US Army conducts Iron Dome flight test

by Ashley Roque

The US Army conducted its second live-fire test with Iron Dome at White Sands Missile Range in New Mexico. (US Army)

US Army soldiers recently used Rafael Advanced Defense Systems' Iron Dome during a live-fire test against cruise missile threats, the Israel Missile Defense Organization (IMDO) announced on 2 August.

The service acquired two Iron Dome batteries as an ‘interim' cruise missile defence capability following a congressional mandate. However, the service has not yet fielded the weapon and is continuing to test it out.

During the recent test at White Sands Missile Range in New Mexico, soldiers from the 3rd Battalion, 43rd Air Defense Artillery Regiment “successfully” detected, tracked, and intercepted multiple cruise missile and unmanned aerial system surrogate targets, according to the IMDO.

“This is the second interception test since the two batteries were supplied to the US Army at the end of 2020,” IMDO Director in the Israeli Ministry of Defense Moshe Patel said in the statement. “In this test as well, the system intercepted all the threats, while being interoperable with US systems.”


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US Army approves new top-attack, anti-tank landmine production

by Ashley Roque

In 2018 the US Army released the illustration of its vision for a networked landmine concept. The service has awarded Textron Systems with a low-rate initial production contract to produce its new XM204 top-attack munition. (US Army)

The US Army awarded Textron Systems with a five-year, low-rate initial production contract to produce its new XM204 top-attack munition, a landmine designed to destroy combat vehicles.

Henry Finneral, the company's senior vice-president for weapon systems, told Janes on 9 August about the new contract inked in late July worth up to USD354 million. So far, he said the army has ordered 117 XM204 units and 38 trainers for delivery between July and late September 2023. Each subsequent order could range from 25 to 400-plus weapons, Finneral added.

This new weapon is part of the army's plan to replace its Family of Scatterable Mines (FASCAM), which it deems to be ‘nearing their end of useful life'. This replacement plan includes the XM204 top-attack munition and a future bottom-attack munition. Both would eventually be tied together to form a ‘full network capability'.


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India reports growth in offsets value but says firms are missing deadlines

by Jon Grevatt

The total value of discharged defence offsets in India has grown strongly since 2020, according to Indian MoD statistics. (Indian MoD)

Foreign companies have implemented defence offsets in India worth USD6.83 billion in the past 15 years, India's Minister of State for Defence Ajay Bhatt has said in parliament. This total, he added, represents 82% of foreign firms' total offset obligations in the period up until 1 August.

In his parliamentary reply, Bhatt said 15 foreign companies have “missed the first deadline” set for offset obligations but gave no details. He also pointed to measures that the Indian Ministry of Defence (MoD) has introduced to prevent foreign suppliers defaulting on, or delaying, their offset obligations.

“For unfulfilled offset obligations, penalties, as applicable, have been imposed on the defaulting vendors as per the governing defence offset guidelines,” said Bhatt. “Further, in genuine cases, re-phasing of offset obligations has been allowed to enable vendors to discharge the pending offset obligations.”


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Australia launches review into future military capability

by Julian Kerr

Janes forecasts that Australia's total military expenditure will expand strongly through this decade. (Janes Defence Budgets)

Australia has announced a sweeping defence strategic review that will urgently examine the posture, preparedness, and structure of the country's military and spending on new weapons and equipment from 2023–24 to 2032–33 and beyond.

Announcing the review on 3 August, Prime Minister Anthony Albanese said it would be headed by “independent leads” comprising Air Chief Marshal (retd) Angus Houston, defence force chief from 2005 to 2011, and Stephen Smith, defence minister from 2010 to 2013.

The review will be informed by intelligence and strategic assessments, and input will be drawn from internal and external experts, consultations with senior personnel, and submissions from interested parties, said Albanese.

Although recommendations are to be delivered to the government no later than March 2023, Albanese and Defence Minister Richard Marles have requested an interim report as soon as the independent leads have completed their initial analysis.

While the review's terms of reference do not mention China, they state that the world is undergoing “significant strategic realignment”.


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US Army soldiers recently used Rafael Advanced Defense Systems' Iron Dome during a live-fire test ag...

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