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Military

Airborne Laser prepares for flight tests

October 28, 2006 The U.S. Missile Defense Agency rolled out the Airborne Laser (ABL) aircraft for the first time yesterday during a ceremony marking major program achievements on several fronts. When finished, ABL will be capable of destroying a ballistic missile during its boost phase, while it is still climbing in the Earth’s atmosphere and before it can deploy its warheads – all at the speed of light. The Northrop Grumman-developed high-energy laser, which achieved lethal power and run-times in a ground laboratory in 2005, will be installed in the ABL aircraft in 2007 to prepare for the program’s missile shoot-down test in 2008.  Read More

Very-Shallow-Water Mine-Neutralizer System

October 26, 2006 The naval mine, like its earthbound sibling the land mine, are extremely effective offensive, defensive and psychological weapons, particularly cost-effective in uneven contests, so it’s not surprising that the U.S. Navy is working to overcome enemy deployments. This week EDO was awarded a contract from the engineering and technical support to develop and demonstrate a Very-Shallow-Water (VSW) Mine-Neutralizer concept. The development effort will require EDO to design a console and launcher for the neutralizer concept that will allow future integration with unmanned surface-vehicle applications on the Navy’s new Littoral Combat Ship.  Read More

The mobile modular bridge-building machine

October 24, 2006 Need a bridge? Like really urgently? The army often needs such a capability and when the need is great, there’s always a way. The PSB2 offers the latest generation of modular bridging capability combined with maximum mobility and minimum overall costs. The PSB2 is operated by a crew of two and can carry loads of military weight class MLC 70 for tracked vehicles and up to MLC 100 for wheeled vehicles. Thanks to an optronics observation, driving and range-finding system as well as an IR imager, laser and CCD camera, a bridge can be launched day or night under tank protection. The special advantage of the modular concept lies in the numerous bridging solutions that can be carried. The Rapid Bridge Launcher 2 carries three modules each 9.7m in length. Each individual module can overcome most obstacles, as statistics show that 80 percent of them are less than nine meters long.  Read More

The RATTLRS Penetrator missile - Mach 3 and deadly accurate

October 19, 2006 Here's a riddle for would-be enemies of the state - what’s 20 feet long, weighs 2000 pounds, cruises at 70,000 feet and comes down the chimney at Mach 3? Give up? You should! It's the Revolutionary Approach To Time-critical Long Range Strike (RATTLRS) Penatrator missile and will deliver itself with pinpoint accuracy anywhere within 500 miles within a few minutes of being launched. Combatants of the United States will no doubt feel particularly uncomfortable after reading this story, because the inside 10 minute time-to-target references them as the target and it shows the U.S. military machine is well on the way to achieving its RATTLRS goals. With its speed, accuracy, range and responsiveness, RATTLRS will be able to address a wide variety of target types including mobile, time-critical, hard or buried targets. The tests completed this week by Lockheed Martin were penetrator warhead sled tests against hardened bunkers. During the tests, the RATTLRS airframe was accelerated to speeds greater than Mach 2 and slammed into the bunker (pictured). The warhead penetrated cleanly and completely through the concrete barriers.  Read More

Sniper Advanced Targeting Pod demonstrates Maverick missile compatibility

October 10, 2006 The Sniper Advanced Targeting Pod (ATP) is the targeting system of choice for both the U.S. Air Force and Air National Guard and recently became an even more valuable bit of kit when it successfully demonstrated its compatibility with the launch of a Maverick missile from an adjacent A-10C wing pylon. Combat proven on the F-15E and F-16, Sniper’s advanced targeting technology and features are changing the way the armed forces operate in theatre by providing new capabilities in non-traditional intelligence, surveillance, and reconnaissance (ISR). The Sniper is understandably very sensitive – in order to do its job, it contains a high-resolution, mid wave 3rd generation forward looking infrared (FLIR), a dual-mode laser and a CCD-TV along with a laser spot tracker and a laser marker. The advanced image processing algorithms, combined with rock steady stabilization techniques, provide cutting-edge performance but there are obvious issues in firing the rockets it does the precision strike mission targeting for when they are just a few inches away. The ability to fire missiles so close to the Sniper ATP uniquely qualifies Sniper for this weapon configuration, doubling the previous A-10C Maverick loadout capabilities.  Read More

Next generation mine-protected 6x6

October 10, 2006 BAE Systems rolled out its new production-ready 6x6 Mine-Protected Vehicle, to be unveiled Monday to military leadership at the U.S. Army Annual Meeting & Exhibition in Washington yesterday, the latest in its long line of highly survivable vehicles for the military. The RG33 is a next-generation 6x6 that offers more volume under armor than any other C130 transportable mine protected vehicle and incorporates a monocoque V-shaped hull design for protection against improvised explosive devices (IEDs). The RG33L is equipped with a hydraulic ramp, a gunner's protection kit, a robotic arm, survivability gear, and dedicated space for equipment stowage. In addition, the vehicle is remote weapon capable and network enabled. RG33L features additional systems to enhance survivability, such as modular add on armor kit provisions, TRAPP transparent armor that provides excellent visibility and situational awareness, and run-flat tires. The vehicle is equipped with multi-positional mine protected seating and air conditioning.  Read More

First laser test conducted using recycled fuel

October 5, 2006 The world’s first firing of a laser using recycled fuel was conducted by the U.S. Air Force Research Laboratory’s Directed Energy Directorate and Boeing recently, and the success of the tests suggest a major breakthrough for lasers in general and for affordable and low risk military weapons applications. During the test, a chemical laser was supplied with its two main fuels (basic hydrogen peroxide and chlorine) which were regenerated from waste products produced during prior laser operations. Testers fired the laser at high power, in the order of several kilowatts, proving its performance. This breakthrough substantially improves warfighting logistics as it removes the need to dispose of used fuel, and as the fuel recycling process can be continued indefinitely, it provides a practical way to fuel laser weapons without costly and complex fuel resupply to the battlefield or to an aircraft.  Read More

NLOS Cannon firing platform unveiled

September 30, 2006 The world got its first look at the Future Combat Systems (FCS) Non-Line-of-Sight (NLOS) Cannon Firing Platform last week. The NLOS Cannon is the lead Manned Ground Vehicle (MGV) of the U.S. Army's foremost modernization program - an integrated family of air systems and both manned and unmanned ground systems connected by a robust network. The 155-mm Firing Platform is the first step toward development of NLOS Cannon prototypes scheduled to begin testing in 2008. The NLOS Cannon Firing Platform features a 38-caliber length, fully automated 155-mm howitzer, and will soon be shipped to Army test facilities, where it will begin qualification of its ultra-lightweight cannon and breech. The Firing Platform will undergo testing through 2008. Test data from these tests will support obtaining a safety release, which will allow soldiers to begin testing the NLOS Cannon prototypes.  Read More

Compact Kinetic Energy Missile (CKEM) successfully tested against reinforced urban structu...

September 28, 2006 Things are progressing swimmingly for the Compact Kinetic Energy Missile (CKEM) following a successful guided test flight of its Compact Kinetic Energy Missile (CKEM) against a reinforced urban structure (RUS) recently at Eglin Air Force Base. CKEM is the next generation anti-tank missile. It is less than 60 inches long and weighs less than 100 pounds, yet has an extended range for direct fire, line-of-sight engagements and provides the Infantry Brigade Combat Teams, Stryker Brigades and Future Combat System platforms overwhelming lethality overmatch against all potential target sets. CKEM will provide an extended range kill capability that does not exist in currently fielded ground-to-ground anti-armor systems.  Read More

Small Diameter Bomb quadruples the number of aircraft weapons

September 27, 2006 Boeing has met the necessary U.S. Air Force requirement to support Initial Operational Capability (IOC) of the Small Diameter Bomb I (SDB I) weapon system, and the new four-bomb capacity carriage is ready for action. The first of a new generation of weapons whose small size and robust performance greatly increase mission capability, SDB I is an all-weather, 250-pound class weapon system that quadruples the number of weapons each aircraft can carry. At 71 inches long and with a standoff range of 60 nautical miles, the weapon is compatible with every U.S. fighter and bomber aircraft and Boeing will manufacture more than 24,000 such weapons and 2,000 carriages for the U.S. Air Force. The Air Force is investing US$1.2 billion for production, with deliveries planned beyond 2015. Great image gallery.  Read More

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