US Army moves ahead with Stryker-based 50 kW-class laser weapon test plan
13 January 2022
by Ashley Roque
A US Army DE M-SHORAD prototype. The service plans to host an upcoming round of prototype testing to further refine the design before providing soldiers with an initial version in September 2022. (US Army)
The US Army will continue testing Stryker vehicles integrated with 50 kW-class lasers in anticipation of sending the weapon to the first unit in September, according to a service leader.
Lieutenant General Neil Thurgood, the army's director of hypersonics, directed energy, space, and rapid acquisition, participated in a Center for Strategic and International Studies event on 12 January and fielded questions about a range of development capabilities including the Directed Energy Manoeuvre-Short Range Air Defense (DE M-SHORAD) programme, which is now dubbed the Guardian. Service officials announced last year that a Raytheon-backed team had been tasked with progressing the development effort after a Northrop Grumman prototype was forced out because of technical challenges. Kord Technologies is the programme's prime contractor and was overseeing both teams.
CIO to supply further VBM vehicles to Italian Army
19 January 2022
by Olivia Savage
The Iveco – Oto Melara Consortium has won a contract to supply vehicles to Italian Army. Pictured is the VBM Command Post Tactical Unit vehicle. (Iveco – Oto Melara Consortium )
The Iveco – Oto Melara Consortium (CIO) signed a contract with the Italian Secretary of Defence Land Armaments Directorate on 30 December 2021 to supply 14 Mortar Carrier Veicolo blindato medio (VBMs), 26 Command Post VBMs (13 Tactical Unit and 13 Command Unit versions), and six 10×10 rescue and recovery vehicles.
The CIO Consortium is an equal partnership between Iveco Defence Vehicles and Leonardo.
The contract forms part of an ongoing delivery of (Phase 2) medium armoured vehicles to the Italian Army's Second Medium Brigade, including an upgraded ‘PLUS' version for the VBM platform, in addition to long-term integrated logistics support for all of the platforms.
US Army preparing to test future Long-Range Cannon prototype
19 January 2022
by Ashley Roque
The US Army is planning to begin a two-year test series with a new Long-Range Cannon (LRC) prototype at Vandenberg Air Force Base in California beginning in October 2023, according to a Federal Register notice and the service.
The National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration posted the document on 6 January, detailing test plans and the potential impact on marine mammals. However, the document erroneously stated that this testing plan was for a future iteration of the army's Extended Range Cannon Artillery (ERCA) weapon. Instead, this document refers to a science and technology initiative formally called Strategic Long-Range Cannon that is now dubbed LRC, an army official told Janes on 18 January.
Service leaders have been interested in developing an LRC that can launch less expensive munitions out towards the 1,609 km (1,000 miles) range to hit anti-access/area denial targets such as fixed-infrastructure sites, long-range radars, command-and-control locations, hardened silos and bunkers, and communications nodes. The army has begun producing various weapon parts such as the gun tube and the carriage, while the National Academies of Sciences, Engineering, and Medicine conducted a feasibility study that has not yet been released to the public.
Australian, New Zealand defence forces launch Tonga relief operations
18 January 2022
by Jon Grevatt & Ridzwan Rahmat
The Royal Australian Navy's landing helicopter dock ship HMAS
pictured departing Sydney in support of disaster relief efforts in Tonga.
(Commonwealth of Australia)
Australia and New Zealand have dispatched vessels and surveillance aircraft to assist with recovery and relief efforts in Tonga, which was hit by a tsunami caused by an underwater volcano eruption in the South Pacific on 15 January.
The Australian Department of Defence (DoD) told Janes on 18 January that Australian Defence Force (ADF) assets to have been deployed in surveillance operations include a Royal Australian Air Force (RAAF) Boeing P-8 Poseidon maritime patrol aircraft and a C-130J transport aircraft.
A DoD spokesperson said that the Royal Australian Navy (RAN) is also preparing to launch an aid mission supported by its Canberra-class landing helicopter dock (LHD) ship HMAS Adelaide.
The spokesperson said, “At the moment, we are surveying the damage. HMAS Adelaide is on its way from Sydney to Brisbane with the aim to launch an aid mission for Tonga. But at this moment we don't yet know the full extent and scope of what that aid will be.”
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