Weapons news

IAI, Thales team up to offer Sea Serpent anti-ship missile for UK I-SSGW requirement

By Robin Hughes & Richard Scott 14 April 2021
Israel Aerospace Industries (IAI) has teamed up with UK-based Thales to offer the Sea Serpent guided anti-ship/anti-surface weapon system as a potential low-risk military off-the-shelf solution for UK Ministry of Defence’s (MoD’s) ship-launched Interim Surface-to-Surface Guided Weapon (I-SSGW) requirement.  I-SSGW is intended to equip several UK Royal Navy (RN) Type 23 frigates to bridge the capability gap following the retirement of the service’s current GWS 60 Harpoon Block 1C system from the end of 2023.  In March 2019 the UK MoD’s Weapons...

Serbia unveils new equipment

By Igor Bozinovski 13 April 2021
Serbian Armed Forces (SAF) capabilities and equipment were presented to Bahrain Royal Guard commander Major General Nasser bin Hamad al-Khalifa at Batajnica airbase near Belgrade on 6 April.  During the dynamic display, an SAF H145M helicopter arme...

Barak ER development finalised and in production

By Robin Hughes 13 April 2021
Israel Aerospace Industries (IAI) has finalised development, and is in production of, the Barak ER (Extended Range) variant surface-to-air interceptor, ahead of planned initial deliveries to an undisclosed customer in the third quarter of this year.  Optimised as an enhanced theatre ballistic missile (TBM) interceptor, the 150 km-range Barak ER will complement the 70 km-range Barak LRAD, and 35 km-range Barak MRAD interceptors in service with IAI’s Barak MX land and naval integrated air and missile defence system.  Developed with company int...

Update: US Air Force completes XQ-58A Valkyrie's first payload release test

By Pat Host 12 April 2021
The US Air Force (USAF) on 26 March completed the Kratos XQ-58A Valkyrie’s first release from its internal weapons bay, and its sixth flight test.  This test at Yuma Proving Ground, Arizona, conducted in partnership with Kratos and Area-I, demonstrated the ability to launch an Altius-600 small unmanned aircraft system (sUAS) from the XQ-58A’s internal weapons bay, according to a service statement. Kratos, Area-I, and the Air Force Research Laboratory (AFRL) designed and fabricated the sUAS carriage and developed software to enable release. Af...

New Delhi issues RFI for 155 mm/52 calibre self-propelled howitzers for the Indian Army

By Rahul Bedi & Mark Cazalet 12 April 2021
India’s Ministry of Defence (MoD) has invited responses by 9 June from domestic and foreign original equipment manufacturers (OEMs) to its request for information (RFI) regarding the supply of an unspecified number of 155 mm/52 calibre “mounted gun...

Update: JSM successfully released from F-35A

By Robin Hughes 12 April 2021
The Norwegian Defence Materiel Agency (Forsvarsmateriellm - FMA), in association with Kongsberg Defense & Aerospace (KDA), the Norwegian Defence Research Establishment (FFI), and the US Department of Defense F-35 Joint Program Office, conducted two initial in-flight test releases of a Joint Strike Missile (JSM) from the F-35A CTOL (Conventional Take-Off and Landing) Lightning II multirole stealth fighter over Edwards Air Force Base, California, in February.  Disclosed on 20 March, the test, which was conducted using an instrumented JSM weapon...

Pentagon budget 2022: White House reveals USD715 billion topline request

By Ashley Roque & Michael Fabey 09 April 2021
The Biden administration has notified Congress that it will request USD715 billion in discretionary funds for the Department of Defense (DoD) next year, an increase over this year’s enacted topline budget.  On 9 April the White House’s Office Management and Budget (OMB) announced that it will request USD753 billion in national defence funding for fiscal year (FY) 2022, with the bulk of which is for the DoD. The Pentagon’s coffer would get a 1.6% increase over the FY 2021 enacted funding level of USD704 billion. However, with roughly a 1.7% 12...

Northrop Grumman completes IBR for US Ground-Based Strategic Deterrent

By Robin Hughes 09 April 2021
Northrop Grumman has completed the Integrated Baseline Review (IBR) for the engineering and manufacturing development (EMD) phase of United States’ Ground-Based Strategic Deterrent (GBSD), a next-generation land-based intercontinental ballistic mis...

Soframe reveals MOSAIC vehicle aimed at France's VBAE competition

By Christopher F Foss 08 April 2021
French company Soframe has released details of its offering for the French Army’s new Véhicule Blindé d’Aide à l’Engagement (VBAE) light reconnaissance and support vehicle requirement.  Although France has begun to receive the first examples of upgraded models of its Arquus (originally Panhard) Véhicule Blindé Léger (VBL) 4×4 light scout vehicle, called Ultima, its longer-term plans are to field VBAE as part of the SCORPION Phase 3 Networked Enabled Capability (NEC).  An artistic rendering of the MOSAIC 4×4 reconnaissance vehicle with va...

Update: US Air Force's ARRW fails first booster vehicle flight test

By Pat Host 08 April 2021
The US Air Force (USAF)/Lockheed Martin AGM-183A Air-launched Rapid Response Weapon (ARRW) conventional hypersonic glide weapon prototype failed its first booster vehicle flight test on 5 April, according to a service statement.  The ARRW failed to complete its launch sequence and did not deploy from its Boeing B-52H Stratofortress heavy bomber carriage aircraft. The B-52H flew over the Point Mugu Sea Range near California, intending to fire the ARRW booster test vehicle. Instead, the weapon returned with the B-52H to Edwards Air Force Base (...

Pentagon's 2020 landmine policy set to stay for now

By Ashley Roque 07 April 2021
Pentagon leaders are maintaining a 2020 policy allowing for the use of anti-personnel landmines beyond the confines of the Korean peninsula, while reviewing why former Defense Secretary Mark Esper made the decisions he did regarding the policy.  The Department of Defense’s (DoD’s) new policy ‘analysis’ comes at a time when the US Army is ploughing ahead with a multipronged approach to acquiring such new weapons, with pressure increasing on the Biden administration to reverse course. As a result, on 6 April the DoD offered up differing takes...

Bundeswehr orders more Spike missiles

By Nicholas Fiorenza 01 April 2021
The Bundeswehr has ordered more Mehrrollenfähige, leichte Lenkflugkörper-Systeme (Multirole-capable Light Missile Systems, MELLS), its designation for Spike, from Rafael-Rheinmetall-Diehl joint venture Eurospike, Rheinmetall announced on 29 March. The company said the order was for 666 more missiles and 82 Integrated Command and Launch Units (ICLUs) worth about EUR88 million (USD103 million) for delivery to German infantry and panzergrenadiers (armoured infantry) in 2022–24.  The Bundeswehr has ordered 666 more Spike missiles and 82 ICLUs for...

UK launches MLRS project

By Tim Ripley 01 April 2021
The United Kingdom has launched a five-year programme to upgrade the British Army’s M270 Multiple Launch Rocket Systems (MLRS).  The British Army has announced that its MLRS will be upgraded over the next five years. (Janes/Patrick Allen)  The project, the launch of which followed an agreement with the US Department of Defence, will begin next year with the installation of improved armoured cabs on the first of 44 launcher vehicles, the British Army announced on its website on 31 March.  In addition, upgraded automotive and launch mechanism...

Taiwan plans to acquire MSE variant of PAC-3 air-defence missile

By Gabriel Dominguez 01 April 2021
Taiwan plans to acquire an undisclosed number of Lockheed Martin Patriot Advanced Capability-3 (PAC-3) Missile Segment Enhancement (MSE) interceptor missiles from the United States to enhance its air-defence capabilities amid escalating tensions with China over the status of the island.  The state-owned Central News Agency (CNA) quoted the Ministry of National Defense (MND) in Taipei as saying in a 31 March report that the interceptors are expected to be delivered between 2025 and 2026 and deployed by the end of 2026.  In a 31 March MND rep...

MBDA reports slight downturn in 2020 annual results

By Charles Forrester 01 April 2021
Pan-European weapons system manufacturer MBDA revealed on 31 March that the company had received orders valued at EUR3.3 billion (USD3.87 billion) in 2020, while recording revenues of EUR3.6 billion.  The company’s orderbook backlog also declined from a decade-high of EUR17.5 billion in 2019 to EUR16.6 billion in 2020.  MBDA has, according to CEO Eric Béranger, started a “busy” 2021 following on from significant orders in 2020 within Europe. These included a weapons package for Greece’s fleet of Dassault Rafale aircraft, a production order fo...

North Korea showcasing ‘developing capability' to deliver ‘tactical and strategic nuclear weapons', says UN expert panel

By Gabriel Dominguez 01 April 2021
The ballistic missile systems paraded by North Korea in October 2020 and January 2021 have confirmed the country’s “developing capability” to deliver “tactical and strategic nuclear weapons”, according to a report by a United Nations panel of experts for the UN Security Council (UNSC).  The military parades also showcased “diversity and innovation, as well as the renewal of the [country’s] missile arsenal, with solid-fuel missiles replacing liquid-propellant short-range ballistic missiles (SRBMs) and medium-range ballistic missiles (MRBMs)”,...

South Korea reveals more details about plans to buy additional attack helicopters

By Gabriel Dominguez & Dae Young Kim & Alessandra Giovanzanti 31 March 2021
South Korea’s Defense Acquisition Program Administration (DAPA) revealed on 31 March more details about the country’s plans to acquire an additional 36 foreign-made attack helicopters for the Republic of Korea Army (RoKA).  The country’s Defense Project Promotion Committee decided that the rotorcraft, which are intended to replace the RoKA’s Bell AH-1S attack helicopters, are to be acquired under the second phase of the ‘Large Attack Helicopter Project’. This programme phase, which has been budgeted at KRW3.17 trillion (USD2.81 billion), is s...

Australia to set up facility to manufacture guided missiles

By Julian Kerr 31 March 2021
Australia will move to manufacture its own missiles and guided weapons under an AUD1 billion (USD750 million) plan to establish a new weapons facility with a strategic industry partner, Prime Minister Scott Morrison announced on 31 March.  Morrison...

US Army outlines USD2.8 billion GMLRS line buy

By Ashley Roque 31 March 2021
The US Army has awarded Lockheed Martin a USD2.8 billion Guided Multiple Launch Rocket System (GMLRS) contract that includes deliveries into 2024.  On 26 March, the service announced the overarching ’indefinite delivery, indefinite quantity’ contr...

BAE Systems Australia to increase investment in hypersonic weapons development

By Gabriel Dominguez 30 March 2021
Following the Australian government’s commitment in 2020 to advance the development of long-range strike capabilities, BAE Systems Australia announced on 30 March that it will increase investments in the country in support of the “rapid development...
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