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

21 October 2015

Seoul ADEX 2015: Rafael Goes C-UAV with IRON BEAM HEL Based System

Rafael Advanced Defense Systems is showcasing its new IRON BEAM HEL based C-RAM and C-UAV system during Seoul ADEX 2015. Speaking to MT on Wednesday, the marketing and business development manager of Rafael's land manoeuvre systems directorate, explained that IRON BEAM is a mobile solid state laser weapon system that builds on the company's experience with laser systems that started some 20 years ago. 

One of Rafael's earlier HEL weapon systems called THOR is in service in Israel where the Army's engineer corps uses the 2kW system that is mounted on an APC to neutralise unidentified explosive objects, the company official indicated. However, IRON BEAM is a more ambitious system that deals with small flying objects such as rockets that fly at high speeds. The company official indicated that IRON BEAM has pinpoint accuracy, a low cost per shot and virtually unlimited ammunition with the system's technology having been tested against RAM since 2010 and against UAVs since this year. 

Key components of the IRON BEAM's HEL system are its generator, cooling element and, most importantly, its beam director. The latter component is, "the most challenging," Rafael's representative said, as, "you need very good optics and algorithms to engage a small target travelling at 200 to 300 meters per second," while cooling too is an issue with HEL based systems in general. A RF radar is used for cueing the system's elaborate suite of cameras which are needed to identify the target that has to be engaged and then find its weakest spot, this in order to shorten the time needed to neutralise the target in question. These cameras make extensive use of image processing, an area in which, "we are leaders," the company official boasted. A laser illuminator is used to get more details of the target once it has been sighted while a LRF is used to measure range. A possible loss of the energy that is needed to take out the target is prevented by using two beams which can hit an area, "the size of a coin." Asked about the risk of collateral damage, Rafael's marketing and business development manager indicated that HEL based weapon systems, such as IRON BEAM in fact minimize this damage as there is no debris of one's own kinetic interceptors.

Seoul ADEX 2015: - Korean Air Moves Forward with Unmanned MD500

Korean Air Aerospace Division is progressing with its KUS-VH (for Korean Air Unmanned System - Vertical Helicopter) derivative of the MD500 helicopter it has emerged during Seoul ADEX 2015.

Korean Air Aerospace Division is progressing with its KUS-VH (for Korean Air Unmanned System - Vertical Helicopter) derivative of the MD500 helicopter it has emerged during Seoul ADEX 2015. 
On display in hall B at Seongnam air base where this year's edition of Seoul ADEX is held, is a concept demonstrator fitted with a dummy EO/IR sensor and weapons load. Speaking to MT on Wednesday, Won Jin Kim, Korean Air's R&D center manager explained that unlike Boeing's optionally piloted H-6U version of the LITTLE BIRD helicopter, the KUS-VH will be unmanned.

However, without going into too much detail, Kim acknowledged reports that Korean Air had leaned on some of the technology used by Boeing for its Unmanned LITTLE BIRD, saying this phase of the programme commenced in January 2014. According to Kim, this summer the KUS-VH programme reached the next stage meaning it was decided by Korean Air to actually construct an unmanned version. With integration efforts ongoing, flight tests are now planned to commence in late 2016, early 2017. Although the Korean military has no requirement for such a system at the moment, Kim expects to see an RfP being issued once the first trials have been conducted succesfully. Korean Air plans to use a number of the Republic of Korea (ROK) Army's MD500 helicopters that will become surplus to requirements once the new KUH-1 Surion comes online in large numbers. However, Kim made clear Korean Air has not yet reached an understanding with Korea's military about such a scheme under which the army would buy back a limited number of MD500 helicopters modified by the company. Currently almost 200 aircraft are stil in service which eventually will have to be withdrawn.

Typically, a KUS-VH system would consist of a GCS and two to four air vehicles. Possible military applications include ISR, aerial delivery, amphibious operations support and attack with joint operations with manned attack helicopters such as the ROK Army's new AH-64E being envisaged. Civilian duties could include coast guard missions and the transport of emergency supplies.

At the show Korean Air also exhibits a further four UAS projects including the stealthy KUS-FC UCAV and the KUS-FS MALE UAS. Both projects are still on the drawing board. However, the company's KUS-FT multi-purpose tactical UAS has entered serial production this year with an unspecified number of systems to be used by Korea's army. A division level asset, KUS-FT consists of four 150 kg air vehicles together with a GCS, an ATOLS launch and recovery system and ground support equipment. According to Korean Air, KUS-FT is the first Korean UAV to be awarded an airworthiness type certificate. This milestone was achieved in October 2014. Meanwhile, Korean Air's KUS-VT tiltrotor UAV is based on the TR-60 developed by the Korea Aerospace Research Institute (KARI). The TR-60 is a variant of the earlier TR-100 that has been scaled down in order to make it better suited for ISTAR missions or civilian applications such as fish detection, coastal surveillance etc. The latter aircraft was first unveiled in late 2011 while KARI launched the TR-60 early this year.
Pieter Bastiaans

Microflown AVISA Creates Acoustic Awareness

Capable of detecting, localising, identifying and tracking sound sources in 3D space according to Microflown AVISA, the small and lightweight Acoustic Vector Sensor (AVS) is at the heart of all of the company’s sensor systems. MT takes a look at the Dutch companies technology.

Microflown AVISA’s AVS is now a combat proven technology with the company’s Vehicle Mounted Acoustic Multi Mission Sensor (V-AMMS) system being deployed on Netherlands Special Forces ground mobility vehicles in Mali. (All photos via author)

Microflown AVISA’s AVS is now a combat proven technology with the company’s Vehicle Mounted Acoustic Multi Mission Sensor (V-AMMS) system being deployed on Netherlands Special Forces ground mobility vehicles in Mali. Despite V-AMMS being part of a two year innovation project, early findings with the system were so promising that the Dutch military decided to procure nine sets halfway into the WHELAC project, MT learned during a technology demonstration day organised by Microflown AVISA and the Dutch MoD on 25 September.

Delivered to Mali in January, the systems were in operational use for six months by the time the technology demonstrator project ended in mid this year. Capable of localising small arms fire, the acoustic sensors are integrated on the Netherlands Army Special Forces Regiment’s Mercedes Benz G280CDI wheeled offroad vehicles operating in the African country as part of the Dutch contribution to what is called the Multidimensional Integrated Stabilisation Mission in Mali (MINUSMA).

A low SWaP system, an V-AMMS weighs a mere 1.75kg, sizes 30cm in diameter while its power consumption is less than 2W. The AMMS contains a sensor node, electronics, a DSP, a sheet metal housing and a black open foam windcap. The vehicle based system, V-AMMS, puts the AMMS on a customised vehicle mount. Combined with a power and data adapter and a Durabook display unit, the V-AMMS provides information relative to the vehicle. Advanced software routines recognise background noises created by the platform itself, such as doors being slammed or gun boxes rattling, so the likelihood of false alerts has been reduced to zero.

Netherlands Army Special Forces with Microflown AVISA’s Vehicle Mounted Acoustic Multi Mission Sensor (V-AMMS).

The V-AMMS detects the bullet’s shockwave, providing an alert and a 120° sector indication. The detection of the corresponding muzzle blast allows the sensor to give a prompt and accurate shooter location, with an angular accuracy of less than 3° and a range accuracy within 10 percent. During all this, V-AMMS ignores the sound of outgoing fire that might be caused by the 7.62mm and 12.7mm machineguns mounted on the Mercedes Benz G280CDI host vehicle. The V-AMMS system that is currently mounted on the SOF vehicles is a standalone system. However, networked options are also possible. This would enhance V-AMMS’ capabilities turning it into a system that can better deal with urban scenarios and with RPGs for instance. Such an enhanced version would also see grid coordinates of shooter locations being shown on a digital map.

Capable of localising small arms fire,Microflown AVISA’s Vehicle Mounted Acoustic Multi Mission Sensor (V-AMMS) are integrated on the Netherlands Army Special Forces Regiment’s Mercedes Benz G280CDI wheeled offroad vehicles operating in the African country as part of the Dutch contribution to what is called the Multidimensional Integrated Stabilisation Mission in Mali (MINUSMA). 

Patented Technology

Based in Arnhem, the Netherlands, Microflown AVISA uses Micro-Electrical-Mechanical Systems (MEMS) technology and no microphones unlike most of its competitors. As a result, the sensor uses the temperature difference in the cross section of two extremely sensitive heated wires to determine acoustic particle velocity. Three orthogonally placed directional sensors placed together in one single point lead to a compact AVS.

A key benefit of Microflown AVISA’s sensor is that it not only has the ability to locate small arms fire but also the sounds generated by larger projectiles, by helicopters and by fixed wing and rotary wing UAVs. Thus being a broadbanded technology, the AVS has a multi-threat detection/localisation capability unlike omnidirectional microphone setups which are more frequency dependent.

Microflown AVISA also claims that for gunshots the area covered by a single V-AMMS is 10 times larger than existing microphone based arrays. This is because the system is capable of detecting bullet noise at a shot miss distance (or closest point of approach – CPA) of 500m when used in a static mode. This figure is reduced to some 150m when the vehicle is moving (at speeds of up to 60 km per hour) which still allows a drastic reduction in the number of acoustic sensors needed to adequately protect a convoy for instance. In addition to AMMS’ coverage area, direction and range accuracy are also touted as being much better than of competing systems. All this makes AMMS an ideal enabling technology as part of a wider architecture that also has C-RAM and/or C-UAS functionality. However, the V-AMMS system that is now used in Mali is a standalone system which only gives direction and range of any hostile small arms fire that might be detected. For C-RAM purposes a more elaborate system of multiple networked sensors would be needed. Such a networked AMMS system has much better performance, its direction accuracy being given by Microflown AVISA as 0.2° which compares favourably to a stand-alone sensor, accuracy of which is around 1.5 degrees.

A Commercial Success

Over the years, Microflown AVISA has had quite some success with its AVS technology selling V-AMMS to three European countries including the Netherlands, while UAV based systems were sold to a customer in Asia. The Netherlands also uses three ground based systems that are based on AMMS. This includes a networked so-called RAM-SCORE system used on the Army’s artillery live fire training area together with a portable variant that is used at the much frequented Bergen/Munster Süd training area in Germany and elsewhere. Also designed to provide point of impact (POI) and point of origin (POO), a single system is in use as part of the Dutch military’s upgraded Deployable Integrated Sensor for Compound Security (DISCUS) system.

In its previous configuration, DISCUS was used for compound protection in Afghanistan protecting the main base in Tarin Kowt which the Dutch troops used when deployed to Uruzgan province. Featuring Thales’ SQUIRE ground surveillance radar and what appears a TEOSS-350 night vision system, the enhanced DISCUS system was again put to good effect during the 2014 Nuclear Security Summit (NSS 2014) held in the Netherlands.

During the event it was up to Microflown AVISA’s networked acoustic sensors to deal with the risk of sniper fire that might be aimed at harming foreign dignitaries arriving for the summit at Amsterdam Schiphol airport. A new multi-mission radar is apparently being considered for integration on DISCUS too. Also aimed at protecting smaller outposts, Microflown AVISA’s 360° Mobile Force Protection System typically consists of five AMMS and a Panasonic Toughbook based command post with detected sniper positions being reported as grid coordinates. If needed, the threat information can be passed on to a Battlefield Management System (BMS) and/or be used to cue other sensors or to help aim a remote controlled weapon station.

RAVEN lookalike with Acoustic Pointer.

Airborne Applications

Under the ACHOFILO (Acoustic Hostile Fire Locator) project, Microflown AVISA’s acoustic sensor technology has been tested successfully on one of the Dutch Defence Helicopter Command’s Airbus Helicopters AS532U2 COUGAR Mk2 transport helicopter in June 2013 with the helicopter actually being shot at, albeit with some safety margins of course. Notably, most of the casualties with helicopters in Afghanistan and Iraq were caused by low tech weapons such as small arms fire or RPG’s. While chaff and flares do not help in such cases, ACHOFILO not only brings an alert to the crew, but also informs them where the firing came from, allowing a change in doctrine. Until now, such attempts at bringing down a helicopter, which mostly fail, remain unnoticed until the helicopter has returned to its base. With ACHOFILO deployed, the crew can either evade the threat area or return fire, putting a penalty on the attempt.

In the FLACOUSE (Flying Acoustic Seeker) project funded by the Netherlands MoD, the acoustic vector sensor has been incorporated into a daggered shaped windcap that handles the head wind on a fixed wing UAV. This so-called Acoustic Pointer weighs less than 150g and consumes less than 100mW. As the Acoustic Pointer hears in a fully spherical bubble, its use is not only for wide volume acoustic target acquisition, but also Hear and Avoid as required for autonomous flights. Two variants of the Acoustic Pointer have been developed, a networked and a fully autonomous version that simply can be clipped on to the wing of any fixed wing UAV, such as Aerovironment’s RQ-11 RAVEN or WB Electronics’ FLY EYE. In this case, the Acoustic Pointer has its own inertial sensors and reports to a separate ground control station, making the fixed wing a mere “taxi.”

When the UAV operator opens up its own software, Microflown AVISA can provide the read in/read out interface from its Acoustic Pointer. A follow up to the FLACOUSE project will be the installation of two Acoustic Pointers on an interception drone. The so-called Twin Dagger will double the radius of the detection bubble around the platform, increasing its performance, reducing required sensor density to loiter an area.

Perch and Listen sees the ground based AMMS being put on top of a multicopter that carries the sensor across enemy lines. 

Another UAV project, Perch and Listen, sees the ground based AMMS being put on top of a multicopter that carries the sensor across enemy lines. Providing a means for the artillery to replace its active and thus vulnerable weapon location radars by a passive system, the Perch & Listen opens up opportunities to close in on the enemy. Hence the intrinsic disadvantage of acoustic arrays, the slowness of the acoustic propagation, is being addressed. Featuring an advanced autonomous landing system, the 5kg Perch and Listen AMMS system will likely be deployed from a transport box mounted on top of a tactical vehicle. Closing in on enemy activity over a distance 10-14km, Perch and Listen AMMS will step by step improve the accuracy of the grid coordinates being generated of hostile small arms fire and RAM. When combined with other sensors, such a system could also be used for flank protection or to guard a choke point. Flying at 12m per second, the Perch and Listen system has an endurance of 21 minutes according to Microflown AVISA while it can remain at standby for 48 hours. The system’s range is being cited as 7.5 kilometres.

Ongoing Activities

Whereas in WHELAC a single stand-alone AMMS was implemented on open wheeled tactical vehicles, Microflown AVISA is now expanding its applications in the Loose Track project. Under this project, Microflown AVISA aims to integrate V-AMMS onto the new Versatile Expeditionary Commando Tactical Off Road (VECTOR) air transportable vehicle that is being procured for the Royal Netherlands Army’s Special Forces. It has recently emerged that the Army’s 13th Light Brigade which is being transformed into a motorised unit will also receive VECTOR while the new vehicle by Defenture is also said to be the frontrunner in the contest for a new air assault vehicle for the 11th Airmobile Brigade. Not limited to VECTOR, Loose Track also takes into account other wheeled vehicles such as the Dutch Army’s BOXER, FENNEK, and BUSHMASTER. The merits of networked versions, above all for convoy protection scenarios, will also be studied.

V-AMMS Perch and Listen AMMS combo.

Also related to Loose Track, AMMS has also been installed on tracked infantry fighting vehicles (IFV), such as the CV90. Microflown AVISA insists that, acoustically speaking, the self-noise of such a vehicle would be similar to that of a light weight open wheeled vehicle if the metal tracks were to be replaced by a rubber track reducing the self-noise of the vehicle by around 15dB. The upside potential for dismounted soldiers would be large, as the acoustic umbrella provided by the vehicle would provide 3D acoustic situational awareness to the soldiers without themselves having the need for a man wearable system.

This said, as the company’s strategy is to put an AMMS on all sorts of platforms, the needs of the dismounted soldier are currently being addressed in the Walking Ears project that is also being funded by the Dutch MoD.

Part of the Benelux Smart Vest soldier modernisation programme, a helmet mounted version is required, so based on a novel, IP67 compliant sensor node, a miniaturised AMMS has been developed and tested for the very first time in September 2015. Live firing trials including tests in an urban environment with its acoustic reflections have been scheduled for November 2015. Rifle mounted and man-packed throwable versions are meanwhile also being considered. Information provided by these miniature sensors could be used to improve an infantry squad or platoon leader’s situational awareness. This can be done by representing enemy shooter locations on a smartphone like handheld BMS that is part of the Elbit Systems smart vest ensemble about to be introduced into Dutch army service.

In order to keep up its claim that an AMMS can be used to detect, locate and track all sorts of audible threats, Microflown AVISA is currently improving the capabilities of its SKYSENTRY system that is able of handling helicopters and propeller planes. UAVs, be it fixed wing or multicopter, are currently being researched, sponsored by the Dutch Ministry of the Interior. The C-UAS system will be demonstrated in several Western countries in the fall of 2015.

Pieter Bastiaans is a Netherlands based regular contributor to MT.

Seoul ADEX 2015: Airbus Helicopters Details Cooperation with KAI

Speaking to MT during Seoul ADEX 2015, Norbert Ducrot, senior vice-president North Asia of Airbus Helicopters, detailed the ongoing cooperation between his company and Korea Aerospace Industries (KAI) on Tuesday.

Airbus Helicopters will join with Korea Aerospace Industries in developing two 5-ton class rotorcraft that meet South Korea’s requirements for its next-generation Light Civil Helicopter (LCH) and Light Armed Helicopter (LAH).

Involved in the Korean Utility Helicopter (KUH) or SURION programme, Korea's first indigenous military helicopter, Airbus Helicopters was selected as a primary partner, with development having been launched in June 2006. Aimed at replacing the MD500 and UH-1H helicopters that are currently in service with the Republic of Korea (ROK) Army Aviation, the SURION first flew in March 2010 and entered service in May 2013 according to Ducrot after the first aircraft had been delivered five months prior to this. Deliveries will continue until 2040, it is planned with a total of 245 helicopters to be delivered to the Army.

Ducrot described the KUH programme as very succesful with it being, "on schedule, on cost and on specs." Other versions of the KUH-1 SURION are currently under development and include a marine utility helicopter for amphibious operations and a medevac helicopter together with versions optimised for SAR and for coast guard duties. Korea's national police agency will get the KUH-1P variant. Ducrot expects a decision in the middle of next year regarding Korea's requirement for a new maritime operations helicopter, the KMOH, with either an off the shelf or a new design to be selected. KAI together with Airbus Helicopters is proposing a version of the SURION with folding main rotor blades and a folding tailboom. Ducrot explained: "We are pushing for a naval version of the KUH with ASW, ASuW capability." Around 40 aircraft are needed according to Ducrot who is bullish about the export potential of the military SURION, indicating that he expects, "a minimum of 300 helicopters for the export market."

Calling it a, "win win cooperation," Ducrot praised KAI during the round table meeting saying the company is, "a reliable partner," due to its, "level of technology and level of quality." He also said that Airbus Helicopters had been given, "real access to the defence market in Korea," despite the country traditionally having a strong US presence.

In line with this, Ducrot revealed that in 2020 his company will close down the H155 assembly line in Marignane, France with production to be transferred to Korea. With Airbus Helicopters and KAI having been selected for partnership development in March of this year, the H155 now forms the basis of Korea's Light Attack Helicopter (LAH) and Light Civil Helicopter (LCH) programme. The ROK Army has a requirement for 214 LAHs while it is expected that around 100 LCHs will be needed domestically despite Airbus Helicopters' findings that Korea's civilian helicopter market is rather limited.

Ducrot sees an export potential for, "600 helicopters over the next 20 years," including 300 to 400 of the attack helicopter version. Ducrot detailed that Airbus Helicopter is, "quite optimistic about the attack version, it will be the only midsized helicopter in its segment and very competitive. Many countries in the Middle East and Asia will be interested." He also said: "We do not have a small medium sized attack helicopter in our portfolio nor a small medium sized naval helicopter," the latter a reference to the KMOH programme, "this gives us access to other external markets."

Aimed to be more affordable than the AH-64 APACHE or Airbus Helicopters' own TIGER, the LAH will be lighter with Ducrot mentioning a weight of, "around 5 tons." Airbus Helicopters' significant experience in weapons integration gained due to its TIGER and PANTHER programmes will now be put to good use in the LAH programme. While being capable of carrying some three to six personnel in its cabin depending on the equipment being carried, the helicopter will get a new canopy and be armed with a turreted 20mm gun under its nose. Ducrot made clear that the, "aircraft's preliminary design has been finalised," with there being no need for structural reinforcements because of the gun.

Certication of the LCH is planned for 2019 with the aircraft to enter service the next year. The LAH meanwhile is planned for qualification in 2022 with production of both variants to span from 2020 until 2050.
Pieter Bastiaans

Seoul ADEX 2015: RADA's Tactical Radars Take on a C-UAV Role

RADA Electronic Industries is showcasing its Multimission Hemispheric Radar (MHR) family of tactical radars including their inherent C-UAV capabilities during Seoul ADEX 2015. Three air surveillance systems, the lightweight, 20kg RPS-42 based on the pMHR, and the 35kg RPS-72 (eMHR) and 45kg RPS-82 (ieMHR) ,which have longer detection ranges, are exhibited at Seongnam air base in hall C (booth C55).

Speaking to MT during the exhibition, Dov Sella, RADA's chief business development officer explained how the MHR family is a result of today's asymmetric threat with radars currently fielded being, "too big, too expensive and too remote," to cope with battlefield demands. In his own words, RADA, "breaks this paradigm," by offering compact, S-band, software defined AESA radars with sophisticated beam forming capabilities and advanced signal processing.

Capable of conducting sea, air and ground surveillance, the MHR family of tactical radars has been adopted by the Israeli MoD to guard Israel's border with Gaza. RADA's solid state radars have a high degree of commonality with more elements being added to the radar's antenna as size goes up in order to get more range. The radars can easily be, "tailored range wise," depending on the mission at hand according to Sella who went on to say that they are not only mobile but also, "work on the move," unlike most contemporary surveillance radar systems.

RADA's tactical air surveillance radars detect all types of threats and can thus be used for C-UAV and C-RAM purposes providing alert and tracking data to external C4I and air defence systems over ethernet. When integrated as part of a C-UAV system with EO/IR sensors and RF jammers, the company's radars enable a, "soft kill," solution against nano, micro and mini sized UAVs according to information provided by RADA. Tactical units are increasingly considered vulnerable to such systems which might be used as to limit their freedom of action or as flying IEDs.

A single radar provides 90° azimuth coverage with hemispheric coverage being guaranteed when four radars are employed as a system. Maximum detection range for the RPS-82 is given as 20km against mini UAS and 100km against heavy transport aircraft. For the RPS-42 these figures need to be halved with the RPS-72 fitting in between the two although its performance comes close to that of its high end family member. Sella made clear that he considers high energy laser (HEL), "the weapon of the future," with his company working, "on a number of projects in the United States."

RADA is known to have recently been selected by Lockheed Martin to support HEL weapon system testing. Also on display during Seoul ADEX 2015 is RADA's Compact Hemispheric Radar (CHR) family that includes the RPS-10 radar sensor system for active protection systems, the RPS-14 tactical perimeter defence radar system and the RPS-15 hostile fire management system for combat vehicles.
Pieter Bastiaans

Seoul ADEX 2015: ROK Awards Saab Special Appreciation for ARTHUR

Saab Awarded for Contributions to South Korean Protection
Saab received an award from the Republic of Korea (ROK) Army for its ARTHUR weapon-locating radar systems and seamless on-ground support and collaboration during border crisis with adversaries.

South Korea has deployed Saab’s ARTHUR weapon-locating radar system to detect incoming enemy artillery 24/7 and give residents an enhanced 90 second warning of incoming fire. 
The ROK Army has awarded special appreciation to Saab for ensuring uninterrupted support and maintenance services for ARTHUR weapon-locating systems during a military crisis event in conflict zone. As a service provider, Saab stood ground with the army and collaborated on site during the conflict. In its award to Saab, the ROK Army recognised the services and commitment from Saab and expressed its gratitude for the same.

The ARTHUR systems monitor target areas of interest across the borders. ARTHUR can scan 90° of the northern horizon at a speed of nano seconds, and it can pinpoint an object the size of a coin from distances of up to 60 kilometres. It has the ability to rapidly detect incoming artillery fire and can calculate the firing site and point of impact, enabling effective counterfire to take place within a few seconds.

With international borders only 56km away from South Korea’s capital Seoul, Saab’s ARTHUR weapon-locating radar systems are active 24/7 to keep citizens safe and protected. Saab ensures an on-ground presence of support and maintenance staff for round-the-clock maintenance of the radar system and required training of operators. The local support team is futher supplemented with a resourceful back-office team in Gothenburg, Sweden, ensuring an unhindered 24/7 functioning of the surveillance systems.

South Korea is Saab’s largest purchaser of ARTHUR. We are honoured by the recognition awarded to our services by the Republic of Korea Army.  We are committed to supporting the Republic of Korea in maintaining secure borders with future ready defence and security solutions,” Håkan Borin, Country Manager, Saab South Korea, said. 

20 October 2015

Seoul ADEX 2015: Cubic Features Air Combat and Virtual Training Technologies

Cubic Global Defense (CGD) demonstrates a range of innovative technologies developed to increase the combat readiness of fighter pilots and sailors at at the US Pavilion, Hall D, Booth D95.

Cubic already has a large footprint in the Asia-Pacific region and delivers training products and solutions to various military and Armed Forces in the area such as Japan, Singapore and Korea,” said Bill Toti, President of CGD. “ADEX has become a representative aerospace and defense exhibition in the Asia-Pacific region and we look forward to demonstrating our realistic game-based training capabilities for the first time at the event.”

Cubic recently participated in the successful completion of Exercise Ulchi Freedom Guardian (UFG), the largest distributed, simulation-driven exercise in the world, through our Korea Battle Simulation Center (KBSC) located in Seoul.

Cubic showcases various air and maritime training solutions, including:

  • P5 Combat Training System (P5CTS): The P5CTS is Cubic’s latest generation air combat maneuvering instrumentation (ACMI) system for both fourth and fifth generation fighter aircraft. The P5CTS provides fighter pilots and range training officers with the ability to display training missions in real time and during post-mission debrief. The P5CTS is operational at more than 35 locations worldwide and has supported more than one million sorties. The F-35 Joint Strike Fighter will also be delivered with an embedded version of the P5CTS.
  • Immersive Maritime Operator & Maintainer Courseware: This courseware is Cubic’s demonstration of interactive procedural operations and maintenance training. Set within a virtual and immersive shipboard environment, trainees perform tasks in a realistic multi-user environment. Immersive Maritime Operator & Maintainer Courseware is a cost-effective solution allowing trainees to function within complex shipboard environments at a fraction of the cost. 
  • Aircraft Cabin Crew Door Operations: This demonstration features a personalised training avatar that provides commercial airline cabin crew with orientation and operational assessments. Training includes interactive mini-games to evaluate the trainee’s knowledge of key door components, and a four-phased approach to learn how to properly open the main door.

Seoul ADEX 2015: IAI and Hankuk Carbon Presenting Front Engine PANTHER UAS

Hankuk Carbon of South Korea and Israel Aerospace Industries (IAI) are showcasing the Front Engine PANTHER (FE PANTHER) in Hankuk Carbon’s booth (C-12) at ADEX 2015.

Front Engine PANTHER (Photo: IAI)

The 67-kg class tactical vertical takeoff/landing (VTOL) Unmanned Aerial System (UAS) is the latest development of IAI’s PANTHER family. The FE-PANTHER is made of composite materials and sub-systems supplied by Hankuk Carbon and powered by a gasoline-electric hybrid propulsion system, unlike the pure-electric PANTHER that was presented in 2010.

The hybrid propulsion system increases the UAS’s endurance and payload by providing two different power sources, optimized to VTOL and cruise conditions. To meet different needs of potential customers, both companies are also working on another gasoline-electric hybrid propulsion system under a project funded by the Korea-Israel Industrial R&D Foundation. In addition, HC and IAI consider marketing the FE-Panther to South Korean governmental entities.

Presenting the FE-PANTHER at HC booth follows an earlier Memorandum of Understanding (MoU) of a feasibility study under which the two companies have been studying the concept of a VTOL UAS for South Korean requirements.

"IAI is excited to work with Hanckuk Carbon to promote its technologies," Ofer Haruvi, CTO of IAI's Military Aircraft Group said. "The cooperation with the company is a real opportunity to develop new capabilities and to pursue new business opportunities. This collaboration will be beneficial to the Republic of South Korea’s military and civilian authorities."

"I am excited to develop this VTOL UAV jointly with IAI," Moon-Soo Cho, CEO of Hankuk Carbon concluded. "It will be tailor-made to meet local requirements which demand runway independence in Korea’s mountainous region. It will combine Hankuk Carbon’s advanced composite materials and IAI’s technologies. To develop and manufacture this VTOL UAV for Korean civil and military uses, both companies have been working on another joint development of a hybrid propulsion system. This strategic partnership will have a big contribution to the Korean government’s policy of creative economy."

Seoul ADEX 2015: Saab Debuts Latest Carl-Gustaf M4 and AT4

Saab presents, for the first time in Seoul at Stand 50, Hall E, the next-generation Carl Gustaf M4 alongside new capabilities for the AT4.

Visitors to Seoul’s ADEX defence and security exhibition 20-25 October are able to see and evaluate Saab’s lightweight Carl Gustaf M4 for the first time. Introduced to the market just last year, the M4 has all the flexibility and lethality of previous Carl Gustaf variants. However, thanks to far-reaching design changes and improvements it now weighs less than 7kg, delivering a significant improvement in soldier mobility. The M4 is also compatible with future battlefield technology such as intelligent sighting systems for programmable ammunition.

Carl Gustaf M4 debuting in Seoul. (Photo: Saab)

We are proud to present our new Carl-Gustaf M4 at ADEX for the very first time. We have developed this weapon system in response to our customers’ needs for tomorrow and we are very pleased to show the latest version of the system to the audience in Seoul,” Görgen Johansson, head of Saab Business Area Dynamics said.

The Carl-Gustaf M4 is the next evolutionary step in the development of Saab’s multi-role, portable weapon systems. It can be deployed in any combat environment to effectively dictate the outcome of each engagement. As with all versions of the Carl-Gustaf, the latest M4 provides a capable, flexible and easy-to-master solution for current and new customers. Saab’s design philosophy ensures the effective use of the system when it matters most.

We see a great interest for the M4 system and we recently announced the first order. The Armed Forces of the Slovak Republic is our first customer for the system and we are expecting further orders from other countries in the near future. The Carl-Gustaf M4 is, without a doubt, the system of tomorrow”, Markus Mellkvist, head of marketing and sales at Saab business unit Ground Combat explained.

Important new capabilities developed by Saab for its AT4 weapon system will also be exhibited for the first time at ADEX. These enhanced variants deliver extended range (ER) performance and improved high explosive (HE) effects. With an AT4, any soldier can now defeat more targets with greater flexibility and in many more scenarios. The latest AT4 versions were launched into production with a December 2014 order from the French Ministry of Defence procurement branch, the DGA (Direction Générale de l'Armement). The enhanced AT4 was selected by France after an international competitive evaluation. It will serve as the Roquette Nouvelle Generation (Roquette NG) next-generation shoulder-launched weapon system for the French armed forces.

AT4 at ADEX 2015. (Photo: Saab)

These new members of our AT4 family further expand the great versatility of the weapon and emphasise its position as the leading disposable shoulder-launched support weapon on the market,” Görgen Johansson, head of Saab Business Area Dynamics concluded.

Seoul ADEX 2015: Rafael exhibits I-DERBY ER Multi-Range Air-to-Air Missile

Rafael Advanced Defense Systems is participating in this year's edition of the Seoul International Aerospace and Defense Exhibition (ADEX). Among the many products it is showcasing, is the company's latest addition to the DERBY family of BVR air-to-air missiles, the I-DERBY ER.

An advanced active radar missile, I-DERBY ER is capable of dealing with emerging threats that feature enhanced EW and RCS features according to Yaniv Rotem, former head of the Israeli Air Force's air-to-air branch and now working for Rafael. Speaking to MT prior to ADEX 2015, Rotem explained how Rafael's first BVR missile, the medium range DERBY that became operational in 1998, had evolved into the I-DERBY by adding a new solid state RF seeker with the missile being manufactured "end to end" by the company from Israel. While maintaining I-DERBY' seeker, the parameters of which are controlled by software, an important fact if one wants to stay ahead of the threat over the missile's life span that can last for decades according to Rotem, the latest I-DERBY ER features an increase of kinematic performance.

Complementing the company's PYTHON-5 short range air-to-air missile, the I-DERBY ER is dubbed by Rafael as a multi-range missile that has effective performance in both short and BVR engagements, the latter up to a range of 100 km. In order to achieve this, Rafael, "shrank the forward part of the missile, the part which contains all non-explosive components," Rotem said. A new RF based proximity fuze has been integrated while, "all electronics were combined into one section," with the space that became available due to the miniaturization of these electronics now being used, "for extra propellant," with the missile's overall dimensions remaining the same. I-DERBY ER also features a dual pulse rocket motor that has excellent propulsion management according to information provided by the company with so-called trajectory shaping algorithms being used to optimize the missile's trajectory based on launch conditions and predicted target behaviour.

"We have maintained lock on before launch capability," Rotem said with either the host aircraft's radar or a helmet mounted sight display being used to cue the missile's seeker. What has also been maintained is I-DERBY's duality with it being capable of being used in the ground based SPYDER air defence system too. The new all weather missile is qualified, certified and ready to enter service according to Rotem with Rafael now pursuing contracts with potential customers. Now featuring long range performance, I-DERBY ER will allow Rafael to compete with MBDA's METEOR BVR missile at more favourable terms. Rotem claims that Rafael, "can deliver 80% of the range at 50 percent of the price. On top of that I-Derby ER has LOBL capability and it maintains short range performance."

A datalink based on Rafael's Global-Link SDR or another customer supplied system can also be integrated. Although Derby deliveries are still ongoing, Rotem made clear that from now on all new contracts will involve the production of either I-DERBY or I-DERBY ER missiles
Pieter Bastiaans

15 October 2015

United Kingdom Unmanned Aerial Systems Update

When the United Kingdom’s Prime Minister David Cameron announced on 4 October that the Ministry of Defence (MOD) would replace its ten General Atomics MQ9 Reaper Remotely Piloted Air Systems (RPAS) with 20 new systems, announced as Protector (rather than the previous known Scavenger), the statement took many within defence ‘off guard’ due to the speedy declassification in public of the system.

A Royal Air Force Reaper UAV (Unmanned Aerial Vehicle) from 39 Squadron, makes its approach to Kandahar Airfield, Afghanistan following a mission. The aircraft is armed with Paveway bombs and Hellfire missiles.

Speaking at the RPAS: Achievements and Challenges conference hosted by the UK’s Royal Aeronautical Society (RAeS) (7-8 October, London, UK), Air Commodore Peter Grinsted, Head of UK Unmanned Systems, DE&S, MOD, said that the news UAS would be an upgraded MQ9 although the exact configuration would not be announced until March 2016.

Grinsted said that the diversity of the UK’s Unmanned Aerial Systems (UAS) fleet was as a result of individual systems having been bought in isolation rather than as part of a coherent plan, due to the necessity of Urgent Operational Requirements (UORs) for Operation Herrick, the UK’s military deployment in Afghanistan.

The UAS fleet ranges from the Army’s handheld Prox Dynamics Black Hornet, to the larger Lockheed Martin Desert Hawk 3 and Thales Watchkeeper (the replacement for the Elbit Hermes 450, finally up to Reaper MQ9 which will be replaced by Protector by the end of the decade. The Royal Navy is still trailing the Insitu Scan Eagle which is being operated off a Type 23 frigate.

Said Grinsted: “I now face five different customers. There is a need to encourage front line commanders to develop joint capabilities. We are making progress but will take time.” He added that he did not see the potential to create a Joint Air Systems command, due to the differing nature of the systems.

He added that one of the biggest challenges was the certification of Watchkeeper and Reaper, and due to segregated airspace flight testing in the UK was limited to test ranges in Wales and over Salisbury Plain, with the UAS based at Boscombe Down. Grinsted also noted that it is the sensors that require the most frequent updates rather than the performance of the platform: “We are moving into an area where we buy a platform for 20-30 years then buy sensors to fit separately with spiral upgrade over five years,” he said.

Talking about the sensitive subject which is the Rules of Engagement for the UK’s only armed UAS, the Reaper, Wing Commander Damian Killeen, Officer Commanding Xiii Squadron, RAF, said that due to the formal process for engaging targets with oversight and review, “scrutiny of the battlefield has never been higher.” He considered that the UK’s police was more restrictive that the established requirements of international law and that legal advisers were embedded on operations. He added: “There is one set of rules and regulations that apply across the board” which included manned fast jets and attack helicopters.

Killeen said that after eight years of Reaper operations the complexity of the information that such UAS could collect and disseminate was impressive. Again, while such a system does fly alone its operators are part of a much wider networked community “broadcasting what we are doing and using military ‘chatrooms’ (operational intranet) to interact with a variety of forces.  He added that there were usually up to 40 networked people involved per mission.”

Major Oli Knight, the senior ISR Operator with the Army’s 1st Intelligence, Surveillance and Reconaissance Brigade said that the new Watchkeeper UAS would operate a range of sensors including  EO/IR/SAR/GMTI through a dual payload capability.

Arriving in time to fly during the withdrawal period of the British Army from Afghanistan, Watchkeeper nevertheless flew 146 hours over 30 sorties. Although the newness of the system meant that they had to learn ‘on the job’, Knight said that the SAR/GMTI package had really proved its usefulness. On one occasion, the system had identified a ‘pattern of life’ in a remote building where four people had been doing circuits around a compound with an area reserved for push ups (indicating a training location for Taliban rather than an ordinary dwelling).

Technologies that the MOD was considering for future employment included hyperspectral imaging, GEOINT, SIGINT, multifunction RF, and multifunction LiDAR over the sea. Full Operational Capability (FOC) is expected to be declared in 2017 with an out of service date set for 2042.

Taranis, a flying Unmanned Combat Air System demonstrator with no fair fin, is now in its ninth year and the UK is pushing forward with its joint collaboration programme with the French military on the Future Combat Air System (FCAS), said Squadron Leader Archie Brown of the MOD’s Unmanned Air Systems team.

FCAS is planned to enter service as the majority of the Typhoon fleet exits service around 2030. There will be a reduction in fixed wing jet capacity around this time and it is planned that FCAS will meet that shortfall. Brown said that a strategic decision would soon be required if that timeline was to be met. The current development budget is around £120m (split 50/50) over the next 24 months. with a demonstration phase due to be run between 2016-22. Manufacturing would begin after that.
Andrew Drwiega

14 October 2015

Seen and Heard at AUSA 2015

Digital Systems Engineering (DSE) is showcasing their newest display systems, discussing the current product roadmap, and addressing system level needs for today's domestic and international defence agencies on booth 6853. For over 20 years, DSE has been engineering and manufacturing some of the most rugged, dependable monitor systems available, built to withstand highly variable temperatures, intense climates and extreme shock and vibration. DSE offers field-proven, commercial off-the-shelf products and custom engineered solutions.


Arnouse Digital Devices Corporation (ADDC), on booth 6715, discuss a super miniaturised, hardened, mobile communications center that can be scaled from one to 22 BioDigitalPC/MobylPC Cards, each the size of a credit card operating as servers.  Their servers are greener – nearly 90% more energy efficient than a typical server and they produce much less waste, according to the company. When hardware is upgraded there is no need to replace many of the elements as is done with older server systems. Their Mobyl Cloud allows for hot plugging the BioDigitalPC/MobylPC Server cards for quick scaling, runs on 120/240V AC or 12-36V DC with up to eight hours of scaled out server up time and nearly a week of minimal server usage using four UBI 2590 lithium-ion batteries. Weighing approximately 45lbs, applications include any remote usage, including military applications for secure communications.


First time exhibitor, Computech International (CTI) showcases some of its high-end managed solutions, adapted for the military, including ruggedised computers, tablets and accessories for armoured vehicles, mortars and artillery, aircraft and ships, as well as a complete wearable ground control station for the dismounted soldier.


A first time exhibitor, Redler Technologies exhibits a range of its motion control and energy management control solutions, specially designed for vehicles, unmanned platforms, ground and aerial systems, stabilizing antenna pedestals, and gimbaled systems.


RT LTA highlights its SkyStar Family of aerostats used in intelligence, surveillance, reconnaissance, and communications applications. The company announces a new extended communications capability for its SkyStar 100 system and multi-payload capability for its SkyStar 180 and 300 systems.


Video-Inform presents its next generation of breakthrough cognitive technology-based intelligence software. The solution utilises innovative artificial profiler technology, and provides unmatched detection and profiling of objects in real time. The system is in use by the Israeli Air Force and has proven successful in recent conflicts.


Textron Systems Marine & Land Systems, detailed its $56.2 million firm-fixed-price contract from the US Army Contracting Command, Warren, Mich., to supply 55 additional COMMANDO Select four-wheeled armored vehicles to the Afghan National Army (ANA), via FMS. Work is performed in Slidell, LA, with vehicle deliveries completing by February 2016. This latest FMS order of COMMANDO Select vehicles for the ANA will be configured in three variants: 36 equipped with Objective Gunner Protection Kits; 15 with enclosed 40mm/.50 caliber turrets; and four ambulance vehicles.