At the core of modern land warfare, fire support, armored vehicles, and dismounted forces are becoming more lethal, mobile, protected and smarter. Thousands of cutting-edge combat systems are on display at Eurosatory 2016, where manufacturers from around the world gather to show the best, most advanced land warfare technology.
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SIBAT, the defense export directorate within Israel’s Ministry of Defense (MOD) highlights these capabilities at Israel’s national pavilion, hosting 29 defense companies representing the country’s defense technology at its best.
Israel’s defense and security forces rely on indigenous platforms designed, integrated and manufactured by the MOD. Currently in production are combat proven Merkava Mk4 Tank and Namer heavy armored personnel carrier. In the coming decade, these platforms will be augmented by two new families of combat vehicles. Many of the systems to be included in these platforms are on display at this year’s exhibition.
New types of ammunition for tank gun, guided missiles, remotely controlled turrets and ‘pocket artillery’ that includes mobile mortars and guided artillery projectiles represent the most recent firepower improvements, along with the systems that ensure effective and accurate fire in complex terrain.
Traditionally the realm of artillery corps, fire support has also improved with technology, now able to turn statistic fires into precision effects. In addition to artillery and mortars and their munitions, guided missiles on display include loitering precision weapons that extend such effects to targets hundreds of kilometers away. Their high precision enables combat fire support at proximity to friendly forces.
Survivability and Protection remain an important attribute of combat systems on display here. Protection is implemented in a number of areas. Avoiding detection by concealment and signature management, early detection of threats, using radar and infra-red sensors for situational awareness, enable the use of active protection means. Hard and soft kill are used to defeat threats before they hit the protected vehicle. As the last line of defense state of the art materials and design provide ballistic and blast protection. Complementing the physical protection are life support systems, including air filtration and conditioning, maintaining fresh, uncontaminated environment for the crew and passengers even under biological, chemical or radiological attack.
Cyber protection is a new aspect of survivability, preventing exploiting or disabling computerized, connected combat systems.
The third pillar – mobility – sustains the momentum and agility of the forces. Mobility is maintained by powerful propulsion and drive and suspension systems for tracked and wheeled vehicles. Obstacle breaching, mine and IED detection and countermeasures ensure operation in contested terrain. Strategic mobility is also an important argument as advanced transportation systems are used to mobilize massive military hardware.
The infantry soldier is also becoming a combat system. Armed with precision weapons including multi-purpose guided missiles, assault and sniper rifles that also have sophisticated sights for accurate shooting in day and night. To see at night infantrymen use head-mounted vision systems; other sensors enable seeing through walls, while mini drones provide a bird’s eye view for the ground troops. Surveillance, targeting and electronic warfare systems that required truckloads to deploy in the past, are now miniaturized, becoming man portable for dismounted operations. Voice and data communications are essential to empower the squad with individual tracking and control for efficient operations. Ergonomic gear is also essential to carry the loads in combat. Preventing fratricide is a critical aspect of such complex operations that require unique combat identification solutions.
In addition to firepower, mobility and protection, sensors, computers and communications that connect systems on board, and multiple weapon systems to each other, to establish cohesive fighting teams.
Sharing information for situational assessment, planning, and coordination, targeting and target engagement. Networking and communications are essential for the integration of ‘Sensors’ and ‘shooters’.
Some of the new sensors, combat-proven in recent operations, are on display at Israel’s National Pavilion at Eurosatory. These include man-portable, light tactical systems as well as airborne systems deployed on aerostats or unmanned aerial platforms. Such systems include radar systems, capable of searching for targets in complex terrain, along borders and coastlines, including urban or dense foliage. Others are designed to detect rocket and mortar attacks or defeat unmanned aerial vehicles.
Other thermal, multispectral sensors are used for surveillance on land, and in the air to detect, track and report hostile activity, creating persistent surveillance over a large area. Persistent ground sensors also include acoustic, infrared and seismic sensing to establish in-depth surveillance of broad areas of interest.
Monitoring human and military activity in the electronic domain, covering radio-electronic, cellular and the Internet help establish the tactical situational picture in the cyber domain.
Israel is one of the world leaders in unmanned systems, and many such systems are making their debut here. Among these is the latest generation of small, tactical unmanned aerial vehicles designed to support tactical formations; those small drones are designed to operate as organic systems with the tactical echelon.
On the ground, multi-purpose tactical robots expand their traditional counter-IED role to reconnaissance, assault and counter-terror applications. Robotic technology is also relevant to the new category of loitering missiles, presented here by several systems combining long endurance, surveillance, and engagement of ‘short live targets’ that characterize the modern asymmetric warfare.
Some of the Israeli exhibitors at Eurosatory highlight the cutting edge technologies that characterize these advanced capabilities – including high-speed data-links, cooled and uncooled electro-optical detectors, and miniature, high-performance actuators.
Israel’s National Pavilion at Eurosatory is located in Hall 6.
Stay tuned to Defense-Update.com for more updates, as some of the products are expected to debut only at the exhibition next week. Defense-Update will be there to cover, assess and report.