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Military

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

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

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