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MILITARY TECHNOLOGY (MILTECH) is the world's leading international tri-service defence monthly magazine in the English language. MILITARY TECHNOLOGY is "Required Reading for Defence Professionals". Follow us on Twitter: MILTECH1



17 April 2015

LAAD 2015: RUAG - Always at the Forefront of Live Training Technology

RUAG Defence, the Swiss specialist in Simulation and Training technology, used last year's I/ITSEC to display its latest developments in mobile training solutions. The same is being done at LAAD 2015.

Mobile Training requires flexibility for the trainer and the latest solutions by RUAG Defence are providing just that. RUAG has created an application that puts the advantages of the stationary/fixed Exercise Control (EXCON) plus special mobility adaptations, in the hands of the trainer in the field. Smart resizing of existing EXCON features and significant add-ons for mobile training, such as mobile (helmet) camera integration and a smart map handling function, allow the trainer to effectively prepare, conduct and debrief the exercises of their troops. The mobile EXCON solution takes highly mobile CTC (Combat Training Centre) and MOUT (Military Operations in Urban Terrain) training solutions to the next level of optimization.

The current Precise-Tracking-System (PTS) provided by RUAG Defence is one of the most accurate Tracking-Systems for MOUT training solutions on the market. Never complacent, RUAG has implemented a new approach to indoor tracking of participants using an autonomous 3D positioning and navigation solution provided by AIONAV (Autonomous Indoor and Outdoor NAVigation). The AIONAV System is based on an “Inertial Sensor Unit” mounted on the participant’s leg. The sensor integrates the current position, the measured movement of the participant plus other inputs to provide an accurate position of the player by utilising a sophisticated algorithm. The AIONAV solution optimises mission training by combining; high mobility, precision and low costs. As the AIONAV is based on standalone technology it can be seamlessly integrated into both RUAG and 3rd party CTC/MOUT training systems.

RUAG’s live training solutions cover everything from individual soldiers through to complex MOUT (Mobile Operations in Urban Terrain) installations. The foundation of RUAG’s offering is the GLADIATOR Man Worn Unit. It comprises of a helmet unit, an integrated harness unit and a laser unit. Together they enable fire and movement training for individual soldiers through to a whole brigade. Participants learn using GLADIATOR personal weapon handling, individual and group ground tactics and operational techniques.

2015 US Navy League Exposition Report: The US Navy “Gets It”

What a difference a year makes. At the 2014 iteration of the US Navy League’s annual event there was much hand wringing and looking in the community’s rear view mirror, about the service’s long-range budget stability, the behind schedule and over-cost Lockheed Martin F-35 programme and other matters. In retrospect, the confluence of events were out of the hands of all but a few senior military and civilian leaders in the Pentagon’s E-Ring, and political leaders across the Potomac River on Capitol Hill. However the malaise drifted down through the ranks of the military-industry team. The Navy simply looked adrift, seeking a course with calm and following seas in the turbulent post-Afghanistan and Iraq wars era.    

In 2015, a seemingly revitalised US Navy (USN) is addressing festering doubts and issues about high visibility programmes – including its Littoral Combat Ship (LCS) programme. In this instance the service is embarking on a new frigate subprogramme to address what was to be hull numbers 33-52. The service’s embryonic frigate programme belatedly addresses long-standing doubts on the waterfront and inside the Washington, DC Beltway about the survivability of the hull platform and lethality of onboard weapons systems for current LCS-1 and -2 classes.  

At the same time, the service is more aggressively and purposefully embracing unmanned systems by establishing offices on its Pentagon staffs to better guide the service into the era of unmanned missions – and none too soon.

One rapidly moving technology project on the service’s burgeoning unmanned vehicle list is the Unmanned Influence Sweep System (UISS) effort being supported by Textron. Bill Leonard, the director of Unmanned Surface Units at Textron Systems, told MT on the very busy Navy League conference floor that last September his company was the sole source winner of the competitive contract award. “We accomplished our second major milestone, the preliminary design review, last week,” he said. “We’ll have a series of critical design reviews over the next four months. Then we start building up the system, then test it and hand it over to the Navy in September 2016.” Textron is using its Common Unmanned Surface Vehicle (CUSV) as its baseline vehicle technology in the UISS programme.

Very telling remarks by the service’s leaders made it clear that program managers will literally be looking on both sides of the Atlantic – and possibly beyond – for materiel solutions. While long gestating, deliberately paced R&D projects are still necessary to bring high risk, cutting edge technologies to operators, in some instances the service cannot wait to navigate the very unwieldy Pentagon acquisition process. So, while Pentagon leadership deserves credit for recently implementing its new Better Buying Power 3.0 acquisition strategy, some programmes, including the rapidly evolving frigate (LCSs-33-52) programme quickly need mature technology solutions, ranging from weapons to communications systems.

Sensing opportunities in the US maritime defense market, a number of oversea companies exhibited at this year’s Navy League conference. The Canadian and UK pavilions offered the USN customer and US industry members to view and discuss capabilities ranging from shipbuilding to diesel engines.        

On the topic of R&D and “the future,” the service signaled its intentions throughout the conference that it is expanding the realm of possibility as it pursues and fields next-generation weapons and weapons systems. Indeed, Cpt. Mike Ziv, the programme manager for Directed Energy and Electric Weapons Systems at Naval Sea Systems Command, told conference attendees the service will conduct the first at-sea test firing of its electromagnetic gun in late summer 2016.

The railgun will conceptually fire a hypervelocity projectile at three times the velocity of the service’s legacy-era 5in gun shell.  

The service’s programme of record calls for operational deployment of a shipboard electromagnetic weapon in the mid-2020s. The development will provide intriguing opportunities to revolutionise (not evolve) the naval gunfire support mission.                

Concurrently, the USN is looking to move forward with friends and allies who operate the same weapons systems and weapons platforms. Adm. Jonathan Greenert, the Chief of Naval Operations, provided some very telling comments on Day 1 of the conference. The service chief stated his interest to continue cooperating with the UK on a Common Missile Compartment that would be used in the new classes of US and UK SSBNs. And not lost on delegates was the reiteration the US and its Australian Navy counterparts will operate identical Boeing P-8s – opening the door to synergies through the aircrafts’ life cycle.

Chief of Naval Operations (CNO) Adm. Jonathan Greenert.

One of the more peculiar omissions on the conference agenda was the absence of panel discussions and briefings by service leaders on the Middle East. While the USN and its sister services, the Marine Corps and Coast Guard, still support the Afghanistan war and an increasing list of other missions in the Middle East and North Africa, there was a glaring absence of formal discussion about the services’ plans for future engagement and operations in the regions.

Alternatively, senior leaders from the US naval services did highlight their challenges and opportunities in the Pacific Region. Of particular interest were the expanding number of US partnerships and collaborative programs with nations in the region, most noticeably the USMC's evolving regional presence program that allows it to rotate units into bases in Australia for training and short-notice employment.      
Marty Kauchak

LAAD 2015: Rockwell Collins and CIAC Sign Cooperation Agreement for Colombia

On 16 April, Rockwell Collins and CIAC have signed a cooperation agreement for repair service of Rockwell Collins’ avionics systems for Colombian Military and National Police aircraft. CIAC will be responsible for the Rockwell Collins products (e.g. MRO) used by the Columbian Forces. The agreement was signed at LAAD in Rio by Flavio Enrique Ulloa Echeverry, a retired Air Force General of Columbia and CEO of CIAC (Corporacion de la Industria Aeronautic Columbia S.A.) and Alan J. Prowse, Vice President and Managing Director Americas and Global Services BD Rockwell Collins. That ceremony was hosted by the Deputy Minister of Defence Columbia, General (ret.) Jose Gabriel Perez.

Signing ceremnony: Alan J. Prowse, Vice President and Managing Director Americas and Global Services BD Rockwell Collins; Deputy Minister of Defence Columbia, General (ret.) Jose Gabriel Perez and Flavio Enrique Ulloa Echeverry, CEO of CIAC. (Photo: AF) 

The agreement, a five-year Firm-Fixed Price repair contract, will enable CIAC to receive expedited repair service of Rockwell Collins avionics equipment. As part of Rockwell Collins’ strategic objective to expand service and support capabilities in Latin America, CIAC will become the primary service channel to market for Rockwell Collins’ systems in Colombia. This marks the first phase of the alliance, which can be expanded as CIAC’s service capabilities grow in Colombia and Latin America.

Furthermore CIAC offers capabilities in maintenance services (e.g. level III inspections, primary beam replacement, level 1/2 rotor blades replacement, MRO composite materials, MWO, main fuselage check, recovery of crashed aircrafts) and logistical support (hardware and consumable material, primary structure elements, etc.) for the UH-60 BLACK HAWK of the Columbian Air Force and is responsible for the Modernization of the T-27 plane (cabin, navigation and communication equipment, total rewiring, structurally reinforcement (wing).

Foto signing ceremony kommt nach:

LAAD 2015: Simulation for the Brazilian Navy

While simulation is on everybody`s mind in Brazil, the Marinha do Brazil CASNAV (centro de analyses de sitemas navais) is bringing more innovation than ever with its new proof of concept simulator. This ship bridge simulator called simpass is a complete solution for training allowing ship bridge crew to train for virtually any type of vessels. And it is presented at LAAD.

Simpass embeds high fidelity dynamics simulation of vessel movements, wave generation of all sea states, visualization and rich graphics for instruments visualization and out of the window displays. The control software allows to create scenarios in several locations and for different types of operations. Simpass specifications follow DNV certification standards.

Assisted by Adventure tech, CASNAV team lead by Captain Coreixas, was able to add this year some innovative products for visualization (Oculus) and for motion. (D-BOX). Simpass is now capable to make trainees not only see and hear but also feel their training exercises (and ship movements).

This ship bridge simulator is a flexible simulator, capable of a large versatility in term of vessels, its modular structure allows different layers of immersion. D-BOX Motion Systems added the ultimative layer of immersion delivering the precise feeling of operating in the ship bridge,” sid Capitao de Corveta Ricardo Sampaio, CASNAV.

The D-BOX motion tools allow a small footprint, plug & play operations (USB connections for integration to all software available on the market) and cost effective (0.04 KW/H energy consumption, 8+ years without maintenance) performance. The actuators are based on electro-magnetic and therefore are very compact, need no liquids and have no friction. There are several available with extensions of 1.5 to 6 inch lifting. Their high frequency signals simulate the real vibration of the ship engines and the wave motions. The following simulation software solutions are currently integrated with D-BOX technology:

  • CarSIM & TruckSIM by Mechnical Simulation Corporation
  • Flight Simulator by Microsoft
  • Helism by Presagis
  • Prepar3D by Lockheed Martin
  • VBS2/VBS3 by Bohemia Interactive Simulations
  • Vortex by CM Labs Simulations and
  • Xplane by Laminar Research.

The system has an open plug & play architecture and can be set up by the end user.

LAAD 2015: Air Operations Management Cooperation

Odebrecht Defense and Technology, its subsidiary Mectron and Rafael Advanced Defense Systems have recently agreed on a partnership to jointly offer the Brazilian Air Force an Air Operations and Air Defense Management solution capable to support the Brazilian Aerospace Defense System evolution.

We are aware that some time ago the Brazilian Air Force issued an RFI looking for candidate alternatives to upgrade their current Air Defense Control System. We at Odebrecht believe that the Air Force deserves the best critical system to support air operations, and we are glad to extend our partnership with Rafael on Air Operation Management scope. This partnership can provide to the Brazilian Air Force a good product which delivers combat proven, safe and secure capability allied with an upgradable system in-country,” said Rogério Salvador, Odebrecht Defense and Technology Business Development Director.

The partnership takes advantage of existing combat-proven RAFAEL systems, which are capable of fulfilling Brazil's air defense and air operations management needs. Some of these system’s main features are:

  • Provide highly accurate, rapid and reliable Air Situation Picture (ASP) information.
  • Capable of interfacing with active and passive sensors.
  • Processes both military and civilian flight planes.
  • Can be easily integrated with existing customer military and civilian sensors and infrastructure.
  • No limit on number of connected sensors.
  • Tracks both high performance (modern fighters) and low performance/low speed targets, and hovering helicopters.
  • Three levels of redundancy that guarantee 24/7 operation.
  • Wide range of safety features adapted to military applications.

In our system, like in Brazil, we have the same a hybrid Aerospace Control System where military and civilian infrastructures are shared to gain optimal efficiency. Our systems were developed by and for the air defense controllers, being operational not only in our country, but enforcing the sovereignty of several other countries,” said Meir Ben Shaya (Col. Res.), RAFAEL C4I S.M.E & Business Development Manager.

Mectron will guarantee that any proposed solution supports the actual and planned Brazilian Operational Model, while interfacing with the existing and planned Brazilian infrastructure. Mectron and RAFAEL plan to work together to deliver a system with the capability to create an unified Air Situation Picture ,screens, interfaces, and functionalities according to the Brazilian Air Force requirements. The transfer of technology embedded into this work will provide Mectron the needed knowledge to in-country maintain and evolve the system.

We have a complete technology strategy that will allow Mectron to maintain and evolve the system´s functionalities independently from RAFAEL. We believe it is paramount to give the Brazilian Air Force a fast response to any need of evolving the system. Our actual and successful experience on the Link Br2 shows that the companies indeed trust each other and that we have a truly value added partnership, which can be proven by the results already delivered by the project,” Said Avi Krengel, RAFALATINO Deputy General Manager.

LAAD 2015: CONTROP with a New Comprehensive Airborne Surveillance Mission System for Helicopters

CONTROP Precision Technologies Ltd. of Israel is a world leader in EO/IR defense and homeland security solutions and unveiled its recently developed and certified A-SMS Airborne – Surveillance Mission System for helicopters at LAAD 2015. The A-SMS is a complete turnkey solution especially designed for converting Law Enforcement and Government Helicopters into an advanced EO/IR surveillance mission configuration.  These surveillance helicopters are most commonly used for a variety of Law Enforcement applications including Police, Search and Rescue (SAR), Fire Fighting and Coastal/Border Surveillance.

CONTROP A-SMS Airborne Surveillance Mission System  with STC certification 

According to VP Marketing Mr. Johnny Carni, "We are proud to present for the first time at LAAD 2015 this new affordable airborne surveillance suite for helicopters".  The A-SMS is offered with a variety of CONTROP’s EO/IR Gyro-stabilized Payloads, including the Full HD and high performance DSP-HD, the Full HD medium-range QUAD-HD or the compact and lightweight SHAPO. This variety enables the Customer to select a configuration which best matches the operational requirements as well as the budget.

In addition to the payload, the A-SMS includes an Operator’s Work Station with a display monitor, DVR, Control Unit, Mission Computer and Moving Map Software. This software features Augmented Reality (AR) as well as several additional (optional) capabilities such as Cockpit Display, Video Downlink and a Searchlight which is “slaved” to the payload’s Line-of-Sight (LOS).  Also included is a certified A-Kit for mounting the payload and the entire system on the helicopter.
CONTROP’s A-SMS recently received STC (Supplementary Type) Certification by the Transport Canada Civil Aviation (TCCA) and is in the process of receiving certificate validation by the Brazilian Civilian Aviation Authority (ANAC) as well as by the US Federal Aviation Administration (FAA) for the most popular type of Police/Government helicopters in Brazil, the AS 350/355.
Mr. Carni goes on to say that “Now that we have received these important certifications, we have the capability to offer this upgrade package to all AS 350/355 Operators and we are also more than ready to certify the package on other helicopter models, upon Customer’s request. CONTROP’s A-SMS is very attractively priced relative to similar systems on the market and is ITAR free.” A-SMS is recently tested by the Brazilian Police and in May will be demonstrated at the German Police and some other countries.

The A-SMS was developed and certified in conjunction with CONTROP’s Brazilian partner, the well-known TAM Aviaco Executiva and Taxi Aero.  The A-SMS will be promoted, installed and supported in Brazil by TAM Aviacao.

CONTROP offers dual optronic/IR cameras for airborne and land applications in all sizes and for ranges from 100 m to 30 km (ground system Epedd-LR), cooled and uncooled (e.g. T-Stamp 3 kg) with continuous zoom lenses. According to the company the smallest and lightest (beginning at 300 gr.) IR zoom lenses available on the market. Mr. Carni pointed out, that his systems offer a 40% weight reduction in comparison to other system on the market. They are all 3-axes and highly stabilized for an extreme high quality and the capability to really look directly vertically or horizontally. As an option laser designator are available. The ground system Speed-LR can automatically detect moving targets, even UAVs and classify them (to avoid fals alarms e.g. for animals). The SPIDER can detect simmer at 1 mile away, even in rough sea.

LAAD 2015: Photographic Recap of Day 3

LAAD 2015: LAAD by numbers

LAAD in Brazil is one of the major shows (together with FIDAE in Chile) in Latin America. This year more than 600 exhibitors (189 from Brazil) from 45 countries around the world are presenting their products and solutions. There are 28 national pavilions, one of the biggest are from Israel, the US and China. At the first 9.205 and at the second day 10.638 visitors attended the show. Among them 158 delegations from 71 countries. Most of them high raking (Chief of Staff, Chief of Procurement) and eight foreign Defence Ministers (e.g. South Africa) and 15 foreign Vice Defence Ministers (e.g. Columbia). Germany let alone had three Generals attending, with General Erhard Buehler the head of Planning MoD. Defence Ministers: (from Jamaica, Portugal, Czech Republic, Suriname, Mauritania, Sao-Tomé and Principe, South Africa)