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October 20, 2021 | International, Aerospace, Naval, Land, C4ISR, Security

Q&A: Defense Business Board chair Deborah Lee James, on helping Pentagon see 'forest for the trees'

'€œYou don't know what you don't know," James said. "So bringing in outside advisors can be a helpful new perspective.'€

On the same subject

  • BAE successfully tests ground-launched APKWS rockets for first time

    June 2, 2020 | International, Land

    BAE successfully tests ground-launched APKWS rockets for first time

    By: Aaron Mehta WASHINGTON — BAE Systems has completed a successful ground-to-ground test of its Advanced Precision Kill Weapon System rocket for the first time, the company announced Monday. The test, conducted at the U.S. Army's Yuma Proving Ground in Arizona, involved “several successful shots” of the APKWS rockets out of a launcher, built specifically for ground vehicles by Arnold Defense, according to BAE. The weapon has traditionally been launched from rotary or fixed-wing aircraft. A ground-based APKWS, delivered via the Arnold Fletcher launcher, was first unveiled in 2018. “Demand is growing for ground-to-ground precision munitions that provide a safe standoff distance for small ground units,” Greg Procopio, director of precision guidance and sensing solutions at BAE Systems, said in a statement. “We're working closely with our customer and partners to deliver that capability.” The APKWS laser-guided rocket is used by the U.S. Army, Air Force, Navy and Marine Corps. The Navy holds the program of record. The rockets have also spread via foreign military sales to more than a dozen foreign nations. However, the U.S. Army decided to end procurement of the rockets as a result of its “night court” budget review. In its fiscal 2021 budget request, the service said it redirected $122 million in funding from the rockets toward higher priorities. Even before the Army's decision was official, BAE was working to increase the flexibility of APKWS as a low-cost, precision-strike option. Late last year, the Air Force successfully tested it for missile defense, and the ground-to-ground version would add to the military options for the weapon. The company delivered more than 35,000 APKWS units by the end of 2019 and expects to deliver 18,000 in 2020.

  • Growing threat at high altitude: innovation to fight drones

    March 2, 2020 | International, Aerospace

    Growing threat at high altitude: innovation to fight drones

    Over the past ten years, the growing availability of Unmanned Aerial Vehicles (UAV), commonly known as drones, has been a blessing for video enthusiasts and other tech addicts. But it also created a headache for safety authorities. To respond to this flourishing market, countermeasures are being developed in parallel, and represent a full-fledged business today. Very early after their appearance on the market, drones invited themselves on the battlefield. In 2014, the Islamic state was already using versions (Phantom 3 or 4) for reconnaissance. Then came the suicide drones, fitted with makeshift grenades. Conventional armies are also increasingly relying on them. If the United States used to have a quasi-monopoly on offensive UAVs at the beginning of the 21st century, countries such as China, Russia, and even Iran are constantly trying to fill the gap. In 2019, a wave of Iranian-made Qasef drones operated by the Houthi rebels took Saudi Arabia by surprise. Despite the presence of modern anti-aircraft missile systems such as the Patriot, the refineries of Abqaiq and Khurais, eastern Saudi Arabia, were heavily damaged, putting half of the country's oil production to a halt. Even in times of peace, UAVs can constitute a threat. In January 2019, drones caused a panic at London Gatwick Airport (LGW), United Kingdom, in the days preceding Christmas. The airport was closed for three days, creating a financial loss of several millions of pounds. The following months, less successful drone incidents also disturbed traffic at Changi Airport (SIN) in Singapore and at London Heathrow (LHR). To raise awareness of this danger and the lack of readiness, Greenpeace activists intentionally crashed several drones against French nuclear plants. A drone to rule them all In a similar fashion to the airports that have decided to rely on falconry to prevent birdstrikes, Fortem Technologies has decided to fight fire with fire. The US-based company offers several solutions to secure sites at risk from drone threats. A centralized system called SkyDome relies on an array of sensors, cameras and radars to monitor the surroundings and identify potential threats. The integrated artificial intelligence is capable of differentiating a bird from a drone, and to judge if the latter poses a threat or not. Once the threat is identified, SkyDome sends the HunterDrone capable to intercept the culprit and to fish it out of the air using a projectable net. Fortem Technologies has recently caught the interest of the U.S. Department of Defense (DoD). On February 3, 2020, the company announced it had been awarded a contract through the Defense Innovation Unit (DIU). While the price of the contract is unknown, it appears that the DoD chose to acquire the whole set of solutions. “Fortem has a number of technologies that can help protect military bases without adverse effects to local communities,” the manufacturer said. The Israeli company Rafael also offers a centralized system, but with a different solution. Named DroneDome (in reference to the Iron Dome that defends Israel from missile threats) it relies either on a precise jammer, or on a powerful laser. It was this system that put an end to Gatwick's mayhem. It was also used in 2018 to secure the G20 Buenos Aires summit. Man-portable solutions also exist. During the last national day in France, the military presented to the officials two anti-drone rifles (the Nerod F5 by the French-based MC2-Technologies and the DroneGun Tactical by the Australian company DroneShield). The purpose of those Star-Wars-like devices is not to destroy the enemy drones as one could expect, but to jam their signals. When they lose contact with their control base, drones usually go back to their takeoff point or stay in stationary flight until they run out of battery. That solution avoids for dangerous debris to fall and create collateral damages, for example onto a crowd during an event.

  • BAE receives $50M order to build 20 more CV90s for Norwegian Army

    February 19, 2021 | International, Land

    BAE receives $50M order to build 20 more CV90s for Norwegian Army

    BAE Systems announced Thursday that it has received a $50 million order from the Norwegian Army for 20 additional CV90 Infantry Fighting Vehicles, bring its total fleet to 164 vehicles.

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