Oshkosh is offering to enhance the HMMWVs used by the U.S. Marine Corps, extending their off-road performance, speed and payload capacity, retaining their original mission capabilities with the additional armor added through the years of combat in Iraq and Afghanistan. Photo: Oshkosh Defense.
Oshkosh Defense is offering to upgrade the Marine Corps HMMWVs, enhancing its off-road mobility, maneuverability, and speed, while retaining, and even improving its ballistic protection and introducing V-shaped under armor for additional blast protection. The key for this miracle is the TAK-4 independent suspension system, customizing the tactical utility HMMWV into a customized off-road vehicle. Oshkosh is presenting the customized HMMWV at the Modern Marine expo in Quantico, VA.
Current U.S. Marine Corps operational protection requirements call for add-on armor to improve the vehicle’s survivability (i.e., the Up-armored HMMWV, M1151A1 with B1 armor kit). With this up-armoring, the vehicle weighs in more than 1.5 tons above its originally designed Gross Vehicle Weight Rating (GVWR) and experiences performance, ride quality and mobility degradations. “Oshkosh offers a new way forward for the Marine Corps’ light vehicle fleet, and does so using its proprietary TAK-4 suspension, which has been proven in theater on multiple vehicle classes,” Said John Bryant, Oshkosh Defense vice president and general manager, Marine Corps Programs. “The HMMWV with the TAK-4 system improves vehicle ride height and performance, ride quality and restores the original vehicle payload capability – allowing for additional under-vehicle armor protection for improved survivability.”
TAK-4 independent suspension installed on a HMMWV. Photo: Oshkosh
The new suspension offers the vehicle a 70 percent off-road profile capability. The new suspension restores a 2,500-pound vehicle payload capacity in addition to the armor and occupants. Introducing 14 inches of independent wheel travel, the HMMWV can overcome obstacles and navigate rugged, mountainous environments. The vehicle’s performance is also improved in 40 percent increase in the maximum speed and a 46 percent improvement in braking. With ground clearance increases to 17 inches, and additional payload capacity, an under-vehicle V-shaped panel can be added, to further improve survivability from mine blasts and IEDs. The higher ground clearance further improves mobility and occupant visibility.
“We continue to see vehicles equipped with the TAK-4 thrive in places like Afghanistan – where unimproved roads and rocky, rugged terrain make up the battlefields.” Bryant added. The TAK-4 independent suspension system has already been used on more than 10,000 Oshkosh Medium Tactical Vehicle Replacements (MTVR) operated by the Marine Corps and Navy Seabees. It is also used on Oshkosh MRAP All-Terrain Vehicle (M-ATV).
The X3 high speed hybrid helicopter from Eurocopter (Photo: Eurocpoter)
A Hybrid High Speed Helicopter (H3) technology demonstrator developed by Eurocopter began flight testing on September 6, 2010 at the French flight test center at Istres. The new aircraft designated ‘X3′ (X Cube) combines vertical takeoff, landing and hovering performance with high speed cruising capability at speeds exceeding 220 knots. The announcement came less than two weeks after United Technologies (UTX.N) unit Sikorsky claimed an unofficial speed record of 250 knots (460 km/hour) with its X2 prototype . Today’s helicopters typically cruise around 130-40 knots.
The X3 demonstrator is powered by two turboshaft engines driving a five-blade main rotor system and two propellers installed on short-span stub wings. This configuration combines the speed of a turboprop-powered aircraft and the full hover flight capabilities of a helicopter.
The new concept could be utilized for missions where speed is a determining factor – such as military special operations, long range, long endurance search and rescue, medical evacuation, maritime patrol and border security, passenger transport and inter-city shuttle services.
Initial testing will continue through December with reduced power, progressively opening the flight envelope to speeds of approximately 180 kts. After a three-month upgrade, X3 flights will resume in March 2011 with the goal of reaching sustained cruise speeds in excess of 220 kts.
According to Lutz Bertling, Eurocopter’s President & CEO, the development of the X3 from concept to first flight took less than three years. The X-Cube concept was launched in January 2008, with aim to validate the technical concept of this high speed, hybrid proplusion VTOL system. While the X-Cube takes off and lands like a normal helicopter, during cruising the rotor RPM is reduced, in order to devoid the drag divergence at the tip of the advancing blade. The small wings added to the aircraft partially unload the rotor at high speed, and help avoiding the retreating blade stall. Wing mounted propellers provide the propulsive force in forward flight and anti-torque in hover, thus making the fenestron rotor tail redundant. The development team used elements from several Eurocopter helicopters for the X3, including an AS-365 airframe, the main rotor of an EC-155 and a main gearbox from an EC-175.
British MOD selects Ocelot for LPPV Light Protected Patrol Vehicle program. Photo: Force protection Inc.
Force Protection Europe Ltd (FPE), developer of the Occelot light armored vehicle, has been selected as the preferred bidder in U.K. Ministry of Defense (MOD) Light Protected Patrol Vehicle (LPPV) program. According to FPE, the first Ocelot vehicles are expected to be available for the training of U.K. forces in 2011. The initial phase will require up to 400 new vehicles to be delivered by 2010-2011. FPE won this competition against the all British Supacat group, offering the Supacat Protected Vehicle (SPV) SPV-400.
Formal contract negotiations between FPE and the MOD are expected to begin shortly, to formulate final terms and vehicle quantities to be delivered. The Ocelot, proposed by FPE for the LPPV program was designed, developed and will be built in the U.K. by FPE and Ricardo plc. Other ‘Team Ocelot’ partners and main suppliers include Ricardo, Thales, QinetiQ, Formaplex, the U.K. MoD’s Defence Support Group and Sula Systems.
The vehicle has an approximate gross vehicle weight of only 16,500 pounds. Its cabin is made of a protective pod, made of advanced composite materials incorporating Formula One racing technology. Critical components such as the engine, fuel tank and transmission are contained in the V shaped armored ‘spine’ that deflects potential blast away from the pod, thus protecting the occupants and critical key components.
“The success of Ocelot in the United Kingdom’s LPPV program is extremely important to our corporate strategy of providing a broad range of survivability solutions, including in tactical wheeled vehicle programs” said Michael Moody, Chairman and Chief Executive Officer of Force Protection, Inc. “Internationally, Ocelot is expected to play a much larger role in providing potential customers a vehicle that incorporates not only a high degree of blast and ballistic protection but also superior mobility and maintainability – these levels are currently unequaled by any vehicle of its size on the battlefield. As such, we expect there could be significant demand for the Ocelot in the worldwide marketplace for years to come.”
Britain has been a loyal customer of Force Protection, buying hundreds of 6×6 and 4×4 Cougar vehicles, designated Mastiff (6×6), RidgeBack (4×4) and Wolfhound Tactical Support Vehicle (6×6). Read more about the British armored vehicles acquisition here
new features introduced with the new model are the use of modern, more powerful drive train with optional automatic transmission, improved protection and more ergonomic cabin. Photo: Denel
31 years after pioneering mine protection for vehicles with the first Casspir Mine Protected Vehicle (MPV) Denel unveiled today a new version of South Africa’s iconic mine-protection vehicle – Casspir MK IV. The new vehicle was launched today in Cape Town today, at the African Aerospace and Defence Expo (AAD) taking place at the Ysterplaat Air Force Base.
According to Ashley Williams, CEO of Denel’s subsidiary Mechem, responsible for the vehicle design, new features introduced with the new model are the use of modern, more powerful drive train with manual or automatic transmission, a stronger hull offering improved protection, including ‘up armoring’ with appliqué armor modules, a slightly wider and lower cabin, offering improved interior design.
“Mechem took the strategic decision to build this configuration again due to the great demand still in the market. In the last few years, most of these vehicles were re-manufactured from hulls bought from SAPS auctions and tender processes causing depletion in actionable stock. There was also concern over the supply of spare parts,” said Mr Williams.
According to Denel CEO, Mr Talib Sadik, Casspir had been the benchmark for the safe transportation of military personnel worldwide and the vehicle is the preferred Mine Protection Vehicle and Armored Personnel Carrier used by the United Nations. It has been used in combat in many of the world’s hot spots, from Afghanistan to Mozambique, by the South African National Defence Force, private security companies and police services.Casspir became famous in popular culture when it featured prominently in the Oscar-nominated film, District Nine. The first Casspir was built in 1979 by TFM.
Mechem also offers the ‘Steel Wheels’ counter-mine system for the Casspir, enabling the vehicle to destroy land mines without damaging the vehicle.
African defense companies are challenging the dominant Western suppliers of mine protected armored vehicles, competing for MRAP type vehicle contracts. According to Ivor Ichikowitz, Executive Chairman of the South African Paramount Group, South Africa’s largest independent defense and aerospace contractor, African companies have emerged as technological equals to some of the world’s top manufacturers of Mine and IED Protected armored Vehicles (MPVs).
Ichikowitz referred to the recent growth in the domestic and continental demand for armored vehicles in Africa, “With African defense spending up nearly a third since the end of the Cold War, Africa is purchasing more defense and security systems. This has stimulated manufacturers, engineers and scientists to produce world-class products.” African companies such as the Paramount Group are not only competing on an international level, with interest from governments in Africa, the Middle East and Asia, but also offering better in-country benefits for purchasers. Whereas the Western majors manufacture their equipment far from the destination market, Paramount Group takes an ‘in-country’ approach, where it establishes production facilities in regional markets. This ensures that the economic and development benefits associated with production, training and marketing help the local population, not just the shareholders in New York or London.”
“The world has finally discovered that Africa has some of the best technologies at affordable prices” said Ichikowitz.
The Paramount Group has unveiled today a new armored infantry fighting vehicle called Mbombe. According to the company, the vehicle has not yet been ordered but several potential customers are already interested, including Gabon.
Mbombe offers ballistic protection meeting STANAG Level 4 Level IV withstanding explosions of 10kg of TNT anywhere under the hull or under any wheel station, without rupture.
Paramount unveiled today the Mbombe at the African Aerospace and Defense 2010 (AAD) Expo. Mbombe is a 6×6 Infantry Fighting Vehicle (IFV) implementing a flat hull (rather than the traditional V-shape invented in South Africa). The honeycomb flat hull enables much lower silhouette, compared to contemporary MRAPs claimed to offer better protection against IEDs than many vehicles currently used by NATO forces in Afghanistan.
Mbombe offers ballistic protection meeting STANAG Level 4 Level IV with modular upgrade meeting specific threat levels. The vehicle is designed to withstand explosions of 10kg of TNT anywhere under the hull or under any wheel station, without rupture. The vehicle is also well protected against roadside IEDs, with the capability of defeating 50kg of TNT at 5m. The passengers and crew are seated on blast energy absorbing seats, to prevent the risk from blast.
The vehicle on display was fitted with a dual feed 30mm cannon and integrated machine gun mounted in an overhead weapon station. Paramount plans to introduce a family of vehicles based on eth Mbombe, including an armored personnel carrier, armored combat support vehicle (with cannons acting as direct support weapons), command vehicle, and ambulance.
BAE Systems announced today the planned acquisition of three intelligence services companies, for a total investment of almost US$300 million. The companies to be acquired are SpecTal LLC, Advanced Concepts Inc., and McClendon LLC – all part of the L-1 Identity Solutions Inc.’s (L1ID) Intelligence Services Group. Following the completion of the acquisition expected by the fourth quarter of 2010, BAE will add more than 1,000 skilled information and security employees to its workforce. This acquisition reflects its global strategy to enhance and grow its business in the area of customer support and services, which includes cyber and security as well as readiness and sustainment activities focusing on four key customer missions – intelligence and counterintelligence, homeland security, law enforcement and support to military operations. For the six months to 30 June 2010, this area of the business generated 49% of BAE Systems revenues.
Focusing on its core security activities, L1ID itself is being acquired by the French Safran group. This move is expected to be completed by the first quarter of 2011. L1ID provides Secure Credentialing Solutions, Biometric and Enterprise Access Solutions and Enrollment Services. These businesses are expected to have combined estimated Fiscal Year 2010 revenues of $486.0 million. The acquisition by Safran is expected to open international growth opportunities for L-1. According to Jean-Paul Herteman, Chief Executive Officer of Safran, the company plans to integrate L-1′s operations into its subsidiary, Morpho.
The EC725 is a powerful and fast helicopter with long range capabilities - powered by 2 Turbomeca Makila 2A turboshaft engines. It has a very large useful volume and accommodates various seating arrangements up to 29 troops in a spacious cabin and 2 crew members. Photo: Eurocopter
Mexico is increasing its order for Eurocopter EC725 Cougar helicopters with additional six helicopters, following an initial order for six made in March 2009. Eurocopter will supply all 12 helicopters to Mexico’s SEDENA (Secretaría de La Defensa Nacional) beginning in the second quarter of 2011. The helicopters will be used for transport and civil security missions. EC725 is the latest member of Eurocopter’s Cougar family. This multi-purpose, 11 ton class helicopter is capable of transporting 29 passengers and mission endurance of 5.30 hours.
This contract represents a further consolidation of Eurocopter’s presence in Mexico, which is managed by its Eurocopter de Mexico S.A. de C.V. subsidiary. A majority of the country’s government departments have been operating Eurocopter helicopters since 1964, which are utilized in supporting the airlift and transportation needs of the Mexican President, the Navy Secretariat, the Ministry of Defense and other users. over 350 of the company’s helicopters currently in service in this region – representing a market share of more than 50 percent. Brazil has recently ordered 50 EC-725 helicopters for its armed forces. These helicopters will also be produced by Helibras, Eurocopters’ subsidiary in Brazil.
Typical missions are: troop transport, MEDEVAC - up to 12 stretchers and 4 attendant seats - and naval mission system. An important amount of available qualified mission equipment and installations can be fitted on EC725 to be customized to any specific SAR and CSAR mission requirement. The large cabin volume of the EC725 accommodate any complete suite of Naval mission system, including 2 multifunction workstations, a sonar, a sonobuoy dispenser, leaving sufficient room for additional mission equipment. Photo: Eurocopter
The launch vehicle unit carrying two Yakhont anti-ship missiles in container launchers. The missiles are carried in the recessed position and launched vertically from the erected canisters.
The expected arrival of the P800 Yakhont supersonic anti-ship missile in Syria is considered the first serious attempt by Syria to directly challenge the Israel Navy since the 1973 war, when the Israeli Navy sunk five Syrian vessels in the first missile-boat engagement known as the ‘Battle of Latakia’. Four decades later, the P800 Yakhont is far superior than the Styx missiles that failed to protect the Syrian Navy in 1973. Much like the Russian-Indian Brahmos, the earlier Moskit and Supersonic Alpha, Yakhont has the capability to strike its target at supersonic speed, flying at very low level, leaving the defender much shorter time to react. Yet, ship defenses have come a long way since the Electronic Warfare (EW) systems that saved the day and won the battle for the Israelis.
AEGIS systems, used on U.S. Navy and many NATO vessels, the European PAAMS, used by the Royal Navy, French and Italian navies and Israel’s new Barak 8 ship air defense system are designed to match such treats. So does Israel’s ‘Magic Wand’ system, employing the Stunner missile interceptor, capable to counter these potent missiles effectively if employed in surface/surface or ship/surface role. However, the majority of smaller naval vessels, still equipped with ‘point defense’ anti-missile systems were not designed to counter such high speed attacks, particularly when it comes in salvos of two or four missile.
Such elements are at risk within ranges of 300 km, by missiles fired from the Mediterranean Syrian naval bases at Tartus and Latakia. Yakhont typically cruises to the target area at high altitude, and then descends for a sea skimming attack from under the horizon. The distance at which it begins its descent can be programmed before launch, by determining the achievable range, which is between 120 (low level flight) – 300 km (high mid-course, low-level beyond the horizon to the target.
The potential coverage of P800 Yakhont missiles fired from coastal sites (Tartus) or land sites in Southern Syria cover Israel's Mediterranean Naval Bases.
While some navies could avoid this area, for Israel, the long range of the P800 means its naval vessels could be at risk, even at their main base in Haifa, a site already compromised by rockets fired from Lebanon during the 2006 war. Israel’s second naval base in Ashdod could be targeted from land-based sites in Southern Syria. Furthermore, when targeting Israeli naval patrols in international waters off the Lebanese coast, P800 can be vertically launched from inland sites in Syria or Lebanon, fired behind the Lebanon mountain ridge, avoiding detection from the sea, thus minimizing the early warning for the targeted vessels. Therefore, accelerated fielding of Barak-8 and Magic Wand systems should be a top priority for Israel. Another risk for Navies operating in the Persian Gulf presents a technology leak – by such a missile falling into Iranian hands, which could accelerate the introduction of such potent weapons in Tehran’s growing anti-shipping arsenal.
The operational concept of the Bastion P coastal defense system employs multiple mobile launchers each carrying two Yakhont missiles, capable of attacking targets at a distance of 250 km from the coast. Targeting is provided by helicopters or other airborne platforms, coastal radars or ships at sea. Each launch unit is operating independently, or coordinate its activity with another launch vehicle located up to 15 km away, targeting, command and control are provided by the central command vehicle and regional command post that can be located more than 25 km apart.
The current contract, estimated to be worth $300 million includes the delivery of two Bastion coastal defense systems, each includes 36 missiles. It is yet unclear if the Syrian navy will also opt to equip its naval platforms will with these new weapons. The Yakhont can be fitted with relatively small vessels, from corvette size and larger. The Bastion system is operated from mobile launchers on land, each launcher carries two ready to launch missiles. Another configuration is designed for airborne platforms. But even with these potent weapons in hand, the Syrians may not yet be ready to employ them effectively. Syria currently does not have the means to effectively target the missile beyond the horizon, lacking maritime patrol aircraft, unmanned aerial vehicles or attack aircraft capable of carrying such missiles. Even their largest Petya class Anti-Submarine Warfare (ASW) frigates do not have a flight deck for the Ka-28 (Helix) helicopters, operated by the Syrian Navy. The Syrians do not have the capability to detect, track and designate targets at those ranges since, being a small, defensive force, they did not have any weapon reaching out to these ranges. This is particularly true when the target is ‘silent’ and cannot be targeted by surface-based Electronic Support Measures (ESM).
Each mobile transporter-launcher carrying two Yakhont P800 missiles.
If the Syrians are seriously planning to extend their operational reach with the missile, one has to watch out for Syria to reach for UAVs, naval patrol aircraft (Be-200 or Il-38 from any CIS nation or other countries (decommissioning such aircraft could be an option). Such transfer of equipment could be unnoticed as it does not involves weapons transfer. They could also opt for upgrading the Su-24MK ‘Fencer D’ to take on maritime recce role. Even more serious is a combination of Su-27/Su-30 and P800s, which could provides the P800 with the stand-off targeting and attack capability against surface targets. The Russians are using their Onyx version of the weapon with their Su-33 carrier-based naval fighters. By knowing the P800 is within range, the Israeli Navy will definitely lose its dominant and unchallenged position in the Eastern Mediterranean, particularly along the Lebanese coast, and therefore should take defensive measures – certainly be on guard, which it failed, during the Second Lebanon War in 2006, when ISN Hanit was hit unexpectedly by a Hizbollan C-802 missile – having turned off its on-board defensive systems.
Of course, for deliberate ‘ambush’ attacks Syria could try deploying forward targeting using merchant or fishery vessels sailing in the Eastern Mediterranean or submarines, provided by allies such as Iran (since Syria do not have any submarines now, after decommissioning their 3 Romeo subs about six years ago). But this is really a long, long shot that would cost Syria dearly.
Altogether, for the short term, the arrival of the P800 in the Mediterranean is a serious threat. Over time, as the Israel Navy gets its Barak-8 missiles and ‘Magic Wand’ deployed, the threat could be contained, given the Syrians will not deploy large numbers of these missiles on platforms and constellations that would maximize its capability to launch saturation attack against the IN leading vessels. Whatever the case may be, both sides, the Syrians and the Israelis need time to deploy and defend so the threat may be serious, at first sight, but viable solutions are already in sight.
The Russians are using their Onyx version of the weapon with their Su-33 carrier-based naval fighters.
Rockwell Collins, Inc. (NYSE: COL) forecasts revenues for 2011 to reach $4.8 to $5.0 billion, with operating margins maintained at 19.5 – 20.5%. As operating conditions continue to improve in the commercial markets, Rockwell Collins expects ‘double digit’ revenue growth in commercial air transport and business aviation. The Government Systems business segment is expected to slow in 2011 but the company sees it as a transitional year that should position it for stronger revenue growth in the years ahead. Overall, the government systems segment is expected to grow by a modest 2% in 2011. Sales of airborne solutions should grow at 3%, driven by new rotary and fix wing platforms including KC-X and CH-47. The growth potential is reduced by other programs that are winding down – including fighter jets and KC-135 GATM upgrades. The pullout of combat brigades from Iraq is also affecting the company, as with lower demand for navigation systems, while JTRS communications systems moving from development into low rate initial production. The company expects the introduction of micro DGAR to increase sales and compensate for these declines.