June's top stories: Orlando gay nightclub shooting, US DoD lifts transgender ban

Firing at a gay nightclub in Orlando, Florida, US, killed nearly 50 people and injured at least 53, the US DoD lifts ban on transgender service members and the US Army awarded $1.7bn contract to Harris for tactical communication support. Army-technology.com wraps up key headlines from June.


top june

Fifty killed in shooting at Orlando night club

A gunman reportedly linked to ISIS opened fire at a gay nightclub in Orlando, Florida, US, killing nearly 50 people and injuring at least 53.

The Afghani-origin gunman, Omar Mateen, was born in New York and had worked as a security officer at G4S Secure Solutions since 2007.

Though ISIS news agency Amaq claimed that an ISIS fighter carried out the mass firing, no evidence of a link between Mateen and jihadist militant group was found.

US DoD lifts ban on transgender service members

The US Department of Defense (DoD) was reportedly planning to lift a ban on openly serving transgender service members next month.

This declaration to repeal the transgender ban came after Eric Fanning joined the US Army as new secretary last week. It has been backed by campaigners for transgender rights.

American Military Partner Association president Ashley Broadway-Mack was quoted by media sources as saying: "Our transgender service members and their families are breathing a huge sigh of relief."

US Army awards $1.7bn contract to Harris for tactical communication support

The US Army Communications-Electronics Command (CECOM) awarded a $1.7bn follow-on contract to Harris to continue providing tactical communication solutions.

The contract was awarded under the foreign military sales (FMS) programme during the fourth quarter of Harris's 2016 fiscal year.

Under the five-year contract, the company will provide secure radio communications, tactical networks and embedded high-grade encryption solutions to CECOM.

Raytheon wins $523m contract to upgrade Patriot fire units for Kuwait

Raytheon secured a $523m contract from the US Army to modernise the State of Kuwait's Patriot air and missile defence systems.

Patriot is a long-range, high altitude, all-weather solution that counters threats from tactical ballistic missiles, cruise missiles, drones and advanced aircraft.

In a statement, Raytheon said that the contract covers Configuration 3+ upgrades to Patriot, which are expected to provide Kuwaiti air defence systems with improved identification and radar capabilities.

New Zealand to provide further training to support counter-ISIS mission in Iraq

The Government of New Zealand agreed to extend the country's contribution to the fight against ISIS in Iraq.

New Zealand planned to keep up to 143 trainers at Camp Taji in Iraq until November 2018, within the framework of the joint New Zealand-Australia mission to train Iraqi Security Forces.

The country will amend the mission's mandate to allow small numbers of its troops to travel for short periods to Besmaya, located about 52km south east of Taji.

Javelin missile completes ground vehicle launch tests for UK Army

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The Javelin missile successfully demonstrated its ability to engage targets beyond its current 2.5km range requirement for the UK Army.

Five UK Army-sponsored live-fire ground vehicle launch tests were carried out at the Salisbury Plain Training Area in Wiltshire, England, by Raytheon and Lockheed Martin's Javelin Joint Venture team.

During the trials, the missiles were mounted on a Spartan armoured fighting vehicle and fired with the Kongsberg M151 remote weapon station.

Each missile flew between 1.2km and 4.3km hitting the stationary ground target in each test, according to a statement posted on Raytheon's website.

North Korea test-fires two Musudan medium-range missiles

North Korea has reportedly test-fired two medium-range Musudan ballistic missiles from Wonsan, a port city on the country's eastern coast.

The missiles violate the UN Security Council resolution, which prohibits North Korea's use of ballistic missile technology, according to US Pacific Command spokesperson commander Dave Benham.

US State Department spokesman John Kirby was quoted by the BBC as saying: "We intend to raise our concerns at the UN to bolster international resolve in holding [North Korea] accountable for these provocative actions."

South Korean Army receives Apache Guardian attack helicopters

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The Republic of Korea Army received four AH-64E Apache Guardian helicopters from South Korea's Defense Acquisition Program Administration (DAPA).

The helicopters will allow soldiers to combat threats in the Korean Peninsula, as well as destroy armoured and mechanised forces.

The Apache Guardian can be used in all-weather operations at any time of day.

Safran to supply navigation systems for French Army's Griffon armoured vehicles

Safran Electronics & Defense is to supply navigation systems for the French Army's new Griffon armoured vehicles, under its Scorpion programme.

The company will supply an Epsilon 10 navigation system, which provides multirole armoured vehicles with autonomous engagement capability in the case of a GPS signal loss, jamming or other countermeasures.

Safran will also supply a system based on hemispherical resonating gyros (HRG) for Griffon artillery observation version (VOA).

Nammo test-fires flight-weight hybrid rocket motor for Nucleus rocket

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Norwegian / Finnish ammunition and rocket motors manufacturer Nammo has successfully tested its flight-weight hybrid rocket motor.

Testing was conducted at the company's Green Propulsion facility for rocket motors in Raufoss, Norway.

The trial saw the flight-weight unitary motor (FWUM) delivering stable, high-performance combustion and a thrust level of 3t.