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Number 29

June 2020






"New Helicopter Model Underway"

Israel Homeland Security (i-HLS), 10 April 2020

(source cross-checking)

American manufacturers Bell Textron and Sikorsky have been retained by theU.S. Army to develop a model attack and reconnaissance helicopter as part of the Future Attack and Reconnaissance Aircraft(FARA) program. FARA 's air modernization priority is to replace the OH-58 Kiowa helicopters and some of the AH-64 Apache helicopters. Still in the conceptual stage, Bell Textron 's 360 Invictus is expected to reach a speed of 180 knots (about 330 km/h) and will be equipped with a 20 mm gun. Sikorsky, for his part, is developing the Raider X. With a speed equivalent to that of its competitor, this helicopter is equipped with a coaxial rotor system to improve its speed and stability. The U.S. military, which must make its choice by 2025, requires that the FARA be capable of flying partially autonomously and integrating air navigation solutions in an environment where GPS would be unusable. Finally, the new helicopter will have to provide its pilots with decision-support tools, such as voice commands for certain systems.

"Russian Army Receives New T-90M MBT"

Defense Update, April 20, 2020

"Armata Tank Field Tested in Syria"

Defense Update, April 20, 2020

(source cross-checking)

In order to make up for the capability shortfalls before the new generation of very expensive tanks are put into service, the Russian land forces received the first of 350 T-90M « Proryv-3 ». Developed by the company Ural Vagon Zavod, it is a modernised version of the T-90s incorporating some of the equipment of the Armata T-14 tank, tested in Syria, production of which should begin in 2021. Operated by a crew of three, the T-90M can reach a speed of 70 km/h on the road. Its 125 mm 2A46 gun, with improved accuracy, is equipped with 43 rounds of ammunition. In addition to standard shells, the gun can fire anti-tank missiles of the 9M119 Svir/Refleks(AT-11 SNIPER) family to reach targets up to 5,000 m. The T-90M also uses a coaxial 7.62 mm calibre machine gun. This tank is notably protected by the3rd generation RELIKT reactive armour and by an anti-RPG net around its turret. The defence system is completed by laser detection and warning means as well as smoke screens.

"US Army to integrate power cables into a tactical vest"

Defense Blog, May 5, 2020

(single source)

TheU.S. Army is currently working on integrating power cables into its soldiers' tactical vests. Indeed, the armed forces want to reduce the weight and bulk of the infovalorization systems for landed combatants in order to improve their ergonomics. This new cable, integrated into the vest, would be 50% lighter, more flexible and would facilitate the movements of soldiers, who until now have been potentially cluttered or subject to the risk of snagging. This cable, initially designed by a British company, is of interest to the United States as part of the Foreign Comparative Testing programme. This research could also lead to the creation of a new weapon strap, itself a source of energy. Made of similar materials, it would reduce the weight of the batteries, increase flexibility and extend the possible service life.

"Company Rafael will deliver SPIKE FireFly loitering ammunition to Israeli army"

Army recognition, 4 May 2020

Presentation video "IAV 2020 : Rafael's Spike Firefly latest developments"

Jane's, January 2020

(source cross-checking)

Developed jointly by the Israeli company RAFAEL and the Israeli Ministry of Defence, the SPIKE FireFly UAV offers precision attack capabilities. It is designed for land forces in urban areas where knowledge of the environment is limited, and is able to operate directly once the designated target has been located. Intended to equip the Israeli ground forces, the FireFly can be deployed within seconds. Lightweight (3kg), it is capable of progressing despite deteriorating weather conditions, day and night. It has a double sight, a target tracking system and a control tablet. Distinguished by a low visual and acoustic signature, the SPIKE FireFly does not require any special skills and is equipped with the ability to return to the operator when it does not find its target or when it carries out a reconnaissance mission. Its fifteen-minute autonomy can be doubled by adding an additional battery. Finally, its range is 500m in urban areas and 1,500m in open areas.

"Russian-made Pantsir-S2 short-range air defense system in service with Serbian Army"

Army recognition, 5 May 2020

(single source)

Since last March, the soldiers of the3rd Battalion of the 250th Serbian Air Defence Brigade have been equipped with the Pantsir-S2 system. The Russian-made Pantsir system is one of the most widely used short-range air defence systems in the world. The Pantsir-S2 weaponry consists of twelve 57E6-E guided surface-to-air missiles and two 30 mm automatic guns firing HE-T and HE-I shells capable of self-destruction. Thanks to a finer target detection, the number of shots fired can be adjusted. The dual-caliber missiles in tandem configuration that it carries have a tracking capability of 24 km. This improved version of the Pantsir-S1 also has a new SOTS search radar, giving it a detection range of more than 40 km. The Pantsir-S2 is mounted on the chassis of the KAMAZ 6560 8x8(SA-22 Greyhound) truck, which can drive at a maximum speed of 90 km/h and has a range of approximately 800 km.

"Raytheon Rheinmetall Land Systems to re-compete with Lynx KF41 IFV modified for US Army OMFV program".

Army recognition, 6 May 2020

(single source)

After the General Dynamics Land Systems (GDLS) Griffin III was selected as the sole candidate in the tender for the replacement of the Bradley M2 Infantry Fighting Vehicle (IFV), theU.S. Army announced the return of the Raytheon Rheinmetall Land Systems (RRLS) alliance. The U.S. and German firms will offer a modified version of the Infantry Fighting Vehicle (IFV) armoured KF41 Lynx that will meet the requirements of the U.S. Army's Optionally Manned Fighting Vehicle (OMFV ) program. The U.S. Army had disqualified the RRLS alliance's offer because no prototype had been delivered by the October1, 2019, deadline (cf. Scouting n°20). Equipped with a 50 mm cannon and thermal sights, the vehicle would be able to accommodate both Active protection systems (APS ) and UAVs and could carry nine infantrymen. Unveiled for the first time at Eurosatory 2018, the VCI KF41 Lynx is a new-generation combat vehicle with unique features such as remote control of the vehicle and turret.

"Milrem Robotic's THeMIS UGV finishes mission deployment in Mali"

Army recognition, 6 May 2020

(single source)

The Tracked Hybrid Modular Infantry System(THeMIS) UAV, built by the Estonian company Milrem Robotics, has completed its first deployment in Mali. The THeMIS had been used there since April 2019 by three infantry sections of theEstonian Defence Forces ( EDF) in support of the French operation BARKHANE. Equipped with a 10-hour autonomy, capable of supporting a 1,200 kg payload and reaching a speed of 25 km/h, this land-based UAV also proved capable of briefly towing a 32-tonne VBCI. In the Sahel-Saharan strip, it has mainly carried out patrols, including in urban areas, and performed logistical missions. With a total distance of 1,200 km, the THeMIS demonstrated its reliability in a harsh and demanding theatre of operations, marked by heat and rocky terrain. It also withstood VBIED attacks. For future THeMIS deployments, Milrem Robotics plans to enhance its SRI capabilities and turn it into a communications and jamming tool, and possibly even a remote weapons system. The EDF has reportedly stated that the THeMIS could be equipped with a 7.62 mm machine gun, a 40 mm automatic grenade launcher or Javelin anti-tank missiles.


"Photonis under the American flag? That's really no. "

Challenges, April 5, 2020

(source cross-checking)

The health crisis related to the VIDOC-19 pandemic has highlighted issues of national sovereignty in the area of medical supplies. The issue of independence is also acutely relevant for the French DTIB, as shown by the example of the French SME Photonis. Specialising in the light intensification necessary for night vision, the company was initially coveted by Safran and Thalès, and could eventually have been taken over by Teledyne. The American giant, a producer of high added value defence equipment, had made an offer through the French investment fund Ardian. However, the merger project failed because of opposition from the French authorities, who did not want the night vision capabilities developed by Photonis to come under the control of the United States and its extraterritorial laws. The refusal to merge was notified to the industry on 31 March.


"Web-enabled birds and dogs could extend battlefield networks, military researchers say"

Stars and stripes, April 29, 2020

(single source)

The Naval Postgraduate School's Center for Network Innovation and Experimentation is considering a communication network of biological nodes with the Internet: animals equipped with wireless technology would act as mobile relay stations for operations in disputed or large-scale territories. The main focus of the study is on the use of dogs and birds of prey to increase the plasticity of networks through the movement of animals to allow an infantry unit to communicate with a command post or support unit beyond the traditional radio range. These mobile networks are not new as they can be implemented using unmanned vehicles. However, they would be inherently more difficult for the enemy to identify and would be trained to disperse and then regroup at a given point to create a temporary relay. The creators of this concept call them " networks that don't exist " because they would only be detectable periodically, during short encounters of the animals. Nevertheless, some questions remain unanswered, for example, about the unavoidable need to feed and hydrate dogs regularly, or about the animals' instincts to flee the noisy and confusing battlefield rather than move there.


"The bayonet"

Encyclopaedia for a new history of Europe

(source cross-checking)

Nicknamed the "rib knitting needle," the bayonet is a knife attached to the barrel of a musket or rifle. The term was coined in the 1660s during a peasant revolt in Bayonne. The invention of the bayonet with a cartridge case, under the impetus of Vauban, allows shooters to protect themselves while reloading their weapons. A circular of 1689 orders to provide all French infantry with them. A weapon of the brave, involving hand-to-hand combat, the bayonet makes the rifle a shooting instrument and a weapon of hast (i.e. a white weapon whose blade is fixed at the end of a shaft). For a long time, the bayonet occupied a prominent place in the equipment, training and daily life of men. The bayonet is even over-represented in the military imagination compared to the real place it occupies in combat: between 1792 and 1815, it caused only 4.5% of the wounds recorded among French veterans. During the First World War, soldiers still sometimes "go to the fork" or "make a Rosalie at the opponent's buttonhole" during assaults, but the "poilus" preferred the more manageable knives for fighting in the trenches.In January 1951, during the Korean War, 25 soldiers of the French Battalion of the United Nations, short of ammunition, stormed Chinese positions and impressedthe Americans. Nevertheless, the widespread use of grenades relegated the bayonet to the background. One of the last French bayonet charges took place in Sarajevo, in ex-Yugoslavia: on 27 May 1995, a platoon of porpoises from the 3rd Marine InfantryRegiment , commanded by Captain Lecointre (current Chief of Staff of the Armed Forces) charged, bayonet to the gun, to retake the position of the Vrbanja bridge where the Serbs held eleven French Blue Helmets. Modern versions of the bayonet still exist today, such as the Sawback U.S. M9 created in 1984.


The Pathfinder is a subject-oriented watch for prospective studies on air-land operations, currently conducted by the Command Doctrine and Training Centre (CDEC).

This document is based solely on unclassified sources. Its purpose is to provide a quick fortnightly overview of the information disseminated in the media and likely to be of interest to the world of defence. The briefs collected are limited to raw summaries of the documents analysed and cross-checked whenever possible by interviews conducted by its editors. It is therefore up to each reader to contextualise this information, particularly when it comes from official foreign sources, according to the use he or she wishes to make of it and the nature of the conclusions that he or she must draw from it.


 
 


 
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