June's top stories: Iraq crisis, North Korea tests missiles

Iraq is in crisis following attacks by the ISIS Sunni militant group, North Korea test-fires precision-guided missiles and Jinnah International Airport is attacked by militants. Army-technology.com wraps up the key headlines from June.


Akash

North Korea test-fires precision-guided missiles

North Korea has announced that it has successfully tested its 'newly developed cutting-edge, ultra-precision tactical guided missiles'.

The tests were reportedly carried out on 26 June in the presence of North Korean leader Kim Jong Un, Xinhua reported, citing the KCNA news agency.

Details about when and where the tests were conducted and what type of missiles were fired were not disclosed.

However, the South Korea Joint Chiefs of Staff (JCS) was quoted by the Yonhap news agency as saying: "The rockets were fired in succession from coastal areas near its [North Korea's] eastern city of Wonsan at around 5pm in a north-eastern direction, and landed in international waters."

Obama approves deployment of US military advisers to Iraq

US President Barack Obama has approved the deployment of up to 300 military advisers to help the Iraqi Government combat ongoing violence from the Islamic State of Iraq and Levant (ISIS) militants.

The deployment follows a series of meetings between Obama and his national security team to review options on how to respond to Iraq's request for military assistance to fight against the Syrian-based insurgents.

Obama said that US forces will not participate in combat, but will help train, advise and support Iraqi security forces, as they confront the terrorists who threaten Iraqi people in the region and US interests.

"We will be prepared to take targeted and precise military action if and when we determine that the situation on the ground requires it," Obama said.

Iranian Revolutionary Guard unit deployed to Iraq

Iran has reportedly deployed an elite unit of its Revolutionary Guard to support the Iraq Government in its fight against the Islamic State in Iraq and the Levant (ISIS), the Sunni militant group that is trying to further destabilise the war-torn country.

ISIS spokesperson Abu Mohamad al-Adnani said the fighters would march towards Karbala and Najaf to 'settle their differences' with Iraq Prime Minister Nouri al-Maliki.

Iranian security officials have been quoted by the Wall Street Journal as saying that two units were sent from Iran's western border provinces on 11 June.

They have been made responsible for protecting Baghdad, Karbala and Najaf, according to Iranian security officials.

Lockheed-led team to study how to link C2BMC with US Army's IBCS system

Lockheed

A Lockheed Martin-led team has begun a feasibility study to identify a way to link the Missile Defense Agency's (MDA) integrated command and control system with the US Army's Integrated Air and Missile Defense Battle Command System (IBCS).

The team, which consists of Northrop Grumman, Boeing, Raytheon, General Dynamics and other companies, is developing command and control, battle management, and communication (C2BMC) systems.

The study will enable the team to determine possible interface changes to link the two systems, which would provide the US with an enhanced air and ballistic missile situational awareness capability.

Raytheon successfully performs first live-fire test of Excalibur S

Raytheon has successfully conducted the first live-fire test of its new dual-mode GPS and laser-guided 155mm artillery projectile variant, Excalibur S, as part of a company-funded R&D initiative.

During testing, the Excalibur S was initialised with a GPS target location and was terminally guided with a laser designator, laser spot tracker (LST) to make a direct hit on a target.

The Excalibur S is integrated with an LST, which not only enables troops to survive the forces of firing from a 155mm howitzer, but also attack moving targets, engage re-positioned targets after firing or change the impact point.

US Army evaluates new blue force tracking system at NIE 14.2

NIE

US Army soldiers and marines have tested the joint battle command-platform (JBC-P) during the army's recently concluded network integration evaluation (NIE) 14.2 at Fort Bliss, Texas, US.

A latest incarnation of the army's widely fielded, friendly-force tracking system, force XXI battle command brigade-and-below / blue force tracking, the JBC-P helps reduce the 'fog of war' by providing a complete battlefield picture to enable units to synchronise operations.

Primarily designed for use in vehicles, the capability provides location details of friendly platforms to users as they travel, while allowing them to plot the locations of enemy forces and hazards, including bridges, minefields and explosives.

8th Marine Regiment 2nd Battalion assistant operations officer 1st lieutenant Jeffrey Weinmeister said: "This interface is far more user friendly. It makes it very easy for the first-time user to effectively perform command and control operations."

US to supply additional UH-60M Black Hawk helicopters to Mexico

Black hawk

The US Defense Security Cooperation Agency (DSCA) has notified Congress of a potential foreign military sale (FMS) of additional UH-60M Black Hawk helicopters and associated equipment to Mexico.

Under the estimated $225m sale, Mexico has requested five UH-60M Black Hawk helicopters in standard US Government (USG) configuration, along with designated unique equipment and government furnished equipment (GFE).

The UH-60M helicopters are expected to significantly enhance and strengthen Mexico's capability to provide in-country airlift support for its forces engaged in counter-drug missions.

Indian Army completes Akash missile validation trials

The Indian Army has carried out the final validation trial of the first off-production models of the Akash supersonic missile from the Integrated Test Range (ITR), Balasore, Odisha, India.

During the trial, the domestically built medium-range anti-aircraft missile successfully intercepted the very small and fast-moving unmanned aerial vehicle (UAV), Banshee, at 30m altitude above sea level, confirming the system's capability against subsonic cruise missiles.

While the low-flying target was continuously tracked throughout its course by the missile's advanced multi-function radar, the Defence Research and Development Organisation (DRDO)-built special algorithms / techniques for overcoming the multiple target reflections coming from the sea worked perfectly in the mission.

The successful trial delivers the surface-to-air missile for induction into the army.

Brazil requests M113A2MK1 upgrade kits from US

The US Defense Security Cooperation Agency (DSCA) has notified Congress of two potential foreign military sales (FMS) to Brazil of the M113A2MK1 upgrade kits and M109A5+ upgrade kits.

Under the first estimated $131m sale, Brazil has requested a total of 434 M113A2MK1 kits to upgrade the M113 armoured personnel carriers (APCs) to the M113A2MK1 configuration, as well as spare and repair parts, support equipment, tools and test equipment, personnel training and training equipment, and other related elements of logistics support.

The second $110m sale covers the supply of 40 M109A5 kits to upgrade the 40 M109A5 self-propelled howitzers to the M109A5+ configuration, and other support equipment.

Jinnah International Airport attack kills 23, including gunmen

Jinnah airport

Heavily armed gunmen disguised as police guards have killed 13 people during an attack at Jinnah International Airport, Karachi, Pakistan.

The militants, who used machine guns and rocket-propelled grenades (RPGs), entered the Fokker building with forged identity cards. They were killed by the Pakistani Army during a night-long operation.

The Tehreek-i-Taliban Pakistan (TTP) has claimed responsibility for the attack, claiming that it was to avenge the killing of TTP commander Hakimullah Mehsud in a US drone strike in 2012, DAWN.com reported.