Friday, September 4, 2015

Tamir Eshel

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An ultra-thin metamaterial made of ceramic nano-cylinders embedded on Teflon substrate could provide a cloaking device rendering UAVs invisible, leaving no visual, electronic or infrared signature for an enemy to detect.

Electrical engineers at the University of California in San Diego have created a new design for a cloaking device, using an ultra-thin Teflon substrate, studded with cylinders of ceramic, that can ‘bend’ light weaves around objects coated with it, creating a cloak. The Teflon has a low refractive index, while the ceramic’s refractive index is higher, a combination which allows light to be dispersed through the sheet without any absorption.

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Prof. Boubacar Kanté, senior author of the study “Extremely Thin Dielectric Metasurface for Carpet Cloaking”

“Invisibility may seem like magic at first, but its underlying concepts are familiar to everyone. All it requires is a clever manipulation of our perception,” said Boubacar Kanté, a professor in the Department of Electrical and Computer Engineering at the UC San Diego Jacobs School of Engineering and the senior author of the study. “Full invisibility still seems beyond reach today, but it might become a reality in the near future thanks to recent progress in cloaking devices.”

Up to now, the main theoretical tool used for designing invisibility cloaks has been transformation optics / conformal mapping – according to Fermat’s principle, an electromagnetic wave will travel between two points along the path of least time. In a homogeneous material, this path is just a straight line. However, in an inhomogeneous material, the path becomes a curve because waves travel at different speeds at different points. Thus, one can control the path of waves by appropriately designing the material parameters (electric permittivity and magnetic permeability).

An extremely thin cloaking devise is designed using dielectric materials. The cloak is a thin Teflon sheet (light blue) embedded with many small, cylindrical ceramic particles (dark blue). (Photo courtesy of Li-Yi Hsu/University of California, San Diego)
An extremely thin cloaking devise is designed using dielectric materials. The cloak is a thin Teflon sheet (light blue) embedded with many small, cylindrical ceramic particles (dark blue). (Photo courtesy of Li-Yi Hsu/University of California, San Diego)

By scattering the electromagnetic radiation – in the visible, infrared or radar spectrum, such Metamaterial will be able to render a coated object undetectable in these wave frequencies, by forcing light or radar waves to bypass the object surface through the coating, which effectively “cloaks” the object.

Prior developments to this technology required many layers in order to cover an object, resulting in a very thick layer that enclosed the object. The new, super-thin metamaterial has the capability to better hide the three-dimensionality of objects while addressing the issue of shadows and background matching. The University of California has achieved a cloak that won’t reduce any intensity when light is reflected from the coated, so the concealed object will remain undetectable and will appear completely flat to an observer’s eyes.

Having the ability to create ultimate stealth protection for anything over a battlefield or warzone provides enormous military advantage over the adversary. In theory, creating a cloaking device would be used to conceal larger objects. This cloaking device would be valuable to many technologies, including unmanned air vehicles (UAVs) due to the capability to disappear from view and leaving no visual, electronic or infrared signature for an enemy to detect.

Creating the effect of an invisibility cloak offers a real-world solution to concealment, which can provide the military with air superiority. While this cloak has numerous applications for the military, this technology will create a ripple effect beyond the battlefield that will improve the performance of other diverse applications.

Compared to an invisibility cloak, this technology has not only the ability to conceal, but the ability to increase optical communication signal speed and to collect solar energy. “Doing whatever we want with light waves is really exciting,” said Kanté. “Using this technology, we can do more than make things invisible. We can change the way light waves are being reflected at will and ultimately focus a large area of sunlight onto a solar power tower, like what a solar concentrator does. We also expect this technology to have applications in optics, interior design and art.”

First published in: HDIAC Spotlight: Bringing Invisibility Cloaking to reality (August, 2015)

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Among the aerospace technologies displayed at MAKS 2015 in Zhukovsky last week were quite a few new missiles, presented by different divisions of the Tactical Missile Corporation, and independent manufacturers. Some of the new missiles on display are outlined below.

The following photos are showing some of the new missiles on display. More photos are accessible to ‘Gold Members‘ as part of Defense-Update premium edition.

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Three of the four new aerial ordnance weapons displayed by the Tactical Missiles Corporation – GROM E1/E2 guided, standoff weapon, X-59Mk2 cruise missile and X-58USHKE/IIR stand-off anti-radiation attack missile. Photo: Tamir Eshel, Defense-Update
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X-58USHKE/IIR is a modified variant of the weapon unveiled in 2011, designed for internal carriage in T-50 or external carriage on Su-35, 34 and 30. The IIR variant uses two infra-red imaging sensors enabling the missile to prosecute non-emitting targets that have shut down their radar to avoid attack. Photo: Tamir Eshel, Defense-Update

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A new appearance at MAKS 2015 was the X-59Mk2 cruise missile. Flying at high subsonic speed, the weapon is designed for air-ground attack at ranges of 290 km. The missile carries a warhead weighing 300-700 kg. Its length is 4.2 meters and the wingspan is 2.45 meters. Although pursuing low flight altitude, X59Mk2 can hit its target at angle of 45 degrees at a terminal speed of 1,000 km/h and an accuracy of 3-5 meters. Typical targets for the weapon are ships and fixed land-based targets. Photo: Tamir Eshel, Defense-Update

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Another new guided weapon displayed by the Tactical Missiles Corporation was the 256 kg guided bomb. The weapon uses a GLONASS/SAL guidance kit enabling it to hit targets with an accuracy of less than five meters. The bomb uses three-mode fusing enabling impact, delay (penetration) or air-burst effects. Photo: Tamir Eshel, Defense-Update
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The guided weapon comes at a length of 3.2 meters and diameter of 255mm, with height of tails and stabilizers minimized by using four twin-blade rudders, providing roll and pitch for the weapon guidance, while maintaining the width and height compatible with internal carriage. Photo: Tamir Eshel, Defense-Update

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Both use extracted wings for gliding, to extend the weapon’s range. Extracted tail fins are also used, enabling the weapon to be carried internally. The GROM weighs about 600 kg. The rocket powered variant (GROM E1) carries a warhead at a weight of 300 kg while the unpowered Grom-E2 has a warhead weight of 450 kg. weight. Photo: Tamir Eshel, Defense-Update
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A selection of air/air and air/surface weapons displayed on the MiG-29SMT. The mighty Kh31 (AS-17 Krypton under the right wing) and Kh29TE (left wing) is seen underwing, along with two air/air missiles. R77 (RVV-AE) underwing and R-27 in front. Photo: Tamir Eshel, Defense-Update

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Oshkosh, Wisconsin Based Oshkosh Defense company was awarded yesterday $114 million firm-fixed-price contract for two-year low-rate initial production of Joint Light Tactical Vehicle (JLTV) for the U.S. army and U.S. Marine Corps. The company is likely to win follow-on orders under options of that contract, worth over $6.7 billion, under the  and full-rate production phase expected to open in 2018 and carry the program through 2024, producing 17,000 vehicles. The full scope of the program will span over 25 years, producing 55,000 vehicles, worth well over $22 billion.

Oshkosh grabbed the contract after a long competition with Lockheed Martin and AM General, the manufacturer of the current HMMWV tactical vehicle. Unlike its competitors that received government funding for their prototype development, Oshkosh entered the race at the Engineering Manufacturing and Development (EMD) with a vehicle based on its Light Armored Tactical Vehicle, based on the combat proven and matured MIne Resistant Ambush Protected All Terrain Vehicle (M-ATV), over 9,000 of these vehicles are currently operational with the Army.

Oshkosh JLTV is 30 percent lighter than the M-ATV, while offering similar level of protection. Other key improvements the JLTV has over HMMWV and M-ATV, are significant improvement in power to weight ratio, better power availability and payload reserve, and integral electronic architecture, while offering superior protection, at a level similar to the current M-ATV, also produced by Oshkosh. 

When JLTV becomes operational in 2018 it will improve the mobility, survivability and energy efficiency of Army and Marine Corps vehicles, allowing combat forces to operate more effectively in modern battle. It will also be able to be air lifted by current CH-47 and CH-53, something the current, heavy protected vehicles could not do.

Iran is planning a major modernization of its missile force, replacing Fateh 110 and Qiam ballistic missiles and Qadr air-launched precision guided missiles with new generations. Fateh 313 seems to be the successor for the 110.

Fateh 313 ballistic guided missile on a recent test firing.
Fateh 313 ballistic guided missile on a recent test firing.
Fateh 313 ballistic guided missile on a recent test firing.
Iran unveiled today (saturday) a new member of the Fateh ballistic guided missile family. The new Fateh 313 missile has a range of 500 km – twice the range of the former Fateh 110 version. According to Iranian sources the new missile will enter production soon, following a recent successful test flight. The current Fateh 110 weighs 3.45 tons and its warhead weight is 450-650 kg. (according to the variant). The warhead weight of the new version was not released, nor the missile’s total weight. Since its range is longer, it is expected to reach a higher terminal speed.

However, from the inspection of the images released by the Iranians it seems the missile’s envelope remains intact, hinting of the use of improved propellant, which also increases the speed of the missile, requiring heavier thermal protection, as indicated by the ablative surface around the nose.

Iran is planning a major modernization of its missile force, replacing Fateh 110 and Qiam ballistic missiles and Qadr air-launched precision guided missiles with new generations. Fateh 313 seems to be the successor for the 110.

The liquid-propelled Qadr F is being replaced with two-stage solid-rocket propelled Sejjil that has a range of 2,000 km, which entered production in 2013.

As for the air-launched missiles, Iran is developing air-launched cruise missiles with a strike range of 700 km. Iran also developed a different, surface-launched cruise missile – the Soumar – has the potential to attack targets at ranges beyond 2,000 km.

Fateh 313 short-range ballistic guided missile has a range of 500 km.
Fateh 313 short-range ballistic guided missile has a range of 500 km.

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The objective of the Experimental Spaceplane XS-1 program is to demonstrate relevant technologies and then fabricate and fly a reusable, unmanned aircraft to the edge of space. The XS-1 would then deploy a small expendable upper stage able to launch a 3,000-pound spacecraft to Earth orbit at a cost of no more than $5M, or about one-tenth the cost of today’s launch systems.

Boeing, Northrop Grumman and Masten Space Systems have won additional funding from the US Defense Advanced Research Projects Agency (DARPA), to continue developing their concepts for the United States military’s XS-1 robotic space plane under the program’s second phase (Phase 1B).

The current phase funds the “development of the XS-1 demonstration concept, substantiating identified core component technologies, mitigating risk, developing a Technology Maturation Plan (TMP), and performing several demonstration tasks,” DARPA said. Completion of Phase 1B is expected by August 2016. All three companies had received money in the summer of 2014 for initial “Phase 1” design work. The first XS-1 orbital mission could take place as early as 2018, DARPA said.

The objective of the Experimental Spaceplane XS-1 program is to demonstrate relevant technologies and then fabricate and fly a reusable, unmanned aircraft to the edge of space. The XS-1 would then deploy a small expendable upper stage able to launch a 3,000-pound spacecraft to Earth orbit at a cost of no more than $5M, or about one-tenth the cost of today’s launch systems.

The experiment will demonstrate the XS-1’s “aircraft-like” operability, cost efficiency and reliability, agency officials have said. Key anticipated characteristics of the XS-1 aircraft include a physical size and dry weight typical of today’s business jets.

The XS-1 will likely feature a reusable first stage and one or more expendable upper stages. The first stage will fly to suborbital space and then return to Earth, while the upper stages will deploy the space plane’s payloads.

The three companies have teamed with private ventures already seeking commercial space flight vehicles. space. Boeing teamed up with Blue Origin; Northrop Grumman partnered with Virgin Galactic and Masten cooperated with XCOR Aerospace.

Boeing already has experience building robotic space planes for the U.S. military. The company constructed the Air Force’s two X-37B space planes, which have launched on a total of four mystery missions over the past five years. In addition, DARPA is exploring another concept for launching small satellites to orbit from an F-15 – under Airborne Launch Assist Space Access (ALASA). The first in-air ALASA test could occur later this year.

Although media reports crowned the MQ-9 Reaper made by General Atomics as the winner, the Spanish announcement included no specific selection of Heron TP or MQ-9. Whatever the final decision be, the current procurement is regarded as a stopgap, buying time and developing operational capabilities until Spain joins the future European MALE project. The program was launched earlier this year in Brussels, when France, Germany and Italy signed the cooperation program to develop the system under an initial €60 million investment.

General Atomics Aeronautical Systems Inc. (GA-ASI) is developing a variant of the Predator B Remotely Piloted Aircraft (RPA) to be certified for flight according to the NATO Airworthiness Standard for unmanned aircraft. The new variant will fly in 2017, GA-ASI said. Illustration Photo: GA-ASI

Spain has decided to buy four Medium Altitude Long Endurance (MALE) drones for its air force. According to the Ministry of Defense announcement made on thursday in Madrid, the Government allocated €25 million ($27 million) in the 2016 budget to fund the acquisition of the first system. The entire five-year program is expected to cost about €171 million ($187 million) and include four aircraft and two ground control stations – one fixed and one deployable overseas. Delivery of the new aircraft is expected in 2017.

Although media reports crowned the MQ-9 Reaper made by General Atomics as the winner, the Spanish announcement included no specific selection of one of the two bidders. Two companies answered the Spanish tender for MALE UAS – a team lead by General Atomics and Spanish partner Sener offering the MQ-9 Reaper (Predator B), and Israel Aerospace Industries (IAI) teamed with Spanish company Indra offering the Heron TP.

According to defense sources the selection leans toward the American offer, as Spain could benefit from logistical support and availability of five Reaper operators currently available within NATO – UK, France, Italy, Netherlands and the USA. The final selection of MALE could be influenced by the results of elections to be held in Spain next month.

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IAI’s Heron TP made its first flight in 2009 and entered operational service in 2011. The drone is currently in service with the Israel Air Force and is evaluated by several international customers in Europe and Asia. Photo: Noam Eshel, Defense-Update

Spain has been operating the Israeli Searcher MkII tactical drone since 2008, and evaluated the larger Heron I platform in maritime surveillance missions. Madrid also acquired ‘mini-drones’ – the RQ-11 Raven made by the US company Aerovironment. Therefore, the next acquisition refers to the platform as ‘Mega-Drone’, the first unmanned platform in Spanish service to be able to operate at an altitude of 30,000 ft for missions lasting over 24 hours. Although these Megadrones can carry weapons, the Spanish military intends to use them unarmed – strictly for reconnaissance and surveillance.

One of the main concerns for European UAV operators is the inability of the Reaper to meet European aviation certification to be able to fly in the crowded European airspace. Israel’s drones were more responsive to such requirements, as Heron platforms are operating with special permissions over parts of the continent for years. In June 2015 General Atomics announced it is expecting to fly a ‘Certifiable Predator B’ in 2017. According to GA-ASI, certification of delivered systems will be granted by the responsible agencies within each country.

Whatever the final decision be, the current procurement is regarded as a stopgap, buying time and developing operational capabilities until Spain joins the future European MALE project. The program was launched earlier this year in Brussels, when France, Germany and Italy signed the cooperation program to develop the system under an initial €60 million investment.

 

Spain has been operating Israeli Searcher Mk II tactical UAS acquired from IAI since 2008. These drones were acquired to support the Spanish deployment in Afghanistan.
Spain has been operating Israeli Searcher Mk II tactical UAS acquired from IAI since 2008. These drones were acquired to support the Spanish deployment in Afghanistan.

The SM-6 was designed from the start to defeat air breathing targets such as cruise missiles, but the recent test was the first to demonstrate the modified variant's capability to defeat ballistic threat missiles in their final seconds of flight.

The US Missile Defense Agency (MDA) and US Navy conducted a successful series of missile intercepts in the Pacific Ocean last week, demonstrating the capability of a newly modified missile interceptor to defeat short range ballistic missiles and cruise missiles with the same weapon. The SM-6 was designed from the start to defeat air breathing targets such as cruise missiles, but the recent test was the first to demonstrate the modified variant’s capability to defeat ballistic threat missiles in their final seconds of flight.

This ‘Multi-Mission Warfare (MMW) Events’ was the first live fire test of the new SM-6 Dual I missile. During two follow-on flights additional ‘SM-6 Dual I’ missiles were used against targets simulating air launched and surface launched cruise missiles, demonstrating the multi-mission capability of the new SM-6 variant. Part of the U.S. ballistic missile defense, MDA’s Sea-Based Terminal (SBT) program will protect against ballistic threats in their terminal phase of flight using SM-6 missiles integrated into the Aegis Weapon System. Called SM-6 Dual 1, it’s on track to achieve initial operating capability in 2016.

The missiles were fired from the AEGIS BMD destroyer USS John Paul Jones (DDG 53), configured with the latest Aegis Baseline 9.C1 (BMD 5.0 Capability Upgrade) version, and using Standard Missile SM-6 Dual I and SM-2 Block IV interceptor missiles. This test marked the first endo-atmospheric (lower atmosphere) engagement of a Ballistic Missile target to demonstrate a Baseline 9.C1 capability. This capability allows Aegis to engage ballistic missiles in their terminal phase. “This important test campaign not only demonstrated an additional terminal defense layer of the BMDS” said MDA Director Vice Adm. James D. Syring, “it also proved the robustness of the multi-use SM-6 missile on-board a Navy destroyer, further reinforcing the dynamic capability of the Aegis Baseline 9 weapon system.” Syring added.

“SM-6 is the only missile in the world that can do both anti-air warfare and ballistic missile defense from sea,” said Dr. Taylor W. Lawrence, president of Raytheon Missile Systems. “U.S. Navy commanders want both capability and flexibility to meet a wide variety of missions, and that’s exactly what SM-6 offers.”

SM-6 delivers a proven over-the-horizon, air defense capability by leveraging the time-tested advantages of the Standard Missile’s airframe and propulsion. The missile incorporates the advanced signal processing and guidance control capabilities from Raytheon’s Advanced Medium-Range Air-to-Air Missile (AMRAAM), and employs both active and semi-active guidance modes and advanced fuzing techniques to defeat air breathing and ballistic missile targets.

Although India agreed to buy 36 Rafales directly from France, the air force needs the remaining 90 aircraft to replace hundreds of its MiG-21, 27 and Jaguars reaching the end of their service life. The RFP will likely recompete all the types that have already been evaluated by the IAF

Six bidders are likely to replay in the endless game -the 'mother of all defense deals' - can anyone say NO to the chance to win a $30 billion jackpot?

After selecting the Rafale in a direct buy from France and scrapping the Medium Multi-Role Combat Aircraft (MMRCA) tender for 126 aircraft, India is likely to recompete the program, inviting bidders to compete on the production of 90 fighter jets for the Indian Air Force. The Air Force requires at least 126 aircraft to replace aging fighter jets to be withdrawn from service in the coming decade. Although India agreed to buy 36 Rafales directly from France, the air force needs the remaining 90 aircraft to replace hundreds of its MiG-21, 27 and Jaguars reaching the end of their service life.

A Request for Proposal (RFP) is expected to be drafted soon after the new Defence Procurement Procedure (DPP) comes in place.

Although not as big as the original 126 aircraft MMRCA tender, the new program is expected to be one of the biggest projects under the ‘Make in India’ campaign, as the cost of the programme is expected to be around $30 billion. Out of the 90 aircraft, 54 will be single-seaters and the remaining 36 tandem-seaters. The base order will be for 90 aircraft with an option for 45 additional fighters as a follow-on order.

According to the sources, the RFP will recompete the types that have already been evaluated by the IAF. These included Russia’s MIG-35 (RAC MiG), Swedish Gripen, French Dassault Rafale, American Lockheed Martin F-16IN and Boeing’s F/A-18IN Super Hornet and Typhoon made by the European Eurofighter consortium.

BAE Systems has cut its production cost by 20 per cent while upgrading some features. SAAB has also said there are chances for the re-introduction of Gripen in India, with Gripens offered under ‘Make-in-India’ or as new and assembled aircraft to India, to replenish obsolete fighters. Russian sources also claim Moscow is willing to put the Fifth Generation Fighter Aircraft FGFA) on the fast track, anticipating orders from New Delhi toward the end of the decade.

While the president of France and Indian Prime Minister agreed in principle on the supply of 36 French Dassault Aviation Rafale fighter jets to India, the contract nas not been signed yet, as the sides have not reached an agreement on the share of offset India will receive. France insists that the offset clause would raise the cost and delay deliveries. India demands a higher than regular level of 50 percent, rather that the standard 30 percent reinvestment required for large deals.

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“VMFA-121 has ten aircraft in the Block 2B configuration with the requisite performance envelope and weapons clearances, to include the training, sustainment capabilities, and infrastructure to deploy to an austere site or a ship. It is capable of conducting Close Air Support, Offensive and Defensive Counter-Air, Air Interdiction, Assault Support Escort and Armed Reconnaissance as part of a Marine Air Ground Task Force, or in support of the Joint Force." Gen. Joseph Dunford, Commandant of the Marine Corps declared.

The U.S. Marine Corps’ F-35B Lightning II aircraft reached initial operational capability today with a squadron of 10 F-35Bs ready for world-wide deployment. Marine Fighter Attack Squadron 121 (VMFA-121), based in Yuma, Arizona, is the first squadron in military history to become operational with an F-35 variant, following a five-day Operational Readiness Inspection (ORI), which concluded July 17.

“I am pleased to announce that VMFA-121 has achieved Initial Operational Capability (IOC) in the F-35B, as defined by requirements outlined in the June 2014 Joint Report to Congressional Defense Committees,” said Gen. Joseph Dunford, Commandant of the Marine Corps. “VMFA-121 has ten aircraft in the Block 2B configuration with the requisite performance envelope and weapons clearances, to include the training, sustainment capabilities, and infrastructure to deploy to an austere site or a ship. It is capable of conducting Close Air Support, Offensive and Defensive Counter-Air, Air Interdiction, Assault Support Escort and Armed Reconnaissance as part of a Marine Air Ground Task Force, or in support of the Joint Force.” Dunford stated that he has his full confidence in the F-35B’s ability to support Marines in combat, predicated on years of concurrent developmental testing and operational flying. (See our 14/6 article “F-35 – Beyond Stealth“)

“Prior to declaring IOC, we have conducted flight operations for seven weeks at sea aboard an L-Class carrier, participated in multiple large force exercises, and executed a recent operational evaluation which included multiple live ordnance sorties, said Dunford.” The F-35B’s ability to conduct operations from expeditionary airstrips or sea-based carriers provides our Nation with its first 5th generation strike fighter, which will transform the way we fight and win.”

Six of the US Marine Corps F-35B deployed on board USS Wasp for OT-1. Photo: US Marine Corps
Six of the US Marine Corps F-35B deployed on board USS Wasp for OT-1. Photo: US Marine Corps

As the future of Marine Corps tactical aviation, the F-35 will eventually replace three legacy platforms: the AV-8B Harrier, the F/A-18 Hornet, and the EA-6B Prowler.

“The success of VMFA-121 is a reflection of the hard work and effort by the Marines in the squadron, those involved in the program over many years, and the support we have received from across the Department of the Navy, the Joint Program Office, our industry partners, and the Under Secretary of Defense. Achieving IOC has truly been a team effort,” concluded Dunford.

The U.S. Marine Corps has trained and qualified more than 50 Marine F-35B pilots and certified about 500 maintenance personnel to assume autonomous, organic-level maintenance support for the F-35B. The F-35 Program Executive Officer Lt. General Christopher C. Bogdan congratulated the Marines for their achievement, saying: “The fact the Marines reached IOC at the beginning of their six-month window is a testament to the professionalism and dedication of the entire F-35 enterprise.”

VMFA-121’s transition will be followed by Marine Attack Squadron 211 (VMA-211), an AV-8B squadron, which is scheduled to transition next to the F-35B in fiscal year 2016. In 2018, Marine Fighter Attack Squadron 122 (VMFA-122), an F-18 Hornet squadron, will conduct its transition.

Two F-35B Joint Strike Fighters flying in a close formation over Marine Corps Air Station Yuma, Az. Photo: Liz Kaszynski, Lockheed Martin.
Two F-35B Joint Strike Fighters flying in a close formation over Marine Corps Air Station Yuma, Az. Photo: Liz Kaszynski, Lockheed Martin.

“The performance of the VMFA-121 during the ORI in all evaluated maintenance, flight operations, and exams was exceptional.” said Lt. Gen. Jon Davis, Deputy Commandant for Aviation, “The squadron’s aircraft performed well in all five IOC operational scenarios: Close Air Support, Air Interdiction, Armed Reconnaissance, Offensive Counter Air and Defensive Counter Air. This included live ordnance deliveries. The demonstrated capability of the squadron in the ORI, and in their run up to it, have given me the confidence that they meet our IOC criteria and, if required, could respond to a contingency, giving our nation its first sea-based 5th generation strike fighter capability. As such, the Commandant of the Marine Corps has decided to declare VMFA-121 initial operationally capable.” Davis said.

“As we field the F-35, we must remain vigilant in the forging of a sustainment system which supports readiness rates required to train for and conduct sustained combat operations.” Davis added, “If I have any concern at this point, it is that the spare parts available to extract maximum value from this exceptional warfighting asset will be shy of what we will truly need. In our legacy fleet, we resource our sustainment accounts in order to achieve between 70 and 75% readiness. I think we have that wrong, and I want to see if we can do better with this new platform. The F-35B has so much potential. Per the Commandant’s guidance, I’ve asked my staff to see why we can’t resource this jet to achieve a significantly higher readiness rate.” Davis said.

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The test scenarios included hitting targets at both maximum and minimum missile ranges. After a stationary target was engaged, subsequent targets, conducting serpentine maneuvers, were engaged. The tests culminated in a three-target "raid" scenario. During this scenario all missiles from a three-shot "ripple fire" response struck their individual targets.

In a recent test series performed by the US Navy, eight Army/Lockheed martin AGM-114L ‘Longbow Hellfire’ missiles destroyed seven fast naval craft simulating fast attack craft performing swarm attacks, similar to those practiced by the Iranian navy in the Arabian Sea and the Persian Gulf. The test was part of the engineering development test of the Surface-to-Surface Missile Module (SSMM), for use on littoral combat ships (LCS).

The tests, that took place in June 2015 in the Atlantic Ocean, off the coast of Virginia, evaluated the integration of the vertically-launched AGM-114L Longbow Hellfire missile system for the SSMM solution. In this application the missile receives initial target data from a surface search radar or an airborne radar on a helicopter, before launch. After launch, it activates the onboard millimeter wave seeker to find the target. The system has an initial range of eight kilometers and features fire-and-forget and multi-mode capability. The multi-purpose warhead ensures effectiveness against various types of attacking craft.

Integration of the “fire-and-forget” Longbow Hellfire missile on LCS represents the next evolution in capability being developed for inclusion in the Increment 3 version of the surface warfare mission package for LCS. When fully integrated and tested, each 24-shot missile module will bring added firepower to complement the LCS’s existing 57mm gun, SEARAM missiles and armed MH-60 Sea Hawk helicopter.

The SSMM is expected to be fully integrated and ready to deploy on LCS missions in late 2017 and to increase the lethality of the Navy’s fleet of littoral combat ships.

The test scenarios included hitting targets at both maximum and minimum missile ranges. After a stationary target was engaged, subsequent targets, conducting serpentine maneuvers, were engaged. The tests culminated in a three-target “raid” scenario. During this scenario all missiles from a three-shot “ripple fire” response struck their individual targets.

The ‘Guided Test Vehicle-1’ test was designed to test the launcher, the missile, and its seeker versus high speed, maneuvering surface targets that represented fast inshore attack craft that are a potential threat to Navy ships worldwide. “This test was very successful and, overall, represents a big step forward in SSMM development for LCS,” said Capt. Casey Moton, LCS Mission Modules program manager.

The Navy evaluated several solutions for the SSMM capability, including EO and semi-active laser guided weapons such as the Griffin IIB missile. The Longbow was selected, in part, for its ability to conduct simultaneous attacks on different targets. Another aspect was affordability, as thousands of AGM-114L are already in stock with the US Army.

In 2011 the Navy originally favored the Griffin IIB missile developed by Raytheon to be the follow-on missile, after the cancellation of the Non-Line of Sight Launch (N-LOS) missile system originally planned to be the primary surface weapon for the LCS. When the threat of Fast Attack Craft/ Fast Inshore Attack Craft (FAC/FIAC) became acute, primarily in the Persian Gulf, the Arabian Sea and the Western Indian Ocean, the capability of simultaneous target engagement became top priority, positioning the Longbow as the Navy’s favorite weapon for short- range Surface Warfare (SuW).

During the mid-June tests off the coast of Virginia, the modified Longbow Hellfire missiles successfully destroyed a series of maneuvering small boat targets. The system "hit" seven of eight targets engaged, with the lone miss attributed to a target issue not related to the missile's capability. The shots were launched from the Navy's research vessel USNS Relentless. US Navy photo
During the mid-June tests off the coast of Virginia, the modified Longbow Hellfire missiles successfully destroyed a series of maneuvering small boat targets. The system “hit” seven of eight targets engaged, with the lone miss attributed to a target issue not related to the missile’s capability. The shots were launched from the Navy’s research vessel Relentless. Photo: US Navy

Packed with state-of-the-art secure communications and navigation technology, the modular Integrated Soldier System (ISS) greatly improves the situational awareness of the individual soldier. Photo: Rheinmetall Defence

issp-logoThe Canadian government has awarded Rheinmetall Canada an initial contract worth CAD 7 million (US$5.4) for the qualification of Integrated Soldier Systems (ISS) for Canadian military use. This phase will span over four years. The contract has an option for a follow on procurement of 4,144 systems to equip the Canadian infantry combat teams.

The Canadian Integrated Soldier System Project (ISSP) is a suite of military equipment that soldiers wear as part of their combat load. It includes weapon accessories and electronics that allow soldiers to stay connected with their teams after exiting vehicles on the battlefield. It also features a radio, a smartphone-like computer to run battle management software, a GPS, and a communications headset.

The ISS combines those devices into an ensemble of system that greatly improves the situational awareness of the individual soldier. According to Rheinmetall Canada the ISS can be integrated into the Canadian military’s Land Command Support System.

Following the qualification phase the Canadian government has an option, under this contract, to buy up to 4,144 systems, and award a second contract for related support. The total value of both contracts could reach CAD 250 million ($193 million).

Rheinmetall Canada is supplying the ISS in cooperation with SAAB AB of Sweden As prime contractor, Rheinmetall’s Canadian subsidiary is responsible for system development and integration, programme management, and integrated logistics. The Group is already producing similar systems for the the modular Future Soldier – Expanded System on behalf of the German Bundeswehr, as well as various systems and component solutions for other NATO partners.

The MRR order runs for a period of three years and encompasses procurement of ten Medium-Range Radar systems together with the associated logistical support, at a worth of CAD130 million (€95 million). The agreement covers in-service support, with an option for extension that could increase the potential value of both contracts to CAD 243 million (€175 million).

this is the smallest derivative of Elta's EL/M-2084 Multi-Mission Radar (MMR), used with Israel's Iron Dome C-RAM system. Photo via Rheinmetall Defence
Rheinmetall defence and IAI's Elta Systems have teamed to supply Elta's ELM-2084 for the Medium Range radar program. Photo: IAI
Rheinmetall defence and IAI’s Elta Systems have teamed to supply Elta’s ELM-2084 for the Medium Range radar program. Photo: IAI
The Canadian Department of National Defence has selected Rheinmetall Canada to supply 10 Medium Range Radar systems for the Canadian Army. The combat proven radars developed and produced by Israel Aerospace Industries (IAI) Elta Systems are capable of detecting hostile rocket, artillery and mortar fire. The new radars will are able to project the impact point and locate the sources of fire, thus providing early warning to combat forces and enabling rapid counter action to suppress the enemy.

The MRR order runs for a period of three years and encompasses procurement of ten Medium-Range Radar systems together with the associated logistical support, at a worth of CAD130 million (€95 million). The agreement covers in-service support, with an option for extension that could increase the potential value of both contracts to CAD 243 million (€175 million).

Ongoing since 2008, the program reached the final phase in 2014 with the publication of an international tender that attracted many competitors, including Lockheed Martin, SAAB, Raytheon Canada, Thales Canada, and a team lead by Rheinmetall Canada and IAI Elta. The two companies teamed in 2013 to market integrated solutions based on the Elta radar.

With the selection of the Rheinmetall-IAI team the program is expected to reach initial operational capability in June 2017 and become fully operational by the end of 2017. The two companies announced they will implement a technology transfer program in full conformity with the intent of Canada’s recently announced Defence Procurement Strategy, to create local jobs and capabilities and help spur economic growth.

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    Royal Saudi Air Force C-130 delivers supplies to the International airport of Aden, Yemen, recently taken by Yemeni forces loyal to ousted president Abd Rabbuh Mansur Hadi

    Fighters loyal to Yemen’s government-in-exile on Friday clashed with Houthis inside the rebel-held Al Anad Air Base, the country’s largest, after capturing most of the surrounding area. Asharq Al-Awsat reported from Aden, Yemen.

    The pro-government forces, known as the Popular Resistance, have set their sights on the air base since they captured the southern city of Aden earlier this month in a closely coordinated operation with Saudi-led coalition forces.

    The base is located in the southern Lahej province, 35 miles (60 kilometers) north of the newly captured Aden. It served as the headquarters for US counterterrorism operations in southern Yemen until Houthi insurgents consolidated their control of Sana’a in late 2014.

    On the same day two Saudi planes arrived in Aden on Friday bringing equipment to reopen the city’s international airport following four months of fighting, Saudi-owned Al-Arabiya TV reported. Fighters loyal to President

    Royal Saudi Air Force C-130 delivers supplies to the International airport of Aden, Yemen, recently taken by Yemeni forces loyal to ousted president  Abd Rabbuh Mansur Hadi
    Royal Saudi Air Force C-130 delivers supplies to the International airport of Aden, Yemen, recently taken by Yemeni forces loyal to ousted president Abd Rabbuh Mansur Hadi
    , backed by Saudi-led coalition forces, captured the strategic city of Aden and its airport from Houthis on July 14.

    Houthis entered Aden in late March, prompting Hadi to seek refuge in Saudi Arabia and call on the Kingdom to intervene militarily in Yemen. In response to his call, Riyadh has been bombarding Houthi positions for more than three months in an effort to restore the beleaguered president to power.

    Meanwhile, ISIS’ Aden Province – a militant terror organization in Yemen affiliated with the Islamic State (ISIS) – released a series of photos over the weekend, claiming the group has renewed operations at a training base near Yemen’s coastal city of Aden.

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    Authorities blamed the attack was a terrorist attack but did not specify which terror group was behind it, the country's Interior Ministry said

    A still taken from a video shot at the moment of the detonation in Suruc. Photo via Daily Telegraph
    A still taken from a video shot at the moment of the detonation in Suruc. Photo via Daily Telegraph
    A still taken from a video shot at the moment of the detonation in Suruc.

    An explosion ripped through a rally Monday in the Turkish border town of Suruc, leaving at least 27 people dead and wounding 100 others Authorities blamed the attack was a terrorist attack but did not specify which terror group was behind it, the country’s Interior Ministry said. Turkish officials have said the evidence they have suggests the attack was a suicide bombing carried out by Islamic State, Reuters reported.

    The location of the attack is close to the town of Kobani on the Syrian border, where Druze managed to drive ISIS out of the beleaguered town few months ago.
    The location of the attack is close to the town of Kobani on the Syrian border, where Druze managed to drive ISIS out of the beleaguered town few months ago.

    The explosion occurred at midday at the Amara Cultural Park in Suruc, where a group had gathered Suruc is across the border from that Syrian city, which was the scene of intense fighting between Syrian rebels and Kurdish forces and ISIS.

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