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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

26 February 2016

Unmanned Systems to Support Infantry Units

At the DWT conference and exposition covering “Applied Research for Defence and Security in Germany,” taken place in Bonn (Germany) this week, the Fraunhofer Institute for Communication, Information Processing and Ergonomics (FKIE) presented a project named “Process Chain Automatized Reconnaissance Support.” It encompasses the attempt to seamlessly integrate UGVs and UAVs (unmanned ground and aerial vehicles) into the mission of an infantry unit of the German Armed Forces (Bundeswehr). During a manoeuvre next May, platoon of the 23rd Mountain Troops Brigade in Bad Reichenhall will be equipped with two tracked UGVs and two rotary wing UAVs. Whereas one UGV will serve as a transport unit, the other three unmanned systems are to integrate themselves into the platoon’s formation, thereby reconnoitring the surroundings with their sensor technology. Additionally, the unmanned systems can be given individual orders, i.e. to autonomously conduct reconnaissance in an area that has not been scanned yet. The data provided by the unmanned systems via LTE, according to FKIE, will be merged into a consistent situation picture that can be accessed in real time via mobile devices and other communication systems.

Picture shows a unit of Fraunhofers’ experimental platform GARM (once designed by order of the armasuisse in cooperation with RUAG), which weighs 460kg, has a maximum speed of 15kph and can carry a payload of 150kg. It is equipped with a LIDAR application (Light detection and ranging) produced by SICK (scanning range: 80m). (Photo: Alexander Kolberg)

Alexander Kolberg

ESG and Diehl Deployed C-UAV Defence System at G7 Meeting

In a presentation at the DWT conference and exposition covering “Applied Research for Defence and Security in Germany” taking place in Bonn (Germany) ESG and Diehl Defence revealed how they – together with technology partners – contributed to the protection of the G7 summit in 2015 at “Schloss Elmau” with an anti-UAV (counter unmamned aerial vehicle C-UAV) defence system. Especially aligned for threats posed by mini and micro-UAV (<25kg) the modular system combined detection technologies and non-lethal effectors from Rohde & Schwarz, Robin Radar, Diehl Defence and ESG, linked-up by ESG’s C&C system TARANIS.

Robin Radar, e.g. contributed a radar-based tracking system which is able to distinguish micro-UAVs from birds. Being deployable within 30 minutes it can be operated 24/7 and has a 360° monitoring range, including the option to define regions of interest (ROI). Rohde & Schwarz contributed a sensor system which detects radio waves and/or the electromagnetic field produced either by the UAV or the remote control, the latter allowing in combination with a direction finder to exactly localise the owner of the drone.

In case of a correct positive either a smart jammer produced by Rohde & Schwarz or the HPEM system (High-Power Electro-Magnetics) produced by Diehl Defence would have been called into action. HPEM is an interference pulse that disables or disrupts electronics components as used not only in UAVs, but also in IEDs, land and sea vehicle engine electronics, computers, control systems and intelligence equipment.

Picture shows am example of an anti-UAV mission monitored by ESG’s c&c system TARANIS, linking up sensors as well as effectors and providing the users with the latest situation picture. (Photo: Alexander Kolberg)

Alexander Kolberg

24 February 2016

MUOS Highlighted in USARPAC Joint Comms Exercise in Pacific

Even with today's advanced military networked communications systems, the simple ability to make voice calls or track logistics forces while operating in the vast Pacific Theater is challenging.

Recently, Soldiers onboard an Army Logistics Supply Vessel (LSV) in Hawaii/USA took a leap forward when they used equipment giving seamless communication with land units 200mi away - enabling the transfer of data, images and clear voice communications. Working in collaboration, the US Army and US Navy demonstrated on 18 February at Fort Shafter, Hawaii, how an integrated suite of network technology can effectively provide communications for joint users throughout the Pacific Theater. Using the Army's MANPACK radios and friendly-force tracker Joint Battle Command-Platform (JBC-P), with the Navy's Mobile User Objective System (MUOS) waveform, soldiers in five geographically disperse locations - on land and at sea - were able to talk, text, share data and track the ship's progress.

"As the Army focuses more on the Pacific Theater, it is critical for Soldiers in that region to be able to communicate back to land when they are traveling thousands of miles at sea," Col. James P. Ross, the Army's project manager for Tactical Radios, explained. "The MANPACK Radio and MUOS waveform, along with JBC-P, enable soldiers to not only share enroute mission command information, but to also know where friendly and enemy forces are located."

Similar to 3-G cellular service, the MUOS waveform keeps users - on ships, in submarines, aircraft and vehicles and while dismounted and on the move - connected to high-quality voice and mission data. With, according to Lockheed Martin, 10 times more capacity than the Ultra High Frequency (UHF) system that it is replacing, the MUOS system provides additional bandwidth, eliminating connectivity and data sharing problems. With additional bandwidth, US Army, Pacific Command (USARPAC) units that deploy to Southeast Asia where there is limited bandwidth can stay connected and exchange voice and data.

"MUOS fills an urgent need for additional tactical satellite within the Pacific," Lt. Col. Joseph Pishock, 25th Infantry Division (ID) G6 (communications officer), said. "There currently are not enough channels to support units deployed into the Asia-Pacific Theater reliably. With MUOS, we can conduct simple chats, send small images and even use it with other systems to transmit position location information."

The exercise included an LSV-2 equipped with a MANPACK radio and a Vehicle on the Move antenna integrated into its communications system that travelled between two islands -- Oahu and Hawaii. The vessel was transporting military equipment and supplies for the 25th ID with Soldiers from the 8th Theater Sustainment Command (TSC) onboard communicating with Soldiers at two locations in Oahu and Hawaii. Each location was equipped with a MANPACK Radio using the MUOS waveform, which enabled soldiers at all five locations to communicate with each other through JBC-P's easy-to-use interface. In addition to communicating continuously via voice and data from the LSV back to land, commanders tracked the ship's location. As the Army's main fighting force in the Pacific region, the 25th ID frequently deploys small units to allied countries throughout the Pacific Rim to conduct joint exercises and humanitarian assistance. Reaching allied countries such as Malaysia or Australia can take eight to ten days from Pearl Harbor, Hawaii and with major weather events, particularly the rainy season, often resulting in hours or days without communications.

"The ability to project and sustain forces from over the shore is an essential capability in the Pacific Command area of operations and a critical component of a multi-dimensional logistics network," Maj. Edward F. Dorman, III, commander, 8th Theater Sustainment Brigade, continued. "Enhancing the communications capability will improve how we conduct inter-island surface deployment support, add flexibility to cargo transportation options for the joint force and rapidly respond to crisis throughout the region, including humanitarian assistance situations."

Both the 8th TSC and 25th ID, subordinate commands of USARPAC, currently use Single Channel Ground and Airborne Radio System (SINCGARS) radios for internal communications, but the 25th ID ground unit commanders have difficulties communicating and receiving current status updates or coordinating link up operations with Soldiers on the LSVs who are transporting their equipment.

"Ship to shore communications from Army watercraft to supported units has been a challenge historically," said Pishock. "The limited systems on the LSVs do not permit ground-based forces to connect reliably from over the horizon."

The exercise highlighted how the MANPACK Radio and MUOS waveform can provide effective voice and data to soldiers throughout the Pacific Theater even when they are Beyond Line-Of- Sight (BLOS). One of the key features of the two-channel Manpack Radio is its ability to run different waveforms, including the BLOS MUOS waveform on one channel and the Soldier Radio Waveform or SINCGARS waveform on the other channel, allowing units that are BLOS to connect seamlessly, increasing the effectiveness of the overall system.

The holistic MUOS system, managed by the Navy's Communications Satellite Program Office, includes satellites, ground stations, radios, waveforms and network management software, all working in lockstep to provide multiple paths for information to take, something critical in keeping troops connected regardless of the extreme environment or vast distances. It also is comprised of four geostationary satellites that each cover half of the planet, with overlap to provide redundancy, and ground stations around the world. A fifth and final satellite will be launched in May as a backup in case one of the other satellites goes down. Simply put, a message travels from the MANPACK Radio to a satellite, satellite to ground station, ground station back up to satellite and satellite back down to the receiving MANPACK Radio. Messages are delivered quickly -- in less than a second and a half -- even after travelling more than 100,000 miles.

The graphics and data are displayed on JBC-P, which leverages the Blue Force Tracking II satellite for situational awareness and friendly force tracking so commanders on land are able to follow the ship's progress. JBC-P is compatible with the Army's smartphone-like Nett Warrior end-user device, which integrates with tactical radio networks and provides situational awareness by displaying units, obstacles, graphics and mission essential information. The Nett Warrior attaches to the Manpack Radio.

"MUOS-enabled radios have a lot of potential to improve mission command over our network for all of our forces throughout the Pacific by providing access to tactical satellite resources, strategic world-wide networks and blue force tracking," Lt. Col. Dustin Bishop, 8th TSC G6 (communications officer), concluded. "Furthermore, it will enhance connectivity from Southeast Asia to Hawaii, enabling chat, file transfers and DSN phone calls. We would even be able to provide a radio to expeditionary elements who could use it on the ground as mission dictates."

Next-Generation Jet Trainer for USAF Advanced Pilot Training as Fully Integrated Solution

Raytheon, as prime contractor (with principal partners Finmeccanica, CAE USA, and Honeywell Aerospace), is  offering  an  integrated, next-generation training solution for the US Air  Force’s (USAF) Advanced Pilot Training  competition.

The  success of  our  nation’s  future  pilots  depends  on  a comprehensive trainer  to  prepare  them  to take full advantage  of  the capabilities  unique to advanced  4th  and 5th  generation fighters,” Rick  Yuse, President  of  Raytheon’s  Space and Airborne Systems, explained.  “Our  affordable,  low  risk,  open systems  solution combines  a  proven  aircraft  with  a  suite of  fully  integrated  training  technologies.  Our  team  is  best positioned to bring the  essential  experience,  capabilities  and core competencies  together  to meet  the United States Air Force’s mission requirements.”

Nearly  45,000 pilots and crew have earned their wings on the training systems designed, developed and fielded by this Raytheon led-team, combining the T-100, an advanced variant of the Aermacchi M-346 with a ground based training system, provided by CAE USA.

"The T-100 offers  dynamic  kinetic  performance, while also delivering an embedded, tactical training system that immerses pilots in realistic mission scenarios,” Filippo Bagnato,  Managing  Director  of Finmeccanica Aircraft  Division, said.  “The M-346,  the basis  for  the T-100,  is  already  operational  and preparing pilots around the world for the challenges of today’s complex fighter platforms.” 

Poland Contracts Rheinmetall for LEOPARD 2 PL Upgrade

Poland has recently awarded Rheinmetall a contract for overhauling 128 LEOPARD 2 A4 main battle tanks (MBT) for €220 million. In cooperation with Poland’s Polska Grupa Zbrojeniowa (PGZ) and ZM Bumar-Labedy, Rheinmetall, sharing technology and operating in tandem with local industry, will serve as a strategic partner, supplying crucial key capabilities, including electronics and weapon technology. During the course of modernisation, the 128 LEOPARD 2 A4 MBTs, purchased in 2002 by the Polish Army from surplus Bundeswehr stocks, will be upgraded to Leopard 2 PL standard, which corresponds to the German Leopard 2 A5 and A6.

Following Canada and Indonesia, Poland is now the third LEOPARD user nation to turn to Rheinmetall as the technology partner of choice for a major modernisation programme. Besides the German Armed Forces (Bundeswehr), armed forces of 17 countries now include LEOPARD 2 tanks in their inventories.

On 28 December 2015, the Armament Inspectorate of the Polish Armed Forces (PAF) awarded PGZ (as general contractor) and ZM Bumar-Labedy (as integrator) a contract to upgrade the combat effectiveness of the LEOPARD 2 A4. Rheinmetall played a key role in preparing the upgrade package, having already established itself as a strategic partner by this point. Recently signed, the contract lays out the details of Rheinmetall’s role in the modernisation package, specifying that the consortium is to deliver a prototype by the end of 2017. Once the PAF have granted authorisation for series production, Rheinmetall will revamp a further five MBTs starting in 2018. The next 12 MBTs will undergo modernisation at Bumar-Labedy under Rheinmetall supervision. After this, the Polish contractors will take charge of the project, retrofitting and shipping the remaining 110 tanks.

The upgrade programme focuses on improving the tank’s main armament and fire control technology, as well as adding state-of-the-art electronic components and enhanced force protection features. The fire control unit software will be adapted for new types of ammunition, which Rheinmetall has also developed and manufactured for the LEOPARD, while the sensor suite will be expanded to include a latest-generation thermal imaging device. Furthermore, the main gun, equipped with an L44 barrel from Rheinmetall (including, among other things, the barrel recoil system, breech and muzzle brake) will be modified to fire two new ammunition types, the DM11 HE (a time-delay shaped charge round), and the DM63 KE (a sabot round with temperature-independent powder).

Made by IBD Deisenroth, the new AMAP protection elements offer improved protection against KE and HE ammunition, and the installation of new mine-resistant seats and a fire extinguisher and suppression system assures optimum protection for the crew. Rheinmetall is also responsible for the new built-in system for controlling and monitoring the vehicle components as well as data distribution. Along with advantages regarding precision and space, new electric turret drives will reduce the risk to the crew. Finally, in order to improve situational awareness to the rear of the vehicle and assist the driver, a video camera will be installed.

Elbit Systems of America’s Digital Eye Piece Display Provides Night Vision Cueing Capabilities to JHMCS

Recognising the aviator’s need for advanced nighttime cueing and display capabilities, Elbit Systems of America, a wholly owned subsidiary of Elbit Systems, has recently unveiled its Digital Eye Piece (DEP), co-developed with Rockwell Collins through the joint venture RCEVS.

Since introducing the Joint Helmet Mounted Cueing System (JHMCS), Elbit Systems of America advanced this technology with the DEP, a lightweight night vision cueing and display solution for the JHMCS helmet mounted display system. This next-generation solution brings daytime cueing and display capabilities into night operations without the need for costly upgrades, modifications or any changes to the aircraft and software. The DEP is plug-and-play with currently fielded JHMCS helmets.

“Our plug-and-play capability fits seamlessly into currently fielded night vision devices, driving costs down and bringing crucial JHMCS day capabilities into nighttime operations, as it should be,” Raanan Horowitz, President and CEO, Elbit Systems of America, said. “Pilots will now have the ability to transition easily from day to night configuration while in flight, enabling mission completion from dusk to dawn.”

Elbit Systems of America’s Digital JHMCS (DJHMCS), an upgraded system, provides aviators with immediate and accurate recognition of friendly units, threats, and unknown targets, giving the aircrew a comprehensive view of the entire battle-space. Already in full production, DJHMCS is a backwards compatible system that provides the same performance and increases growth capabilities.

23 February 2016

ISL Presents Smart Autonomous Visual Event Detector B-SAVED

During the DWT conference and exposition covering “Applied Research for Defence and Security in Germany,” taking place in Bonn (Germany), the French-German Research Institute of St- Louis (ISL) showcased B-SAVED, a bio inspired autonomous surveillance camera based on artificial intelligence.

Designed for 360° environmental monitoring, the tripod activates itself at every movement in its field of view, recognising programmed as well as previously recognised threats autonomously. Imitating the ability of the human eye for peripheral vision, B-SAVED is equipped with three low-resolution sensors, serving to activate the pivotal main camera that immediately turns into the direction of the detected object and follows it. In its peripheral mode the device is able to detect objects at a distance of 200m (visible range) respectively 100m (IR range) and produces detailed pictures within a range of 200m (visible range) respectively 100m (IR range). B-SAVED communicates its findings via radio using codes like 5 for “armoured vehicle” or 3 for “human being,” thereby reducing the transmitted data volume, as well as its vulnerability to interception. According to ISL, it has an operating time of 72 hours.

Alexander Kolberg

22 February 2016

Thales Modernises German Navy’s Tactical Trainer

The Federal Office of Bundeswehr Equipment, Information Technology and in Source Support (BAAINBw) has awarded Thales a contract to modernise the German Navy's tactical and procedural trainer (TVTM1) at the naval training centre (MOS) in Bremerhaven. After more than ten years of almost unmodified operation, the IT infrastructure has become outdated and is no longer sustainable. As a result, the regeneration of the simulators is scheduled to be completed by August 2018. The tactical and procedural naval trainer prepares officers in administration, commanders and command teams of warships for missions and exercises.

Thales to modernise German Navy Tactical Centre Trainers. (Photo: Thales)

"With this project we solve the deterioration problems of existing systems and increase the capabilities of the tactical naval centre by participating in national and international simulated training and mission preparations," Brunhilde Henze, project manager at BAAINBw S6.3 in Wilhelmshaven, explained.

In detail, the order covers the regeneration of the "VT-MOS2," "TVT," and "TacFloor3" tactical trainers last used in the TMZ4 Navy Tactics Centre (VT-MOS2: The procedural trainer predominantly prepares sergeants - with and without tassel - and young officers for practical operational service; TacFloor3: On the TacFloor, situations, for example during operational map games, can be projected in a large format on the floor and/or a wall. This form of representation is particularly suited for larger course groups who need to jointly evaluate a tactical situation).

A new reference system and a new software development environment will additionally be supplied for the simulators. With the regenerated trainer systems, the tactical naval centre will also have the future capability to maintain the training of navy operators – covering a wide range of ranks – at a very high level. In addition, the capability to participate in networked simulation exercises on a national and international scale will be increased for the simulators. To this end, the replacement of the simulated training environment based on the HLA5 and DIS6 is essential. Within the modernised system, the tactical data exchange between the simulated and real participants takes place via Link 11, 16 and 22.

"With the current decision of Navy leaders concerning the future design of mission training, the education and training of crews and administrative officers using synthetic mission scenarios has become more important. In future, the TMZ will play a central role in this training network with the regenerated system," Navy Captain Norbert Schatz, Commander of the TMZ at the naval training centre, added.

The order affirms our excellent relationship with the German Navy and their trust in our competence. We are pleased that with the modernisation of the trainers at TZM we are able to continue serving our national Navy and thus gain a valuable international reference”, Thomas Schwonke, Director of Above Water Systems at Thales in Germany, concluded.

The naval training centre in Bremerhaven provides training for operational tasks on board of ships and boats. Courses in navigation, electronic combat, signalling and general operations are held. In the tactical centre of the Navy, the fleet trains its mission procedures. The range of tasks covers simple radar through to complex planning exercises in cooperation with naval headquarters. Surface vessels are supported during the command team training. Here the teams of the ships and boats can be prepared for impending missions. Foreign navies also utilise the training facilities of the tactical centre.

Demonstration of new VELVET Extreme Contrast Simulation Projector

In cooperation with the National Center for Simulation, hosted by the UCF Institute for Simulation Training, the new ZEISS VELVET 1600 Sim Digital Video Projector will be demonstrated, next Thursday, 25 February 2016 from 1000-1600h (10 AM - 4 PM) in Orlando, FL/USA, as an integral component of the 3D perception NORTHSTAR simulation display solution, introducing ground-breaking features for advanced flight simulation applications.

The VELVET projector technology integrated with 3D perception’s NORTHSTAR solution allows for pixel perfect transitions between visual channels on curved screens, for all training scenarios - from bright daylight to pitch dark night. 

AeroVironment PUMA AE UAS Supporting USCG Ice Breaker for Operation Deep Freeze

In a development that takes the life-saving capabilities of small unmanned aircraft systems (UAS) to one of the most remote and unforgiving regions on earth, AeroVironment announced earlier this year it and a team from the National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration (NOAA) have been contracted to provide the US Coast Guard (USCG) ice breaker POLAR STAR with a RQ-20A PUMA AE UAS and a flight crew for the annual joint Operation "Deep Freeze," the military component of the larger, civilian-managed US Antarctic programme to re-supply the National Science Foundation’s McMurdo Station. The Operation "Deep Freeze" joint team departed Hobart, Tasmania, Australia, on 30 December 2015 and reached McMurdo Station on 18 January 2016.
The use of an UAS to assist USCG in navigating through treacherous Antarctic seas avoids putting crew and costly helicopters at risk.

Operation 'Deep Freeze' is one of the U.S. military’s most complex peacetime missions due to the harsh Antarctic environment,” Kirk Flittie, AeroVironment vice president and general manager of its Unmanned Aircraft Systems business segment, said. “AeroVironment’s PUMA AE is delivering vital advanced scouting intelligence to help the Coast Guard’s Polar Star conduct ice-breaking operations in the treacherous waters of the Ross Sea more safely and efficiently without putting pilots and costly helicopters at risk.”

During Operation "Deep Freeze," AeroVironment personnel were employing its new Autonomous Recovery System to capture PUMA in a portable net on its return to the ship. PUMA also can be recovered from the sea as a result of its waterproof design. The PUMA AE weighs 13.5lbs, operates for more than 210 minutes, typically at a range of up to 15km, and delivers live, streaming colour and infrared video as well as laser illumination from its pan-tilt-zoom MANTIS i25 AE gimbaled payload. Launched by hand and capable of landing on the ground or in fresh or salt water, the PUMA AE provides portability and flexibility for infantry, commercial, littoral or maritime operations.

AeroVironment received the contract from ADS on behalf of the USCG and is collaborating with NOAA to provide the requested services.

Two ZEPHYR 8 HAPS to be Built for UK MoD

Airbus Defence & Space (DS) has won an order from the UK Ministry of Defence (MoD) for the manufacture and operation of two solar-powered ZEPHYR 8 high-altitude pseudo-satellite (HAPS) craft.

ZEPHYR flies slowly and above weather systems, loitering over a selected area under the close guidance of a ground controller to perform its mission. The earlier ZEPHYR 7 HAPS holds the world record for 14 days continuous flight set in 2010 – with the aircraft charging its batteries from sunlight during the day and maintaining its high altitude at night. The latest generation ZEPHYR 8 has a wingspan of 25m, is 30% lighter and can carry 50% more batteries than its predecessor. (Graphic: Airbus)

Flying at some 65,000ft, the ultra-lightweight ZEPHYR 8 is capable of providing persistent surveillance over land or sea, and hosting communications links, over the same area for months at a time without landing. The precise purpose for which the UK MoD will use its ZEPHYRs has not been disclosed.

The latest generation ZEPHYR 8 has a wingspan of 25m, is 30% lighter and can carry 50% more batteries than its predecessor. This enables the ZEPHYR 8 to carry heavier payloads for its surveillance and communications roles. The ZEPHYR 8 HAPS is designed to fly continuously for over a month before landing, being refurbished, and flying again.

As well as for military purposes, ZEPHYRs can be used for humanitarian missions, precision farming, environmental and security monitoring, and to provide internet coverage to regions of poor or zero connectivity. The first ZEPHYR 8 is under construction at Airbus DS’ Farnborough, UK facility and is due to fly in mid-2017.

On 23 November 2015, the UK's Prime Minister already mentioned that the UK looks set to operationally field the Airbus DS ZEPHYR high-altitude unmanned aerial vehicle (UAV). Announcing a series of enhancements to the UK's intelligence, surveillance, and reconnaissance (ISR) capabilities during the reading of the Strategic Defence and Security Review (SDSR) in the House of Commons, David Cameron said that the country is to field a, "British-designed unmanned aircraft [that] will fly at the very edge of the earth's atmosphere and allow us to observe our adversaries for weeks on end, providing critical intelligence for our forces."

While he gave no further details, the solar-powered ZEPHYR that Airbus DS is developing with the UK MoD under the High Altitude Pseudo Satellite (HAPS) project is the only platform that fitted the bill. The project, which was begun by QinetiQ more than a decade ago, but later taken over by Airbus DS, has been partially funded by the MoD, which is interested in using the platform as a pseudo-satellite and for communications relay.

MetaVR VRSG Selected for USAF JTC TRS CAS Simulator

MetaVR was selected as the 3D real time visualisation provider in the award of the Joint Terminal Control Training and Rehearsal System (JTC TRS) contract to QuantaDyn Corp. by Department of the US Air Force – Air Force Material Command. This award supersedes a limited contract for the JTC TRS programme that the US Air Force (USAF) awarded to Fidelity Technologies in February 2009.

Virtual Reality Scene Generator (VRSG) rendering of an A-10 entity flying over MetaVR's virtual environment. (Screenshot: MetaVR)

This partial dome simulator, which uses MetaVR visual channels, geospecific 3D terrain, and culture and entity models, immerses the joint terminal attack controller (JTAC) or forward air controller (FAC) trainee in a 3D real-time virtual battlefield. These close air support (CAS) simulators can be connected to the USAF A-10 Full Mission Trainers (FMT), which are already standardised with MetaVR 3D visuals.

QuantaDyn's JTC TRS solution under contract is comprised of commercial off-the-shelf (COTS) components including QuantaDyn's DIScover, Immersive Display Solutions' immersive dome display system, Battlespace Simulations' (BSI) Modern Air Combat Environment (MACE), and MetaVR's Virtual Reality Scene Generator (VRSG), which provides the out-the-window and sensor visuals for the dome display, a ROVER device, and emulated military equipment.

The system uses BSI's MACE for the instructor-operator and role-player stations, as well as BSI's Viper DIS Radio for all simulated radio. MACE provides computer-generated/semi-automated forces with call-for-fire, 5-line, and 9-line interfaces. VRSG, when coupled with MACE, differs from game-based training systems in that it can simulate highly contested/degraded battlespaces including environments with radar, GPS and communications jamming, sophisticated Integrated Air Defense Systems (IADS), and adversaries with peer or near-peer capabilities in expansive, round-earth, geospecific virtual worlds.

The awarded system was evaluated during the acquisition process. The system evaluation involved tests in the form of four operational training scenarios designed to ensure that each system requirement was met. The scenarios used geospecific terrain built by MetaVR. All major aspects of the simulator were assessed simultaneously, running as they would be during real-world training events.

JTC TRS requirements include scenarios that take place on geospecific synthetic terrain of Afghanistan in the southern region of the Kabul province. To fulfill this requirement, MetaVR modeled villages to build up culture and roads to align with terrain imagery at the required coordinates. Culture includes over 2,000 structures instanced from over 160 newly built Afghan building models and over 11,000 instances of tree models. These models feature multiple damage states in support of the newest US Joint Fire Support Executive Steering Committee (JFS ESC) Memorandum of Agreement (MoA). The resulting built-up area was compiled into MetaVR's whole-country Afghanistan virtual terrain.

JTC TRS requirements call for 495 models of specific domestic and international military vehicles and munitions. Over 1,000 models from MetaVR’s 3D model libraries met those requirements; many new models were built specifically to meet the requirements. All terrain and 3D models MetaVR built to fulfill the requirements for the JTC TRS competitive evaluation will be available in the forthcoming release of VRSG version 5.11.

The JTC TRS is designed to support JTAC trainees in the performance of Terminal Control, Terminal Guidance, Close Air Support and Joint Fires operations training for the Combat Air Force (CAF), Special Operations Command (SOCOM), USAF Special Operations Command (AFSOC) and Tactical Air Control Party (TACP). Under the contract, QuantaDyn will initially install and support two JTC TRS devices in 2016, with additional options for 30 more devices.

MetaVR VRSG is used in multiple accredited training systems to simulate the functionality needed for US and NATO JTAC/FAC warfighter training in joint fires close air support exercises ranging from desktop systems to dome systems.

Rheinmetall and German Navy Conduct HEL Maritime Tests

It was announced last week that Rheinmetall and the German Armed Forces (Bundewehr) have successfully tested a high-energy laser (HEL) effector installed on a German warship operating on the high seas. To carry out the test, Rheinmetall mounted a 10kw HEL effector on a MLG 27 light naval gun, designed to engage air, surface, and land targets.

Rheinmetall's 10kW high-energy laser (HEL) effector installed on a MLG 27 light naval gun on a German Navy warship.

The test programme included tracking of potential targets, including unmanned aerial vehicles (UAV) and very small surface craft. Furthermore, the HEL effector was also tested against stationary targets on land. For the first time, according to Rheinmetall, the effectiveness of Rheinmetall HEL effector technology was demonstrated in a maritime environment, and revealed insights important for the development of future HEL naval effectors.

The MLG 27 is an autonomous weapon system, controlled remotely from its dedicated operations console. The system is equipped with a laser range finder, day/night vision capability and a modern automatic tracking system with multiple tracking modes (manual, semiautomatic and automatic). Integrating the MLG 27 into an overall combat management system (CMS) or linking it directly to other fire control system sensors (radar, EW, IR and TV) is straightforward, further enhancing the effectiveness of this globally leading gun system. Moreover, the lightweight MLG 27 can be installed on nearly any naval surface vessel without deck penetration, and Rheinmetall has supplied 150 MLG 27 light naval gun systems to navies all over the world. The BK27 revolver cannon used in the MLG27 is in service with the German Air Force and Navy, as well as the armed forces of several other NATO and non-NATO countries. Worldwide more than 3,000 cannons have been sold to date. Its effective range is typically between 100-4,000 metres. The revolver gun’s high rate of fire (up to 1,700 rounds per minute) and highprecision optics make the MLG 27 an extremely effective naval gun system. The last of 12 MLG 27 for four new F125-class frigates and the new combat supply ship BONN have been delivered to the German Navy in 2013. Furthermore, a customer in East Asia
has procured the MLG 27 for a training vessel, which has already been delivered and integrated. 

Clear-Com's Two-Channel 2.4GHz System Provides Clear, Crisp Comms for Mid-Size Comms Needs

Last week, Clear-Com has announced that its DX410, two-channel 2.4GHz digital wireless intercom system is now shipping. The new system, which features 7kHz wideband audio for exceptional audio clarity, is Clear-Com's first DX Series wireless intercom system to offer this level of audio frequency range. Easy to set up and configure, the DX410 also features lightweight yet rugged beltpacks and All-in-One wireless headsets.

Clear-Com's DX410 Group - WH and BP5

Each BS410 base station can support up to 15 registered BP410 wireless beltpacks and/or WH410 All-in-One wireless headsets. In a single-channel operation, any four beltpack users can engage in simultaneous, full-duplex (talk-listen) communication, while three users may be in full-duplex mode in a dual-channel operation. The BP410 and WH410 have rugged, reinforced casings and long-lasting keypads with no mechanical switch, proven to withstand harsh production environments. Fast charging Li-Ion batteries takes only 2.5 hours to provide up to 12 hours of battery life.

The DX410 system features 7kHz wideband audio. The high quality audio expands audio range and increases intelligibility in high RF environments so even soft whispers can be heard clearly. With an upgraded radio and a lost packet concealment capability, the DX410 delivers an improved experience in performance, range and sound. DX410 also features 2-wire and 4-wire bridging and 2-wire auto-nulling. The bridging capability allows the option for combining the 2-wire and 4-wire ports together on either channel A or B, allowing operators to use a 4-wire out to send all the audio to a mixer, matrix intercom or other audio source. 2-wire auto-nulling enables fast and accurate integration with Clear-Com or TW wired partyline systems.

The DX410 uses a frequency hopping system (FHSS), and offers spectrum-friendly and Adaptive Frequency Hopping (AFH) modes, to avoid interference with Wi-Fi, while operating in the 2.4GHz band means that DX410 does not require radio licensing for use.

We are excited to announce that DX410 is now shipping,” Craig Fredrickson, Product Manager at Clear-Com, said. “The DX410 is truly an exceptional digital wireless system in terms of range, reliability, sound quality and comfort for the size of the system.”

Textron Systems to Provide Ukraine with SCTV Armoured Vehicles

Textron Systems Marine & Land Systems has recently won a contract with SpetsTechnoExport (STE), a subsidiary of Ukroboronprom, for the sale of three Survivable Combat Tactical Vehicles (SCTV), with deliveries expected six months after Textron receives an export license.

The SCTV features a fully-armoured, monocoque v-hull crew survivability capsule, engine upgrades, and suspension enhancements. Using patented armour technologies, the SCTV is equipped to handle a variety of missions including fire support, C2, reconnaissance, engineer support, and troop transport. The vehicle is comprised of three modular upgrade kits that offer superior crew protection while restoring lost vehicle performance and extending the life span of the vehicle.(Photo. Textron)

We are excited to be working with Ukroboronprom on upgrading its HMMWVs to the SCTV,” Textron Systems Director of Business Operations, Europe and Africa, Bear Midkiff, explained. “With this contract marking the first sale of our SCTV, this is a great accomplishment for Textron. In addition, we are honoured to be ‘the other half’ of this new, exciting relationship with Ukraine.”

For this contract, Textron Systems will provide STE with basic operator’s manuals and operator-level maintenance manuals. For the current contract with Ukraine, Textron is building the SCTV capsules and will integrate them with a procured HMMWV chassis from US supply.

19 February 2016

Airbus Helicopter Makes Hourly Progress with ADF’s TIGERs

Airbus Helicopters is working intensely to bring the ARH TIGER up to Full Operating Capability (FOC),” Philippe Monteux, senior vice president and Head of Region, SE Asia Pacific for Airbus Helicopters, said at Singapore Airshow 2016.


The manufacturer is awaiting the outcome of the Australian Governments defence White Paper, which is due of publication by early March. It may decide the future of the troubled attack helicopter. Said Monteux: “We have been working on a pay by the hour performance. We have seen improvement and the Army is currently much more satisfied with this commitment and the way we are now managing the contract.” Last year the ADF’s TIGERs flew around half of the 6,000 hours the Army had expected.

The appointment of Anthony Fraser as managing director of Airbus Group Asia Pacific is one of the cornerstones to Airbus Helicopters’ solution and to keep the ARH TIGER within the Australia Defence Force (ADF). Fraser left the ADF where he had been the head of the Helicopter Systems Division within the Defence Materiel Organisation (DMO). Not only does he have extensive experience of the programme from the customer perspective, he was also the commander of 16 Brigade, Army Aviation, when the first of the new Tigers arrived back in 2004. The final aircraft was delivered in 2011 with FOC now expected some time later this year.

Australia has joined with what Airbus Helicopters (Eurocopter before the identify merge with the Airbus Group) used to call its ‘home countries’ - France, Germany and Spain - to plan a mid-life upgrade (MLU) for the TIGER, resulting in the TIGER Mk3. This would be completed by 2019.

Andrew Drwiega

Turbomeca Moves to New Triple Capacity Service Centre in Singapore

Turbomeca has officially opened its new new support and service hub for South East Asia at a new location in the Seletar Aerospace Park, Singapore, a new centre for many aerospace related companies.

The organisation is not publicly declaring its financial investment in this 6,000 ft sq facility Franck Saudo, Turbomeca’s executive vice president, Support & Services, said it had triple the capacity of the old facility. Where before it was usual to service a couple of engines, now up to seven can be worked on in the centre’s maintenance area. The company counts 65 employees.

Turbomeca’s main military client in the region is the Republic of Singapore Air Force (RSAF) whose 125 Squadron operates a fleet of 22 Airbus Helicopter AS332M Super Pumas. These are powered by Turbomeca’s Makila engines and have been in service since 1985.

Mathieu Albert, managing director of Turbomeca Asia Pacific stated that the new facility will provide regional support for around 180 customers, from India to the Republic of Korea, Nepal and down to Indonesia. Within the region there are nearly 1,000 Turbomeca engines in both military and civil helicopters. In the last five years (2010-15) business has doubled and the expectation is for it to double again by the end of 2020.

The centre also houses a qualified technical training centre where customers’ maintainers are provided with engines in a classroom scenario for live training.

One of the main features of the logistics area is a SSI Schaefer Logimat vertical storage unit for parts which also keeps track of inventory and automatically generates an order for replacements for any particular stock that runs low. Turbomeca also uses resource planning data to track its inventory based on current fleet requirements together with historical data based on global usage of parts and components.

Andrew Drwiega

UK Reassessing Role in SE Asia

We are looking at the major regions of the world in terms of how we can contribute [to their security] and how we can position ourselves to do that,” said Philip Dunne, the UK Minister for Defence Procurement who visiting the Singapore Airshow in a regional visit that also took in meetings in Malaysia.

The UK’s Gulf strategy in the Middle East, witnessed by the siting of a Royal Navy (RN) facility HMS Juffair in Bahrain, will have a roll-on effect in that the UK can now reconsider its deployment strategies further east. “We are re-assessing what role we can play in SE Asia,” said Dunne. The UK’s introduction of two new aircraft carriers, the largest ships of their type to be commissioned into the Royal Navy would, said Dunne “put us [UK] back into the position where we have carrier strike capability which will deploy internationally.”

Commenting on the airshow, he explained that the 25 exhibiting companies from the UK represented the largest group to attend this regional event to date. Steven Phipson, the Head of the UK’s Defence Services Organisation (DSO) headed British exporters while the senior military delegation was headed by Chief of the Air Staff (CAS) Air Chief Marshal Sir Andrew Pulford and Air Marshal Greg Bagwell, deputy commander of Combat Operations at RAF Air Command.

The UK’s commitment to spending two percent (2%) of its annual gross domestic product (GDP) in line with the minimum required from NATO nations, in addition to last year’s Strategic Defence and Security Review (SDSR) regarding the capability of the UK’s Future Force had, said Dunne, led to a renewed emphasis on capability for the RAF and RN.

Dunne added that the UK’s commitment to the Five Powers Defence Agreement (between Singapore, Malaysia, Australia, New Zealand and Britain) established in 1971 “is at the heart of our engagement in SE Asia.”

The threat levels that we face as a nation are darker and more dangerous today, so we have made a conscious decision to reinvest in defence and security and to have a growing budget again,” explained Dunne. “That is an important change of posture by the UK government and we have recognised that through our engagement and training [internationally].”

We are facing common threats, whether counter terrorism or, if at state level,” which he said laid to more opportunities for joint training and exercising around the world.

Stephen Phipson commented on the importance of joint ventures where international companies could partner together to deliver new capability. The UK’s purchase of over 100 ST Kenetics’ Bronco all-terrain tracked carriers (ATTC), renamed Warthog by the British Army, in December 2008 met an urgent operational need in Afghanistan by offering increased survivability and higher payload capacity.

Commenting on Japan, Dunne said that the UK considered it one of the nations noted in the SDSR where the UK wished to do more in defence cooperation. “We have a number of science and technologies initiative…and equipment opportunities we are talking to them about.”
We share an interest in taking advantage of each others technological leads and technology transfer, in electronics they are particularly strong and we welcome the fact that their constitution change allows their forces to engage in international humanitarian and other activities in an integrated way.”

Andrew Drwiega

18 February 2016

Singapore Airshow 2016: Photographic Recap of Day 3

GA-ASI and Sener to Cooperate for Spanish Predator B

The Spanish Ministry of Defense has awarded General Atomics Aeronautical Systems, Inc. (GA‑ASI), a leading manufacturer of Remotely Piloted Aircraft (RPA) systems, radars, and electro-optic and related mission systems solutions, a contract for one Predator B/MQ-9 Reaper RPA system (four aircraft equipped with MTS-B Electro-optical/Infrared -EO/IR- sensors and GA-ASI’s Block 20A Lynx Multi-mode Radar, two Block 30 Ground Control Stations, and Satellite Communications, and Line-of-Sight data link capabilities) to support the nation’s airborne surveillance and reconnaissance requirements; by means of a Spanish-US Foreign Military Sales (FMS) agreement.  

GA-ASI is proud to partner with the Spanish Armed Forces to offer our operationally proven Predator B RPA to fulfill Spain’s emerging multi-mission requirements,” said Linden Blue, CEO, GA-ASI. “We also look forward to working with teammate SENER, a leading engineering company, and developing collaborative partnerships with other Spanish companies to help ensure the long-term success of the programme.”

For his part, Andrés Sendagorta, vice president of SENER, expressed: “SENER, as technological teammate of GA-ASI for the MALE [Medium-altitude Long- endurance] project in Spain, is delighted to make all its capabilities available to the Spanish Armed Forces in order to achieve the best integration of the new system in Spain.” And he added: “The MQ-9 is broadly considered to be the best system in its range to which SENER has been providing keen backing for years. Reaper will contribute significantly to strengthen our country’s Defense and Security system and will provide increased protection to our forces.”

17 February 2016

FNSS Sells more PARS

FNSS has announced a sale of  its PARS  Wheeled  Armoured  Vehicle  (WAV)  family, having been awarded a  contract  to  supply  the behicle to  a new undisclosed customer. The  contract  is  already  effective  and  FNSS  has  started  to  fulfil  its  obligations  under  this  new  contract, which  includes  delivery  of  a  series  of  vehicles  in  various  configurations.  The company explained that alll other details will remain confidential. In  2011,  FNSS  has  achieved  one of the  highest  export  values among  the  Turkish  defence  industry  based  on  a single  contract  with  the  Malaysian  AV8  programme.

This  latest  success  for  the  PARS  vehicle  family,  which  has  become  a  world  standard  in  8x8  and  6x6 wheeled  armoured  vehicles,  has  once  again  highlighted  the  status  already  achieved  by  FNSS  on  the international  market,"  K. Nail Kurt, General Manager and CEO of FNSS, said. "In  competition  alongside  the  world’s  other  top  companies,  FNSS  has  once  again demonstrated  the  real  quality  and  value  of  its  vehicles,  securing  the  highest  scores  in  both  the technical  and  value  domains.  We  will  continue  to  maintain  our  customer’s  satisfaction  at  the  highest level  by  meeting  the  contract  requirements  in  terms  of  the  schedule,  budget,  and  quality.”

Singapore Airshow 2016: Photographic Recap of the First Two Days