Breaking into the American defense market can be lucrative, but it can be scary for firms based outside the USA. At AUSA 2013, DID Editor Joe Katzman sat down with RAFAEL’s consultant Lt. Gen. William H. Forster, PhD (ret.), and other RAFAEL personnel, to discuss some of the reasons for their success with products as diverse as the LITENING surveillance and targeting pod for jets, and the door-busting SIMON/GREM grenade.
Rather than present the interviews and discussions verbatim, we’ll focus on key takeaways.
Israel isn’t the first country that comes to mind when one thinks of naval exporters, but it has enjoyed success in one limited field: patrol craft. Its Dvora family, whose largest Mk.III boats are 90 feet long and just 70t, has been sold beyond Israel to Eritrea, Gambia, India, Paraguay, Slovenia, Sri Lanka, and Taiwan. Taiwan fitted its boats with missiles, but otherwise, the Dvoras have been a gunboat class.
Israel’s frigate plans are in limbo, but the country needs to move fast in order to protect its recently-discovered offshore natural gas fields against stated threats from Turkey and Syria. They’ve just ordered another 3 Super Dvora Mk.IIIs to that end, while IAI reconsiders the class’ status as a mere gunboat…
In January 2013, the Colombian Ministry of National Defence awarded a $65.3 million contract to General Dynamics Land Systems-Canada, for 24 of the firm’s double-V hulled LAV-IIIs with add-on armor. In the USA, this LAV-III is known as the M1126 Stryker DVH, but Colombia’s new armored personnel carriers won’t have the same internal electronics fit-out. They’ll also swap in RAFAEL’s Samson RCWS weapon station up top. The contract was signed through the Government of Canada’s CCC export agency, and deliveries will be complete by May 2014.
The Ejercito Nacional de Colombia operates a very broad mix of APCs: M1117 ICVs from Textron, Russian BTR-80s, Brazilian EE-9 and EE-11s, and old US M113 tracked vehicles. None have the LAV-III DVH’s ability to survive land mine blasts. That’s becoming a bigger part of Colombia’s defense planning lately: Oshkosh’s Sand Cat vehicle was picked as a light patrol MRAP in December 2012.
Desk Iron Dome. Make it happen. Ash is going to be SO jealous!
If you throw pens at Leon Panetta’s desk, the small Iron Dome replica he received as a gift from Israeli Minister of Defense Ehud Barak won’t shoot to intercept. Panetta hid his disappointment gracefully but he would not say whether the anti-rocket system (marketed at full size by Raytheon in the US) would end up on the FY14 budget request. Joint press conference transcript.
The International Crisis Group (ICG) nonprofit released a report [PDF] which concludes that conflicting territorial claims in the South China Sea are at a deadlock. China’s actions are shaped by its own internal dynamics [PDF] and its neighbors are not passively watching:
In March 2012, Peru announced the winner of its competition to upgrade its air defenses. The country’s air defense needs are most sharply focused on the relatively narrow border with Chile, but the country does have borders with Ecuador, Colombia, and Brazil, and has facilities it may wish to protect. Mobile and portable systems have been a priority for Peru, and their current architecture relies on a combination of upgraded SA-3/S-125 medium range missiles, Russian/Chinese derivatives of the very short range SA-16/18 man-portable missile, and guns.
Russian and Chinese firms competed for the deal, but the winner of its $140 million competition was the TRIAD consortium of Poland’s Bumar, Israel’s RAFAEL, and Northrop Grumman from the USA.
The latest companiesandmarkets.com report predicts that the global aerospace and defense sector will achieve revenues of $399 billion by 2015. While the United States will retain its position as the largest aerospace and defense market, the Asia-Pacific region will experience the fastest growth during the reporting period.
The head of the French Navy tells The Telegraph that he was ‘stunned’ by the Royal Navy’s decision to axe its aircraft carriers and Harrier jump jets.
Almost three months after RAFAEL’s ASPROA-/Trophy active protection system was used to intercept an anti-tank missile fired at an IDF tank in the Gaza Strip, reports suggest that the U.S. military is close to combining two active protection systems into a single defense for armored vehicles in Afghanistan.
The USA’s M2/M3 Bradley Fighting Vehicles have played a central role in armed operations in Iraq. Many of them are now doing it with special reactive applique armor tiles that significantly improve their protection against anti-tank rockets. General Dynamics Armament and Technical Products Inc. in Burlington, VT is the main supplier, in conjunction with Israel’s RAFAEL who pioneered the design.
The add-on armor kit for the M2/M3 Bradleys, for instance, includes 105 tiles that look like small boxes and attach to the sides, the turret and the front of each vehicle. The armor is some of the most advanced in the world, and includes both passive protection of strong material that diverts the rocket, plus reactive protection. That reactive protection uses a very special, insensitive explosive that is detonated only when hit by a missile or rocket; it will not react to other heat sources, or lesser impacts from small arms or shell fragments. The resulting explosion disrupts the incoming armor-penetrating blast jet. That’s the theory, anyway. What have the results been like? Have improvements been made? What purchases have taken place, and when?
Bradley vehicles carry a crew of 3 (commander, gunner and driver), plus additional soldiers in some variants. Overall, the Bradleys fulfills 5 critical mission roles for the US Army’s Heavy Brigade Combat Teams: infantry fighting vehicle, carries 6-7 troops as well (M2); cavalry fighting vehicle, carries 2 scouts as well (M3); fire support vehicle (A3 BFIST or M7 BFIST based on A2-ODS); battle command vehicle; and engineer squad vehicle (EBFV, or M2A2-ODS-E).
General Dynamics’ reactive armor system [pdf] uses tiles that fasten to the exterior of the Bradley, allowing it to withstand direct hits from anti-armor munitions, such as all shoulder-fired weapons and most tube-launched, shaped-charge systems.