US Navy Successfully Completes First Live Fire Test of SEARAM from Destroyer
The US Navy successfully launched the Raytheon SEARAM Anti-Ship Missile Defence System from an ARLEIGH BURKE-class guided missile destroyer for the first time ever on 4 March 2016, as announced by the US Naval Institute (USNI) on 8 March 2016. The firing is considered as a final step in rapidly fielding a self-defence capability on the Mediterranean-based USS PORTER (DDG-78).
The PORTER previously went through structural test firings to ensure a shield would properly protect the ship from the SEARAM blast, followed by tracking exercises to verify the accuracy of the detect-to-engage sequence. Finally, the Navy conducted its first-ever live fire test of a SEARAM from a DDG, which took place on a Spanish Navy test range in the Mediterranean. Additionally, the SEARAM system has recently been tested successfully in another location against supersonic targets, expanding the utility of the system meant to address close-in threats such as helicopters and cruise missiles.
The SEARAM, which replaces the PHALANX Close-In Weapon System’s 20mm gun with a Rolling Airframe Missile (RAM) Block II launcher, also is in production for use on the US Navy Littoral Combat Ship.
US Orders another 166,623 Avon Protection Masks
Avon Protection has received a U$42 million order for 166,623 units of its M50 respiratory protection mask systems from the US Department of Defense (DoD). According to the manufacturer the M50 provides protection from battlefield concentrations of CB agents, toxic industrial materials, toxic chemicals and particulate matter. The M50 is equipped with twin conformal filters for low breathing resistance and reduced burden.
Avon Protection also offers an M51 variant that has been specifically designed for combat vehicle operators. Consisting of the M50 mask in conjunction with a CVC hood (Combat Vehicle Crewman) for head and neck protection (constructed from Gore Chempak barrier technology), a communication lead and hose to integrate with vehicle blowers and COLPRO systems (Collective Protection).
With over 1,500,000 Avon M50 mask systems delivered to date to US military personnel, Avon is a leading supplier of chemical, biological, radiological and nuclear respiratory protection masks to the US military.
“We are proud that the US DoD continues to choose Avon to provide the best CBRN protective equipment for their troops. The M50 mask system delivers state-of-the-art protection against the changing threat environment we now have”, Gary Dunn, Vice President Business Development at Avon Protection, commented.
First Pilots of the German Air Force Trained on Airbus Helicopters’ H145M
After their delivery to the German Air Force (Luftwaffe) in December 2015, the first two units of Airbus Helicopters’ H145M were directly deployed to Manching, Germany for training purposes. On 3 March, 2016, the first four recently licensed pilots of this light multipurpose helicopter, transferred the H145M to the home base of the Helicopter Wing 64 (“Hubschraubergeschwader 64”) in Laupheim, Southern Germany, which will operate them from now on.
All pilots are experienced flight instructors with a long flight history on Sikorsky CH-53, Bell UH1D and Messerschmitt-Bölkow-Blohm BO 105 that in turn from now on will train other pilots on the H145M LUH SOF (Light Utility Helicopter Special Operations Forces), how the in total 15 ordered helicopters are denominated by the German Armed Forces due to their customisation for units like the Special Forces Command “KSK Kommando Spezialkräfte”.
The H145M has a maximum take-off weight of 3.7t and is designed for the transport of four soldiers, also featuring reconnaissance, SAR and evacuation capabilities as well as fire support.
General Dynamics UK to Provide Enhanced Communications to British Armed Forces
General Dynamics United Kingdom has been awarded £135 million contract from the UK Ministry of Defence to provide enhanced BOWMAN tactical communications systems to the British Armed Forces. The BCIP5.6 contract will allow for the Bowman tactical communications equipment currently used by the UK military to receive a series of enhancements and upgrades. These include the roll-out of approximately 12,000 new data terminals and an updated version of the Battle Management System (BMS).
BOWMAN’s secure radio communications have been used in operations since 2005, being integrated by General Dynamics UK into more than 15,000 British Army vehicles, together with headquarters, ships and helicopters. The enhanced equipment will be delivered beginning in 2018.
“This contract will replace the data terminals and update software across the BOWMAN system to ensure ease of use, more rapid and robust data services and improved interoperability," Brigadier Richard Spencer, Head of the MOD’s Battlefield and Tactical Communications and Information System delivery team, said. “This new deal is good news for the Armed Forces and ensures that they will have access to the best possible tactical communications equipment for the foreseeable future.”
Captions in order of apperance:
Raytheon SEARAM Missile successfully being launched from the USS Porter during a test on March 4 on a Spanish Navy test range. (Photo: Raytheon)
Soldier with a M50 respiratory protection mask made by Avon Protection. (Photo: Avon Protection)
Commodore Col. Stefan Demps, who is leading the Helicopter Wing 64 of the German Air Force, hands over the pilot’s licenses to the new pilots of the H145M. (Photo: Luftwaffe/Ralf Hochrein)
Charles, Prince of Wales, using a BOWMAN communication system. (Photo: General Dynamics)