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09 September 2016

RUAG Delivers C-IED Training to Germany

At Impulstag 2016, RUAG informed that RUAG Defence delivered an unspecified number of Counter Improved Explosive Device (C-IED) training kits (for indoor and outdoor training plus simulated suicide attacks) to the German Armed Forces (Bundeswehr), which will be used from the beginning of October 2016 for training at the German Army’s Combat Training Centre (GÜZ).

The kits mainly consist of laser radios and pyrotechnics (serving for simulating blasts), controlled by one modular low weight control station. The components interact with the harnesses the soldiers wear whereby data can be recorded and After Action Reviews can thus be carried out. The delivery also included systems that can be worn by the soldiers directly on the body, simulating a suicide vest. The effect here consist of powder being detonated, thereby having the soldier not wear pyrotechnics on his body.

"During training with the RUAG C-IED training kits soldiers will have the opportunity to learn how diverse IEDs work and how to behave in case one is triggered," RUAG said. "Furthermore, RUAG assists the Bundeswehr with respective exercises in order to further enhance the training effectiveness and to be able to make full use of the technological possibilities of the components starting in October."

RUAG Defence Demonstrated Gladiator New Generation

At Impulstag 2016, RUAG Defence demonstrated the new generation of their Gladiator, presenting a new set of accuracy through laser technology. While the armasuisse is activly running it through testing, international interest is high, esp. for SOF.

Gladiator can be extended in three modular stages, having been developed for the realistic training of special units, police, and infantry.

RUAG Defence Protection Systems

At Impulstag 2016, RUAG Defence demonstrated new Level 5 protection systems: The Monoblock and Spaced Armour. Both ar3 currently competing for several international tenders.

MSPO 2016: Raytheon Offers Poland Stunner/SkyCeptor missile for the WISŁA

During 2016 in Kielce it was announced that Raytheon was granted permission from the government of the United States to offer Poland the SkyCeptor for its WISŁA medium-range air and missile defence system, which is likely to be based on the Patriot system. The SkyCeptor is intended as Poland’s low-cost interceptor but in the future it could be jointly offered to foreign customers.

SkyCeptor is a US-compliant variant of the Stunner missile, jointly developed by Israeli and US industry (Rafael and Raytheon). Stunner is now being introduced into an operational service in Israel (the David’s Sling missile defence). Fielding for the Israeli Defense Forces commenced in 2016. It is a kinetic (hit-to-kill) missile able to intercept short to medium ballistic missiles (70-250 km), cruise missiles and other air-breathing threats Poland or any other US ally may face. According to Raytheon, the SkyCeptor will be much cheaper than missiles already used by the Patriot system, including the PAC-3, PAC-3 MSE and GEM-T.

Raytheon informed that initial integration works on the SkyCeptor missiles have already started. So far four intercept test series have been completed. It is believed that Polish industry might have a significant share in co-development and co-production (more than 50% according to Raytheon). It is worth a reminder that in July 2016 Raytheon signed a letter of intent with PGZ. According to this agreement, 50% of the value of the WISŁA programme will remain in Poland as Polish workshare. PGZ will become Raytheon’s global partner for Patriot export. Polish industry will be awarded contracts for launchers, trucks and support equipment.

MSPO 2016: Thales Presents the Watchkeeper X for Polish GRYF

During MSPO 2016, Thales presented the Watchkeeper X UAS, an export version of Watchkeeper 450. The Watchkeeper X UAS is a strong proposal for Poland, which has launched the GRYF (GRIFFIN) programme. Its current goal is to procure a total of 12 sets (four vehicles in each) of tactical UASs of medium range. They will be combined with the ZEFIR (ZEPHYRUS) project of four sets of MALE class. It was confirmed that Poland is now considering offers for ZEFIR from the United States (MQ-9 Reaper and MQ-1C Gray Eagle) and Israel (Hermes 900). Two sets are to be procured before 2022 and two after.
The Watchkeeper X, unveiled during last year’s the DSEI in London, made its Polish debut this year at Kielce. It shares the airframe, human-machine interface and flight control software of a standard Watchkeeper 450, and maintains CS23/STANAG 4671 airworthiness standards. However, the goal of the X programme was to design and produce an advanced export version of Watchkeeper, selected by the British Army as its tactical UAS. Watchkeeper X is a modular system, which means exploitation options selected by the customer can be grouped into four broad categories, focused on sensors, exploitation, mobility, and effectors. Potential payloads are surveillance sensors (including lug-and-play HD EO/IR turret or ground/maritime radars), electronic support measures (RESM), cryptographic electronic support measures (CESM), communications intelligence systems (CommINT), remote terminals, target indicators, recorders or additional data-links.
The Watchkeeper X offered to Poland is armed with four FFLMMs (free-fall lightweight multi-role missiles). They weigh 6 kg each, with a high-explosive warhead. It has a dual guidance system – either by GPS or by a laser. An armed version of GRYF is a requirement of the Ministry of National Defence.

Thales representatives confirm the company is in advanced stages of talks with the Polish Armaments Group over offering the tactical system to Poland. They also state they are ready to propose a comprehensive in-country work package to Poland.

Robert Czulda

CZ Shortlisted for Pakistani Order

Celebrating its 80th year in business in 2016, Czech arms manufacturer Ceska zbrojovka a.s. (CZ) has been shortlisted as a contender for a requirement for one million assault rifles from the Pakistani Armed Forces.

Talking to international media at the company’s headquarters in Uhersky Brod on 8 September, Head of Sports and Display Team Jakub Sondel revealed that the newly developed CZ 805 BREN2 assault rifle, in 5.56 x45 NATO calibre, has been under evaluation in Pakistan since the beginning of 2016. A batch of 30 rifles have been provided for the test and user trials, firing ammunition provided by Pakistan. “The test conditions have been very comprehensive: the BREN2 has performed in the Himalayas, in a desert environment at up to 54°C, in marine conditions near Karachi and in a wide variety of specific test scenarios,” he said.

Surely one of the largest small arms contracts to be awarded in the foreseeable future, the Pakistani competition includes a requirement for technology transfer and licence manufacture – a scenario Sondel asserts lies at the heart of CZ’s continuing development strategy. “The results to date have been very encouraging and we have every reason to believe we are a very strong contender for this order,” he said, adding that other manufacturers remaining in the competition include Beretta, FN Herstal and Heckler & Koch.

The BREN2 is the standard rifle of the Czech Army and a new generation of the weapon has been developed over the last three years, featuring advanced ergonomics and a significantly lower weight. Approval of the new generation by the Czech military came within the last two months, according to Sondel.

MSPO 2016: Photographic Recap of Day 3

MSPO 2016: Airbus Helicopters Promotes Three Military Helicopters

At MSPO 2016, Airbus Helicopters hosted the “Hangar Party”, during which German and French crews answered the questions of trade visitors. During the meeting the company presented three helicopters: the H225M CARACAL multi-role helicopter, the EC665 TIGER assault helicopter, and the H145M light armed helicopter. All three were presented in a static display last year (however the H145M was only as a mock-up).
It is worth nothing that the H225M CARACAL was pre-selected by the Polish government and passed several flight tests in 2015. Later however a new government decided to halt this procurement. Airbus Helicopters still hopes that it will not be cancelled and Poland will ultimately buy the CARACALs. The H225M CARACAL helicopter presented at MSPO 2016 belongs to the 5e régiment d'hélicoptères de combat from Pau.

For the first time Airbus Helicopters sent to Kielce the H145M light, multirole helicopter. Last year only a mock-up was available to the audience. H145M is promoted as a versatile workhorse which can be used in various missions, including light utility and light combat. The version presented in Kielce belongs to the German Armed Forces.

The EC665 TIGER assault helicopter belongs to the 1 Régiment d’Hélicoptères de Combat from Phalsbourg-Bourscheid and it flew directly from Marignane, where facilities of the company are located. This helicopter competes in the KRUK programme (RAVEN) attack helicopter acquisition programme, which was announced in July 2014. Other competitors are AH-64E GUARDIAN and T-129B ATAK. KRUK’s goal is to replace Polish ageing fleet of 29 Mi-24W/D helicopters (acquired mainly in the 1980s with additional batch of ex-East German Ds in 1996). Currently the tender for up to 32 new helicopters is delayed. Airbus Helicopters believes that a procurement of the TIGER helicopter would be a logic step and the combination of H225 CARACAL and EC665 TIGER would allow Poland to save financial and time resources in terms of training, logistic and maintenance.

Another element of the portfolio of the Airbus Group at MSPO was the A330MRTT multi-role tanker. It was underlined that the A330 MRTT can be used not only as a tanker (110 tons of fuel in a regular tanker configuration) but also as a transport aircraft, capable of accommodating up to 300 soldiers or 45 tons of equipment. The MEDEVAC version can be equipped with 130 stretchers.
Airbus Group again promoted at its stand the Eurofighter Typhoon multirole fighter jet. At MSPO 2016 the representatives of a company confirmed that 599 jets have been ordered so far. At the same time the Orlik multi-purpose trainer was presented. The current version has a digital, integrated avionics and a new flight control system.

Recently Airbus Group became more involved in the Polish space sector. During MSPO 2016 the company’s space activities were highlighted more than last year. The company underlined that in June 2016 it pledged to build so-called “clean rooms” in Poland, which will allow the production of high-tech equipment for satellites and space probes. Its planned size is 500 m2. These facilities will be used by PZL Warszawa-Okęcie, a subsidiary of Airbus Defence and Space, and the Polish Armaments Group (PGZ, Polska Grupa Zbrojeniowa).

During MSPO 2016 the Airbus Group promoted the AstroBuS-S Earth observation satellites for very-high resolution (VHR) applications.

Robert Czulda