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05 February 2013

AUSA 2012 - Heaps of the US Armys Latest Technical Gizmos

Heaps of the Armys latest technical gizmos were on display at this years AUSA, from the most advanced surveillance cameras to the latest sniper scopes to lightweight UAVs to heavy tanks. 

For further information on the exhibition, conference and industry, please see October 2012 section of this blog; one might even start out here.

The US Armys largest conference of the year kicked off in Washington DC with Army Secretary John McHughs keynote speech. Hosted by the AUSA, it has been, as it is every year, a great chance to learn about the Armys ever-changing innovation strategy. Last year, service leaders placed a focus on their Science & Technology priorities set. This year, one heard plenty about the Army Network and Capability Set 13.

The significant absence of uniformed army personnel at this years AUSA was the direct result of concerns over sequestration. (All Photos by Mönch / DPM unless otherwise noted)

Due to political scandals with General Services Administration (GSA) and other government agencies involving conferences, almost all US Government involvement in conferences has been curtailed or completely stopped -- at least during this election year. Reacting to criticism of some expensive government conferences that has resulted in limited participation, the Armys two top leaders on 22 October strongly supported the value of AUSA 2012.

In his keynote address to the opening session, Army Secretary John McHugh said the AUSA conference provides a critical forum to exchange ideas, to discuss the critical issues facing the nation... to learn from each other.

In a later joint session with reporters, Gen. Raymond Odierno, US Army Chief of Staff, opened his remarks by stating how important this forum is, especially now as we look to the future and transition.

The significant absence of uniformed army personnel at this years AUSA was the direct result of concerns over sequestration. The senior command had issued Army-wide instructions that only those with a real need to go to the AUSA event should go. Army exhibition stands too were combined or taken out.

The word from exhibitors however was that despite the lack of the masses, there were still the right kind of people visiting the show. Of course they had to say that to justify the expense, but it was a sentiment that seemed to be generally voiced. The fear of sequestration looms large with a huge amount of uncertainly about what will happen in January 2013.

Gen. Raymond Odierno, US Army Chief of Staff and Army Secretary John McHugh at the AUSA press-conference.

US Army Innovations of the Future

The Army is undertaking a process of looking at its potential needs 30 years into the future to determine what science and technology efforts it needs to invest in today, senior service leaders have said.
The Army has developed a Strategic Modernisation Planning process, which combines a detailed analysis of our current and planned investments in S&T and materiel development, linked to our emerging threats and capability gaps across a long-term, 30-year planning period, said Heidi Shyu, Assistant Secretary of the Army for Acquisition, Logistics and Technology. This process will result in a road map to direct acquisition and S&T investments, Shyu said.

As part of the process, PEOs across the Army are now working to lay out the current and planned capabilities over the next 30 years. Basic research takes a long time to develop. This isn't a planned thing that we can say 'well, in ten years we'll have success,' we don't know what will be successful. So we need to start now, and we need to be consistent with where we're going, said Mary Miller, Deputy Assistant Secretary of the Army for Research and Technology.

A particular focus will be force protection. That will remain a paramount consideration, regardless of the region we're fighting in. The Army will continue to develop systems to enhance and improve protection whether soldier protection, vehicle ground vehicle or airborne platforms or post, base protection, Shyu said.

Other areas of focus for Army science efforts will include reducing the load that soldiers have to carry, by developing smaller, lighter energy sources; tactical situational awareness systems; networking and reducing the logistical burden of operating far from home bases, Shyu said.

Ceradyne launched its new modular hard wired kitted (MOHAWK) boltless combat helmet. Developed by Ceradyne Diaphorm, the patent-pending helmet is equipped with the company's seamless ballistic technology to offer hearing protection and Threat4-developed tactical in-ear radio communication headset. Ceradynes MOHAWK ECH helmet was matched with Threat4's Xacore In-Ear Digtal Radio headset switch boom mike, which has been certified for use by the USAF.

The Army is also looking at self-healing armour, non-electronic communications, enhanced line-of-sight and non-line-of-sight capabilities to deliver versatile effects, both lethal and non-lethal, added Miller.
The Army is seeking to focus more on innovation in the future, rather than adaptation, said Lt.Gen. l Keith C. Walker, Deputy Commanding General, Futures and Director, Army Capabilities Integration Center, at Training and Doctrine Command. While wartime contingencies forced the Army to adapt quickly to develop good enough solutions for changing circumstances, the new environment will demand more focused research. What we've been doing over the last decade is adaptation, and some very successful adaptation. Innovation, on the other hand, comes from a much more methodical development of possibilities to longer-term problems, he said. "Our challenge is how to balance this adaptive/innovative aspect of our Army's organisation.

Now is a promising time for Army science and technology efforts, concluded Miller. This is the first time since the war started that we have the Army leadership taking a serious look at what we in S&T can and should be doing in the future, she said.

For more on the US Army modernisation plans, go here.

AUSA 2012 Key Figures:
AUSA 2012: 22-24.11.2012 at the Walter E. Washington Convention Center in Washington D.C.
More than 650 companies displayed their wares 
Six Country Pavillions including Australia, Canada, France, Germany, Israel, Korea, Turkey, and the UK. 
AUSA 2013: 21-23 October 2013, same place

Commute to the Fight and Commute to Be Engaged 

As the Army begins to shift its attention away from Iraq and Afghanistan and bring most of its soldiers home, senior service leaders are developing a new model for keeping troops tuned in to the worlds troubled areas its called regionally aligned forces.

The idea is to train soldiers specifically for operations in each of the six regional combatant commands. They would learn regional languages, cultures, geographic and political peculiarities of countries in a particular region.

Details are still being worked out, but it appears likely that brigade combat teams would assigned to specific commands, such as Africa Command or the Pacific Command, and then spend a year training for operations in that command, then spend a year deploying or remaining ready to deploy to the region.

The Army is shrinking in size and coping with a declining budget. By 2015, for the first time since World War II, 90% of US soldiers will be based in the US. Just two brigade combat teams would be left in Europe and one in South Korea. Regionally aligned forces offer a way to keep the Army relevant overseas even as nearly all of its troops are based in the US. But it means soldiers will have to commute to the fight and commute to be engaged.

As the US Army programme of record for the Common Remotely Operated Weapons Stations (CROWS), Kongsberg and its PROTECTOR M153 are a prime example of successful deployment of new technologies that accomplish these aims. CROWS is a platform agnostic system that allows operators to operate the full array of sensors and weaponry from inside the safety of a vehicles armor protection. Kongsberg was recently awarded the CROWS III contract in recognition of the successful technology they have been fielding for the US Army since 2007.

Special Operations Forces

Special Operations Forces (SOF) have greatly matured during the past decade. They have demonstrated skill at operations that range from highly lethal surgical strikes to promoting village stability. At the same time, Special Operations Forces have solidified their place in the Army. But doctrine is only part of the change. Fighting two wars since 2001 has caused a shift in the Armys mindset about SOF. The suspicion with which some commanders regarded SOF in the past now has largely been replaced by enthusiasm. Commanders now are more likely understand the capabilities SOF can bring to the fight and ask, Wheres my SOF?
The newfound regard for SOF comes as the future promises to make Special Operations a way of life for the Army. Wars or operations that are less than wars are likely be small in scale, but frequent, and will require a broad spectrum of capabilities, from peacefully working with village elders to carrying out lethal but highly surgical strikes.

SOF personnel will likely be expected to contend with unpredictable and not fully reliable partners in uncertain environments around the globe.

Lt.Gen. Charles Cleveland, Commander of US Army Special Operations Command, at a panel session said he foresees an era of persistent conflict and persistent operations that will place new demands on SOF. New tasks for SOF troops may include preventing and shaping conflicts in addition to winning them, Cleveland said.

But even with increased demands, SOF is not expected to grow. As the Army is reduced in size, SOF will shrink too, Brig.Gen. Christopher Haas, Chief of the Armys Special Forces Command (Airborne) said at the same session. A smaller Army also means a smaller pool of potential SOF recruits, he said.

And because of its small size and its high degree of specialization, Haas said SOF will not take ownership of the battlespace, as some have advocated. There are two reasons why, Haas said. One is that SOF troops often operate outside the geographical boundaries of battlefields, making ownership impractical. The other is that the capabilities and expertise needed to run a battlespace are not resident in SOF, he said.

Instead, SOF will continue to rely on the conventional Army for support such as logistics, resupply and medical evacuation, Haas said.

After presenting their innovative new system at Future Soldier a week before AUSA in Prague, Denmarks Invisio Communications were showcasing the INVISIO V60. The INVISIO V60 is an in-ear hearing protection and communication system with electronic hear-thru and impulse noise protection. The INVSIO V60 control unit can interface with different headsets types along with up to four com sources simultaneously, including radios, intercoms, mobile phones and computers.

Buzzword Sequestration 

The US Armys ground combat systems portfolio sits in a better position than their sister services if sequestration strikes and the Armed Forces are forced to renegotiate contracts because of significant cuts to planned spending. USAF leaders dont have the same confidence, worrying the USAF will lose its fixed-price contract for the tanker programme.

Many programmes like the Ground Combat Vehicle (GCV) or the Armored Multi-Purpose Vehicle (AMPV) are at the early stages of their development meaning these programmes do not have multi-year contracts. The ABRAMS programme is the Armys only ground combat systems multi-year contract.
Army officials insist that they have done minimum planning in case of sequestration saying there are still to many unknowns. There is little flexibility to move money around and protect certain programmes, said Army Secretary John McHugh.

Ground Vehicles 

During the 23 October conference programme, the US Army's PEO Ground Combat Systems (GCS) delivered a wide-ranging update on current and future vehicle programmes. The programme managers policy perspectives signaled the services intentions for modernisation as well as procurement plans for new systems well into the next decade.

BAE Systems and General Dynamics Land Systems (GDLS) are competing in the technology development (TD) phase for the next generation Ground Combat Vehicle (GCV). The current TD phase is allowing Army managers to examine the current state of technologies, and evaluate future-leaning technologies and other capabilities that may support the vehicle. Col. Andrew DiMarco, the programme manager for the GCV, told the delegates he expects full and open competition in the next acquisition phase (engineering, manufacturing and development) a not-so-subtle gesture to also encourage more competition in that phase. A DoD Joint Requirements Oversight Council decision to advance the squad-size vehicle into the next phase is expected as this issue is being published.

In a second PEO GCS briefing, Col. Bill Sheehy, the programme manager for the Heavy Brigade Combat Team, may have finally put to rest any discussion about the Army scaling back on heavy armour units to support future full spectrum operations which are expected to be increasingly expeditionary in nature. Indeed, Sheehy pointed out the service is proceeding with a series of funded engineering change proposals (ECP) to bolster the 70t ABRAMS, and enhance its presence on the battlefield well beyond this decade. So while the Army plans to modernise the Rheinmetall-developed 120mm smoothbore gun, it also plans significant upgrades to bolster the vehicles networking capabilities.

The major challenge for the services is integrating the wide array of ground vehicles into programmes of record, to provide life cycle logistics support and other benefits.

Ground Vehicle Mobility Program - GMV 1.1

Industry is also responding to the vehicle requirements of the US Special Operations community. System integrators and original equipment manufacturers are assembling an interesting mix of companies with competencies in commercial auto racing, off-road vehicles, high performance engines and other sectors to provide increasingly dynamic vehicles for SOF units.
One programme is of immediate interest is USSOCOMs Ground Vehicle Mobility Program (GMV) 1.1.
Navistar, Indegen Armor and SAIC have teamed to submit one bid for the programme.

Navistar Defense showcased the SOTV for the GMV 1.1 competition and the International MAXXPRO Recovery Vehicle - Performance Kit (MRV-PK).

So has the Northop Grumman industry team, consisting of BAE Systems and Pratt & Miller. The latter company has a heritage of delivering products and services in different sectors including motorsports and powersports.

Unveiling of the Northrop Grumman-led teams Medium Assault Vehicle-Light (MAV-L).

Another contender is AM General. More on their innovation here.

MILITARY TECHNOLOGY met with Mike Hawn, Navistars Manager for FMS, during the conference to gain insights on the teams Special Operations Tactical Vehicle (SOTV). The executive said the SOTV shares many of the attributes of Indigens Non-Standard Tactical Truck (NSTT). We took all the commonalities of that vehicle [NSTT], all the great things the drive train package, the engine package, the mobility package and kept it all the same. And then we just made it into a tactical truck. Basically, theyre the same vehicle. One has a tactical skin, the other a commercial, vehicle-like skin.
MILITARY TECHNOLOGY also attended the unveiling of the Northrop Grumman-led teams Medium Assault Vehicle-Light (MAV-L) at the conference. The vehicle will compete in the GMV 1.1 programme.

Frank Sturek, Deputy Director of Land Force Sustainment and MAV-L Program Manager Northrop Grumman, asserted that his vehicle will offer his prospective SOCOM customer a number of unique capabilities, including off road mobility three times that of the current HMMWV, 18in of wheel drive in the front and 20in in the back. The current HMMWV has about 6in suspension wheel movement. The MAV-L is multi-mission configurable utilising multiple kits, several of which are armour and enclosure. Northrop Grumman outlined the communications package on the Ground Mobile Vehicles 1.1, which is a GFE package. The vehicle will use the existing Cobham Defence Communcations VIC-3 intercom with additional space in the front of the vehicle for two radios either the V/UHF PRC-117G or F the PSC-5D MBMMR and in terms of HF, the PRC-150(C).

For the first time, AM General exhibited its new Ground Mobility Vehicle (GMV) specifically designed for rapidly deployable forces. The GMV 1.1 leverages the company's many years of experience supplying and supporting the current HMMWV-based GMV for the US government. With extraordinary mobility, performance and transportability (including CH/MH-47 internally transportable), AM General's innovative GMV 1.1 is highly reliable and affordable through the use of proven technology, cost-effective manufacturing, and low life-cycle costs.


The three companies who won the contract to develop the Joint Light Tactical Vehicle (JLTV) prototypes each made their respective cases as to why their designs ultimately should prevail. Lockheed Martin (in collaboration with BAE Systems, including a Cummins engine and an Allison transmission), Oshkosh Defense (with its patented Tak-4 independent suspension), and AM General (AM General manufactures its own engines and transmissions for the vehicle) each proudly displayed their respective prototype variants on the exhibition floors, while providing narratives of how they are ready to meet the Armys and USMCs performance, cost, and production requirements.
Lockheed Martins version is being built.

Ground Vehicle Innovations

There were other recent ground vehicle innovations displayed at the conference. AM General received plenty of early attention from the international delegates with its introduction of a right-hand drive HMMWV. The enhancement to the companys ubiquitous HMMWV should rightfully stimulate interest in the vehicle. Of the 73 nations which use right-hand drive, the AM General HMMWV is found in 56 of those countries. Innovation was represented in part by the Blast Resistant Vehicle Off Road (BRV-O) Joint Light Tactical Vehicle (JLTV) that recently won a $64.5 million contract, one of three awarded by the US Army for the Engineering, Manufacturing and Development phase of the JLTV programme. Based on more than a decade of AM General investments in research, development and testing, BRV-O epitomises a balance of protection, performance and payload; off-road mobility; transportability; reliability; and affordability through mature systems.

Krauss-Maffei Wegmann's (KMW) innovation at AUSA 2012.

General Dynamics Land Systems (GDLS) premiered its enhanced SUPER BUFFALO concept-demonstration vehicle and the STRYKER+Tr medium tracked concept vehicle. With approximately 127 BUFFALOs deployed in theatre, the SUPER BUFFALO builds on the current variant to deliver enhanced safety and improved efficiency and cost-effectiveness in logistics, maintenance and sustainment. It is designed to further protect soldiers by providing them with tools to execute route-clearance missions without being in direct contact with IEDs. It also is meant to deliver improved efficiencies by introducing multi-functional robots that perform route-clearance missions faster and more efficiently than just using one vehicle at a time. This will result in an improved platform that is cost-effective and saves lives because it accomplishes the mission with fewer vehicles and soldiers.

The new BUFFALO concept-demonstrator capabilities will be rolled out in two phases. Phase I shows the SUPER BUFFALO as a multi-functional vehicle that executes detection and interrogation functions while reducing the size of route-clearance tools and technologies. Phase II employs a C2 platform that uses survivable, multi-functional robots to execute tasks that are in direct contact with IEDs. This phase leverages existing vehicle platforms, tools, technologies and communications. It also provides flexibility in any tactical situation by introducing C2 components that can be co-located, dispersed and man-portable.

General Dynamics Land Systems (GDLS) premiered its STRYKER+Tr medium tracked concept vehicle (on Diehl Defence tracks).

The STRYKER+Tr offers the maximum survivability of the battle-tested STRYKER double-V hull vehicle and significant commonality with the entire STRYKER family of vehicles. Its power generation, transmission and suspension systems exceed current requirements for the Armys Armored Multi-Purpose Vehicle (AMPV) programme, and it delivers mobility and reliability characteristics similar to those of the ABRAMS MBT, according to the company. At the show the vehicle was featured on Diehl Defence tracks.

HDTs new STORM SRTV (Search and Rescue Tactical Vehicle), developed in collaboration with the SOF community, is a highly mobile, light weight tactical vehicle that supports mission success in austere environments and answers previously unmet challenges these soldiers face. HDTs industry partners for STORM include EngineTec and BC Customs. The STORM SRTV, displayed for the delegates, ensures mission range, provides multi-role configurations, and can be transported internally by M/HC-139P/N/J, C-130/C-130J, KC-130J and C-17 fixed- wing aircraft as well as the CH-47 and CH-53 helicopters. To further expand its mission capability, the vehicle can drive on and drive off these aircraft without shoring, and can be deployed through low velocity aerial delivery or Joint Precision Airdrop System methods.

Robin Stefanovich, HDTs Vice President of Communications pointed out the vehicle is built to be a high performance product, able to operate at 10,000ft above sea level and in other rigorous conditions. This can climb rock faces, negotiate 55 grades and inclines, and conduct other actions, she said.

Six HDT Storm vehicles have been delivered to the Air National Guard for its Guardian Angel pararescuemen teams and to other government entities.

Navistar Defense showcased three tactical vehicles, the SOTV for the GMV 1.1 competition, the Indigen Armor NSTT, and the International MAXXPRO Recovery Vehicle - Performance Kit (MRV-PK). The vehicle capabilities of the MRV-PK provide noticeably improved vehicle performance including an increase in horsepower and enhanced towing capability to support missions in Afghanistan. The kit can be retrofitted onto existing MAXXPRO Recovery Vehicles and improves engine power by 20% to increase grade ability and acceleration. Mobility is improved through the addition of Navistars DXM front independent suspension along with an upgraded rear-wheel suspension. An auxiliary fuel tank increases range while a Central Tire Inflation System (CTIS) and six channel anti-lock braking system improves traction and performance in soft soil terrain.

Nexter exhibited two of its most innovative products on its stand, the XP2, and the CTAS 40mm gun. With the XP2, Nexter's aim is to develop and integrate bricks of innovative technologies in vetronics, protection and mobility to provide capabilities similar to those of a combat vehicle.

Nexter exhibited the XP2, showcased in its APC version, which could be a vehicle representative of the AMPV programme.

The CTAS 40mm gun was developed to provide a future-proof capability against armoured threats by CTAI, a joint venture between Nexter Systems and BAE Systems. It is a versatile, lethal and highly effective solution for infantry combat and reconnaissance.

Polaris Defense displayed the latest evolution of its lightweight 6x6 RANGER Fire Support System (RFSS).

Textron Marine & Land Systems (TM&LS), an operating unit of Textron Systems, displayed its family of COMMANDO vehicles.

Rigorously tested and proven in the toughest environments, the COMMANDO family of vehicles offers a range of protection up to and exceeding MRAP level, on-road/off-road mobility and ample firepower. TM&LS offers three lines of COMMANDO four-wheeled armoured vehicles COMMANDO Advanced, COMMANDO Select and COMMANDO Elite.

Textron Marine & Land Systems' (TM&LS) COMMANDO vehicle family. (Graphic: Textron)

COMMANDO Advanced armoured vehicles are combat proven over 10 years, and are derived from Armored Security Vehicles (ASV) used by the US Army and others in locations including Afghanistan, Iraq and Colombia.

COMMANDO Select APCs include variants that can carry up to 10 occupants, and offer an enhanced combination of lethality, survivability, mobility and sustainability. MRAP-level 1 crew protection is built into all COMMANDO Select vehicles. More than 440 COMMANDO Select vehicles are currently being built and fielded, under the name Mobile Strike Force vehicles, for the Afghanistan National Army.

The COMMANDO Elite line features TM&LS most highly-protected and capable armoured vehicles. These vehicles feature a digital backbone, provide MRAP-level 2 mine-blast protection, and deliver lethality through multiple sensors and weapons options. COMMANDO Elite vehicles come equipped with drive train enhancements that make them fast and highly manoeuvrable in a wide range of environments. The Canadian Forces earlier this year contracted for 500 of these vehicles for its Tactical Armored Patrol Vehicle (TAPV) programme.

Daimler Freightliner at AUSA 2012.


Armorworks exhibited their newly developed Turret Blanket for the BRADLEY, their Containment Bay and Stowage system for a STRYKER prototype, their BLASTMAT Floor Mat, and their SHOCKRIDE bag for the outside with new materials and fastened by the (EO)2 mounting system.

Armorworks exhibited their ewly developed Turret Blanket for the BRADLEY amongst other innovation.

Honeywell at the show announced that its SPECTRA SHIELD ballistic material will be used to improve armour protection on US Army helicopters.

The Protective Group (TPG), a leading developer and integrator of lightweight composite armour for military aircraft, is incorporating SPECTRA SHIELD material into armour upgrades for US Army UH-60 BLACK HAWK and CH-47 CHINOOK helicopters. TPG expects to upgrade armour on approximately 200 CHINOOK helicopters over the next four years under a contract from the US Army, and is also working to meet the needs of the BLACK HAWK community.

SPECTRA SHIELD is a composite material made with SPECTRA fibre, an ultra-high-molecular-weight polyethylene fibre that, pound for pound, is 15 times stronger than steel, yet light enough to float. Honeywells patented SHIELD technology lays parallel strands of synthetic fibre side by side and holds them in place with a resin system. Layers of the material are then cross-plied at right angles and fused into a composite structure under heat and pressure.

Krauss-Maffei Wegmann (KMW) displayed its active close-in protection system for armoured vehicles, consisting of a series of 30cm-wide elements arranged in a crown around a vehicle's roof that would be integrated with a number of sensors. As an incoming rocket and missile is detected, the appropriate elements are detonated three at a time to direct a blast downward to defeat the incoming round. The blast from these elements is effective from 4cm to 2.5m and, since there is no metal in the charge and the charge content itself is small, any dismounted infantry in the vicinity under attack are likely to be safe from injury if 3m or more from the vehicle under attack.

Plasans FLEXFENCE is a new protection system is designed to protect vehicles from RPGs. Already presented at this year's Eurosatory, FLEXFENCE weighs about 2lbs per square foot, and according to the company, "is lighter than existing RPG protection systems; it attaches more elegantly and closer to the vehicles body, providing better coverage."

Polaris Defense, a division of Polaris Industries showcased two advanced vehicle technologies, designed to address the US militarys need for increased vehicle survivability, a lightweight, advanced armour solution and non-pneumatic tires (NPT).

Polaris Defense has developed a lightweight armour technology for the US Armed Forces. This was showcased as a concept demonstrator HMMWV at AUSA.

Polaris Defense, partnered with M9 Defense, has developed a lightweight armour technology for the US Armed Forces. This was showcased as a concept demonstrator HMMWV at AUSA. While displayed on a light tactical vehicle, the armour is applicable to any tactical wheeled vehicle or combat vehicle platform. This new armour is produced with certified military materials using a proprietary ballistic resistant formulation and manufacturing process and it has the lowest pounds per square foot of any armour available in todays market, according to the company. The steel-hybrid composite armour, in conjunction with a high-speed production process, allows the Polaris/M9 team to form this armour into capsules and other ballistic vehicle components at speeds comparable to that of sheet metal processing, greatly reducing the overall cost.

The acquisition of Resilient Technologies enables Polaris Defense to harness its non-pneumatic, never-flat tire technology towards increasing the survivability and handling of both currently fielded and future vehicles, either as a block upgrade or an integrated component. The NPT is composed of a central polymeric web surrounded by a rubber tread band which allows continuous operation, even if up to 30% of the web is damaged.

QinetiQ North America showcased its latest vehicle survivability technologies through interactive displays, mainly a cutaway of a military vehicle outfitted with BLASTRIDE blast mitigation seating, spall liners, underbelly armor, Breakaway Transparent Armor System (BTAS), Scalable Metallic Composite (SMC) armour, the Q-NET II RPG defeat system, the EARS vehicle mounted gunfire detection system, and the EAGLS egress lighting system.

QinetiQ North America showcased its latest vehicle survivability technologies through interactive displays, mainly a cutaway of a military vehicle outfitted with BLASTRIDE blast mitigation seating, spall liners, underbelly armor, Breakaway Transparent Armor System (BTAS), Scalable Metallic Composite (SMC) armour, the Q-NET II RPG defeat system, the EARS vehicle mounted gunfire detection system, and the EAGLS egress lighting system.

LAST Armors patent pending spall liners supplement vehicle A Kit (built-in) armour for increased protection for behind armour effects. LAST Armor spall liners are a field installable armour system that is available for use on a variety of tactical and armored vehicles, fixed and rotary wing aircraft and naval vessels. Each spall liner system is designed using a variety of armour formulas and configurations, depending on the nature of the vehicle A Kit being used and the threat requirements.

The Q-NET II RPG Defeat System is an adaptable solution capable of providing RPG protection on a wide range of tactical and lightly armored vehicles. The system is ultra-lightweight, low-cost and easily adaptable to a variety of platforms.

QinetiQ's SMC Armor is a scalable metallic composite armour for use as an appliqué or integrated armour on military gound and marine vehicles. SMC Armor utilises advanced metals and composites to create a highly durable and ductile armour. This armour has, according to the company, successfully defeated 14.5mm B32 AP threats at 50mm spacing, as well as multiple 20mm FSP at ocer 5,000 ft/s. It is STANAG compliant up to Level V.

QinetiQ North America's LAST add-on armour is available in metal, ceramic, metal and composite, and ceramic composite versions.LAST is an add-on appliqué system that installs without any cutting, welding or drilling on the base vehicle. It is designed to be easily added to tactical vehicles and aircrafts. LAST tactical vehicle armour kits can be sent forward to deployed vehicles and the simple installation can be performed by the crew themselves. The basic system upgrades protection levels from typical 7.62mm ball to 0.50 Cal./12. mm and 14. mm API as well as offers protection from conventional overhead threats such as 15 mm/152 mm fragmenting artillery air bursts and mortar fire. LAST Spall Liners are designed to be used to supplement Tactical Vehicle Armor kits for increased protection against fragments.

The greatest QinetiQ innovation was the magnetic switch, by which soldiers in the field can easily install/remove armour and compoments without tools.

RUAG exhibited, amongst its very successful ammunition line, its protection systems that are highly effective and easy to mount. Size and shape of the protection modules are adaptable to vehicles and requirements. Due to RUAGs modular concept mobility is not impaired. RUAG, being a vehicle manufacturer with a protection systems branch, knows how a vehicle moves, thereby finding the most intelligent solution not to add weight, which is a huge issue in todays battlefield.

RUAG provides the SidePRO and RoofPRO vehicle armouring systems that encompass the latest protective products for tactical wheel-, logistical support, and tracked vehicles. These armour solutions use an array of advanced armour materials to provide a system solution that meets the soldiers needs and defeats threats that are widespread on the battlefield. These advanced technology systems are modular, adaptable, and responsive to local threat requirements allowing fast and effective adjustments to armour protection levels and enhanced survivability.

In a September Live-Fire test at Ochsenboden Testing Centre in Switzerland, in front of an international customer audience, RUAG unveiled and demonstrated SidePRO-ATR and SidePRO-KE/IED.
SidePRO-ATR is a highly engineered, fully integrated, modular passive protection system for medium APCs and MBTs that utilises a variety of advanced lightweight materials for direct application on said vehicles.
SidePRO-KE/IED is a modular polyvalent composite protection system protection system that utilises a variety of advanced lightweight materials for direct application on tracked vehicles. Both meet and exceed current threat level protection requirements.

In the live fire test RUAG demonstrated SidePRO-ATRs protection abilities against RPG-7VM rounds to visualise its multi-hit capability; and all four were stopped, confirming SidePRO-ATRs capability as a fully passive protection system to counter KE, CE, EFPs, and RPGs.

At the same test, RUAG demonstrated SidePRO-KE/IEDs protection abilities against standard 14.5mm x 114B32 API rounds (to simulate an RPG attack), and a detonated artillery round (to simulate and IED / roadside bomb attack). SidePRO-KE/IED stopped all rounds, demonstrating its multi-hit capability; and the damage after the artillery IED blast was very small, showing extensive impacts from blast fragments, but all shrapnel was stopped within SidePRO-KE/IED, not penetrating the base layer, thereby giving excellent damage control

Rheinmetall Chempro's ballistic protection.

DynCorp's armour at AUSA 2012.

Army AAS Talk Focuses on Voluntary Flight Demonstrations

The main talking point in terms of Army aviation concerned the ongoing examination of what the current and potential future capabilities industry could incorporate into an Armed Aerial SCOUT (AAS) helicopter, the successor to Bells OH-58D KIOWA WARRIOR, which is long overdue for replacement.

The Armys summer-long discussions with industry, as well as the Voluntary Flight Demonstrations (VFD) that they witnessed from some of the potential suitors, might be added into the eventual RfP whenever it is issued (currently unlikely before 2014). It has continually been stressed however that the VFD was not a competitive fly-off, just a voluntary demonstration of capability.

Those organisations showing an interest in the AAS are the usual OEM suspects. EADS North Americas proposition supported by its subsidiary American Eurocopter is the AAS-72X, a more tooled-up militarised version of its already fielding UH-72A LAKOTA (based on the EC 145). Although the LAKOTA is already in the Armys fleet it is equipped for permissive environments only.

According to EADS North Americas Director of Communications James Darcy, his company responded to the US Armys initial RfI with a 1,100 page document. The aim was to make the Army understand that EADS NA has a pathway, said Darcy. They deliberately conducted the VFD away from their home base to demonstrate the hot/high capability (6K/95 - the Armys standing performance requirement) of their existing aircraft by taking it to Alamosa, CO (the only one of the OEMs to take it away from home). Two aircraft were taken, the AAS-72X and another aircraft Darcy calls the AAS-72X+ (an upgraded EC145 T2 with a more powerful <rot>Tubomeca<P> ARRIEL 2E engine and an anti-torque tail system). Tests were conducted from 24 September to the beginning of October with around 20 hours being flown by the aircraft. After the trials, <rot>Eurocopter<P> took the aircraft on a roadshow of Army sites that included Fts Riley, Hood, Campbell, and Bragg.

Eurocopter AAS-72X + EC145 T2 (All rotorcraft pictures via Andrew Drwiega unless otherwise noted)

On the EADS stand at AUSA was James Moentmann, a representative of management support organisation Whitney Bradley & Brown (WBB) and also a consultant to EADS NA on the AAS project. He is a retired Army Aviation Colonel who commanded at the company, battalion and combat aviation brigade levels. He has flown AH-1 COBRAs, OH-58s, and AH-64s APACHEs, among others. As part of my assessment they allowed me to fly the EC145 T2 and participated in post flight interviews. The two takeaways for me were the power margin that you have the max performance take-off from the hover was impressive - and the fact that there has been a lot of scepticism about going from a civil aircraft to a military aircraft. Tests at altitude were carried out at mission weight be adding ballast, added Darcy.

Rather than consider the military transition a disadvantage, I came away thinking it was an advantage, he said. "It is an extremely competitive civil market out there with a extensive technology developments that have been applied since the OH-58D was created. SCOUT pilots will have four-axis autopilot, two dual-channel FADECs,high quality configurable displays, powerful engines   technology upgrades that can now be applied to the Scout mission; its a huge advantage.

He also noted the standards that had been established for crash worthiness and survivability were the highest in civil terms, and almost always exceeds the military requirements.

Sikorskys Steve Engebretson, Director of the S-97 RAIDER AAS programme was impressed by the Armys investigating team: There were over three dozen government folks representing eight different army agencies -  a complete cross-section of technical agencies looking at hardware, software, performance.

Sikorsky's future technology

He said that despite not having a flying aircraft the X2 has been retired and the first S-97 prototype will not fly until 2014 demonstrations were conducted in the S-97 simulator. We retired the X2 with 23 hours on it thats how confident we felt about what we had learned from it, he added.

They have to make a tough decision. We have been working a long time to debunk the myth that because this is high performance aircraft it is going to be very complex and expensive, he asserted. What we showed the government is that we are an affordable option; our technology is mature enough that we can come into a production programme to provide a next generation aircraft in the timeline that they need and support their requirements.

Engebretson was optimistic that the process the Army had to go through before issuing an RfP would give Sikorsky enough time to compete. It will take them a year to go through the Joint Requirements Acquisition Council (JROC) (2013-2014), followed by an RfP during 2014. The downselect will be a year later and by then we will have had a flying aircraft from mid-late 2014.

Unsurprisingly Bell Helicopters Mike Miller, Director, Military Business Development believes that his companies OH-58D Block II can give the army what it needs. The wartime replacement contract is for 26 aircraft with a new metal cabin. For AAS we take the OH-58F model and do a Block II upgrade. This means performance enhancements brand new engine Honeywell HTS-900, 407 transmission, and Bell 407 main rotor blades and a 427 tail rotor. All this gives more power so you can do 6K/95.

Bell OH-58 hybrid

He said that the discussions went so well with the Army that they left one day early. Discussions centred around the Block III main rotor system offering. We want to give them a rotor system qualified to 6,000lb for growth, which means we have to redesign the main rotor system. The engine remains the same looking at dual hydraulics and better autorotation.

The question the Army is asking, according to Miller, is what benefits will they get beyond the service life extension of the KIOWA what bang they will get for their buck as he put it. Bells turn at the VFD came in October: The trials of the OH-58D included the HDS Honeywell engine we call it demo 1 - and 407 main and tail rotor so really a Block II configuration, but its not on the OH-58F model. It was taking place at Bells XorXs, Arlington, TX. We already took it out during the summer and proved it could do high and hot test in 2011 again to Alamosa and showed the data to the armys engineering director. We showed it to the army so they could understand what we have done.

Every RfI shows a 6K/95 as the gold standard. But Miller said he believed that the 6K/95 could be traded but say you can make 5K/95 but you are better value. You are looking for something that is net-centric. Electronics change so rapidly you need something to grow with that. Remember, this will be a manned-unmanned team (MUM-T) so do you really need something to go 280 knots if I already have an unmanned system ahead of me. He added that as the next level of net-centric capability is developed instead of all the wire and boxes we will bring it down to fewer boxes and less wire and a less weighty sight as sensors also get smaller. Software will also be open architecture based.

Boeings AAS offering is its long standing AH-6. Mike Burke, Director of Attack Helicopter Business Development said that the VFD was conducted at Mesa, AZ, with one aircraft flying around 10 hours. We have developed a precision aircraft that was optimised for the SCOUT role, both day and night. It is an aircraft that would be used as a fighting partner with other aircraft, such as the APACHE.

Boeing's AH-6 (Photo: Mönch/DPM)

Burke has always stressed the systems compatibility between the APACHE and the AH-6 but believes that the aircrafts size against its lifting capability will play in its favour. We also believe the price point is affordable, together with lifecycle costs, and take advantages of all the capabilities that are being developed, again such as those for the APACHE. The mission equipment package would give it an excellent light attack / reconnaissance capability and we have been very successful in its optimisation.

Other contenders eying the AAS include AgustaWestland with its AW169 (although the VFD was conducted in the flight tested AW139M) and MD Helicopters (MD-530F), have all been given the opportunity to discuss and demonstrate what they believe that they can deliver.

Elsewhere, Boeing was also making news through the recently appointed APACHE Program Manager Col Jeff Hager, that the APACHE AH-64 Block III attack helicopter would now be officially known as the AH-64E (Echo).

Hager added that the decision by the Defence Acquisition Board (DAB) in August to go to full rate production of the AH-64E was the single largest decision since Block Is and IIs went into production<P>." Additionally, the change in Acquisition Category to ACAT-C from ACAT-D was also a landmark in the programs maturity. David Koopersmith, Vice President, Boeing Attack Helicopter Programmes stated that AH-64E production was now at three aircraft per month with 24 already being delivered to the US Army.

The first international AH-64E (codenamed SKY EAGLE) has been delivered to the Taiwanese Army of a total order of 30 aircraft. Other potential AH-64E orders are: 24 for Qatar; eight for Indonesia; 36 for Korea and 22 for India.

Elbit Systems of America, a wholly-owned subsidiary of Elbit Systems has been awarded a $17.5 million contract by Boeing to redesign and upgrade the APACHE Block III AH-64D Mission Processor over a five-year period The Block III Mission Processor, originally designed and developed by Elbit Systems of America in partnership with Elbit Systems, provides the aircraft with an open-system computing architecture that can easily integrate with current cutting edge and emerging next generation technologies. The new configuration will provide both performance and technology improvements and solutions for component obsolescence. The Mission Processor will provide the APACHE Block III avionics and mission equipment with the ability to perform sophisticated "networking" and on-board computing tasks and will allow the APACHE Block III aircraft to more easily accommodate emerging capabilities.


Since the first unmanned robots debuted on the battlefield in Bosnia in 1999, the devices have more than proved their worth in a variety of missions. Troops in the field who once had to put themselves in harms way for EOD, resupply, or reconnaissance and surveillance tasks now almost exclusively rely upon the devices.
Acutely aware of the key role their products now play, the companies that design and manufacture these unmanned ground systems are focusing their efforts on enhancing their utilitarian traits.

US military planners and battlefield commanders were unprepared for the initial impact of asymmetric weapons used on the battlefields of Iraq and Afghanistan. One stop-gap measure was the use of COTS ground robotic vehicles from a number of different industry vendors to support tactical reconnaissance, IED neutralisation and countless other missions. The Pentagon is putting an end to the heady days of large wartime budgets to buy robotic ground vehicles, and is seeking to place the systems in programmes of record.          

USMC Lt.Col. Ben Stinson, the programme manager for the Robotic Systems Joint Project Office, noted the proliferation of ground vehicles in theatre but provided one compelling reason to continue using these systems.

Stinson said the US has lost about 800 robotic units in overseas missions due to damage since 2005, calling these losses acceptable. He suggested, You can equate this to 800 soldiers, airmen, sailors and Marines, whose lives or limbs may have been lost.

The Pentagon has deployed about 7,000 robots to the two theatres of operations in the last 10 years, with about 4,000 remaining in service.

BCB International have developed the SQ-4 RECON UAV, a device which fits in a hand's palm and can be operated remotely by troops sitting in a control room thousands of miles away. According to the company, the SQ-4 RECON UAV can provide soldiers with instant information about the enemys movements, capabilities and any hidden dangers that may be lurking over a hill or inside a building. Weighing in below 250g it can cover a range of up to 5km in less than 3 minutes and fly for 30 minutes. It can be easily flown using a tablet, which also displays the video and stills transmitted by its high resolution day/night camera. Its small size coupled with its 10 ultrasonic sonars means that it can be used to penetrate a building or narrow spaces as well as avoid objects.

Similar to this, Datron's SCOUT UAV weighs only 2.6lbs, has a robust design with modular assembly and battery-powered brushless motors that enable it to silently hover and stare and follow any point of interest. Its carbon-fiber rotor blades easily fly in altitudes up to 13,000ft and 31mph winds with gusts up to 50mph  - making it ideal for operation in inclement weather. Controlled from a tablet-PC, the SCOUT combines a point-and-touch interface with intelligent applications for intuitive control and mission effectiveness from mapping of new territories to nighttime surveillance using thermal imaging cameras. Tool-less assembly means an operator can launch the SCOUT into any environment within minutes. In addition to impressive aerial intelligence capabilities, the SCOUT has been mission-tested and field-proven in real world operations around the globe. Datron and Aeryon Labs will continue collaboration on the design and performance of the SCOUT as users adopt the product and provide valuable input on enhancements required by the soldier, first responder and commercial user in the field.

Datron exhibited the SCOUT UAV.

General Dynamics Land Systems (GDLS) showcased its Leader-Follower Technology. This modular advanced technology turns manned ground vehicles into unmanned robotic systems. Leader-Follower Technology is designed to protect soldiers by removing them from dangerous re-supply convoys. It provides unit commanders greater tactical flexibility and allows more effective deployment of available personnel.

ReconRobotics, a world leader in tactical micro-robot systems, demonstrated the THROWBOT XT at the show. The new THROWBOT XT is a throwable, mobile micro-robot that provides both audio and video reconnaissance of dangerous environments. Military fire teams use the new micro-robot to quickly gain situational awareness during high-risk operations and surveillance missions. The robot weighs just 1.2lbs and can be thrown up to 120 feet.

Roboteam, a very young company, presented its innovative easy-to-operate robots. More can be found here. Designed for intelligence gathering, the ultra-light, 13-lb, highly maneuverable MTGR Micro Tactical Ground Robot is, according to the company, the lightest available on the market in its category. Carried by an individual soldier, the MTGR climbs stairs and 60 obstacles, and has a secure MANET Data Link. The MTGR uses a US Military Battery. Designed for urban warfare and anti-terror missions, the IRIS Individual Robotic Intelligence System is an easily deployed, miniature system, weighing less than 2lbs. With a vertical drop of 35ft, and a 4x4 drive, it can be thrown behind walls to enable forces to view the situation in real time. It runs on AA replaceable batteries, with an operation time of 4 hours. The PROBOT - designed for a wide range of military and civilian missions - is exceptionally diverse in its uses and applications. It can carry very heavy payloads of up to 507lbs. With a maximum speed of 22Mp/h, the PROBOT can easily climb stairs and surmount all types of obstacles. Among its range of payloads are a CBRN sensor suite, tactical manipulator, logistic carrier, crowd control, and search & rescue systems. It also features a secure MANET Data Link, and runs on a US Military Battery. ROBOTEAM has also developed a cutting-edge, exceptionally sophisticated control system - ROCU - that is uniquely intuitive, requires no special training, and is easy to operate. ROCU was designed as an integrated generic controller for unmanned systems. It has a highly intuitive guidance system, and is fully ruggedised, ergonomic, and MIL-STD compliant. ROCU uses Windows 7/Android OS, has a 7" touch screen that is viewable in sunlight, and NVIS - and runs on a US Military Battery.

Qinetiq North America displayed two small robots, the DRAGON RUNNER 10 and the DRAGON RUNNER 20. Both can be carried easily, recharged in the field, and operate over difficult terrain. 

iRobots defence and security business division is competing with four other companies to produce a very lightweight and affordable treaded vehicle that weighs five pounds. The device, called FIRSTLOOK, is geared for reconnaissance and special-operations missions. It recently completed an operational assessment in Afghanistan, along with its competitors. The four contractors are awaiting the Armys final word as to which device prevailed.

Filtration Systems

Beth-El Zikhron Yaaqov Industries, a world leader in the development, design and manufacture of environmental protection systems, exhibited their full NBC filtration, TIC (Toxic Industrial Chemical) filtration, ventilation, air conditioning, dust filtration and carbon monoxide (shooting fumes) filtration for use in vehicles, tents, containers, and shelters. The company's customised systems can be easily integrated into any compartment and in various layouts. Currently, Beth-Els products are being used by more than 60 Armed Forces worldwide, are compliant with NATO and MIL-STD, and have been tested and certified by International Standards Institutes and laboratories from countries all over the world.

Donaldson, a leading provider of filtration systems to enhance performance and reliability of military, aerospace and heavy industry vehicles, exhibited its state-of-the-art Pulse-Jet Air Cleaner (PJAC) engine air filtration technology for the U.S. Armys new Ground Combat Vehicle (GCV) programme.

MTU and Tognum America, subsidiaries of Tognum Group, selected Donaldsons PJAC filtration systems for the GDLS GCV power pack, consisting of the MTU Series 880 engine, generator, cooling system, air filtration system, transmission and generator. This means Donaldson PJAC filters may be utilised on more than 1,870 GCVs when low rate initial production begins in 2018, followed by full production in 2021.

Donaldsons new partnership with MTU means that the Armys GCV will utilize the worlds most effective engine air filtration solution, said Pierre Habran, Director of Aerospace & Defense Europe, Middle East & Africa at Donaldson. Our involvement with this essential developmental effort is a source of tremendous pride for Donaldson, and it means that future US armoured fighting vehicles will provide improved capability and unprecedented reliability in support of armed forces operations, even in the worlds most difficult operational environments.  Improving equipment capability to protect U.S. and allied troops is our highest priority.


As the US Army programme of record for the Common Remotely Operated Weapons Stations (CROWS), Kongsberg and its PROTECTOR M153 are a prime example of successful deployment of new technologies that accomplish these aims. CROWS is a platform agnostic system that allows operators to operate the full array of sensors and weaponry from inside the safety of a vehicles armor protection. Kongsberg was recently awarded the CROWS III contract in recognition of the successful technology they have been fielding for the US Army since 2007.

(Photo: Kongsberg)

Of particular interest, this year Kongsberg unveiled a new modular capability for their CROWS system, a Containerized Weapon Station (CWS). This option offers a number of new deployments for CROWS systems in connection with integrated base defence in any kind of scenario.

With increased unrest and uncertainty around the world, CWS really offers new options for maximising on the ground personnel and providing layers of security not otherwise available. Additionally, there is a benefit CROWS provides that is not easily quantified but is vital in modern warfare; allowing troops and commanders to operate with greater confidence and effectiveness.

Read up on it here.

EO/IR Imaging Systems

FLIR Systems had a number of new systems on show at AUSA: The ISO-container KRAKEN, which has been adopted by the US Army through PM Guardian, working with the Rapid Fielding Initiative as the Combat Outpost Surveillance and Force Protection Systems (COSFPS) with three systems currently in Afghanistan, one in the US for training with a further five systems due to be delivered in 2013.

FLIR Systems exhibited the ISO-container KRAKEN, which has been adopted by the US Army through PM Guardian, working with the Rapid Fielding Initiative as the Combat Outpost Surveillance and Force Protection Systems (COSFPS) with three systems currently in Afghanistan, one in the US for training with a further five systems due to be delivered in 2013.

KRAKENs extendable mast mounted systems consist of an Elta GROUND MASTER V10 ground surveillance radar with a range of 10-12km versus walking individuals and a FLIR TacFLIR 380HD equipped with an MWIR and SWIR together with LRF and POINTER with the mast having been developed jointly by FLIR and Will Burt and can reach a height of 6.7 metres. In the main body of the ISO container are other sensors notably FLIR's own R3D duel mode radar for shorter range coverage, two unattended ground systems, the BAS-9A from L-3 and ARA's more recent E-UGS (Expendable Unattended Ground Sensors) and two sniper detection systems, the BOOMERANG III and SHOTSPOTTER 2. All the sensors are fused and cross cued using FLIR's Cohesion/Resolution software. Two Track 360 remote weapon stations are also incorporated in COSFPS.

Exelis Night Vision has recently completed delivery of all its orders for the first generation AN/PSQ-20 ENVG goggle, which total over 9,000 and began in 2005. It is now turning its attention to the follow-on PSQ-20A SENVG, for which the first of 3,800 devices ordered this year will be shortly delivered. Although the design does not have a requirement for network connectivity, Exelis' design has an option that if exercised would for allow data output and input via a factory level Engineering Change Proposal. In regard to the AN/PVS-14, the company reports that deliveries are approaching the total required under the Army Acquisition Objective and that they expect to continue supporting and maintaining these systems for the next 10-15 years. The company also noted that they had secured the first overseas series sales of tubes for the PVS-14 with autogating technology this year to the UK. The company also anticipates sales of the conventional PVS-14 to large Middle Eastern country later in 2012.

On its stand and mounted on a Textron COMMANDO Elite reconnaissance variant was L-3 WESCAM's new MX-RSTA (Reconnaissance, Surveillance and Target Acquisition) mount, which is designed to be modular systems that can host up to seven different sensors, such as a mid-wave large-format cooled thermal sensors, combined colour and low light EO sensor on a four axis stabilised mount, as well as a 20km laser rangefinder. The systems is designed to be modular to allow new sensors to be incorporated as they become available and the in service sensors obsolescence. The MX-RSTA system is designed for ground vehicle missions, where it can be configured as a Commander Independent Viewer, a Primary Gunner Sighting System, or as a mast-mounted vehicle reconnaissance and surveillance system.

L-3 WESCAM launched its MX-RSTA EO/IR imaging system. The MX-RSTA (Reconnaissance, Surveillance and Target Acquisition) system is designed for ground vehicle missions, where it can be configured as a Commander Independent Viewer, a Primary Gunner Sighting System, or as a mast-mounted vehicle reconnaissance and surveillance system.

Elbit Systems brought a number of its night vision devices, including its CORAL-CR that in both hand held and tripod mounted modes uses a continuous IR optical and 4X digital zoom, and uses a 640x512 InSb detector, operating in Spectral Band 3-5µm, weighing 3.6 kilograms. Also on show was the AN/PEQ-19 Joint Terminal Attack Controller Laser Target Designator, which weighs 1.8kg and which uses a 1.06µm laser designator and 1W near IR pointer with a 5.5X direct view optic and is interoperable with fielded US night vision devices.

ESC Baz had their new LAYLA uncooled thermal camera on show, a new improved version of the existing product with a 17 µm 640x480 detector with high picture quality and continuous zoom of up to 25-225mm, allowing the detection of a human at 6.1 kilometres. LAYLA also features software stabilisation and at the time of AUSA, LAYLA had spent four months in field in a final test and has been ordered by two existing customers and three new ones. The company was also showing their ROOSTER (Remote operation Observation System), a complete systems onto which a hand held thermal imager can be placed (at the show that was the Elbit Systems CORAL). This allows for two channel input with separate recording. Development was completed in early summer with the company now in discussion with a large European integration for a global marketing agreement expected to be concluded in December 2012. The solution is under consideration for a number of homeland security roles including Brazil, Mexico and Singapore interested in the system. More here.

Raytheon has announced that it has been selected by the US Army to provide Thermal Weapon Sights (TWS) under a modification to an existing contract which extends the period of performance by three years. The award, announced on 21 October, has a potential value of $131 million. The award will see Raytheon provide TWS with enhanced capabilities so soldiers can better detect and engage targets day or night, allowing soldiers to spot targets at long distances through haze, dust, fog and other obscurants. Raytheon could potentially supply more than 24,000 sights over the life of the contract. The company has provided more than 65,000 sights to the US Army under various contracts since 2000.

<rot>Rheinmetall Defence<P> Electro Optics.

Meprolight's product line.


The first day of AUSA marked the date in which the submission of eight test radios for the Mid-Tier Networking Vehicle Radio (MNVR) programme had to be submitted to Aberdeen after an RfP for the programme was issued in September. This called for a two channel 50W radio solution running WNW and SRW, fitted on the same form factor as the VRC-92 with the option of also including two SINCGARS ASIP sets.

Part of Harris' solution to the SRW Applique programme.
(All C4I photos by Adam Baddeley unless otherwise noted)

The MNVR requirement is for a two channel SDR based on a VRC-92 footprint with the option of including two SINCAGRS ASIP radios on the mount. A down-select to a single design for a two year contract is expected in the spring 2013 with deliveries beginning in December 2013/January 2014. A total of 80-85 radios per brigade, perhaps a total of a hundred when spares are considered, are required for eight brigades with companies having to demonstrate the ability to produce 900 radios a year; an output roughly twice of the number required. The budget for the programme is put at $140.7 million via an IDIQ contract.

For the MNVR, BAE Systems are bidding the PHOENIX-SC, one of three current variants of the radio. The SC has two programmable channel in blades or slices, built by partner Aethercomm using a number of cellphone components in the design. It supports the WNW in OFDM and Anti-Jam (AJ) modes, and SRW in its CC and EW modes, with two 50W PAs with peak power of 125W. It can include two ASIP radios with external Pas. BAE Systems are also offering a version of the WNW AJ waveforms with improved throughput, which will be put back into the DoD's waveform library. Other features include an easy to use user interface. Two other radios are also available, the 2C with just two SDR channels, and the 4C with four programmable channels. The company is also working on radios within the PHOENIX family to meet the Army SANR, which has a requirement for a ARC-201 form factor and the self explanatory Small Airborne Link 16 Terminal (SALT) requirements.

Exelis exhibited networked communication systems, including SIDEHAT, RIFLEMAN and SPEARNET radios, as well as the Global Network On-The-Move Active Distribution (GNOMAD), an on-the-move satellite communications system that employs a low-profile antenna to provide reliable connectivity for a wide range of vehicles. (Photos: DPM)

Comrod outlined their antenna plans for the near future based around dividing their product line into two lines to meet the demands of SDR with either Tunable or Passive antennas, divided into tube or whip antenna options. For the MNVR programme, in which the competitors are not required to supply passive antennas, the Army is using the Comrod VHF302000T/B antenna operating in 30-88MHZ, 225-450MHz, 1200-2000MHz. By early 2013, Comrod, who have recently established a new US subsidiary, expect to have a new tunable triband antenna to support the frequencies used by the SINCGARS, SRW and WNW waveforms. Comrod have been supplying their HF NVIS Loops antennas to the US through Harris for the past two years supplying roughly 1,000 antennas. With the formation of Comrod Inc., the company will now supply the DoD directly with direct orders for 2,000 antennas anticipated in FY2013.

Northrop Grumman, partnered with Exelis, are bidding their FREEDOM 350 radio into the MNVR programme. This radio operates from 2Mhz-to 2.5GHz although not all the frequency range is supported. It also has the hardware support cognitive radio functions, such as a SIGINT and counter-IED jamming if that is required at a future date. This, like the PHOENIX, takes elements of now defunct JTRS programme to create new solutions. In this case, the Airborne Maritime Fixed. The FREEDOM also takes technology from Northrop Grumman's work on the F-35's Communication, Navigation and Identification Suite. Other variants in the FREEDOM family include the FREEDOM 241 MANPACK, which weighs roughly 6.8 kilograms. For the airborne market the company has developed three FREEDOM variants, the -410, -150 and -460, and intend to bid the 450 for the Army's SANR requirement.

Harris are bidding a solution based on two AN/PEC-117G radio and from General Dynamics is one based on its two channel AN/PRC1-55 MANPACK.

In addition to MNVR is the SRW Appliqué programme, an RfP for which was delivered in September and is designed to provide a SRW capable radio. The Army have a requirement for two configurations; a solution that attached to a ubiquitous SINCGARS and a stand alone solution where the platform involved not equipped with SINCGARS. Proposals are due in early February 2013 with deliveries beginning in February 2013. Roughly 1,000 radios across the two configurations are required. The Army plan to qualify up to five companies as suppliers with two due to be down-selected to supply the first two delivery orders. Exelis, Harris, Thales Communication, and General Dynamics C4 Systems are expected to bid.

Harris had their AN/PRC-162A Wideband Applique solution on show with a 25W PA in jerk and run configuration to meet both the SRW Appliqué requirements. Harris also had details of their new RF-330E-TR001 to meet both NETT WARRIOR and RIFLEMAN radio: the RF-330E-TR001 Wideband Networking Team radio. The radio uses the same battery as the PRC-152A and is SCA 2.2.2 compliant. It can operate from 225-2GHz, although the antenna is optimised for 225-450Mhz, 1250-1390 and 1755-1850Mhz. The radio uses an undisclosed security architecture and weighs 770 grams.

Raytheon's MAINGATE version 2 radio is currently at NIE 13.1 with 40 nodes clustered in single battalion. The company intends to complete Version 3 of the radio at the end of 2013, which will see it support the SRW, as well as a decrease in size weight and power of roughly 30 percent. All MAINGATEs operate Raytheon's Next Generation Mobile Ad hoc Networking Waveform NMW, which supports up to 128 nodes, although only a maximum of 43 have been tested to date. Raytheon also showed its ARC-231 MUOS/CM version, which sees both the addition of the new cellular Mobile User Objective Systems waveform abroad, which requires a major reworking of hardware, as well as a new chip as part of the Crypto Modernisation work. Funded by the Army's PEO Aviation, the radio is SCA 2.2.2 compliant with EDMs due to be delivered at the end of 2013 and low rate initial production in 2014.

Raytheon are on track to begin LRIP on the AN/ARC-231 MUOS/CM airborne radio in 2014 .

A short list of networking enhancements enabled by ECPs will include the integration of the JTRS Hand-held, MANPACK and Small Form Fit radio to replace the legacy SINCGARS and Enhanced Position Location Reporting System (EPLRS).

Datron premiered Metric Systems' RAPTOR X VHF/UHF Network Radio, shown at AUSA in the innovative RHINOBOX. The RAPTOR X System is being manufactured under contract in Datron's ISO certified facility. In the military/civil/nation-building sector the RAPTOR X is intended to be a relatively low-cost wide-area IP infrastructure and "middle mile" transport system. It's wide-operating band 170-800 MHz, and multi-channel capability, enables it to be tailored to specific core mission scenarios. For example, one sub-network network could provide secure civil infrastructure linking numerous village and county seats, while another channel is concurrently handling inter-agency public safety and security functions; while also supporting tele-medicine and local education support.

Datron's RAPTOR X solution to its SAFARI case mounted communications node. (Photo: Mönch / DPM)

The RAPTOR X is a complete wireless networking solution, offering the network designer, operator, and serive provider five major sysem performances over using conventional 2.4 WiMax and 5.8 GHz systems and satellite systems where applicable. RAPTOR X provides an internal V/UJHF backhaul capability in a 19 Rackmount capable of sending up to 10Mbps of backhaul over available frequency in the 170-800Mhz range as an alternative to WiFi, WiMAX and licensed microwave, where they are not available. Other bands are available upon request.

The RHINOBOX is an all weather environmentally controlled equipment enclosure designed to support the transport and safe opertaion of COTS electronic equipment in harsh environment.

The RAPTOR X also allows the backhaul to be routed through a number of RAPTOR X equipped SAFARI boxes. The SAFARI capability has been demonstrated overseas with domestically around 30 boxes now being in service with the Arizona Border patrol.

Ultralife had a number of power amplifiers on display. This included the 20W A-320V1-R for the AN/PRC-154. A dismounted solution the device has participated in recent NIEs and will join AEWE in February 2013 and has also been sent on an Operational Evaluation with forces in Afghanistan. In addition to supporting the SRW, the device also supports the ANW2 and EPLRS waveforms. For the SRW Appliqué programme the company has developed the Vehicle Installed Power Enhanced RIFLEMAN mount, which is a 20W PA, a small form factor design with single handed operation. Ultralife also intend to release their new A-7500 75W amplifier in early 2013, which operates over the 30-512 frequency range and supports a range of waveforms including the Advanced Special Communications Node, SRW, IW, DAMA, as well as the Thales PR4G.

Exelis' SRW Applique solution for a SRW only vehicular radio.

CACI had their Rapid Response Mobile Communications Platform (R2MCP), a trailer based 4G network designed to be ready for military transport, at the show.

Harris Caprock launched the Seeker Triband VSAT terminal at AUSA. The family is offered in 45cm and 65cm MANPACK satellite terminals in X- and Ku-band, and is complaint with XTAR and WGS satellites. The company is also offering the satellites with the recon Mobile SATCOM Toolkit designs to acquire and maintain SATCOM links.

Harris also announced details of a $397 million award for the AN/PRC-152 under the Consolidated Single Channel Hand Held radio programme. Options on the contract could take the total value to $712 million.

Northrop Grumman had their SmartNode MultiPlatform Airborne gateway, a development of the larger Battlefield Airborne Communications Node. The SmartNode pod supports CDL, link 16, SADL, EPLRS, PRC-117 and other radios.

Eagle Picher showed a mock-up of its new Dual Mode 15V/30V primary battery on show. A Li-CF/MnO2 hybrid primary cell battery described as having twice the capacity of current technology and uses a continued design to compensate for the additional heat this chemistry produces.

Elbit Systems of America has their 50W Duals SINCGARS Power Amplifier on show. Roughly 900 of these have been delivered to the Army under an earlier contract, but have yet to be fielded. Currently, the two-SINGARS VRC-92 vehicle configurations comprise a PA on the mount plus an additional single PA on an external point. The Elbit solution is designed to replace both PAs with a single solution that is fitted within the space of a current. The claim is for a reduction in volume from 522 cubic inches and 174 cubic inches with a weight reduction of 2.5 kilograms. The solution is designed entirely within the US. The company said that they were also looking for option on the MNVR programme.

Elbit Systems also had details of their MICOM New Generation Antenna system, a HLA-125 magnetic half loop antenna that supports omni-directional for NVUIS HF communication supporting 0-600 mile operation with no skip zone and HTDA-125 electrical antenna with a multi in high efficiency automatic tuner.

In SATCOM terms, L-3 had their GCS PANTHER manportable VSAT terminal with parabolic antenna, designed to be carried in a rucksack. The basis system weighs 19.5kg and uses an embedded iDirect Evolution iConnex e850mp modem with a DVB S2 capability and supports X, Ku and Ka with transmission rates of up to 3Mbps and a downlink of as high as 6Mbps.

BAE Systems PHOENIX SC, its solution for the Army's MNVR requirement.

Cobham reported that its AN/VIC-5 vehicle intercom is in the final stages of testing with the first production contract anticipates within the first half of next year. More here.

Advatech Pacific stated that their Tactical Cross Domain solution of TACDS allows user to control the sharing of information at the tactical edge and has completed NSA certification with 26 of the vehicle mounted devices in NIE 13.1 and a further three dismounted variants are being used.

A major presence by companies from South Korea was evident at AUSA this year. A key domestic supplier for intercoms is Yeonhab Precision, which makes the VIC-7K analogue harness that equips almost all South Korean military vehicles and the more recent VIC-7DK digital system, which supports up to six users and four radios. This intercom is on the South Korean K1 and K2 MBTs, as well as a number of vehicles in Colombia, and Thai and Indonesian services. The company's KCH-12 helmet was also shown. Structurally this is a 720g polycarbonate die-cast aluminium case with a 281 Lumen LED based light at the front of the helmet with lighting time of two hours and also integrates what was formerly known as MEDUSA wireless communication unit. MEDUSA is a 2.402-2.52Ghz WiFi link with range of 300m, extendable with networking to 4.5km supporting a maximum number of simultaneous talkers to 16.

Another South Korean firm at AUSA was Insopack who brought their WING/ACRO-M UHF radio, seeking military and Homeland Security markets. The radio is a GFSK modulation solution supporting up to three hops for range extension to 9km with radio protected to the IP67 standard.

Soldier Systems

Saab had their 9Land Soldier SPAD soldier systems on display matched with a Harris RF-7800SPR. The company is teamed with Rheinmetall Canada for Canada's ISSP programme, replacing the 9Land BMS software with software from Rheinmetall Canada for the bid, while retaining Saab's hardware, which gives a rugged supply to every soldier. The system minus the radio weighs roughly 850 grams.

Saab's Solution for Canada's ISSP requirement.

Other soldier system solutions on show included EFB's SWIPES (Soldier Worn Integrated Power Protective Equipment System), funded by the US Army as a power distribution systems linked to a conformal battery, which recharges worn devices, such as hand held radios and also powers other worn devices, such as a GPS.

DRS Technologies, also bidding for the ISSP, had their WARRIOR LAND FORCE WOLF on show, which weighs 2.08kg with the GFE supplied load carriage system. The key features of the systems are the Selex Elsag FRONTLINE SOLDIER radio, which, in addition to the PRR waveform, can be fitted with a broadband waveform, a 3.5 soldier radio display, battle management application, and both a primary cell and rechargeable power solution that also ensures that the WOLF system doesn't shut down when batteries are changed.

QinetiQ's Integrated Warrior system was also present on the floor. This comprises a Power and Data Management hub an enclosure for a smart device and a personal area network via <rot>Molle<P> based cabling with range of addition accessories.

GDC4S had their new NETT WARRIOR radio on the floor. This is essentially the AN/PRC-154 RIFLEMAN radio with additional security allowing leader to communicate at Secret level with the facility to also communicate at Sensitive But Unclassified for troops below. This would allow all NETT WARRIOR equipped troops to operate the same radio, which can use all the same ancillaries as the RIFLEMAN radio. The radio is physically distinguished from RIFLEMAN by the use of grey rather than black keys. GDC4S are under contract to supply 2,052 units with delivery due to start in February 2013, with an initial 4,000 to be completed by the summer of 2013. Currently an initial 40 radios are in tests.

A new offering from General Dynamics C4 Systems is the Universal Applications Product Line shown here on an AN/PRC-154 RIFLEMAN Radio.

Another new offering from GDC4S is the Universal Application product Line. This is a miniature processing module, which has a range of applications on which apps and other software can be hosted on a 8Gb MicroSD solid states memory card and powered by a TI OMAP 3730 processor. It has a range of roles but can for example attaching to an AN/PRC-154 RIFLEMAN radio mating pins giving it additional capabilities without having to resubmit the radio for NSA accreditation.

In addition to its traditional fare, GD increased its coverage of battlefield and first responder equipment. Key amongst these was the firms LTE Network in a Box a ruggedised box with the systems acting as a packet Dat Network gateway, Mobility Management Entity and Serving Gateway, as well as acting as a 3GPP compliant Evolved Packet Core and eNodeB base station. The 4G LTE System has a single V66 LTE eNodeB on board but a further 30 sectors can be added which supports up to 73.4Mbps downlink and 25.5 Mbps uplink. GD also showed a number of interoperability scenarios with its PATHMAKER wireless ad hoc radios using the PATHMAKER Multi-Gateway, which can be used to establish links with UHF/VHF, SATCOM, Cellular and IP devices include previous generation analogue LMR.

Telephonics had their NETCOM-V on display, which is matched with TRULINK for wireless crewman operation. Telephonics also brought their Type 1 WINDTALKER Encryption Devies (WED), which adds to the base of a TRULINK radio and allows up to six simultaneous full duplex talkers per channel and can be also added to the platform base station. This solution has already been fielded with Army Aviation crews under the Air Warrior programme.

Otto's innovation at AUSA 2012.

Other Innovation

FLIR Systems continues to be the leading force in threat detection capabilities and presented the innovative technologies during AUSA 2012. FLIR Systems debuted of the Mobile Surveillance Capability (MSC), a vehicle-based long range detection system integrating the TacFLIR 380-HD and radar surveillance into a mobile C2 centre using FLIRs COMMANDSPACE Adaptive C2 software. This seamless integration provides the soldier a one-button to detection capability deploying a mission-ready system in less than 8-minutes. This mobile solution was developed with US Customs and Border Protection as part of the MSC contract awarded in 2010.

Also new to the showfloor was KRAKEN, aka Combat Outpost Surveillance and Force Protection System (COSFPS), developed for the US Army to protect deployed forces in forward areas. Currently deployed to Afghanistan, this complete force protection suite, operational within minutes of deployment, includes a containerized sensor suite, power and communications infrastructure which also uses the COMMANDSPACE Adaptive C2 architecture. KRAKEN provides integrated passive self-protection technologies that include perimeter and lighting cameras, shot detection system and unattended ground sensors (UGS).

And, last but not least FLIR introduces Star SAFIRE 260-HLD as the newest member of the Star SAFIRE family of sensors. The 260-HLD is a 10 single LRU EO/IR imaging system with high-power, long range RSTA and laser designation capabilities. This sensor can host up to seven simultaneous payloads.

Gerber Military exhibited their AO Propel Assisted Open Prototype knife that will be available from April 2013. For Special Forces, it is an assisted open knife, with a Tonto Tip and a slight curve.

Colt exhibited their complete product line at AUSA 2012.

After presenting their innovative new system at Future Soldier a week before AUSA in Prague, Denmarks Invisio Communications were showcasing the INVISIO V60. The INVISIO V60 is an in-ear hearing protection and communication system with electronic hear-thru and impulse noise protection. The INVSIO V60 control unit can interface with different headsets types along with up to four com sources simultaneously, including radios, intercoms, mobile phones and computers.

According to the company, INVISIO V60 is the world's smallest and lightest multi-com control unit, with its volume and weight reduced by more than half compared to most other multi-com control units on the market. The control unit measures 70x63x25mm and weighs 145 grams.

It is submersible to 20m, even with unmated plugs. The control unit can be cleaned in fresh water to remove dust, dirt and sand. The INVISIO V60 is so light it even floats, and has been tested extensively to meet MILstandards and has total EMC shielding from the metalised housing and connectors. The INVISIO V60 uses breakaway connectors to improve safety especially for the dismounting soldier or in case of entanglement.

(Graphic: Invisio)

The new system can operate with all radio communication microphone lines open at all times - even to multiple com sources. This makes it possible to maintain full radio functionality like full-duplex communication, radio sidetone, priority voice, VOX and keying the radios onboard PTT buttons. It features split ear received audio so that different talk groups can be assigned between left and right ear to improve intelligibility and battlefield situational awareness. Received audio is automatically and dynamically assigned when connecting or disconnecting a radio. The INVISIO V60 has four separate and independent input audio (Rx) streams that can be directed to either ear with different audio amplification. The three output audio streams (Tx) are also separate and independent with different audio amplification for each device connected. It can be configured to meet different operational requirements through preset key combinations, enabling users to set up the system as required for their mission.

The INVISIO V60 can be configured to meet different operational requirements through preset key combinations, enabling users to set up the system as required for their mission.Having a data connection on all com ports, the system enables data communication between the control unit and another device. This enables software upgrades and control of other devices. Furthermore, it enables automatic detection of hot-swap devices such as radios, intercom systems, mobile phones, computers and remote PTTs and sets the audio and system parameters instantaneously. A key benefit is being able to deploy new equipment (headsets and radios) without having to reprogram the INVISIO V60.

Connectable to either a radio, intercom system, mobile phone, computer, remote PTT or power supply to any of INVISIO V60 com ports and the system will automatically sense it and change the settings. All of the com ports feature dual audio input (stereo) as well as dual PTT to enable the use of the latest software-defined personal radios and platform intercom systems. For the mounted soldier using a platform intercom there is a microphone latching function for turning the microphone on and off, as well as a PTT for the platform radio.

The INVISIO V60 has no internal battery and powers directly from an attached radio or other central power supply. This not only reduces the size/weight of the system, it also reduces the system's complexity, the number of batteries to be changed during or after missions as well as life cycle and operational costs. The system turns on and off automatically with the radio and removing a radio does not interfere with operation, as long as power remains from another source. The system can also be powered from the platform intercom system, enabling the mounted soldier to have all man worn radios turned off.

Four PTT buttons are assigned dynamically depending on the attached radios and user configuration. The two side buttons are designated as primary use and the two front buttons are designated as secondary use.
The INVISIO V60 uses a single button volume control for hear-thru that reduces the number of buttons required and makes it simpler to get the amplification required for a situation. The hear-thru starts automatically when the radio is turned on and can be turned off by pressing and holding the hear-thru controller. A short press of the hear-thru controller then scrolls between different hear-thru levels.
The INVISIO V60 starts automatically when the first connected radio is turned on and then shuts down again when the last connected radio is turned off. Once the system is turned on, the communications and hear-thru are fully functional and there is no need for any calibration of the system (it even works without the foam plugs on).

Will-Burt innovation at AUSA 2012.

RADA tactical radars.

While laser-based firearms training simulators have long proven their worth for safety and effectiveness, they still are costly and often limited to certain weapons and venues. Laser Ammo USA, the US. arm of the Israel-based Laser Devices believes they have a better solution its SURESTRIKE Laser Cartridge. Available at prices ranging from $100-550, the laser cartridge allows firearms owners to engage in firearms training with any laser-receiving product, including electronic targets and simulators, and the Setcans MILES (Multiple Integrated Laser Engagement System) Stress Vest. It is the only device on the market adaptable for pistols in MILES vest training.

MetaVR visuals were featured during a Textron Systems' Tactical Operations Center demonstration. Textron demonstrated collaboration between Bell Helicopters KIOWA WARROIR simulator located in Huntsville, AL, and AAIs UAS Universal Ground Control Station (UGCS). The OH58-D simulator used MetaVRs multi-channel VRSG technology to provide a full out-the-window display, and is capable of LOI 2 interoperability with UAS platforms. AAIs UGCS used VRSG to simulate UAV payload video from the SHADOW TUAS. The demonstration featured a mission thread centered on MetaVR's high-resolution Afghanistan 3D terrain.

Thales Deutschland brought along its modular SAGITTARIUS small arms and tactical training solution, enabling a mission-tailored use ranging from highly effective basic training, up to a combination of advanced and specified training contents, which may lead into a multi-level training environment with other net-worked simulation modules and systems.

Water delivery solutions formed the core of Westerwälder Eisenwerk WEWs display during AUSA. Two systems were on show, the 2,000gal HIPPO system variant, and the 800gal LVMW (Light Vehicle Module - Water) unit, a variant on the US Army CAMEL being primed in the US by Choctaw Defense.

HIPPO is deployed by PLS/DROPS or fitted into any multimodal supply-chain (including air). This unit is equipped with its own reverse-osmosis system, which enables water to be acquired from any source then purified before being supplied as clean drinking water.

The 800gal LVMW variant is intended as the replacement for the long-established Water BUFFALO. This module is suitable for 4X4/ 6X6 vehicles, small protected UTES, such as the Thales HAWKEI and can also be mounted on trailers such as the M-1095. Fitted to this unit is a chiller /dispenser system which enables the user to have temperature-controlled potable water as soon as the unit is deployed. The fuel variant of this module LVMF (Light Vehicle Module Fuel) can fitted with a variety of pumps which can deliver from 25USG/100L per minute up to 100USG/400L per minute of fuel and has a wide range of protection/environmental options.

WEW water and fuel module variants are normally equipped with their own generators and are fully autarkic. They can typically be operated either as stand-alone units or coupled to deliver a bulk storage and delivery capability.

WEW has developed a range of water logistics solutions enabling the warfighter to have water wherever it is needed, said Jan Gerhard de-Vries, Joint Managing Director of WEW.  We continuously invest in providing the military community with fuel and water logistics solutions which are suitable for deployment in main, forward operating or patrol bases.  These have been deployed in a wide variety of environments from the very hot to the very cold and have not been found wanting.

Barrett exhibited their complete product line at AUSA 2012.

High interest in Saab's RBS-70NG.

This is the combined effort of Dennis-P. Merklinghaus 
and the MT correspondents, 
Andrew Drwiega, Adam Baddeley, and Marty Kauchak.