At the end of August 2011, Brazil’s Ministerio da Defesa announced the beginning of a BRL 1.09 billion (about $685 million) project to update Avibras’ ASTROS (Artillery SaTuration ROcket System) multiple rocket launcher system to the ASTROS 2020 configuration. It will also develop a GPS-guided short-range rocket, and an AV-TM300 missile option that gives the new system a 300 km strike range. That level of reach would stand out in the global market, as it would rival the USA’s MLRS(Multiple Launch Rocket System)/ATACMS(Army Tactical Missile System) combination.
The initial funding amounts belie the importance of this program, on 2 levels. One source of importance is industrial. The other is ASTROS 2020’s status as an indicator, pointing the way toward the future spread of advanced precision strike technologies.
In July 2008, the US Defense Security Cooperation Agency announced Iraq’s formal request to buy 24 Armed Reconnaissance Helicopters that act as scouts, perform light close air support, and escort other helicopters on dangerous missions. The DSCA documents also included requests for airborne weapons – which would be a new capability for the nascent post-Saddam air force.
At the time of the requests, the IqAF relied on a small force of Russia’s popular Mi-8/17s, and a handful of refurbished Bell “Huey II” helicopters. While the Russian helicopters can be armed, their status as Iraq’s only medium utility helicopters makes them a poor fit for an ARH role. Instead, Iraq chose between 2 competitors. Bell’s 407 bears a close resemblance to the OH-58 scout helicopters used by the US Army, and the 407-derived ARH-70A won the American ARH competition before running into trouble. Boeing’s AH-6 “Little Bird” light attack helicopters are used by US Special Forces, are very effective in urban settings, and provided critical fire support during the 1991 “Blackhawk Down” incident. Iraq went on to pick Bell as its its ARH winner.
In September 2006, the US Defense Security Cooperation Agency announced the United Arab Emirates official request High Mobility Artillery Rocket Systems (M142 HIMARS) as well as associated equipment that included GPS-guided missiles with a 300 km reach.
Subsequent years have seen that request fulfilled, and additional requests have been placed for rocket, missiles, and now a second set of HIMARS systems…
The M72 Light Anti-tank Weapon (LAW) found both popularity and notoriety in Vietnam. On the one hand, it was easy to carry, and improved the squad’s firepower. On the other hand, it bounced off of North Vietnam’s obsolete tanks.
In 2006, a redesigned version of the LAW rocket restarted production, and returned the LAW to American military service. It still isn’t going to take on any tanks, but it’s very useful in modern urban warfare scenarios. In 2008, Israel submitted an export request for up to 60,000 of them…
In February 2011, with unrest engulfing the Middle East, ATK announced a project with Jordan to turn 2 Jordanian CN-235 light transport aircraft into small aerial gunships. In June 2014, they were so pleased by the results that they decided to convert one of their larger C295s.
The aircraft pack electro-optical targeting systems that include a laser designator, aircraft self-protection equipment, and a weapons suite of Hellfire laser-guided missiles, laser-guided APKWS-II 70mm/2.75 inch rockets, and the same M230 link-fed 30mm chain gun that equips AH-64 Apache helicopters. The weapons are all controlled by ATK’s STAR mission system, turning the Airbus light transports into lethal but relatively inexpensive counter-insurgency platforms…
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.
Switchblade UAVs to launch from subs? While they could retain their kamikaze capabilities, the reality is that sub-launched UAVs are going to be 1-shot items at first. Why not adapt an existing UAV designed for that?
InnoCentive offers a $15,000 reward for a concept or design of a medical transportation device that would enable a rescuer to quickly and safely transport an injured person away from an active combat site.
At least the US Navy is not facing a fire on one of its nuclear submarines, unlike its Russian counterpart yesterday.
Thursday was not a good day for the Russian military since they also had a Su-24 crash. These crashes have happened like clockwork over the years [in Russian]. Nobody died in either incident yesterday though some people appear to have been injured in the submarine fire.
Yet another cybersecurity acquisition for Raytheon: Henggeler Computer Consultants, Inc. It’s the 2nd this month and the 10th in the last 4 years.
In November 2011, the US Army combined with US Special Operations Command to place an $31.5 million order with Saab North America for their Carl-Gustaf M3 man-portable recoilless rifle, which fires 84mm rockets. It’s a good order for Saab, because it breaks new ground with the US Army.
If the ubiquitous Russian RPG family is removed from the picture, Sweden’s Saab Bofors Dynamics has earned a strong niche, with 2 of the most popular shoulder-fired rocket systems in the world. Its 84mm offerings include the Carl Gustaf/Gustav, whose core design dates back to 1946 and whose most recent M3 version dates to 1991. The less-expensive AT-4/M136 is also 84mm, but swaps the rifled metal/carbon fiber launch tube for cheaper reinforced fiberglass, among other changes. Both systems offer a variety of rocket types, but the Carl Gustaf M3’s Area Defence Munition (ADM) flechette rounds are a uniquely useful capability in infantry fights. The US military has used both weapons for some time, but until now, the Carl Gustav M3 Ranger Antitank Weapons System had been fielded exclusively by US Special Operations units, while the M136 Lightweight Multipurpose Weapon was fielded to both US SOCOM and regular US Army units.
JSF PEO Vice Admiral David J. Venlet said in an interview with AOL Defense that ramping up production quickly while completing tests was a “miscalculation” but he has to live with concurrency, though he questions the delivery pace.