October's top stories: UN destroys Syrian weapons, US plans aluminium hull

This month the UN-OPCW team started destruction of Syrian chemical weapons stockpiles and production facilities, while the US Army Research Laboratory partnered with Alcoa to develop a single piece aluminium solution for combat vehicles.


Army news

US Army and Alcoa to develop single-piece aluminium hull for combat vehicles

Army

The US Army Research Laboratory (ARL) has partnered with Alcoa to develop a single piece aluminium solution to help enhance safety against improvised explosive device (IED) threats.

Developed as part of army's affordable potection from objective threats programme, the aluminium hull is claimed to be the world's largest and is scheduled to replace the existing assembled hulls of the service's ground combat vehicles, while offering even greater strength and durability.

Army research laboratory materials manufacturing technology branch chief Dr. Ernest Chin said the army has for decades recognised the survivability benefits of a single-piece hull for ground combat vehicles, due to its thickness, size and shape.

Russia to start future soldier system mass purchase in 2014

The Russian Ministry of Defence (MoD) is planning to start mass procurement of the locally-manufactured future high-tech soldier system in 2014, the country's defence minister Sergei Shoigu has announced.

Shoigu was quoted by RIA Novosti as saying: ''We have practically finished work on the Ratnik gear and will start purchases of series-produced equipment for our army next year.''

Developed as part of the soldier military equipment (BES) programme, the Ratnik infantry soldier kit comprises of more than 40 components, including firearms, body armour, optic, communication and navigation devices, life support and power supply systems, as well as knee and elbow pads.

5D Robotics and CRA win SBIR contract to develop autonomous robot

Army

5D Robotics and Charles River Analytics (CRA) have received a small business innovation research (SBIR) contract to develop an autonomous robot, capable of responding to visual and gestured commands, as well as working beside soldiers and first-responders.

The $100,000 contract was awarded by the US Army Tank Automotive Research, Development and Engineering Center (TARDEC), as part of the multinodal interface for natural operator teaming with autonomous robots (MINOTAUR) project.

Under the contract, 5D Robotics will integrate its proprietary 5D Behavior Engine, including "Follow Me" and "Guarded Motion" capabilities, with CRA's vision-based tracking and gesture recognition technology to process specific commands.

Draper develops new capability for Android Terminal Assault Kit

Draper Laboratory-led industry team is currently developing a video whiteboarding capability for the Android Terminal Assault Kit (ATAK), which enables ground troops to easily call in air support and reduce friendly and civilian casualties during combat operations.

Developed in collaboration with the US Air Force Research Laboratory's (AFRL) Information Directorate, the capability is designed to help soldiers visualise an area and mark points of interest.

In addition, the capability minimises the requirement for discussion over voice channels in theatre or other situations where graphical designation of points of interest can be quickly accomplished.

Indian Army conducts successful Prithvi-II training launch

Army

The Indian Army's strategic forces command (SFC) has successfully test fired the indigenous Prithvi II surface-to-surface / nuclear capable missile from launch complex-3 of the integrated test range (ITR) at Chandipur, off the Odisha coast, in India.

Randomly picked from the production lot, the missile was launched by a mobile launcher in salvo mode and zeroed in on the pre-designated target in the Bay of Bengal with an accuracy of about 20m following the seven minute flight, The Hindu reports, citing Defence Research and Development Organisation (DRDO) sources.

The high-precision navigation system equipped missile was monitored by radars, electro-optical (EO) tracking systems located along the coast and telemetry equipment fitted in a downrange ship near the target point during the terminal phase of flight, sources added.

UN-OPCW team starts Syrian chemical weapons destruction programme

A joint UN-organisation for the prohibition of chemical weapons (OPCW) team has started destruction of Syrian chemical weapons stockpiles and production facilities, an unnamed OPCW source has revealed.

Speaking on condition of anonymity to Agence France Presse, the source said the first day involved destruction of a range of items, including missile warheads and aerial chemical bombs, as well as mobile and static mixing and filling units.

The move was also confirmed by OPCW, adding that the destruction process will continue in the coming days.

UK Dstl seeks input to safeguard helicopters against hostile fire

Army

The UK Ministry of Defence's (MoD) Defence Science and Technology Laboratory (Dstl) is seeking innovative proposals from the industry for development of a combined simulation and field trial capability, to protect military helicopters against ground-based man-in-the-loop (MITL) operated weapon threats.

By bringing together the weapons operator, defensive aid suite (DAS) fitted aircraft, aircrew and countermeasures, the capability is expected to help Dstl address future requirements to assess how aircraft manoeuvres, threat warning systems and countermeasures can lessen hostile fire effects from multiple weapon systems.

The capability aims to enable aircrew to develop more effective tactics, techniques and procedures, if facing an attack.

US Army develops lightweight ballistic helicopter protection system

The US Army Aviation and Missile Research, Development and Engineering Center's prototype integration facility (PIF) is developing a lighter-weight ballistic protection system (BPS) for CH-47 Chinook and UH-60 Black Hawk aircraft.

The new Chinook BPS system weighs 2,000lbs less than the existing system and offers additional protection to both pilot and cargo areas, besides offering protection against small arms fire.

The PIF has integrated a floor kit, passenger vertical kit and multi-impact transparent armour system for windows in CH-47D/F to allow normal operations and reduce ballistic intrusion.

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