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Joint Force Arsenal

Kirkhill

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I'm starting this thread because I am finding it difficult to keep discussions within the narrow confines of the threads on this board. I have become a serial violator of silos as I invariably find that everything is connected to everything else. In my cluttered mind this is becoming more apparent as weapons become more capable, at lower prices and become less platform dependent. The weapons become more capable, more precise, have longer ranges and are less dependent on launch platforms.

Moore's Law is catching up to us. The cost of smart weapons is dropping. The quality of weapons being provided at scale and at cost by a host of technically competent countries is increasing - countries that have a lot more security incentives to keep trying to do things differently.

The movement is spreading.

Col. Arnaud Goujon, chief of plans at the French army headquarters, said the service is looking to add loitering munitions to its inventory later in the year.

“You need something that is different than a mortar or an artillery shell,” Goujon said. “If it is the same price of a mortar round that goes about three kilometers away and flies for 15 minutes, then it’s interesting,” he said. If it costs 10 times as much as a mortar or an artillery round with the same range, then it’s less interesting, he added.

If it can fly 30 or 50 kilometers away and endure for two to four hours, “then it’s a different animal,” he said.


Goujon indicated that the French army would start off by acquiring the smaller Switchblade.


Often other forces are buying 80% solutions at 20% of the cost. Nobody will confuse a Bayraktar for a Reaper, or a Stugna for a Javelin, but the lower cost solutions improve capabilities and make their owners that much harder to defeat.

An example might be the 155mm Excalibur round. At a cost of about 125,000 USD it has a range of 25 to 40 km (expanding to 70 km in the foreseeable future) with a wiki CEP of 4m. An alternate choice for the gunners is the M1156 Precision Guided Munitions Kit, a fuzing assembly that also steers the round off its ballistic course. The kit reduces the CEP of the dumb round from 250m to 50m. This is not the 5m of the Excalibur but it heads in the right direction - and at a cost of < 10,000 USD. And the Excalibur had its origins in 1992, 30 years ago. The M1156 development started circa 2006, 16 years ago. There are 7 of Moore's generations between the Excalibur and the M1156. There have been 8 generations since.

Although some nations focus on safety and security and ensuring the integrity of the supply chain other nations, with different incentives, are more inclined to exploit the opportunities inherent in Moore's observation and let innovation drive their strategy and demand a more flexible supply chain. Korea, Poland, Turkey and Israel immediately come to mind. And Ukraine for that matter.

Is there any reason to think that an M1156 type kit cannot achieve Excalibur type results in the short term?


The other reason for starting this thread is the tendency to platform independence and the increasing tendency to remote autonomy that accompanies the move to uninhabited systems.

The armies of the world have spent a century searching for the ultimate All Terrain Vehicle. I suggest that the ultimate ATV is an aircraft. I further suggest that an aircraft is any man-made thing that flies, whether ballistic or self-powered; dumb, guided or autonomous; inhabited or uninhabited; rotary wing or fixed wing; IC, Jet, Rocket, Ramjet or Electrically powered.

The fact that the sailors, soldiers and aviators of Navies, Armies and Air Forces are now all launching variants of the same aircraft from watercraft, landcraft and aircraft is, I believe, part of the underlying tension amongst the services. They are competing to survive in an environment where their traditional domains are melding into the multi-domain universe. And they are doing this at a time where the pool of potential candidates for their services is both shrinking and morphing. All nations of the OECD are struggling with the impact of the 1972 Club of Rome report, which counselled reducing the size of families, and the related impacts of the birth control pill and access to abortions. There are simply fewer young people available.

Those that are are not the physically strong farm boys, steel workers and miners of the past. They are physically challenged information workers, project managers, students and gamers.

The good news is that these people are well suited to exploit Moore's Law.

The bad news is that the aircraft they might interact with can be launched from fixed positions on land and at sea, from landcraft, seacraft - both on the surface and under the surface, and from aircraft. And the operator may never leave her cat adorned cubicle with its Keurig and it Link16 connection.


From Rimpac -

The four unmanned surface vehicles that the Navy brought to the exercise carried specialized payloads for anti-submarine warfare, intelligence, surveillance and reconnaissance, domain awareness and communications capability, he said. “So that’s all kind of new.”

Two of the USVs were designed and built as unmanned vessels: the Sea Hunter — originally developed by the Defense Advanced Research and Projects Agency — and the Sea Hawk — developed through the Office of Naval Research. The other two — Nomad and Ranger — were previously manned vessels that have been retrofitted with autonomous technology through the Ghost Fleet Overlord program.

Sea Hunter and Sea Hawk steamed from San Diego to Hawaii autonomously, Brown said. “This is the first time they’re participating in an exercise to this magnitude, or really [the] first time they’ve done an extended exercise or been away from port.”

All four conducted numerous operations during the exercise under the watch of Cmdr. Jeremiah Daley, head of the Navy’s recently established Unmanned Surface Vessel Division One.

Nomad and Ranger are unmanned versions of the Anticostis operated by the RCN in the 1990s

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HMCS Anticosti.


These vessels, with their container carrying capacity, can be launch pads for the SM6 and other missiles.


Sea Hawk and Sea Hunter, with ISR suites, including Towed Arrays, are contributing to the AAW and ASW pictures.

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These seacraft, with their ability to relocate and hold position autonomously are drawing on the experiences of these 1970s projects: the SWATH T-AGOS and Bras D'or. Both of which relied on towed arrays and minimal manning.

And are headed towards



On the Command and Control front, from the Rimpac article

... the partner commanders did not have direct access to the unmanned platforms and their classified operating technology but rather gave mission orders to U.S. service members controlling the platforms. However, the international participants had access to all the sensor data just as they would from any shared platform, according to Daley.

Command and control worked as expected during the exercise, but there was an incident with one of the manned ships that required transferring USV control from afloat to ashore, he said.

“That was a tremendous effort on the part of the command structure,” he said. “We were postured to do it, and it was good from a data-collection standpoint, which helps further develop the concept of operations and the concept of employment for real-world operations.”

Command and Control was transferred from the "local" commander at sea to the "remote" commander on shore. Could more emphasis, more reliance, be placed on the "remote" structure? At what risk?

From the same article,

And it wasn’t just the USVs that caught people’s attention during the exercise. The MQ-9B, the next generation of the MQ-9A Reaper, was also getting a workout during the exercise.

“It seems like a pretty capable platform for the [Defense Department] as a whole,” Brown said. “The endurance it has, the payloads it can carry, it can do [anti-submarine warfare], it has radars onboard that can collect signals, and the fact that it can be flown from anywhere is pretty amazing. So, I think that this bravo model is an advancement.”

The MQ-9B factored into a range of exercises, he added, including providing video feeds of the two “sink exercises” where participants fired on and sank decommissioned ships.

Operators controlled the MQ-9B from ground control and mission intelligence stations at Pearl Harbor Naval Base, and the platform took off and landed autonomously from the Marine Corps Base in Kaneohe Bay, about 15 miles northeast of Pearl Harbor.

So ASW prosecuted by Sea Hunters and Reapers from cubicles.

And when you leave people out of the equation - you don't need decks, space in the engine room for maintenance, or even to worry about not being awash. You can sail at snorkel depth.


I'm tying this to some postings I consider related


In a dollars and cents discussion would buying and operating the MQ-9A in that role be more or lest costly than "drone-carriers"?

Looking at the Loyal Wingman type programmes now

View attachment 72620

View attachment 72621
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View attachment 72623

I'm seeing much of a sameness about them.

Except that the Kratos products seem to be considerably lower cost.



View attachment 72624
View attachment 72634


Thinking more about the Lt Cavalry role for the Reserves.

Jankel Toyotas for the patrol troops.

And Jankel Toyotas with the Arnold Defense/Fletcher 23 round 70mm rocket launchers? Both direct (precision) and indirect (suppression) fires from one platform. And possibly a bit of AD (the 70mm was originally an anti-aircraft missile and Stinger is a 70 mm missile as well)

Progress - 155mm Ramjet projectiles tested in Norway in April of this year.




Nammo and Boeing are also partnered with Saab on the Ground Launched Small Diameter Bomb based on the M31 rocket.


Ramjets are a key to the Hypersonic world. And NAMMO has a head start.

Next step - Mount a Ramjet munition in place of the SDB on top of the M31. And containerize.

With all of these synergies, with all of this consolidation, is the right starting point for the discussion on Force 2025/2030 an infantry-centric medium force?
 

FJAG

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Moore's Law is catching up to us. The cost of smart weapons is dropping. The quality of weapons being provided at scale and at cost by a host of technically competent countries is increasing - countries that have a lot more security incentives to keep trying to do things differently.

The movement is spreading.
One thing that impressed me was that back in 2004 when Canada went to Kabul it recognized the need for both UAVs and counterfire radars and was fortunately poised through a fluke in DLR of being quickly able to acquire Sperwer and ARTHUR. Even better was that after we came back in 2005 the Artillery School set up a small troop to literally start "playing with model airplanes" so that by the time we went to Kandahar we had an Skylark MUAV in hand and were well on the way to getting LCMR and more importantly had a handle on the basic organization and doctrine needed to use these things. Meanwhile the RCAF had glommed onto the Sperwer.

We really need an experimentation group, hard wired into DLR, the CTC and whatever agency the Army currently has working on future vision, that can "play" with this new kit, not just to help select the most appropriate equipment but to work on the organizational and doctrinal structures.

🍻
 

Kirkhill

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One thing that impressed me was that back in 2004 when Canada went to Kabul it recognized the need for both UAVs and counterfire radars and was fortunately poised through a fluke in DLR of being quickly able to acquire Sperwer and ARTHUR. Even better was that after we came back in 2005 the Artillery School set up a small troop to literally start "playing with model airplanes" so that by the time we went to Kandahar we had an Skylark MUAV in hand and were well on the way to getting LCMR and more importantly had a handle on the basic organization and doctrine needed to use these things. Meanwhile the RCAF had glommed onto the Sperwer.

We really need an experimentation group, hard wired into DLR, the CTC and whatever agency the Army currently has working on future vision, that can "play" with this new kit, not just to help select the most appropriate equipment but to work on the organizational and doctrinal structures.

🍻

How about, rather than a group hired to play full time everybody was allowed to play some of the time?
 

OldSolduer

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How about, rather than a group hired to play full time everybody was allowed to play some of the time?
Calian will enter this chat eventually but I really like where you guys are going with this. If I as a sect/pl/coy commander had an aerial view of the ground ahead....and the bad guys that were there....the job is so much easier.

As long as the UAVs are armed....
 

KevinB

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Calian will enter this chat eventually but I really like where you guys are going with this. If I as a sect/pl/coy commander had an aerial view of the ground ahead....and the bad guys that were there....the job is so much easier.

As long as the UAVs are armed....
IMHO section/team UAS shouldn’t be armed.
I don’t think a Platoon or Coy UAS should be armed either.

I may be swayed by a Bn/Reg’t Armed system - but quite honestly having worked with team UAS, they are a much better ISR tool than a target prosecution.
1) Small Drones don’t have a lot of weight capacity - I’d rather use that for comms and detection abilities.
2) Top down viewing from smaller systems can be very disorienting for long time use - larger stabilized platforms less so. Getting decent IFF and then coordinating an attack run isn’t ideal on a small UAS.

3) Armed UAS on ground support operations should be a 3 man team — pilot, analyst, ground SME - three person checks to ensure proper weapon release on legitimate target.

4) If I see a target via my team UAS, I can either avoid it, or engage it depending on my mission profile. If I engage, I have the choice of integral assets or phone a friend (so as to no disclose my position).

5) Payload see #1 - I don’t want to drop a note to the bad guys - I want to hit them with appropriate ordnance to neutralize them. A small team/section UAS can’t carry much more than a Frag grenade - and will do so at the degradation of the comms and EO/IO sensors.
 

Kirkhill

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IMHO section/team UAS shouldn’t be armed.

Sounds right.

I don’t think a Platoon or Coy UAS should be armed either.

I can agree on the Platoon level but I think things get greyer at the Company level - especially if the Company is more of a Combat Team with integral support normally found at Battalion. I happen to favour that construct for the Canadian Army Reserves simply because of the great distances and small populations involved. The Combat Team offers more local training opportunities in my opinion. The quality of training might be spotty but that is better than no skills at all.

At the Company level I like the idea of the 81mm mortars (common European practice) augmented by similarly sized Loitering Attack Munitions and Quad Copters. Essentially, these would be Reg Force Battalion assets but in the Reserve Force they would be permanently detached to support local Companies.

I may be swayed by a Bn/Reg’t Armed system - but quite honestly having worked with team UAS, they are a much better ISR tool than a target prosecution.
1) Small Drones don’t have a lot of weight capacity - I’d rather use that for comms and detection abilities.

Seen - my view is that anything smaller than 120mm diameter is better as an ISR asset.

2) Top down viewing from smaller systems can be very disorienting for long time use - larger stabilized platforms less so. Getting decent IFF and then coordinating an attack run isn’t ideal on a small UAS.

This is easily resolved. Don't. Go with the "natural" slant view. It keeps the UAS out of range of counter fire. Exploits the optics and, as you not is less disorienting. The operator is now the equivalent of a FOO in a Windmill or Church Steeple observing the Polders.

3) Armed UAS on ground support operations should be a 3 man team — pilot, analyst, ground SME - three person checks to ensure proper weapon release on legitimate target.

Sounds good. About the same as a mortar team. Or an MG team. Or a vehicle crew.

4) If I see a target via my team UAS, I can either avoid it, or engage it depending on my mission profile. If I engage, I have the choice of integral assets or phone a friend (so as to no disclose my position).

Again, sounds good.

5) Payload see #1 - I don’t want to drop a note to the bad guys - I want to hit them with appropriate ordnance to neutralize them. A small team/section UAS can’t carry much more than a Frag grenade - and will do so at the degradation of the comms and EO/IO sensors.

Again, sounds good.

But what if the Bad Guys come visiting? I would want something on hand to make them reconsider before they knock on my front door. And my phone-a-friend could be on another line.
 

Kirkhill

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But I don't really want to get involved in the details of the Section in this thread.

Nor do I want to keep this an army-centric discussion.

I want to consider how much can be done with technology without putting Sections in the field.

There are now multitudes of effectors that can be triggered by a remotely operated solenoid.

Equally there are now multitudes of sensors whose outputs can be observed remotely.

Also there are now multiple multi-node communications systems that connect the above.

And there is a phantasmagoria of computing power at large in the world.

With 7 Billion brains with eyes and fingers attached.


Time to let science-fiction have its day... for a bit.
 

KevinB

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Sounds right.



I can agree on the Platoon level but I think things get greyer at the Company level - especially if the Company is more of a Combat Team with integral support normally found at Battalion. I happen to favour that construct for the Canadian Army Reserves simply because of the great distances and small populations involved. The Combat Team offers more local training opportunities in my opinion. The quality of training might be spotty but that is better than no skills at all.
Paging @dimsum @SupersonicMax @FJAG
I've been a A-UAS observer and support recipient - I have concerns of loitering munitions - and Armed UAS at certain levels - due to Friendly Fire potentials - but the CAF (and NATO) do have UAS class standards that would regulate the arming of UAS.
Pretty sure the RCAF has control of Armed UAS/RPAS - not sure how the FCSS and Artillery Fire Planning will work with loitering munitions - but it seems to be to be a bit of an issue.

At the Company level I like the idea of the 81mm mortars (common European practice) augmented by similarly sized Loitering Attack Munitions and Quad Copters. Essentially, these would be Reg Force Battalion assets but in the Reserve Force they would be permanently detached to support local Companies.
The whole local loitering munition concerns me.
I started as a Gunner remember...

I see the value in Direct Support Mortar and Arty -- what I don't see the value in is locally fired loitering munitions -- firing something in advance "in case" seems to be a poor use of resources. I love smart munitions, but my big concern with locally fired loitering munitions is:
1) firing them in advance will disclose their position - in the case of a 120mm Det - they now need to beat feet to another location...
2) firing them during contact has no purpose - as I want to be bringing all assets to bear.

When you get further back and at Bde and higher level - I am willing to give more consideration to loitering munitions - but really only a fan at Div+.


The operator is now the equivalent of a FOO in a Windmill or Church Steeple observing the Polders.
Yes that to me is exactly the best use of local UAS
But what if the Bad Guys come visiting? I would want something on hand to make them reconsider before they knock on my front door. And my phone-a-friend could be on another line.
A Team sized UAS can carry a frag grenade at best --
I'd rather be using it to coordinate either my exfil, and/or fire support.
 

Kirkhill

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A but of fibre to the Switchblade launch site would resolve ne need for the det to beat feet.

And don't you like a B52 circling over your head, attendant on your every whim?
 

KevinB

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A but of fibre to the Switchblade launch site would resolve ne need for the det to beat feet.
All I see in the SB is a lot of unneeded weight - it's a Kamikaze drone, which all loitering munitions are, they are lost assets once fired.
And don't you like a B52 circling over your head, attendant on your every whim?
GWOT gave a lot of bad habits, like Aircraft doing Artillery's job.
 

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FJAG

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All I see in the SB is a lot of unneeded weight - it's a Kamikaze drone, which all loitering munitions are, they are lost assets once fired.

GWOT gave a lot of bad habits, like Aircraft doing Artillery's job.
Aircraft can play a major role if there is no enemy air defence or it can be mostly suppressed. Unfortunately that's not always possible and Ukraine is teaching a lesson of what happens vis a vis air support when air defence remains active.

I see a wide variety of ground launched precision systems which, IMHO, are really an extension of non-line of sight artillery. Terminally guided perhaps but launched out of view of the enemy. These will persist in a hostile AD environment until such time as the AD environment itself matures to the point where it can jam or defeat these munitions. The advantage of the dumb, gun-launched round is it's pretty much guaranteed to get to its target once launched. The key is to keep ones options open through a variety of systems whereby one can fall back on the simple stuff once the high tech stuff fails, is expended or is defeated.

🍻
 

Kirkhill

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Aircraft can play a major role if there is no enemy air defence or it can be mostly suppressed. Unfortunately that's not always possible and Ukraine is teaching a lesson of what happens vis a vis air support when air defence remains active.

I see a wide variety of ground launched precision systems which, IMHO, are really an extension of non-line of sight artillery. Terminally guided perhaps but launched out of view of the enemy. These will persist in a hostile AD environment until such time as the AD environment itself matures to the point where it can jam or defeat these munitions. The advantage of the dumb, gun-launched round is it's pretty much guaranteed to get to its target once launched. The key is to keep ones options open through a variety of systems whereby one can fall back on the simple stuff once the high tech stuff fails, is expended or is defeated.

🍻
I consider the Air Force to be an extension of Non Line Of Sight artillery.

And missiles are uninhabited aircraft.
 

KevinB

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Airspace isn’t something that Platoons or Companies or even Battalions control.

All of the theory behind loitering munitions seem to ignore the fact that there will be rockets, tube arty and potentially AC using that air space.

I’ve been too a number events that industry players are crowing about capabilities— but when you ask them who controls the munitions they generally don’t have a solid grasp — until you get to the bigger players with their much larger systems that are designed to be used by Div+ level arty.
 

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Black Hornets are competing for that space, as are 60 and 81 mm mortar rounds.

And your favourite Stinger missiles.

I think the Stingers in the hands of Platoons might be considered by some a greater risk than a LAM launched on demand, kept under control throughout its flighted, aborted when necessary and safely recovered when possible.

Unlike the Fire and Forget Stinger. Or the 81mm mortar round.

I shot an arrow into the air
And it lands I know not where
 

KevinB

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Black Hornets are competing for that space, as are 60 and 81 mm mortar rounds.

And your favourite Stinger missiles.

I think the Stingers in the hands of Platoons might be considered by some a greater risk than a LAM launched on demand, kept under control throughout its flighted, aborted when necessary and safely recovered when possible.

Unlike the Fire and Forget Stinger. Or the 81mm mortar round.

I shot an arrow into the air
And it lands I know not where
Stinger teams here are plugged into the ADAM Cell in the BCT HQ.
The weapon state of those are controlled based on what is going on in the airspace.
The Mortars and Tube arty will be check fired for friendly air as well.

Could that sort of system work for loitering munitions at lower levels -- sure, but you basically need to crash those munitions to clear the air space..
 

FJAG

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I consider the Air Force to be an extension of Non Line Of Sight artillery.

And missiles are uninhabited aircraft.
The Air Force on the other hands considers itself to be primarily air defence with an occasional foray into supporting the ground forces with things that go bang when the environment is secure enough for them to do so.

Joint is hard.

🍻
 

Kirkhill

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Stinger teams here are plugged into the ADAM Cell in the BCT HQ.
The weapon state of those are controlled based on what is going on in the airspace.
The Mortars and Tube arty will be check fired for friendly air as well.

Could that sort of system work for loitering munitions at lower levels -- sure, but you basically need to crash those munitions to clear the air space..

Advantage the UVision Hero series adopted by the USMC then.


HERO Systems provide modern frontline forces with an independent precision weapon of increased lethality and operational flexibility. This is facilitated by a combination of extended fire-power and advanced ISR (Intelligence, Surveillance & Reconnaissance) capabilities that until recently, could only be achieved by complex coordination between different units and echelons.

Enhancing multi-dimensional collaboration and optimizing operational warfare, the UVision HERO series of loitering munitions uniquely enables combat forces to transfer control over munitions between operators of different units and teams – including dismounted units (infantry and Special Forces), mechanized forces, naval forces, and aerial assets - across air, land and sea domains, while the munition is in mid-air.

Transmitting real-time video, when integrated with modern battle management systems (BMSs) the loitering munitions give forces extended range and pin-point accuracy for locating 'illusive' and time-sensitive targets, so that different parts of the team can work together to perform a dynamic target-allocation. Together with unified command and control, network-centric warfare and the avoidance of detection by enemy, HERO offers ease of operation and a high level of autonomy to the forces.

“By easily ‘taking control’ of loitering munitions that have been launched from remote platforms, ground teams, for example, can now benefit from the heavy fire-power of land, naval or aerial platforms equipped with loitering munitions, taking multi-dimensional warfare and cooperation to a whole new level” says Major General (Ret.) Avi Mizrachi, CEO of UVision. “The Hero series of loitering munition systems provides combat forces with unique capabilities for the modern battlefield, providing tactical echelons with lethal capabilities of unprecedented precision, while minimizing sensor-to-shooter cycles and maintaining operational independence which is crucial for the modern battlefield.”

Hero-30 Loitering Munition System - incorporates a high level of precision attack and abort capabilities. This simple-to-operate system enables infantry and special forces to initiate operations, as well as to respond to any enemy target or threat that arises, and eliminate it with extreme accuracy. The Hero-30’s advanced capabilities include striking targets with high tracking precision and lock-on, a last-second mission-abort, and re-engagement for a second attack attempt or change of target. Its versatile installment configurations (man-packed, vehicle-mounted or stationary) make it ideally suited to a diverse range of operational scenarios.
1661201631308.png

Hero-120 Loitering Munition System - a mid-range, anti-armor loitering munition system which meets the complex requirements of the modern battlefield. A high-precision smart loitering munition system with a unique aerodynamic structure, the Hero-120 carries out pinpoint strikes against anti-armor, anti-material and anti-personnel targets, including tanks, vehicles, and other soft targets in populated urban areas. Its high-precision capability ensures minimal collateral damage, while its wide range of multi-purpose warheads enables the operational user to effectively engage all targets.

3 Hero 120 OPFM Multi Canister Launcher
Hero-120 OPFM Multi Canister Launcher


Hero-400 Loitering Munition System - a long-range, high-precision loitering munition system with a low acoustic, visual and thermal signature that can locate, track and strike static and moving targets with high accuracy, and minimal collateral damage. With a combination of precision-strike capabilities, extended endurance of up to two hours, and a multi-purpose warhead ‒ including concrete piercing, high explosive, fragmentation and others – the Hero-400 enables handling of different types of targets with exceptional accuracy, and long-range and versatile missions. Due to its exceptional maneuverability, the Hero-400 provides an advanced mid-air abort capability that enables automatic re-entry into loitering mode, re-engagement, or return to the recovery area using a parachute.

4 UVision OCU
HERO Training and Simulation System
– realistic virtual training for the HERO series of loitering munitions. With three configurations – classroom, portable and embedded in the operational control unit - UVision presents a comprehensive solution for HERO operators, enabling a higher level of training flexibility. The classroom configuration provides a robust simulation solution with a rich and versatile scenario generator for multiple trainees. The portable and embedded field simulator configurations give HERO operators continuous hands-on training, at various levels, during deployments, maintaining the highest level of operational proficiency and readiness – anytime, anywhere.


Parachute recovery.
 

Kirkhill

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The Air Force on the other hands considers itself to be primarily air defence with an occasional foray into supporting the ground forces with things that go bang when the environment is secure enough for them to do so.

Joint is hard.

🍻

The Air Force - Knights of the Air.

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