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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

22 March 2016

Today's Headlines

Beechcraft Signs Support Contract for NATO Flying Training Programme

On 18 March 2016, Beechcraft Defense signed a five-year cost-per-flight-hour contract with CAE to provide service support for the NATO Flying Training in Canada (NFTC) programme, currently operating 23 Beechcraft T-6A aircraft for military flight training, comprising aircraft logistics, spare parts, engineering, and technical manual update support.

To date, Beechcraft has delivered more than 900 T-6 trainers, which have amassed more than 2.6 million flight hours. The Beechcraft T-6, according to its manufacturer, is especially suited for teaching basic introductory flight training tasks through the more challenging and complex advanced training missions that could previously only be accomplished in far more expensive jet aircraft. The T-6 is being used to train the pilots, navigators, and weapons systems operators of more than 20 countries around the world. "We are proud to expand our relationship with CAE and the NATO Flying Training in Canada programme with this new service contract," Tom Hammoor, president, Beechcraft Defense, said. "Several of the Beechcraft T-6A aircraft in the NFTC fleet have already surpassed 10,000 flight hours and we look forward to supporting future operations to ensure their continued success in training the next generation of military pilots."

Beechcraft Defense has been contracted to provide service support for the 23 T-6A turboprop trainers operated by CAE as part of the NATO Flying Training in Canada (NFTC) programme. (Photo: Beechcraft)

HMS ARTFUL Becomes Commissioned Warship

On 18 March 2016, the HMS ARTFUL ASTUTE-class submarine has officially become a commissioned warship at a ceremony at Royal Navy (RN) HM Naval Base Clyde. Since she was handed over to the RN by BAE Systems Submarines in December 2015, ARTFUL has been conducting trials to prove her systems and equipment at sea, ahead of her first operational deployment later in 2017. The highlight of the trials was the firing of six heavyweight SPEARFISH torpedoes on the British Underwater Testing and Evaluation Centre near the Isle of Skye.

HMS ARTFUL is the third of six ASTUTE-class nuclear attack submarines being built for the Royal Navy. Launched in May 2014, it has now been commissioned into the fleet. (Photo: Royal Navy)

ARTFUL is the first of the Royal Navy's submarines to be fitted with the Common Combat System (CCS), which is regarded as the digital 'brain' of the boat controlling its eyes, ears, and nervous system. The new system, provided by VMware, Dell and Aish, was used during the above mentioned torpedo test to interpret sonar readings and then attack a moving target with a practice weapon.

ARTFUL's two sister boats ASTUTE and AMBUSH have already successfully conducted operational deployments. Both have deployed to the Mediterranean and Middle East, where they have been involved in anti-smuggling and security operations and have provided TOMAHAWK Land Attack Missile (TLAM) capability in support of anti-terrorism operations in the region.

The ASTUTE-class are some of the largest, most advanced and most powerful attack submarines ever operated by the Royal Navy. The next two submarines in the class, AUDACIOUS and ANSON, are currently being built in Barrow, with AGAMEMNON and an unnamed Boat 7 to follow.

"This is a red letter day that marks the beginning of the next crucial stage of development for the Royal Navy and its Submarine Service,” Adm. Sir George Zambellas, First Sea Lord and Chief of Naval Staff, said. "Today’s ceremony dramatically increases the operational capability of the Submarine Service with the commissioning of our third Astute-class boat, and is another milestone in the journey towards HM Naval Base Clyde becoming the UK Submarine Centre of Specialisation by 2020."

Image depicts the ship’s interior and shows key features of HMS ARTFUL (Infographic: BAE Systems)

MI-28NE with Dual Controls Launched into Serial Production

Rostvertol, part of Russian Helicopters, recently started mass production of its MI-28NE NIGHT HUNTER combat helicopter with dual controls, allowing the helicopter to be operated by both a pilot and an operator pilot acting as an instructor. The Mi-28NE prototype with dual controls was produced in 2014, joint tests were finished at the end of 2015. The aircraft is designed to perform a wide range of missions, including destruction of armoured vehicles, engagement of low-speed low-altitude airborne targets, aerial reconnaissance, as well as target indication for combat helicopters and planes.

Dual controls are to increase the tactical flexibility of the Mi-28NE Night Hunter attack helicopter, but will primarily facilitate pilot training. (Photo: Rostec)

Among the main advantages of Mi-28NE with dual controls according to its manufacturer are not only its manoeuvrability and round-the-clock operation, but also its firepower. The helicopter weapons include guided and unguided missiles, as well as a flexible gun mount with a 3-mm gun.
All the helicopter vital systems and units are duplicated. The crew cabin is protected against armour-piercing bullets and projectiles of up to 20mm in calibre. The helicopter crew is seated in the cockpit in tandem, thereby achieving good visibility and effective pilot protection.

CONTROP to Provide Indian Army with Hundreds of Optronic Sensors

CONTROP Precision Technologies, specialised in advanced electro-optics (EO) and infrared (IR) defence and homeland security solutions, recently announced the supply of hundreds FTA optronic sensor systems for the air defence systems programme of the Indian Army. According to the communication, FTA was chosen by the Indian Army to be part of a programme with the modern upgrade of Bofors’ L-70 air defence gun, providing day/night anti-aircraft protection by means of an advanced automatic air tracking system. The FTA cameras will be supplied throughout the years 2016 and 2017.

The FTA system includes two sensors: a thermal imaging camera with continuous optical zoom lens and a daylight CCD camera with zoom lens. (Photo: CONTROP)

FTA is a ruggedized day/night optronic sensor system, which includes the FOX-250, a high performance Thermal Imaging Camera and a high performance colour CCD day camera, each with a continuous optical zoom lens. "The Indian Army chose our FTA System following very successful field trials and is enthusiastic due to the outstanding performance of these optronic systems in harsh environmental conditions," CONTROP's VP Marketing, Johnny Carni, stated.

In addition, CONTROP has supplied dozens of FOX thermal imaging cameras to a large public sector undertaking (PSU) systems' integrator in India, as part of the new Naval Fire Control Systems Programmes. These FOX thermal imaging cameras, which include CONTROP's proprietary continuous zoom lens, have been interfaced with a weapon station and with fire control.

Alexander Kolberg