Army deploy Vehicle mounted Lasers directed Energy weapons to counter Drones and C-RAM (Counter Rocket, Artillery and Mortar) for Army

Lockheed Martin has completed the design, development and demonstration of a radical 60 kW laser weapon for the U.S. Army. In recent testing, the Lockheed Martin laser produced a single beam of 58 kW, representing a world record for a laser of this type.  Army bosses hope the radical weapon will give protection against threats such as swarms of drones or large numbers of rockets and mortars, and says It could one day be installed on military planes, helicopters and ships.

The  drones have emerged as a major new threat to U.S. and allied forces. Earlier this month, two Kurdish fighters were killed in an incident involving an Islamic State drone rigged with explosives. Anti-drone weapons have also been spotted at U.S. military bases on the front lines against the Islamic State, and the Air Force has disclosed it downed a IS drone through “electronic measures”.

In November of 2013, the US Army Space and Missile Defense Command/Army Forces Strategic Command used the HEL MD, a vehicle-mounted high energy laser, to successfully engage more than 90 mortar rounds and several unmanned aerial vehicles in flight at White Sands Missile Range, N.M.. “This was the first full-up demonstration of the HEL MD in the configuration that included the laser and beam director mounted in the vehicle. A surrogate radar (Enhanced Multi Mode Radar) supported the engagement by queuing the laser,” an Army statement said.

The US Army is planning to deploy laser weapons able to protect Forward Operating Bases (FOB) by rapidly incinerating and destroying approaching enemy drones, artillery rounds, mortars and cruise missiles. The US Army announced earlier that they are going to be going all in on laser and direct energy weapons and that they will be fitting them onto their armoured Stryker personel carriers first. Forward-deployed soldiers in places like Afghanistan are familiar with facing incoming enemy mortar rounds, rockets and gunfire attacks; potential future adversaries could launch drones, cruise missiles, artillery or other types of weapons at FOBs.

China’s  Poly Technologies has also  showed off The Silent Hunter, one of the world’s most powerful laser weapons. It claims an output of at least 50-70 kilowatts, which would make it more powerful than the 33-kilowatt laser weapon systems (LaWS) currently deployed on the USS Ponce.The Silent Hunter is likely to be scaled up and equipped with radars to complement its optical/infrared tracking system, making it a capable close range defense system against enemy missiles, artillery, drones and aircraft.

Laser Directed energy weapons

Lasers excite atoms to release photons in powerful bursts of coherent (single-frequency, single-phase) light that can be focused and aimed with mirrors. With sufficient power, lasers can quickly pierce or overheat a wide range of targets, including missiles, aircraft and artillery rounds.

Laser Directed energy weapons (DEWs) offer several potentially “game changing” advantages: First, they transmit lethal force at the speed of light (about 300,000 kilometers per second). Second, their beams are not affected by the constraining effects of gravity or atmospheric drag. Third, they are extremely precise. Fourth, their effects can be tailored by varying the type and intensity of energy delivered against targets. Fifth, they have deep magazines and relatively low cost per shot. Finally, they are versatile in that they can be used both as sensing devices and kill mechanisms. However, directed-energy weapons also have drawbacks: laser beams are weakened by water vapor, dust and other obscurants, while radio-frequency emissions can be absorbed by any conductive material between the weapon and the target.

In the slightly longer term, both the Army and Marines want to upgrade their lasers to counter rockets, artillery, and mortar shells (C-RAM). Those are faster-moving, tougher targets that mini-drones, but like drones they are an increasing threat as precision-guidance technology spreads to potential enemies

Lasers are an ideal choice to shoot down enemy artillery. Artillery rockets, shells, and bombs travel at high speeds, and defensive weapons must lead the target, spraying a cloud of shells where it anticipates the enemy weapon will be. Lasers move at the speed of light, eliminating the need to lead the target, and modern fire control systems can keep the laser focused on an object until it melts and crashes—or explodes in flight.

Army and General Dynamics Stryker mounted laser

The Army and General Dynamics Land Systems are developing a Stryker mounted laser weapon aimed at better arming the vehicle to incinerate enemy drones or threatening ground targets. The concept vehicles are being engineered and tested at the Army’s Ft. Sill artillery headquarters as a way to quickly develop the weapon for operational service. During a test in April, the laser weapons successful shot down 21 out of 23 enemy drone targets and the program is the first time that a laser weapon has ever been integrated into a combat vehicle.

The laser weapon system uses its own tracking radar to acquire targets in the event that other sensors on the vehicle are disabled in combat and has an electronic warfare jamming system intended to jam the signal of enemy drones. Boeing is responsible for making the fire control technology integrated into the laser weapon and the laser is also integrated with air-defense and field artillery networks.

The weapon is capable of destroying Group 1 (drones up to 20lbs) and Group 2 (drones up to 55lbs) small and medium sized drones, Reese added.

The Army’s aim is to develop an 18-kilowatt laser for the M1131 Stryker Fire Support Vehicle (FSV) by 2018. The FSV is the vehicle that calls for friendly artillery, so it sort of makes sense that it would be responsible for shooting down enemy artillery. It has a thermal imager/day camera that could help it spot drones, and four radios to monitor communications traffic for drone reports. In addition to the laser weapon the FSV will have a electronic jammer to jam drone control signals. The Stryker laser weapon could be operational in as little as 11 months.


Lockheed martin Laser

Lockheed Martin has completed the design, development and demonstration of a radical 60 kW laser weapon for the U.S. Army. The Lockheed Martin laser system is now being shipped to the US Army Space and Missile Defense Command/Army Forces Strategic Command in Huntsville, Alabama for more testing.

Delivery of this laser represents an important milestone along the path to fielding a practical laser weapon system,’ said Paula Hartley of Lockheed Martin’s Cyber, Ships & Advanced Technologies line of business. ‘We have to make sure the lasers work and do the full set of scopes against the threats we project. And those threats include the counter-rockets, counter-artillery and counter-mortar as well as [Unmanned Aerial Vehicle] and cruise missile threats.

Lockheed Martin’s laser is a beam combined fiber laser, meaning it brings together individual lasers, generated through fiber optics, to generate a single, intense laser beam. This allows for a scalable laser system that can be made more powerful by adding more fiber laser subunits. The laser is based on a design developed under the Department of Defense’s Robust Electric Laser Initiative Program, and further developed through investments by Lockheed Martin and the U.S. Army into a 60kW-class system.

In 2015, the company used a 30kW fiber laser weapon, known as ATHENA, to disable a truck from a mile away.
Earlier military security experts successfully managed to stop a truck in its tracks by destroying its engine with a laser using the lower powered system. The 30-kilowatt fibre laser called Athena burnt through the manifold in seconds, despite being fired by a team from Lockheed Martin positioned more than a mile away. The security firm said the test signifies the next step to fitting lightweight laser weapons on military aircraft, helicopters, ships and trucks.

We have shown that a powerful directed energy laser is now sufficiently light-weight, low volume and reliable enough to be deployed on tactical vehicles for defensive applications on land, at sea and in the air.’ According to Afzal, the Lockheed Martin team created a laser beam that was near ‘diffraction-limited,’ meaning it was close to the physical limits for focusing energy toward a single, small spot.

The laser system also proved to be highly efficient in testing, capable of translating more than 43 percent of the electricity that powered it directly into the actual laser beam it emitted.

The Army is also developing a mobile high-energy solid-state laser program called the High Energy Laser Mobile Demonstrator, or HEL MD. The weapon mounts a 10 kilowatt laser on top of a tactical truck. HEL MD weapons developers, who rotate the laser 360-degrees on top of a Heavy Expanded Mobility Tactical Truck, say the Army plan is to increase the strength of the laser up to 100 Kilowatts, service officials said.

“The supporting thermal and power subsystems will be also upgraded to support the increasingly powerful solid state lasers. These upgrades increase the effective range of the laser or decrease required lase time on target,” an Army statement said

Boeing’s newest laser cannon can destroy a UAV in two seconds flat

Boeing has unveiled recently Compact Laser Weapon System that uses a tracking system and focused laser beam to incinerate a UAV in flight. The system is equipped with a two-kilowatt infrared laser that shoots a single beam capable of setting a drone on fire in less than two seconds when fired at full power. Boeing demonstrated the laser cannon at a media event that was held recently in Albuquerque, New Mexico.

The whole system is compact and portable, fitted inside four suitcase-sized boxes; it can be assembled quickly in the field by two soldiers or personnel. Once assembled, the device is controlled by a standard Xbox 360 controller and a notebook computer. Custom targeting software lets the laser weapon system take control over the weapon and automatically track an enemy drone. The precision control afforded by the system allows operators to target certain parts of the drone, such as the tail or the wing. Currently, the laser weapon is designed to operate from a static position, but future models may be deployed and fired from a moving vehicle or a ship.


Oerlikon Skyshield High Energy Laser

This versatile air defence system consists of an Oerlikon Skyguard 3 fire control unit for target acquisition and weapon control and an Oerlikon high energy laser gun using a revolver gun turret equipped with laser weapon modules. Each module consists of one 10 kW fibre laser and a beam-forming unit. Commercial off the shelf fibre lasers were modified for air defence applications. The beam-forming unit provides diffraction-limited beam focusing, target imaging and fine tracking of the target.

By using beam superimposing technology, Rheinmetall has combined the power of single lasers into one multiplied laser beam. This technology not only allows superimposition of multiple lasers on a single gun platform, but also superimposition of multiple gun platforms. This enables an almost unlimited (e.g. 100kW and more) power output in line with the evolving air defence requirement. As a result the high-energy laser gun provides efficient protection against a large spectrum of modern air threats.

Paired with radar, anti-air missiles, and 35mm guns, the whole system tracks incoming projectiles and shoots them down, assigning each weapon to the target for which it’s best-suited: missiles target planes, guns counter attack helicopters, and the lasers focus on small drones.



China laser directed energy weapons

Terrorists have started using small-sized, unmanned drones that are relatively cheap and easy to use. Neutralizing these drones through the snipers and helicopters, is difficult and can result in collateral damage.

In 2014, Xinhua News Agency, China’s state press agency, reported that the China Academy of Engineering Physics (Sichuan Province) and other Chinese co developers have created and tested a laser-defense system designed to shoot down small unmanned drones such as “quadricopters” as well as small winged drones, flying at low altitude. Chinese Xinhua news agency, has reported 100 percent success rate of its Laser Weapon by shooting down more than 30 drones in a recent test.

The system destroy any small-scale drone flying within a 2Km radius , below of 500 m altitude and below 50 m/s(112mph) speed within five seconds of locating its target, the China Academy of Engineering Physics (CAEP), one of the system’s co-developers, claimed in a statement. The mechanism can also take down various other small aircraft within a two-kilometer radius.

The new laser system will be installed or transported in vehicles, and “is expected to play a key role in ensuring security during major events in urban areas,” the CAEP statement said.

Chinese Academy of Physics Engineering and Jiuyuan Hi Tech Equipment Corporation, have introduced  its  new lethal laser gun, the Low Altitude Guard II, in 2016.  Compared with its predecessor, LAG II is more apparently militarized. Its range is doubled to 4 km and has a 300 percent increase in maximum power output to 30 kilowatts. That’s comparable to the Laser Weapons System (LAWS) installed on the USS Ponce, which has a range of 15-50 kilowatts for attacking UAVs, small boats, and helicopters.

Poly Technology representatives told media that the LAG II can be either mounted on a medium sized truck, or a 6X6 armored personnel carrier, to provide frontline protection against small drones.

In 2017, Poly Technologies showed off The Silent Hunter, one of the world’s most powerful laser weapons. It claims an output of at least 50-70 kilowatts, which would make it more powerful than the 33-kilowatt laser weapon systems (LaWS) currently deployed on the USS Ponce. The laser is probably based on a smaller anti-drone laser, the Low Altitude Guard.

That’s enough to knock out automobiles by burning out their engines from over a mile away, as the 30-kilowatt Lockheed Martin ATHENA laser demonstrated in 2015. The Silent Hunter uses fibre optic lasers (fibre optics doped with rare earth minerals), which provide weight savings over chemical lasers through increasing optical gain by kilometers of coiled fibre optics (as opposed to bulky chemical lasers).

The Silent Hunter is likely to be scaled up and equipped with radars to complement its optical/infrared tracking system, making it a capable close range defense system against enemy missiles, artillery, drones and aircraft.


Technology areas

Thus, today’s laser weapons are meant to defend against swarms of inexpensive mortar rounds, drones and other projectiles, and are intended to be mounted on platforms which are mobile and self-contained (meaning they may not have ready access to an external source of power). This gives rise to several design imperatives.
First, they must deliver a low cost per engagement; it’s simply not economically feasible to employ an expensive weapon (such as a missile costing over $100,000) to knock out a drone which costs $1,000, or a mortar round which might cost less than $100. The laser weapon must also be capable of rapid fire so that it can’t just be overwhelmed by a large number of simultaneous incoming rounds.

Also, rapid fire reduces the number of individual laser weapons systems needed to protect a given number of troops. But, the
ability to deliver rapid fire also necessitates that the system be electrically efficient. Otherwise the laser weapon will require access to a large quantity of fuel, which is difficult (and dangerous) to transport into a battlefield.

C-RAM (Counter Rocket, Artillery and Mortar)  systems intended to be deployed in the battlefield to protect troops and equipment from incoming projectiles. Currently, these are envisioned to be single, vehicle mounted lasers, with output powers in the 10 kW to 50 kW range.

Boeing has already successfully prototyped such a system, which they call the High Energy Laser Mobile Demonstrator
(HEL MD). This consists of a 10 kW solid state laser installed on an Oshkosh Tactical Military Vehicle, along with all the
necessary targeting and control systems. HEL MD has proven the ability to lock on to and destroy a mortar round of
about 10 inches in length, traveling at hundreds of miles per hour, from several miles out. The system is also effective
against Unmanned Aerial Vehicles (UAVs or drones); in this case, it may be sufficient to damage the drone’s navigation
and targeting systems, rather than completely destroy it.


Advanced UAV and Mortar Target Detection and Tracking Algorithms for Low Signal-to-Noise Ratio and Cluttered Environments

US DOD has issues a SBIR for  development of  advanced image processing algorithms for the detection and tracking of small Unmanned Aerial Vehicles (UAVs) and Mortars in low Signal-to-Noise Ratio (SNR) and cluttered environments. The specific platform of interest for this topic is a ground-based High Energy Laser (HEL) weapon system.

Many military weapon systems rely on passive thermal infrared sensors (MWIR/LWIR) for target detection and tracking. In many cases, the maximum detection range of these sensors are limited by the ability of the image processing algorithms to detect and extract a target of interest.Typical HEL acquisition sensors employ a passive MWIR camera with a wide-field of view (3 degrees).

Dim targets such as small Unmanned Aerial Vehicles (UAVs) and mortars are extremely difficult to detect and track due to the low contrast in the thermal imagery, or low signal-to-noise ratio (SNR). High clutter environments such as cloud or tree backgrounds also increase the difficulty in target detection and tracking.

The challenge is to develop advanced image processing algorithms that can increase the maximum detection and tracking range against UAVs and mortars. The specific challenges to be addressed include: Target Detection/Tracking at SNRs less than 3dB Target Detection/Tracking in Cloud and Tree Backgrounds Unresolved Target Detection/Tracking (target size less than 1 pixel) Targets to be used in the analysis include the DJI Phantom and a 60mm mortar.

The proposed algorithms must be able to process imagery in near real-time to be applied to military applications (Threshold: 300Hz bandwidth, Objective: 1kHz bandwidth). The algorithms must be written so that multiple targets (Threshold: 1 target, Objective: 10 targets) can be detected and tracked at a time. If successful, advanced algorithms for target detection and tracking will benefit many military applications.


 Low-Cost Reduced Size, Weight and Power RF Sensor for Short-Range Target Tracking in Degraded Visual Environments

Many military weapon systems rely on passive mid-wave infrared (MWIR) technology for wide-field of view acquisition and precision tracking of targets. These MWIR sensors were selected for operation in clear visibility conditions and provide performance margin down to hazy and light fog conditions, but are severely degraded under heavy fog, rain, snow, sand and dust storm conditions.

Recent studies have shown that radio frequency (RF) sensors can perform the same functions as the MWIR sensors, but do not suffer the same performance losses in these degraded visual environments (DVEs). However, current RF technology is too expensive, too large and requires too much power to use as a replacement for these MWIR sensors.

The challenge is to develop a truly low cost RF acquisition and tracking sensor with reduced Size, Weight and Power (SWaP). Performance examples are acquisition and tracking of Unmanned Aerial Vehicles (UAVs) and rockets, artillery and mortars (RAM) on the order of 5km or less in clear weather and DVEs. The proposed system must have a field of view and angular accuracy that would enabled replacement of a passive wide-FOV MWIR sensor (>3° FOV; <300 urad accuracy).

Interferometers are preferred (in order to achieve the angular resolution needed), but other RF concepts will be considered. Because these RF sensors will be used to replace infrared cameras, which require very little SWaP, reducing the total system footprint is extremely important. Man-portability would be ideal.

The proposed sensor must be capable of integration onto a mobile platform with other military capabilities such as a Stryker, and require minimal power that can be supplied through the vehicles on-board power system. For example, multiple small flat panel RF arrays can be integrated into the side of a tactical vehicle.

If successful, low-cost reduced SWaP RF sensors would significantly benefit many military and commercial applications such as High Energy Laser weapon platforms, small-satellite tracking applications, and the commercial aviation industry.

Requirements: – Detection Range (RAM & UAV) “ T: 5km; O: 10km – FOV (Search Volume) – T: 3°; O: 90° – Angular Accuracy “ T: 300urad; O: 30urad – Size & Weight “ T: Mountable on Mobile Vehicle; O: Mountable on a Beam Director – Power Consumption “ T: 1kW; O: 500W – Low-Cost

Future laser weapon applications will range from very high power devices used for air defense (to detect, track, and destroy incoming rockets, artillery, and mortars) to modest power devices used for counter-ISR. The Phase III effort would be to design and build a low-cost reduced SWaP RF acquisition and tracking sensor that could be integrated into the Armys High Energy Laser Mobile Tactical Truck (HEL-MTT) vehicle.


For more information on technologies enabling laser weapons :


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Militaries developing Iron Man-style exoskeleton suits to give troops ‘superhuman strength’ or increase their endurance

Some of the missions the soldiers perform can take weeks, away from in difficult terrain like deserts and mountains which requires maintaining an incredibly high level of physical fitness. Around the world, armies are recognizing the importance of maximizing the effectiveness of Soldiers physically, perceptually, and cognitively.


Militaries are trying to augment physical performance, through  Exoskeletons  either through increase in the physical strength of the Soldier or increase their endurance. Today’s exoskeletons allow soldiers to carry 17 times more weight than normal and march with significantly less strain on the body. With an XOS 2 suit, for example, a solider can carry 400 pounds but feel the weight of only 23.5.


US army is testing a futuristic exoskeleton that gives soldiers superhuman abilities. The exoskeleton uses artificial intelligence to provide additional power and mobility to soldiers, and allows them to carry heavier loads. US Army is developing  Tactical Assault Light Operator Suit (TALOS)  that seeks to develop unique tactical exoskeleton systems to augment human strength, increase user capability, and maintain operator mobility while carrying loads in a dynamic, austere environment. Early tests show that the exoskeleton has increased productivity anywhere from two to 27 t


The exoskeleton systems are more important in an era when the U.S. Army believes its units may have to operate on future battlefields cut off from regular sources of supply. As a result, soldiers can stand carrying heavy weapons longer including shoulder-fired Stinger anti-aircraft missiles and other heavy weapons. Soldiers could also traverse difficult, hilly terrain in places like Afghanistan and Korea with less exertion.


Norinco, China’s state-owned manufacturer of armored vehicles and heavy ground munitions, has debuted its second-generation military exoskeleton, a body brace designed to help infantry members carry some 100 pounds of weapons, supplies, and ammunition. Compared to a previous Norinco exoskeleton, which came out in 2015, this second generation has a better battery, more robust hydraulic and pneumatic actuators, and a streamlined harness. The new version is also lighter, which will likely reduce strain felt by the exoskeleton’s wearer, making it a better choice for troops in mountainous terrain.


Russian armed forces may soon be fitted with exoskeleton suits every inch of which is bulletproof. The gear consists of heavy body armor and a futuristic helmet that entirely covers the head. Apparently, the helmet’s visor doubles as a screen, which will display tactical information and satellite data to soldiers in real time. The suit weighs almost 100 pounds. To compensate for the limited mobility, Russian scientists added in a powerpack that carries most of its weight and supporting the legs and back. However they require large power and even huge battery packs and wearable solar panels don’t sustain them for more than a few hours. Therefore, the Russian suit won’t be able to carry its own weight for long,  experts say.


The U.S. Army  is also developing soft exosuits  using soft robotics. The Department of Veterans Affairs is also seeking research into soft robotics for exoskeletons to aid wounded veteran. Soft robotics differ from traditional counterparts in some important ways: Soft robots have little or no hard internal structures. Instead they use a combination of muscularity and deformation to grasp things and move about. Rather than using motors, cables or gears, soft robots are often animated by pressurized air or liquids.


US Army’s Future Soldier

Lockheed Martin  has developed new exoskeleton that lessens leg strain and makes it easier for soldiers to carry heavy loads without becoming exhausted. According to Army Technology, a study by the University of Michigan Human Neuromechanics Laboratory found that people equipped with the Fortis leg exoskeleton carrying a 40-pound load at a 15-degree angle experienced significantly less leg strain.

The knee stress release device (KRSD) was designed to boost leg capacity when lifting or dragging heavy objects, or walking on inclines.  The frame fits round the soldier’s legs, and is attached to a belt worn around the waist. The belt connects to flexible hip sensors, which tell a computer where the soldier is in space, as well as the speed and direction of the movements.  Weighing 27 pounds, the exoskeleton  generates synchronized movements at the motorized knees that physically aid the wearer.  Lockheed Martin claims the system improves work rates by “2 to 27 times”, and that it requires a minimum of training to use.

The U.S. Army is also developing a “third arm” device that can be attached to a soldier’s protective vest to hold a weapon. The purpose of the device is to redirect all of the weight of a weapon to the soldier’s body and lessen the weight on the soldier’s arms, freeing up his or her hands for other tasks. The prototype of the third arm weighs less than four pounds thanks to the use of carbon fiber composites. “We’re looking at a new way for the Soldier to interface with the weapon,” said Zac Wingard, a mechanical engineer for the Army Research Laboratory’s Weapons and Materials Research Directorate.


As the Army Research Laboratory explained, some soldiers are weighed down by combat gear heavier than 110 pounds. Those heavy loads may worsen as high energy weapons are developed for future warfare. The third arm could also allow soldiers to use future weapons with more recoil. Additionally, researchers plan to examine the device’s potential applications for various fighting techniques, like shoot-on-the-move, close-quarters combat, or even shooting around corners with augmented reality displays.


MAXFAS exoskeleton improves soldiers’ aim

Dan Baechle, a mechanical engineer at the US Army Research Laboratory (ARL), has developing the MAXFAS exoskeleton made of light metal and carbon composites and stabilizes the shooter’s arm by correcting errors and helping to increase proficiency. The engineer has modified the therapeutic robotic exoskeletal arm used at the University of Delaware to train stroke victims to move their arms properly.


In tests, subjects wore a laboratory version of the MAXFAS unit that consisted of a cable-driven arm with the motors mounted behind the wearer. The arm is attached to the wearer using carbon composite braces that are equipped with sensors that detect a tremor when taking aim and then signals the motors to adjust the cables and correct it, but does not affect voluntary movements. According to Bachele, when in use, the MAXFAS unit provided feedback that reduced the tremor, which remained reduced after the unit was removed.


Mind-Controlled Exoskeletons

Russian scientists and engineers are working on a technology that is straight out of science fiction: bionic exoskeleton suits controlled by the human brain, according to Zvezda television channel. There are several means of operating robotic suits, including via a muscle interface. Teaching them to understand brain commands is a real challenge though.


“We believe that a neuro-interface connecting the human brain with an exo-suit is the most efficient means of controlling it. The problem is that we need to teach the computer to understand brain-transmitted commands and this is exactly what we are now working on,” Alexander Kulish, department head at the United Instrument Corporation said in conclusion.


Chinese Exoskeletons for difficult environments

Norinco’s first-generation exoskeleton had a top speed of 2.8 miles per hour, for 12 miles. They say this new version improves on that, but doesn’t say by how much. The refinements in weight, ergonomics, and power supply could also boost the second-generation exoskeleton’s co efficiency ratio which is a measure of how less physical effort is  required  compared to actual  load. The reduced weight  also increases battery performance.


China Shipbuilding Industry Corporation’s (CSIC) 707th Institute has developed powered exoskeleton customized to be used in  the shipyard, where people are expected to carry huge loads. A robotic exoskeleton which can help disabled people to walk again  has been  commercialized, the Xinhua News Agency reported. The report said that since 2010, the Center for Robotics at University of Electronic Science and Technology of China based in Chengdu has been developing the robotic exoskeleton, which is a wearable robot that can be held on one’s waist and legs to help with walking and movement.


The 202 Institute of China Ordnance Industry Group at a June 2015 presentation, showed exoskeleton upgrades, including a larger battery pack on the back, strengthened legs and more powerful, hip mounted hydraulic/pneumatic pumps to power leg movement. The exoskeleton can allow the user to carry over 100 pounds, with enough charge to walk 20 kilometers at a speed of 4.5 km per hour.


202nd sees its exoskeletons eventually being used by frontline infantry in difficult environments like mountainous terrain to easily carry a 100 pound pack of supply and ammunition. Other photos showed that the exoskeleton had enough flexibility to allow lateral ground movement including crawling in the mud while under enemy fire.



Super-Releaser is developing an orthotic exoskeleton called the Neucuff

Super-Releaser is developing an orthotic exoskeleton called the Neucuff that could drastically reduce the cost of orthotics. The Neucuff is an entirely soft robotic elbow orthosis that can fit a wide variety of bodies without any customization. It is aimed at allowing people with cerebral palsy to move their arms with enough strength and fidelity to take control of tasks like self feeding and dressing that might otherwise require live-in care.


“Soft robotics offers an avenue to apply force evenly across the body with an exoskeleton that is as gentle as it is strong. Being conformal by nature means a single design can fit a wide range of people just like any athletic brace,” according to Super-Releaser’s website.


These orthotics could mean considerable savings for wounded warriors returning from combat after a disabling injury. It could also help make exoskeletons more comfortable to wear, especially when bearing a heavy load.


TALOS Requirements :Technology Areas of Interest:


TALOS seeks to design and develop materials, devices, systems, and/or structures to support next-generation ballistic, blast, and whole-body protection. The technology should minimize weight and bulk, while providing protection against advanced rifle rounds. Of particular interest is protection for the face and head. Novel, ergonomic fragmentation protection capabilities are also desired for protection of junction regions of the body.

Also highly desired are:

  • Transparent ballistic materials suitable for use as a helmet visor with minimal optical distortion or low optical index in order to provide full-face protection against advanced rifle rounds without operator discomfort or distraction.
  • Fully-enclosed armored helmet system made of an opaque material that allows the operator to maintain full situational awareness.
  • Technologies that minimize traumatic brain injury and/or injuries from back–face deformation of ballistic protective devices.
  • Technologies capable of providing protection against advanced rifle rounds with additional embedded capabilities such as sensors, transmitters, power transmission, etc.
  • Designs that afford maximum body coverage, including the dynamic/junction regions, and defeat the highest small-arms threat possible while maintaining freedom of movement.
  • Technologies that aid in concealment from observation by the enemy.
  • Technologies to reduce electromagnetic and acoustic signature.
  • Technologies that assist with mounting ballistic material and other subsystems to dynamic structural components.
  • Lightweight, flexible technologies to protect SOF operators from fragmentation and ballistic threats.


Possible approaches cover both ends of the spectrum: light-weight (possibly unpowered) exoskeletons and more robust, powered versions. A light-weight exoskeleton, with or without actuation, should support the capability to: Carry its own weight, plus a nominal 75lb distributed payload. Be fast, agile and allow the operator to sit normally. An actuated exoskeleton should support the capability to: Carry its own weight, plus a nominal 150lb+ distributed payload,
Improve operator strength.

Operator Interface, Visual Augmentation System, Situational Awareness, Targeting, Mission Planning and Execution:

ALOS seeks to develop technology that ensures the TALOS operator is fully aware of his environment through enhanced situational awareness presented via multiple senses, including next-generation displays.

Command, Control, Communications, Computing & Intelligence (C4I):

TALOS seeks to develop technology to provide robust, modular, high-bandwidth communications with interoperability and compatibility across the SOF mission set and a computing platform to provide integrated, distributed information processing to serve as the central processing solution for TALOS’ integrated systems. There is a forward-looking focus on providing man-worn networked intelligence, surveillance and reconnaissance (ISR); non-radio frequency communications; beyond-line-of-sight (BLOS) communications, computer vision, decision support, and data fusion.

Power and Energy:

TALOS seeks to develop technology related to power generation, power management/ monitoring, and energy storage. These technologies are necessary to provide an uninterrupted source of power to an untethered SOF operator. Power will be used to support the system needs, particularly the exoskeleton.

Human Factors:

TALOS seeks to develop technologies that focus on man-machine pairing. Novel means of bio-mechanical modeling and simulation (including measurement techniques) will be necessary. Human performance optimization shall be achieved by utilizing and integrating novel technology for thermal management, increased human/machine pairing efficiencies, and methods to measure and triage the SOF operator’s physical and cognitive state.



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Hypervelocity projectile (HVP) is being tested for hypervelocity missile defence from large missile salvos by Russia and China

The Navy described HVP in September 2012 as is a next generation, common, low drag, guided projectile capable of completing multiple missions for gun systems such as the Navy 5-Inch, 155-mm, and future railguns. Types of missions performed will depend on gun system and platform.


HVP’s low drag aerodynamic design enables high velocity, maneuverability, and decreased time-to-target. These attributes coupled with accurate guidance electronics provide low cost mission effectiveness against current threats and the ability to adapt to air and surface threats of the future.


When fired from 5-inch powder guns, the projectile achieves a speed of roughly Mach 3, which is roughly half the speed it achieves when fired from Electro Magnetic Rail Guns (EMRG) , but more than twice the speed of a conventional 5-inch shell fired from a 5-inch gun. This is apparently fast enough for countering at least some ASCMs. Their impact force—their mass times the square of their velocity—can destroy expensive missiles and multiple warhead. The Navy states that “The HVP—combined with the MK 45 [5-inch gun] —will support various mission areas including naval surface fire support, and has the capacity to expand to a variety of anti-air threats, [and] anti-surface [missions], and could expand the Navy’s engagement options against current and emerging threats.”


The weapons are not only devastating in their speed, but at $86,000 per round are much cheaper than their explosive counterparts such as the Tomahawk or Harpoon, which can cost up to $1 million each. It is also cheaper  compared with precision ammunition $800,000 to $1 million per Long Range Land Attack Projectile (LRLAP) round.  “It is a fantastic program,” Will Roper, Strategic Capabilities Office director, said in a March 28 interview with reporters, who said the project aims “to completely lower the cost of doing missile defense” by defeating missile raids at a lower cost per round and, as a consequence, imposing higher costs on attackers.


An April 11, 2016, press report states: The Pentagon wants to take a weapon originally designed for offense, flip its punch for defense and demonstrate by 2018 the potential for the Army and Navy to conduct missile defense of bases, ports and ships using traditional field guns to fire a new hypervelocity round guided by a mobile, ground variant of an Air Force fighter aircraft radar. The Pentagon’s Strategic Capabilities Office will test-fire a radical new missile defense system in less than a year said report in Jan 2018. The Hyper Velocity Projectile, a supersonic artillery round, is fired from ordinary cannon at 5,600 miles per hour and can kill incoming threats for a mere $86,000 a shot.


A September 19, 2016, press report states: After much deliberation, both public and private, the Pentagon, which has shifted emphasis away from the electromagnetic rail gun as a next-generation missile defense platform, sees a new hypervelocity powder gun technology as the key to demonstrating to potential adversaries like China and Russia that U.S. military units on land and sea can neutralize large missile salvos in future conflicts….


“If you do that, you change every 155 [mm] howitzer in the U.S. Army in every NATO country into a cruise missile and tactical ballistic missile defender and, oh by the way, you extend their offensive range,” [Deputy Secretary of Defense Robert] Work said.


A May 19, 2017, press report states: An Army Howitzer is now firing a super high-speed, high-tech, electromagnetic Hyper Velocity Projectile, initially developed as a Navy weapon, an effort to fast-track increasing lethal and effective weapons to warzones and key strategic locations, Pentagon officials said.

Hypervelocity projectile” (HVP)

As the Navy was developing EMRG, it realized that the guided projectile being developed for EMRG could also be fired from 5-inch and 155mm powder guns. Navy cruisers each have two 5- inch guns, and Navy Arleigh Burke (DDG-51) class destroyers each have one 5-inch gun. The Navy’s three new Zumwalt class (DDG-1000) destroyers, the first of which entered service in October 2016, each have two 155mm guns


BAE Systems states that HVP is 24 inches long and weighs 28 pounds, including a 15-pound payload. BAE states that the maximum rate of fire for HVP is 20 rounds per minute from a Mk 45 5-inch gun, 10 rounds per minute from the 155mm gun. DDG-1000 class destroyers (called the Advanced Gun System, or AGS), and 6 rounds per minute from EMRG.


HVP’s firing range, BAE Systems states, is more than 40 nautical miles (when fired from a Mk 45 Mod 2 5-inch gun), more than 50 nautical miles (Mk 45 Mod 4 5-inch gun), more than 70 nautical miles (155mm gun on DDG-1000 class destroyers), and more than 100 nautical miles (EMRG).


The high velocity compact design relieves the need for a rocket motor to extend gun range. Firing smaller more accurate rounds improves danger close/collateral damage requirements and provides potential for deeper magazines and improved shipboard safety. Responsive wide area coverage can be achieved using HVP from conventional gun systems and future railgun systems.


The modular design will allow HVP to be configured for multiple gun systems and to address different missions. The hypervelocity projectile is being designed to provide lethality and performance enhancements to current and future gun systems. A hypervelocity projectile for multiple systems will allow for future technology growth while reducing development, production, and total ownership costs.


The tungsten “hypervelocity projectile” (HVP) is being tested in the Army’s 105mm Howitzers, and test fires from the Navy’s deck-mounted 5-inch guns are expected as well, according to a report from Scout Warrior.


Hypervelocity Missile Defence

Today’s missile defenses are “brittle,” “inflexible,” and “expensive,” said Vincent Sabio, the HVP program manager at the Pentagon’s Strategic Capabilities Office. “We need to be able to re-engineer (missile defense) from the bottom up (and) go back to Congress and say, ‘We have a choice here: We can either have an effective defense, or we can continue inching along the way we are with our heads in the sand.’”


The most basic problem is a simple, if daunting one: we can’t afford many interceptors. In addition, current systems require bulky launch systems an enemy can easily detect: a trailer for Patriot, a truck for THAAD, a silo for GBI. Since real-world reliability rates and “shot doctrine” require firing two interceptors at each incoming threat, an adversary can probably run us out of ammo by firing half as many offensive weapons as we have interceptors. What’s more, a typical offensive missiles — which just has to hit the right coordinates on the ground — is much cheaper than a defensive missile — which has to hit a rapidly moving target.


Today’s missile defense interceptors are ultra-high-performance systems, Sabio said, designed to take out an incoming threat in a single shot with a high Probability of Kill (Pk).  But there’s another way to get a high Probability of Kill, Sabio says: Fire lots of cheap weapons, each with a low Pk on its own, but a high probability that one will hit eventually.


That projectile has been independently costed — not by me, I wouldn’t expect to you believe my costing — but … by Navy IWS at about $85,000 a round,” Sabio said. “You can shoot a lot of those things and not feel badly about it.” In rough terms, for the $3 million price of one late-model Patriot, you could buy about 35 HPVs.


“That projectile is being designed to engage multiple threats,” Sabio said of the HVP. “There may be different modes that it operates in (in terms of) how does it maneuver, how does it close on the threat, and whether it engages a (explosive) warhead or whether it goes into a hit-to-hill mode. Those will all be based on the threat, and we can tell it as it’s en route to the threat, ‘here’s what you’re going after, this is the mode you’re going to engage in.’”


“We need to be able to address (all) types of threats: subsonic, supersonic; sea-skimming, land-hugging; coming in from above and dropping down on top of us,” said Sabio. “There are many different trajectories that we need to be able to deal with that we… cannot deal with effectively today.”


Distributed Lethality

One advantage of the HVP/5-inch gun concept is that the 5-inch guns are already installed on Navy cruisers and destroyers, creating a potential for rapidly proliferating HVP through the cruiser-destroyer force, once development of HVP is complete and the weapon has been integrated into cruiser and destroyer combat systems. This would implement one the US nav’s concept of distributed lethality.


Navy surface fleet leaders in early 2015 announced a new organizing concept for the Navy’s surface fleet called distributed lethality. Under distributed lethality, offensive weapons such as Anti Ship Cruise Missiles (ASCMs) are to be distributed more widely across all types of Navy surface ships, and new operational concepts for Navy surface ship formations are to be implemented.


The aim of distributed lethality is to boost the surface fleet’s capability for attacking enemy ships and make it less possible for an enemy to cripple the U.S. fleet by concentrating its attacks on a few very high-value Navy surface ships (particularly the Navy’s aircraft carriers), according to Congressional Research Service Report.


“Although Navy surface ships have a number of means for defending themselves against anti-ship cruise missiles (ASCMs) and anti-ship ballistic missiles (ASBMs), some observers are concerned about the survivability of Navy surface ships in potential combat situations against adversaries, such as China, that are armed with advanced ASCMs and with ASBMs,” observes CRS report: Navy Lasers, Railgun, and Hypervelocity Projectile: Background and Issues for Congress.


Research Challenges & Opportunities [include]:

— High acceleration tolerant electronic components

— Lightweight, high strength structural composites

— Miniature, high density electronic components

— Safe high energy propellants compatible with shipboard operations

— Aerothermal protection systems for flight vehicles


References and Resources also include:

Integrated Air and Missile Defense (IAMD) Battle Command System (IBCS) for countering sophisticated modern threats, approved for Foreign Military Sale to Poland

Militaries around the world are increasingly facing formidable strategic and threat environment in terms of complexity, lethality, range, sophistication and number of threats ranging from inter-continental ballistic missiles testing, and proliferation of cruise missile and UAV technology. There is also growing threat of sophisticated cyber and electronic warfare systems that can hack or jam Air and Missile defense Networks.To counter these threats, the militaries around the world are developing global, layered,  networked integrated Air and Missile defence systems.

Currently, each anti-aircraft weapon or missile defense system comes with its own launchers, its own command-and-control, and its own radar. However each system is best against a different kind of threat air or missile defense or even a subclass of them. Therefore military employ many systems as a layered defense. However, multiple screens can lead to many errors by humans like hitting a friendly target or taking multiple shots against one target.

To prevent these tragedies, US Army is developing Integrated Air and Missile Defense (AIAMD) system of systems (ASoS) that  integrates all Air and Missile Defense (AMD) sensors, weapons, and their respective command and control (C2) into a networked air and missile defense (AMD) system. The Command and Control (C2) of IAMD is known as the IAMD Battle Command System (IBCS).   IBCS is designed to create “a single integrated air picture” fusing data from all available sensors into a coherent and consistent whole.  Ultimately, IBCS will replace seven separate command-and-control systems currently in service. IBCS allows “any sensor, best shooter” operations to optimize limited resources and facilitate flexible defense designs.

The State Department has made a determination approving a possible Foreign Military Sale to Poland for an Integrated Air and Missile Defense (IAMD) Battle Command System (IBCS)-enabled Patriot Configuration-3+ with Modernized Sensors and Components for an estimated cost of $10.5 billion.

Poland will use the IBCS-enabled Patriot missile system to improve its missile defense capability, defend its territorial integrity, and deter regional threats. The proposed sale will increase the defensive capabilities of the Polish Military to guard against hostile aggression and shield the NATO allies who often train and operate within Poland’s borders. Poland will have no difficulty absorbing this system into its armed forces.

This proposed sale will support the foreign policy and national security objectives of the United States by helping to improve the security of a NATO ally which has been, and continues to be an important force for political stability and economic progress in Europe. This sale is consistent with U.S. initiatives to provide key allies in the region with modern systems that will enhance interoperability with U.S. forces and increase security.


Emerging threats to Air Defence System

Fifth generation stealth fighters, cruise and ballistic missile and unmanned air vehicle technology is becoming widely proliferated to become more accessible to emerging nations.

Sukhoi Pak FA is being developed by Sukhoi for the Russian Air force. China has become second nation to have two stealth fighter designs, J-20 and J-31.  Stealth fighters drastically reduce the range at which air defence forces can engage a threat, the number and type of defensive systems, or tiers with shot opportunities.

More than 70 countries have some kind of cruise missiles and about 60 countries import them. They have range of 30 to 1500 Km and armed with Conventional, WMD and Anti-Armor Submunitions. Russia has demonstrated its long-range cruise missile capabilities in Syria, where it was able to hit targets at a distance 1,500 kilometers (932 miles) from ships located in the Caspian Sea.

There are 150 operational programs of UAVs in 40 countries today. They perform missions ranging from RSTA, Decoy/Drone, and Electronic Warfare to Lethal Attack missions and have Ranges up to 150 Kms. There are 353 Countries with Some Type of Tactical Ballistic Missiles having payload of 190 to 1000 Kg with Warheads ranging from Conventional, WMD and Smart Sub munitions. CMs and unmanned aircraft also present elusive targets and are difficult to detect, identify, and engage.

By 2030, the threats facing the United States around the world will have twice, if not three times, the lethality and range of today’s threats, said Maj Gen VeraLinn “Dash” Jamieson, USAF and Lt Col Maurizio “Mo” Calabrese, USAF. Anti-access/area denial (A2/AD) weaponry capabilities could include modern weapons such as hypersonic cruise missiles, fifth generation fighters, digital adaptive electronic warfare waveforms, air-to-air missiles with 150 nmi ranges, perhaps long-range (300 nmi plus) and ultra-long-range (500 nmi) surface-to-air missiles (SAMs).

Integrated Air and Missile Defense program

In the complex air domain, today’s air and missile defenders are forced to deal with uncertain information, short timelines and high consequences for wrong decisions. IBCS enables significantly enhanced aircraft and missile tracking improving the ability of combatant commanders and air defenders to make critical decisions within seconds. It links the radar, the launcher, and the human decision makers — and in more flexible ways that ever before.”The ultimate long range goal is to be able to engage any target with any weapon with data that comes from any sensor” said Northrop Grumman vice president Dan Verwiel.

The IAMD program will allow transformation to a network-centric system of systems. Each sensor and weapon platform will have a “Plug and Fight” interface module, which supplies distributed battle management functionality to enable network-centric operations. The integration of all components shall allow improved engagement of air breathing targets, cruise missiles, unmanned aerial vehicles, and the tactical ballistic missiles threat.

IAMD is implementing the vision for 2020 Joint Integrated Air and missile Defense (IAMD), which is one where all capabilities-defensive, passive, offensive, kinetic, non-kinetic (e.g. cyber warfare, directed energy, and electronic Attack) – are melded into a comprehensive Joint and combined force capable of preventing an adversary from effectively employing any of its offensive air and missile weapons.

IAMD Battle Command System (IBCS)

While in conflict soldiers and their commanders are watching the battlefield on monitors inside command centers, checking for incoming mortars, UAVs, artillery, or large missiles and trying to decide if they are enemy or friendly. After that the command is send to appropriate weapon to engage the threat. Currently, each anti-aircraft weapon or missile defence system comes with its own launchers, its own command and control, and its own radar.

However, when these systems have to work together in defeating a threat results in humans to switch between multiple views which may lead to multiple shots or collateral damage. “That’s a capability that on a very short timeline, must understand what is the situation in the environment around our forces, decide how best to react, and then react to keep them safe,” Northrop Grumman’s Program Director Chuck Johnson. “What’s different across many of our situations is the timeline that’s required. It’s all a stressful environment but timelines, as they get shorter, the stressful environments increase. So a global missile defense situation might have tens of minutes of decision making time where a very short range short timeline situation to negate a rocket, artillery, or mortar round, is measured in seconds not minutes.”

The IBCS ensures that everyone in control of each system, be it Patriot, C-RAM, or something else, can see the same information at the same time and make these critical decisions.  IBCS is designed to create “a single integrated air picture” fusing data from all the available sensors into a coherent and consistent whole. The Northrop Grumman IBCS solution is based on a non-proprietary, open architecture approach for integrating sensors, weapons, and battle management command, control, communications and intelligence systems (C4ISR).

IBCS will replace the current proprietary standards of different companies with an enterprise-focused modular open systems architecture developed with Northrop Grumman. By integrating not just the basic routing, relay and server components of the network, but also standardizing the sensors, radars and launchers, the services expect to share a single, ubiquitous view of the battlespace—whether from land or sea—and allow an “any sensor, best shooter” approach to weapon to achieve mission objectives in a true open architecture environment, according to Northrop Grumman.

Northrop Grumman has developed IBCS for the U.S. Army,  that integrates air and missile defense systems to eliminate stovepipes and allow warfighters to use any sensor or weapons to achieve mission objectives against aerial vehicles and balloons (air defence), as well as the defence against ballistic missiles and cruise missiles (missile defence).

IBCS will integrate seven separate command-and-control systems currently in service including Patriot, Surface-Launched Advanced Medium Range Air-to-Air Missile (SLAMRAAM), Joint Land Attack Cruise Missile Defense Elevated Netted Sensor (JLENS), Improved Sentinel radar, Terminal High Altitude Area Defense (THAAD) and Medium Extended Air Defense System (MEADS). The IBCS functionality will also be incorporated into Air Defense Airspace Management Cells, Air Defense Artillery Brigade Headquarters, and Army Air and Missile Defense Command Headquarters.

The common IBCS provides the functional capabilities to control and manage the IAMD sensors and weapons via the Integrated Fire Control Network capability for fire control connectivity and enabling distributed operations. It also enables commanders to tailor organizations, sensors and weapons to meet the demands of diverse missions, environments and rules of engagement, not achievable today. The architecture also satisfies the requirements of protection of networks from cyber and electronic warfare. The information from multiple sensors also  provide protection against  jamming, electronic deception, and stealth.

There is also requirement to protect the networks from Jamming and Cyber atacks. Army Cyber Command and Army Space & Missile Defense Command have “recently ramped up” their ongoing partnership to secure air and missile defense networks, said ARCYBER’s deputy commander for operations, Brig. Gen. Joseph McGee. Those networks have “unique requirements,” McGee emphasized. “It is hard for me to think of another field in which the reliability and the assurance of the network and the speed of the decision-making is equally [critical as in] air defense.”

IBCS should allow Army missile defense to keep pace with the threat at a price we can afford,said Barry Pike, the Army’s deputy program executive officer for missiles and space. Under the old model, if you needed to replace an obsolescent radar (for example), you needed to upgrade — or replace — the weapon and command system that went with that radar as well. Under IBCS, which allows components to plug and play, you just need to replace the obsolescent piece, without having to touch anything else– a major cost savings.


Live firings and demonstrations

During recent ‘Formidable Shield 2017’  that ran from 24 September to 18 October, was  designed to improve allied interoperability in an IAMD environment, using NATO command-and-control reporting structures and datalink architecture. More than 14 ships, 10 aircraft, and approximately 3,300 personnel from Belgium, Canada, Denmark, France, Germany, Italy, the Netherlands, Spain, the United Kingdom, and the United States are participating in the exercise, which is being conducted on the UK Ministry of Defence (MoD) Hebrides Range on the Western Isles of Scotland.

The IAMD live firing event was based on a collective self-defence scenario. The MRBM engagement saw Donald Cook – equipped with then Aegis Ballistic Missile Defense (BMD) system – successfully detect and track the Terrier Oriole target vehicle and then destroy the threat in space using an SM-3 Block 1B interceptor. The Terrier Oriole had been launched from the MoD Hebrides range site on South Uist.

Simultaneous with the engagement of the MRBM target, the Spanish frigate SPS Alvaro de Bazan fired a RIM-162 Evolved SeaSparrow Missile (ESSM) against an incoming anti-ship cruise missile, while the Royal Netherlands Navy frigate HNLMS Tromp fired ESSMs against a pair of incoming anti-ship cruise missiles.

IBCS has carried out three live fire tests and demonstrations successfully. It has demonstrated the ability to use any sensor to enable a shooter “without eyes on the target” to intercept at greater range. It has integrated Aegis data and other joint sensor data to improve combat identification, decision time, and defense effectiveness. In its most recent flight test, the Integrated Air and Missile Defense (IAMD) Battle Command System (IBCS) successfully used sensors and interceptors from different air defense systems, selecting from different missile types to defeat multiple threats arriving at the same time.

Earlier U.S. Army soldiers have successfully flight tested the Northrop Grumman Corporation -developed IAMD Battle Command System (IBCS) to identify, track, engage and defeat ballistic and cruise missile targets. “The program is still in the development phase; we’re coming to the end of that and we’re coming to a production decision this summer that will lead to additional fielding in 2018.”

In April 2016, the U.S. Army successfully conducted a dual engagement flight test using IBCS, validating the system’s ability to manage multiple threats simultaneously. The system is scheduled to reach initial operational capability in 2019, however, in August 2016 the system’s production was put on hold because of software issues.


United States’ Joint Integrated Air and Missile Defense: Vision 2020

“United States’ Joint Integrated Air and Missile Defense: Vision 2020” document outlines the Chairman’s guidance to the joint force and, by extension, to all the stakeholders that contribute to the air and missile defense of the U.S. homeland and its regional forces, partners, and allies.

The vision document warns, “The future IAMD environment will be characterized by a full spectrum of air and missile threats—ballistic missiles, air-breathing threats (cruise missiles, aircraft, UAS [unmanned aerial systems]), long-range rockets, artillery, and mortars—all utilizing a range of advanced capabilities—stealth, electronic attack, maneuvering reentry vehicles, decoys, and advanced terminal seekers with precision targeting.”


IAMD in 2020 must be balanced, versatile, responsive, decisive, and affordable

The vision document says that, the approach of IAMD in 2020 will be balanced, taking into account a full range of opportunities including diplomacy, a robust approach to passive defence both left and right of enemy launch, electronic warfare, active defense, and increased cooperation with our friends and allies.

The document makes it clear that the first responsibility of joint IAMD is to deter adversaries by developing and fielding credible and effective defensive capabilities failing which is to prevent adversary’s air and missile threats by both active and passive defenses and offensive actions.

The vision points out, “the link between offensive and defensive operations for IAMD is critical,” and “all means, including penetrating assets” should be employed to “defeat large threat inventories. Frankly, the failure of IAMD “risks suffering potentially devastating attacks” that could jeopardize an entire campaign.

Should deterrence and prevention fail, joint IAMD melds active and passive defenses to mitigate and survive the assault. “Still, it is unreasonable to believe that offensive operations can wholly negate any sophisticated threat; therefore, the joint force must employ robust passive measures, such as CCD, dispersion, and hardening as well as layered, complementary active defenses to survive air and missile attacks.”

Joint IAMD will require the horizontal integration of these capabilities, and the vertical integration of policy, strategy, concepts, tactics and training.

“The solutions to current and future capability gaps must be aligned with fiscal realities,” US weapon systems costs are becoming prohibitively high. “We must find ways to avoid scenarios where adversaries launch large number of relatively cheap rockets, ballistic and cruise missiles, or unmanned air vehicle systems and our only response option is to intercept them with highly complex and expensive weapons.”

The core of the Chairman’s intent for IAMD is encapsulated in six key imperatives designed to guide the joint force in meeting these challenges in a logical and fiscally responsible manner.


Six Imperatives of Joint Integrated Air and Missile Defense: Vision 2020

The first is to “incorporate, fuse, exploit, and leverage every bit of information available regardless of source or classification, and distribute it as needed to U.S. Forces and selected partners.” Tapping into and cross –utilizing all-source information wrings maximum utility from every dollar spent on intelligence, surveillance and reconnaissance and can lessen requirements for new, single use collection systems. The joint force must seek out and eliminate technical deficiencies and organizational barriers to information-sharing and enable the free flow of ISR data between national systems and the warfighters who need it.

The second imperative is to “make interdependent Joint and Combined force employment the baseline.” From the earliest stages of planning, exercising, and employment, IAMD must leverage the comparative advantages of joint force components and partner nations.

The third imperative is to “target development, modernization, fielding, and science and technology efforts to meet specific gaps in IAMD capabilities, all the while stressing affordability and interoperability.” Chairman asks for “special focus” on “closing high-leverage technology gaps such as an adversary’s emerging seeker or missile development, and the development of U.S. non-kinetic capabilities.” Breakthroughs in these areas can have a dramatic effect in reducing the need to rely on expensive kinetic solutions.

Imperative number four requires the joint force to “focus Passive Defense efforts on addressing potential capability and capacity shortfalls in air and missile defense.”

The fifth imperative is to “establish and pursue policies to leverage partner contributions.” Partners should be encouraged to invest in their own air and missile defense capabilities that are interoperable with ours. “Developing an integrated defensive network of interoperable IAMD systems can leverage cost sharing and help spread the burden among the willing partners.”

This sixth and final imperative, which directs the joint force to “create an awareness of the IAMD mission and the benefits of its proper utilization across the Department of Defense to include the development of the enabling framework of concepts, doctrine, acquisition, and war plans that support full integration of IAMD into combat operations.”

Commanders must understand and embrace every weapon and tool available to them. Educate personnel at every level how IAMD is supposed to work for the joint force and to train their people to effectively execute. How to employ joint elements together, how to employ in joint engagement zone, what combinations create what capability, and which are ineffective when employed on a stand-alone basis.


References and Resources also include

South Korea deploying swarm drones and killer sentry robots for surveillance and weapon attacks

Kim  has finally succeeded in  developing  an ICBM operational capability through which it can  deliver a nuclear weapon anywhere in the United States, according to analysis based on Images released by North Korea. North Korea released dozens of photos and a video after 29 Nov launch of the new Hwasong-15 missile, and leader Kim Jong Un declared the country had “finally realized the great historic cause of completing the state nuclear force”. Kim Jong Un’s regime is believed to have between 25 and 60 nuclear weapons.

United States and South Korea have decided to counter North Korean missile capabilities with an advanced system on the Korean peninsula. This year, South Korea installed a US operated Terminal High-Altitude Area Defence antimissile battery that can shoot down short and medium-range missiles. But, the battery only has a short range and cannot cover the whole of the country.

South Korea also requires surveillance technologies  to keep watch  on the North , according to a  senior South Korean official the South lacks a military satellite, however, the US and Japanese satellites share images with South Korean officials in real time.

South Korea is also planning to deploy drones  and drone swarms for surveillance and  weapon attacks. South Korea’s military is planning to set up a weaponized drone combat unit to bolster its ability to defend against North Korea, the Seoul-based Yonhap News Agency reports.

“The Army plans to set up a special organization to lead the development of dronebots, establish a standard platform and expand the dronebot program by function,” a South Korean army official told Yonhap. “To begin with, we will launch a dronebot combat unit next year and use it as a ‘game changer’ in warfare.” Dronebot is a combination of the words “drone” and “robot.” The drone unit, set to be launched in 2018, will be used for surveillance and will also be ready to mobilize to launch attacks.

ROK has also deployed killer robots  on the DMZ  to reduce casualties across the border as well allow the ROK to match with massive military force of North Korea in case of flare up.The Korean Demilitarized Zone (DMZ) is a strip of land running across the Korean Peninsula that serves as a buffer zone between North and South Korea. It is 250 kilometers (160 miles) long and approximately 4 km (2.5 mi) wide, is one of the most heavily militarized border in the world, patrolled all along its length.

South Korea’s automatic killer sentry robots  guard Korean Demilitarized Zone (DMZ)

South Korea has deployed the automatic sentry guns, Samsung SGR-A1 and the Super Aegis 2 in the DMZ. Super Aegis 2 an automated, turret-based weapon platform capable of locking onto a human target three kilometers away. The Samsung SGR-A1 is $200,000, Sentry Guard Robot has IR and visible light cameras and motion sensors to detect and track multiple targets from over two miles (3.2 km). It can give warning and provide suppressive fire against intruders, through a 5.56 mm robotic machine gun under the control of a human operator from a remote location.

Super Aegis 2, manufactured by DoDaam of South, Korea, supports a variety of weapons, from a standard machine-gun to a surface-to-air missile. It uses sophisticated thermal imaging software and camera systems to lock onto a human-sized target even in the dead of night. The system requires no human presence., It’s operated remotely from a distant control room.

The SGR-A1 robot is developed jointly by the Korea University and Samsung Techwin Co. It has a CCD and an infra-red camera, allowing it to detect and track targets at ranges of up to 4Km during the day and 2Km during nighttime. The system uses pattern recognition software to distinguish humans from animals or other objects. The robot can verbally command an enemy target to surrender, recognize the surrendering gesture of the soldier’s arms held high and then decide not to fire. If the intruder is unable to provide the necessary access code when at a distance of ten meters, the Samsung SGR-A1 can either sound an alarm, fire rubber bullets or make use of its Daewoo K3 5.56mm machine gun.

There are also moral and ethical issues with these killer robots, they pose a great threat to human rights, and international community need to evolve sufficient controls to govern their use.


References and resources also include:

US, Russia and China in race to develop autonomous and intelligent guided missiles to strike targets in anti-access, area-denial environment

The new buzzword in militaries across the world today is ‘artificial intelligence’ (AI) — the ability for combat platforms to self-control, self-regulate and self-actuate, using inherent computing and decision-making capabilities. AI is has also enabling autonomous military missiles that can identify and strike hostile targets without human decision. The U.S., Russia and China, the world’s leading military powers are all applying artificial intelligence to missiles, drones and other deadly devices.

Lockheed Martin has successfully carried out a controlled flight test of the US Navy’s long-range anti-ship missile (LRASM) surface-launch variant. With a range of at least 200 nautical miles, LRASM is designed to use next-generation guidance technology to help track and eliminate targets such as enemy ships, shallow submarines, drones, aircraft and land-based targets.  According to the Pentagon, this means that though targets are chosen by human soldiers, the missile uses artificial intelligence technology to avoid defenses and make final targeting decisions.

In August this year, a Chinese daily reported that China’s aerospace industry was developing tactical missiles with inbuilt intelligence that would help seek out targets in combat. The new Chinese weapon typifies a strategy known as “remote warfare,” said John Arquilla, a military strategist at the Naval Post Graduate School in Monterey, Calif. The idea is to build large fleets of small ships that deploy missiles, to attack an enemy with larger ships, like aircraft carriers. “They are making their machines more creative,” he said. “A little bit of automation gives the machines a tremendous boost.”

China has overtaken the United States to become the world leader in deep learning research, a branch of artificial intelligence (AI) inspired by the human brain, according to White House reports that aim to help prepare the US for the growing role of artificial intelligence in society.

Now Russia has claimed to be developing new missiles and drones that will use artificial intelligence to think for itself, according to weapons manufacturers and defense officials, in a bid to match military might against the United States and China.

LRASM highly autonomous missile

The LRASM is a long-range precision-guided, anti-ship standoff missile designed to meet the needs of U.S. Navy and Air Force warfighters in anti-access/area-denial threat environments. The LRASM boasts a range of well over 200 nautical miles, a payload of 1,000 pounds, and the ability to strike at nearly the speed of sound.

What really makes LRASM stand out is that all of this is completely autonomous. Human beings tell the missile where the enemy fleet is, which ship to strike, and provide it with a continuous stream of data—the missile takes care of everything else. Using artificial intelligence, the missile takes data and makes decisions all on its own. Using AI and datalinks, multiple LRASMs can launch a coordinated attack on an enemy fleet, writes Kyle.

LRASM is first guided by the ship that launched it, then by satellite. The missile is jam-resistant and can carry on even if it loses contact with the Global Positioning System. As part of the targeting system, the missile can be set to fly to a series of waypoints, flying around static threats, land features, and commercial shipping. LRASM can detect threats between waypoints and navigate around them. If it decides it would be entering the engagement range of an enemy ship not on the target list, LRASM will fly around the ship, even skipping waypoints that might lie within enemy range and going on to the next one.

After locating the enemy fleet, it dives to sea-skimming altitude to avoid close-in defenses. LRASM then sizes up the enemy fleet, locates its target, and calculates the desired “mean point of impact”—the exact spot the missile should aim for, taking into account the accuracy of the missile—to ensure the missile does not miss. In most instances that is the exact center of the ship, with the angle of the ship in relation to the missile taken into consideration, reported Kyle Mizokami in PM.


China’s next-gen cruise missiles shall have high-level of artificial intelligence

China is looking to create a new generation of cruise missiles, which will have a high level of artificial intelligence, will be multifunctional and reconfigurable based on modular design according to a senior designer from China’s Aerospace and Industry Corp. The Chinese military is looking to adapt its technology with the belief that future combat missions will require weapons to be both cost-efficient and flexible.

“We plan to adopt a ‘plug and play’ approach in the development of new cruise missiles, which will enable our military commanders to tailor-make missiles in accordance with combat conditions and their specific requirements,” Wang Changqing of the China Aerospace and Industry Corp told China Daily newspaper. Meanwhile Wang Ya’nan, the editor in chief of the Aerospace Knowledge magazine, said that missiles will be multi-functional. He mentioned that their payload can be changed, while they will also be suitable for striking targets both on land and at sea.

“Moreover, our future cruise missiles will have a very high level of artificial intelligence and automation,” he told China Daily. “They will allow commanders to control them in a real-time manner, or to use a fire-and-forget mode, or even to add more tasks to in-flight missiles.”


Russia’s Military developing highly autonomous missile for its stealth fighter

Tactical Missiles Corporation CEO Boris Obnosov said Thursday that the new weapon, which he did not name, would be released within the next few years and would take inspiration from Russia’s greatest military rival, the U.S. Speaking at the annual Zhukovsky-based MosAeroShow (MAKS-2017), Obnosov told attendees that he studied the U.S.’s use of the Raytheon Block IV Tomahawk cruise missile against Russia’s allies in Syria and sought to emulate its advanced technology, such as the ability to switch targets mid-flight, in an upcoming weapon

Earlier this year, General Viktor Bondarev, commander-in-chief of Russia’s air force, discussed equipping such smart missiles to the proposed next-generation Russian stealth fighter, the Tupolev PAK DA. What the PAK DA lacks in supersonic speed, it would reportedly make up for in stealth, electronic innovations and the artificial intelligence-capable missile, which Bondarev said was already in the works as of February.

“It is impossible to build a missile-carrying bomber invisible to radars and supersonic at the same time. This is why focus is placed on stealth capabilities. The PAK DA will carry AI-guided missiles with a range of up to 7,000 kilometers (about 4,350 miles) Such a missile can analyze the aerial and radio-radar situation and determine its direction, altitude and speed. We’re already working on such missiles,” Bondarev told Russia’s official Rossiyskaya Gazeta newspaper in comments translated and analyzed by The Aviationist.


Intelligent Guided Missile

With escalating cost of a missile and the potential damage that an intruding aircraft can cause, there is a need to improve the single shot kill probability of a missile to hundred percent. Present Guided missiles using conventional algorithms like proportional navigation algorithm and its variants are optimal when the speed of missile is very high and the maneuvering capability of the target is low.

However the efficiency of missile may be degraded in battlefield due to many reasons like in case of highly maneuverable fifth generation aircrafts with speeds between Mach-2 and Mach-3. The radars data link is also vulnerable to jamming by the adversary therefore autonomous missile is highly effective in such scenarios.

Recent advances in distributed Artificial Intelligence such as deploying intelligent agents (lA) hold promise of improving the performance and decreasing the misdistance (distance between the target and the closest point of approach of the missile to a small value). Intelligent agents are software entities that come under the category of distributed Artificial Intelligence, and are associated with problem solving functions. They are characterized by some general attributes like autonomy, social ability etc.

M.S Vinoth and others from Department of Computer Sciences Vellore Institute of Technology Tamilnadu , India have proposed  incorporating an IA system on-board a missile that will enhance the kill probability or even achieve the most coveted fire and forget capability.

The on-board radar based sensors on the missile will detect any hostile ground or air activity the missile will directly break from the wireless ground based link and then the control is shifted to the intelligent agent and the series of counter moves will be affected to shoot down the enemy intruder. By this modification the already airborne missile will have much lesser reaction time compared to the traditional radar based and ground stationed SAM(surface to air missile entities) , there by effectively saving the time and increasing the kill probability of the missile. The missile needs to have a much higher speed advantage or to use a combination of artificial intelligence and modern control algorithms, authors say.


References and resources also include:

Cruise missiles are becoming capable of supersonic to hypersonic speeds, perform evasive maneuvers and hit moving targets with extreme precision

The technical definition of a cruise missile is any weapon which automatically flies an essentially horizontal cruise flight profile for most of the duration of its flight between launch and its terminal trajectory to impact.  In the framework of technical cruise missile definition, weapons are further divided into tactical / sub-strategic / theatre weapons, and strategic weapons, and then divided by warhead into nuclear and conventional.  A further division, somewhat arbitrary with the arrival of the SLAM/Block II Harpoon and Russian analogues, is the split between Anti-Ship Cruise Missiles (ASCM) and Land Attack Cruise Missiles (LACM).

Some common cruise missiles are the US Navy UGM/RGM-109 Tomahawk/TLAM or US Air Force AGM-86 ALCM/CALCM. On April 6, 2017, the United States attacked a Syrian government airfield with 59 Tomahawk cruise missiles. Known for its range and accuracy, the Tomahawk has been a part of America’s arsenal since 1983, and has seen extensive use in several military actions.

The most widely deployed are ASCMs, which typically start with ranges of tens of nautical miles, warhead sizes around 100 kg, and subsonic cruise profiles. The Exocet, Harpoon, Kh-35U and YJ-8 families are the most widely used examples. At the opposite end of this spectrum are the Russian heavyweights, like the rocket propelled subsonic 2.5 tonne class Styx family (Chinese C-601/611 Kraken), the Mach 3+ 6 tonne class Kh-22M Burya (AS-4), the ramjet Mach 2+ 4.5 tonne class Kh-41 Sunburn and 3 tonne class Kh-61 Yakhont/Brahmos.

Historically, the main attraction in cruise missiles has always been in the often very significant stand-off range provided, keeping the delivery platform out of the reach of most if not all air defence weapons. An equal attraction has been the difficulty in detecting, tracking and killing a small, and often very low flying cruise missile.

The drawback in all cruise missiles has always been economic – the fraction of warhead weight to total weapon weight has typically been less than 50%, while the cost of these weapons has been of the order of 50 times or greater than guided bombs. Complex guidance and propulsion systems have been the main cost drivers. Each Tomahawk unit cost about The missiles cost around $1.4 million apiece.

Russia has built a hypersonic missile capable of destroying an aircraft carrier with a single impact, it has been reported.  Kremlin chiefs claim to have constructed a Zircon cruise missile which travels between 3,800mph and 4,600mph – five to six times the speed of sound. Experts warn the ‘unstoppable’ projectiles could spell disaster for the Navy’s new £6.2billion aircraft carriers, the HMS Queen Elizabeth and HMS Prince of Wales

Current Navy anti-missile defenses are only equipped to shoot down projectiles traveling 2,300mph, meaning they would be useless against the Zicron. This would force aircraft carriers to anchor outside of their estimated 500 mile range. That would make it impossible for the carrier’s jets and helicopters to reach their target, carry out their mission, and return without running out of fuel – effectively rendering them useless.

Pete Sandeman, a naval expert, told the Sunday People: ‘Defence against hypersonic missiles presents a huge challenge to surface ships. ‘There is so little time to react that even if detected, existing defences may be entirely inadequate. ‘Even if the missile is broken up or detonated by close-in weapons, the debris has so much kinetic energy that the ship may still be badly damaged.’

Tomahawk Land Attack Missile

The Tomahawk Land Attack Missile (TLAM) is an American-developed weapon classified as a cruise missile, which is an unmanned jet-propelled aircraft that uses guidance systems to seek and destroy targets.

The missiles are approximately 21 feet long, weigh 1.5 tons and can be launched from both traditional torpedo tubes and vertical launch tubes on modern submarines. Once the Tomahawk is in the air, the turbojet engine kicks in and its wings spread, allowing it to reach speeds of 500 miles per hour.

The sophisticated guidance system uses a combination of GPS, TERCOM (Terrain Contour Matching) and DSMAC (Digital Scene-Matching Area Correlator) to ensure the missile accurately destroys its target. TERCOM uses radar signals, while DSMAC uses optical images stored in the electronic system. The

The Tomahawk’s INS relies on waypoints. Waypoints are well discernible terrain features with the characteristic outlines, e.g. mountains, hills, valleys, river bends, etc. When passing waypoints, the missile turns on its electro-optical system. The INS has the master image showing how the terrain the missile is passing through should look like if the missile is on course. Comparing the standard image with the imagery provided by the optics, the INS realizes the degree of its deviation.

The Tomahawk flies 30-50 m above the ground. During its navigation correction, it climbs to 100 m for a few seconds but then descends again. The cruise missile climbs sharply once it reaches the target to ensure the best view for its electro-optical system, because the TLAM finds the target by using both its grids and video imagery. The target’s image is stored in its memory. The guidance system analyzes the video, finds the target’s outline, compares it against the memory-stored image and only then steers the weapon to the target.

On average, the missile’s circular error probable (CEP) is within 10 m. The present-day Tomahawk uses satellite navigation (satnav). However, the GPS system is needed on the last leg of the flight for terminal attack. The weapon’s accuracy has grown from 10 m to 10 cm owing to its satnav capability. This is especially important when the cruise missile is employed against point targets, e.g. ICBM silos.

If the Tomahawk impacts 10 m away from the silo’s cover that weighs many tons, it will not damage it. Owing to its satnav receiver, the missile will hit the middle of the cover and destroy it. However, it does not need this kind of accuracy when engaging area targets, such as airfields, bunched-up combat vehicles or fighting positions. The Tomahawk’s guidance system also relies on the GPS signal for course updates. Once updated, the INS compares its data with that of the GPS. The Tomahawk will approach its target without satnav anyway

“What’s important about the Tomahawks is that they just don’t necessarily go from point A to point B in a straight line. They will take kind of a circumnavigation route so they can’t be shot down,” retired US Army Maj. Gen. James “Spider” Marks said.

In layman’s terms, this type of missile is designed to be used at great distances, with pinpoint accuracy, minimizing risk to personnel and civilians.

There also is a specific variant of the Tomahawk that can carry cluster munitions that separate over a target, causing fragmentation and incendiary damage that could destroy vehicles, supply depots and aircraft on a flight line. The missiles would not cause as much damage to a runway as a larger Air Force bomb launched from a bomber or fighter, such as Joint Defense Air Munition (JDAM).

IN 2015, a Raytheon-built Tomahawk Block IV missile was tested against a moving target — a vessel carrying shipping containers — in a test that showed the weapon can strike moving objects at sea. The missile launched from the destroyer USS Kidd near San Nicolas Island and was flying on a pre-planned course when a surveillance plane also participating in the test designated a new target – a mock cargo ship. The plane sent data to a control center, which relayed the command to the missile. The Tomahawk rocketed toward the vessel and punched straight through a shipping container on its deck.

The test was the next step in the evolution of Tomahawk, a  precision weapon that can fly more than 1,000 miles, can circle on command and can even transmit photos of its target to commanders before striking. Raytheon is also developing a seeker that will allow the missile to find moving targets on its own.

“This is a significant accomplishment,” the Navy’s Tomahawk program manager, Capt. Joe Mauser, said in a statement. “It demonstrates the viability of long-range communications for position updates of moving targets. This success further demonstrates the existing capability of Tomahawk as a netted weapon, and in doing so, extends its reach beyond fixed and re-locatable points to moving targets.”


Russian cruise missiles strike against Islamic State targets

In October 2015, Russian warships belonging to the Russian Navy’s Caspian Sea Strike Group launched 26 cruise missiles against Islamic State targets located in Syria. The missiles flew nearly 1,500 kilometres (930 mi) over Iran and Iraq and struck targets in Raqqa and Aleppo provinces (controlled by the the Islamic State) as well as Idlib province (controlled by the al-Qaeda-linked Nusra Front).

It was the first time Russia had fired the new Kalibr cruise missile in a combat mission. According to the Russia’s MoD, the cruise missiles “engaged all the assigned targets successfully and with high accuracy.”

The missile used to conduct the attack is the 3M14TE Kalibr-NK with a maximum range of 2,600 km, fired by a strike group consisting of the Dagestan missile ship, the small-sized missile ships Grad Sviyazhsk, Uglich, VelikyUstyug.

Defense experts believe that 26 missiles that were launched were land-attack versions of Russia’s SS-N-27 anti-ship missiles similar to a Tomahawk cruise missiles.

Anton Lavrov, an independent military expert, said in an interview with “Izvestia” that high-precision cruise missiles are only owned by a few countries in the world, so the emergence of new “Kalibrs” is a landmark in the development of the Indian armed forces.

“The strengths of the “Kalibr” are its high precision and the ability to hit well-protected objects, including control and air defence facilities centres”, Lavrov said. “The most important thing is the surprise effect. When there is an air raid, the enemy has time to react, but cruise missiles strike unexpectedly. In addition, “Kalibr” has an advantage – it can manoeuvre and hit the target from unexpected directions.” He also drew attention to another important aspect of the export of new cruise missiles.

“’Kalibr’ has the feature of using high-precision satellite guidance, and hence, its application requires very close cooperation in the military sphere, as the Indians will have to grant access to the three-dimensional model of the Earth, maps, terrain and the GLONASS military frequencies,” said Lavrov. “Such opportunities are not just given to anybody, only the closest allies.”


India Russia Joint development of the BrahMos missile system

The BrahMos is a ramjet powered supersonic cruise missile developed in a joint venture between India and Russia. It is the world’s fastest operational cruise missile. Cooperation between the Indian Defense Research and Development Organisation and Russia’s Mashinostroyeniye Company began in 1998, with the first successful test of the BrahMos missile conducted in 2001. Since then, the missile has been employed aboard at least eight warships of the Indian Navy, and by three regiments of the Indian Army.

The Navy has also successfully tested in 2013 a submarine-launched version which is expected to enter service in future vessels. Submarine-launched BrahMoses could potentially be launched fairly close to the target without being detected.

In April 2017, the Indian Navy successfully carried out the first-ever test of a supersonic land-attack cruise missile (LACM). A “land attack version of BrahMos supersonic cruise missile was fired for the first time from an Indian Navy’s stealth frigate, off the eastern coast, at a land target,” an unnamed Indian Ministry of Defense source noted. To date, the only variants of the BrahMos tested by the Indian Navy were the anti-ship variants. The variant tested on Friday has a range of 290 kilometers, but India is working toward longer-range variants with ranges of up to potentially 800 kilometers.

The missiles are capable of Mach 2.8 flight. It also weighs twice as much as a Tomahawk, at six thousand pounds. The combination of twice the weight and four times greater speed as a Tomahawk result in vastly more kinetic energy when striking the target. Despite having a smaller warhead, the effects on impact are devastating.

Even more importantly, the BrahMos’s ability to maintain supersonic speeds while skimming at low altitude makes it very difficult to detect and intercept. To cap it off, the BrahMos performs an evasive “S-maneuver” shortly before impact, making it difficult to shoot down at close range.

The BrahMos capable of being equipped on mobile, ground stations and warships with considerable ease. Its precision, speed and low flying altitude make it the weapon of choice to avoid enemy detection and perform stealth attacks on radar installations, army headquarters and communication / control modules. It is considered the fastest missile of its kind due to its supersonic speeds, and can carry warhead in excess of 200 kg, making it quite a formidable weapon.

India is developing a second generation BrahMos-II missile is collaboration with Russia based on the scramjet technology.The BrahMos-II is expected to have a range of 600 km. The missile is expected to be ready for testing by 2020.



References and resources also include:


DARPA developing long range precision guided Munitions for defeating threats in Urban Warfare

Cities have become the new battleground and Hybrid or Urban Warfare the greatest threat being waged by ISIS to Boko Haram to Hamas to Ukraine rebels. Fight against Islamic State of Iraq and Greater Syria is being waged as Urban warfare. Boko Haram is carrying out its urban terror campaign against the Nigerian Army and its allies. IDF’s ground forces is preparing to deal with an enemy that moves on foot, appears and vanishes quickly, is armed with deadly shoulder-held missiles and operates in an urban setting, filled with noncombatants. Charlie Hebdo attacks in Paris also provide glimpses of this new kind of conflict that will be more frequent and more complicated.


The terrorists and other groups  resort to Asymmetric Warfare that tries to counter technological superiority by exploiting the limitations and vulnerabilities of high-tech weapon and platforms, with relatively simple, low-cost countermeasures, tactics and solutions like dispersion and concealment tactics.


New air, ground and sea based platforms are desired having capabilities of accurately engaging targets in urban terrain with low collateral damage. The size of projectiles and weapons need to be miniaturized so that they can be employed in helicopters and small UAVs, while enhancing their lethality and engagement ranges to defeat even defeat concealed targets.


Information technology advances are enabling, new generation of guided munitions that allow extremely precise position location and navigation capability as well as miniaturization of the fuses, sensors and guidance systems, while reducing their costs. Artillery projectiles and tactical rockets are being miniaturized, with precision guidance along with long range and accuracy.


The US Defense Advanced Research Projects Agency (DARPA) has appointed Saab for its massive overmatch assault round (MOAR) study. The contract requires the company to conduct research on the development of a precision-engagement capability for shoulder-fired weapons.MOAR seeks to leverage commercial technologies to provide a low-cost, multi-use, and multi-function precision engagement capability.


“This research is crucial to improving the power of small military units,” said Görgen Johansson, Head of Saab’s Dynamics business area. “Today’s short-range weapons lack active guidance, while long-range weapons are extremely expensive, physically burdensome, and often require teams of operators that smaller units do not have.

Massive Overmatch Assault Round (MOAR) Study

MOAR seeks to leverage commercial technologies to provide a low-cost, multi-use, and multi-function precision engagement capability. Current short-range weapons are used against a variety of target sets using different munitions and launchers without the benefit of active guidance. While current long-range weapons in support of dismounted operations are highly effective against a specific target set at range, but come with a heavy physical burden, high cost per shot/procurement cost, and often require teams of operators (sometimes dedicated) for employment. The desired MOAR capability could significantly increase the combat power of small units, while significantly reducing cost relative to near-peer and peer adversaries.


The MOAR study focuses on two principal areas of research: i) multi-use rounds “capable of defeating a wide range of threats – dismounted personnel, hardened structures, moving vehicles, armour, and unmanned aerial systems – with traditional and non-traditional defeat mechanisms”; and ii) multi-function rounds, which should be “capable of being fired as a shoulder-launched or vehicle-mounted weapon; capable of first-party targeting or receiving targeting information from a networked third party source”


The MOAR study is part of DARPA’s Office-Wide Broad Agency Announcement entitled “Innovative Systems for Military Missions.”


Saab Awarded Research Contract From DARPA

The research, to be conducted by Saab’s Dynamics business area, will focus on the development of a precision-engagement capability for shoulder-fired weapons. Saab will analyze possible concepts and propose solutions, or highlight areas where future investigations are needed. Saab is investigating a possible solution: a precision-guided munition for shoulder-fired weapons that provides a long-range, high-precision, multi-target capability.”


Saab will conduct studies on its own Carl-Gustaf and AT4 shoulder-fired weapons, both of which are current U.S. Army Programs of Record in service with the U.S. Army. “Analyzing already-established platforms allows the research to remain focused on the munition itself,” said Johansson. “Rather than developing a completely new solution, we are seeking to apply improved capabilities to existing systems – and that would translate to lower costs and faster availability.”



Charlie-G’ loses weight and gets smarter and more suitable for urban warfare

Saab has introduced a new model (M4) of its Carl-Gustaf 84mm recoilless-rifle weapon (M3) with many features  including weight-saving  so that it becomes more useful in urban warfare. Designed to be lighter weight and more infantry-portable than a Javelin anti-tank missile, the Carl Gustaf grenade launcher is built to help maneuvering ground units attack  targets out to as far as 1,300 meters. Depending on the type of weapon and target parameters, range can reach 500-1000 m. tandem shaped-charge warhead provides penetration 500 mm of armor behind era.


The Carl- Gustaf M4 weighs less than 7kg (15lb), compared with 10kg (22lb) for the preceding model, thanks to its titanium barrel and composites tube. It is somewhat shorter, too, at less than 1m, making it more agile and more suited to urban warfare, and it is provided with more adjustment in the grips and shoulder rest. “We use a steel that is half the weight and half the density. For the barrel, we have improved the lining pattern and added a more efficient carbon fiber wrapping,” Malcolm Arvidsson, Product Director, Carl-Gustaf M4, said.


There is a new transport safety feature, which allows it to be carried with a round loaded, significantly reducing reaction times when countering pop-up threats. Another new feature is an automatic round-counter function to aid in the planning of logistics and maintenance schedules and to free the soldier from the burden of having to record every firing.



The Carl-Gustaf is engineered with multipurpose rounds that can be used against armored vehicles, soft targets behind the walls as well as anti-structure rounds that can go through thick walls to defeat the targets behind a wall. Available rounds from GDOTS include FFV551 and FFV751 HEAT, FFV552 HEAT target practice, FFV441D anti-personnel, FFV401 area deterrent, FFV502 anti-structure, FFV469C smoke and FFV545C illuminating rounds. Airburst rounds use programmable fuse to explode in the air at a precise location, thereby maximizing the weapon’s effect against enemy targets hiding, for example, behind a rock, tree or building.


The Carl-Gustaf M4 is compatible with intelligent sighting systems, which can detect which type of round is being red, adjusting themselves accordingly. It is prepared for firing programmable rounds.The Army is evaluating a wide range of new technologies for its newer M4 variant to include electro-optical sights with a thermal imager, magnification sights or durable-optical sights, Saab officials explained, Scout Warrior.


Sensors and sights on the weapon can use advanced computer algorithms to account for a variety of environmental conditions known to impact the trajectory or flight of a round. These factors include the propellant temperature, atmospheric conditions, biometric pressure and terrain inclination,
“There are a number of parameters that the sight can actually calculate to give you a much harder first round probability of hit,” Walters said.


The US DARPA agency has also contracted Saab Dynamics to study the possibility of using precision-guided rounds under the MOAR (massive overmatch assault round) programme. Since the 2014 launch of Saab’s Carl-Gustaf M4 version, the company has already been investing its own R&D money into new “smart” munitions to leverage the new system’s advanced capabilities.


References and Resources  also include:

Future soldiers capabilities: Invisibility, Mind controlled Exoskeletons, Targeting lasers, Smart glasses, Wearable Biosensors, UAV equipped

The vision for the future soldier is to be combat effective and also highly mobile, adaptive, networked, sustainable with total battle space situation awareness and information assurance. Therefore, he is equipped with night- vision goggles, radios, smartphones, GPS, infrared sights, a laptop as well as batteries to power them.

Some of the missions the soldiers perform can take weeks, away from in difficult terrain like deserts and mountains which requires maintaining an incredibly high level of physical fitness. Around the world, armies are recognizing the importance of maximizing the effectiveness of Soldiers physically, perceptually, and cognitively.

Russian armed forces may soon be fitted with exoskeleton suits every inch of which is bulletproof. The gear consists of heavy body armor and a futuristic helmet that entirely covers the head. Russia isn’t the only country looking to build an army of supersoldiers. US Army chiefs are also developing an Iron Man-style suit to give troops ‘superhuman strength’. When made, the Tactical Assault Light Operator Suit (TALOS) is set to be bulletproof and give the wearer enhanced strength

The media office of the Russian “Tractor Plants” said scientists from Russia’s Saratov State University developed a unique camouflage material, which will be used in by army to make Russian soldiers invisible for the enemy’s radars. However, soldier will still be seen by humans and the traditional reconnaissance assets. The development of the “invisible cloak” and its use in military operations will certainly provide armies with the important elements required for success and victory in any battle, and mainly the surprise factor.

Experts explain that the latest development will create lightweight radio-absorbing or radio-scattering materials used as means of camouflaging both military personnel and equipment. According to Interfax, the Russian scientists didn’t disclose the technology they’ve adopted, however they didn’t deny that they used the latest achievements of the Nano-industry while developing it.

Natick Soldier Research, Development and Engineering Center (NSRDEC) in Massachusetts is focused on developing capabilities that increase warfighter capacity to fight and win on the future battlefield. Scientists and researchers at NSRDEC explore Soldier and squad performance in the areas of nutrition, biomechanics, injury prevention, cognitive science, human factors and human dimensions research. NSRDEC also studies Soldier and squad technology integration and anthropology, combined with Soldier systems engineering architecture and systems integration.

Some of the other areas its researching are: effects of frustration, mental workload, stress, fear and fatigue on both cognitive and physical performance; 3-D food printing, to provide individual nutritionally tailored meals to Soldiers ; human/machine teaming to enable missions and the capabilities of autonomous resupply to unburden the Soldier and adaptive vision protection technologies that enable a Soldier’s eye protection to instantaneously change based on lighting conditions while also preventing injury from lasers and blast debris. NSRDEC’s research and development efforts must contribute to readiness today, tomorrow and in the future, as well as provide overmatch capabilities by developing and adapting technologies to empower, unburden and protect Soldiers across the full spectrum of operations.

Australian military developing ‘black box’ for soldiers

Australia is developing  the equivalent of a Black Box for soldiers, known as the ‘Fight Recorder’, for its soldiers to be worn on the battlefield, which will act as an emergency beacon for casualties.

Minister Pyne said the Fight Recorder would be a soldier-worn system aimed at capturing valuable data on the battlefield, and would act as an emergency beacon to reduce the time taken to reach and treat battlefield casualties.

“Survival rates for battlefield casualties are closely tied to response times and the Fight Recorder will enable Defence to quickly locate and treat casualties,” Minister Pyne said.

“In addition to serving as a location beacon, the data captured by the Fight Recorder could be used to inform the design and performance of soldier equipment and protective wear.


 Russia’s Ratnik infantry combat gear

Ratnik is a Russian infantry combat system designed to improve the connectivity and combat effectiveness of the Russian army. The system has protection against environmental threats from weapons of mass destruction and non-lethal weapons, command and information systems, communications, sensors, navigation systems, life support systems, protective eye-wear, sound-protection, thermal wear and water filtration. Other Improvements include modernized body armor and helmet with special monitor (eye monitor, thermal, night vision monocular, flashlight).

Russia is working on third generation Ratnik gear now. Third generation equipment is looking to include combat exoskeletons. “We are completing the scientific research on creating the future layout of the Ratnik-3 combat gear. The implementation of the project will allow increasing the performance of a soldier by 1.5 times in completing various tasks,” Salyukov told Russia Defense Ministry newspaper Krasnaya Zvezda in comments translated by Tass.


For more information on Ratnik System:



US Army’s Future Soldier

The U.S. Army is developing a “third arm” device that can be attached to a soldier’s protective vest to hold a weapon. The purpose of the device is to redirect all of the weight of a weapon to the soldier’s body and lessen the weight on the soldier’s arms, freeing up his or her hands for other tasks. The prototype of the third arm weighs less than four pounds thanks to the use of carbon fiber composites. “We’re looking at a new way for the Soldier to interface with the weapon,” said Zac Wingard, a mechanical engineer for the Army Research Laboratory’s Weapons and Materials Research Directorate.

As the Army Research Laboratory explained, some soldiers are weighed down by combat gear heavier than 110 pounds. Those heavy loads may worsen as high energy weapons are developed for future warfare. The third arm could also allow soldiers to use future weapons with more recoil. Additionally, researchers plan to examine the device’s potential applications for various fighting techniques, like shoot-on-the-move, close-quarters combat, or even shooting around corners with augmented reality displays.

The U.S. Army has set up a special high-tech laboratory aimed at better identifying and integrating gear, equipment and weapons in order to reduce the current weight burden placed on Soldiers and give them more opportunities to successfully execute missions, service officials said. The Warrior Integration Site (WinSite) bills itself as a “collaborative design environment,” and is using 3D printing for the rapid prototyping of new, lightweight equipment. But as well as rapid prototyping with a 3D printer, staff at WinSite are also using 3D scanning technology to “digitalize” existing Army equipment, enabling designers to integrate and modify that equipment in new CAD projects.

Tactical Assault Light Operator Suit (TALOS) for special operations forces

In 2017, the United States Department of Defense will launch the Tactical Assault Light Operator Suit (Talos), a futuristic piece of military hardware that encloses soldiers within a bullet-bouncing, internally cooled, computerised exoskeleton. United States, Special operations command, had given a Broad agency announcement for TALOS with a vision to integrate S&T projects focused on far ridgeline capabilities into an integrated suit that better protects the SOF warfighter.

TALOS concept aims to improve the “comprehensive ballistic protection, situational awareness, and surgical precision and lethality” of operators, particularly relevant to Military Operations in Urban Terrain (MOUT). Some of the Technologies that were asked in BAA were, Advanced Armor technology consisting of materials for next generation ballistic protection, Mobility/Agility technology consisting of Enhancement platforms such as powered / unpowered exoskeletons.

Situational Awareness (SA) that promotes timely, relevant, and accurate assessment of friendly, enemy and other operations within the battle space in order to facilitate decision making and capabilities of stealth. For example, weapon sighting is already changing on the battlefield as small, moveable weapon-mounted displays enable the soldier to see targets around the corner with only the weapon exposed.

Command, Control, Communications & Computers (C4) including conformable & wearable antennae and wearable computers and Individual soldier combat ready displays. Army Research Laboratory is working on a wearable ultra-lightweight computer with a flexible display to fix to a soldier’s wrist, which will act as a hub for sending and receiving vital information

Higher frequency bands (above 60GHz) provide high bandwidth , High atmospheric absorption provides excellent immunity to interference, offers high security, and allows re-use of the same frequencies in relatively close locations.

Power generation and management, including soldier power generation systems, power scavenging, renewable energy, power distribution, power management, and power storage solutions that are light weight, and soldier portable/wearable.

Thermal management of suit occupant to manage heat to reduce the soldiers’ metabolic rate and prolong endurance and Medical technology including Embedded monitoring, oxygen systems, wound stasis, electromechanical compensation.

Wearable Biosensors are being developed that measure EEG, ECG, and EMG (electroencephalograms, electrocardiograms, and electromyography, tests which monitor brain, heart, and muscle activity).In November, the Office of Naval Research awarded a $150,000 grant to Titus and the tech firm Sentience Science to develop tools that could monitor an individual’s stress levels in combat and automatically generate alerts when they reach dangerous levels.

“It’s a holistic system with open systems architecture, so if a new technology rises we can swap it in,” said a joint task force member speaking on background during a recent interview at Socom at MacDill Air Force Base, Florida.

Augmentation technologies

But research is also steering the military towards another goal: technologies that augment. Instead of building shells around ourselves, we’re also creating wearables that tune into the human body.One driving force is the rise of soft robotics.

Audio comms company Invisio has made earplugs called TCAPS – tactical communication and protective system – that enhance hearing by sensing explosive noises and turning down the volume before it hits the wearer’s eardrum. For softer sounds, the reverse happens: whispers are emphasised, allowing soldiers to communicate over the din of warfare.

Also, scientists at the Massachusetts Institute of Technology are developing a next-generation kind of armour called ‘liquid body armour.’ It ‘transforms from liquid to solid in milliseconds when a magnetic field or electrical current is applied,’ the Army website said. It will also have ‘nerves’ in the form of sensors that lie against the skin to monitor core body temperature, skin temperature, heart rate, body position and hydration levels.

At the Institute for Soldier Nanotechnologies, the Army, commercial industry and researchers from the Massachusetts Institute of Technology have joined forces. Amid wound-healing smart fabrics and enhanced night-vision, researchers are building nanomaterials for helmets. The goal is to protect soldiers from the jarring effects of a blast.



Significant challenge for wearables is the military requirements of extreme ruggedness, including meeting MIL-STD-810 shock specification, sun readability, and small size and weight. The US Army has established that soldier systems must meet MIL-STD-461 radiated and conducted emissions from 2MHz to 18GHz. Exhibiting similar concerns, the BBC reported in May 2015 that China had imposed a ban on its armed forces wearing smart watches or anything similar.

Some of other challenges identified were untethered power source needed to operate the exoskeleton, cool or heat the operator and fuel all the sensors in the suit and latency of the sensors like Night-vision goggles, the display take a second or so catch up the sensor when it detects something. “Although many significant challenges remain, our goal for a Mark 5 prototype suit by 2018 is on track right now,” said member


Another focus area is Training, that includes a broad-based program of fundamental research and advanced technology development to achieve significant advances in Soldier training and, ultimately, mission effectiveness. The end goal is to discover and innovate powerful new tools, technologies, and methods that can accelerate learning, can be applied at the point of need at any time and are affordable.

Wearable Devices for Sleep Enhancement

Brain State Technologies LLC has produced prototypes of a wearable neurotechnology device designed to support improved sleep and circadian rhythm regulation under contract from the United States Army Research Office.

Numerous scientific studies have shown that poor sleep compromises performance and health, and military personnel are especially vulnerable to challenges of sleep disruption because of the need to maintain high arousal levels for prolonged periods, as well as work duties that require night shifts or changing time zones.

“A non-drug, wearable device that successfully facilitates more optimal sleep has tremendous potential for supporting a range of objectives in performance, learning, and health for many populations,” says Lee Gerdes, founder and CEO of Brain State Technologies


Exoskeletons to augment physical performance

One of theARL’s Human Sciences Campaign areas is to augment physical performance, through technology designed to increase the physical strength of the Soldier or increase their endurance. The Exoskeleton research follows the class of Soldier-borne technology and control algorithms that can increase the physical strength or power of a Soldier through mechanical augmentation. Exoskeleton technology can be active (powered) or passive (unpowered).

Today’s exoskeletons allow soldiers to carry 17 times more weight than normal and march with significantly less strain on the body. With an XOS 2 suit, for example, a solider can carry 400 pounds but feel the weight of only 23.5.


 UK MOD’s vision of Soldier 2020

Militaries all over the world are developing many technologies to improve the performance of soldiers across the full range of military operations. L-3 Communications has announced  that it has been awarded a contract totaling $208 million by the Australian Defence Force (ADF), to deliver soldier modernization technology. Under this contract, L-3 will provide the Australian Army with innovative targeting and detection capabilities that are designed to perform at night and under all weather conditions. These include binocular night vision goggles, which incorporate white phosphor image intensification technology, a compact multifunction aiming laser with integrated white light capability, and the next generation of lightweight, miniature laser rangefinders.


Dismounted close combat sensors (DCCS) system

The UK’s Dstl) has successfully demonstrated the automatic threat detection capabilities of its wearable sensor technology, dismounted close combat sensors (DCCS) system. The UK’s Defence Science and Technology Laboratory, together with industry partners Roke Manor Research, QinetiQ and Systems Engineering and Assessment, has developed dismounted close combat sensors which enable GPS-free navigation, automatic threat detection and information sharing for frontline troops.

This wearable sensor system enables navigation even when GPS signals are not available, by using inertial and visual navigation sensors. It considers last known GPS locations and integrates information from visually tracked features captured by a helmet camera and inertial sensors. The DCCS accurately tracks the location of an individual within buildings and tunnels, Dstl said in a statement.

The system has a combination of camera, laser and orientation sensors mounted on the personal weapon. Its acoustic and camera technology automatically identifies where enemy weapons are being fired from and this information is transmitted to the wearer and to commanders. DCCS is expected to enter service in the 2020s.

This integrated visual navigation system is then integrated with high-quality GPS and algorithms developed to understand when GPS can or cannot be trusted and to smoothly transition between the navigation systems when it is most appropriate to do so. “It works by providing a number of different navigation options, then carefully selecting the most trustworthy component at any particular time. There is a need to measure the sensor output but also to carefully monitor the noise and errors with each sensor and fuse the output accordingly.”

The system’s applications are wider than simple navigation. A combination of camera, laser and orientation sensors mounted on the personal weapon will allow soldiers to highlight targets to other troops, unmanned aerial vehicles and aircraft at the press of a button. The idea is that this will be quicker, easier and less confusing than giving verbal instructions, while also being extremely accurate. Other uses include identifying wounded personnel, the location of civilians and potential helicopter landing sites.

In addition, acoustic and camera technology will provide a fire detection capability, automatically identifying where enemy weapons are being fired from, even if the individual hasn’t seen or heard them being discharged. This information will then be relayed to the user and to commanders, allowing them to take appropriate steps to deal with the threat.

UK MOD’s vision of Soldier 2020

The Future Soldier Vision (FSV) is part of the Ministry of Defence’s plan to ensure that British soldiers of the future have high quality equipment, utilising the latest technologies. It recently has unveiled what a soldier could be wearing and using on the battlefield in the 2020s, based on current military research and emerging commercial technology.

  • Head sub-system concept incorporating hearing protection, lightweight sensors for information sharing and an integrated power supply.
  • Torso sub-system concept of segmented armour that can be customised to the user or situation with integrated connectors and power supply. It also features a quick release cord which releases armour at the shoulders in an emergency and flexible shoulder pads for added protection and to help with weight distribution when carrying loads.
  • Smart watch style wearable communications concept which incorporates sensors to record the user’s biometric data.
  • Smart glasses concept which include a heads-up display, integrated camera and bone conducting headphones to increase situational awareness without compromising hearing.
  • A robust personal role computer concept enabling better information sharing and communications between personnel.
  • Ergonomically designed and customisable the weapon concept will allow targeting information to be shared between soldiers and their units.

The Future Soldier Vision is designed to work as an integrated system with survivability, enhanced situational awareness and network capability all central to the concept. Protection technology, a network of sensors for information sharing and power and data connectors will also all be built-in.


The Global Soldier Modernization Market 2015-2025

The Global Soldier Modernization Market 2015-2025 report, published by Strategic Defence Intelligence predicts global Soldier Modernization market to be worth US$8.3 billion in 2015, and is expected increase to US$12.8 billion by 2025, representing a CAGR of 4.38% during the forecast period.

The market is anticipated to be dominated by North America, followed by Asia- Pacific and Europe. The US is the largest spender, with a cumulative expenditure of US$43.4 billion over the next decade. In terms of segments, C4ISR is expected to account for 38% of the global military soldier modernization market, followed by lethality and survivability, occupying shares of 27% and 26% respectively.



Machines and mankind will merge as technology advances, and that will mean a heap of benefits for soldiers in battle, said Tod Lovell, a technology director at Raytheon. “Twenty-five years from now, we may be to the point where the sensors are embedded in the skin and the person becomes the processor,” Lovell said

“The really cool thing is that technology is going to start really paying attention to the state of the human,” Lovell said. “It won’t just be the human operating part of the technology. The human will be part of that system. The system would adapt to the human.”


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US Army testing Joint Light Tactical Vehicle (JLTV) that enables multi missions across the spectrum of terrain, including urban areas, while providing survivability against direct fire and improvised explosive device threats.

The unarmored Humvee were found vulnerable in Iraq and Afghanistan where hastily added armor provided a flawed and temporary solution. The JLTV, however, is built for driving among the IEDs, rocket-propelled grenades, and small-arms fire of the modern battlefield.

JLTV provides the warfighter significantly more protection against multiple threats while increasing mobility and payload compared to the current armored High Mobility Multipurpose Wheeled Vehicle platforms. JLTV provides improved off-road mobility, fuel efficiency and reliability over Mine Resistant Ambush Protected All-Terrain Vehicles.

The Joint Light Tactical Vehicle (JLTV) Family of Vehicles (FoV) is a Joint Army and Marine Corps program that provides vehicles, along with companion trailers, capable of performing multiple mission roles while providing protected, sustained, and networked mobility for personnel and payloads across the full spectrum of military operations.

The JLTV is transportable by a range of lift assets, including rotary-wing aircraft, to support operations across the range of military operations. Its maneuverability enables activities across the spectrum of terrain, including urban areas, while providing inherent and supplemental armor against direct fire and improvised explosive device threats.

The 14,000-pound costing $399,000,  JLTV is being manufactured by Oshkosh Defense and is in the low-rate initial production (LRIP) testing phase for the current contract to deliver about 5,000 vehicles, according to Fullmer. The $6.7 billion contract calls for just under 17,000 trucks, along with test support and fielding and maintenance services, with three years of LRIP production and five years of full-rate production, he said. The Army plans to acquire about 55,000 trucks by the mid-2030s that would replace both services’ active-duty and reserve Humvee fleets.

The Army-led program to replace the high mobility multi-wheeled vehicle, or the Humvee, is on a trajectory to remain on budget and on schedule, said Army Col. Shane Fullmer, project manager for the joint program office under PEO combat support and combat service support.

The trucks are undergoing reliability, transportability and network testing, which is expected to continue through the first quarter of fiscal year 2019, Fullmer said. Full-rate production should begin in November or December of 2019 ahead of fielding, and initial operating capability is expected for early to mid-2020, he added.

JLTV features a design that supports mobility, reliability and maintainability within weight limits to ensure tactical transport to and from the battlefield. JLTV will use scalable armor solutions to meet requirements for added protection while maintaining load carrying capacity. Commonality of components, maintenance procedures, and training between all variants will minimize total ownership costs. The JLTV family will balance critical weight and transportability constraints within performance, protection, and payload requirements – all while ensuring an affordable solution for the Army and USMC.

Two variants are planned: the four-seat combat tactical vehicle(CTV), which will support general purpose, heavy gun carrier and close-combat weapon carrier missions; and the two-seat combat support vehicle(CSV)  supporting the utility/shelter carrier mission.

It is also reported the Army plans to use the JLTV as the interim platform for its upcoming Light Reconnaissance Vehicle (LRV) program instead of procuring a new system. The British Army is reportedly trying to acquire 750 JLTVs through Foreign Military Sales (FMS). The Marines have also reportedly increased their JLTV requirement by 65%, for a total of 9,091 JLTVs, and the Air Force will acquire 140 JLTVs in FY2018 for its Security Forces that protect missile launch facilities


Oshkosh’s JLTV

As planned, JLTVs would be more mechanically reliable, maintainable (with on-board diagnostics), all-terrain mobile, and equipped to link into current and future tactical data nets. Survivability and strategic and operational transportability by ship and aircraft are also key JLTV design requirements.

After over a year of poking, prodding, speeding, skidding, sliding and exploding, Oshkosh was selected as the winner of the Joint Light Tactical Vehicle (JLTV) contract in 2015. The Oshkosh’s JLTV competitor brings together the blast absorbing capability of the lumbering Mine Resistant Ambush Protected (MRAP) vehicles that became staples of the wars in Iraq and Afghanistan, and the agility of a high performance off-road combat truck that can be easily adapted to different missions. Additionally, the JLTV has to be transportable to the forward edges of the battlefield via the cargo hold of a C-130 or underslung beneath a CH-47 or CH-53. They also have to be easily serviced once there.

John Urias, president of Oshkosh Defense, said described the vehicle in a following statement to the Washington Post: “Our JLTV has been extensively tested and is proven to provide the ballistic protection of a light tank, the underbody protection of an MRAP-class vehicle, and the off-road mobility of a Baja racer.”

During the testing phase of the JLTV program, the U.S. Army and Marine Corps brought along 22 up-armored Humvees to test alongside Oshkosh, Lockheed Martin, and AM General’s JLTV entrants, with each manufacturer providing 22 test vehicles. During nearly three years of testing, platoons equipped with Oshkosh JLTVs had the highest levels of mission success.

Oshkosh’s JLTVs were also far and away the most reliable of the bunch, averaging 7,051 miles between operational mission failure, defined as a system failure that prevents the vehicle from accomplishing its mission. Up-armored Humvees were surprisingly the second-most reliable of the group, averaging 2,968 miles between failures, followed by the Lockheed Martin JLTV at 1,271 miles between failures, and the AM General BRV-O JLTV, which averaged 526 miles between failures .

The Oshkosh JLTV uses General Motor’s impressive 6.6-liter Duramax turbodiesel V8 engine, detuned by diesel performance specialist Gale Banks Engineering to provide 400 dependable horsepower and the Allison 6-speed heavy-duty truck transmission. While up-armored Humvee upped the 13,000-lb. curb weight practically rendered the obsolete 190-horsepower Detroit Diesel V8 and four-speed automatic transmission inert.

While many of the JLTV’s performance capabilities are classified, however it is expected to top the ratings of the old Humvee by a wide margin. Some of the military’s requirements for the Humvee include the ability to climb a 60 percent incline, traverse a 40 percent slope, and ford 2.5 feet of water without a snorkel, or 5 feet with a snorkel.

The JLTV is essentially a light tank with 43-inch Michelin wheels can wade through five feet of water too, without even breaking out its optional snorkel. That’s in part because of its fully independent double-wishbone TAK-4i suspension system with electronically adjustable high-pressure gas shocks, which gives the truck the ability to raise and lower on its suspension as needed, while providing a massive 20 inches of suspension travel over obstacles.

Like the Humvee, the JLTV also has a  full-time four-wheel-drive system with low-range, locking differentials, and a Central Tire Inflation System like the one on the Humvee that lets soldiers adjust tire pressure to suit conditions from inside the vehicle.

Utilizing lessons learned on its M-ATV MRAP (Mine-Resistant Ambush Protected vehicle) program, the JLTV features a V-shaped hull to deflect blasts from below, bulletproof windows, and an armored crew capsule. Compared to an up-armored Humvee, a basic JLTV offers multiple orders of magnitude more protection from bullets and bombs to its occupants. Each JLTV is also capable of being fitted with a “B-Kit” of armor, boosting protection to MRAP-levels of protection.

The JLTV, is built for driving among the IEDs, rocket-propelled grenades, and small-arms fire of the modern battlefield. Oshkosh’s CORE1080 crew-protection system wraps the cabin in an armored shell. Underneath the floor, a convex hull deflects blasts and shields the cabin from IEDs. Oshkosh’s CORE1080 crew-protection system wraps the cabin in an armored shell. Underneath the floor, a convex hull deflects blasts and shields the cabin from IEDs.

“Where the Humvee’s seats are flat to the floor, the JLTV’s are raised to give your knees some room to bend. There’s more cushioning, and the seat backs feature cutouts to accommodate troops’ hydration packs. Big center and passenger-side dash displays look like they belong in an F/A-18 cockpit, offering critical vehicle data, tactical information, and an all-important backup camera. It provides Joint forces network connectivity that improves situational awareness of the operational environment while enabling a responsive and well-integrated command and control.

A standard HVAC control panel offers blessed air conditioning, and there are even USB ports,” writes Eric Tegler one of the first civilians allowed behind the wheel.



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