SCO fires SM-6 from LUSV prototype

by Richard Scott

An SM-6 missile being launched from Ranger , one of two LUSVs forming part of the Ghost Fleet Overlord programme (US Navy)

The US Department of Defense (DoD) has revealed a live firing test of the Raytheon Standard Missile-6 (SM-6) from a large unmanned surface vessel (LUSV) testbed.

A short video released by the DoD on a social media account on 4 September showed the SM-6 launch from Ranger , one of two LUSVs forming part of the Ghost Fleet Overlord programme. Ghost Fleet Overlord is an Office of the Secretary of Defense Strategic Capabilities Office (SCO)-led initiative being undertaken in partnership with the US Navy's (USN's) Program Executive Office, Unmanned and Small Combatants to inform future USV development and technical risk reduction.

The SM-6 test is believed to have been conducted in late 2020. The video showed Ranger


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Lockheed Martin reveals LMXT offering for USAF KC-Y tanker competition

by Gareth Jennings

Revealed on 17 September, the LMXT is being offered to the USAF for the service's KC-Y competition. (Lockheed Martin )

Lockheed Martin has revealed the LMXT aircraft that it is to bid for the US Air Force (USAF) KC-Y tanker competition, also known as Bridge Tanker.

Disclosed on 17 September, the LMXT will be a US-built and USAF-specific version of the Airbus Defence and Space (DS) A330-200 MultiRole Tanker Transport (MRTT) aircraft that is borne out of a teaming arrangement between the two companies, which was first announced in December 2018.

“The LMXT complements the US Air Force's tanker capabilities by providing the most advanced aerial refueller to meet America's immediate and long-term mission requirements. The LMXT strengthens and expands the US aerospace-industrial base by working with existing and new American suppliers. The LMXT also cultivates and sustains high-tech, high-skill American manufacturing jobs,” Lockheed Martin said.


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AFSOC plans operational capability demo of amphibious MC-130J ‘in only 17 months'

by Gareth Jennings

An artist's impression of an MC-130J Commando II with floats attached. An amphibious version of the special mission aircraft would have a special utility in the Indo-Pacific region, operating independently of airfields and runways. (AFSOC)

The US Air Force (USAF) Special Operations Command (AFSOC) plans to perform an operational capability demonstration of an amphibious Lockheed Martin MC-130J Commando II special mission aircraft “in only 17 months”, it disclosed on 14 September.

AFSOC said that the MC-130J Commando II Amphibious Capability (MAC) floatplane version of the Hercules that it first revealed at the virtual Special Operations Forces Industry Conference (SOFIC) in May is currently in a five-phase development plan ahead of a demonstration.According to the command, this will de-risk the concept for a future potential programme of record that could field the MAC for MC-130Js, but also potentially for other C-130 variants with only minor variations.


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North Korea says it tested ‘railway-borne' missile system on 15 September

by Gabriel Dominguez & Mark Cazalet

An image released by North Korean state media showing what appears to be a modified KN-23 SRBM being launched from railway-borne launch system on 15 September. (Rodong Sinmun)

Images released by the Korean Central News Agency (KCNA) indicate that Pyongyang test-launched on 15 September what appears to have been a modified variant of the KN-23 (US/South Korean designation) short-range ballistic missile (SRBM) from a railway-based launch system.

The state-run media outlet reported that the weapons were launched as part of a launch drill carried out by a “railway-borne missile regiment” that was set up earlier this year to bolster the country's capability to “deal simultaneous blows to threat-posing forces” in case of a conflict.

The aim of the drill was to “confirm the practicality” of the railway-based launch system, which was tested for the first time, as well as to assess the combat readiness and performance of the new regiment, noted the KCNA, adding that the exercise saw the SRBMs “accurately strike” their intended target area some 800 km away in the East Sea (also known as the Sea of Japan). The move marked the northeast Asian country's first ballistic missile launches in about six months.


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The US Department of Defense (DoD) has revealed a live firing test of the Raytheon Standard Missile-...

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