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Number 28

March 2020

"UNSW Art & Design to develop technology for Australian Army."

Army Technology, 20 January 2020

(source cross-checking)

Although interested in the DARPA model in the defence field, Australian research has a much smaller budget: $730 million by 2026, compared to DARPA's $2.9 billion annual budget. By way of comparison, the French IDA receives 730 million euros a year. To compensate for its limited resources, Australia is therefore relying on its civil sector and particularly its universities. For example, a group of 14 of them was recently entrusted with a research programme on the soldier that has been expanded by the Science and Technology Department of the Australian Department of Defence. The project, entrusted to this Human Performance Research Network, will be endowed with half a million dollars in funding and will bring together researchers in robotics, computer science, physiology, but also cognitive and human sciences. Over the next four years, the initiators of the program aim to develop technological tools for optimizing cognitive abilities, troop resilience, stress management and decision support.

"British Military Conducts First Tests of Elbit's IronVision System"

Israel Defense, January 20, 2020

(source cross-checking)

The Life Extension Project (LEP) of the British Ministry of Defence (MoD) aims to extend the life of the Challenger 2 tank until 2035 by modernizing it. According to the British press, this modernisation would be made possible by reducing by one third the number of tanks in service to 227 in 2019. Thus, as part of the Streetfighter project, the new version of the Challenger 2 will be optimised for combat in urban areas by adding the IronVision augmented reality system, developed by the Israeli company Elbit Systems. The integration of this technology into the Challenger 2 was demonstrated on December 5. The IronVision system is based on a network of electro-optical and infrared cameras positioned outside the armoured vehicle. It transmits in real time to the tank commander's helmet, day and night, a 360° view of the environment in which the Challenger 2 is operating. This enhances the crew's situational awareness and the lethality of the tank, as well as infantry-ank cooperation by sharing theIronVision video feed with the infantrymen it accompanies.

"Russia Developing Two New Unmanned Tanks"

iHLS, January 22, 2020

(source cross-checking)

The Russian Ministry of Defence has taken over the development of land-based UAVs developed by Russian industrialists (see Pathfinder 26). It has unveiled two armoured combat models, which would be semi-autonomous. The first tank, called Shturm (Storm), is designed by the Uralvagonozavod company. It would be built on the chassis of the Russian T-72 and would have a 125 mm gun. Its secondary armament would include machine guns, anti-tank missiles and a 57 mm gun. The Shturm would be designed to capture fortified support points and could also protect combatant or drone formations in urban combat. The second unmanned tank, called Soratnik (Allied), is designed by Kalashnikov. Lighter, it would be equipped with anti-tank missiles, grenade launchers and heavy machine guns. The Soratnik is designed for combined land and UAV operations. Russia is keen to limit threats to the close security of its soldiers and would seek to increase the use of autonomous technologies on the battlefield.

"Artillery seeks robot ammo haulers"

Breaking Defense, January 27, 2020

(source cross-checking)

The American army is increasingly assuming the density of fire in combat and accepts that its artillery will make greater use of saturation fire. TheU.S. Army aims to double the rate of fire of its M109 Paladin. To do this, it has sought the expertise of six manufacturers to develop a range of autonomous mechanisms to accelerate each of the five phases of reloading the Paladin, thus limiting shell handling.

"Rheinmetall to supply laser duel simulators for Puma infantry fighting vehicles".

ArmyRecognition, February 03, 2020

(source cross-checking)

Rheinmetall has been awarded a contract worth 142 million euros to equip the mechanised infantry units of the Bundeswehr with a new simulation system in the near future. This technology will equip the Puma combat vehicles with laser sensors and virtually reproduce all the effects of their combat systems, including visual effects, for the crew. To do this, Rheinmetall had to develop a highly accurate ballistic calculation system for all of the Puma's offensive and defensive weapons systems.

"Army Adding New Arms Stockpile In Europe: Gen. Perna"

Breaking Defense, 04 February 2020

(single source)

As part of the NATO Defender 2020 wargame in May, theU.S. Army has decided to increase the volume of its pre-positioned equipment in Central and Eastern Europe. The The United States is sending stocks of equipment (known as APS - Army Prepositioned Stocks), ranging from M1 tanks to simple medical supplies. These stocks are intended to equip a possible reinforcement of American troops in the event of a major crisis, while continuing to be maintained and retrofitted to the latest standards. According to the American officers in charge of the plan, APS are not just a practical precaution but a real strategic deterrent against potential enemies.

"IAI secures new partnership deal in India"

Jane's, February 05, 2020

(source cross-checking)

On 5 February, Israel Aerospace Industries (IAI) signed an agreement with Indian defence companies Dynamatic Technologies and India's Hindustan Aeronautics at DefExpo in Lucknow, India. The contract includes a project for the joint development and construction of unmanned aerial vehicles (UAVs) and the promotion of the Indian UAV industry. The Israeli army has many years of experience in the construction and use of armed UAVs, including the MALE Heron 1 and the Heron TP (Eitan). In addition to this sharing of technologies, there is also an agreement for the maintenance, repair and overhaul of UAVs. As a reminder, India regularly faces tensions on its border with its Pakistani and Chinese neighbours: an Indian drone crashed behind the Himalayan border at the end of 2017 and a Pakistani drone was shot down by India in March 2019.

"Australia to acquire Spike LR2 missile system to meet long-range direct fire support capability requirement"

Jane's, February 05, 2020

(source cross-checking)

The Australian Department of Defence announced in January the acquisition of the Rafael Advanced Defense Systems Spike LR2 missile system. The Spike LR2 is an Israeli-made long-range direct fire support weapon with improved accuracy over the previous SR and MR versions. A ground-to-ground or air-to-ground weapon (operable from a helicopter), the Spike LR2 is an « shoot and forget » equipped with a thermally-guided sensor capable of targeting armoured threats. This missile would allow Australian soldiers to engage targets faster and at a distance of about 5.5 km on the ground and 10 km in the air. The Australian Army plans to integrate the missile into the multi-role Boxer armoured vehicle as part of 2th phase of its Land 400project.

"DJI drones to cover a square mile in disinfectant to stop coronavirus."

South China Morning Post, February 10, 2020

(source cross-checking)

In China, the authorities are using drones from the Chinese companies DJI and XAG to combat the spread of the coronavirus COVID-19. Swarms of drones spread disinfectant in the streets, while others help disperse public gatherings, broadcast warnings over loudspeakers or search for inhabitants not wearing masks. In Wuhan, the epicentre of the epidemic, workers used them at night to provide lighting during the construction of a new hospital. The drones used for this purpose would be able to cover up to 6,000 square metres of land and last 10 hours on duty with a single charge. Finally, in Jiangxi province, some UAVs have been equipped with thermal imaging cameras to take the temperature of inhabitants on their balconies, thus avoiding direct human contact. The massive use of UAVs in the fight against coronavirus confirms their military potential, particularly in a CBRN context.

"Successful Testing of Israeli Laser C-UAS System"

iHLS, February 12, 2020

(source cross-checking)

The Israeli defence company Rafael has successfully tested its Drone Dome laser weapon system. Mounted on an all-terrain vehicle, it works according to the hard kill method: after detecting and identifying small hostile aerial drones, it neutralizes them by burning them with its laser beam. Operated by a single person, the Drone D ome can strike a target performing a manoeuvre. A recording thus shows the laser weapon system shooting down a single aerial UAV before destroying a swarm of three drones. It is very different from the first Drone Dome unveiled by Rafael in 2016: preferring soft kill, this one used frequency jammers to force enemy drones to land. Fully operational, the current Laser Drone Dome system adds a fourth "security layer" to Israel's air defense. In particular, it is designed to protect military installations and border areas.

"Russia's Ground Forces Introduce Mobile Counter-UAV Units"

The Jamestown Foundation, February 12, 2020

(single source)

After successful trials conducted in autumn 2019 as part of the Combat Commonwealth military exercise, units dedicated to combating airborne UAVs were integrated into the Russian land forces. They were created in response to the growing role of UAVs in modern conflicts. These units are made up of officers and contract personnel who have undergone specialised training. They are stationed in the Eastern and Southern military districts, where they are assigned to protect military bases, and are intended for use in all five military districts. These units could also be deployed on operations to cover land forces. Their tactical use combines radar and electronic warfare: the enemy UAV is spotted and located using a small radar, before its navigation system is jammed by electronic interference. Eventually, "UAV fighters" should be equipped with more direct means of neutralisation using the hard kill method. The creation of these units is part of a wider effort to improve air defence and force protection capabilities.

"Army Kills APKWS Rockets & Mystery Missile, MIRM"

Breaking Defense, February 13, 2020

(single source)

TheU.S. Army wants to reduce the budget for capability upgrades, starting with its helicopter rocket guidance system and the Bradley M2 armoured infantry fighting vehicle. These cuts, estimated at $122 million and $222 million respectively, are part of an overall plan of budget cuts. Estimated at approximately $1.13 billion, they affect many majorU.S. Army projects. Other planned cuts include $201 million for the Joint Tactical Light Vehicle and the complete cancellation of the Mobile Medium Range Missile (MIRM) and Advanced Precision Kill Weapon System (APKWS) development programs. The decrease in artillery specific modernization spending amounts to $427 million. Further drastic cuts are planned for Lockheed Martin's Army T actical Missile System (ATacMS) modernization programs, Close Terrain Shaping Obstacle (CTSO) land mines and counter-insurgency programs. In total, theU.S. Army staff is reported to have cancelled no fewer than 41 acquisition programs and reduced spending on 39 others.

"Delivery of New O-NYX Night Vision Goggles to the Army."

Ministry of the Armed Forces, 30 January 2020

(single source)

The first O-NYX night vision binoculars (NVA) were delivered to the 21st Marine Infantry Regiment (21st RIMa) based in Fréjus. Designed to replace the Lucie binoculars, the O-NYX JVNs, developed by Thales, have better resolution and a wider field of vision of 51° (compared to 40° previously). Lighter, they improve the perception of the environment and the mobility of the fighter. Their autonomy can reach 40 hours. Of the 3,519 O-NYX JVNs ordered by the French Armament Procurement Agency (DGA), 3,179 are to be supplied to the Army by the end of the year. The remainder of the order will be delivered in 2021 and several thousand more are expected to be supplied by 2025.

"Launch of the first military developments of the Cheetah helicopter.

Ministry of the Armed Forces, 07 February 2020

(single source)

The pre-development contract for the future Guépard light joint helicopter (HIL) was notified to Airbus Helicopters and Safran Helicopters Engines on December 30, 2019 by the DGA. The Guépard, whose model was unveiled at the Paris-Le Bourget International Air Show in June 2019, is a militarized version of Airbus Helicopters' H 160 helicopter. It will carry out, in a national or inter-allied framework, armed reconnaissance, fire support, special forces infiltration and medical evacuation missions for air-land forces. The Cheetah will equip the three armies in order to optimize the organization of support, replacing, for example, the Army's Gazelle . The first deliveries will take place in 2026, in accordance with the acceleration of the initial planning requested by Minister Florence Parly in May 2019.

Availability: 2026

"Digital innovation to simplify the soldier's life"

Ministry of the Armed Forces, 07 February 2020

(single source)

At the beginning of this year, EMAT's Digital and Innovation Coordination (DIC) cluster presented three major digital innovations for the French Army. Firstly, the Plug & Play Positioning and Timing system (P3TS ), which will make it possible to replace the Defense Advanced GPS Receiver (DAGR ) at low cost in training or to equip vehicles not equipped with navigation means. Second, the Executive Intradef Tablet (ICT) will provide tactical leaders with access to Intradef messaging and subordinate HR information as well as the virtual training book. 4,300 copies are expected to be delivered to all regiments by the end of 2020. Finally, the DEDAL and ICAR duo (systems dedicated to collecting data on land equipment) will enable maintainers to benefit from the digital continuity of maintenance processes as close as possible to the action. Integrated within the Army's maintenance information system (SIMAT) of the SIMMT, the deployment of ICAR will be completed by the end of 2020. As for DEDAL, it will be gradually commissioned by 2022.

"European Defense: Challenges ahead"

Frédéric Mauro, Associate Researcher at IRIS, 27 January 2020

In this IRIS forum, Frédéric Mauro, a lawyer at the Paris and Brussels Bars and a specialist in European defence issues, discusses the various initiatives that Europe is taking today in the field of defence. Over the last two decades, the European Union has seen a succession of common defence projects. The latest of these is the proposal put forward by the French President to create a "European army". The author notes, however, that a defence "of Europe, by Europe and for Europe" does not exist as such. In order to meet that requirement, Mr Mauro describes the challenges facing the European Union today. In his view, it was necessary to move on from declarations to action by strengthening tools such as permanent structured cooperation (PSC) and the European Defence Fund. European countries must move towards greater integration, no longer relying solely on bilateral agreements (London Treaties, MGCS, SCAF, Franco-Belgian "motorised capability", etc.) but on a real common decision-making framework. The latter could take the form of a new institution created either within the framework of the Treaties or outside the Union framework on the model of the Eurogroup, or even an ad hoc European Security Council based on qualified majority voting.

"Quantum strategy: a crucial technological shift".

Interview with Mr. Emmanuel Chiva, Director of IDA, France 24, 29 January 2020

The Ministers of the Armed Forces, the Economy, Research and the Digital Economy recently announced their willingness to work together to develop a genuine French quantum strategy. On January 29th, Emmanuel Chiva, Director of the AID, was the guest of the France 24 channel to discuss the technological shift represented by this interest in quantum. A real game changer according to Mr. Chiva, the quantum world is the source of many innovations for both civil and defence, particularly in the fields of computing (increasing computing speed) and cryptography (improving the reliability of data coding). Starting this year, the Ministry will launch a call for research projects on quantum sensors for Defence. For the year 2021, the Armed Forces aim to create a quantum algorithm model adaptable to current electronic components. Several manufacturers, including Thales and Atos, would have positioned themselves on these projects. The Director of the IDA also recalled the government's ambition to bring together all civil and military players around a real DTIB (Defence Technological and Industrial Base) for quantum innovations, bringing together the major champions from industry, SMEs and startups at the cutting edge of the subject. Finally, he recalled that European cooperation on certain projects was possible, as European states had recently become aware of the opportunities offered by quantum computing.

"Enhancing Stability Operations in Under-governed Regions".

DARPA, 29 January 2020

DARPA has launched a new program called Habitus. Inspired by Pierre Bourdieu's sociology, it aims to help the U.S. military better understand the human environment of operations (HOO) by providing socio-economic, political, religious and health understanding keys to officers on operations. American forces operating in foreign theatres of operations are regularly confronted with opaque cultural and societal practices whose lack of knowledge can lead to poor decision-making. The Habitus programme thus intends to use big data to define the most important local cognitive models of a given geographical area. These models must be able to adapt and evolve in response to changes and help design specific engagement mechanisms each time. The support on which this project will be based has not been revealed, but the initiator of the programme, Bart Russell, wants to draw inspiration from systems that already exist in the civil sector, such as the Afriscout application. This allows African farmers to see the current state of pastures or water points impacted by climate change.

"Researchers: Paths to military innovation".

Olivier Schmidt, IRSEM, Podcast le Collimateur, January 31, 2020

Olivier Schmidt, Director of the Centre for War Studies at the University of Southern Denmark, comments on our perceptions of the processes determining innovation in the Armed Forces. Military innovation fulfils a certain number of criteria, which makes its dynamics difficult to grasp, depending on whether we insist on doctrinal, cultural, or strictly technological changes. This confusion is compounded by the intermingling of the logics of encouraging innovation: military and civil interests, institutional inertia, internal controversies, operational experiences. In short, we must ask ourselves whether or not these different interactions predispose us to change: our paradigms seem in the end to be the determining factor in the welcome we give to originality.

"War with robots: how battle bots will define the future of ground combat"...

Todd South, Army Times, February 13, 2020

TheU.S. Army has seen an increasing number of drone development projects in recent years in support of landed combatants. These robots range in size from nano-UAVs to new-generation autonomous land vehicles. Although combatants have mainly benefited from aerial UAVs such as the Black Hornet (deployed for the first time in Afghanistan), it is now land-based UAVs that are attracting the attention of the U.S. military staff, as well as the opportunities offered by artificial intelligence for their empowerment. In 2018, theU.S. Army created the Robotics Center of Innovation at Fort Benning, Georgia. However, not all the various programmes were successful, as shown by the abandonment of the Bradley replacement programme (cf. Scout 27). Moreover, these programmes are not specifically oriented towards urban warfare, even though it constitutes an essential theatre to be apprehended according to some American officers from the Urban Warfare Studies of Modern War Institute at West Point. Finally, despite all the advantages that robots and on-board artificial intelligence can bring to the soldier, experts agree that it is surely dangerous to rely too much on these as yet untested systems and the source of vulnerabilities, especially in terms of technological dependence.

"The bazooka "

CDEC, Studies and Foresight Division

A brass musical instrument is what the Anglo-American term "brass instrument" originally meant. « bazooka ». It was then used to refer to the rocket launcher built by the U.S. Army during the Second World War, which bore a striking resemblance to the trombone developed by musician and comedian Bob Burns in the 1930s. The bazooka was the first anti-tank weapon to be carried by a single infantryman, and is believed to have played a decisive role in the Second World War, according to General Dwight D. Eisenhower. However, the 5,000 M1 short-range rocket launchers produced in the summer of 1942 were not without flaws. Their limited accuracy and power on the battlefields of North Africa, particularly against the Panzer and Tiger tanks, caused their distribution to be interrupted as early as May 1943. On the other hand, the M9 bazooka, developed in 1944 and produced in 477,000 units, massively equipped Allied soldiers: weighing 6.5 kg and with a calibre of 60 mm, it had a range of 110 m. The M20 rocket launcher with a calibre of 89 mm then made its appearance during the Korean War. Inexpensive, this type of anti-tank weapon became part of the arsenal of many countries.

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.