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AIR DEFENCE

W E A P O N S

Fire

from Below:

Manpads Today

Manportable air defence systems (MANPADS) were conceived as a point defence weapon. The latest fourth generation weapons have evolved to meet the needs of the contemporary operational environment by Ian Kemp

Air defenders from the Australian Army's 16th Air Defence Regiment launch an RBS-70 missile at the live firing range in Woomera, South Australia © ADF

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ustralia is renewing is low level air defence network. Since March 2006, both missile batteries of the Australian Army's 16th Air Defence Regiment have been reequipped under the Land 19 Phase 6 Enhanced Ground Based Air Defence (GBAD) project. The Saab Bofors Dynamics RBS 70 Mark 2 missiles in service with the regiment's 111 Air Defence Battery were replaced with the latest production standard Bolide missiles while 110 Battery also received the Swedish manportable air defence system (MANPADS) to replace its BAE Systems Rapier low level air defence missile system after 23 years of service. The RBS 70 is in service with at least 23 users and Saab Bofors Dynamics has sold more than 16,000 missiles. Production of the RBS-70 will continue into 2010 to complete a SEK 600 million follow on contract

The latest Bolide missile is the fourth generation of the RBS-70... Bolide also features a multi-role proximity fuse which can be set for three different modes

awarded in 2007 to equip the Finnish Army. The RBS-70 is launched from a tripod; a complete firing unit is divided into three loads ­ stand, sight and missile ­ so that it can be carried by three soldiers. Target acquisition includes an IFF phase, but once fired, the missile locks on and vents its propulsion exhaust through the mid-section. Laser-beam guidance provides short reaction times and head-on

capability, and according to the manufacturer is impossible to jam. The latest Bolide missile is the fourth generation of the RBS-70. It has an intercept range of about eight kilometres and a ceiling of about 4.5 kilometres (15,000 feet) compared to the previous seven kilometres and three kilometres (10,000 feet) of the previous Mark 2 missile. Although the maximum velocity is still about Mach 2.2 (750 metres per second) increased acceleration and other advances have improved the missile's performance against high speed crossing, pop-up and other demanding targets. Bolide also features a multi-role proximity fuse which can be set for three different modes: `Normal' for use against aircraft and helicopters; `Small target' for use against unmanned air vehicles and cruise

Members of the Australian Army's 16 Air Defence Regiment track a US Marine Corps KC-130 with their Saab Bofors Dynamics RBS-70 launcher during Exercise `Pitch Black 2008' in Northern Australian © ADF

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missiles'; and, `Off' which inactivates the proximity fuse. The missile's `combined' warhead features a shaped charge and more than 3,000 tungsten pellets. The Bolide requires no maintenance for `more than 15 years' after which a mid-life overhaul can extend the missile's life by `at least an additional 15 years'. Under Land 19 Phase 6, Australia acquired the latest improvements to the RBS 70's weapon sight. One was fitting new generation laser diodes, which produce more laser energy with less heat. Another was replacing the Clip on Night Device (COND) with the BORC thermal imaging night sight which weighs about 11 kilograms (half the weight of COND) and incorporates a starring array sensor instead of a scanned array sensor, providing greater resolution and consuming less battery power. The modernisation programme also included the acquisition of five Lockheed Martin Portable Surveillance and Target Acquisition Radar-Extended Range (PSTAR-ER) and the upgrade of the five in service PSTAR to the improved standard and the fielding of the Saab Tactical Command and Control System (TaCCS). The PSTAR-ER has a range of 37 kilometres compared to 20 kilometres for the PSTAR. The TaCCS enables the three radars linked to the battery command post to be networked to produce a single correlated local air picture with immediate transmission of threat data to a handheld terminal used by

The Avenger consists of a gyro stabilised turret, armed with eight Stinger missiles in two pods, mounted on an AM General High Mobility Multipurpose Wheeled Vehicle

the 15 weapon detachment commanders. An air defence battery would typically deploy with a task force and assign a troop of five launchers to a battle group. Ground Based Air Defence (GBAD) liaison teams, equipped with a TaCCS terminal, would deploy to the supported task force or battle group headquarters, Royal Australian Air Force air traffic control unit or the Joint Force Air Operations Centre. Since the start of the Global War on Terrorism, the Regiment has routinely deployed RBS 70 detachments aboard Royal Australian Navy ships operating in the Persian Gulf. Australia's 2009 Defence White Paper states the `Government will replace or upgrade the Army's ground-based air defence system (currently based on the RBS70 missile) with more advanced systems that will also include a new counter rocket and mortar capability'. The June 2006 Defence Capability Plan 2006-16 indicated that A$750 million to A$1 billion would be spent on Land 19 Phase 7 to replace or upgrade the RBS 70 from 2018. In August 2008 the Department of Defence commis-

sioned Aerospace Concepts Pty Ltd to study the responses from firms that indicated an interest in participating in the project. Like the RBS 70 other MANPADS are also evolving to meet new threats such as unmanned air vehicles. One of the most widely deployed MANPADS is the Raytheon FIM-92 Stinger shoulderlaunched fire-and-forget system which first entered US Army service in 1982. Since then, according to Raytheon, "Stinger has been combat proven in four major conflicts and has more than 269 fixed-wing and rotary-wing kills". A passive twocolour infrared/ultraviolet heat seeking detector guides the missile to the target at speeds of up to Mach 2. The current production standard FIM-92C missile can engage targets beyond 4,500 metres in range and at altitudes between ground level and 3,800 metres. Raytheon has produced more than 50,000 missiles for the US Army, US Marine Corps and customers in more than 19 countries. As is typical of most MANPADS, Stinger launchers have been developed for vehicle, ship and helicopter applications. The most recent sale occurred in June 2009 when the US Army Aviation & Missile Command, acting on behalf of Taiwan, awarded Raytheon a $45.393 million firm-fixed-price contract for 171 Stinger missiles, 68 Air to Air Launchers and associated support equipment. The Stinger buy is part of a $2.5 billion package

US marines from the 3rd Low Altitude Air Defense Battalion launch a Raytheon Stinger missile during training in July 2009 © USMC

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to supply Taiwan with 30 Boeing AH-64D Block III Apache Longbow attack helicopters early in the next decade. The first GBAD layer for US Army manoeuvre units is the Boeing M1097 Avenger which was developed in the 1980s to provide a low cost, highly mobile shortrange air defence (SHORAD) system. The Avenger consists of a gyro stabilised turret, armed with eight Stinger missiles in two pods, mounted on an AM General High Mobility Multipurpose Wheeled Vehicle (HMMWV). An FN Herstal MP3 .50 calibre heavy machine gun, with 300 rounds of ready use ammunition, is mounted on the

Florida Army National Guardsmen carry a Stinger missile launcher to the firing lane at McGregor Range, New Mexico during their predeployment training to Washington DC as part of Operation `Noble Eagle' © US DoD

Since 2004 the British Army has cut the number of SP HVM launchers in service from 156 to 84

Avenger to cover the Stinger's dead zone out to 200 metres and provide local defence. A further eight missiles are carried in the vehicle as well as a grip stock to allow the missiles to be used in the MANPADS role when required. Targets are acquired by using the optical sight or a forward-looking infra-red (FLIR) system. Some Avengers in US service are fitted with a Slew-to-Cue subsystem which enables the commander or gunner to select a target reported by the Forward Area Air Defense Command, Control, Communications and Intelligence on the

onboard display and initiate an automatic slew in azimuth. Boeing has built more than 1,100 Avengers since 1998 for US Army, US Marine Corps and US Foreign Military Sales (FMS) customers. US Army National Guard units equipped with Stingers and Avengers continue to be deployed as part of the multilayered air defence system around the Capital Region as part of Operation `Noble Eagle' which was initiated by the North American Aerospace Defense Command in the days following the 11 September 2001 terrorists attacks on the USA. As the Army has concentrated its resources on countering the ballistic missile threat it has cut the more than 700 Avengers previously in service by half and assigned remaining batteries to new Air and Missile Defence (AMD) battalions.

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Each AMD battalion consists of one Avenger battery and four batteries equipped with Raytheon Patriot high to medium air defence systems; six AMD battalions will be formed by 2010. The US Army will retain Avenger in service until 2018 when it will be replaced by Raytheon's Surface Launched Advanced Medium Range Air-To-Air Missile (SLAMRAAM) described by the service as `a critical component of the Army's future Integrated Air & Missile Defense (IAMD) system'. SLAMRAAM uses Raytheon's AIM-120C7 Advanced Medium Range Air-to-Air Missile. The Department of Defense's Fiscal Year 2010 (FY10) budget includes funding for 13 launchers for delivery by mid-2011 for Initial Operational Test and Evaluation. When the Avenger with its Stinger missiles is withdrawn from the service the US Army will no longer have a MANPADS capability. The USMC has already replaced its Avengers through the incremental GBAD Transformation project to modernise its Low Altitude Air Defense (LAAD) Battalions. Increment 1 covers the fielding of the Advanced MANPADS (A-MANPADS) which includes: new M1152 Up Armoured HMMWVs to carry the missile teams; a Remote Terminal Unit that provided situational awareness, and command and control; PRC-150/117 radios to provide voice and data links; and, the integration of the existing Stinger shoulder launchers. The USMC has requested funding for 47 fire units in FY10. The Low Altitude Air Defense Battalions have submitted a Universal Needs Statement to

The three laser-beam riding 'hittiles' carried by Thales Starstreak 2 missiles are indepently guided to increase hit probability against small targets such as UAVs and cruise missiles © Thales

replace their ageing stocks of Stinger missiles. One possible solution is the acquisition of new Stinger missiles. The A-MANPADS provides the USMC with its only organic air defence system. Since 1997 the British Army has been

The effectiveness of New Zealand's Mistrals has been improved since 2004 with the fielding of the Very Low Level Air Defence System Alerting and Cueing System

equipped with the Thales Starstreak High Velocity Missile (HVM). To replace both the Rapier and the Javelin MANPADS, three variants were acquired by the Army: a single round shoulder launcher, a three

round Lightweight Multiple Launcher (LML) and the Self-Propelled HVM which mounts an eight round launcher on the roof of a BAE Systems Stormer tracked armoured personnel carrier with internal stowage for a further 12 missiles and an LML. For export customers the LML can be mounted on a various wheeled and tracked vehicles. A two-stage rocket motor which launches the Starstreak burns out before the missile leaves its canister. When the missile is a safe distance from the operator a second stage motor fires which rapidly accelerates the missile to a velocity of more than Mach 4+ at which point the three dart sub-munitions, `hittiles', are released. The laserguidance system individually guides the projectiles toward the target; on impact with the target a delayed action fuze detonates the warhead. Thales has demonstrat-

The solid rocket engine of a Stinger missile ignites and propels the missile from an Avenger launcher at McGregor Range, New Mexico. This Florida Army National Guard air defence unit later deployed to protect Washington DC as part of Operation `Noble Eagle' © US DoD

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ed the ability of the HVM to penetrate the front armour of an armoured personnel carrier or infantry fighting vehicle to show the weapon's multirole potential. Since 2004 the British Army has cut the number of SP HVM launchers in service from 156 to 84. In January 2009, the Ministry of Defence awarded Thales a contract worth more than £200 million for the Air Defence Availability Project (ADAPT) to ensure the Starstreak HVM system remains effective until 2020. Enhancements include automatic target tracking, new control consoles and the introduction of the new standard Starstreak II missile which extends the weapon's range beyond 7 kilometres. MBDA's fire-and-forget Mistral entered series production in 1989 and is now used by the armed forces of 27 countries with more than 16,000 missiles sold. New Zealand's 43 (Air Defence) Battery, 16 Field Regiment has been equipped with the Mistral since 1997. In the MANPADS role one soldier carries the launcher and another carries a missile. The system can be assembled for use in less than five min-

The latest application of the Mistral is the MultiPurpose Combat System developed by MBDA in collaboration with Rheinmetall Defence Electronics

utes and then takes less than 45 seconds to acquire and engage a target. The effectiveness of New Zealand's Mistrals has been improved since 2004 with the fielding of the Very Low Level Air Defence System Alerting and Cueing System (VACS) ­ comprising two radars, one command post and five weapon terminals - supplied by Indra of Spain. Under a separate contract Thales supplied IFF Interrogators which are mounted on each Mistral launcher. Together the Mistral/VACS system enables in-coming threats to be identified out to 20 kilometres, tracked and then engaged. The Mistral is another MANPADS which has been successfully mounted on a variety of platforms. The simplest of these installations mounts the Atlas lightweight twin-round launcher on a flatbed a 4 x 4 cross country truck; the Hungarian Army acquired this configuration in 2000. Both the Atlas and the Albi twin-launcher turret, developed for installation on light armoured vehicles, are equipped with a fourth generaMBDA's Atlas lightweight twin-launcher for the Mistral 2 missile can be mounted on a range of light vehicles © MBDA

tion infrared thermal sight which enables targets to be identified by ten kilometres and an autonomous identification friend-or-foe device. Up to 11 launchers can be co-ordinated with the Mistral Co-ordination Post (MCP). The Mistral 2 achieves a speed greater than Mach 2.7 and can engage targets up to 6.5 kilometres range and 3,000 metres in altitude. The missile is fitted with a three kilogramme high explosive warhead packed with tungsten ball projectiles. The Mistral has achieved a success rate of 93 percent in more than 3,000 live firings. Besides aerial targets fixed-wing aircraft, low flying helicopters, UAVs and cruise missiles ­ the Mistral has been successfully demonstrated against moving land vehicles and fast inshore attack craft at sea. Not surprisingly MBDA has also developed the ATAM helicopter launcher for the Mistral 2 which became the first helicopter-borne air-to-air missile system to enter service following its selection by the French Army to arm its new Tiger attack helicopters. The latest application of the Mistral is the Multi-Purpose Combat System (MPCS) developed by MBDA in collaboration with Rheinmetall Defence Electronics. The MPCS is a lightweight one-person turret that can be integrated into a wide range of tracked and wheeled chassis for used in both the air defence and anti-tank roles. Configured for the air defence a pod to two Mistral 2 missiles are mounted either side of the turret while four 3,000 metre range MBDA MILAN-ER (Extended Response) anti-tank guided missiles would be mounted for anti-armour missions. In the centre of the MPCS is a Rheinmetall Stabilised Electro-Optical Sighting System (SEOSS) capable of engaging air and ground targets by day and night. The turret is also armed with a .50 calibre HMG to provide local defence. The first firing trials of the MPCS were conducted in 2009. AMR

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