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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



26 September 2014

Four ATK News Items of Great Importance

Today’s battlefield is ever-changing in terms of terrain and engagement criteria. In terms of innovation, ATK comes right at you with four news items that are of great importance.
In short (more on these later next week, watch this space!),

  • ATK has recently qualified M829A4 penetrator for the ABRAMS on time and are beginning low rate initial production; 
  • Won an award of first-year Low Rip Initial Production (LRIP) order for the manufacture and production of the 105mm Kinetic Energy (KE) Training Round, used with the US Army’s STRYKER Mobile Gun System, closely replicating a tactical round to provide realistic training opportunities for STRYKER crews (the projectile is range limited which means it offers greater safety for use on training ranges), in a Fixed Price, Indefinite Delivery, Indefinitie Quantity (IDIQ) single award contract valued at $47.9 million should all options be exercised through 2019 (the new KE penetrator provides advanced armour penetration to defeat improved/advanced armour and high explosive reactive armour); and
  • Have demonstrated the Precision Guidance Kit (PGK) in a test with the German Army PZ2000 and DM111, showing PGK’s capability to precisely guide round (reliably) within 10m accuracy on multiple shots (best shots were two and 3m accuracy). 
  • Furthermore, ATK has received a $33.4 million contract, ensuring that XM25 development continues for two years and the programme is funded to get through final development steps and sets up the path to fielding. 

Saab’s Latest CARL-GUSTAF M4 System Impresses Customers in Live Fire Demo

Saab newly-developed and much sought-after CARL-GUSTAF M4 saw the debut. During a successful ground combat systems demonstration at the Saab Bofors Test Center the M4 was the clear highlight for everyone present.

Saab's new CARL-GUSTAV M4 (Photo: Saab)

Intelligent, lightweight and flexible; the CARL-GUSTAF M4 is the latest man-portable shoulder-launched multi-role weapon system from Saab. Weighing less than 7kg, the CARL-GUSTAF M4 is a future-proof design that provides users with flexible capability and helps troops to remain agile in any scenario.

Since the introduction of the M1 model in 1948, the dependable CARL-GUSTAF has become one of the most prestigious and battle-proven weapon systems in modern military history. It is now in service with over 40 countries around the world. Over the years, continuous evolution by Saab has ensured that the CARL-GUSTAF remains effective and relevant across all operational environments.

The M4 is a further development of today’s widely deployed CARL-GUSTAF M3. Although it looks reassuringly familiar to anyone acquainted with the earlier versions, the M4 is a completely new experience.

Its lightweight and shorter design, operational flexibility and high accuracy offer a truly powerful combination, not to mention it is as close to recoilless as you can get,” said Ulf Eriksson, product director at Saab and former infantry commander in the Swedish Army. “The M4 has been developed as a response to the evolving needs of our customers and we were very pleased to show the new capabilities to such a distinguished audience.”

To showcase the M4’s many design and capability enhancements a ground combat systems demonstration was held in Sweden on 24-25 September 2014. This customer-focused event was attended by about 120 guests from more than 20 nations. It was the first time the M4’s capabilities were revealed in front of an audience. Existing users and potential new customers could see for themselves how the CARL-GUSTAF M4 gives soldiers a true multi-role capability with a wide range of ammunition types.

The demonstration included a comprehensive series of successful firings with a range of ammunition types against moving and static targets. The demonstration also featured other renowned products from Saab including the AT4, NLAW anti-tank system and MAPAM mortar ammunition. Recently Saab unveiled the development of significant new capabilities for the AT4 family of disposable shoulder-launched weapons. These enhancements will deliver extended range (ER) and improved high explosive (HE) effects. This will allow the soldier to defeat enemy targets with much greater flexibility and in many more scenarios.

In addition to technical firings on the range the demonstration also incorporated a tactical scenario to underline the effectiveness and suitability of the systems in various demanding combat situations.

"We wanted our customers to see and know what to expect from our products and how they perform in a force-on-force situation. I am pleased to say that all products performed as expected and I am very happy with the outcome. Judging by the response from our guests the demonstration has proven to be a great success,” said Torbjörn Saxmo, head of Business Unit Ground Combat, Saab.

Saab sees great potential for all its ground combat systems in the coming years, not least for the new CARL-GUSTAF M4 which is already attracting a high level of interest. The M4 is the logical next step for users who already have great experience with and confidence in the CARL-GUSTAF system, according to Saab.

The official CARL-GUSTAF M4 product launch will take place at the AUSA exhibition in Washington D. C. on 13-15 October 2014.

Carl-Gustaf M4 Facts (+ comparison with previous models)

M2: Weight: 14.2kg Length: 1130mm
M3: Weight: 10kg Length: 1065mm
M4: Weight: <7kg Length: <1000mm

25 September 2014

Kärcher Futuretech's Current and Future CBRN Protection

In a world, where NATO cannot protect you, as seen in recent months, and where terrible accidents can occur, Kärcher Futuretech (KFT) forms the last line of defence.

Kärcher Futuretech’s TEP 90 during their Decon Symposium. (All Photos: Kärcher)

KFT, based in Schwaikheim, Germany is an internationally acknowledged specialist and a market leader in many aspects of protection and supply systems for mobile use in disaster and crisis zones. Using products and system solutions from KFT, civil defence, disaster relief, and military forces are able to supply large numbers of individuals with clean water and food, set up field camps, or carry out CBRN decontamination (decon). With its mobile, compact and modular solutions, KFT is a highly capable partner in the field of peace-keeping operations and disaster relief. Rounding off the company’s core areas of competence are highly competent advisory services for dealing with every kind of incident, worldwide servicing and a qualified training system.

KFT offers modern agents, devices and systems for the decon of personnel, equipment and infrastructure. Due to state-of-the-art decon methods and agents, e.g., the TEP 90 meets all technical requirements and the respective parameters required of a high-performance decon system. It has a consistent modular construction and includes all necessary components in the independently usable decon modules for mission-optimised thorough decon close to the affected troop. In addition to the TEP, the Bundeswehr has ordered seven (with an option of 10 more, up to 40) MEP Completely Modular Cage-based Decon Systems, in order to replace the E-Kfz Decon vehicles. Note: The Spanish have ordered the MEP as a stand-alone system for CBRN decon.

During the press-event of KFT's Decon Symposium, the company's Managing Directors Volker Welzenbach and Thomas Popp emphasised their other current developments as well, including the DSSM, the DSAP and the EDP, and the EDMP.

The MEP Cage Module System is a unique cage system, according to the company, feasible for most transport options. It has a low centre of gravity and a huge water volume. Also known as the Cage Based Modular Decon System, KFT is extending its existing range with it to include a modular decon system. The flexible configuration of individual modules known as cages allows this new system to be deployed in line with changing demands. The modules can be simply mixed and matched, offering space for whichever devices, chemicals or accessories as the scenario requires. Thanks to the use of an internally developed fixing system, the modules can be quickly and securely fixed together and onto a platform.

The new Cage Based Modular Decon System can be based either on a 10 or a 20 foot transport platform. Using the newly developed fastening concept, the modules can be quickly and simply linked together and fastened onto the platform, which can be mounted on different vehicles for optimum mobility. Fastening on the carrier vehicle is carried out using the internationally standardised twist lock system for the connection of containers.

Open Cage.

The system encompasses a variety of elements for the decontamination of items such as vehicles, road sections, interior spaces or individuals. A generator module is also provided for an independent power supply. Another unit is used as a water tank with a volume of around 1,500 litres. Standardised, simple controls ensure the utmost operating simplicity, while a central power connection also allows the operating output of the individual modules to be registered. The frames of the compact cage are made of aluminium, and their lightweight design even makes the system suitable for air transportation.

The MEP being unloaded from vehicle.

KFT has developed a new decon system for items of equipment in a French-German joint project. The DSSM (Decontamination System for Sensitive Material) is up and ready to operate within less than an hour following an atomic, biological or chemical incident. It comprises two modules, each capable of independent operation, which can be used to decontaminate both hardwearing items of equipment and also sensitive material such as electronic devices.

The system comprises two container modules: The CPE (Container Personal Equipment) and CSE (Container Sensitive Equipment), which are deployed depending on the equipment material and type of contamination involved. In the CPE unit, biological and chemical decontamination of thermally resistant objects is performed using the hot gas or hot steam method. Wet chemical treatment of moisture-resistant A, B and C-contaminated materials is also possible. Sensitive optical and electronic devices are treated in the CSE module in two vacuum chambers following a B or C incident.

The system is designed for particularly rapid deployment: Trained users are capable of erecting and commissioning the decontamination station in response to an emergency within just 15 minutes. The standardized size (each module is a 10ft ISO container) also ensures extreme ease of mobility, facilitating simple transportation of the containers by land, sea or air.

KFT’s new flexible solution for personal decontamination is the DSAP (Decontamination System for Ambulatory Persons), which is a container-based system capable of decontaminating up to 180 individuals an hour following atomic, biological or chemical incidents. The system even offers sufficient space for treating the injured. It permits flexible configuration, is quickly ready for deployment and is also simple to operate.

Kärcher FutureTech's DSAP.

Depending on requirements, the system is available in a variety of different versions: The basic container houses three shower lines. The version with four shower lines is capable of decontaminating up to 180 persons every hour. To treat non-ambulatory subjects, two lines can be connected together. Air-supported tents are connected both in front of and behind the container for undressing and undressing and for registration of individuals being treated. The number of tents can be increased to as many as four, simplifying adjustment to country-specific circumstances and creating a private space. Self-decontamination of personnel takes place in additional add-on tents. The DSAP and was born out of a requirement with the Spanish Armed Forces.

Anther new system is the DSVP, a decon container still in R&D with the Netherlands.

Future outlook according to the managing directors include semi-automatic decon and further development of decon agents.

Micro Systems Demos Universal C2 System for Ground Vehicles

Micro Systems, a Kratos company based in Fort Walton Beach, FL/USA, recently demonstrated its new command and control (C2) system that is capable of controlling air, ground and unmanned surface vehicles (USV) from a single station, as well as an applique kit that can convert manned ground vehicles into remotely operated systems.

 The US Army Target Management Office (TMO) initiated the expo in support of their Army Ground and Aerial Target Control System and Tri-Service and Industry Aerial Demonstration programmes. Visitors from the TMO as well as various governmental and industry organisations interested in the technology attended the event.

Attendees were able to get up close to a number of static aerial, ground, and sea surface vehicles — including the MQM-178 FIREJET, built by CEi, sister company of Micro Systems — but the highlight of the day were the live demonstrations.

The live demonstrations consisted of the Micro Systems’ Universal Command and Control system remotely controlling four different ground vehicles that had been converted from standard manned vehicles into unmanned systems using a vehicle appliqué kit integrated by Micro Systems’ engineers. Additionally, the engines of an unmanned sea surface vehicle, known as a High Speed Maneuverable Seaborne Target in the US Navy, were powered on and controlled to display the versatility of the Universal C2 for multiple platforms.

The systems that were displayed and demonstrated are actively used to support advanced training and weapon evaluation missions for all branches of the US Armed Forces and allied countries worldwide.

Universal C2

The Universal C2, designed by Micro Systems, is a robust and flexible system that supports air, land, and sea surface vehicle platforms. It can be configured to control a maximum of eight jet powered air vehicles, one rotary winged aircraft, forty seaborne vehicle, forty ground vehicles and a minimum of any single vehicle type or any combination of up to the maximum. The Universal C2 is field expandable via plug-and-play interface with no software changes necessary.

It also supports different data link options including UHF FM, L-Band Direct Sequence Spread Spectrum, 2.4 Giga-hertz ISM, Iridium Satellite, and custom data links. The system is adaptable to a variety of unmanned vehicle applications and currently supports missions for the US Navy’s System for Naval Target Control and US Army’s Army Ground and Aerial Target Control System and Tri-Service and Industry Aerial Demonstration, as well as several international defense organizations.

The demonstration vehicles included a High Mobility Maneuverable Wheeled Vehicle (HMMWV), 2.5t Light Medium Tactical Vehicle, a commercial Nissan FRONTIER pickup, and a John Deere GATOR all-terrain vehicle (ATV) that Micro Systems converted into unmanned systems using their vehicle appliqué kit.

Once the kit is installed the vehicle can be driven normally with a human driver, teleoperated using the Universal C2, or fully autonomous using  path following.  An advanced sensor package that includes components such as radar, lidar and a full GPS/INS system can also be integrated for high-precision autonomous mission support.  The kit takes four hours or less to install and can be uninstalled from one vehicle and reinstalled on another.

The vehicles were controlled on a closed course at the Micro Systems facility in teleoperational mode using the Universal C2 from inside a transportable shelter. Operators issued commands and received telemetry and position data as they drove the vehicles several laps around the course.

Spectators watched as the unmanned vehicles maneuvered the course and were also able to view video screens displaying the operators controlling the vehicles from inside the shelter. Additionally, video cameras mounted inside the vehicles transmitted a live video feed that could also be seen from monitors set up near the command shelters.

During the demonstration, the vehicles were controlled one at a time due to the limited size of the closed course and the close proximity of the spectators. On the following day a private demonstration was successfully conducted as a proof-of-concept with three-vehicles in a convoy configuration using the HUMVEE, Light Tactical Vehicle and Nissan truck.

Future demonstrations are planned for semi-autonomous operations using path following methods, full autonomous operation using the advanced sensor kit, and formation, swarm, and coordinated time of arrival operations.

Advanced Training Need

The demonstration was an important step to fulfilling the US Army TMO’s need for advanced test and training mission requirements.

These training missions are critical for proper preparation of soldiers to familiarise themselves with the sophisticated equipment they use on a daily basis and the Universal C2 allows for multi-service support of air, land and sea surface vehicles.

Additionally, the vehicle appliqué systems used to convert standard manned vehicles into unmanned systems are also a cost-effective means of reallocating aging military assets that might otherwise have ended up in a scrapyard.

Modern Day Marine 2014: Amphibious Combat Vehicle Candidates Line Up

US defence budget constraints were well reflected at the 2014 Modern Day Marine Exposition, held at US Marine Corps (USMC) Base Quantico.  From 23-25 September, vendors displayed equipment currently in use.  New systems bidding for the very few new major acquisition programmes underway were present, among these, candidates vying for the USMC number one stated priority, the Amphibious Combat Vehicle (ACV), attracted much interest among attendees. Highlighting the importance of the pending acquisition, on 24 September, MT observed outgoing USMC Commandant, Gen. James Amos, making extended visits to each ACV exhibit.

USMC Commandant General James Amos visits ACV exhibitors (Photos: Josh Cohen)

Among the four contractor teams competing for the initial down select: Lockheed-Martin-Patria Land Systems Armored Modular Vehicle (AMV) entry dubbed HAVOC 8x8 was presented.  The version, a standard AMV, was representative of models currently in use by the Armed Forces of Finland, Sweden, Poland, Slovenia, Croatia, United Arab Emirates (UAE), and South Africa. On 24 September, Frank Bohlmann, Lockheed Martin’s Director Ground Vehicle Weapons Systems, explained should HAVOC win the initial down select, prototypes based on the AMV chassis will be assembled in the US specifically to meet USMC requirements, although he said the basic design will remain the same.  Polish forces have deployed to Afghanistan with up armored Patria AMVs, rendering the type a combat-area proven veteran.

Patria 8x8 AMV as a contender for the USMC's ACV programme.

BAE Systems and Iveco are teaming to provide an extensively modified version of Iveco’s SUPERAV 8x8.  Based on the same vehicle used by the Italian Army, BAE is modifying Iveco’s SUPERAV to accommodate the larger physical size of the typical US Marine infantryman, according to Jared Nunn, Mechanical Engineer with BAE’s Ground Systems Division.  Nunn told MT, the BAE-Iveco candidate has undergone extensive design alterations enabling the vehicle to exceed stated USMC requirements in anticipation of future needs.  In particular, Jared mentioned the ability to transport 13 Marines, a full infantry squad, in addition to a three-Marine vehicle crew. Current requirements call for only ten passengers; a benefit Jarred believes places the SUPERAV above the competition by anticipating and meeting likely requirements while surpassing expectations.

Front view of the Iveco SUPERAV.

Singapore Technologies Kinetics (ST Kinetics) and SAIC have responded to the USMC's RfI for the USMC ACV Increment 1.1 programme, and will be submitting a modified version of ST Kinetics' TERREX for the down select phase. The TERREX is currently in service with the Singapore military and a modified version met initial USMC thresholds during a series of operational testing at USMC Base Camp Pendleton in 2013. A concept model of the ST Kinetics-SAIC ACV candidate, complete with a remote operated 30mm turreted cannon was on display. Major differences were said to be within the vehicle interior; outwardly, the ST Kinetics-SAIC candidate appeared to have a more streamlined exterior. When approached, company representatives did not provide further details on the prototype, citing confidentiality reasons.

Gary O’Brien, Capture Manager with General Dynamics Land – Systems Canada, explained the company would present a modified version of the Light Armored Vehicle (LAV) 6.0, similar to those in use by the Canadian military, O’Brien explained the vehicle combines LAV chassis with a purpose-built ACV demonstrator unit, has successfully completed initial testing by the USMC Amphibious Vehicle Test Branch.
Josh Cohen

Modern Day Marine 2014: AeroVironment Receives $22 Million RQ-12 WASP AE Small UAS Order

At Modern Day Marine, AeroVironment has received a firm fixed-price order valued at $21,779,408 for RQ-12 WASP AE small unmanned aircraft systems (UAS) and initial spares packages for the US Marine Corps (USMC).

AeroVironment WASP AE UAS (Photo: AeroVironment)

The USMC, which recently unveiled its next generation small UAS family of systems, is adding RQ-12 WASP AE as the short-range, or micro, solution to the existing small UAS portfolio made up of the AeroVironment RQ-11B RAVEN and RQ-20A PUMA AE, the latter being the USMC's long-range solution.

"Together with the professionals at ADS, whose military-experienced personnel procured this order by demonstrating a clear understanding of the customer's mission and requirements, we are confident that WASP AE will provide deployed Marines with valuable situational awareness that will help them operate more safely and effectively," said Roy Minson, AeroVironment senior vice president and general manager of its Unmanned Aircraft Systems business segment.

AeroVironment received the order from ADS, Inc. on behalf of the USMC through the Defense Logistics Agency (DLA) Tailored Logistics Support (TLS) programme.  Delivery is scheduled within 12 months.

Previously procured by the USMC and the US Air Force (USAF), the WASP AE weighs 2.8lbs, operates for up to 50 minutes at a range of up to 5km and delivers live, streaming color and infrared video from its pan-tilt-zoom MANTIS i22 AE gimbaled payload.  Launched by hand and capable of landing on the ground or in fresh or salt water, the WASP AE provides portability and flexibility for infantry, littoral or maritime reconnaissance operations.

"Wasp AE delivers unmatched portability and flexibility with its small size, all-environment operation and advanced capabilities," Minson said.