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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

30 August 2016

Czech Training Focuses on Reserve Units

The Czech Republic abolished conscription a decade ago, but moves now being made are focused on training civilians as reserves in order to bolster the nation’s armed forces as they face a welter of missions and seek to enhance their contribution to international and coalition activities.

Currently, the military consists of some 20,000 soldiers, including 2,000 active reserves. The intention now is to train reservists to bring that total number closer to 30,000 by 2025, according to reports circulating in Prague in late August. Exercises due to commence in October this year will focus on rehearsing and refining the administrative procedures and logistics associated with calling up reserves and training new candidates – 750 young Czechs have already volunteered for the fall exercises and the General Staff believes that by next year it will be training 5,000 new troops per annum.

The authorities believe that by spreading the load across a broader population of reservists and professional soldiers, it will be easier for the nation to maintain – perhaps even increase – its commitment to multinational operations. There are already Czech troops in Afghanistan, Mali, Iraq and Sinai: earlier this year the Czech government earmarked 900 troops for the EU Battlegorup to be fronted by the Visegrad Four nations (Hungary, Czech Republic, Slovakia and Poland) and a further 250 for the German-led battlegroup.

South Africa Simulates the Big Jump….

At Bloemfontein, 44 Parachute Regiment of the South African National Defence Force (SANDF) is about to start using a parachute simulator that will bring the first real change in training paratroops for almost half a century. Acceptance trials began earlier this month and are due for completion by month end, at which point the system will be declared ‘ready for training.’

Developed by e.sigma Systems, the SOKOL NEXT GENERATION (SOKOL NG) simulator was supplied and engineered in collaboration with South African enterprises Lelebotse Projects and UNISIM. Combining 3D virtual reality with a force feedback system and a dynamic environment, the SOKOL NG system allows trainees to experience potential problems and rehearse emergency procedures in a safe and repeatable manner. Training and rehearsal of emergency techniques is a perennial problem for airborne and airlanding troops: the new simulator provides South Africa with a state-of-the-art system that will significantly enhance training and readiness, according to sources close to the SANDF.

Battlefield scenarios can be simulated with the use of smoke, flares and other battlefield pyrotechnics and several simulators can be networked if required to provide for team and unit training in a wide variety of weather and visibility conditions. Crucially, the comprehensive exercise control and instructor facilities allow for the essential after action reviews to take place quickly, thus contributing to more persistent training lessons.

Sensonor Supplies IMUs for NASA RAVEN and Near Earth Orbit SCOUT

Sensonor first began supplying its standard Inertial Measurement Unit (IMU) and Gyroscope Modules for Low Earth Orbit (LEO) space applications in 2012, beginning with the launch of the NASA sponsored AeroCube-4 satellite. Today, the company is proud to announce that Sensonor is a supplier for NASA’s current and future Low- and Near Earth Orbit space applications. Sensonor’s STIM300 and STIM210 inertial products are now a standard part in many spacecraft’s similar to the AeroCube-4.

Current NASA projects using STIM inertial systems include the RAVEN technology demonstration and Near Earth Asteroid (NEA) SCOUT. RAVEN, which launches to the International Space Station (ISS) in 2016, will test key elements of an autonomous relative navigation system. Its technologies may one day help future robotic spacecraft autonomously and seamlessly rendezvous with other objects in motion, such as a satellite in need of fuel, or a tumbling asteroid. The NEA SCOUT is a robotic reconnaissance mission that will be deployed to fly by and return data from an asteroid representative of NEAs.

NASA, in conjunction with the Aerospace Corporation, spearheaded the use of STIM products in space, and many other commercial launch and satellite companies have since followed NASA’s lead. In fact, over 30 companies around the world utilize Sensonor inertial products in various space applications today, with several satellites successfully flying with STIM Gyroscope Modules for over three years.

The STIM Gyroscope Modules are often used in combination with GPS or a Star Tracker and Kalman Filter to orient and stabilize the satellite, as well as to provide feedback on satellite motion induced by its reaction wheels. In some applications, the gyroscopes are used to stabilise satelliteto-satellite communications.

Today’s news illustrates the trust NASA and others place in Sensonor, further solidifying the company’s role in this market. “We look forward to continuing to serve the international space community with our inertial offerings as standard commercial off-the-shelf (COTS) products. By serving the space market on equal terms with our other customers, we can help to reduce the cost of manufacturing and launching space payloads,” Hans-Richard Petersen, Sensonor’s VP of Sales & Marketing, said . “Our STIM products are the lowest size, weight, and power for their performance level in the market, with 5-10 times lower weight than the next-best alternative with similar performance. This makes them a very cost-effective and attractive solution.”

Sensonor will continue to improve its Gyroscope Module and IMU product performance and features, and is actively working with the space community to enhance its standard COTS parts.
Following the tremendous interest from the space community, Sensonor has initiated a Space Optimised version of its STIM gyro module.

22 August 2016

88 Lithuanian Army BOXER Vehicles Commissioned

The European Organisation for Joint Armament Cooperation (OCCAR) and the Lithuanian Ministry of Defence (MoD) have commissioned ARTEC, a joint venture between Krauss-Maffei Wegmann (KMW) and Rheinmetall, to supply 88 BOXER armoured vehicles to the Lithuanian army starting in 2017. Worth a total of around €390 million, this important export order is set to run to 2021.

Lithuania boosts army with 88 BOXER vehicles. (Photo: ARTEC)

On 11 December 2015, ARTEC has been declared preferred bidder by the Lithuanian State Defence Council for the Lithuanian Infantry Fighting Vehicle (IFV) programme. From 2017 to 2020 in total 88 vehicles with a medium calibre (30mm) remote-controlled turret (RWS) are requested by the Lithuanian Army. ARTEC, will deliver the vehicles, extending the BOXER family by an IFV variant. Production will be carried out by ARTEC's two parent companies. 53 vehicles will be manufactured by KMW and 35 by Rheinmetall.

The Lithuanian BOXER will be fitted with Rafael's SAMSON Mk II dual-axis, gyro-stabilised, dual-sight (Gunner and Commander) remote-controlled weapon system, armed with a 30mm automatic cannon and 7.62mm coaxial machine gun, also armed with SPIKE LR anti-tank guided missile launcher, carrying two missiles and eight smoke grenade launchers on each station. This will provide the Lithuanian Armed Forces improved lethality, increased mission flexibility in both urban and open terrain scenarios, with maximum survivability for the crew and vehicle.

Lithuanian MoD artist rendering of their VILKAS. (Graphic: Lithuanian MoD)

Among other factors, positive tactical outcomes and the compelling results of Lithuanian field trials strongly influenced the Baltic nation’s decision to choose the BOXER. The Lithuanian military will call the vehicle the VILKAS (Wolf).

The German Armed Forces already have more than 400 BOXER vehicles in different variants in use or in the procurement process, and the Netherlands (NL) Armed Forces have 200 vehicles. Together with the Lithuanian vehicles, just short of 700 vehicles therefore have been contracted by three user nations.

Earlier this year, on 8 March 2016, the first BOXER Cargo Version has been delivered to the NL Army. The Cargo version is the fourth out of five BOXER versions for the NL Army. So far the Driver Training Vehicle, the Ambulance and the Command Post version have been delivered. Deliveries will last until 2018.

On 29 August, Rafael finally released that the Lithuanian BOXER will be fitted with Rafael's SAMSON Mk II dual-axis, gyro-stabilised, dual-sight (Gunner and Commander) remote-controlled weapon system, armed with a 30mm automatic cannon and 7.62mm coaxial machine gun, also armed with SPIKE LR anti-tank guided missile launcher, carrying two missiles and eight smoke grenade launchers on each station. (Photo: Rafael)

US Army Seeks Wide Area Sensors for Airborne Applications

The US Army Communications-Electronics Research, Development and Engineering Center (CERDEC) Night Vision and Electronic Sensors Directorate (NVESD) at Fort Belvoir, VA/USA, has launched a request for information from industry to determine the state-of-the-art in Wide Area Motion Imagery (WAMI) and Wide Area Airborne Surveillance (WAAS) sensor technologies for airborne applications on both manned and unmanned platforms. Army Contracting Command issued a ‘sources sought’ notice in mid-August, with initial responses required by 8 September.

The Army seeks a medium resolution persistent surveillance electro-optical (EO) imaging sensor to provide day/night detection of vehicles and individuals over large areas, and an associated storage and processing unit. The sensor should consist of a stabilised turret housing optics, focal planes and supporting electronics. The storage and processing unit is to host the sensor command, control and status software as well as a computer to run processing and exploitation algorithms.

Gap-free ground coverage from a nominal operating altitude of 18,000 feet at speeds of 100-1200 knots is required, with every point in the coverage circle imaged once per frame. Provisions for forward motion and image rotation compensation as well as non-uniformity correction of EO and infra red (IR) imagery are required, as are calibration sources for the IR sensor and a near lossless compression capability for the storage and processing unit.

Flight Simulation Upgrades for US Navy Anti-Submarine Warfare Aircraft

In late July, the US Naval Air Warfare Training Center in Orlando, FL/USA, announced the awards of a contract valued at U$13.8 million to Advanced Acoustic Concepts to upgrade flight simulators for the US Navy P-8A POSEIDON and MH-60R SEAHAWK anti-submarine warfare (ASW) aircraft.

Advanced Acoustic Concepts to upgrade flight simulators for the US Navy P-8A POSEIDON and MH-60R SEAHAWK (shown) anti-submarine warfare (ASW) aircraft.

The Common Acoustic Simulation Environment Fidelity Implementation (CASE-FI) upgrades will enhance the realism of the Tactical Operational Flight Trainers (TOFT) and Weapons Tactical Trainers (WTT) for both aircraft, enabling flight crews to train in an environment as close as possible to the operational conditions they are likely to face. Physics-based modelling will replicate a realistic ocean environment, targets and sensors as well as emulating the propagation and reverberation of acoustic energy.

Advanced Acoustics is the original equipment manufacturer for CASE and the only company able to undertake the required enhancements, according to the USN, which awarded the contract on a sole source basis. Work is scheduled to be completed by February 2022.

Leidos Wins AIE-3 Contract

Leidos has been awarded a two year contract with two one year options to provide Automated Installation Entry (AIE-3) solutions to the US Army Product Manager, Force Protection Systems (PdM-FPS). Contract value if the options are exercised is U$99 million.

PdM-FPS is part of the Program Executive Office Intelligence, Electronic Warfare and Sensors (PEO IEW&S) and is responsible for integrated base defence and force protection capabilities for the Army. Leidos will implement automated entry hardware and software solutions at 35 military installations to provide and enhance detect/assess/warn capabilities through automated personnel verification and validation.

AIE-3 will provide a single standardised, interoperable and integrated system for installation access control, resulting in better situational awareness, information sharing and resource optimisation, the company says.