Latest updates[?]: Lockheed Martin won a $23.4 million contract modification to exercise options for the engineering, design, and technical services in support of the MK 41 Vertical Launching System electronic systems and computer programs. The deal combines purchases by the US and the governments of Japan, Spain, Canada, and Chile under the Foreign Military Sales program. Work will take place in Maryland, New Jersey, Washington and California. Estimated completion will be by July 2023.
MK 41s in action
The naval MK 41 Vertical Launching System (VLS) hides missiles below decks in vertical slots, with key electronics and venting systems built in. A deck and hatch assembly at the top of the module protects the missile canisters from the elements, and from other hazards during storage. Once the firing sequence begins, the hatches open to permit missile launches of various types. It is also being adapted for land use, as part of the USA’s plan to forward-deploy ballistic missile defense in allied countries.
The Mk.41 is the most widely-used naval VLS in the world, in service with the US Navy and with many countries outside the United States. Lockheed Martin is the system’s prime contractor, with components and canisters provided by BAE Systems Land & Armaments. In September 2011, however, the US Navy assumed the final integrator role.
Latest updates[?]: Israeli company Rafael dropped out of Switzerland’s $8 billion air defense tender. Rafael had initially offered its David’s Sling system. David’s Sling is an Israeli system developed with the United States that is designed to defend against short-range and theater ballistic missiles, large-caliber rockets, and cruise missiles. However, the Israeli Department of Defense did not give the company the necessary permit to go further in the tender. Reasons for this decision are unclear. Companies still participating in the tender are Raytheon with the Patriot system and Eurosam with the SAMP/T.
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David didn’t need high technology to defeat Goliath, just some stones and a sling. But in the modern world, David is getting some high-tech help from the likes of Raytheon and Rafael Advanced Defense Systems, who are developing a missile defense system called David’s Sling Weapon System (DSWS).
The DSWS is a joint short-range ballistic missile defense program between the US Missile Defense Agency and the Israel Missile Defense Organization. The system is designed to defeat short-range ballistic missiles, large-caliber rockets and cruise missiles in their terminal phase of flight.
Raytheon received 2 contracts from Rafael worth more than $100 million to build DSWS components.
In February 2006, IANS reported that India had finally signed a $500 million deal with Russia for SPLAV’s Smerch-M BM 9K58 long-range 300mm multiple launch rocket systems (MLRS). SMERCH systems will offer a huge capability boost, relative to India’s older truck-mounted 122mm Grad rocket launchers.
So, what kind of capabilities does this weapon bring to the table? It sounds similar to the Soviet NKVD’s dreaded World War 2 SMERSH (“death to spies”) units, who sometimes acted to stiffen defenders’ resolve by waiting just behind the front lines with machine guns. The Smerch 9K58s may also stiffen resolve on the front lines, and end up being justly feared – albeit for different reasons.
In early June 2011, Vohne Liche Kennels, Inc. in Denver, IN received an $11.3 million indefinite-delivery/ indefinite-quantity contract for “multi purpose canine and handler training in support of U.S. Army Special Operations Command.” The contract includes a base year and 4 option years, which would extend it to 2016. U.S. Army Special Operations Command manages the contract (H92239-11-D-0002).
Many military dogs are German Shepherds, Dutch Shepherds, or Belgian Malmois, though other breeds may be used. SOCOM’s dogs became a topic of deep interest, after it was revealed that Osama Bin Laden was done in by 79 Navy SEALs… and one dog. As the humorous poster out there put it: “Man’s Best Friend… because you can’t strap a cat across your waist and parachute into Afghanistan.” The British SAS have reportedly bought American dogs for similar operations, and Austrian special forces jumped with dogs in a recent NATO exercise; they report that the dogs are actually quite calm about it. I guess it’s kind of like the world’s largest, best-ever car window. Vendors like K-9 Storm provide the associated parachute harnesses, camera vests, assault vests, and other gear. The accompanying picture is US special forces dog trainer Mike Forsythe and his working dog Cara, breaking a record by jumping from 31,000 feet, wearing K-9 Storm’s vest.
Insight Technology in Londonderry, NH won a not-to-exceed $15 million firm-fixed-price, indefinite-delivery /indefinite-quantity contract for the procurement of miniature reflex sights (MRS) in 2 configurations along with cleaning kits and spare parts.
The MRS is a small, passive, reflex weapon sight intended for close quarters combat applications. The sight is mounted on top of existing day sights, night optics, or other sighting devices to provide a secondary rapid aiming and engagement capability…
OM Group in Cleveland, OH agreed to acquire EaglePicher Technologies, a Joplin, MO-based manufacturer of batteries, battery management systems and energetic devices for the defense, aerospace, and medical industries, from EaglePicher Corp. for $171.9 million.
In fiscal year 2009, EaglePicher recorded revenues of approximately $125 million, of which approximately 60% came from its defense business, approximately 31% from its aerospace business, and the balance from its medical and other businesses…
Small business qualifier Donovan Commercial Industries, Inc. in Nortonville, KY is being awarded an $8.9 million firm-fixed-price, indefinite-delivery/ indefinite-quantity contract for the Low Hazard Flexible Linear Shaped Charge. It’s a form of explosive cutting tape, which is typically used to produce precise cuts in metal and other substances. Think of it as an instant and very powerful plasma torch, whose design makes it safer to carry and much faster to use. The V-shaped charge enclosed in foam comes in 5 lengths and various grains per foot of explosive, in order to provide precise calibration to the difficulty of the job. This design also produces less shrapnel, which makes it a lot safer than existing explosives used for this purpose by the military, and by civilian construction firms building bridges and other large structures.
Work will be performed in Nortonville, KY and is expected to be complete by June 2013. Contract funds in the amount of $67,523 will expire at the end of the current fiscal year. This contract was competitively procured, with proposals solicited via Federal Business Opportunities, with 1 offer received by the energetics specialists at the Naval Surface Warfare Center Crane Division in Crane, IN (N00164-08-D-JM11).
Donovan’s product is available to qualified civilian firms, and is picking up market share on that front as well. The executive we spoke to did express a desire for a qualified individual who could help them with the growing volume of media and other PR-related inquiries they’re receiving. Nortonville is about 75 miles NNW of Nashville, or 50 miles west of Bowling Green.
Elbit Systems and General Dynamics’ MOWAG subsidiary have signed a contract valued at EUR 44.8 Million (currently about $58 Million) to equip Belgium’s initial set of 138 Piranha III wheeled armored personnel carriers (similar to the Stryker /LAV-III base platform). The ORCWS-30 Overhead Remote Control Weapon Station shares a number of features with the RAFAEL RCWS-30 mounted on Czech Pandurs, including stabilization for firing on the move, missile options, and fold-flat features for air transport; but it isn’t the same system.
UPDATE: DID has talked to MOWAG. This Elbit Systems order covers only 32 ORCWS-30s for the Piranha III C30s, plus electro-optical systems (i.e. thermal sights et, al.) and electronics for the entire Belgian Piranha III fleet.