USAF Sensing Grid concept demands smaller, more interoperable sensors
11 April 2023
by Carlo Munoz
Air Force Research Laboratory's AgilePod mounted on the wing on the Scorpion Light Attack/ISR jet. The USAF is looking to develop smaller, lower-SWaP sensors like AgilePod to augment the service's sensing grid concept. (Air Force Research Laboratory)
The US Air Force (USAF) is shifting focus from developing expensive, highly tailored intelligence, surveillance, and reconnaissance, (ISR) sensor systems to ones that are comparatively lower cost with significant reductions in size, weight, and power (SWaP) and increased interoperability with other US and allied weapons systems, according to a senior service official.
The air service is “very used to [developing] exquisite sensors that are very, very good but ... can [only] get very exquisite information or data”, oftentimes at extreme financial cost in terms of development and fielding, said USAF Colonel Honoré Spencer, who heads the service's Sensing Grid Cross Functional Team (CFT) for the Air Force Futures directorate.
“But as we look at the [combat] environments we're going to face, really looking at lowering costs, lowering ... size, weight, and power of [future] sensors is going to be critically important, particularly if we're trying to use them in mass,” said Col Spencer.
New mortar AMPV variant prototype to make exhibition debut mid-2024
05 December 2023
by Meredith Roaten
BAE Systems demonstrated its new counter unmanned aerial systems AMPV during a live fire in Kingman, Arizona. (BAE Systems)
The newly designed 120 mm mortar variant of the Armoured Multi Purpose Vehicle (AMPV) will make its debut at the Association of the United States Army's (AUSA's) Warfighter conference in July 2024, Bill Sheehy, AMPV programme director at BAE Systems
on 30 November.
BAE Systems first told
in September that it was delivering the prototype for Patria's 120 mm
New Mortar (NEMO) and Kongsberg turret programme in January 2024. The prototype is still on track for first delivery, and the army plans to perform a live-fire demonstration at the July conference to show off its progress, Sheehy said in an interview.
The prototype represents BAE System's first official foray into broadening AMPV configurations, which the company hopes will highlight the flexibility of the platform. The turret is attached to the vehicle using the Ex-MEP (Mission Equipment Package), which can accommodate most remotely operated weapons stations.
With many of its European allies, including Norway (pictured), fielding the F-35A, Portugal is now eyeing the type also. (Royal Norwegian Air Force)
The Lockheed Martin F-35A Lightning II aircraft could emerge as the next combat aircraft in the inventory of the Portuguese Air Force (FAP).
The Chief of Staff of the FAP, General João Guilherme Rosado Cartaxo Alves, described the F-35A as the preferred choice to replace the Lockheed Martin F-16AM/BM Fighting Falcon on 27 November.
Speaking at the SAE Media Group Military Airlift and Air-to-Air Refuelling conference in Lisbon, Gen Alves said the replacement process must start to prevent a loss of strategic relevance and operational credibility. He also noted that most European allies had already started the transition to the F-35.
The existing F-16AM/BM could extend its operational capability until 2030, however, with increasing levels of obsolescence, he said at the event in late November. Gen Alves confirmed that an acquisition will occur after 2030 as part of the newly established ‘Air Force 5.3' modernisation plan.
Australia test-fires AS9 Huntsman self-propelled howitzer
05 December 2023
by Kapil Kajal
An Australian Army AS9 Huntsman self-propelled howitzer test-fires a practice round at the Proof and Experimental Establishment in Port Wakefield. (Commonwealth of Australia)
The Australian Army test-fired artillery rounds from an AS9 Huntsman 155 mm/52 calibre self-propelled howitzer (SPH) at the Proof and Experimental Establishment in Port Wakefield in late November, the Australian Department of Defence (DoD) said in a press release on 5 December.
According to the DoD, this testing – overseen by the Joint Proof and Experimental Unit (JPEU) – was aimed at showcasing the AS9 Huntsman to project stakeholders.
The service fired “hundreds of 155 mm shells” in the drill to verify the ammunition and propellant types, the DoD said.
Nicholas Windridge, master gunner warrant officer from the JPEU, said in the press release that while in-service M777s had maximum ranges of 18 to 22 km, the AS9 could potentially reach up to 60 km.
Claire Chu, Janes senior China analyst joins Harry Kemsley and Sean Corbett to discuss how China's economic activity projects influence globally and what she learnt as part of the recent US Congressional staff delegation to China.