About Me

My photo
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

31 March 2015

AUSA Winter 2015: Fuel and Water Solutions for a Changing World

It is over 25 years since the Berlin Wall came down and the old Cold War started to warm up, since then the shape of warfare has changed to being expeditionary with lighter forces more easily deployed over much greater distances.

The KMV Dingo utility variant with a WEW water system mounted on the back.  In the box are the pump and filtration units. (Photos: WEW)

One of the major changes that came from this was the introduction of the 20ft ISO container which can be deployed using both civil and military supply chains as we have seen during the recent conflicts in Iraq and Afghanistan.  These ISO containers could be and are moved intermodally i.e. by road, rail, sea and even by air across all supply lines.  One company which exploited this logistic technology is WEW, which is based in Germany but has offices in a number of countries including the US.  The company has successfully used the standard ISO technology, complete with its corner castings used to mount the unit on a vehicle or trailer and the standard sizing, to develop a range of fuel and water Drop & Go™ systems.  These consist of a tank mounted within a standard ISO frame to give it strength and integrity and then within the same envelope the company has developed a range of modules such as pump units, filtration systems, heating and cooling, chlorination and other accessories depending on the application.

The HIPPO water system in service with the US Army has been produced by WEW in partnership with MilMar of the US.  It uses the HEMTT-LHS for load handling.

For the last 15 years WEW has developed a reputation for supplying these rugged easily transported tanks, which can carry up to 22,500 litres/6,000 US gallons, to NATO nations including the US Army, the German Bundeswehr and the British Army for service in Kosovo, Iraq and Afghanistan.  These Drop & Go systems can be transported using variety of cargo handling systems such as PLS and DROPS.

Warfare has evolved.  Where we once envisioned large formations fighting on the plains in central Europe, we now focus on a full spectrum of operations, from warfare to Security and Stability Operations to peacekeeping and humanitarian assistance with smaller formations widely dispersed over greater distances where mobility is one of the key factors and bases are only temporary.  The introduction of the Protected Patrol vehicle and adoption of MRAP (Mine Resistant Ambush Protected) technologies has given defence forces the ability to penetrate much deeper into hostile territory.  This brings with it the need for the patrol to have its own fuel and water.  WEW has taken this requirement in its stride and developed a range of smaller units which incorporate much of the quality and technology that the company is recognised for.  These units can be mounted either on utility variants of patrol vehicle, carried on smaller armoured logistic vehicles or mounted on a trailer.  Some of the company’s solutions can be coupled together to become the same size as an ISO container for bulk transport.  But core to all the of the company’s family of fuel and water systems is quality, reliability and most importantly designed to meet the warfighter’s requirements.

The WEW trailer module for the German Bundeswehr undergoing tilt trials prior to acceptance into service. Four of these units when dismounted from the trailer can be linked together to form a 20ft ISO unit for easy intermodal transport.

Raytheon to Upgrade South Korean PATRIOT Air- and Missile-Defence Systems

Raytheon said Monday that its Integrated Defense Systems unit has been awarded a $769.4 million contract from South Korea to upgrade an undisclosed quantity of PATRIOT air- and missile-defence system batteries.

Raytheon is to upgrade South Korean PATRIOT Air- and Missile-Defence Systems (Photo: Raytheon)

In a statement, Raytheon officials said the pact will allow the Republic of Korea (ROK) to be better protected against ballistic missiles, aircraft and other airborne threats.

"The upgrade enhances the Republic of Korea's defences and underscores the value of the 13-nation strong PATRIOT partnership which funded development of the modernisation," said Dan Crowley, president of Raytheon IDS, in a statement. "The ROK's procurement is also an economic growth engine which will bring good jobs to Korea and preserve jobs in the US which would have gone overseas if a foreign system was selected."

The deal comes on top of one announced in late 2014, when Korea awarded Raytheon a contract for $160 million to upgrade its missiles to the GEM-T configuration. This award was announced in Raytheon's 2014 fourth quarter earnings call.

AUSA Winter 2015: Reliable off grid power for Special Forces and Remote Environment

Modern soldier systems are becoming more power-hungry. Optimum soldier safety and operability depend upon reliable power supplies.

Conventional solutions are limited: Batteries alone cannot meet the requirements in multi-day missions, forcing soldiers to carry large and heavy spare batteries – weight and volume not available for water, food or ammunition. Generators require maintenance and produce detectable signatures. Solar modules are weather dependent. SFC Power supplies with fuel cells are a silent, lightweight, non-detectable alternative.

Fuel cells recharge batteries fully automatically. Thanks to the high energy density of their fuel (30 times higher than that of lead acid batteries and 7 times higher than that of Li-ion batteries) soldiers can carry along much power at minimum weight and volume. Intelligent power management enables hybrid operation with other energy sources, e.g. solar panels.

Portable power for fielded missions - SFC Energy Network

Fuel cells enable 80% weight savings in fielded missions. The SFC energy network consisting of the portable JENNY 600S fuel cell and the SFC Power Manager is a man portable, flexible fuel cell system. It supplies 24/7 reliable power without emissions or detectable signature. It powers electric devices directly. Operation in combination with the SFC Power Manager enables use of different power sources and charging batteries.

Power for military vehicles and fielded missions - EMILY fuel cell

Communication, sensing and weapon systems require a continuous power supply. In the vehicle engine starts cause cover loss, emissions, fuel consumption, and component wear. Fielded forces face similar problems: They must carry along heavy batteries. EMILY provides reliable power in multi-day missions. It recharges batteries automatically on demand, 24/7, in any weather, without user attention.

Intelligent Power Management - SFC Power Manager

In the field soldiers want to use any available power sources to operate any kind of device they need. This requires intelligent power management. The SFC Power Manager can be integrated into existing systems to simplify power logistics and reduce overall weight while increasing operation efficiency. It enables use of any available power source including batteries, vehicle power, solar, and fuel cells. The intelligent and configurable system automatically adapts output voltage to the requirements of the connected systems. Use the Power Manager for recharging batteries or for directly operating devices.

SFC Energy fuel cells 

SFC Energy fuel cell products are used by numerous international police, defense, and intelligence organizations. SFC Energy has been cooperating closely with German Bundeswehr and the U.S. Army for over 10 years. It is the world’s first company with a fuel cell fully approved for use by the German Bundeswehr. The U.S. ARMY Test and Evaluation Command uses SFC fuel cells on their test ranges to power instrumentation. SFC Energy has sold over 33,000 fuel cell systems in defense and security, off-grid industry and consumer applications worldwide.

Luftwaffe Exclusive - Advanced Training Technology in the Third Dimension

Goodyear Makes Use of New Flight Training Procedures within the German Air Force

The German Air Force (Luftwaffe) already has a large number of simulation systems. Mainly developed and introduced for weapon system-specific training, these systems support basic and follow-on training as well as realistic pre-deployment training and post-deployment activities of Luftwaffe personnel. Simulators can be employed irrespective of environmental influences, such as weather conditions and therefore are available around the clock. State-of–the-art technology makes it possible to exercise and train under simulated extreme conditions while saving resources and original equipment. For this to remain like that, training means and methods need to be constantly further developed.

Grob 120A cockpit. (Photos: Luftwaffe)

The Luftwaffe has been applying new approaches for technology-based training within the scope of its modern training technology (MTT) concept for quite some time now. Already in 2012, the “Eurofighter Ground Check Run” project was developed under the lead responsibility of the Luftwaffe Support Command. It merges real-time videos, conventional documents and simulated processes into an integrated three-dimensional learning environment. A development team from the Luftwaffe Engineering Training Center was awarded the “eureleA-2012” (European Award for Technology Supported Learning) in the “Best Technical Implementation” category for this effort.
In the meantime, a further step has been taken for an even more effective and realistic web-based flight training on a networked modern platform. In July 2014, a team from the Luftwaffe Engineering Training Center in Kaufbeuren, Germany travelled to Goodyear, AZ/USA, in order to carry out preparations for a complex procedural trainer for the Grob 120A on site. Designed as a cockpit trainer for a single-engine aircraft, this trainer will be used for primary flying training, allowing students to train standard and emergency procedures in accordance with the flight manual. The procedural trainer will be implemented on the basis of the MTT learning programme. The system offers a multitude of possibilities for training and subsequent analyses in order to create an optimum learning effect.
During its stay at Goodyear, the team collected all relevant data from checklists and numerous manuals, creating photo and video material and processing the data for use in different media. Even the smallest details had to be captured since it would no longer be possible to integrate further information on the Grob 120A in a timely manner during the subsequent implementation phase in Germany.

Thus, every working day ended with a debriefing and a precise definition of the next day’s schedule. Material which for reasons of quality could not be used for the procedural trainer had to be recreated. For this reason, continuous guidance by the flight instructor of 3rd Luftwaffe Training Squadron was of particular importance. In this way, the authors immediately received answers to their questions so that even those processes deemed complex from their point of view were understood.

Training in the virtual procedural trainer will mainly be based on a simulation of the entire check list with the exception of the phase of flight. For this purpose, the flight instructors conducted a theoretical instruction on all relevant documents before demonstrating examples of the pre-flight inspection by performing the before exterior inspection and the walkaround (visual inspection by the pilot) in practice. Thus, every single step could be documented by photo and video recording. The example of the walkaround clearly shows that an integration of high-quality video elements into procedural trainers is indispensable. Video sequences help student pilots to achieve the desired learning and training success, in particular where complex procedures or visual examinations are concerned.

A special highlight of the implementation was a flight in a Grob 120A during the second week. Here it became evident that the conceptual groundwork of the preceding days had served its purpose. Theoretic lessons learnt so far were now seen through the eyes of the student pilots. Flight preparations, the execution of the entire checklist down to take off, the flight phase, touch & go, different traffic patterns and the final approach with the landing at Goodyear – every step matched the theoretical instructions! The flight complemented the data collection phase by providing first-hand impressions.

The package of tasks for the creation of the procedural trainer, which was based upon the flight training syllabus, had already been agreed upon in advance. Getting these tasks done posed a major challenge since only a limited amount of time was available and all work involved had to be strictly organized. Nevertheless, the team managed to prepare detailed prerequisites for possible further development tasks and record them by means of appropriate media.

The project is currently in the production phase, which means that 3D modelling is taking place at the Luftwaffe Engineering Training Center in Kaufbeuren. What will be created during this process is a realistic representation of the shelter area and an entire Grob 120A model including its cockpit.
A major advantage in this context is the web-based publication of the application. Future users in the US will be able to track the development status of the procedural trainer on the Bundeswehr intranet in real time. Based on previously determined test criteria and the requirements catalog, they will follow the further development of the simulator, thus providing a further instance of quality assurance during development.

The procedural trainer will be operationally available at Goodyear in the first quarter of 2015. This will also mark the start of a new era in primary flying training for the young student pilots of the Luftwaffe. Where until now flight training could only be conducted directly on the aircraft or by theoretical training, the procedural trainer now opens up entirely new possibilities. Restrictions owing to limited availability of resources will be minimised.

Future Luftwaffe pilots will be introduced to the methodology of the cockpit functions already during pre-flight training and prior to the start of their training at Goodyear. Within a year’s time, another procedural trainer will be set up at the Luftwaffe Officer School in Fürstenfeldbruck, which will allow elements of flight training to be conducted in student numbers up to classroom size.
Andreas Haslinger, Andreas Hofmann
The authors of this article are Maj. Andreas Haslinger, German Air Force Support Command, Personnel/Organisation/ /Controlling/ Training Division III b and Senior Master Sergeant Andreas Hofmann, German Air Force Engineering Training Center Division South.

30 March 2015

The Situation in Yemen - An Air Force Assessment

Sources within the Royal Saudi Air Force (RSAF) report 1,200+ sorties flown by now; 500 on the first two days, and “only” 200 yesterday. Sounds like a VERY intensive operation…Georg Mader reports.

The status of the Yemeni Air Force’s (YAF)'s Ground Based Air Defence (GBAD) (all heavy surface-to-air missiles [SAM] in Yemen are operated by the YAF, not by the ground forces as reported in the media) was actually better than that of the YAF's flying components. Most aircraft were largely grounded since 2013, for lack of spares. From what we know it is obvious that large parts of the Yemeni GBAD systems were overhauled with the help of Belarussian and Russian specialists. As it is clear that SAMs were indeed launched in the first night, the effort to destroy SAM sites and air surveillance/air defence (AD) assets is not a pointless exercise in munition expenditure. Even a single old SAM site, provided it is technically functional and crewed by men who know how to operate it, can shoot aircraft down. This is why no chances can be taken.

Yemen has gotten a similar upgrade for its SA-3s as Syria, believed to be PECHORA-2M-likes. That said, this force is nowhere that big: It consisted of only three AD brigades equipped with SAMs, and two equipped with AAA. As of early 2000, each of these has operated two battalions (one site per each battalion) of S-75s (SA-2s), and one or two of S-125s (SA-3s), and 2K12 (SA-6s). One SAM-brigade was protecting the city of Sana'a, one Aden, and the exact position of the third is unclear. It could be that it was responsible for defending Taizz. It is possible that they have received some new equipment, but – corrections welcome – MT never found any kind of confirmation for reported delivery of 2S6M1 TUNGUSKA systems to Yemen in 2005.
While the Saudi spokesperson said that 40% of Yemeni AD have been knocked out by now, and it can be assumed that the RSAF at least attempted to hit all seven known positions of the YAF's SA-2 and SA-3 sites (which are fixed in their place since years and thus more than well known), all that can be confirmed is destruction of the SRN-125 Low Blow fire-control radar of the SA-3 site protecting Marib (this site, i.e. battalion, is an element of the SAM-brigade protecting Sana'a) on the first night.

Roundup of the (former) sites:
Marib - 2x SA-2
Haliburton gas or oil facility east of Marib: 1x SA-2 + 2x SA-3
Sana'a - 3x SA-2 + 1x SA-3 (+ SA-6)
Ta'izz - 2x SA-2
Aden - 3x SA-2 + 2x SA-3
Mukalla - 1x SA-2
Ar Riyan (Mukalla airport) - 2x SA-2
Hodeidah - 2x SA-2
Qurayyah - 2x SA-2
Mocha - 1x SA-2

The largest other success of Friday, according to the RSAF, should have been the “destruction of Iranian- and Chinese-originated long-range missiles that were underway to Saudi territory;” taken place in the Sa'ada Province. If true, it would mean that they have caught some Yemeni SCUDs or TOCHKAs in attack in the weapons storage depot at Faj Attah, in Sana'a, the last night.

However, Brig.Gen. Ahmed bin Hasan Asiri warned on Saturday that the Houthis would control more of these ~300km short-range surface-to-surface missiles (SSM). His account could not be immediately corroborated, but YAF brigades - equipped with R-17E (SCUD-B) and TOCHKA (SS-21s) SSMs - have joined the Houthis. Yemeni SSMs are also operated by the Air Force, not by the Army). During the war of 1994-1995, former North Yemen fired about 35 TOCHKAs, while former South Yemen fired about 30 SCUDs. Shortly after, Yemen bought North Korean-made SCUDs, after signing a corresponding contract. As of 1999, US intel assessed Yemen to possess 18 R-17Es, and by mid-2000s up to 60 missiles. Whatever the case, Russia – much more than Iran - was supportive of the Houthis.

Brig.Gen. Asiri said the airstrike campaign - now entering its fourth day on Sunday - continued to target SCUD missiles in Yemen, „leaving most of their launching pads devastated.”

But, as we learned in Syria and Libya, this kit does not need any real launch pads.

Sudan has meanwhile increased its participation to four fighter jets, as confirmed by a report, but RSAF sources state that the Sudanese Air Force (SuAF) is yet to fly any combat sorties over Yemen. They are based at Wadi Seidna in North-Omdurman and the Sukhoi Su-24 (FENCER) would be the only Sudanese aircraft with legs to reach Yemen. I personally wonder how they would integrate into a US/NATO-styled Combined Air Operations Centre (CAOC) with an aircraft like FENCER, as all systems would pop-up alerting hostile aircraft detected…

Nevertheless, images via Sana’a TV suggest that the SuAF has already LOST a FENCER strike-aircraft over the Bani Houshah district of Sana'a, one of just a few acquired in secret from Belarus in 2013.

The pilots of one Saudi RSAF F-15S had to eject over the waters south of Yemen after what officially is named a “technical malfunction.” Both were rescued in assistance by the US-Navy.

The Saudi-led airstrike campaign targeting rebels who control much of Yemen has “pushed them out of contested air bases and destroyed any jet fighter remaining in the Arab world’s poorest country,” Brig.Gen. Asiri has said. And indeed, it seems that the RSAF Plus Coalition did destroy the Yemeni Mig-29s after all. AJE is showing a Saudi video of the targeting and destruction of a row of shelters that usually house the Mig-29s at Sana'a.
Georg Mader

Bell Helicopter Unveils V-280 Single Screen Cockpit Concept

At the US Army Aviation Missions Solution Summit (29-31 March), Nashville, TN, Bell Helicopter is previewing a technology demonstration of its integrated single screen cockpit concept for the V-280. Andrew Drwiega is reporting from Quad-A, Nashville, TN.

Bell Helicopter Unveiling V-280 Single Screen Cockpit Concept at US Army Aviation Missions Solution Summit 

It is a futuristic - combining the usual flight symbology that would be expected from a digital display, together with interactive screens showing active degraded visual environment (DVE) information, live video and imagery feeds, onboard weapons status (with interactive selection and firing on-screen) - all with a touch of 'Iron Man' conceptualisation thrown in for good measure. Pilots would be able to finger-pass information box data across the screen from one to the other.

The system's data could also be displayed on the front windscreen and / or in the pilot's visor - or a combination, which could be customisable.

Bell Helicopter V-280 Single Screen Cockpit Concept 

The V-280 full scale model is also demonstrating a weapons rail that could be deployed from under the wing and, potentially carry Hellfire missiles which could be fired forward without hitting or being affected by the large rotors.

Bell Helicopter has also brought a V-280 simulator to demonstrate at Quad-A (of which more later).

While this concept is just that - a concept - those responsible for the thinking behind it are envisaging taking mission management and situational awareness to a new level.
Andrew Drwiega

26 March 2015

MTG Marinetechnik Selects Surma for Combat Survivability Assessment Software

MTG Marinetechnik, an engineering company from Germany specialised in the planning and conception of naval vessels, has recently signed a contract with the Finnish company Surma for the supply of the SURMA combat survivability assessment software. SURMA has been selected by MTG after a thorough market analyses. SURMA will greatly expand the existing portfolio for survivability analyses in the early planning stages of naval designs.

"Naval vessels are highly complex and incorporate a high financial but also technical risk," a source at MTG told MT. "To reduce the technical but also the financial risk, special analyses on survivability aspects have to be incorporated into the whole design process as early as possible. The results of the survivability analyses have a direct input to the design itself and with the help of SURMA, the design can be further optimised using reliable simulation results thus leading to the most efficient and economical solution."

25 March 2015

Bundeswehr Procurement Hit by Delays, Cost Overruns

Most equipment programmes aimed at modernising the German military (Bundeswehr) are affected by severe delays and cost overruns, a recent German MoD report shows. Published on 19 March, the report covers the so-called Top 15 of major procurement programmes that includes the new PUMA AIFV, TIGER and NH90 helicopters, and the A400M transport aircraft. Other topics include Eurofighter TYPHOON, its new AESA radar and IRIS-T and METEOR air-to-air missiles, with PAC-3 CRI missile enhancements to PATRIOT and a possible follow on ground based air defence (GBAD) system also being reviewed. In the naval domain, the new F125 frigate and the K130 corvette are scrutinised. The BOXER multi role armoured vehicle, new interservice secure networked software defined radios, and the EUROHAWK programme including possible alternatives are also covered. Altogether, the costs of these 15 programmes including cost overruns now amount to slightly over €58 billion, which is 70%  of the financial volume needed to fund all ongoing procurement efforts by the Bundeswehr.

The PUMA programme has been delayed by 53 months. (Photo: Bundeswehr)

Building on an elaborate 1,500 page October 2014 report put together by independent accountants from KPMG, P3 Group and Taylor Wessing, the latest document is part of a comprehensive equipment roadmap that is aimed at enhancing the efficiency and transparency of the Bundeswehr’s procurement process. Coincidentally, the German MoD wants to increase the level of international cooperation, negate some of the military’s current capability gaps while also improving materiel readiness. A direct result of the latter has been the establishment of two task forces for aerial weapon systems, one for rotary wing assets and one for fixed wing aircraft. Another part of the roadmap has been the introduction by the previous defence minister de Maizière in late 2013 of a so-called equipment board that convenes on a regular basis and reports to secretary Suder, the deputy of current defence minister Ursula von der Leyen.

The March report appears to vindicate a number of experts who have long questioned the Bundeswehr’s lack of progress when it comes to procurement including its painstakingly slow process of establishing requirements. While the Bundeswehr envisaged it would cost 13 years on average to deal with the above mentioned 15 programmes, the report shows that development snags and certification issues have led to delays that saw these programmes on average being extended by more than four years. In general, costs were 29%  higher than anticipated, this equating to an increase of €12.9 billion, 72%  of which as a result of annual price hikes contractually agreed upon by the military and the defence industry.

The German NH90 programme has shown a massive 158 month delay with full operational capability (FOC) now expected to be reached in late 2016 instead of in 2003. The EUROFIGHTER and A400M programmes have respectively been hit by 136 month and 107 month delays. To some extent politically motivated, final deliveries of EUROFIGHTER are now planned for early 2018. Meanwhile, delays with regard to the TIGER attack helicopter programme are now described as being 110 months. However, due to the new framework agreement with Airbus Helicopters which will see production being reduced from 80 to 68 aircraft, this will eventually be reduced to 81 months. While progress with the BOXER programme has been above expectations, with final deliveries of the initial batch now planned for March 2016, the PUMA programme has been delayed by 53 months. Even worse, cost overruns are cited as being 103% , much more than with the EUROHAWK full scale demonstrator and its Airbus DS ISIS SIGINT suite (62% ) or EUROFIGHTER (39% ). To a large extent this is due to a reduction in the number of new AIFVs that are on order with 350 now being planned instead of the initial figure of 1,152 vehicles. In addition, concurrent development and production, and incremental changes to the vehicle’s set of requirements, for instance by adding the MELLS guided missile system, have led to an increase of €2.32 billion. Despite this, in absolute terms, EUROFIGHTER’s price hike is bigger than the cost overruns of all other 14 programmes together, this involving an increase of €6.77 billion.
Part of the equipment roadmap aimed at solving the materiel challenges the German MoD is confronted with, are a number of short term goals. These include an analysis of future key technologies that are deemed essential to maintain a technological edge, especially with regard to air power, and the implementation of an improved risk management scheme to better deal with complex, large scale equipment programmes. In 2015, the MoD will also have to decide on how to continue with the MKS 180 multirole combat ship. A decision on whether the Bundeswehr will continue with MEADS or with an Evolved PATRIOT system to fullfil its future tactical GBAD requirements is also expected soon.
Pieter Bastiaans

23 March 2015

High-Stakes in Indian MMRCA, Eurofighter Makes Strategic Push

In one of the slowest defence deals in history - Medium Multi-Role Combat Air-craft (MMRCA) -, MT recently learnt that the Narendra Modi government is studying a German proposal (offering a new cheaper proposal for its Eurofighter TYPHOON), even as Hindustan Aeronautics Ltd (HAL) has been negotiating with Dassault, the maker of the RAFALE, to finalise agreements to produce the aircraft in India. The RAFALE deal for 126 jets is estimated to cost €20 billion (Rs.1.6 lakh crore) over the next decade and is considered the biggest global defence tender.

Representatives of the German government met leaders of the Indian MoD and culminated in a new commercial proposal that seeks to undercut the French bid. The new German offer could bring down the total value of the contract by Rs.20,000 crore over its 10-year duration. The scale of the "discount"-formally offered in early July to Defence Minister Arun Jait-ley-was substantial enough to create ripples at the very top of the Government, with Prime Minister Modi also being apprised about the development, sources said.

In terms of the net present value- the hypothetical cost of buying the entire fleet in one go at current prices-the new offer is at a little more than €10.5 billion, while the French price is estimated to be a billion euros more. Calculated on the basis of the firm fixed price-or the amount India has to pay over 10 years-the German price comes to €17.5 billion.

Other news sources state that German Foreign Minister Frank-Walter Steinmeier offered 126 Eurofighter TYPHOON for approx. U$9.8 billion, about $2 billion less than the original French $12 billion.

The German offer, which has come through Eurofighter TYPHOON manufacturer Airbus Defence & Space (DS), has raised doubts over the future of the RAFALE deal even though there is no scope for a revised price offer in the defence ministry's procurement rules. Experts believe that while there is no room for renegotiating the contract under the rules, the size of the German discount would force the Indian government to take a fresh look at the price offered by France. The counter-offer is supposed to be the outcome of hectic diplomatic manoeuvring by major European powers that have a high stake in the contract due to its sheer value and the job creation potential that can boost the economy of consortium member nations.

India would also have to deal with pressure from Paris, given that France has invested a lot of political capital in the deal. France is India's third-largest supplier of defence equipment and major deals include the SCORPENE submarine line and the upgrade of the MIRAGE 2000 fleet. But the counter-offer and its financial implications can create uncertainty for the MMRCA project. And that cannot be good news for the Indian Air Force as the project is already two years behind schedule and other replacement projects such as the Fifth Generation Fighter Aircraft (FGFA) with Russia and the indigenous Light Combat Aircraft (LCA) have also been crawling.

19 March 2015

Elettronica (ELT) - Guaranteeing Reliable, Effective Products and Solutions

Elettronica (ELT), founded in 1951, is one of the European leaders in the production of electronic defence equipment, aka electronic warfare (EW). The experience in the design and production of EW equipment and systems acquired in over 50 years guarantees reliable, effective solutions able to satisfy the changing needs of modern defence. ELT supplies all solutions, systems and products in the EW field: From interception capacity during law enforcement operations to surveillance of risk areas, to the self-protection of platforms in hostile zones, up to monitoring the electro-magnetic scenario.
The company's product line includes any EW aspect: From single stand-alone devices to integrated systems for naval, air and ground applications in service with the Armed Forces of 28 countries on five continents. In detail, ELT is specialised in the design, development and production of EW systems for search, interception, analysis, identification and localisation of electromagnetic emissions (ESM/ELINT); EW counter-measure systems (ECM); Radar Warning Receivers (RWR); integrated EW systems ESM/ECM.

The company boasts successful international collaboration with both platform producers and other sector industries worldwide. Said consolidated collaborations have led to the definition and implementation of important systems like the EW suites for Consortiums and International Programs such as: TYPHOON, HORIZON frigates, NH-90, TORNADO, EH101, AMX, and MIRAGE2000.

EW's main purpose is to anticipate and neutralise threats in continuous technological evolution,” explained Enzo Benigni, President & CEO, Elettronica. “Present operating requirements are the main force behind the search for ongoing, complete innovation that has always been EW's ‘raison d'être.’ In our sector, excellence is an absolute duty not just an extra value! Nothing Happens Without Enthusiasm.”

One of ELT's leading products today is modular ESM equipment (the ALR-733 system family), designed for various classes of aircraft, from Navy helicopters to MPA, AEW&C, AGS and various types of UAV. Such systems have two main functions, simultaneous and totally independent: Fully automatic surveillance of the electromagnetic environment, and detailed analysis of high priority / interest signals, either selected by the operator on the basis of the mission requirements, or automatically designated by the ESM Processor, on the basis of pre-programmed criteria, defined by the user. Thanks to the wide flexibility in data display and exploitation, to the possibility of controlling the system from a remote station and to integrate ESM data with information from other sensors, these systems are an extremely flexible and easily adaptable equipment, suitable for a wide range of platforms and applications.

The stringent weight requirements of several aircraft and helicopters encouraged ELT to develop a miniaturised version of the ALR-733, designated ALR-741. This version retains modularity and most performances of its larger brother, but is definitely lighter and permits an easier installation on tactical aircraft with critical payload limitations. The strong points of this new lightweight product are: Automation, flexibility of operational functions, to respond to mission requirements ranging from Radar Warning to detailed scenario analysis (real time ELINT), total controllability from a remote station and high performance level; a mix of features that many potential users will certainly find attractive.

In RWRs, ELT produced hundreds of units of different models, for installation in tactical aircraft and helicopters for the Italian Armed Forces and of many other countries. The most recent products of this class have been enhanced through integration of an Instantanious Frequency Detector (IFD) and adoption of advanced processing features (such as accurate signal analysis and automatic extraction of radar tracks), for effective operation even in "high density" signal scenarios.

In the situation awareness arena, ELT designs to provide pilots of combat aircraft with a clear and unambiguous description of the electronic scenario, even in the most critical operating environments (with the presence of numerous continuous-wave strong signals, friendly of enemy). The most recent models, now being developed, use a combination of various cooperating receiving channels, working in parallel and synchronised to provide unambiguous real time signal description even in critical situations. The architecture also foresees the use of DRx (digital receiver), now in its current and "simple" form, to be replaced in future by some more sophisticated model, presently under development.

Of course this just scratches the surface of ELT’s capabilities, who also provide excellent products and solutions in the land and naval arena, as well as integrated systems and technical solutions.

A New Journey in the European Market

Recently, a highly competitive market and the foremost need to develop a sustainable product roadmap to meet customer expectations, have prompted Elettronica GmbH (ELT GmbH) to adopt a new industrial plan. The new ELT GmbH will position itself as a value-adding partner to customers and industries’ value chains with a more solid, renewed and richer catalogue. The new ELT GmbH has extended its capabilities and expertise through three new business lines:
  • Line 1 for manufacturing of digital technology, dedicated to antenna technology based on an extensive experience and advanced facilities, such as an anechoic chamber and electro-mechanical integration, providing tailored solutions to the needs of the A&D industry.
  • Line 2 for the installation and integration of sensors based on the long-standing experience acquired in the Homeland Security (HLS) sector. ELT GmbH is now extending its product support capability to ensure both functional and physical integration of complex customer sensors, deployed on board a variety of military platforms.
  • Line 3 for integrated testing, training and analysis, a company development for the validation of EW/radar systems and to train crews and operators, complementing ELT’s portfolio of simulations, testers, and training solutions.

ELT GmbH has started a new journey in the European market,” said Alessandro Ercolani, VP for ELT and CRO for ELT GmbH. “Now we innovatively integrate different capabilities and solutions through a wide range of applications. The products offered by ELT GmbH will support the industrial, defence, and HLS sectors through an operational excellence approach providing a leading edge role in the new global competitive scenario and the new market paradigm.”

The new ELT GmbH claims unique and wide experience and expertise, enabling the company to deal with any future challenge and issue. New capabilities and an innovative plant meet customer needs in terms of real cost/effective procurement, applied to all product phases. Furthermore, a new multi-plant network between Germany and Italy will cope with demanding manufacturing volumes and crisis management issues, ensuring reliable supply schedules. ELT GmbH invests about 10% of its revenues in R&D and seeks a close collaboration with European Universities and research centres in order to pursue new opportunities and sustain future growth. 

Finmeccanica Expects Growth in the Aerospace, Defence and Security Sector

The Finmeccanica Group forecasts an overall growth in the markets of Aerospace, Defence and Security over the next years (4% CAGR over 2014-2023), mainly driven by civil and military aviation, increased defence spending from emerging economies and demand for systems for protection from asymmetric threats.

In this market environment, the Industrial Plan of Finmeccanica aims to achieve important targets, both in terms of profits and cash generation. The basis for achieving these goals is through actions being taken not only to reduce overhead and administrative costs, but, above all, also to improve efficiency and ensure greater effectiveness of the main operational processes (engineering, production and supply chain).

The forecasts for the next financial years no longer include operations in the Transportation sector, been sold to Hitachi at the end of February (excluding some minor operations).

2015 forecasts are based on the completion of the transaction involving the Transportation sector on the agreed terms and conditions, with an estimated overall positive impact of €600 million on the Group’s Net Debt, including the deconsolidation of negative cash flows from operations in the Transportation sector in 2015; organic growth in revenues, in particular in Helicopters and SES, offset by the expected transfer of some “pass-through” work packages in relation to B787 programme for about €300 million and by an expected exit from certain constituent businesses within DRS by an additional €200 million; meaningful improvement in operating profits, mainly driven by the improvement of SES, DRS’s return to its underlying profit margins and cost cutting initiatives, all supported by a strong profitability in the Helicopters segment; improved cash generation capacity driven by the above factors, paying constant attention to the selection of investments and working capital reduction measures.

Outlook for Finmeccanica’s Sectors:

In the Helicopters sector, AgustaWestland expects the excellent performance posted in 2014 to continue in 2015, with the growing commercial success of the new AW169 and AW189 helicopters and the important contribution to be made by Product Support orders. Finmeccanica forecasts revenues of around €4.5 billion and profitability firmly in the double digits.

In Defence and Security Electronics, i.e. Selex ES and DRS Technologies, Finmeccanica expects the positive performance posted in 2014 to continue in 2015, with a further improvement in business and financial results driven by the gradual recovery in industrial profitability in specific business areas and by the growing benefits associated with the restructuring plan under way. This will be furthered by the initial effects of additional streamlining and efficiency-enhancement efforts in production and engineering outlined in the Industrial Plan. Despite the persistent challenging environment, with budget tightening by major clients and rising competitive pressures on prices, DRS expects to quickly regain ground in 2015, driven by industrial profitability returning to adequate levels and by the benefits associated with efficiency-enhancement and streamlining efforts under way. Given this, the company is also considering reviewing and better focusing the scope of its business, which may lead to the elimination of certain non-core business lines. Excluding the effect of this, Finmeccanica expect new order acquisition and production volumes in 2015 to remain at the same levels as 2014, marking the end of the gradual decline in growth experienced by DRS in recent years.

In Aeronautics, Alenia Aermacchi expects the profitability levels for 2015 to be essentially the same as those for 2014, driven by additional efficiency-enhancement and cost containment actions that will offset the lower contribution of high-margin programmes. Production volumes are expected to fall in 2015 as compared with 2014 due to the expected transfer of work packages to Boeing under agreements for the B787 programme.

Space companies, Telespazio and Thales Alenia Space revenues are forecast to rise in 2015 due mainly to the manufacturing segment, specifically production on government and export programmes. There are also launch operations scheduled for the year in the satellite services segment. As a result, business performance is expected to improve, despite a decline in industrial profitability which reflects an unfavourable mix of activity and growing competitive pressure on prices.

Last but not least, Defence Systems companies OTO Melara, WASS, and MBDA are expected to have partial recover in 2015, with performance moderately better than in 2014 as a result of major deliveries of missile systems and rising production volumes for new orders to be signed during the year for land and sea weapons systems and underwater systems.

LIMA 2015: Empowering Eurofighter TYPHOON - BAE Systems Details P3E Project

The £165 million contract signed in Abu Dhabi in February 2015 to deliver further enhancements to UK Eurofighter TYPHOONs is about to bring in new key capabilities to the world-leading combat aircraft. Under what is known as the Phase 3 Enhancements Package (P3E) project, it will opens up the air-to-surface capability of the aircraft even further to cope with a wide variety of targets on the ground. This scheme also includes fast-moving vehicles.

MT was told in Langkawi that P3E follows a successful feasibility study and a trial installation commissioned earlier by the UK Ministry of Defence (MoD). Former UK Royal Air Force (RAF) pilot Anthony "Foxy" Gregory, Head of UK TYPHOON Future Capability at BAE Systems, told MT in an interview that the P3E project will include a number of upgrades to the TYPHOON’s mission and maintenance systems. The project foresees the adaptation of multiple precision-guided air-to-surface weapons, including the MBDA Dual Mode BRIMSTONE 2, for use against fast-moving and relocatable targets.

Anthony "Foxy" Gregory Head of UK TYPHOON Future Capability, BAE Systems, in an interview with MT at LIMA 2015 in Langkawi: “With the P3E package, RAF TYPHOONs will deliver a true fast-moving air-to-surface precision effect.” (Photo: STN)

This will be accomplished with low collateral damage”, said Gregory. He also named the SPEAR precision-guided munition developed by MBDA. It enables long-range precision engagement of mobile, fleeting, and relocatable targets in all weathers, day or night, and in the presence of countermeasures, obscurants, and camouflage. This munition is set to be adapted to Britain’s F-35 LIGHTNING II combat aircraft, but, “the MoD and RAF also want to have this weapon adapted to the TYPHOON,” Gregory insisted. RAF TYPHOONs already deploy the STORM SHADOW cruise missile and MBDA’s METEOR active radar-guided air-to-air missile that both were integrated as part of the development programme for Phase 2 Enhancements (P2E). METEOR provides true Beyond-Visual-Range (BVR) air superiority against the spectrum of targets from agile fast jets to small unmanned air vehicles and cruise missiles.

MT understands that the P3E fast-moving air-to-surface capability – through the integration of BRIMSTONE 2 – is seen as a ‘blue print’ for similar efforts to upgrade Eurofighter TYPHOONs in service with the other user nations, including Saudi Arabia, which, for the time being, do not possess a true swing-role capability. Saudi Arabia, the first TYPHOON export customer outside Europe already opted for the STORM SHADOW weapon, and there are good prospects to also fit BRIMSTONE 2 to the aircraft. German TYPHOONs, for instance, provide a multi-role capability, with an operational diversity through LITENING III laser designator pod integration to support air-to-surface attacks by using PAVEWAY 2 and 3, as well as Enhanced PAVEWAY and JDAM munitions. However, RAF TYPHHOONs became high-end swing-role weapon systems following the P1E programme efforts, with the aircraft fully capable of combining different operational tasks in a single mission, according to BAE Systems.

The British use PAVEWAY IV since [about] the successful delivery of the P1E [Phase 1 Enhancements] package in 2014," Gregory lamented. “For the moment, the British P3E project is the only programme [coming on stream] to provide the Eurofighter TYPHOON with a true [fast-moving] air-to-surface precision effect.” According to BAE Systems, there will be a next phase of TYPHOON enhancements – named Beyond P3E – that calls for the integration of an advanced sensor, the E-Scan multimode air-to-air and air-to-surface fire control radar. For this enhancement package, BAE Systems also named an Anti-FIAC (Fast In-shore Attack Craft) capability that will be delivered by BRIMSTONE 2.
Stefan Nitschke

18 March 2015

LIMA 2015: Royal Malaysian Air Force Took Over First A400M Military Transport Aircraft

The handover of the first of four Airbus A400M ATLAS military transport aircraft to the Royal Malaysian Air Force (RMAF) marks the first delivery of this aircraft to an export customer outside the original European launch nations. The Chief of the RMAF, General Dato’ Sri Roslan Saad, officially took over the aircraft from Airbus Defence and Space’s CEO Bernhard Gerwert during a ceremony on 17 March. Gerwert said: “We are extremely proud to deliver the first A400M to our first export customer – Malaysia. These aircraft will transform Malaysia’s air mobility force thanks to the A400M’s unique combination of strategic and tactical capabilities. Today sends a clear message that the A400M is not just a specialised aircraft designed and developed for Europe’s Air Forces, but is truly the new reference in tactical and strategic transport market globally – fulfilling both roles in a single machine.” The handover ceremony was attended by Malaysia’s Prime Minister Dato’ Seri Najib Razak and Minister of Defence Dato’ Seri Hishammuddin Hussein. Two additional aircraft will be delivered during 2015, with the final ATLAS set to be handed over in 2016.
Stefan Nitschke
The RMAF’s first Airbus A400M ATLAS spotted during the Opening Ceremony of LIMA 2015 on 17 March 2015.

LIMA 2015: Indonesian Maritime Surveillance Aircraft Embark on Thales’ Airborne Maritime Situation Control Technology

The Airborne Maritime Situation and Control System (AMASCOS) Indonesia selected for its Indonesian Aerospace (IAe)-built CN235-220 maritime surveillance aircraft provides the aircraft with the capability that is needed for the country’s Anti-Surface Warfare (ASuW) and Anti-Submarine Warfare (ASW) operations. The solution supplied by Thales can also be employed for an array of other modern mission scenarios, including vessel search and identification; Exclusive Economic Zone (EEZ) patrol; drug, smuggling and piracy control; search and rescue (SAR); disaster surveillance; and maritime patrol roles. Visiting one of the three Indonesian Navy CN235-220s at LIMA 2015, MILITARY TECHNOLOGY learned that the sensors adapted to the aircraft in particular include a FLIR Systems Star SAFIRE III EO/IR turret, Thales’ OCEAN MASTER 400 radar, and the same company’s TOTEM 3000 Inertial Reference System. As said, the single aircraft operated by the Indonesian Air Force also carries a Radar Warning Receiver (RWR); fitment of an RWR to the three Indonesian Navy airframes will be an option for future upgrades. Jean-Michel Eustache, Intelligence, Surveillance and Reconnaissance (ISR) Marketing Manager at Thales Airborne Systems, speaking to MILITARY TECHNOLOGY at LIMA 2015, outlined AMASCOS’ unique performance characteristics: “AMASCOS integrates a number of sensors that [can] include an electro-optical/infrared [EO/IR] sensor turret like Thales Optronique’s CHLIO system, Thales’ OCEAN MASTER search radar, an RWR like Elettronica’s ALR 733 device, and a Magnetic Anomaly Detector [MAD] for detecting submarines. The latter can be CAE’s AN/ASQ-508 system. According to him, AMASCOS has a modular architecture, allowing the system to be easily adapted to smaller aircraft performing surveillance from a single console, to larger aircraft equipped with four or five consoles. AMASCOS has been integrated on a variety of aircraft to date, including – besides CN235/220s – Alenia ATR 72s (Turkey); Beechcraft KING AIRs (Malaysia); Bombardier DASH 8s (United Arab Emirates Air Force); Dassault Falcon 900s (Japan); and Gulfstream IVs (Turkey).
Stefan Nitschke

The Indonesian Navy CN235-220 maritime surveillance aircraft (left) have two AMASCOS 200 consoles with two screens each (below) that are redundant and interchangeable. (All photos: STN)

Heli Expo 2015: Rotorcraft OEMs look to Boost FMS business

Despite the announcement by Gregory Hayes, chief executive officer of Universal Technologies Corporation (UTC) on 11 March that he was investigating selling or ‘spinning off” Sikorsky Aircraft, the week before Sikorsky president Mick Maurer has been underlining the company’s successful wins at Heli Expo, in Florida (2-5 March).

The Indian Navy has made a decision to acquire 16 S-70B Seahawks from Sikorsky. (Photo: Sikorsky)

While the annual convention largely focuses on the civil sector, is provides and opportunity for the heads of the major helicopter manufacturers to brief the media on their financial performance, reviewing the past year and looking ahead to the next.

The United States and the Department of Defence (DoD) in particular is the largest market for Sikorsky’s products: A continuing supply of UH-60 BLACK HAWKs and SEA HAWKs, as well as the upcoming CH-53K for the United States Marine Corps (USMC).

Addressing the issue of sequestration, Maurer stated that the five year multiyear buying programmes that the DoD had running over several helicopter platforms was already good value.  “They talked about cutting the fifth year of the multi-year Sea Hawk Romeo programme as a way to save money but when they did the numbers they realised it would cost more and they would get fewer aircraft,” Maurer said. “We are also in the middle of negotiating the ninth multi year with the army right now because it makes so much sense.”

In 2014, Sikorsky won plenty of business with four key programmes: The Indian Naval utility contract of 16 S-70Bs; the Turkish utility helicopter programme and industrialisation supply line; the US presidential helicopter win; the Air Force CSAR helicopter. On top of that they have a the Joint Multi Role technology demonstrator to work on which will fly in 2017. Sikorsky total backlog is worth around $49 billion!

John Garrison, president of Bell Helicopter, said that his company’s business was currently split 62-38% between military and commercial business. He acknowledged the effects of sequestration which had made an impact on defence procurement generally, the cornerstone of the military business remains the Bell Boeing V-22 OSPREY with nearly 300 already delivered to the USMC and Air Force Special Operations Command (AFSOC). Multi-Year II from the end of 2014 through to 2019 requires 99 Ospreys. Production has fallen to around 21 V-22s per year but nevertheless this generated $ 1.7 billion for Bell Helicopter in 2014 with other military sales amounting to a further $860 million out of a total revenue of $ 4.2 billion. Over a quarter of a million flight hours have now been logged on the OSPREY with cost per flight hour stated to be decreasing.

The decision by the Japanese government to include the purchase of the first five V-22s in their FY-16 budget request is a landmark event as it represents the first international customer for the OSPREY. “We expect a Letter of Offer and Acceptance (LOA) after 1st April through a Foreign Military Sales (FMS) contract,” confirmed Garrison.

The US Navy has also included the purchase of a V-22s derivative in its defence budget for the first time. The proposal is for four OSPREYs to be acquired each year from 2018 to 2020 for the Carrier Onboard Delivery (COD) role to replace the turboprop C2A GREYHOUND. Up to 48 OSPREYs have been earmarked for potential acquisition by the Navy for a number of years, although up to this point there was no budget line identified.

Bell’s other USMC business is the H-1 programme and the supply of the latest UH-1Y VENOM and AH-1Z VIPERs replacing the older UH-1Ns Hueys and AH-1W SuperCOBRAs. “We have produced 108 Yankees and 39 Zulus and we are just starting the Z build new rather than upgrading old cabins. This is not on a multiyear contract . but is essential to the USMC. They now have two operational squadrons,” Garrison said. Bell would like to find additional foreign customers for these two types of helicopter as they will be supporting those that are joining the USMC for many years to come.

Another helicopter manufacturer chasing the FMS market is MD Helicopters. Having broken into this lucrative sector with an initial contract signed in 2011 to provide the Afghan Air Force with six MD 530Fs for its ab initio pilot training (one of which has since been destroyed), a follow-on contract will now see 17 armed MD 530F CAYUSE WARRIORs supplied to serve in a close air support role, with more potentially to follow.

Lynn Tilton, owner of MD Helicopters, detailed her plans for the military versions of the 500 Series during Heli Expo: “We will certify the upgraded MD 530G which will take our take-off weight to 3,700 lbs and continue to work on the certification of the MD 540A which will be MDHI’s most advanced scout attack helicopter at over 4,300 lbs take-off weight.”

MD Helicopters has found a foreign military sales market for its MD 530F. The Afghanistan Air Force is now taking 17 armed versions for the close air support role. (Photo: MD Helicopters)

She added: “Over 70% of what we delivered was to the military in 2014. That has given us the chance to make money and invest in technology.”

Mike Hirschberg, the executive director of the American Helicopter Society (AHS) International said that his organisation had been busy lobbying government for the restoration of rotorcraft research funding. He said that the AHS, working with the Vertical Lift Consortium, had secured “an additional $14 million for the Army's Aviation Advanced Technology funding line.” Among other projects, this supports research into the  next-generation Future Vertical Lift (FVL) programme.

He added that for FY15, AHS lobbying had also helped to secure and increase of $7 million over the $15 million in the presidential budget for the North American Space Administration”s (NASA) Revolutionary Vertical Lift Technology (RVLT) project.

Speaking abut rotorcraft in Afghanistan, Hirschberg said that they were, “over 400 aircraft lost,” in operations over the war fighting years in Iraq and Afghanistan, “largely as a result of brown-out.” He also noted the rate at which spares were consumed due to the tough conditions faced by the military. While the next stage in the development of a new concept in military rotorcraft, the Joint Multi Role technology demonstration, will take place in 2017 involving both Bell Helicopter and Boeing Sikorsky, Hirschberg said that AHS lobbying had helped the two companies that missed out, Karem Aircraft and AVX Aircraft, to received a few million dollars to continue their studies into JMR options. 

12 March 2015

NATO Lacks Organic ISR Capabilities

Coalition partners from across NATO gathered in London this week to discuss the impact of airborne intelligence, surveillance and reconnaissance (ISR) on the contemporary and future operating environments.

Delegates from Germany, the Netherlands, Poland, UK and US convened at the Airborne ISR & C2 Battle Management conference on 11/12 March to highlight the greatest challenges for NATO in the face of both regular and irregular threats.

According to one senior NATO representative, the emergence of such conventional and unconventional threats was nothing new but rather the method in which they were employed and integrated. The source highlighted Islamic State (IS) and Russia as two examples of such a strategy which is seeing the proliferation of hybrid warfare worldwide.

Delegates referred to NATO’s “eastern” and “southern” flanks in relation to these current threats with opponents further developing intelligence-driven operations. Sources described difficulties in monitoring mobile targets in Ukraine with the US Northern Command (NORCOM) reverting back to a Cold War-style “two-minute decision” cycle to counter any ballistic missile threat.

Weather and terrain in this area were also highlighted as areas in which ISR capabilities required improvement, following on from a decade of operating in clear and open skies of Afghanistan and Iraq.

Meanwhile on NATO’s southern flank, IS continues to optimise an interesting example of intelligence-driven operations with professionally produced films of executions, training packages and missions in Syria and northern Iraq. This flank is also witnessing a growing influx of foreign fighters as well as increasing affiliation of extremist organisations between IS in the Middle East and factions in North and West Africa particularly, including most recently Boko Haram in Nigeria.

Another source, who has worked closely with NATO Special Operations Forces (SOF) over the past decade, revealed how former al-Qaeda combatants were reappearing in different countries and proving more and more difficult to capture due to an understanding of NATO tactics, techniques and procedures (TTPs).

Delegates also highlighted NATO’s lack of organic ISR capability, describing how the Alliance Ground Surveillance (AGS) effort (comprising Northrop Grumman Block 40 RQ-4 GLOBAL HAWK high altitude long endurance [HALE] UAS technology) would not achieve initial operating capacity until 2017.

Describing how the US Air Force currently flies an average of 185 ISR sorties every day, a service official continued: “ISR is [fundamental to] operations. It never stops and is an integral part of that operational kill chain at all times. But there is a requirement for any service’s ISR sensors to be PED’d by the best node, thereby providing more effective support to any customer requiring information, and this will allow us to work better with our partners.”

Also highlighted at the event was the NATO Response Force (NRF) which comprises a “highly ready and technologically advanced multinational force made up of land, air, maritime and SOF components” that the Alliance can deploy quickly, wherever needed.

Referring to equipping this force element, another NATO source told MT: “In addition to its operational role, the NRF can be used for greater cooperation in education and training, increased exercises and better use of [ISR] technology.”

On 5 February, NATO upgraded an element of the NRF to become a “spearhead force” known as the Very High Readiness Joint Task Force (VJTF), capable of deploying at very short notice to the “periphery of NATO’s territory”- particularly relevant to member states in the Baltic area of operations.

The VJTF comprises five manoeuvre battalions with certain SOF units capable of mobilising within two or three days.

France, Germany, Italy, Poland, Spain and the UK will assume the role of lead nation for rotations of this force and in the meantime, an Interim VJTF capability has been established for 2015 led by Germany, the Netherlands and Norway, with other Allies participating, and has already started training and exercising,” a NATO spokesperson added. “The VJTF will be backed up by two more brigades as a rapid-reinforcement capability in case of a major crisis. Altogether, the enhanced NATO Response Force will count up to around 30,000 troops.”

Finally, NATO officials confirmed the importance of such a force element to be equipped with the best ISR capabilities available with one SOF source noting the importance of Human Terrain Reconnaissance (HTR) teams also being deployed on the ground from “Phase Zero” of an operation through to its conclusion.

NATO is facing long term and sophisticated challenges,” one source informed MT. “These are geographically dispersed and multi-axis threats requiring the alliance to improve intelligence sharing and capacity building as well as securing shortfalls in ISR and processing, exploitation and dissemination (PED) of information. ISR will be first in [theatre] and we must have sufficient multi-intelligence ISR capabilities assigned to an area of interest."
Andrew White

10 March 2015

Insitu INTEGRATOR UAS Successful Flight at IDEX VIDEO

First Export Airbus A400M Delivered to Malaysia

Airbus Defence &Space (DS) has formally delivered the first of four Airbus A400M military transport ordered by the Royal Malaysian Air Force. The handover also marks the first delivery of an A400M to an export customer outside the original launch nations.

The first of four Airbus A400M military transport ordered by the Royal Malaysian Air Force has been delivered. (Photos: Airbus)

The aircraft was accepted at the A400M Final Assembly Line in Seville, Spain on 9 March by Chief of Malaysian Defence Force Gen. Tan Sri Dr. Zulkifeli, witnessed by Datuk Nozirah, Deputy Secretary General of Ministry of Finance, and Dato Dr. Rothiah, Deputy Secretary General of Ministry of Defence, who signed the Transfer ot Title on behalf of the Ministry of Defence. To this Chief of the RMAF, Gen. Dato' Sri Roslan Bin Saad, said: “The A400M will give the RMAF the most advanced heavy transport capability in the region and enable us to undertake an extraordinary range of military and humanitarian operations.”

We are extremely proud to deliver the first A400M to our first export customer - Malaysia," Bernhard Gerwert, CEO Airbus Defence and Space, said. "These aircraft will transform Malaysia’s air mobility force thanks to the A400M´s unique combination of strategic and tactical capabilities. Today sends a clear message that the A400M is not just a specialised aircraft designed and developed for Europe’s air forces, but is truly the new reference in tactical and strategic transport market globally – fulfilling both roles in a single machine.”

After arrival in Malaysia, the A400M will be present at the LIMA airshow at Langkawi, 17-21 March 2015.

(from left to right) Dato Dr. Rothiah; Datuk Nozirah; Chief of Defence Force, Gen. Tan Sri Dr. Zulkifeli; and Chief of RMAF, Gen. Dato' Sri Roslan Bin Saad.

06 March 2015

IWA 2015: D3O TRUST Vest is Showcased with Head to Toe Personal Protection Solutions

 at IWA &Outdoor Classics 2015

The D3O® TRUST Vest has been developed to pass the HOSDB Blunt Trauma Protector standard
The helmet shock absorbing technology developed by D3O addresses impact protection against blunt trauma: the principal cause of Traumatic Brain Injuries which affected 31,000 British soldiers in Afghanistan and Iraq
D3O® TRUST high performance internal knee pad system has been developed to prevent the risk of lower limb musculoskeletal injuries: the principal cause of medical discharge for UK service personnel

Introducing head to toe personal protection solutions at IWA 2015, British smart materials specialist D3O is showcasing its Trauma Reduction and Unrivalled Shock Technology (TRUST) Vest, which has been developed to pass the HOSDB Blunt Trauma Protector standard.

The TRUST Vest is a recognition by D3O of a market need for a protective garment aimed at minimizing the risk of injury to the limbs and torso from low velocity blunt trauma impacts, such as those caused by hand thrown missiles and hand yielded weapons. Combining new materials and technologies, this protective mid-layer which can be worn under an outer layer of clothing, boasts a lightweight, low profile base layer of blunt trauma protection.  It combines unrivalled flexibility with enhanced protection powered by D3O.  Lightweight and breathable, the TRUST Vest perfectly balances a low profile system that still provides the user with confidence that they are wearing the ultimate in impact protection. Demonstrating a proven track record for personal protection apparel for law enforcement officers in the field, a previous version of the D3O impact protection garment was used by the French Gendarmerie.

D3O unique patented technology is based on non-Newtonian principles: in standard conditions, the raw material’s molecules flow freely allowing the material to remain soft and flexible, but on impact, they lock together to absorb impact energy and reduce the force transmitted. The molecules instantly return to their flexible state. The raw material (dilatant fluid) is strain rate sensitive which means the stronger the impact, the more the molecules react, and the better the protection.

D3O’s personal protection solutions were first used during the 2006 Winter Olympics in ski race suits for the US and Canadian teams. D3O globally patented impact protection technology is integrated into the products of global brands including 5.11, Drifire, Dr. Martens, Karrimor, Scott Sports, and Rukka, protects elite forces around the globe, and is used in six core markets including defence and law enforcement protection; sports; electronics; industrial workwear; motorcycle and footwear. D3O is funded by the US Army to test shock absorbing helmet liner technology to reduce the risk of head injuries caused by Improvised Explosive Devices (IEDs).  

At IWA 2015, in addition to the TRUST Vest, D3O will be showcasing its head to toe impact protection solutions:

  • D3O TRUST Shock Absorbing Helmet technology: A registered design engineered to provide industry-leading protection and comfort, the D3O Shock Absorbing Helmet System comprises several innovations. It is an assembly of three individual parts: a shock absorbing liner to absorb and dissipate the energy released in the collision; an inflatable system which individually fits the solution to a range of head shapes; and a skull cap to provide additional comfort and help with the sweat management. The shock absorption liner is encapsulated using D3O’s new Smart Skin technology: a wipe-clean TPU which provides durability and an anti-microbial barrier.  The Shock Absorbing Helmet technology was originally developed thanks to funding from the UK’s Technology Strategy Board, and has been awarded funding from Program Executive Office (PEO) Soldier - the US Army’s acquisition agency - for a 12 month testing program to assess the blunt trauma characteristics of the technology, which is expected to demonstrate that the D3O shock absorbing solution will outperform other devices currently available. 
  • D3OTRUST high performance internal knee pad system: The system comprises a high performance inner knee pad which uses D3O impact protection material which protects the soldier from repeated impacts and is comfortable and flexible to wear, plus an outer clip-on shell which is secured and detached using clips through tailored holes in the fabric, retaining the key benefits of traditional external knee pads such as abrasion and puncture resistance. The combination of the soft and flexible internal knee pad teamed with a detachable shell is the optimum solution bringing comfort and superior protection. 
  • D3OTRUST footwear protection solutions : Developed with leading UK orthotics specialists, Rightstride Orthotics, D3O® Insoles are engineered to offer genuine injury preventative and rehabilitating capabilities in a packaged, ready-for-retail form.  The insoles tackle four common areas which are the common cause of injuries: impact pressure distribution, dynamic pressure attenuation, acceleration control, stability of the mid-foot, and encourage a natural and dynamic transition from heel to forefoot.

The D3O TRUST range of personal protection solutions has been designed specifically for the defence and law enforcement sectors to offer a head-to-toe personal protection system that is lightweight, comfortable and flexible.  These ready-made solutions can be sold within the defence industry via approved distributors or can be integrated into existing apparel and personal protection equipment produced by Government prime contractors, to be purchased by the Government procurement agencies. 

05 March 2015

Enforce Tac 2015: Undergarments for Special Purposes

ACLIMA from Norway are showing their different underwear series for special purposes.
The X-SAFE soft, antistatic and flame resistant (FR) line is used, e.g. by the German Police-helicopter crews of Baden-Wuertenberg. It is ISO 1149-, EN 61482-, anti-static and FR certified. ACLIMA X-SAFE is developed for the most demanding end use applicvations (race car driver, pilots, SOF or Fire Fighters). The innovative functional garments combines comfort, moisture management (using 75% Lenzing FR fiber, in addition with 15% para-aramid, 10% polyamide), performance and protection. Available are a unisex shirt crew neck, collar shirt, long pants, short pants and a balaklava.

ACLIMA exhibiting their wares at Enforce Tac 2015.

Another product is the SAFE NET. Normally holes in clothing are not a good idea, but here these holes really keep you warm. Also using the Lenzing FR fiver, body cooling is supports, resulting in highest physiological performance. Aclima SAFE Net is lightweight, soft, breathable, flexible and durable. It can be combined with X-SAFE. Available are a unisex shirt crew neck and long pants.

Andre Forkert

Rascher GmbH & Co. KG originally is a long known partner in the hunting community. Now they adapted their quality products for the military and law enforcement market. Rascher offers functional Unisex-Underwear. The body temperature will be constantly regulated by the special production technique. Any moisture is quickly absorbed from the inner side and kept away from the body. The body remains dry and prevents a cool down even during rest periods. The application of the hightech yarn out of Bioceramic ensures a perfect heat insulation even in extreme weather and temperatures. The underwear is tested up to -40°C.

Rascher exhibiting functional unisex-undergarments at Enforce Tac 2015. 

At display is an overall for extreme low temperatures (-40°C), using 100% polyester Wind Pro from Polartec on the outside and a 65% cotton, 35% polyester Insulation with Thinsulate CS 250 on the inside. As on option adding to the overall there are shoes with the same features available. Perfect for long surveillance operations in extreme cold environment – if you don´t have to move.

A premier is the “carbon underwear”. The material consists of 52% Skinlife for comfortable wearing, 21% Bioceramic (regulating the body temperature), 15% polypropylene (moisture mangemant), 6% carbon (antibacterial, absorbing the body odour) and 6% elastane for a wearing comfort. Available are a long sleeve shirt, long underpants and knee-length socks. As an addition there is a anatomically cut hood. The mouth and ears part is laser cut (with small holes) for a better and easier hearing and so the breathing air can exit directly to the front and don’t steam (ballistic) eyeglasses.

Andre Forkert

Enforce Tac 2015: Rapid growth for the security theme

Enforce Tac, International Exhibition & Conference – Law Enforcement, Security and Tactical Solutions, started yesterday at the Nuremberg Exhibition Centre under the patronage of the Bavarian Minister of the Interior, Building and Transport, Joachim Herrmann, MdL. “The hard job done by our official agency security experts requires that their equipment as well as surveillance techniques are the most modern and that they provide our law and order forces with the best possible protection against injury. That is why, once again this year, as the Minister responsible for internal security, I am very pleased to assume patronage of Enforce Tac here in the Franconian city. Since its premiere as an independent trade fair in 2012, it has already become almost a permanent major feature in security circles and is enjoying constantly growing popularity,” said the Minister of the Interior in his word of welcome.

 For the fourth time, on both days of the fair, Enforce Tac is presenting a comprehensive range of products and services for official agency and authority special forces: here, in addition to service weapons, ballistic accessories, optronics as well as tactical equipment, the trade visitors will also find operational clothing along with bullet-proof and stab-proof vests, body armor, facial protection, shields and helmets as well as operational vehicles. Compared to the previous event in 2014, this year's Enforce Tac has once again clearly grown: over 120 companies (2014: 78) are participating at the event and will be presenting their products and services in exhibition space which has increased by well over 70 percent in Hall 10.1 at the Nuremberg Exhibition Centre.

Parallel to the exhibition, two conferences will be offering specialist and professional further training and an exchange with international colleagues: the European Police Trainer Conference (EPTC), which has been held by the Verein Polizeitrainer in Deutschland e.V. (Association of Police Trainers in Germany, PiD) since 2006 in the run-up to IWA OutdoorClassics, and since 2012 parallel to Enforce Tac, will take place on both days of the fair on 4th and 5th March 2015. On the second day weapons and equipment experts from official authorities will then inform themselves at the “Weapons and equipment” conference organized by the Deutsche Hochschule der Polizei in Münster (German Police University, DHPol). Admission is for authorized official agency representatives only.
For Bavarian Minister of the Interior Herrmann it is clear: “The proven strategy adopted by the Free State aimed at combating criminality also enjoys an excellent reputation on an international level. Our successes are impressive: compared to the nationwide average, our level of crime is the lowest and our success rate of cases solved especially high. In this connection, providing modern and high-quality technical equipment is an essential basic requirement for the work done by our police and other security agencies and authorities. That is why we are very specifically investing in the most modern technology. From high-quality vehicle fleets, through to helicopters, cyber laboratories up to mobile PCs for patrol cars – our motto is: professional equipment for professional police work.”
Andre Forkert