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January 3, 2007 We’ve written before about Silynx Communications and its product range of miniature, software-defined, tactical communication headsets which are used by nearly all elite Special Ops Forces, so the company’s latest StealthOps system was a natural for these pages. StealthOps was created in response to Special Operations Forces’ need for an MBITR (Multiband Inter/Intra Team Radio ) covert system with a smaller form factor than existing systems so it could be easily concealed in covert operations. The new modular system offers complete MBITR radio concealment and a choice of either covert (wireless earpiece) or semi-covert (acoustic tube) operations. Ingeniously, a battery splitter allows the use of a battery remote from the transceiver, further reducing the form factor for easy concealment. There’s also a dual wireless PPT that can be concealed in a pocket, with a second button that can be assigned as a tone/morse generator and an elastic belt allows easy concealment of the MBITR, hand gun, spare magazine and wireless gateway under a shirt. There’s even a room eavesdropping/whisper feature with a microphone sensitivity switch.  Read More

Tiger fires Hellfire II  during French Evaluation

December 15, 2006 Australia’s new military helicopter is currently being checked out by France's Delegation Generale pour l'Armement (DGA) in Australia and part of the process took place last week at the Woomera Testing Range in South Australia. The French brought their own pilot to try out a combination of the Tiger and Lockheed Martin’s combat-proven HELLFIRE II air-to-ground missile. All went well, as the first-time French gunner, using a lock-on-before-launch technique, scored a direct hit with the HELLFIRE II missile on a target six kilometers away. On top of the HELLFIRE's seven-for-seven performance in earlier test flights from the ARH, the combination of the Tiger and HELLFIRE together make a formidable weapon system. A total of 22 new ‘Tiger’ helicopters will be bought by the Australian Defence Force, with the majority being built by Australian Aerospace in Brisbane at a cost of US$1.0 billion.  Read More

Recoilless technology provides killer app for UAVs

December 12, 2006 The technological progress of the Unmanned Aerial Vehicle has been astonishingly rapid. At the beginning of the current Afghanistan and Iraq conflicts, it’s fair to say that UAVs were regarded as a reconnaissance tool for improving situational awareness but from the time the first Hellfire missiles were fired from an RQ-1A Predator UAV during 2002, the enormous advantage of an armed UAV that can help identify and eliminate a target has been recognised. Predators can prowl and strike where conventional military force cannot. In September we wrote about the first purpose-built hunter-killer UAV, and now the rush is on to add armaments to smaller UAVs. UAVs must be relatively large to withstand the recoil of the weapons they shoot, so weapon caliber has been limited. Now a new recoilless technology is set to revolutionize the small UAV’s role in the battlespace - Recoilless Technologies International (RTI) has signed a Joint Commercialization Agreement with UAV manufacturer, Tactical Aerospace Group (TAG). The new technology offers effective elimination and control of recoil and hence enables very small UAVs to pack a massive wallop. That’s just the start though because the technology can be applied to larger caliber weapons systems so everything that flies, floats or moves on land will also be able to pack a similar increase in firepower. Who knows how small a killer UAV can get? We have visions of a swarm of semi-autonomous, networked, killer microbots shooting miniature poison-tipped darts as in Dan Brown's novel, Deception Point.  Read More

100th Aegis Weapon System ready for duty

November 28, 2006 Aegis is the most successful air defence weapon system and multi-mission combat system in the history of the U.S. Navy. Aegis delivered revolutionary capability to the fleet immediately upon its introduction in 1983 and the periodic delivery of progressive spiral development upgrades has since maintained the Aegis Weapon System at a state-of-the-art technology level to take on new, more complex threats. Appropriately, the 100th Aegis Weapon System to be delivered to the U.S. Navy by chief contractor Lockheed Martin will be installed on a destroyer to be named Wayne E. Meyer, after the retired rear admiral who is widely regarded as the "Father of Aegis." The latest Aegis Weapon System has eight times more computing power and costs 66 percent less than the first Aegis of a quarter century ago.  Read More

ICBM Weapon System upgraded

November 12, 2006 An intercontinental ballistic missile (ICBM), is a very long-range (more than 5,500 km) missile designed for delivering one or more nuclear warheads. In an all-out nuclear war, submarine and land-based ICBMs would carry the vast majority of the destructive force. Currently only five countries, U.S., Russia, France, U.K., and China have ICBMs, while India, Pakistan and North Korea are developing the capability. In 2002, the U.S. and Russia to reduce their deployed stockpiles to 2,200 warheads each. Accordingly, it's a good idea if you're going to have so much firepower on hand, that it should be ready for action, and this week the contracts were signed to deploy a replacement Environmental Control System (ECS) for more than 550 U.S. Air Force Minuteman Intercontinental Ballistic Missile (ICBM) launch, missile alert and Class 1 trainer facilities. The ECS regulates climate controls and ensures that electronics and ground support systems are maintained at specified pre-set temperatures in launch control centers and launch facilities.  Read More

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

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