Responding to a British requirement for deployable heavy artillery, BAE Systems unveiled a new modified truck, called Portee, designed to carry and support the M777 lightweight artillery. Giat will be competing with their gun carrier – Ceasar. Both companies are also eyeing other opportunities primarily down under in Australia, where other companies such as Soltam and Denel and SWS are competing for a mobile artillery program. Soltam also promoted its new mortar carrier system Cardom, which is already in production for the US Army Stryker brigades, mounted on the Stryker APC. A different version of Cardom is also under final evaluation for the Israeli Defense Forces.
Precision artillery projectiles were also on display, including Excalibur and SMART. Advanced mortar munitions on display included the PGMM under development at ATK and the laser guided Israeli Fireball, developed by IAI/MBT – both 120mm mortar shells.
New details about the British MOD Loitering Munition Capability Demonstration (LMCD) program surfaced here, as several exhibitors, including Ultra Electronics, Lockheed Martin, Diehl and MBDA unveiled precision guided loitering munitions proposed for a forthcoming MOD evaluation and demonstration. Such loitering weapons are required to provide persistent coverage, deterrence and kill of enemy targets over a wide area and extended period of time. The loitering weapon will be able to deliver rapid effects over a wide area, with pin-point accuracy. A more conventional concept of a loitering weapon is the armed UAV.
While no such UAV platforms were on display, Northrop Grumman were open to discuss the capabilities of its Viper Strike weapon, designed for deployment from endurance platforms such as UAVs of the Heron, Hermes and Predator class, as well as the AC-130 gunship. EDO displayed its newly released lightweight weapon’s carrier, developed especially for UAVs, while Lockheed Martin brought a model of the SMACM, currently under development in the US.
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