SysFla / LFK NG – the air defence system of the future
Rheinmetall's NBS C-RAM.
14:31 GMT, June 24, 2010 In 2010, the new SysFla air defence system is entering a decisive phase. The contractual negotiations with the German Federal Office of Defence Technology and Procurement (BWB) have been concluded. This coming autumn, the Budget and Defence Committee of the German Bundestag will decide on the project planning of the base configuration (STATIONARY BLOCK I). At the ILA 2010, the participating companies will present the new LFK NG launcher and missile for the first time in their original size as well as models of all SysFla system components.
SysFla, the future air defence system of the German Army, is being developed on behalf of BWB by MBDA Deutschland and Rheinmetall Defence under the umbrella of SysFla GmbH. SysFla closes the capability gap of the Bundeswehr in the short range air defence sector which was opened up by the retirement of the air defence systems ROLAND (2005) and GEPARD (2010), and which continues to grow on account of the limited in-service life of STINGER (through approx. 2018). SysFla offers comprehensive protection against all very short and short range airborne threats. Its spectrum ranges from small targets to high-calibre rockets as well as agile missiles and conventional threats such as combat aircraft and helicopters within an altitude of up to 5 km and an interception range of up to 10 km.
SysFla has been designed on the basis of complementary active components: the NBS C-RAM / MANTIS gun from Rheinmetall and the New Generation Guided Missile LFK NG from MBDA Deutschland and Diehl BGT Defence. The gun covers the very short range (up to 3 km), while the LFK NG guided missile ensures short range protection (up to 10 km). The LFK NG missile plays a special role here. It supplements the NBS C-RAM / MANTIS® cannon system through its greater range, ensuring a secure stand-off distance e.g. against high-calibre rockets. At very close range, the NBS CRAM / MANTIS® effectively intercepts even highly manoeuvrable targets such as weaving cruise missiles with AHEAD munitions. Thanks to its modularity and broad-spectrum capabilities, the LFK NG missile can also be used in urban terrain from cover as well as aboard mobile platforms such as helicopters, vehicles or ships.
SysFla is designed to protect both stationary and mobile units in all situations and for all mission options. SysFla can support long-term stabilisation operations just as effectively as phases of intensified operations. Thanks to its system architecture, SysFla is also capable of operating effectively in both national and multinational networks together with ground-based air defence forces. SysFla thus complements the new tactical Medium Extended Air Defence System (MEADS) – the two systems are designed for different target spectrums, mission scenarios and ranges.
With SysFla/LFK NG, the Bundeswehr will obtain a high-performance short range air defence system effective against all current and anticipated threats. Virtually the entire German defence industry is
participating in SysFla. The project is thus important not only in terms of defence and security policy, but also from the industrial policy perspective.
MoU Between Oto Melara and Tawazund for the DRACO System
(Source: OTO Melara; issued June 15, 2010)
OTO Melara, a Finmeccanica company, has signed today [June 15, 2010] in Paris, a Memorandum of Understanding with TAWAZUN for the marketing and production of the DRACO system, officially presented yesterday at the Eurosatory Exhibition in Paris.
The Holding Company TAWAZUN is the industrial and commercial investment arm of Offset Program Bureau of the United Arab Emirates.
DRACO or “SAMOUM” - as the system has been renamed for this project like the hot wind blowing in the desert - is a very advanced system, fitted with the successful 76mm gun in service with 56 Navies all over the world.
The system is specialized as primary role in the AA defence, through special ammunition like the guided DART; other roles include C-RAM, coastal defence against different targets including small and fast boats, and anti armour against IFV.
Pic: A depiction of Sable showing the Thutlhwa (Kameelperd) on the left,the Starstreak VSHORADS (centre), the GDF 005 (bottom) and a containerised vertical launch Umkhonto SHORADS on a Kynos 8x8 truck (right).
The South African Army is a step closer to gaining a short-range air defence missile system (SHORADS), with a manufacturer being awarded a small contract to conduct risk reduction study for a ground-based launcher.
The tiny contract came just before an announcement by the navy of Finland that the Denel Dynamics Umkhonto-IR Mk II SHORAD has successfully completed a series of system validation firing trials in the Baltic Sea.
The Air Defence Artillery has a long-standing requirement for a SHORADS to compliment its small number of twin GDF Mk V 35mm air defence guns and Thales Starstreak very short-range air defence (VSHORAD) missiles.
The latest contract, worth R173 915, for “risk reduction studies for a ground based launcher” was awarded to Denel Dynamics on July 9. Project Protector is currently a technology programme being funded by the SA Army ADA through the Department of Defence's Defence Secretariat's Defence Materiel Division's Directorate Technology that is headed by Rear Admiral (Junior Grade) Derek Dewey.
Denel, the state arms arsenal, has for some years been marketing an advanced, layered and integrated ground based air defence system (GBADS) dubbed “Sable”. This uses a “building blocks” approach to integrate all current and future ADA assets into a singe system of systems. This includes 30 GDF 05 L90 twin 35mm towed cannon controlled by four Reutech Radar Systems (RRS) ESR220 Thutlhwa (Kameelperd/Giraffe) Mobile Battery Fire Control Post Systems. These NATO D-Band radars have a range of 120km.
Also part of Sable are eight Thales Starstreak Lightweight Multiple Launchers and about 100 Starstreak VSHORAD high-velocity missiles acquired under Project Guardian. These missiles are allocated to 104 Battery of 10 ADA Regiment in Kimberley. The battery that can be parachute dropped also includes two two Thales Page continuous-wave (CW) low-observable battery air defence local warning radars with a 20km range. Denel credits the cannon with a range of 4km and the VSHORAD missiles with a range of 5km (Thales says 7km).
To this, in time, may be added a Denel-developed SHORAD missile and a new RRS CW three-dimensional radar to upgrade the two-dimensional Thutlhwa radar. Denel Dynamics CE Jan Wessels in April told defenceWeb his engineers were moving ahead with the further development of a land-based Umkhonto SHORADS for the SA Army and other customers. This indigenous system is already in use with the SA and Finnish navies. “We are busy with risk mitigation work to advance it so that when the programme is finally switched on we are ready,” Wessels says. The land variant will a containerised launcher that an be fired from the ground or from a Kynos 8x8 truck – if the artist's concept on the Sable brochure is any indication.
Wessels added that several potential “export customers are already looking impatiently at the system.” He said the naval system “is getting a very good name” in the mlitary community, further exciting interest in the system’s landwards application.
It is not clear when Protector will migrate from technology to production project. The Estimates of National Expenditure in February noted a “64.8% increase in expenditure in the ADA Capability subprogramme in FY2010/11” that “is due to the delivery milestones of the shoulder launched air defence artillery system [Guardian] and mobile ground to air missile system programmes [Protector].” Further into the future lurks Project Outcome (GBADS III) that could see the Umkhonto enhanced to a medium range all-weather standard.
Umkhono Mk II
The current SA Navy infra-red (IR) guided vertical launch Umkhonto SHORAD weighs 125kg, carries a 23kg warhead and boasts a 12km range (although the Sable brochure puts SHORAD at 15 to 25km). The Umkhonto has a proven anti-missile capability, meaning SA joined a handful of nations to have fielded such a system with the successful firing of the Umkhonto from aboard the Valour-class frigate SAS Amatola in November 2005. Since then the SA Navy has regularly fired the weapon against various target drones, most recently earlier this year during Exercise Good Hope IV, a joint multinational undertaking with Germany.
“We heard it went very well,” said Wessels in April “The system has now been in service with the Navy for three years and all the feedback we get is very positive, it is really performing as advertised and more.” Wessels adds that a Mk II version of the weapon had been developed over the last three years for the Finnish navy. “Our engineering attention has been on Finland for the last three years and more. We've developed the Mk II version of Umkhonto optimised for a more challenging operational environment, that experienced in the Baltic archipelago environment. So the missile seeker has to be very advanced to lock onto target and not some background object. We are very confident that Umkhonto MkII offers unique competitive capabilities in this regard,” Wessels adds.
Six systems have been delivered to Finland and have been fitted to four Hamina class missile boats and two Hämeenmaa class minelayers. The Finnish success came against the US-German Rolling Air Frame Missile and the Swedish Bofors Bamse. The weapon is also still under consideration by Sweden for fitment aboard five of its new Visby-class stealth corvettes.
The Dynamics CE added the Mk II has now met all specifications and is in production for Finland. They will also be supplied to the SA Navy once the latter has placed an order for replacement missiles. “They're using their stocks for trials and need to replenish stocks. It will be the Mk II, we'll stop doing the Mk I, there's no point going back to it. This is will be invisible to the SA Navy client from an integration viewpoint and is an example where the SA Department of Defence (DoD) gets the benefit without having to invest directly, it is a benefit gained through export. Denel Dynamics’ investment to secure the export opportunity ultimately funded this Mk II, after the SA Navy initial investment funded the Umkhonto MkI development.”
Frigate project director Rear Admiral (JG) Johnny Kamerman at a media conference in 2006 said the development of the system had begun in 1993. South Africa decided to develop its own system even after sanctions was lifted because high-end systems such as the US Aegis were unaffordable -- "we can't afford the launchers, let alone the missiles," Kamerman explained -- and low-end systems like shoulder-launched missiles were "a waste of time".
Land-based testing ended in July 2005 when the system was adjudged shore-qualified. The testing involved telemetry intercepts of a Skua target drone in various profiles, including low-level, head on and in evasive manoeuvres. The tests culminated in a Skua being destroyed with a “standard warhead”, Kamerman said.
In May 2008 then-Denel Dynamics air defence missiles executive manager Machiel Oberholzer told defenceWeb the Umkhonto development path included an extended range (ER) IR variant as well as an all-weather radar-guided version and an ER version of that. "It is a good concept, six missiles in an ISO-container that can be mounted on any type of vehicle, that has a 360-degree engagement capability and a high kill probability due to is large warhead," Oberholzer says.
As stated above, the current infrared-guided Umkhonto has a range of 12km. Oberholzer said this was being expanded as part of a pre-planned product improvement initiative. An extended-range infrared version is planned and will range up to 22km. The radar version, dubbed the AWSAM – all weather surface to air missile – would have a 20km range, while an extended range version fitted with a booster rocket (AWSAM-E) – would hit out up to 30km – which placed it in the medium-range capability.
He added the advantage of such a family of missiles was that "you can have a cocktail of missiles in your launchers so you can engage with the most appropriate one to the threat. Infrared missiles are cheaper than radar and you don't want to use an expensive missile to shoot down an easy target."
Wessels says Denel Dynamics is looking for funding partners for the advanced Umkhonto future configurations . “It will ideally be a programme like A-Darter”, the R1 billion joint venture 5th generation IR short-range air-to-air missile being developed with Brazil. But he also questions the notion that Umkhonto IR is just a good-weather system. “If you can just highlight that's not the case. The fact that the SA and Finnish navies have selected Umkhonto after in-depth studies – despite typical naval weather conditions – says it all. How this missile works is you have an advanced 3D radar on the ship or launch point and that keeps tracking the target after the missile is fired and via datalink guides the missile to within the last kilometre or so.
“Only then does the IR seeker become active. The more accurate the 3D radar is, the more you can do and the better the performance as an all-weather system. The IR seeker is just used for the last pinpoint accuracy. The better the radar, the better the missile.” It is therefore no longer clear that the all-weather variant will be radar guided as was provided for in earlier thinking.
Meanwhile, Armscor on July 15 also awarded BAE Systems SA, trading as Land Systems OMC, a R1.4 million contract, referenced EIVS/2010/32, for the maintenance and repair of Ratel Mk3 GBADS vehicles.
And all of the proposals below have one thing in common, they are EXPENSIVE!!! You want a cost-effective approach then see the proposal from QinetiQ back in 2004................Unit costs estimated at the time of less than USD$25K...........
The US Marine Corps is looking for contractors to take part in a counter-UAV ground-based air defense (GBAD) capability demonstration in 2011, and the invitation is worded to allow high-power lasers and other non-kinetic weapons to participate.
The Marines plan to award up to three $300,000 contracts to enable systems to participate in Back Dart, an annual tri-service exercise to demonstrate unmanned aircraft and counter-unmanned aircraft capabilities. The intent is to collect data on the ability of short-range air-defense systems to negate UAVs.
The Marines have an initial capabilities document describing the requirements for a mobile system to defend against low-radar-cross-section threats such as UAVs. The system must be Humvee-mounted and transportable by C-130. They want 360-deg, day/night, all-weather protection with a threshold intercept range of 7km and an objective of 20km. It has to work in rain and they want to know how well it will work in fog.
Laser Avenger. (Photo: Boeing)
The counter-UAS GBAD capability demonstration, planned for July/August 2011, sounds like an opportunity for high-energy lasers to get their foot in the door. Boeing has already demonstrated its Humvee-mounted Laser Avenger can shoot down UAVs, but the Marine Corps demonstration will likely be more demanding.
Raytheon has also shot down UAVs with its Laser Phalanx naval close-in weapon system, but Phalanx and its Centurion land-based version are too big to fit on a Humvee. It's likely the company can develop a smaller system. Both Boeing and Raytheon use industrial high-power fiber lasers, although Northrop Grumman and others have demonstrated weapons-grade solid-state lasers.
With efforts to counter enemy UAVs increasing, so is interest in protecting friendly UAVs and their sensors from laser attack. The US Navy has recently awarded two small-business research contracts to develop systems to counter directed-energy weapons.
Texas-based Nahomics' Argus laser threat assessment system uses wide-angle non-imaging optics to detect and locate laser sources, allowing the UAV to take evasive action, engage optical sensor protection or direct countermeasures at the threat. California-based Adsys Controls' Counter DEW system provides early threat detection before high-power engagement and uses "novel" countermeasures to disrupt the weapon's tracking mechanisms.
- Ends -
09 June 04
QinetiQ and Sula Systems design low cost counter to Tactical UAVs
QinetiQ has designed a concept weapon for the UK MOD Applied Research Programme, which could act as a cost-effective counter to low-cost tactical UAVs. QinetiQ has worked with Sula Systems Ltd, an SME providing innovative guided weapon concepts, to develop COUGAR (Counter-UAV GBAD Additional Module Requirement). The COUGAR study sets out the requirements for a kinetic weapon concept, which could act as an adjunct to sophisticated supersonic missiles in a future GBAD (Ground-Based Air Defence) system. The concept can now be assessed alongside directed energy weapons, anti-aircraft guns and existing missile systems to determine the most cost-effective solution.
Project Manager Chris Price commented: "With the current trend in GBAD systems towards distributed "information based" architectures comprising sensors, ADC4I systems and supersonic surface-to-air missiles in an integrated network, missiles required to engage and destroy the full spectrum of air threats are becoming increasingly sophisticated and expensive. Firing a £160,000 missile to destroy a UAV costing less than £10,000 is unlikely to prove cost-effective, unless that UAV is thought to pose a significant and immediate threat to defended assets."
The modern battlespace features a dramatic increase in the employment of low-cost tactical UAVs to provide situational awareness using short-range visual and IR sensors. These UAVs provide significant benefits even to technologically unsophisticated aggressors, for example to provide targeting information to long-range artillery, or to allow terrorists or guerrillas to detect and evade advancing forces. There is therefore a requirement to be able to defeat low-cost tactical UAVs
QinetiQ and Sula Systems have proposed an innovative interceptor as a solution to the problem. Their study revealed that many existing weapons are unable to meet the COUGAR requirement to be low cost, because they require operator action with its training and manning overhead to acquire the target and fire the missile.
The COUGAR Interceptor
The 'Attack UAV' concept uses a miniature turbojet to propel a monoplane airframe configuration which is given midcourse guidance onto a stern attack. A low cost, uncooled long-wave IR seeker is used to acquire the target and guide the interceptor onto a collision course. Although relatively small, at just 1.2m in length with a wingspan of 1.1m and a mass of less than 14kg, the COUGAR interceptor is designed to approach the UAV threat with a closing speed that would be sufficient to cause catastrophic structural damage to the target, giving an observable hard kill.
The target UAV's low signature in all wavebands means that midcourse guidance would be needed to place the COUGAR interceptor in a position from which its inexpensive, on-board seeker would be able to acquire and home onto the target. There would be no requirement for a lethal package with consequent further cost savings though COUGAR will require the use of planned battlefield sensors. It is estimated that the unit cost of each interceptor could be as little as £25,000.
The wings and fins are hinged to allow it to be launched vertically from a canister, with a small booster providing the initial acceleration.
This concept's primary systems are illustrated below:
The COUGAR study showed that in many cases engagement timeline is not a main driver. The interceptor flyout could take several tens of seconds, as long as the intercept occurs while the target is still too far away for it to detect the defended assets. Rather than using a conventional missile design to give an all-aspect engagement capability, the study showed that controlling the interceptor's mid-course trajectory, so that it always attacks the target from astern, gives a number of significant benefits. Importantly:
• Slower closing speed, allowing for a lower specification of components which control the interceptor, while still maintaining hit-to-kill accuracy.
• Narrower seeker field of view and reduced acquisition range requirements, so that an inexpensive IR seeker would be able to acquire and recognise the target.
HUNTSVILLE, Ala. — International partners funding the Lockheed Martin-led Medium Extended Air Defense System (Meads) are expected to meet in October to determine the fate of the effort just as Pentagon cost estimators plan to complete a sweeping study of the price of the air and missile defense system, according to Maj. Gen. Genaro Dellarocco, program executive officer of missiles and space for the U.S. Army.
The Pentagon’s Cost Analysis and Program Evaluation (CAPE) office has been studying the life-cycle cost of the system for months. Procurement and development are estimated at $19 billion; the new estimate will include the anticipated price of operating the system.
A significant increase in cost estimates could again cast a shadow over Meads, which has suffered wavering support from the partners: Germany, which pays for 25.2% of the development; Italy, which picks up 16.7%, and the United States, which pays for the remainder. Last year, Army officials expressed concern about the program, but the Pentagon remains a partner.
Another question ahead is how to integrate the Northrop Grumman-built Integrated Air and Missile Defense Battle Command System (IBCS), which is the preferred command and control system to be used by the U.S., Dellarocco says. IBCS will be the overarching architecture that will link a variety of sensors and interceptors. Dellarocco says the first prototype of IBCS was recently delivered ahead of schedule.
A critical design review of the system is slated for this month in advance of the meeting among Meads partners and completion of the CAPE cost estimate.
Meads is being designed to include a “plug-and-play” architecture to interact with legacy interceptors from Germany and Italy as well as the PAC-3 Missile Segment Enhancement. The development of the entire system is being spearheaded by a joint venture of Lockheed Martin and the German and Italian arms of MBDA.
Germany is leading design and development of the radar system.
(Source: Dutch Ministry of Defence; issued Oct. 1, 2010
(Issued in Dutch only; unofficial translation by defense-aerospace.com)
The Dutch army is introducing the Surface-Launched Amraam missile for its air-defense units, and recently carried out its first firing in Norway.(Dutch MoD photo)The Dutch army’s air-defense artillery has carried out the first ground launch of an Amraam (Advanced Medium-Range Air-to-Air Missile) missile on the very tip of Norway’s Andøya peninsula. The army’s air-defense component has been working towards this launch since the introduction of the missile in early 2009.
The Amraam was originally designed as an air-to-air missile, allowing fighters to shoot down enemy aircraft. Today, it is also used to engage aircraft from the ground.
Medium-high Altitude Layers
The purpose of this first live-firing exercise was to test the integration of the weapon in the Army Ground Based Air Defense System. This system is intended to defend against aerial threats at low and medium altitudes.
The Amraam covers the medium-high altitude layers at ranges of up to 75 km, while the shoulder-launched Stinger missile covers very low altitudes. The Amraam has its own radar and can be fired autonomously to independently track its target.
Air Space Image
After months of procedure training and exercises, this week saw the first real firing of the ground-launched Amraam missile, which is almost 4 meters long and which reaches speeds in the order of 5,000 km/hour. Its firing is only authorized in Norway and the United States.
Besides the weapons section, the unit practiced the entire engagement sequence as a whole. The radar generated an image of the air space up to the moment of firing, which was carried out by simply pushing a button. The missile hit its target well beyond visual range.
More than 100 troops and logistic personnel were involved in the launch.
The Indian air force is gearing up to field a raft of new air defense equipment and address long-standing concerns about the existing inventory.
New Delhi has long worried about gaps; and in areas where it has fielded air defense systems, the equipment is often out of date. Air Chief Marshal Pradeep Naik, the Indian air force (IAF) leader, says half of the equipment at his command faces obsolescence, with that label applying to the majority of air defense weapons.
That situation is now being remedied. By next March, the IAF will begin receiving the first of 18 Israel Aerospace Industries (IAI)-Rafael Spyder quick-reaction medium-range missile systems. The offshore deal became necessary in 2006 because of development problems and delays in the indigenous Akash surface-to-air missile (SAM) program.
However, Akash has since turned the corner, and the IAF decided to order six more Akash batteries worth $925 million—each with 125 missiles—in addition to the two systems already on order. The service will receive its first two Akash batteries in February, and is likely to deploy them in India’s Northeast.
The IAF also anticipates joint development work kicking off in earnest on the 15-km.-range (9.3-mi.) Indo-French Maitri short-range SAM (SR-SAM), which is aimed at filling the void created when the Indian government decided to wind up the Trishul point-defense weapon program in 2006 and effectively de-link it from IAF and Indian navy requirements. A workshare agreement between the Indian Defense Research and Development Organization (DRDO) and European missile maker MBDA has been concluded. IAF sources suggest a formal accord sanctioning the program is likely soon, possibly when French President Nicolas Sarkozy visits New Delhi later this year.
An MBDA official says the SR-SAM would finish development work and the first phase of testing within three years of program go-ahead. While no official timelines have been revealed, the IAF expects the system to be available for deployment by late 2013.
Even higher on the IAF’s priority list is the 70-km.-range MR-SAM that the DRDO is developing with IAI. The IAF has revealed plans to raise at least two regiments that will use the MR-SAM, each with 40 launchers and support equipment. In India, the MR-SAM will progressively replace the IAF’s antiquated Soviet-vintage SA-3 Pechora and SA-8 OSA-AK SAM systems. A proposed foreign-assisted upgrade of the Pechora fleet was shelved two years ago, with the IAF deciding it was more economical to pursue a limited ground-equipment modification by Bharat Electronics Ltd. The Pechora, OSA-AK and 9K38 Igla man-portable SAM systems are effectively obsolete, and the IAF admits it has had to cannibalize equipment to keep a minimum number operationally effective.
The raft of modernization activities should remedy a situation that, in June 2006, was strongly criticized by the Indian parliamentary committee on defense, which accused the defense ministry of taking a “lackadaisical approach” to existing needs and being responsible for “derailed modernization and critical voids.” Shortly after the committee’s stinging report was released, the government began prioritizing air defense purchases and development programs.
But these activities to not address all of the air force’s concerns; radar coverage is another worry. The IAF currently has fast-track tenders out for long-range surveillance radars, high-powered radars, three-dimensional C/D band air surveillance radars, low-level transportable radars and radars for mountain surveillance in India’s northern and eastern sectors.
Naik notes that “10 years ago we had very little money for modernization, which led to major delays. The equipment we are contracting now will come to fruition by 2014-15. So . . . over the next three years, areas of concern will be progressively addressed.”
The Amraam covers the medium-high altitude layers at ranges of up to 75 km, while the shoulder-launched Stinger missile covers very low altitudes. The Amraam has its own radar and can be fired autonomously to independently track its target.
75k range from a ground based launcher? Crikey...
So much for those who argue air launched AMRAAM doesn't have enough range...
Boeing Defense, Space & Security displayed at AUSA Annual Meeting an Avenger adapted for a range of force protection missions beyond air defence. A universal weapons interface enables missiles, rockets, guns and future weapons to be integrated on the Avenger to provide a multi-mission capability. The modified turret was mounted on the Oshkosh Defense MRAP-All Terrain Vehicle (MATV) utility variant to provide a high level of crew protection.
The Avenger, which entered US Army service in 1989, was fielded to provide mobile, short-range air defence (SHORAD) protection against cruise missiles, unmanned air vehicles, low-flying fixed-wing aircraft, and helicopters. It comprises a gyro-stabilized turret mounted on a modified AM General heavy High Mobility Multipurpose Wheeled Vehicle (HMMWV). The standard turret has two missile launcher pods, each able to four Raytheon Stinger fire-and-forget infrared/ultraviolet guided missiles in rapid succession, and a single .50 cal M3P heavy machine gun to cover the missile dead zone and engage ground targets.
Boeing has produced more than 1,100 Avengers for the US Army, Army National Guard, US Marine Corps (which has transferred its Avengers to the army) and foreign customers. A Foreign Military Sales contract from Egypt, announced in 2005, allowed Boeing to restart Avenger production and in November 2009 the US Defense Security Cooperation Agency announced that $455 million air defence package requested by Chile includes 36 Avengers.
Avenger batteries provided SHORAD cover for US-led forces during the 2003 invasion of Iraq. With the transition to a counter insurgency campaign Stinger batteries were initially employed in a security role providing static protection or convoy escort using the Avenger’s .50 cal machine gun. As the IED threat intensified the unarmoured Avengers were no longer able to go ‘beyond the wire’ in Iraq.
Boeing’s ‘adaptive force protection solution’ provides both a high mobility protected platform and multipurpose turret which the company believes would enable Avenger batteries to ‘return to the fight’ using their primary weapon system. The open architecture of the universal weapons interface allows a variety of weapons, including Stinger missiles, Hellfire missiles, guided and unguided rockets, ATK’s LW25 25mm Chain Gun, and a high energy laser weapon, and appropriate sensors to be mounted on the turret to match the threat.
The weapons mix can be rapidly reconfigured. In repeated tests since 2007 Boeing has demonstrated the ability of a high energy laser to neutralise small UAVs and detonated unexploded ordnance at standoff distances.
The turret can be mounted on a variety of vehicles such as the MATV or the Family of Medium Tactical Vehicles series or installed in fixed location.
Finnish Army wants new short-range anti-aircraft missile
The Finnish Defence Forces are making preparations for the acquisition of new short-range anti-aircraft missiles. The aim is to have the missiles, which would probably be shoulder-launched, in use sometime in 2015.
The Finnish Army has asked for information about the weapons from various manufacturers.
“We have received answers”, says Lieutenant-Colonel Sami-Antti Takamaa.
At this stage I cannot say what the response has been. The information is confidential until the bids for tenders have taken place.”
Takamaa says that the request for bids will take place sometime next year. A political decision on the acquisition of the missiles is expected sometime in the next government term.
Shoulder-launched anti-aircraft missiles are manufactured in a number of countries, including the United States, France, Poland, Russia, South Korea, and Sweden.
A concern with the weapons is that they might fall into the hands of terrorists. According to various estimates, thousands of Stinger, Redeye, and Strella missiles could be missing.
Manufacturers have agreed to placing restrictions on the sale of the devices.
Colonel Rauno Lilja, inspector of anti-aircraft activities at the Defence Forces, says that the new missiles would be used by regional forces. The regional forces, which are assigned to protect key targets around the country, are the focus in the development of the Finnish Army.
Lankila says that the price tag of the acquisition remains unknown. He says that it depends on decisions that the government makes on the size of the reserve of the regional forces. However, he concedes that the cost will be significant.
“However, a jet fighter costs 100 million euros. You can buy quite a few missiles with that much money. Everything is relative.”
Last year Finland bought a medium-range missile system to protect the Helsinki region. With its radars, the system cost more than half a billion euros. The devices that are now being considered are much simpler.
The Defence Forces have previously had Russian-made shoulder-launched anti-aircraft missiles. However, they are now obsolete, and have been replaced by Swedish-made missiles, which are for the use of operative forces.
The new missiles would primarily replace the 23-mm Sergei AA guns, which had been bought from the Soviet Union.
“They were acquired in the 1960s. They are very good weapons for use in the field, but their age is now an obstacle.”