing platforms that have been used in the T72 and T90 tanks since the mid-70s. The platform provides a common chassis for some 13 different combat vehicles weighing below 50 tons.

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These include the new T-14 main battle tank that weighs 48 tons and T-15 infantry carrier; a new variant of the tank support vehicle (Terminator), an armored recovery vehicle (ARV), MT-A bridgelayer, Combat Engineering Vehicle (CEV), BMO-2 support vehicle carrying multiple launchers of thermobaric rockets, and USM-1 minelayer. Another variant that could be added in the future is a self propelled artillery system (SPG). However, the new Coalitziya SM SPG displayed on the May 9 parade is still based on the T-90 chassis.

An inspection of the T-14 tanks rehearsing for the May 9 parade shows a combination of layers of modular armor comprising active and hybrid protection. Adding protection beyond the frontal arc and sides is a common design feature today, adapting MBTs for combat in complex, urban terrain, where threats exist over 360 degrees.

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Additional slat armor is used to protect the engine compartment and enable easy access to the sprocket. The forward section of the belly mounts an active counter-mine protection. Countermeasure dischargers firing instant smoke obscurants are employed, on both sides of the turret as part of the overall protection system.

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The Armata-chassis based T-15 BMP uses a front-mounted engine. The vehicle is manned by a crew of three and carries a squad of eight soldiers. The vehicle is equipped with remotely operated gun turret mounting a 30mm cannon, 7.62 coax MG and four Kornet E guided missiles. Note the five canisters pointing outward, these are likely parts of the vehicle’s self-protection system.  Photo: Marina Lystseva
The T-15 carries a complex remotely operated weapon system comprising the 30mm automatic cannon (with 500 rounds), 7.62 mm coaxial machine gun, four Kornet E guided missiles, optronic systems for target acquisition and missile guidance and hard and soft kill active protection systems.
The T-15 carries a complex remotely operated weapon system comprising the 30mm automatic cannon (with 500 rounds), 7.62 mm coaxial machine gun, four Kornet E guided missiles, optronic systems for target acquisition and missile guidance and hard and soft kill active protection systems.

The T-15 IVF (BMP) also shares the common Armata chassis. As a troop carrier, it will replace the current BMP-2 variants offering much improved mobility and protection although at a significant weight increase. The vehicle is operated by three crew members and accommodates eight troops. It is likely to be equipped with a new remotely operated weapon station designed by KBP. This turret mounts the 2A42 30mm cannon with 500 rounds, 7.62 coaxial machine gun and four Kornet-EM guided missiles (two on each side). The T-15 shares a protection system similar to that of Armata.

An elevated view of the new T-15 BMP, based on the Armata chassis. Photo: Vitaly Kuzmin
An elevated view of the new T-15 BMP, based on the Armata chassis. Photo: Vitaly Kuzmin
A rear view of the new T-15 BMP, based on the Armata chassis. Note the bar armor protecting the ramp. Photo: Vitaly Kuzmin
A rear view of the new T-15 BMP, based on the Armata chassis. Note the bar armor protecting the ramp. Photo: Vitaly Kuzmin

Although some press reports indicated that Kurganets-25 has high commonality with the Armata platform, an external view does not show such similarity, except the KBP Epoch turret that is common to both Kurganets-25 BMP and T-15 BMP.

This BTR variant of Kurganets 25 is equipped with a 7.62mm remotely operated weapon station. Photo: Vitaly V. Kuzmin

The Russian army is displaying the first mechanized unit deployed with the new Kurganets-25 armored fighting vehicles during the May 9th parade in Moscow. This is the first public unveiling of the new armored vehicle, that has been in development in the past decade. The new family of vehicles was designed and produced by KMZ (Kurganmashzavod), the manufacturer of the BMP-2, BMP-3 and BMD vehicles.

The new Kurganets-25 armored infantry fighting vehicle is designed to replace a number of combat vehicles currently used in mechanized divisions, such as BMP and MT-LB platforms. Kurganets-25 represents a distinctive change from the traditional Russian low profile design. The new vehicle is higher, thus better designed for mounted combat, rather than a troop carrier. Higher floor also means better IED and mine protection, better adapting the vehicle to asymmetric warfare.

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KBP Epoch weapon station mounted on Kurganets 25 BMP. Photo: Vitaly V. Kuzmin
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KBP Epoch weapon station mounted on Kurganets 25 BMP. Photo: Vitaly V. Kuzmin

Although some press reports indicated that Kurganets-25 has high commonality with the Armata platform, an external view does not show such similarity, except the KBP Epoch turret that is common to both Kurganets-25 BMP and T-15 BMP. The engine, tracks, armor modules seem to be different. The two vehicles are also unlikely to be deployed together, as the T-14 and T-15 are expected to deploy with armored formations while Kurganets-25 platforms will equip the mechanized units.

Provided with a modular armor suite, Kurganets 25 offers an increased armor protection, compared to BMP-3 / BMD 4. As the BMP-3, it can also employ an active protection system. Similar to the T-15, Kurganets 25 mounts the KBP Epoch unmanned turret mounting a single 2A42 30mm cannon, 7.62 PKT coaxial machine gun and four Kornet EM guided missiles. Unlike previous manned turrets that occupied significant space in the fighting compartment, the Epoch is remotely controlled and does not penetrate the deck, thus simplifying the structural design and clearing more space for troops and supplies.

Vetronics systems integrated as standard include a fire control system, a day/night sight for the gunner, a missile guidance system for the Kornets, and independent sight for the commander. The vehicle is also equipped with peripheral cameras providing visual situational awareness for the troops.

kurganets-25_bmd4_comparison
As can be seen from this image, Kurganets 25 is much bigger than the airborne capable BMD, and weighs twice as much.

The 800 hp power pack is located at the front, clearing the space and access to an infantry squad of eight troops. Crew of three – commander, weapon operator and driver, operates the vehicle.

As an amphibious vehicle weighing 25 tons, Kurganets 25 can swim in water at a speed of 10 km/h using two waterjet propulsion modules and a wave breaker that opens as the vehicle splashes into the the water. On land the vehicle can move off road at speed up to 80 km/h using the rubber padded tracks and suspension system comprising seven road wheels and torsion bars. Its maximum road speed is 80 km/h.

kurganets_25_bmp_725
Kurganets-25 BMP mounting KBP Epoch remotely operated turret. Note the covered sensors on each end and covered tubes, which could be part of the vehicle’s active protection system. Photo: VItaly Kuzmin
Kurganets 25 BTR - APC equipped with 7.62mm remotely controlled weapon station. Photo: Vitaly V. Kuzmin
Kurganets 25 BTR – APC equipped with 7.62mm remotely controlled weapon station. Photo: Vitaly V. Kuzmin

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