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Army Picks BAE Jammer To Kill Russian Missiles (Softly)

Army Picks BAE Jammer To Kill Russian Missiles (Softly)
If RAVEN succeeds in the next, more challenging round of tests, the BAE jammer will ultimately go on the 1980s-vintage M2 Bradley. That's a big part of the Army’s urgent push to protect American armored vehicles against Russian-made anti-tank missiles in widespread use around the world.
By SYDNEY J. FREEDBERG JR.on February 15, 2019 at 12:42 PM
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M2 Bradley in Iraq

BAE Systems’ RAVEN jammer has won the Army’s “soft-kill rodeo”: six weeks of shooting live anti-tank guided missiles (ATGMs) at targets and seeing which of three competing countermeasures made them miss most. Now BAE advances to the next, more challenging round of tests in July, when its jammer will be installed on an actual M2 Bradley alongside the Israeli-made Iron Fist, a “hard kill” system that physically shoots down any incoming missiles that soft-kill systems can’t trick into going off course.

Now, the Army hasn’t committed to buy the BAE RAVEN yet. But fielding a new soft-kill system is a big part of the Army’s urgent push to protect American armored vehicles against Russian-made anti-tank missiles – and their many knock-offs – in widespread use with conventional militaries and guerrilla forces around the world.

Getting into the specifics requires serving up some acronym soup (we’re sorry). In the soft-kill tests at Redstone Army Test Center in Alabama, BAE’s RAVEN Multifunction Countermeasure (MFCM) beat Northrop Grumman’s Multifunction Electro-Optical System (MEOS) and the Israeli-made, Lockheed Martin-modified Color Light Operational Unit for Deflection (CLOUD). The next step is to install RAVEN on an actual Bradley for a “layered demonstration” that integrates both hard- and soft-kill systems on the same platform, coordinated by the Army-developed Modular Active Protection System (MAPS).

Parallel Programs

So far, the focus has been on hard-kill Active Protection Systems (APS), which are basically mini-missile defense systems that fire tiny projectiles or explosives at the incoming threat. After decades of dithering, the Army bought the only combat-proven hard-kill system in the Western world, the Rafael Trophy, in 2017 and began installing it on M1 Abrams heavy tanks. Last year, it picked the IMI Iron Fist to go on the M2 Bradley, a medium-weight, tank-like troop carrier, while starting over in its search for an APS to go on the lightweight wheeled Stryker.

But in parallel, with much less publicity, the Army has also been pursuing soft-kill systems. Soft-kill is less dramatic than hard, since it electronically blinds or tricks the incoming missile so it misses, rather than physically blowing it up. But the two approaches are complementary. In fact, you want your soft-kill jammer to be your first resort, since it never runs out of ammo, and save your hard-kill projectiles for threats that don’t fall for your electronic tricks.


Click graphic to expand

So it’s crucial to coordinate a vehicle’s hard and soft-kill systems, lest they double up unnecessarily on one threat while letting another through. That coordination, in turn, is the job of the Army’s Modular Active Protection System.

The MAPS program, in its current form, evolved from decades of Army efforts to develop its own comprehensive hard-and-soft-kill defense, initially for the Future Combat System vehicles cancelled in 2009. After Russian forces invaded Ukraine – including tanks with advanced active protection that stymied Ukrainian missile teams – the US Army decided the threat was so urgent it had to buy foreign-made hard-kill systems off the shelf ASAP, even if that meant picking different vendors for different vehicles.

But the service still kept MAPS going in the background. Its goal became developing an open architecture — the Modular APS Framework (MAF) — that could used on any current or future armored vehicle to plug-and-play the best radars, jammers, and hard-kill shooters from different vendors. That way, the Army can easily update vehicle protection with whatever new technology becomes available from any vendor.

The soft-kill rodeo was also the first field test for what’s called the MAPS Base Kit, which uses Lockheed Martin hardware and software to control all three vendors’ systems from the initial detection of the threat to its final defeat. The MAPS base kit, BAE’s RAVEN, and IMI’s Iron Fist will now all be wired together on an actual Bradley for the Layered Active Protection Demonstration, also at Redstone, which is scheduled for July-September this year.


Gen. John Murray, first chief of Army Futures Command, speaks at its formal activation in Austin.

Futures Command

So far, MAPS work has been run by the Army’s Ground Vehicle Systems Center, known until recently as TARDEC. The Detroit Arsenal-based outfit changed its name alongside its parent command, which went from RDECOM to Combat Capabilities Development Center (CCDC) when it became part of the new Army Futures Command.


Maj. Gen. Cedric Wins, commander of US Army Combat Capabilities Development Command (formerly RDECOM)

But CCDC and the Ground Vehicle center do R&D, not production, which requires very different skills. So actual acquisition of the MAPS Base Kit will be the job of the Army’s Product Manger for Vehicle Protection Systems, (PdM VPS), which will take over the base kit effort by the end of June.

Historically, such handoffs have been hard – the insider slang for the transition is “the valley of death.” But the whole point of the recent reorganization that created Army Futures Command is to have both R&D and acquisition programs reporting (with some legal caveats) to the same four-star commander, which didn’t happen in the old, fragmented bureaucracy.

Keeping the momentum on the Active Protection effort, which began before Army Futures Command stood up, will be one of the new command’s first big tests. But that’ll just be a warm-up for something much more ambitious effort: developing all-new Next Generation Combat Vehicles, both fully robotic and optionally manned, to replace the aging M2 Bradley altogether.
 

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The U.S. Army's 'New' M-1A2C Abrams Tanks Will Enter Service Soon. Check Them Out.

The U.S. Army's 'New' M-1A2C Abrams Tanks Will Enter Service Soon. Check Them Out.


David Axe

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The National InterestMay 26, 2019



David Axe

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The M-1A2C is the latest variant of Abrams to enter production. Congress in 2019 gave the Army $1.5 billion to buy 135 M-1s from General Dynamics, extending a program that began in the 1970s.
The U.S. Army's 'New' M-1A2C Abrams Tanks Will Enter Service Soon. Check Them Out.

The U.S. Army’s newest tank in the summer of 2019 should enter service with the first large unit to use the type.

The Army in late 2017 accepted the very first M-1A2C Abrams tanks. Nearly two years later the service has enough of the new vehicles to equip an entire brigade.

“We’re in the throes of getting that together,” Hank Kennedy, a manager at General Dynamics’ tank plant in Lima Ohio, told Lima News.

The “first brigade is critical because we need to get [them] into the soldiers’ hands so they can get trained on it and everything else,” Kennedy said.

A U.S. Army armored brigade typically operates around 100 tanks. The Army has 16 armored brigades as part of a total force of 58 combat brigades.

The M-1A2C is the latest variant of Abrams to enter production. Congress in 2019 gave the Army $1.5 billion to buy 135 M-1s from General Dynamics, extending a program that began in the 1970s.

The Army’s budget proposal for 2020 asks for 174 new and upgraded tanks.

The new M-1A2C Abrams boasts new active and passive protection that could help to protect it from the latest enemy weaponry. The most obvious new features of the M-1A2C are the vehicle's Trophy active-protection systems and an additional slab of armor on the front of its turret.

Trophy uses a radar to detect incoming missiles and rockets then fires tiny projectiles to intercept the munitions. The Army also is back-fitting Trophy to some older M-1 models.
 
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Meet the Army's 'New' M1 Abrams Tank: The Best on the Planet?



June 16, 2019 Topic: Secuirty Blog Brand: The Buzz Tags: ArmyMilitaryTankTechnologyWorldM1 Abrams

Meet the Army's 'New' M1 Abrams Tank: The Best on the Planet?
It just keeps getting better.

by Dan Goure

The U.S. Army is on an intensive quest for an array of new technologies with which to design and build new armored fighting vehicles, particularly a replacement for the long-serving Bradley. However much it might yearn for a new tank, the Army lacks the critical technologies that would justify the time and expense pursuing such an objective. Moreover, it doesn’t need to make the effort. The Army’s current main battle tank, the Abrams, is the tank of the future.

The Army is just beginning to receive the first of the latest Abrams upgrade, the System Enhancement Package Version 3 (SEPv3), with additional upgrades in development. Instead of searching for the elusive Holy Grail of ultralight armor or laser weapons, technologies that would justify building a brand new tank, the Army would be best served by aggressively pursuing a major redesign and improvement program for the Abrams, an M1A3.

The leadership of the U.S. Army is taken with the idea of transforming how and with what the Army fights. They particularly want new armored fighting vehicles. And not just another family of metal boxes with a turret and cannon. Technology enthusiasts, including many in the Army’s new Futures Command, wax eloquently about the potential for hover tanks that shoot laser beams and are autonomously guided by artificial intelligence housed in quantum computers.


Brigadier Gen. Ross Coffman, the leader of the Next Generation Combat Vehicle Cross Functional Team (CFT) responsible for the Bradley replacement and a future tank, is determined to think outside the box regarding what a future tank might look like and the capabilities it might incorporate. According to General Coffman, it might not be a tank. The CFT has been thinking about “everything from a ray gun to a Star Wars-like four-legged creature that shoots lasers. But the reality is that everything is on the table. We have to get away from these paradigms that we created that decisive lethality must come from a tank.”

The major problem with this vision is that some in the Army wants to make a decision about a new tank in 2023. Fortunately, cooler heads, including that on the shoulders of the Chief of Staff, General Mark Milley, understand that it makes no sense to pursue a clean sheet design for a new main battle tank until the requisite technologies are available. In particular, this means discovering a new material from which to fashion vehicle armor. As General Milley recently noted, “The real sort of holy grail of technologies that I’m trying to find on this thing is material, is the armor itself…. If we can discover a material that is significantly lighter in weight that gives you the same armor protection, that would be a real significant breakthrough. There’s a lot of research and development going into it.”

Indeed, there has been progress in the field of materials that equal or exceed the ballistic protection of advanced steel but weigh less. There is promise in sophisticated ceramics, but the costs are still too high. University researchers have developed a composite metal foam that is less than half the weight of the amount of rolled homogeneous steel armor needed to achieve an equal level of protection. Unfortunately, the foam is only suitable for stopping small arms.

For the next few decades at least, the solution to the Army’s problem of ensuring decisive lethality in its main battle tank is to continue the process of upgrading what is still the best tank in the world, the Abrams. Since it was first fielded in 1980, the Abrams tank has undergone near-continuous upgrades and improvements. On average, there has been a new improvement package every seven years. Today, there is almost nothing in the most advanced Abrams’ variants that was part of the original vehicle. The current upgrade, the M1A2 SEPv3, will improve the vehicle’s lethality, survivability, responsiveness, power generation, sustainability, and maintainability.

The Army should begin a program to develop a new version of the Abrams, the A3. This program should have two goals. First and foremost, reduce the weight of the Abrams tanks. With all the new capabilities that have been added, the tank now weighs just shy of 80 tons. The most straightforward way of making the Abrams lighter is to develop an auto-loader turret. This would reduce the crew size by one and free up space, allowing the turret to be made lighter while still leaving room for an advanced weapon system or other capabilities. The Army should initiate auto-loader turret R&D funding in Fiscal Year 2021 as the pacing development for an M1A3 upgrade.

Second, make the Abrams as much a sensor platform as a shooter. The Abrams A3 version should be the platform for advanced sensors and electronic systems. The Army was already planning to introduce a third generation forward-looking infrared sensor on a future SEP upgrade. To this could be added an advanced active protection system based on a fully formulated requirement. The Abrams already possesses or will soon receive additional sensors that, when fully integrated, will allow the crew to have a sophisticated tactical operating picture. The Army should look at ways of inserting autonomy into the A3 variant to reduce crew workload and improve performance.



As the poet Robert Browning once said, a man’s reach should exceed his grasp. This saying should apply, in general, to the development of a future tank. But there needs to be common sense in the modernization process. Until a revolution in materials is realized, the Army needs to exploit the potential resident in the Abrams.
 

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Coming soon to the US Army: Combat-capable hypersonic and laser weapons

Coming soon to the US Army: Combat-capable hypersonic and laser weapons
By: Jen Judson   June 4

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A MEHEL-equipped Stryker hsa shot small drones out of the sky using a 5-kilowatt fiber laser. Now the U.S. Army plans to field a battery of 50-kilowatt-equipped Strykers to soldiers by late fiscal 2022 (C. Todd Lopez/U.S. Army)
WASHINGTON — The U.S. Army will field a hypersonic weapon and a directed-energy weapon in less than four years, with the Rapid Capabilities and Critical Technologies Officeleading the charge, according to the RCCTO director.

The office will deliver a battery of combat-capable long-range hypersonic weapons to soldiers by 2023, and it will field a battery of Stryker combat vehicles with 50-kilowatt lasers by late FY22, Lt. Gen. L. Neil Thurgood told reporters during a media roundtable at the Pentagon on June 4.

Thurgood is the director of hypersonics, directed energy, space and rapid acquisition at the Office of the Assistant Secretary of the Army for Acquisition, Logistics and Technology, where he oversees the development of all things hypersonic, directed energy and space for the service. He’s based at Redstone Arsenal, Alabama, but directs the RCCTO, which is based at the Pentagon.



Army Rapid Capabilities Office is getting a new name and mission
The Army's Rapid Capabilities Office is changing -- in name and in charter -- to focus on top Army modernization efforts that don't fall neatly in one bin of effort, but need to be developed at high speed, according to the Army acquisition chief.

By: Jen Judson

The RCCTO — formerly known as the Rapid Capabilities Office — underwent a transformation in March 2019. It changed from having a focus on high-priority capability gaps identified by combatant commanders in 2016 — which put it on a path focused on electronic warfare, cyberspace, and position, navigation and timing capability development — to an organization focused on delivering capabilities for a modernized force under the purview of Army Futures Command, which officially opened for business last year.

RCCTO’s job is to serve as a bridge between the science and technology community and the program executive offices, helping bring technology out of development and into soldiers’ hands, first on a small scale and then a larger scale when passed off to program offices.



A new way to modernize: Army works to close gap between concept and capability
The Army is making revolutionary and fundamental changes in the way it envisions operating against adversaries in the future.

By: Jen Judson

And the AFC has tasked the RCCTO to be, quite literally, laser-focused on hypersonics and directed energy, Thurgood said.

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Efforts to develop space capabilities may form down the road, he added, but for now, the RCCTO’s first priority is hypersonics followed by directed energy.

The RCCTO is governed by a board that consists of top Army leaders, and that board recently signed off on plans to rapidly get hypersonics and directed energy into soldiers hands in small numbers.

As for hypersonics ...

The Army has a piece in the larger Pentagon program called Conventional Prompt Strike, which focuses on strategic hypersonic capabilities. For instance, the Army is teamed with the Navy to develop a booster for the hypersonic missile and is leading a team with the Navy and Air Force to internally build a common glide body and make it producible on a larger scale.



More fire power: US Army sets out to develop new missiles in FY20
The Army is investing several billion dollars to get new missile programs off the ground.

By: Jen Judson

“Right now that is a really challenging opportunity because in the invention phase, which is past, it’s fully owned by the government,” Thurgood said. “The Army is tasked to transition out of the government all of our original prototypes to a commercial vendor to make that. … We have the responsibility to build the industrial base in the U.S. for that capability.”

The Army is finishing design work for the prototypes and plans to conduct flight tests focused on range, environmental factors and contested environments.



Orbital ATK tests partially 3D printed warhead for hypersonic weapons
Orbital ATK tested a partially 3D printed warhead that it built in 60 days meant for hypersonic applications on a test range in Burnet, Texas, on March 29.

By: Jen Judson

When fielding a battery-sized hypersonic weapon to soldiers by 2023, the Army plans to use a command-and-control capability, which has already been in service for a long time — the Advanced Field Artillery Tactical Data System — and MH70 trailers to make the weapon system road-mobile.

However, the Army will need to build a transporter erector launcher to accommodate two hypersonic missiles at once.

The service will outfit the Multidomain Operations Task Force’s strategic fires battalion with the battery in order to field early combat capability to the force, but to also learn how to use the equipment; to develop possible tactics, techniques and procedures that might be used in combat; and to learn how to train to use the weapons, Thurgood said.

The Army held an industry day in March and is working to select a vendor to build the systems. The plan is to make a selection in August, he said.

Let’s talk lasers

There is a larger effort to decide which service will take ownership of the many specific directed-energy development efforts underway across the Pentagon, and an overarching departmentwide strategy is due out in the near term. That strategy is bound to present accelerated routes toward directed-energy and high-powered microwave weapons capabilities.



Dynetics-Lockheed team beats out Raytheon to build 100-kilowatt laser weapon
A Dynetics team has won a contract to build 100-kilowatt laser weapon system for the U.S. Army.

By: Jen Judson

Yet, fielding a 50-kilowatt laser on a Stryker is so specific and critical to the Army that the service is moving quickly on it as more all-encompassing plans for directed energy take shape, according to Thurgood.

The Army will build four of the vehicles by late FY22, he added.

Building a Stryker with a 50-kilowatt laser is a major leap from the 5-kilowatt laser the Army tested on the vehicle just a year ago in Germany at the Joint Warfighting Assessment.

Thurgood said the Army chose to move out on operational prototypes of a 50-kilowatt laser on a Stryker because the capability needs to keep up with brigade combat teams and because it challenges the service to solve the size, weight and power issues of putting a high-powered laser on a small platform like the Stryker.
 

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Final hypersonic missile contract awards imminent as US Army preps to shoot one in FY21

Final hypersonic missile contract awards imminent as US Army preps to shoot one in FY21
By: Jen Judson   1 day ago

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This 2002 test was part of decades of research into creating viable hypersonic weapons and vehicles. (DARPA/ONR/NASA Langley Research Center)
HUNTSVILLE, Ala. — The U.S. Army is just weeks away from awarding the final contracts related to the development of its mobile, ground-launched hypersonic missile.

The Army will award a contract within the next three weeks to a company to develop a launching system for the hypersonic missile in co-development across the services, Lt. Gen. L. Neil Thurgood, the service’s Rapid Capabilities and Critical Technologies Office director, said Aug. 7 at the Space and Missile Defense Symposium.

RCCTO’s job is to serve as a bridge between the science and technology community and the program executive offices, helping bring technology out of development and into soldiers’ hands, first on a small scale and then a larger scale when passed off to program offices. The office is primarily focused on hypersonics and directed energy.

While the missile is under joint development, the Army needs a special launcher to make the missile road-mobile. The contract will encompass the design and integration of a vertical launcher onto a trailer, Thurgood said.



Coming soon to the US Army: Combat-capable hypersonic and laser weapons
The Army's Rapid Capabilities and Critical Technologies Office has plans to deliver a battery of hypersonic weapons and a battery of directed-energy weapons to soldiers in short order.

By: Jen Judson

Additionally, the RCCTO is preparing to award a contract, also in the next three weeks, to a vendor to produce the glide body for the hypersonic missile, Thurgood said.

The Navy will own the design of the glide body, but the Army will own its production, he said.

“We have a company that we are in the final process of negotiating an [other transaction authority contract],” Thurgood said.

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An OTA is a contract that allows for rapid prototyping by bypassing the usual red tape associated with acquisition.

“What is interesting about the glide body technology is we also have to create an industrial base to do this. There is no industrial base in the United States for glide bodies,” Thurgood said.

The technology is owned by the government labs, he noted, “so we are transitioning that out of the labs into the commercial marketplace. That is a really hard thing to do, but there’s a lot of energy and a lot of momentum behind that outcome.”



Soon to come to the Army: A high-power microwave to take out drone swarms
The Indirect Fires Protection Capability will add a high power microwave to its arsenal against a wide variety of threats.

By: Jen Judson

Unlike other programs, Thurgood said, there is not a single company that can produce a hypersonic missile and its equipment alone. “It actually takes a collaborative effort amongst the industry partners,” he added.

The first contract will be awarded to one company, but there will be follow-on contracts for other vendors to learn how to make the glide body at the federally funded lab where it was developed. The methodology energizes the supply chain from the prime contractors all the way to sub-contractors should the service decide to make a large number of the weapons, Thurgood told Defense News in an interview at the symposium.

Thurgood noted that in order to bring industry closer to the RCCTO’s endeavors, the office established an industry board in addition to its board of directors to promote “horizontal communication.”

The Army plans to field a hypersonic missile and launcher to a unit in the fourth quarter of fiscal 2021. The unit will train for an entire year without live rounds, Thurgood said, adding that the canisters the unit will use will be cement-filled to match the weight.

The first live-round test will take place in FY22 and will be conducted by a battery led by a captain.

Thurgood was tasked Feb. 14 to come up with a plan for hypersonic development, and given 30 days to do so. Now, almost six months later, the RCCTO is about to award all associated contracts to move forward in building prototypes that will be in soldiers’ hands in just a couple of years, Thurgood said.
 
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US Army set to fire Spike NLOS missiles from AH-64E Apache | Jane's 360

US Army set to fire Spike NLOS missiles from AH-64E Apache
Ashley Roque, Washington, DC - Jane's Missiles & Rockets

08 August 2019

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The US Army will host a demonstration in August where it will fire Rafael Spike Non-Line-of-Sight missiles from a Boeing AH-64E Apache aircraft. A Version 6 helicopter is seen here conducting operational trials at Fort Hood. Source: US Army

In its quest to arm future aircraft, the US Army is hosting a demonstration to determine if it can fire Rafael Spike Non-Line-of-Sight (NLOS) missiles from US helicopters.

The service is slated to conduct experiments at Yuma Proving Ground, Arizona, later this month as a response to army validated operational needs statements and help identify "capabilities supporting the Future Vertical Lift [FVL] ecosystem", according to the FVL Cross Functional Team (CFT). As part of the upcoming demonstration, the army will use a Boeing AH-64E Apache aircraft to conduct the Spike NLOS demo.

"The demo will determine whether Spike can be fired from a US aircraft and inform future munition and air-launched effects requirements for multi-domain operations," the service wrote in a 2 August email to Jane's .

FVL is part of the army's effort to modernise its weapons portfolio. Although there are five potential helicopter sizes under FVL, the service is currently focused on two - a Future Attack Reconnaissance Aircraft (FARA) to fill the gap left by the retirement of the OH-58 Kiowa Warrior fleet and a Future Long-Range Assault Aircraft (FLRAA) designed to replace the UH-60 Black Hawk fleet.

As the army prepares to fight in an anti-access/area denial environment, FVL CFT director Brigadier General Walter Rugen told Jane's that the FARA is designed to "open a corridor of opportunity", in part with its ability to team up with unmanned aircraft systems (UAS) and be "deeply interoperable" with Long-Range Precision Fires and Next Generation Combat Vehicles, so that the various weapons systems and platforms are "fighting as a team".

"When we talk about the lethality we need on a future battlefield, the FARA is going to be our synchroniser, our close combat co-ordinator," Brig Gen Rugen said in January.
 

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U.S. Army discloses ground-launched hypersonic weapon development – Defence Blog

U.S. Army discloses ground-launched hypersonic weapon development
Aug 11, 2019


The Army Rapid Capabilities and Critical Technologies Office (RCCTO) has disclosed initial details of a new ground-launched missile during the 22nd Space and Missile Defense Symposium in Huntsville this week.

The new weapon system is called the Long-Range Hypersonic Weapon, or LRHW. The RCCTO is charged with delivering the Army’s LRHW, working in close coordination with PEO Missiles and Space and the Long Range Precision Fires Cross Functional Team.

Going faster than the speed of sound, the LRHW is a strategic weapon that will introduce a new class of ultrafast, maneuverable, long-range missiles with rockets that can launch from ground platforms.

The LRHW system is a universal solid-propellant medium-range All-Up Round, or AUR, ballistic missile, equipped with a universal maneuverable and therefore, unpredictable, the hypersonic warhead of the Common Hypersonic Glide Body (C-HGB) in the execution of Block 1.

Both of these system components are developed by the Sandia National Laboratory of the United States Department of Energy with the participation of the United States Missile Defense Agency. The C-HGB hypersonic warhead is being developed as a whole to equip weapons systems of three types of the U.S. armed forces (Army, Air Force, and Navy). The AUR missile will also be used by the U.S. Navy.

The AUR missile has a case diameter of 34.5 inches (887 mm). The missile will be launched from a transport and launch container with a length of about 10 m from a ground-based towed two-container mobile launcher with an Oshkosh M983A4 tractor unit (8×8). The launcher semi-trailer is a modified M870 semi-trailer of the Patriot SAM launcher. The missile system will use the standard American fire control system for missile forces and artillery AFATDS in version 7.0. The battery of the LRHW system will include four dual-container launchers and one Battery Operation Center.

According to RCCTO officials, the U.S. Army expected to develop and deliver one experimental prototype Long Range Hypersonic Weapon battery by FY2023.

 
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Pentagon conducts 1st test of previously banned missile

Pentagon conducts 1st test of previously banned missile


ROBERT BURNS and LOLITA C. BALDOR

,
Associated PressAugust 19, 2019


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Right-wing leader threatens to return to Portland every month after 13 arrested in weekend clash

WASHINGTON (AP) — The U.S. military has conducted a flight test of a type of missile banned for more than 30 years by a treaty that both the United States and Russia abandoned this month, the Pentagon said.

The test off the coast of California on Sunday marked the resumption of an arms competition that some analysts worry could increase U.S.-Russian tensions. The Trump administration has said it remains interested in useful arms control but questions Moscow's willingness to adhere to its treaty commitments.

The Pentagon said it tested a modified ground-launched version of a Navy Tomahawk cruise missile, which was launched from San Nicolas Island and accurately struck its target after flying more than 500 kilometers (310 miles). The missile was armed with a conventional, not nuclear, warhead.

Defense officials had said last March that this missile likely would have a range of about 1,000 kilometers (620 miles) and that it might be ready for deployment within 18 months.

The missile would have violated the Intermediate-range Nuclear Forces (INF) Treaty of 1987, which banned all types of missiles with ranges between 500 kilometers (310 miles) and 5,500 kilometers (3,410 miles). The U.S. and Russia withdrew from the treaty on Aug. 2, prompted by what the administration said was Russia's unwillingness to stop violating the treaty's terms. Russia accused the U.S. of violating the agreement.

The newly tested cruise missile recalls a nuclear-armed U.S. weapon that was deployed in several European NATO countries in the 1980s, along with Pershing 2 ground-based ballistic missiles, in response to a buildup of Soviet SS-20 missiles targeting Western Europe. With the signing of the treaty, those missiles were withdrawn and destroyed.

In addition to the land-variant of the Tomahawk cruise missile, the Pentagon has said it also intends to begin testing, probably before the end of this year, an INF-range ballistic missile with a range of roughly 3,000 kilometers (1864 miles) to 4,000 kilometers (2485 miles). Both missiles are to be non-nuclear.

Defense Secretary Mark Esper said this month that he hopes the Pentagon can develop and deploy INF-range missiles "sooner rather than later," but no specific timeline has been announced.
 
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Boeing Is Developing A New High-Speed Apache Gunship With A Pusher Prop On Its Tail

Boeing Is Developing A New High-Speed Apache Gunship With A Pusher Prop On Its Tail
The revised design could be a contender Army's new scout helicopter requirements and help the service keep its Apaches combat capable past 2050.
BY JOSEPH TREVITHICKOCTOBER 27, 2018

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Boeing has revealed that it is testing a compound helicopter derivative of its AH-64E Apache Guardian that would be faster, have longer range, and be more fuel efficient than existing gunships. The announcement comes as the Army is exploring the possibility of a new attack and reconnaissance rotorcraftand amid reports that the service may need to dramatically upgrade its existing Apaches to keep them capable and relevant until the armed versions of whatever design wins the Future Vertical Lift competition reach full operational capability.

Jane’s 360 was among the first to report the details about the new helicopter development, which Boeing is presently calling the AH-64E Block 2 Compound. The gunship will feature an enlarged main wing, revised engine exhaust arrangement, large vertical tail fin, and a rear-mounted pusher propeller. The design may also feature a new, rigid rotor system, which is a standard feature on other compound helicopter designs.

HERE'S THE ARMY'S PLAN FOR MAKING ITS APACHES MORE CAPABLE AT SEA AND DEADLIER OVERALLBy Joseph TrevithickPosted in THE WAR ZONE

SIKORSKY AND BOEING GIVE US A GLIMPSE OF THEIR NEW ATTACK HELICOPTER CONCEPTBy Joseph TrevithickPosted in THE WAR ZONE

US ARMY HITS SETBACKS TRYING TO ADD NEW INFRARED COUNTERMEASURES TO ITS HELICOPTERSBy Joseph TrevithickPosted in THE WAR ZONE

"LASER APACHE" HAS SUCCESSFULLY ZAPPED TARGETS ON WHITE SANDS MISSILE RANGEBy Tyler RogowayPosted in THE WAR ZONE

RIDE ALONG IN THE COCKPIT WITH THIS APACHE PILOT FOR HIS FINAL FLIGHTBy Tyler RogowayPosted in THE WAR ZONE

Boeing estimates that the revised configuration will give the helicopter 50 percent more speed and range and allow it to be 24 percent more fuel efficient during flight, according to Jane’s. The current AH-64E has a top speed in level flight of more than 170 miles per hour and has a range of around 300 miles.

The Chicago-headquartered planemaker says it has already built a one third scale model of the helicopter, which is presently undergoing wind tunnel tests at the company’s facility in Philadelphia, Pennsylvania. Those experiments are supposed to wrap up in January 2019.

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The new development may reuse aspects of an earlier "Advanced Apache" that Boeing first detailed in 2014, which came to be known as either AH-64X or AH-64F. This version would have also been a compound type featuring improved engines, larger wings, retractable landing gear, and a tail rotor that could articulate 90 degrees in order to provide forward thrust during level flight. In 2016, the Army had said it was not interested in this concept.


BOEING

A chart from a 2014 Boeing presentation showing an artist's conception of the then proposed compound Apache design.

The most obvious prospective customer for this new Apache derivative would be the U.S. Army, which operates around 235 AH-64E Guardians and more than 500 older AH-64D Longbows. The service is also in the process of both buying more Apache Guardians and upgrading the systems on board those helicopters to make them deadlier over land and water, which you can read about in more detail here.

In June 2018, the service announced plans to select two competing rotorcraft designs for a fly-off, a program known as the Future Attack Reconnaissance Aircraft Competitive Prototype (FARA CP), which could potentially lead to purchases of more than 500 aircraft to perform a range of "armed reconnaissance, light attack, and security" tasks. The Apache already owns what the Army refers to as "attack-reconnaissance" mission set, having taken on increased scout and reconnaissance roles after the retirement of the OH-58D Kiowa Warrior scout helicopter.


US ARMY

A standard US Army AH-64E Apache Guardian.

The Army has specified few solid requirements for what it is looking for in terms of performance for the new attack and reconnaissance rotorcraft, but has said that it wants them to have a top speed of around 230 miles per hour. If the AH-64E Block 2 Compound does get a 50 percent boost in top speed over the standard Apache Guardian, it could be traveling at more than 250 miles per hour.

An Apache-derived platform would present a lower-risk option when compared to newer, clean-sheet designs such as the Sikorsky S-97 Raider. The compound AH-64 would also have at least some commonality with the Army's existing Apaches, which would allow the service to make use of existing maintenance and logistics pipelines to some degree, and could make Boeing's offering even more attractive. This is especially true when it comes to receiving funding from Congress.

At the same time, the Army is looking ahead to acquiring an entire new slate of helicopters to replace all of its existing fleets, including the AH-64s, as part of the Future Vertical Lift (FVL) program. For that competition, Boeing has paired with Sikorsky, now part of Lockheed Martin, to offer the SB>1 Defiantcompound coaxial transport helicopter, along with an as yet unnamed gunship derivative, for the FVL-Medium portion of that program. Those helicopters are supposed to begin arriving by the end of the 2020s.

However, the Army is reportedly increasingly of the view that it will need a significantly upgraded Apache to ensure the helicopters are still combat-capable in higher risk environments by the time they reach the end of their service lives. At present, the service hopes to keep the gunships flying through the middle of the century.

“Even using the most aggressive plan they have to replace that fleet [the AH-64s] with something of the Future Vertical Lift family, there will have to be another evolution of some sort to keep the aircraft sustainable, ready and relevant to support the warfighter out to that time frame,” Shane Openshaw, Boeing's top Apache program official, told Rotor & Wing Internationalmagazine on Oct. 24, 2018. “If you look at what kind of capabilities were incorporated as the Apache evolved from an A to a D and the D to an E, we're going to be thinking along the same lines,” he added.

The compound design shows that Boeing is also pursuing far more ambitious concepts that might appeal to the Army as general replacements for at least a portion of its Apaches, too. It wouldn’t be the first time the service has explored the possibility of adopting a compound helicopter gunship, either.

Famously, or infamously, in the 1960s and 1970s, the Army evaluated Lockheed’s AH-56A Cheyenne, a then-state-of-the-art design that was fast, maneuverable, and heavily armed with a mix of automatic cannons, machine guns and grenade launchers, unguided rockets, and the still relatively new TOW guided anti-tank missile. A combination of mishaps, technical problems, and political machinations, all help conspire to kill the program in 1972.

The Army did almost immediately initiate a new attack helicopter development program, which eventually led to the introduction of the AH-64A in 1986. In the interim, the service settled on a succession of AH-1 Cobra gunship variants, which were less advanced, but were also less complicated and cheaper to operate and maintain than the AH-56A would have been.

In the mid-2000s, the Army also took over testing of a compound derivative of the UH-60 Black Hawk, the Piasecki Aircraft X-49A SpeedHawk, from the U.S. Navy. The AVX Aircraft Company also pitched a compound version of the OH-58D Kiowa Warrior to the Army before it canceled plans for a replacement scout helicopter altogether. AVX is now offering its own compound designs for the FVL program.

If Boeing can sell the Army on a compound version of the Apache, it could put the gunship version of the SB>1 Defiant in an awkward position, offering a more cost-effective helicopter with some of its capabilities that would be available sooner, or even in service already. Depending on how extensive the upgrades are, it might be possible to offer the compound features as an upgrade to existing AH-64s, as well.

If it is possible to convert older AH-64s into compound versions of the Apache, it could offer an attractive way for any of the 15 other operators of the helicopter worldwide to improve their own capabilities. With more than 1,000 Apaches in service around the world, it could be ga lucrative opportunity for Boeing, too.

The improved capabilities the compound design offers could still be a major selling point on their own for any country looking to be new attack helicopters, whether or not they already operate AH-64s. Boeing hopes that the Block 2 Compound derivative will only cost 20 percent more than a new AH-64E. As of 2018, the Army is paying around $33.6 million each for new Apache Guardian it buys, so the new compound version could have a final price tag of a little more than $40 million.


BOEING INDIA

An AH-64E Apache Guardian bound for the Indian Air Force, one of the newest operators of the type.

“We have at least 10 more in the pipeline now,” Boeing’s Openshaw told Rotor & Wing on Oct. 24, 2018, referring to the possible number of new foreign Apache customers. “Some are window shoppers. Some are getting serious. They're justifying the requirement to those who hold the purse strings, those who make decisions to support their respective departments of defense.”

Regardless of who ultimately expresses an interest in buying this compound version of the Apache, we’ll definitely be keeping an eye on how this potentially impressive design continues to evolve. For the Army, it might lead the way for the service to finally adopt a compound attack helicopter more than four decades after the cancellation of the Cheyenne and it could disrupt two major aircraft tenders on the horizon.
 

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https://missilethreat.csis.org/us-army-to-deploy-new-alps-to-detect-cruise-missiles-aircraft-uas/

US Army to Deploy New ALPS to Detect Cruise Missiles, Aircraft, UAS
PUBLISHED: APRIL 15, 2019 | BY SHAAN SHAIKH

In April, the U.S. Army confirmed it was fielding prototype Army Long-Range Persistent Surveillance (ALPS) systems to U.S. Indo-Pacific Command, U.S. European Command, and U.S. Central Command. The deployments come to address a Joint Urgent Operational Needs Statements (JUONS) from these COCOMs. The Army’s FY2020 budget proposal, released on March 18, laid out plans to deploy the ALPS prototypes. The long-range sensor system is designed to provide continuous, 360-degree surveillance to detect cruise missiles, fixed and rotary wing aircraft, and unmanned aerial system (UAS) threats.

https://www.secretprojects.co.uk/attachments/17-thur-0930-mg-rasch-amd-pdf.618024/

 
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Saab will test its Ground-Launched Small Diameter Bomb (GLSDB) later this month, with officials hoping the flight will push the 140km mark for the first time.
The last time the system was fired, a 2017 test in the US, the distance reached was short of 100km. Reaching 140km in the latest test would represent close to maximum range for the system.



MSPO 2019: Saab aiming for 40% range bump in next GLSDB test fire - LWI - Land Warfare - Shephard Media
Saab will test its Ground-Launched Small Diameter Bomb (GLSDB) later this month, with officials hoping the flight will push the 140km mark for the first time.

www.shephardmedia.com
 
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Jumping into algorithmic warfare: US Army aviation tightens kill chain with networked architecture

Jumping into algorithmic warfare: US Army aviation tightens kill chain with networked architecture
By: Jen Judson   1 day ago

15421
The U.S. Army demonstrated the ability to pass control around of a Gray Eagle drone like the one pictured here. (Courtesy of the U.S. Army)
NAVAL AIR WEAPONS STATION CHINA LAKE, Calif. — In the skies above China Lake, California, from the back of an MH-47 Chinook cargo helicopter, an operator with a tablet takes control of a Gray Eagle drone and tasks it with firing a small, precision-glide munition at an enemy target located on the ground. But at the last second, a higher level threat is detected and the munition is rapidly redirected toward a different threat, eliminating it within seconds.

This was made possible through the architecture, automation, autonomy and interfaces capability, or A3I, built by the Army’s Future Vertical Lift Cross-Functional Team under Army Futures Command.

The demonstration showed the ability to nimbly pass control between operators of unmanned systems and munitions through a networked architecture of systems also receiving and filtering real-time, pertinent information to aid in operational decision-making.

“It was our first jump into algorithmic warfare,” Brig. Gen. Wally Rugen, who is in charge of the Army’s FVL modernization effort, told Defense News following the demonstration. “We definitely didn’t jump into the deep end of the pool, but we jumped in and, again, we are into pursuing that as far as we can take it to help soldiers be lethal.”

The Aug. 26 demonstration sought to tighten the kill chain and allow for more advanced teaming between air assets and troops on the ground using a resilient network.

“When you talk about our kill chain, we are trying to take seconds out of our kill chain,” Rugen said. “We feel like we understand the reverse kill chain — the enemy coming to get us. Our kill chain is going to get them, and we want our decision-making to be as precise and as expeditious as possible,” using automation and autonomy, he added.

AI3 was developed over the course of nine months and culminated in the demonstration at China Lake.

"Going from a concept, and in a matter of months putting it into an experiment: That was probably the most impressive thing, particularly if you look back at the history of how we do these,” James McPherson, the official performing the duties of the undersecretary of the Army, told Defense News. McPherson attended the demonstration to emphasize the importance to senior Army leadership of modernization efforts within the service.

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The FVL effort in particular includes ensuring manned, unmanned, munition and other air-launched effects are all seamlessly networked together to fight in advanced formations in a congested environment, such as an urban area, and that they are prepared to fight across multiple domains.

Using an interface called Arbitrator, the service networked together a variety of targeting identification and rapid automated processing, exploitation and distribution, or PED, capabilities as well as real-time weather information and several other features and capabilities to help operators of unmanned systems penetrate, in the case of the demonstration, an urban environment.

AI3 in action

During the demo, one of the systems integrated into the network tied to a ground sensor detected a possible threat on the ground. Seeing the threat detected in the system, a helicopter pilot then gained control of an extended-range Gray Eagle and tasked it to perform reconnaissance of the possible target. Using the UAS, the pilot identified the threat as an enemy surface-to-air missile system.

The pilot then ordered the UAS to fire a Dynetics GBU-69 small glide munition to defeat the target, marking the first time the munition had been fired from a Gray Eagle.

But as the munition closed in on the target, the system picks up on another threat deemed more important for elimination. The information for this decision came from the integrated PED systems that use machine-learning algorithms to accurately identify items of interest.

Another operator then redirected the munition during its final seconds of flight to hit the new, more pressing threat.

Why does the Army need A31 capability?

To build the system, the government took the lead integration role, Chief Warrant Officer 5 Cory Anderson, the UAS branch chief for Army Special Operations Aviation Command, said at the demonstration. This ensured the service’s ability to get the right levels of interoperability between subsystems.

But almost all of the capabilities tied into the government’s black box came from small businesses and academia. Much of the initial development has come from the special operations side of the house.

The demonstration was viewed from a tactical operations center, with screens lining the walls of a large air-conditioned trailer, but the system has a scalable control interface and can be remotely accessed from a cockpit or even a tablet used by a soldier on the ground. This breaks the Army free from having to use a ground control station, Anderson said, meaning the footprint and logistics tail can be drastically reduced.

To put together the tactical operations center and ground control station, it took roughly seven C-17 planes to move heavy equipment into China Lake. “We can’t sustain that,” Anderson said. “We believe we can get it down to a two C-17 load-out just by minimizing the generational requirements alone.”

By integrating PED systems that use machine learning into A3I, the Army no longer requires a large number of people — roughly 30 at a time — to conduct PED from full-motion video.

The Arbitrator system allows for operators to pass control of various systems back and forth at different levels of control, from just receiving information from a sensor or UAS to controlling a payload to the entire system. The system is also under development to improve its automation levels.

The utility of passing control to a relevant operator not tied to a ground station means taking out the middle man that doesn’t have the same advantageous access to the tactical edge another possible operator might have.

Rugen said that if there’s an operator on the ground close to the action, it’s much easier to take control of systems rather than try to direct someone far away to the right location to get eyes on a possible point of interest or target in order to make an actionable decision. “What if the squad leader could just grab the sensor because we have the hierarchy?” Rugen noted.

While the capability was developed and demonstrated by the FVL Cross-Functional Team, the system has applications for almost everything on the battlefield, from applications to long-range precision fires targeting capabilities to next-generation combat vehicle teaming to soldier systems.

Both directors for the Long-Range Precision Fires and the Network cross-functional teams were present at the demonstration. While the unclassified version of the demo didn’t show capability, the classified version addresses the architecture’s capability to protect itself against threat-representative electronic attack. “We want to make sure we have a resilient network,” Rugen said.

The next step is to move the Arbitrator system onto an airborne platform, which would completely eliminate the ground control station. That will be demonstrated in roughly a year.
 

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Army Details Plan to Equip Stryker Infantry Carriers with Tank-Killing Missiles

Army Details Plan to Equip Stryker Infantry Carriers with Tank-Killing Missiles

A Common Remote Weapons Station-Javelin (CROWS-J) is mounted on a Stryker infantry carrier while undergoing operational testing with the 4th Squadron, 2nd Cavalry Regiment, at the Joint Maneuver Readiness Center in Hohenfels, Germany, in 2018. Army photo
24 Sep 2019

Military.com | By Matthew Cox

Beginning in 2022, the Army will start turning large numbers of Stryker infantry carriers into tank-killers by equipping them with remote weapons stations armed with Javelin anti-armor missiles.

The fielding of the Common Remotely Operated Weapons Station-Javelin (CROWS-J) is part of a larger effort to give the basic Stryker infantry carrier more firepower.

That effort began in March 2015, when commanders began requesting a 30mm cannon to give Strykers more punch than the standard .50 caliber machine guns if they have to face potential adversaries such as Russia.

Currently, the 2nd Cavalry Regiment is the only Stryker unit that has vehicles equipped with 30mm cannons or early versions of the CROWS-J. But the Army will begin equipping three more Stryker Brigade Combat Teams (SBCT) with both capabilities in 2022, Col. Syd Hills, director of the Stryker Warfighter Forum at I Corps, told Military.com recently.

Related: Army Taps Five Firms to Study How to Mount 30mm Cannons on Strykers

"Some will have the CROWS-Javelin, others will have the 30mm cannon," Hills said. "All of the formations will eventually have both. ... We will eventually kit out all nine [Stryker] brigades."

The CROWS-J is an M153 CROWS II system, made by Kongsberg, that has been modified to launch an FGM-148 Javelin anti-tank missile. In addition to the Javelin, the CROWS II mounts either an M2 .50 caliber machine gun, M240 7.62mm machine gun, or an MK19 40mm grenade launcher.

A gunner can detect a heavy armor target and destroy it with the CROWS-J out to roughly 3,000 meters from inside the Stryker vehicle, Hills said.

Aside from infantry carriers, a Stryker brigade also has Anti-Tank Guided Missile Strykers and the Mobile Gun System, which is equipped with a 105mm cannon.

But the driving force behind this lethality upgrade is that the SBCT is still an infantry-centric force, Hills said.

"The additional lethality and the additional firepower is a means of force protection; it's meant to provide standoff and firepower so you can get the dismounted troops closer to the objective by using the vehicle to provide a support by fire and protect them so they can go further faster," he said.

In addition to transporting and delivering nine-member infantry squads, the Strykers also conduct reconnaissance and surveillance missions that can take them far from friendly forces, Hills said.

"People that are doing reconnaissance ... at some point, they are going to get into a situation where they could get engaged by enemy forces, if they are really out front where they are supposed to be," he said. "And also they are not going to just stand their ground and kill off the enemy forces, but they have to have means to break contact to be able to protect themselves, so they can get out and preserve their combat power."

Once fielding begins in 2022, each of the three SBCTs will receive 83 30mm turrets and a similar number of CROWS-J systems, said Hills, who did not know the exact number of systems.

The goal to have all three SBCTs fielded by 2028, he said.

"And then a decision will be made when to go forward with the rest of them," Hills said.

"I think it is going to expand their ability to maneuver because it is going to give them more standoff. It's going to give them the ability to get closer to the places where they are going to drop the dismounts," Hills said. "If they somehow ... run into a vehicle with overmatch, they can take it out."
 

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GMLRS-ER

Precision Fires Rocket and Missile Systems





Extended Range #GMLRS, began dev. in FY 2018. The ER GMLRS Phase II development contract was awarded on August 23, 2018 to finalize performance requirements definition and complete the system's PDR. Updated GMLRS AW CDD changed the Max Range obj. KPP to 200 Km. H/T @marauder2048
The TC-GMLRS performed its first flight test March 29 at White Sands Missile Range, New Mexico. During the first flight test, the missile system reached a distance of 112.9km, or roughly 70 miles.
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