SAIC in San Diego, CA was awarded on Sept. 25, 2007, a delivery order amount of $13.6 million as part of a $64.6 million cost-plus-fixed-fee contract for operations and maintenance of the Biometrics Automated Toolset and Detention Management System. See this DID article for updated links and background, covering biometrics technology and the ways in which the BAT system has become an offensive asset for US forces in Iraq.
Work will be performed in Iraq/Afghanistan (80%), and Arlington, VA (20%), and is expected to be complete by Dec. 16, 2008. Bids solicited via the World Wide Web on Aug. 20, 2001, and 2 bids were received by the U.S. Army Space and Missile Defense Command in Huntsville, AL (DASG60-02-D-0006).
“2007-08: Israel Looks to Replenish Bomb Stocks” discussed the dilemma Israel faced, between buying systems that would support its own world-class defense industry, and using American aid money to buy somewhat comparable American weapons.
As an illustrative example, that $465 million request included over 2,500 Paveway II laser-guided bombs from Lockheed Martin. It has now been followed by a smaller order worth “several $Millions” to Elbit Systems, which are beginning to equip the Cheyl Ha’avir with their Lizard laser-guided bomb kits. The dynamic described above explains why Lizard was an export item before it was bought by Israel’s own military; customers include “NATO member countries” and others, and some have already placed repeat orders. The Elbit release notes that Israel’s purchase will help boost worldwide sales prospects, presumably by removing the implicit “second best” label.
For more information covering precision-guidance kits and hard target penetrator weapons around the world, DID commends Armada International’s excellent article “Hard Nut Crackers” to our readers.
Heads-up displays (HUD) are all well and good, but displays that move with the pilot’s head are even better. Our JHMCS articles have covered the way helmet-mounted displays (HMD) change the game in close air combat, especially when they’re paired with modern missiles and their wide seeker cones. Sweden’s JAS-39 Gripen fighter has performed well in exercises, but to date most have lacked helmet-mounted displays. Now a SEK 345 million ($54 million) deal between Sweden’s FMV and Saab promises to equip Swedish Gripens with the Cobra HMD. Saab Group release.
Like other HMDs, Cobra displays key data and weapons targeting directly onto the helmet visor, allowing a Gripen pilot to stay ‘heads-up’. The helmet and display system have been developed by BAE Systems, the mask by G4, the helmet tracking system by Denel Optronics of South Africa, and the display symbology by Saab. It has been tested on JAS-39 C/D variants since 2005, and made available as an export option. As of October 2007, the South African Air Force had ordered it, but it didn’t become operational there until September 2011. Saab’s release cited the SAAF as the 1st operational Cobra HMD customer.
Australia’s new artillery from the LAND 17 project is going to need modern ammunition. Come to think of it, their existing M198 155m artillery pieces need modern ammunition as well. Those ammunition purchases can influence artillery selection in cases like the GPS-guided M982 Excalibur, which is pre-qualified on a limited number of platforms to date. Other choices are less constraining, such as the recent A$ 14 million ($USD $12.5 million) purchase of precision-guided anti-tank artillery shells. The German Diehl/Rheinmetall GIWS(Gesellschaft fur Intelligente Wirksysteme mbH) partnership’s SMArt 155 (Sensor fuzed Munition for the ARTillery) can be fired from any 155mm gun, replacing the Copperhead laser-guided 155mm shell which is at the end of its service life. Australian DoD release | Fact sheet | Q&A session.
The SMArt 155 shells contain 2 active sub-munitions that deploy by parachute, using redundant radar/radiometer/infrared sensors to detect armored vehicles. They attack through the top armor, using explosively-formed penetrators that serve as a sort of instant tank shell. Redundant mechanisms will destroy the shell if it finds no targets, and a further backup will render it inert if they fail for some reason.
SMArt 155 is already in production, and serves with Germany, Greece, and Switzerland; a partnership with ATK markets it in the USA. Deliveries of the projectiles and the associated propelling charges, fuzes, and inductive fuze setters to Australia are expected to start in late 2007.