An unnerving environment: <
> General William Wallace, the Commanding General of the US Army Training and Doctrine Command, told delegates at the 2008 Armor Conference at Fort Knox, Kentucky an 5 May. If current trends continue almost 60% (five billion) of population will live in urban areas by 2030.
The Marine Corps System Command (Marcorsyscom), briefing contenders bidding for the Combined Arms Military Operations in Urban Terrain (Camout) contracts, explained that extensive studies by the Marine Corps Warfighting Laboratory have shown that units trained to operate an integrated combined arms team are more successful within the urban battle spaces and suffer fewer casualties. The US Army and US Marine Corps are investing billions to improve their military operations in urban terrain (Mout) training facilities.
For example, the Camout project will expand the already extensive Mout training facility at the US Marine Corps's Air Ground Combat Center at Twentynine Palms, California where brigades participate in 'Mojave Viper', their final collective training exercise before deployment. Under a $ 460 million contract Allied Container Systems will build a primary town consisting of 1500 container (935), concrete (75) and modular (490) buildings which will be used for force-on-force and live-fire training. Scheduled for completion in April 2010 the town will consist of an 'urban core', an 'old town', four 'mixed use' areas and a sports stadium.
Since April 2007 battalions at Camp Lejeune, North Carolina have been using the US Marine Corps' first Mobile Mout facility; the $15 million facility covers 29 acres and consists of 71 buildings (five of with contain 360[degrees] shoot houses), more than 100 automated targets and two tunnel complexes. Marcorsyscom has subsequently awarded $ 30 million in contracts to provide modular Mout training systems at five of more locations on the Atlantic coast, $ 25 million for systems at five or more locations on the Pacific coast and another $ five million for facilities in Hawaii, Okinawa, Guam and other non-US locations. These Home Station Mout facilities will support training up to battalion level.
Important aspects of realistic urban operations training are the role players who act as enemy combatants, civilians, and members of non-governmental organisations, journalists and even foreign-language-speaking friendly forces. In April Marcorsyscom awarded Tatitlek a $ 319 million firm-fixed-price, indefinite-delivery/indefinite-quantity contract to provide specialist role players at Twentynine Palms until March 2013. Contract funds will not expire at the end of the current fiscal year.
General Dynamics Information Technology built the US Army's first advanced Mout site at the Joint Readiness Training Center at Fort Polk, Louisiana and has been awarded all of the service's follow-on Mout contracts. The company installed almost 1000 cameras, 350 microphones and more than three million feet of fibre-optic cable, which allows training supervisors to continuously observe, control, and record the conduct of training in real-time. Civilian contractors, such as Cubic, provide 1000 or more role players for the brigade-level exercises which take place each month. Over the past four years General Dynamics Information technology has also fielded Mobile Mout systems at locations in Afghanistan, Kuwait and Iraq. The mobile systems typically consist of one and two story buildings configured in a three to five-building site,.
The Israel Defense Force's new National Urban Training Center (known by its Hebrew acronym Mali) achieved full operational capability in January 2008. The $ 45 million complex was funded by American military aid while the US Army Corps of Engineers (Ace) managed its construction. Principal subcontractors include Israel's state-owned Rafael and Cubic Defense Applications, which is providing its Multiple Integrated Laser Engagement System (Miles). At the heart of the complex is the twelve square km Baladia City (derived from balad, the Arabic word for village), which consists of 472 structures, seven km of paved and unpaved roads and an extensive network of underground tunnels and bunkers. Hundreds of Arabic-speaking IDF soldiers, many of them women, play the part of enemy combatants, civilians, humanitarian aid workers and journalists. Even before the centre opened it was being used to train IDF units and Israeli and US officials have stated that US forces are likely to begin training at Baladia in the near future.
The Ace is also managing the construction of a Mout facility at the King Abdullah II Special Operations Training Center in Jordan. The US Army Program Executive Office for Simulation, Training and Instrumentation (PEO STRI) awarded General Dynamics Information Technology a contract in November 2006 to build the fully instrumented site which will include 44 buildings in a 360[degrees] live-fire urban operations facility with adjoining training ranges. The total potential value of the contract if all options are exercised is $17 million.
US Defense Secretary Robert Gates visited the Army Evaluation Task Force (AETF) at Fort Bliss, Texas on 1 May for an demonstration of the first of the four planned Future Combat Systems (FCS) 'spinouts' consisting of the Textron Tactical Unmanned Ground Sensor, which detects and reports on ground movement, the Textron Urban Unmanned Ground Sensor, which detects motion inside a building and the Raytheon Non-Line-of-Sight Launch System, nicknamed 'rockets in a box. During the demonstration Urban UGS units placed in the building relayed details about suspected insurgent activity to troops in nearby Bradley fighting vehicles. A squad drove forward and dismount to deploy an iRobot Small Unmanned Ground Vehicle (SUGV) into the building as a 'point man'. The SUGV relayed real-time images of its findings allowing the platoon to plan its assault on the building.
The army is keen to expedite 'FCS-like' capabilities into service as soon as possible as Lieutenant General Stephen Speakes, US Army Deputy Chief of Staff, explained to the Senate Armed Services Subcommittee on 3 April. He mentioned that the Gas Micro Air Vehicle, an early precursor of the FCS Class 1 Unmanned Air Vehicle, has been <<highly effective in navy explosive ordnance disposal operations in Iraq>> and that it is planned to be used by 25th Infantry Division soldiers in Iraq this year.
The iRobot Packbot robot being used by soldiers and marines in Iraq and Afghanistan is the precursor of the FCS Small Unmanned Ground Vehicle. The man-packable robot has reportedly proven invaluable during urban warfare and explosive ordnance disposal (EOD) operations.
Under the 2006 iteration of the FCS fielding plan the army intended to field the XM156 Class I Unmanned Aerial Vehicle as part of the second 'spin out' in 2012, four years before the first FCS brigade combat team is due to be formed, and the SUGV as part of spin out 2. Current plans call for 81 SUGVs and 90 Class I UAVs to be fielded with each FCS brigade combat team.
However, the service is now seeking to field the two systems as soon as possible. Soldiers from the AETF started training in January on three SUGVs and XM156 Class 1 Block 0 prototypes. In total 25 SUGVs arid 11 XM156s will be delivered for evaluation exercises scheduled to begin in June 2008. In September 2008 FCS and Training and Doctrine Command (Tradoc) officials will provide the army with a recommendation on whether to field the platforms or continue system development under the core FCS programme.
The XM156 is a platoon-level asset that provides the dismounted soldier with reconnaissance, surveillance, and target acquisition and laser designation. Total system weight, which includes the air vehicle, a control device, and ground support equipment is less than 51 pounds enabling it to carried in two custom Molle-type carriers. Gimbaled adjustable sensors allow soldiers to keep the vehicle in stationary hover while observing potential threats. Honeywell has produced 55 gMav technology demonstrators and prototypes for the FCS project since 2005.
The SUGV is the smallest ground platform in the FCS family and is intended to conduct reconnaissance, surveillance and target acquisition missions in buildings, tunnels, sewers and caves. It will be a smaller, lighter successor to iRobot's Packbot series, consisting of the Explorer, Scout and EOD models, more than 1000 of which have been deployed. The target weight for the SUGV is less than 13.6 kg, half the weight of the Packbot, with a modular 'plug-and-play' payload of up to 2.72 kg. It is intended to have an endurance of six hours and operate reliably up to 1000 metres from the operator above ground and up to 200 metres away in tunnels. The prototype SUGVs at Fort Bliss are fitted with commercial off-the-shelf sensors rather than the advanced C4ISR suite planned for the FCS, nor do they have the software-programmable Joint Tactical Radio System which will be used to transfer data within the FCS family.
Aerovironment has built more than 6000 hand-launched RQ-11A and RQ11B Ravens, making it the most numerous drone system in the world today. The battery powered Raven B, designated the Rucksack Portable UAS, has an endurance of about 80 minutes and can operate over a radius of ten km sending back high-quality video images from an electro-optic or infrared camera both with x3 digital zoom. Each system consists of three aircraft, a hand-held ground control station, a remote viewing terminal, systems spares and support equipment.
Various organisations with the US Department of Defense are sponsoring efforts to develop miniature unmanned vehicles. Aerovironment (AV) developed the Wasp micro air vehicle under contract the US Defense Advanced Research Projects Agency (Darpa) to provide a small, quiet, portable, reliable and rugged air platform for front-line reconnaissance and surveillance over land or sea. According to Darpa the Wasp is capable of flying in excess of one hour, with a speed range of 32 to 65 km/h, and provides real-time imagery from relatively low altitudes. With only a 40-cm wingspan, weighing about 300 grams and fitting in a backpack, the Wasp serves as a reconnaissance platform for the company level and below by virtue of its extremely small size and quiet propulsion system. Wasp prototypes are being evaluated in-theatre by the US Marine Corps and the US Navy.
In March 2008 Aerovironment received a six-month, $ 636,000 Phase II contract from Darpa to design and build a flying prototype for the Nano Air Vehicle (Nav) programme. The project was launched by Darpa to develop a new class of air vehicles capable of indoor and outdoor operations in urban environments. AV completed a preliminary design review at the end of the Phase I of its Nav, which is designed to weigh no more than ten grams and carry a payload of up to two grams. If the Phase II demonstration is successful Darpa has the option to extend the programme for an additional 18 months.
BAE Systems signed a $ 38 million agreement with the US Army Research Laboratory in April 2008 to lead a team of scientists that will develop miniature UGVs to improve situational awareness in urban environments and complex terrain, such as mountains and caves. Micro Autonomous Systems and Technology (Mast) Collaborative Technology Alliance will develop an autonomous, multifunctional collection of miniature intelligence-gathering robots that can operate in places inaccessible or too dangerous for humans.
The Mast alliance will explore four primary research areas, led by four principal alliance members: BAE Systems will lead Microsystems Integration, the University of Michigan will lead Microelectronics, the University of Maryland will lead the Microsystem Mechanics and the University of Pennsylvania will lead Processing for Autonomous Operation. The alliance also has five additional members participating in one or more of the research areas: the University of California at Berkeley, the California Institute of Technology and the Jet Propulsion Laboratory, the Georgia Institute of Technology, the University of New Mexico and North Carolina Agricultural and Technical State University. Key areas of technology development include small-scale aeromechanics and ambulation, propulsion, sensing, processing and communications, navigation and control, micro devices and integration, platform packaging and systems architectures. The alliance has a planned duration of five years with an option to extend to the contract for an additional five years.
Foster-Miller, an American subsidiary of Qinetiq, announced in May 2008 the delivery of its 2000th Talon EOD UGV to US Department of Defense customers. A more significant milestone occurred later in the month with Foster-Miller receiving a new $ 400 million indefinite-delivery/ indefinite-quantity contract for additional Talon replacement parts; the award replaced the $150 million IDIQ contract in early 2007 which has since been fully funded. The standard Talon weighs about 45 kg and can be remotely operated at ranges up to 1000 metres. Under contract to the US Army's Armament Research, Development, and Engineering Center Foster-Miller developed the Special Weapons Observation Reconnaissance Detection System (Swords) variant of the Talon. The Swords can be armed with an M240 7.62-mm or an M249 5.56-mm machine gun, the Barrett 12.7-mm sniper rifle and other light weapons. With the M249 fitted to the Swords weighs 196 pounds and can achieve a top speed of approximately eight km/h. The Swords became the first weaponised UGV to be deployed in-theatre when it accompanied the 3rd Infantry Division to Iraq in mid-2007.
Based on user feedback Foster-Miller developed the Swords 2, which was unveiled last year as the Modular Advanced Armed Robotic System (Maars), The purpose-built chassis provides a uni-body frame with easier battery and electronics accessibility, a larger payload bay, greater speed and better manoeuvrability. The new digital control unit 'significantly' improves command and control and situational awareness for the operator.The turret-mounted M240B machine gun can be quickly replaced with an articulated arm so the Maars can be used as an IED identification and neutralization tool. The complete system weighs about 160 kg.
Foster-Miller expanded its robot portfolio in June 2007 through the acquisition of Automatika which developed the lightweight Dragon Runner Mobile Ground Sensor System in collaboration with Carnegie Mellon's Robotics Institute and the US Marine Corps Warfighting Laboratory. Weighing about four kg and measuring 39.4 cm long, 28.6 cm wide and 12.7 cm high, the Dragon Runner fits inside a marine's rucksack along with its handheld controller which incorporates a small screen. Intended for use at the squad, platoon and company level primarily for operations in an urban or desert environment the robot's suspension system enables it to be thrown through windows, up stairs or over walls. It also has a 'sentry mode' using its several on-board sensors to provide real-time imagery and audio alerts. About 20 systems have been deployed to Iraq for field trials.
The Israel Defense Force funded Elbit Systems to develop the Viper (Versatile, Intelligent and Portable Robot) as part of its Portable Unmanned Ground Vehicle programme. The Viper weighs about eleven kg and measures 30 x 40 cm, enabling it to be carried inside a soldier's backpack. If features a new integrated wheeled-track system powered by two electric motors which enable it to climb stairs and overcome other obstacles. A 'scorpion tail' elevates the payload and stabilises the platform. The Viper can be equipped with a range of payloads such as day/night cameras, explosive detectors, a 9mm mini-Uzi submachine gun, grenade launchers and a robotic arm. The Viper is expected to be fielded initially to special forces units but eventually the army plans to equip each infantry platoon with the system.
PEO Soldier describes the US Army's new 7.62 mm M110 Semi-Automatic Sniper Systems (Sass) as a weapon 'designed for the urban fight'. In 2007 Knight's Armament began delivering the first of 4492 M110s the army plans to buy to replace the bolt-action Remington 7.62 mm M24 Sniper Weapon System. The Sass requirement stipulated that the selected rifle design had to be capable of delivering precision fire against personnel and soft-skinned materiel targets out to a range of 1000 metres. The M110 is optimised to fire M118LR long-range ammunition but can also fire standard 7.62 x 51 mm ammunition including the M993 armour piercing round. To improve survivability the weapon is fitted with a flash/sound suppressor. The rifle is supplied as a complete system with shipping container, 10, 15 and 20-round magazines and the new Leupold XM151 Spalding telescope. According to PEO Soldier one of the major improvements that the M110 will provide in the urban environment is, <<the higher rate of fire, allowing snipers to target insurgents accurately and quick in civilian dense areas>>. One army non-commissioned officer noted that replacing the bolt-action M24 means, <<I don't have to have my shooter carry an extra weapon when we go into buildings to clear rooms. He can actually use the M110. That's going to lighten our load a lot>>.
The British Ministry of Defence awarded Accuracy International a contract to supply 580.338 calibre (8.6 mm) Artic Warfare sniper rifles, under the designation L115A3, to replace the 20-yearold 7.62 mm L96Als also made by the Portsmouth firm. The boost in calibre extends the range of the Britain's sniper weapon capability from 1000 to 1500 metres. Fed from a five-round magazine the bolt-action rifle weighs 6.8 kg and measures 1300 mm in length.
A number of small arms detection systems (Sads) are being offered for the difficult task of locating snipers in an urban environment. Early in 2008 an unspecified number of US soldiers in Iraq began field trials of the Soldier-Worn Acoustic Targeting System (Swats), developed by Planning Systems (PSI), a subsidiary of Qinetiq North America, for the US Army Program Executive Office Soldier. The company's complete Ears gunshot localisation system also includes Ears-VM (Vehicle Mounted), Ears-FS (Fixed Site), Ears-MC (Mobile Checkpoint), and Ears-UG (Unattended Ground) configurations. The Ears-VM and Ears-FS have been deployed in Afghanistan since August 2007; for these applications Ears uses a 15-cm hemispherical sensor weighing less than 2.25 kg that is capable of determining the position of a sniper in less than one second. The single Swats sensor measures 7.62 cm x 7.62 cm x 1.9 cm and weighs less than 500 grams. It provides an audio, visual or digital alert providing an accurate position of sniper locations at ranges beyond 300 metres.
Darpa's requirement for a vehicle-mounted Sads system that would localise snipers firing at an HMMWV travelling at up to 95 km/h has resulted in the Boomerang, which is jointly sponsored by the US Marine Corps Warfighting Laboratory. BBN Technologies exploited its earlier work in developing the Acoustic Counter-Sniper System to produce prototypes for the Boomerang. Mounted on a short mast the Boomerang microphones detect bullets passing within 30 metres of the mast by both the shock wave that bullets create and by the muzzle blast from a weapon. In less than two seconds the system provides the distance, direction and azimuth to the source of the gunfire. Information is delivered by both a voice announcement and a visual image on an LED display. The system has undergone extensive operational trials in Iraq.
AAI believes that its PDCue system, which utilises sensor clusters housed in modules positioned at the four corners of a vehicle, offers an advantage over a 'single-mast system'. According to AAI the system provides a much more accurate indication of the firing point at ranges out to 1.2 km as well as offering added survivability through redundancy. The US Army has installed the PDCue on the Stryker and HMMWV for operational trials.
Since 2005 Canadian Army Coyote 8 x 8 armoured reconnaissance vehicles in Afghanistan have been fitted with the Ferret Small Arms Detection and Localization System developed by MacDonald Dettwiler & Associates in collaboration with Defence Research Establishment Valcartier. Using acoustics from the rifle's muzzle blast and shock wave the Ferret indicates the bearing, elevation and range to the firing point; it also determines near miss distance and the calibre of the projectile. The system has been upgraded to provide a voice warning in place of the original audible tone, and when linked to a global positioning system receiver will provide a ten-figure grid reference for the firing point.
Soldiers in urban operations experience a high number of wounds to the head and upper torso as they look around corners, over walls and through windows. The Israeli-US company Corner Shot has expanded its range of small arms mounts designed to shot around corners, thus minimising the risk to the firer. The first weapon, unveiled in late 2003, consists of a gun frame with a video display and a forward pistol mount with camera attached that can be swivelled to the left and right. The effective range depends on the pistol used; the company cites a range of 100 metres for 9 mm, .40 calibre and .45 calibre pistols and 200 metres when used with FN Herstal's 5.7 mm FiveseveN pistol. The Corner Shot weighs 3.86 kg, plus the weight of the pistol, and measures 820 mm in length with the stock extended or 640 mm with the stock folded. For extended surveillance and to improve accuracy a lightweight bipod can be fitted to the pistol mount. The Corner Shot APR (for Assault Pistol Rifle) incorporates a small 5.56 mm assault rifle instead of a pistol, enabling the user to engage targets at ranges of up to 250 metres. It uses standard M16 / M4 magazines or specially designed shortened magazines and can fire all 5.56-mm ammunition types. The latest member of the family is the Corner Shot 40 Personal Grenade Launcher, which provides the extended range and enhanced firepower of a 40-mm grenade launcher. The weapon weighs 4.4 kg and measures 900 mm in length with the stock open.
Australia's Defence Science and Technology Organisation (DSTO) developed the Off-Axis Viewing Device (OAVD), which can be attached to standard service weapons to reduce the vulnerability of troops in urban operations. The first 130 units were fielded with troops in Iraq in March 2005, only four months after the project began. Since September 2005 the device has also been used by Australian special forces in Afghanistan and the army intends to make the OAVD a standard accessory for its small arms. The OAVD weighs about 500 grams and measures 150 mm in length and can be clipped to the standard optical sights on the F88 Steyr 5.56 mm assault rifle, the F89 Minimi 5.56 mm light machine gun and the M4 carbine. Two oval-shaped mirrors within the sealed OAVD reflect the image from the weapon's optical sight to the soldier, who is able to search for and engage targets while keeping his head and upper torso behind cover. When not needed the OAVD is rotated away from the weapon's standard sight. Under licence from the DSTO, Swedish company Aimpoint is to manufacture a production standard model named the Concealed Engagement Unit.
ShieldShot of Austin, Texas manufactures the Tactical Mirror Sight (TMS), which mounts on the rail of an assault rifle behind any red dot sight. The TMS flips into its mirror position to aim and shoot around corners, or flips to a backup iron sight position, or flips down out of the way for conventional aiming through the optical sight. The TMS can be positioned for both right- and left-hand shooting. The TMS kit also includes a large mirror to use for building clearing and for shooting over high walls; the unit snaps over the smaller mirror. The TMS is in service with US special operations forces in various theatres.
Breaking Down Doors
The 'door buster' is the nickname US marines have given to the M1014 Joint Service Combat Shotgun developed by Benelli Armi of Italy as the M4 Super 90. The have fielded almost 4000 weapons since 2002 and the designation as a 'joint' system could lead to further orders from the other services. The weapon weighs 3.8 kg with an empty magazine and features a stock that can be extended to increase the weapon's length from 88.6 to 101 cm. It features a MIL-STD-1913 Picatinny rail interface on the top so various day and night sights and other accessories can be mounted.
The semi-automatic weapon is fed from a tubular magazine that holds six 12-gauge rounds. Ammunition types include rifled slugs, buckshot, birdshot, 'lock buster' and CS rounds.
The US Army is fielding the C-More Systems XM26 Modular Accessory Shotgun System as an attachment for the M4 Modular Weapon System or for uses as a stand-alone weapon. Fed from a five-round magazine the M26 fires all standard lethal, non-lethal and door-breaching 12-gauge ammunition including the new M-1030 cartridge approved for full materiel release in late 2007. The M-1030 is an anti-material cartridge designed to be used for defeating wooden doors (deadbolts, knobs and hinges) and padlock hasps. The frangible projectile of the M-1030 minimizes the risks associated with the buckshot breaching cartridge previously used.
For an assault entry US Army soldiers can use the M100 Grenade Rifle Entry Munition (Grem) developed by Israel's Rafael Advanced Defense Systems. <<This is a great step from the standpoint of survivability for soldiers,>> according to Barbara Muldowney, Deputy Product Manager for Individual Weapons at Ardec. <<Previously, to blow a door, soldiers had to run across the street, put their charges on the door and then run back to set them off before going through the door. If there was a sniper on top of a nearby building those soldiers were at risk. Now they can be across the street, in hiding, and use the Greta to blow the door open to allow our forces to go in and overcome whoever is inside.>>
Small numbers of Grems were fielded with the 101st Airborne Division in Iraq in 2006 and the US Army selected Grem as of the top ten greatest inventions in 2005 for army use. The M100 is derived from Rafael's Simon, a self-contained munition that is launched from standard 5.56-mm assault rifles to smash open steel or wooden doors. The Simon is in service with the Israel Defense Force, the armies of Canada and the UK, and Rafael has developed a version that can be fired from the Nexter Famas and other short barrel 5.56-mm assault rifles.
In US service the Grem is launched from the M16 rifle or M4 carbine using standard ball or tracer ammunition at ranges of 9 to 33 metres from a door. A standoff rod detonates the munition at the correct distance from the door to ensure that the blast is dissipated across the door's surface, blowing it in. Whereas the standard Simon warhead has 150 grams of explosive the Greta warhead contains 120 grams of insensitive explosive. Soldiers tasked to use the M100 will carry two munitions and a butt-pad, which is fitted to their weapon before firing to absorb the additional recoil. The army plans to buy approximately 8000 Grems and 50,000 Greta-target Practice munitions each year.
Smashing the Wall
Operations in Iraq and Afghanistan have increased the demand for lightweight assault weapons that can be carried by soldiers on foot patrol and used to defeat enemy combatants in buildings and improvised bunkers.
In this operational context the popularity of the Nammo 66 mm M72 Light Anti-armour Weapon (Law), first used by US troops during the Vietnam War and phased out of US service in the 1980s in favour of heavier weapons designed to defeat Soviet main battle tanks, has been revived. The company's recently acquired US subsidiary, Nammo Talley, developed the M72A4, A5 and A6 Improved Laws and the newer A7 model. The US Department of Defense has bought more than 10,000 M72A6s, which combines a lower penetration capability with an enhanced blast effect, and M72A7 Laws for use in urban operations in Iraq.
Nammo Talley has recently developed the Next-Generation Law family which consists of three models: the M72AS, which combines the M72A7 warhead with a confined space propulsion system; the M72A9 is a high-penetration weapon intended to be used against armoured vehicles and the M72A10 with a blast/fragmentation warhead for use against personnel. Nammo Talley has recently completed an $ eight million firm-fixed-price contract from the Naval Surface Warfare Center, Crane Division, in August 2007 to produce 1287 M72A7 Laws and 1833 M72A9 Law Anti-Structure Munition (ASM) rounds.
Nammo developed the M72 EC (Enhanced Capacity) Law and the M72 ASM RC (Anti-Structure Munition Reduced Calibre). The EC Law, which was qualified in 2006, offers an improved launcher and warhead, and a new dual safety fuse. The M72 ASM RC uses the same launcher and rocket motor as the EC Law; the firer can select either the 'superquick' mode to make a large hole in a double brick wall or the 'delay' mode for the warhead to penetrate the wall and explode inside.
Early this year Nammo Talley completed deliveries of 3000 thermobaric MK 80 NE (for Novel Explosive) thermobaric rockets for its 83 mm Shoulderlaunched Multipurpose Assault Weapon (Smaw) in service with the US Marine Corps under a $14 million contract awarded in October 2006. The Smaw-NE was developed and fielded by Nammo Talley, the Naval Surface Warfare Center and the Marine Corps Systems Command in response to an urgent US Marine Corps request in 2002 and the first 400 rockets were deployed in Iraq in March 2003. <<The Smaw, particularly with the thermobaric round, has proven to be one of the most effective weapons used during urban combat in Iraq,>> wrote an US Marine Corps infantry officer in the April 2007 Marine Corps Gazette. <<Many observers have pointed them out as one of if not the key infantry weapon during the battle of Fallujah in November 2004 and have recommended that the numbers be increased so that one can be provided in support of each squad.>>
The Smaw, based on the IMI B-300, has been in US Marine Corps service for 20 years and was previously used with the high-explosive, dual-purpose (HEDP) rocket against bunkers, masonry and concrete walls, and light armour and high explosive anti-armour rocket against AFVs. Nammo Talley used the HEDP rocket to develop the M141 Disposable Smaw (Smaw-D) to meet a US Army requirement for a Bunker Defeat Munition. According to the army the Smaw-D system is fully operational at eleven metres, making it an optimum weapon for military operations in urban terrain. Several thousand rounds were produced in the late 1990s and since the start of the war on terrorism Nammo Talley has produced several thousand more to replace weapons used to attack bunkers and caves in Afghanistan and Iraq. The Smaw-D weighs 7.26 kg in an 813-mm long launch tube. A $ 26 million firm-fixed price contract awarded in March 2008 will extend production for a further five years.
The Saab Bofors Dynamics 84-mm AT4, under the US designation M136, is the standard Law in US Army and US Marine Corps service. In May the company completed a $ seven million US Marine Corps contract for 3500 M136 Laws placed twelve months earlier; options could take the value of the contract to $ 40 million.
To expand the weapons utility in an urban environment the Swedish company developed the AT4CS (for Confined Space) and the high penetration AT4CS HP which can punch through more than 500 mm of armour. The British, Danish, French and US armies have bought the AT4CS HE The AT4CS Heat RS (for reduced sensitivity) rocket has been developed to meet the needs of the US Special Operations Command (Socom).
The US Army is using funding provided through the Department of Defense's Foreign Comparative Testing (FCT) programme to evaluate an Enhanced Blast Tandem Warhead for the AT4 CS for use in urban operations. The army has indicated a potential requirement for 5000 weapons annually and is now evaluating the results of a ten-month test programme completed earlier this year.
Also under the FCT programme Socom funded Saab Bofors Dynamics to develop a Multi-Target (MT) round for its venerable 84-mm Carl Gustaf recoilless rifle, which is in service as the Multi-Role Anti-armor Anti-personnel Weapon System (Maaws).The new round is based upon the Heat 751 tandem warhead with a follow-through charge optimised for use in urban/built up areas. Socom has stipulated that the MT warhead must penetrate 30 cm of triple brick and 20 cm of reinforced concrete to provide a 'kill behind wall' capability. The Department of Defense's FY08 Gwot supplemental funding request includes $ 6.6 million for 2000 84-mm MT 756 and 3000 40-mm rounds. The 40-mm round is the latest addition to the Maaws munitions family and replaces both the High Explosive and High Explosive Dual Purpose rounds. In May Saab received a $ 48 million contract for additional weapons and ammunition for delivery in 2009.
IMI's shoulder-launched Shipon UT uses the combat-proven S-300/Smaw propulsion system to deliver anti-tank and anti-fortification/anti-personnel rockets to a range of 600 metres. The bunker buster is designed to penetrate walls and explode inside the target for maximum effect. The fire control system, which incorporates a laser rangefinder, ballistics and fuze control processor, and night vision capability, is the only reusable element mounted on the disposable launch canister. The Shipon weighs nine kg ready to launch. Extended range rockets are also under development.
The Bunkerfaust (Bkf) munition was developed by Dynamit Nobel Defence (DND) at the request of the German Army so that it could use its DND Panzerfaust 3 (Pzf 3) anti-armour system to defeat targets behind walls. The standard Pzf 3 Heat warhead incorporates an extendable spike that detonates the shaped charge at the optimal standoff distance from vehicles, enabling it to penetrate more than 800 mm of armour, and when the spike is retracted the warhead acts like a high explosive squash head (Hesh) round, thus causing significantly more damage to walls. The 40 million [euro] contract placed by the Netherlands in 2004 for the Pzf 3 included 1500 Bkf muntions.
British forces are using the AT4 CS as an interim measure until the introduction in 2009 of its new Anti-Structure Munition (ASM), which will enable infantry units to 'defeat hardened structures such as buildings or bunkers more precisely and safely, and without recourse to artillery or air support'.
Dynamit Nobel Defence was selected in February 2006 to develop, supply and support the ASM in a programme expected to be worth about 40 million [pounds sterling] in the first five years. The ASM is based the 90-mm Matador (Man-portable Anti-Tank, Anti-DOoR) Law that DND developed for the Singapore Armed Forces. The 9.8-kg weapon, marketed internationally as the Panzerfaust (Pzf) 90, is designed for use in urban operations. Its multi-purpose warhead, designed by Rafael Defense (DND's parent company), is effective against fortifications and armoured vehicles out to 500 metres and in the delay mode the warhead punches a 450-mm diameter hole in a triple brick wall. The ASM for the British Army can be programmed before launch to achieve either a maximum breaching effect or a greater behind-armour effect.
Rafael and DND produce other weapons optimised for urban operations. The Matador WB (for Wall Breacher) uses an 'explosively formed ring' warhead to blast a 75 to 100-cm hole in a double brick wall while two munitions will blast a hole in a triple brick wall or a double reinforced concrete wall. The weapon has a range of 20 to 100 metres. German forces are equipped with DND's 60-mm RGW 60 (for Recoilless Grenade Weapon), which is essentially a scaled-down Pzf 90 weighing 5.8 kg. It is available with three warheads: a shaped charge Heat projectile, a multi-purpose Heat warhead that can penetrate over 100 mm of RHA and then scatter 270 preformed fragments and a Hesh warhead designed to punch a 400-mm hole in masonry.
US and coalition forces have fired more than 6000 Lockheed Martin Hellfire II missiles in their war against terrorism. Because of the confined complex urban environment, the Hellfire was the weapon of choice for its precision and effects--minimizing collateral damage while still achieving the ground commander's intent--wrote an AH-64 Apache pilot of the US Army's 3rd Armored Cavalry Regiment in September 2005. US Air Force MQ-1 Predator and MQ-9 Reaper drones now routinely launch Hellfires during their patrols.
The Hellfire II family includes four variants:
* the AGM-114K Heat missile which can defeat all known and projected armoured threats, according to the manufacturer
* the AGM-114M blast fragmentation missile which defeats soft targets such as ships, buildings, bunkers and light armoured vehicles
* the AGM-114N metal augmented charge missile designed for use against enemy forces in buildings, bunkers, caves and other enclosures
* the recently introduced AGM-114K-A missile with an augmented Heat warhead which adds blast fragmentation to the Heat warhead's anti-tank capability for use against soft targets in the open.
Lockheed Martin developed the AGM-114N in response to a US Marine Corps urgent operational requirement for a Hellfire II warhead optimised to attack multi-room structures, bunkers and caves following the 2001 invasion of Afghanistan. The missile is fitted with a 3.63-kg thermobaric warhead that creates a sustained pressure wave. The missile uses the same guidance and control section and the propulsion section as the AGM-114K/AGM-114M missiles and incorporates the same electronic safe, arm/fire device as the AGM-114M.
The Department of Defense approved the AGM-114N Mac (Metal Augmented Charge) missile for accelerated full-rate production in August 2005. Lockheed Martin officials reported that early versions of the Mac-configured Hellfire have already been combat-proven in Iraq and have been cited by the administration as meeting an urgent requirement to suppress terrorists in urban areas. The missile is reportedly capable of reaching around corners to strike enemy forces hiding in cases, bunkers and hardened multi-room complexes. Coupled with the Hellfire's highly accurate semi-active laser seeker, the Mac warhead provides the ability to take out targets in urban environments with high lethality and minimal collateral damage.
The French Army is buying M299 four-rail launchers and multiple warhead variants of the Hellfire II to equip its new Eurocopter Tiger Helicoptere d'Appui Destruction attack helicopters.
Under the US Department of Defense's Foreign Comparative Test programme Ardec is considering the results of a recent evaluation of 70-mm Multi-Purpose Penetration Warheads supplied by Nammo in 2007 to determine if they would give the AH-6J helicopters of the 160th Special Operations Aviation Regiment 'a significant new capability to defeat hardened targets such as buildings and bunkers'. The 70-mm MPP, a derivative of Nammo's RA79 warhead, will be used on the 2.75-inch Hydra rocket. The warhead is in already used on Danish and Norwegian F-16 fighters and British Army AH-1 Apache attack helicopters.
The US Army funded the development of a bunker buster warhead for Raytheon's BGM-71 Tow missile for use with the General Dynamics Land Systems--Canada M1134 Stryker Anti-Tank Guided Missile vehicle. Each of the army's Stryker Brigade Combat Teams has an anti-armour company of three platoons each with three Stryker ATGM vehicles armed with an elevating twin Tow missile launcher. The Tow bunker buster leverages work that was done in developing the blast-fragmentation warhead for Hellfire missile. The army awarded the first production contract in June 2005 and the Canadian Army later bought 462 missiles. The army plans to keep improved Tow missiles in service through 2025.
The shoulder-launched Raytheon/ Lockheed Martin Javelin medium-range fire-and-forget missile is another antitank missile that has excelled as a 'bunker buster'. The after action report of the US Army's 3rd Infantry Division (Mechanized) following the 2003 invasion of Iraq stated: <<The Javelin missile was an invaluable weapon in defeating enemy armored forces and reinforced positions to include bunkers, building, and revetments. There is no other weapon that can support dismounted infantry in fighting against these types of engagements. The command launch unit (CLU) provided day and night capability with the Javelin missile as well as provided vehicles without [Long Range Advanced Scout Surveillance System] and dismounted infantrymen with a means of thermal observation out to four km.>> The army plans to integrate the Javelin with the Kongsberg M151 Protector Remote Weapon Station fitted on its Ml126 Stryker Infantry Carrier Vehicles. Production of the improved Block 1 missile and launch unit began in September 2006. It features an enhanced rocket motor that reduces the missile's time of flight, improvements to the laucher, includes software enhancements and improvement to the warhead to increase lethality against a wider range of target sets. Planned enhancements include extending the missile's range. The Javelin has been sold to nine countries and other sales are being negotiated.
The Israel Defense Force (IDF) routinely uses helicopter-launched missiles as the weapon-of-choice to target insurgents in urban areas. Rafael developed the Spike to meet the IDF's demanding requirements for an ATGW family that could be used in the dismounted role, on ground platforms and on helicopters.
The family consists of the 800-metre Spike-SR, the 2500-metre-range Spike-MR (previously known as the Gill), the 4000-metre Spike-LR and the 8000metre Spike-ER (previously known as NTD Dandy). The fire-and-forget Spike-MR and Spike-LR share the same launcher and missile although the Spike-LR can also be supplied with a two-way fibre-optic datalink. The Spike was initially fielded with a shaped tandem-charge warhead to defeat tanks equipped with explosive reactive armour. Rafael has since completed development of its Penetration, Blast and Fragmentation warhead for the Spike-ER 'to fulfil the needs of its customers for an effective/ minimal collateral damage weapon system for urban and anti-terror warfare, low-intensity conflicts and high value targets'. The Spike has been sold to the Czech Republic, Italy, Finland, the Netherlands, Poland, Romania, Singapore, Spain and unspecified customers in South America and elsewhere.
France's Delegation Generale pour l'Armement, on behalf of the French and German armies, is testing MBDA's new Milan ER (Extended Response) missile and new ADT (ADvanced Technologies) firing post. MBDA has produced more than 10,000 firing posts and 360,000 Milan wire-guided medium-range missiles for 43 customers since 1974. Both the French and German armies are considering the Milan ER to replace earlier generation missiles. The Milan ER retains the weapon's proven wire-guidance system but extends the range from 1950 to 3000 metres. Ruag has developed a new dual-purpose 115-mm warhead that is able to pierce more than 1.1 metres of armour protected by reactive armour or smash a hole through 2.5 metres of concrete. The integral thermal imager enables targets to be tracked and engaged in almost all weather conditions while a video input/output system enables remote operation. The fully digital system incorporates built-in test facilities, improved maintenance and a training system. During troop trials in South Africa earlier this year the newly trained operators struck the target with each of the ten missiles fired.
The German Army has a requirement for a light multi-role missile (MEhrrollenfahiges Leichtes Lenkflugkorpersystern or Mells) to replace its present Milan systems. The army is seeking a weapon with a 4000-metre range that can be used against a wide target set in both 'fire and observe' and 'fire and forget' modes. Candidate systems include the Milan ADT/ER, the Javelin and the Eurospike offered by Diehl BGT Defence, Rheinmetall Defence and Rafael.
<<The tank was not designed to do what it's doing now in Iraq,>> said Captain David Centeno, assistant product manager of the Tank Urban Survival Kit (Tusk) project, at the 2007 Armor Warfighting Conference at Fort Knox, Kentucky. <<You take this massive tank and put it in the middle of a city, now you have to design something to enable it to survive and still do its mission in a city.>> The US Army's solution is the Tusk system, developed by General Dynamics at the request of the US Army's M1 tank project manager.
Based on extensive feedback from M1 crews the package is intended to reduce the vulnerability of tanks operating in urban environments in Iraq.
In 2007 the service began installing Tusk elements on M1A1 and M1A2 tanks in country. The complete Tusk package, which now includes Tusk II and III enhancements, comprises:
* Abrams Reactive Armor Tiles (Arats) fitted to the sides of the hull to provide enhanced protection against Heat warheads fired from hand-held weapons such as RPGs
* shaped belly armour to divert the blast of a roadside bomb and a new driver's seat which provides better protection. This aluminium armour, which weighs about 1500 kg, can be fitted in two hours
* the stabilised Counter-Sniper/Anti-Materiel Mount which enables an M2 12.7-mm heavy machine gun to be mounted above the M1's 120-mm main armament. The M2 slews with the tank's main gun and gives the crew a weapon to accurately engage targets without using the main armament or exposing themselves
* the Crows remote operated weapon station armed with an M2 12.7-mm heavy machine gun operated by the tank commander. The weapon can be elevated from -20[degrees] to +60[degrees]
* a Loader's Armored Gun Shield (Lags) with transparent armour panels
* a thermal weapon sight for the loader's machine gun
* a thermal Driver's Vision Enhancer to improve the driver's vision at night and in poor visibility conditions
* a situational awareness camera mounted on the rear of the turret bustle which enables the loader to scan a 180[degrees] arc covering the rear of the tank
* a tank infantry phone mounted at the rear of the chassis to enable infantrymen to talk directly to the tank crew and assist in directing fire
* a power distribution box with circuit protection to support the various Tusk elements.
The Tusk is a modular package that enables the user to install those elements most appropriate for the threat. GDLS received a $ 45 million contract in August 2006 to produce 505 Tusk sets with Arat production funded in a separate $ 59 million contract. In December 2006 GDLS received an $ eleven million contract modification to an award potentially worth up to $ 60 million to produce 250 mine floors. The service's goal is to ship 565 kits to Iraq so that all tanks will be fitted with the Tusk by the third quarter of 2008. The army's fielding plan will remove tanks from operation for as little time as possible; units will be able to install the complete Tusk in the field in about twelve hours and the following day will be trained on the new equipment. Elements of the Tusk package are also being fielded to tanks not deployed in Iraq; for example, in April the army ordered 2832 Lags.
The US Marine Corps intends to fit elements of the Tusk to its M1 fleet.
The Australian Army acquired 59 ex-US Army M1A1 Aim tanks under project Land 907 to replace its fleet of Leopard 1 tanks. In the second phase of the project the service tentatively plans to spend between AS 150 and AS 200 million to upgrade the M1 to a standard similar to the Tusk.
BAE Systems Land Systems is providing the US Army with 952 Bradley Urban Operations and Survivability Kit (Busk) to improve the effectiveness of the M2 Infantry Fighting Vehicle and M3 Cavalry Fighting Vehicle in urban operations. The primary components of the Busk are:
* a Commander's Light Automatic Weapon (Claw) mounted on the CIV and integrated with the A3 fire control system so that it can be fired under armour with existing fire control components. The Claw can be either the 5.56-mm M249 Squad Automatic Weapon or the 5.56-mm M231 Firing Port Weapon
* enhanced protection against mine and IED explosions
* a high-powered, hand-held battle command spotlight which provides three million candlepower using 24-volt vehicle power and an existing connector. This can be used to search for IEDs placed along roads at night and to identify vehicles at a standoff distance before they approached traffic control points
* a lightweight, non-conductive 'dome tent' structure to protect the turret and crew from low hanging electrical power lines at speeds up to 30 mph
* external optical components, such as the Commander's Independent Viewer (CIV) on the A3 model, are protected by a mesh encased in a steel flame which does not affect normal sighting functions.
The Israel Defense Force has extensive experience of low-intensity conflict and urban operations which is reflected in the upgrade kits developed for its Merkava Mk 3 and Mk 4 tanks. The kit for the Mk 3 includes a heavier bottom plate better able to withstand the blast of large IEDs. The 12.7-mm machine gun mounted on top of the tank's 120-mm main gun is linked to the fire control system so that the gunner can fire it under armour protection. The commander's cupola has been redesigned to improve visibility. Marking poles are mounted on the extremities of the tank so that it is easier for the commander and driver to manoeuvre in confined spaces. Steel mesh is fitted to protection optics, intakes and exhausts. An observation window and firing hatch are mounted in the rear door so that a sniper can ride in the rear compartment to provide close protection. The kit for the Mk 4 includes more advanced elements:
* a hunter-killer sight developed by ODF Optronics is mounted on a mast on the turret roof to improve the commander's situational awareness
* an overhead weapon station that will be operated by the loader
* the Vectrop Tank Sight System which mounts four protected cameras in blind spots around the tank to provide the driver with rear and side views
* a front-mounted ram to enable the Merkava to clear barricades and other obstacles
* an active protection system will also be fitted. The Rafael Trophy system is now being installed on an unspecified number of tanks although Israel Military Industries is promoting its Iron Fist system for further upgrades.
The British Army contingent serving in Iraq still includes a squadron of Challenger 2 tanks. The rationale was explained by Brigadier David Rutherford-Jones, the Director Royal Armoured Corps, when he said, <<The contemporary operating environment is often urban, and this poses challenges in all sorts of ways. Recent experience in both Iraq and Afghanistan have taught us that urban terrain can no longer be considered a no-go area for armoured fighting vehicles. Challenger 2 has proven itself once again to be reassuring to light forces, particularly in high threat urban environments--the two capabilities compliment each other. That said; tanks are vulnerable if required to operate on their own in built-up areas. The US Army has lost quite a number of tanks to date in Iraq, the majority in urban environments. The lesson is combined arms grouping.>>
In 2007 a new passive armour package was fitted to the turrets of Challenger 2 deployed in Iraq as well as bar armour to the rear of the tank's chassis and turret bustle to protect against RPGs fired at close ranges.
Brigadier Rutherford-Jones also noted that not only are the engagement ranges shorter, but the very nature of the urban terrain and threats renders the main armament and coaxial machine gun less useful. Through an Urgent Operational Requirement the Selex Communications Enforcer Remote Control Weapon Station armed with a 7.62-mm machine gun has been fitted at the Challenger 2 loader's position.
The Service Technique de l'Armee de Terre (French Army technical service) awarded contracts in March 2006 to Nexter (Leclerc tank), Renault (6 x 6 VAB armoured personnel carrier) and Panhard (4 x 4 VBL scout vehicle) to develop Action en Zone URbaine (Azur) modification kits for these vehicles. Prototypes were unveiled at Eurosatory 2006 and were later shipped to the recently opened Centre d'entrainement en zone urbaine (urban training centre) at Sissonne for an initial evaluation in November and December 2006. The service is evaluating the results of these and other trials conducted in 2007.
On the Leclerc Azur the original side skirts have been replaced by new passive armour skirts and bar armour has been fitted around the rear of the hull. Additional armour has been fitted to the turret roof and protection against petrol bombs has been installed over the rear engine decks. To provide close protection a remote control weapon station fitted with a .50-calibre heavy machine gun is mounted on the roof along with a 360[degrees] panoramic sight for the tank commander. A close range communication system is provided to enable dismounted infantrymen to co-ordinate theirs actions with tank crews. The VBL Azur demonstrator incorporates a 360[degrees] surveillance device, a non-lethal grenade launcher, smoke dischargers on the front and back of the vehicle, wire cutters, a strengthened front bumper with extra storage capacity, covered engine air intakes and a manually operated searchlight.
The Canadian Army deployed a squadron of 20 Leopard A6Ms to Afghanistan between September and December 2007 and these were followed by a troop of three Danish Army Leopard 2A5DKs. Denmark's Haerens Operative Kommando (Army Operations Command) published a press release describing the action of its Leopard 2 in support of British-Danish operation in January: <<With a great deal of machine gun fire and 20 rounds fired from the guns, the Danish Leopard tank crews engaged the Taliban both out in open terrain and when the enemy forces took cover in compounds. Tank fire, which is frighteningly accurate, penetrates walls but usually does not level a mud-brick compound the way large bombs dropped by aircraft can.>>
In the same manner Canadian Leopards have smashed through the outer walls of compounds and used their main guns to blow 'mouse holes' to allow infantry to enter buildings. Speaking at the US Army Armor Conference in May 2008 Canadian armour officers stressed that the use of the tank reduced reliance on close air support and artillery thus reducing collateral damage.
In September 2006 the Canadian Army deployed a squadron of Leopard C2s (a Canadian Leopard 1A5) to Afghanistan fitted with Mexas armour around the front of the hull and turret to protect against IEDs and RPGs. Lessons from Afghanistan influenced the army to reverse an earlier decision to replace its 30-year old Leopard C2s with the Stryker Mobile Gun System, and in early 2007 Canada negotiated the lease of 20 Leopard 2 A6M tanks from German Army stocks and purchased 80 Leopard 2 A4s and 20 support variants from the Netherlands. To improve protection against mines the Leopard 2 A6M features added floor plates, blast-resistant crew seats and revised ammunition stowage. Krauss-Maffei Wegmann also developed a 'slat' or 'bar' armour package to protect the sides and rear of the Canadian tanks from RPGs fired at close quarters. One of the Canadian Leopard 2A6M Can tanks was extensively damaged by an IED strike in November with one crewmember injured.
Reflecting the evolving nature of Taliban operations, the Canadian Leopards are now used to provide direct fire support 'in extremis', a quick reaction force, route clearance, deterrence and deception. To reflect these roles the armour squadron, as of March 2008, consisted of two Leopards 2 A6Ms and a Leopard C2 with dozer blade in squadron headquarters, three troops each of four Leopards 2 A6Ms, three Leopard C2s fitted with mine rollers and three Leopard C2s fitted with mine ploughs.
At Eurosatory 2006 Krauss-Maffei Wegmann unveiled the Leopard 2 Peace Support Operations (PSO) tank, a company-funded prototype of a Leopard 2A6 optimised for operations in an urban environment. Advanced passive armour side skirts have been mounted along the hull sides and additional armour has been added to the sides and roof of the turret. To minimise the exposure of the crew the machine gun on the commander's cupola has been replaced by a remote controlled weapon station that can be armed with a 7.62-mm or 12.7-mm machine gun or a 40-mm automatic grenade launcher. The tank's optics are protected against damage from falling debris and thrown stones. A dozer blade is fitted to the front of the hull enabling the tank to clear barricades and rubble. Rheinmetall has developed its own modernisation package for the Leopard 2. One element designed to provide 360[degrees] situational awareness is the Azev (Automatische Zielerfassung und Verfolgung) which consists of two or four CCD camera modules, each providing 180[degrees] coverage.
The German Army is reducing its tank fleet to 125 Leopard 2 A5s and 225 A6s, including 70 2A6M models. In addition, the service plans to retain 50 Leopard 2A4 turrets modified for urban operations which will be fitted to Leopard 2 A5/A6 chassis as required. The service is expected to order a prototype for evaluation in 2009. Other members of the 'Leopard 2 club'--which expanded to 18 members earlier this year with the Portuguese purchase of 37 used Leopard A4s from the Netherlands--will be watching these trials with interest.
A key element of any urban operations package will be new multi-purpose ammunition. To complement its DM53 and DM63 kinetic energy anti-tank rounds Rheinmetall Waffe Munition also produces a 120-mm High-Explosive Anti-Tank-Multipurpose round. The company is developing a new HE round to engage soft and semi-hard targets. It features a fuse that can be set with or without delay; the tank's fire control system sets the time delay of the fuze.
The French Army has placed an initial order for 1000 units of Nexter's new High Explosive-Tracer Mk II round which can be used against buildings and bunkers as well as light and medium armoured vehicles. Nexter is evaluating a time fuze to enable the round to be detonated above dug-in targets. Nexter is developing the Polynege top-attack projectile which is intended to 'defeat various kinds of targets (main battle tanks, light armoured vehicles, dismounted troops, infrastructures) beyond the line of sight up to a distance of eight km'. Under DGA contracts Nexter conducted a demonstration flight in 2007 and is preparing to demonstrate the terminal-attack stage of the system.
Israeli Merkava tanks carry the Israel Military Industries 120-mm Anti-Personnel/Anti-Materiel (Apam) round, which is designed to defeat dismounted infantry, light armoured vehicles, 50 cm of double reinforced concrete, bunkers of sand and timber construction and hovering helicopters.
According to IMI the primary threat that the APAM deals with is anti-tank squads equipped with extremely lethal AT weapons. These squads, spread out massively in the modern battlefield, on the ground, in vehicles, in buildings and bunkers and have become a major threat to today's tanks.
The Apam flies on an overhead attack trajectory to dispense six submunitions which shower lethal fragments over a zone 50 metres long and 20 metres wide. To attack bunkers the Apam is fired as a unitary round. The US Army is evaluating the Apam, under the US designation XM329, for use by M1 tanks. IMI also offers a 105-mm Apam round.
General Dynamics Ordnance and Tactical Systems produces the M1028 120-mm canister round for use by US Army and US Marine Corps M1A1 and M1A2 tanks and the M1040 105-mm round fired by the Stryker Mobile Gun System. Ardec initiated the project followed a request from US Forces in Korea in 1999 for a round that could be used against dismounted ATGW teams. The round dispenses approximately 1100 tungsten balls as soon as it clears the muzzle and is also effective against normal block walls, concertina wire and cars. The round was chosen as one of the army's top ten inventions in 2004 and was fielded in Iraq the following year.
Ardec is developing the 120-mm XM1069 Line-of-sight Multipurpose (Los-MP) munition to defeat hardened targets and enemy personnel through the employment of a multi-mode programmable base detonating fuze and blast fragmenting target penetrating warhead. The Los-MP round is intended to replace the M830 Heat, the M830A1 High Explosive Anti-Tank-Multi Purpose--Tracer, the M908 High Explosive- Obstacle Reduction-Tracer and the M1028 rounds, thus offering significant tactical and logistics advantages and hopefully lower acquisition costs. Developmental rounds have been tested against double reinforced concrete walls, earth and timber bunkers, anti-personnel targets and a T55 tank. The round is being developed as part of the Future Combat System programme for use by the Mounted Combat System planned to enter service from 2015. The army has expedited development to meet current operational needs and the Los-MP could be fielded as soon as 2010.
The Lockheed Martin MLRS has recently made the transition from a Cold War saturation weapon designed to 'clear grid squares' to a '60 km sniper' thanks to the introduction of new precision-guided munitions.
The XM30 GMLRS was developed under a 48-month System Development and Demonstration (SDD) contact awarded in November 1998 to Lockheed Martin, partnered with Diehl, MBDA and Fiat Avio. Using the Extended Range-MLRS as a basis the consortium integrated an inertial measurement unit and a global positioning system into the rocket, along with canards in the nose, enabling the GMLRS rocket to deliver a warhead to within a five-metre circular error of probability beyond 70 km. Low-rate initial production for the US Army of the M30 GMLRS equipped with a cargo warhead carrying 404 M85 Dual Purpose Improved Conventional Munitions began in mid-2003. A point -strike capability is provided by the M31 GMLRS Unitary, which features an 89-kg high-explosive fragmentation warhead developed by General Dynamics Ordnance and Tactical Systems under subcontract to Lockheed Martin. A new tri-mode fuze that can be programmed for airburst, point-impact and delay detonation is under development. The weapon debuted in combat on 9 September 2005 when eight GMLRS Unitary Urgent Materiel Release rockets fitted with an interim point-detonation/delay fuze destroyed two insurgent strongholds more than 50 km away.
The army's FY09 budget request states, <<In the more than 500 missions flown in Operation Iraqi Freedom/Operation Enduring Freedom, the GMLRS Unitary Rocket has recorded a 98% reliability rate demonstrating high effectiveness and low collateral damage while supporting troops in contact>>.
The British Army became the first European customer for the GMLRS when it placed a $ 55 million order in mid-2005 for rockets equipped with unitary warheads.
In July 2006 Lockheed Martin conducted the first test of a unitary Enhanced Blast Warhead that is now in development.
On the Cover
This group of Sagem Felin soldiers during exercise Phoenix gives a foretaste of what all peacekeeping urban warfighters want ... now! It is close to being a reality, but for now soldiers have to make do with interim solutions.
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|Title Annotation:||Complete Guide|
|Author:||Kemp, Ian; Keggler, Johnny|
|Date:||Aug 1, 2008|
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