Latest Piorun MANPADS brings new seeker, computing systems

by Jakub Link-Lenczowski

Piorun MANPADS – the Next Generation system is intended to be more effective against modern countermeasures. (Jakub Link-Lenczowski)

Polish missile and ammunition specialist Mesko is developing a new version of its Piorun manportable air-defence system (MANPADS).

Przemysław Kowalczuk, a member of Mesko's board, told Janes that the Piorun Next Generation (NG) is intended to improve the system's effectiveness against modern countermeasures, including jamming, decoys, and laser-based countermeasures. “The biggest improvement is the development of the new multispectral seeker, onboard computer, and missile steering block”, Kowalczuk said.

The new computer has an updated target library and new algorithms that enable real-time, in-depth target analysis, according to the company, and which it says should improve effector performance against fixed- and rotary-wing aircraft and unmanned aerial vehicles (UAVs).

Mesko is undertaking the first trials of the new components, Kowalczuk said, adding, “The first test launches should take place in six to nine months on one of the Polish military training grounds… the current configuration of the Piorun NG enables testing [to take place, but] it is not final yet”, he added.

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Ukraine conflict: Germany pays for US HIMARS for Kyiv, Canada provides air-defence funding

by Nicholas Fiorenza

Germany will pay for three US HIMARSs for Ukraine. (Janes/Patrick Allen)

German Defence Minister Boris Pistorius announced during a visit to Washington, DC on 8–9 May that Berlin would pay for US High-Mobility Artillery Rocket Systems (HIMARSs) for Ukraine. Germany will pay for three HIMARSs from US stocks.

During Pistorius's visit to Ottawa on 10 May, Canadian Minister of National Defence Bill Blair signed an agreement with his German counterpart to contribute CAD76 million (USD55.6 million) to the Immediate Action on Air Defence (IAAD) initiative. Launched by Germany in April, the initiative pools money and resources from the international community to quickly source and deliver air-defence systems for Ukraine.

The Netherlands is contributing EUR150 million (USD162 million) to the IAAD.

Germany is providing an additional Patriot air-defence system to Ukraine. This is in addition to two already supplied.

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Feature: US Army's race for new howitzers, munitions takes off after modernisation effort scuttled

by Meredith Roaten

In March, the US Army demonstrated its new ERCA capability at Yuma Proving Ground, Arizona. (Janes/Ashley Roque)

US land forces want an artillery system that is more mobile and more lethal. While cutting-edge technology development failed to produce a production-ready system, the US Army is readjusting its acquisition approach and concepts of operations for artillery.

The army has determined that its Extended Range Cannon Artillery (ERCA) Program of Record is not an option for future artillery warfare, Doug Bush, assistant secretary of the army for acquisition, logistics, and technology, announced in March 2024. This decision and more on advanced artillery technology stemmed from a tactical fires study that was completed in 2023 and has not been publicly released, said General James Rainey, commanding general of Army Futures Command (AFC).

ERCA was scheduled to transition to the major capability acquisition pathway after five years of research, development, test, and evaluation (RDT&E), according to the US Government Accountability Office. The army applied for a waiver for an additional year of RDT&E but was denied by the Under Secretary of Defense for Acquisition and Sustainment.

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Italy's Grifo test-fired and qualified with CAMM-ER missile

by Nicholas Fiorenza

The Italian Army's Grifo air-defence system being tested and qualified with CAMM-ER. (MBDA)

The Italian Army's Grifo (Griffon) air-defence system has been test-fired and qualified with the Common Anti-air Modular Missile Extended Range (CAMM-ER) missile, MBDA announced in a press release on 8 May. The company said it was the first time the Grifo's Command Post and Engagement Module (Posto Comando Modulo di Ingaggio: PCMI) integrated with the missile launcher and CAMM-ER missile was tested-fired and qualified.

The test was conducted against a target drone simulating an attack by an enemy aircraft, confirming the defence capabilities and performance of both the missile and the entire system in an integrated mode, according to MBDA.

During the test, the PCMI detected the target drone, which was in attack mode, and then identified and classified the threat, evaluated how to defend against it, and ordered the launch of CAMM-ER to neutralise it. The trial also verified the correct functioning of the two-way datalink between CAMM-ER and the Grifo ground system, MBDA added.

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Polish missile and ammunition specialist Mesko is developing a new version of its Piorun manportable...

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