Highlights from the 2014 LA Auto Show

Military

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

The armoured tank turns 90

September 15, 2006 Yet another Leonardo da Vinci invention conceived hundreds of years before its time, the armoured tank began its impact on world military history 90 years ago today when it was first deployed by British troops to break the stalemate of trench warfare during the Battle of the Somme. Named because of its resemblance to a water tank, the first prototype (bottom left) was developed in England in secrecy under the sponsorship of Winston Churchill and the first 49 tanks powered by 105 hp Daimler engines were shipped from England to France after the crews had been trained in secret, and the first tank attack in history commenced on the morning of September 15, 1916. Though 31 broke down almost immediately, six got bogged (top right pictured with German troops), eight were hit by German artillery and two caught fire, two of the 3 mph (yes, three) metal monsters achieved major breakthroughs and tank warfare was born, forever changing ground warfare. The tank precipitated the initially cumbersome anti-tank mine, which was so easy to dig up and redeploy against its makers that the smaller, harder-to-detect anti-personnel mine was born, becoming a modern scourge. Ironically, the German Army against which the armoured tank was first deployed, used the tank as one of the cornerstones of its highly effective blitzkreig ("a war as fast as a lightning"), a tactic which emanated from a thinktank of senior German officers who evaluated the lessons from the country’s loss of WW1. The current main battle tank of the U.S. Army is the Abrams (bottom right), and a worthwhile read if you're into tanks can be found in this article, entitled "Heavy Metal - A Tank Company's Battle to Baghdad"  Read More

The land mine - one of history's cruelest inventions

September 15, 2006 One of the most effective and cost-efficient inventions in history, the anti-personnel or land-mine came into its own in the 20th century. Though its first recorded use was by the Chinese against the invading Mongols of Ghenghis Khan eight hundred years ago, the landmine’s ability to extend and multiply the casualties of war for many subsequent decades has seen it become the most feared of all military weapons. The advent of the tank during WW1 precipitated the development of the anti-tank mine, a clumsy, cumbersome device which was easily dug up and re-deployed by opposing forces. To prevent this redeployment, the anti-personnel mine was developed and used extensively, targeting military personnel. Today, there are more than 100 million landmines buried and active. Another 100 million are stockpiled and ten million are produced annually. Landmines from WW2 still today claim large tracts of land in France and Holland, though the world-wide proliferation of land-mines and their indiscriminate use against civilian populations did not begin until the Vietnam War.  Read More

Precision Guidance Kit (PGK) making cannons more accurate

August 17, 2006 As we reported on July 6, BAE Systems was recently selected to participate in the U.S. Army’s six-month Precision Guidance Kit (PGK) technology development program designed to make cannons MUCH more accurate. While the first increment of the PGK program is focused on improving accuracy of 155-mm rounds, BAE Systems today released the first look at a 105-mm projectile equipped with the company’s PGK solution hardware (that’s it standing upright in attached photo). You can also see a video of this technology here.  Read More

International MXT-MVA Extreme Armored Vehicle

August 15, 2006 The world’s most macho vehicle range has added an armoured variant in the form of the International MXT-MVA (Military Vehicle - Armored) shown for the first time yesterday at the U.S. Army’s Aberdeen Proving Grounds. The MXT-MVA is an all-terrain, armored wheeled vehicle platform designed to provide a new level of ballistics and blast protection on the battlefield and against the new threat of Improvised Explosive Devices (IEDs). It is a derivative of the MXT 4x4 Pickup which makes an ideal base as it is so big that the crew cab can seat five sumo wrestlers with ease (providing one of them can drive) and the tray can carry a jet ski or a motorcycle with the tailgate up. Not surprisingly, the MXT-MVA can handle the weight of the armor with ease, especially over long distances, rugged terrain and when maneuverability is critical. Powered by a 300-horsepower International V8 diesel engine with 530 lb.-ft. of torque, additional armor does not adversely affect the vehicle's superior payload ability, towing capacity or durability. The cab can be configured to fit as many as six crew members in full gear, while the body of the MXT-MVA is versatile enough to accommodate an array of weapons, navigation and communications systems and applications such as convoy protection, field shelter, ambulance and communications units, which are seamlessly integrated with the company's proprietary multiplexed electrical system.  Read More

The Steerable Guided Gun Pod system

July 31, 2006 The Steerable Guided Gun Pod system is a vast improvement in capability for not much extra cost, as it enables the current non steerable, gun system (the last unguided weapon system used on modern aircraft), to be aimed very accurately without needing to direct the flight path of the aircraft towards the target. Modern aircraft guns are static (non steerable, or un-slaved) and require the pilot to fly the aircraft directly at the target. Accordingly, they have a poor hit rate and needlessly endanger the aircrew due to the requirements of close and slow flight pattern. The Steerable Guided Gun Pod system offers a steerable gun housed inside a rigid pod mounted on the aircraft's external store station. Barrel movement is controlled by the aircraft's Fire Control Computer (FCC) and system offers slaving capability to weapon sensors, such as Helmet Mounted Sight (HMS), RADAR, D.L and FLIR.  Read More

ThreatViewer enables you to see in all directions at once

July 24, 2006 It’s the one super ability which every security officer would choose first from SuperMan’s armoury of powers – to be able to see in all directions at once. As thousands gathered for Major League Baseball's All-Star game in Pittsburgh on July 11, a new technology known as ThreatViewer was being deployed for the first time that enables security personnel to do just that. Designed as a technology for critical asset protection and remote monitoring, ThreatViewer was used to enhance security surrounding the All-Star week events and monitor critical infrastructure in Pittsburgh. Typically in such circumstance, multiple cameras are utilized to monitor a location, each providing images within a narrow line of sight. ThreatViewer provides 360-degree, panoramic images from a single position, can be integrated with existing systems or used on a stand-alone basis and can be wireless or hardwired. Interestingly, developer Augusta Systems was recently awarded a US$750,000 grant to research automatic target recognition technology for UAVs. As the complexity of homeland security and military missions increase, both robotic vehicles and security systems will need the ability to instantly recognize relevant objects and behaviours on their own without the direction of human operators.  Read More

Paveway IV precision guided weapon tests successful

July 19, 2006 The Paveway IV dual-mode GPS/INS laser guided bomb moved a step closer to active service when it was successfully dropped from a Royal Air Force Harrier GR9 in a test over the U.K. Ministry of Defence’s Aberporth Range in Wales earlier this week. The Paveway IV is developed from the foundation of the combat-proven Enhanced Paveway II, the most widely used precision munition in Operation Iraqi Freedom, with more than 8,700 dropped so far. The Paveway IV offers expanded capabilities that include the highly lethal penetrating 500-pound MK82 warhead, height-of-burst sensor, advanced programmable fuze, in-weapon LAR (launch acceptability region) generation and advanced guidance algorithm that takes full advantage of the new warhead while maximising its fly-out performance. Paveway IV also features MEMS IMU (microelectro-mechanical space system inertial measurement unit) that provides required accuracy using a more compact, less expensive system. Also featured is the RAPToR (Raytheon Anti-jam Protection Technology Receiver), the most advanced military GPS technology available. Production deliveries are scheduled to begin in September and the unit is due to enter service with the British Royal Air Force in 2007.  Read More

Skyguard uses lasers to create a protective bubble that defends against rockets, missiles ...

July 14, 2006 Northrop Grumman unveiled its Skyguard laser-based air defense system yesterday offering near-term defense against short-range ballistic missiles, short- and long-range rockets, artillery shells, mortars, unmanned aerial vehicles and cruise missiles. Derived from the Tactical High Energy Laser (THEL), one Skyguard system is capable of establishing a protective shield roughly 10 kilometres in diameter over an airport, military installation, small city or deployed forces.  Read More

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