Northrop Grumman reveals development of Jackal ‘sprint' loitering system

by Robin Hughes

A not-to-scale model of the Jackal concept (foreground) was unveiled at the 2022 Special Operations Forces Industry Conference (SOFIC) in Tampa, Florida, 16–19 May. In the background is the Switchblade 600L tactical weapon system, which is being used as a testbed bus for initial Jackal developments. (Northrop Grumman)

Northrop Grumman has disclosed details on its embryonic development of a new ‘sprint' loitering weapon system, designated Jackal.

An internal research and development (IRAD) initiative in association with AeroVironment, Jackal is intended to address a capability gap between current propeller-driven loitering weapon systems and requirements for tactical kinetic, intelligence, surveillance, and reconnaissance (ISR), and electronic warfare (EW) missions at extended range.

The Jackal concept provides for a turbojet-powered loitering weapon system – tube-launched from either air or ground platforms – designed to sprint to target areas to engage directly or loiter until a target is identified. The weapon's turbojet propulsion solution will develop a transit velocity of ‘at least' 483 km/h (300 mph), the company said.

“The current design is intended to fly out to 100 km and then have an on-station time of at least 15 minutes,” a Northrop Grumman spokesperson told Janes

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Nexter qualifies Shard 120 mm APFSDS tank ammunition

by Nicholas Fiorenza

KNDS's Nexter qualified its Shard 120 mm APFSDS tank ammunition in late 2023. (Nexter)

KNDS's Nexter announced in a press release on 29 February that it had qualified its Shard 120 mm armour-piercing fin-stabilised discarding sabot (APFSDS) tank ammunition in late 2023 and that it is now ready for production.

The ammunition was demonstrated against rolled homogeneous armour with Leclerc and Leopard 2 main battle tank (MBT) users in Alcochete.

Shard is designed to defeat modern MBTs and future threats, with Nexter claiming it offers increased penetration, greater accuracy, and reduced barrel wear.

The company said the ammunition's penetration has been increased by 15% while keeping dispersion low; its barrel wear has been reduced by 25%, reducing maintenance cycles and costs; and its muzzle velocity is 1,720 m/s with the Leclerc L52 gun and 1,734 m/s with the Leopard 2 L55 gun.

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Bundeswehr orders Skyranger 30 mounted on Boxer

by Nicholas Fiorenza

The Bundeswehr has ordered Skyranger 30 air-defence systems mounted on Boxers, Rheinmetall announced on 27 February 2024. (Rheinmetall)

The Bundeswehr has ordered Skyranger 30 air-defence systems mounted on Boxer armoured vehicles, Rheinmetall announced in a press release on 27 February. Under the EUR595 million (USD644.8 million) worth of contract, the prototype will be delivered at the end of 2024, followed by 18 production vehicles, with an option for 30 more.

According to the German company, the Skyranger 30 will be a key component of the Bundeswehr's Nah- und Nächstbereichsschutz (short- and very-short-range air defence: NNbS), for which a Rheinmetall Electronics, Diehl Defence, and Hensoldt Sensors Arbeitsgemeinschaft (ARGE) working group was awarded a contract in January. The turret will be equipped with a 30×173 mm KCE revolver gun firing programmable airburst munition, two Stinger surface-to-air missiles, and a sensor suite.

The Bundeswehr's Skyranger 30 order follows one from the Bundesheer (Austrian Armed Forces) on 21 February for 36 Skyranger turrets, with an option for nine more for Pandur Evolution (EVO) 6×6 armoured vehicles that Austria ordered from General Dynamics European Land Systems-Steyr (GDELS-Steyr) on 19 February.

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Singapore Airshow 2024: High Point Aerotechnologies debuts latest-generation Sawtooth C-UAS

by Prasobh Narayanan

High Point Aerotechnologies displayed its latest-generation Sawtooth counter-unmanned aircraft system. (Janes/Prasobh Narayanan)

US-based High Point Aerotechnologies showcased its latest-generation Sawtooth counter-unmanned aircraft system (C-UAS) for the first time at Singapore Airshow 2024 held from 20 to 25 February.

Speaking to Janes, the chief revenue officer of High Point, Evan Hunt, said the Sawtooth C-UAS uses layered technologies to adequately detect unmanned aerial vehicles (UAVs).

The system comprises a passive radio frequency (RF) system, radar, electro-optic/infrared (EO/IR) sensor, and jammers.

As a first step of detection, the Sawtooth uses the passive RF system to detect UAS communications in frequencies that are in known libraries. As the second step, in the case where the frequency is not known, the Sawtooth uses its radar.

“Usually, we use passive RF and radar to find the drone and then cue an EO/IR sensor that is looking in the mid-wave and the short wave, so it is day or night operable,” adds Hunt.

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Northrop Grumman has disclosed details on its embryonic development of a new ‘sprint' loitering weap...

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