Wednesday, December 31, 2014

K2 contract signed

Meet the New Predator in
Korea's Forests:

Black Panther

Korean K2 MBT

According to Defense Update:

The Korean automotive industrial giant Hyundai Rotem Co. has signed a contract worth US$820.29 million (901.5 billion won) with the Korean Defense Acquisition and Procurement Agency (DAPA) to deliver the first 100 'Black Panther' K2 Main Battle Tanks (MBT) to the South Korean Army.

K2 is a 55 ton combat weight MBT armed with a 120mm 55 caliber smoothbore gun. The development of the K2 MBT began in 1993. The tank has a crew of three, commander, gunner and loader made possible by the bustle located auto-loader. The turret has a coaxial 7.62mm and a pintle mounted 12.7mm machine gun.

K2 Auto Loader
K2 Tank AutoLoader

K2 MBT Firing

Copyright: Military Today

Production vehicles will have a Korean powerpack with a power of 1.500HP, the 12 cylinder diesel engine is developed by Doosan, where the transmission is developed by S&T Dynamics. Initially the tank used an German MTU 883 engine coupled to a Renk transmission. The powerpack is conventionally located at the rear as well as the drive sprockets.

The gunner is seated on the left side of the turret with the commander to his right. Gunner has a dual-axis stabilized sight with auto-tracking capability and the commander has a panoramic stabilized sight to allow hunter-killer type operation. Turret has an onboard ammunition capability of 16 120mm rounds. Additional 24 rounds are stored in the hull.

K2 Turret

Tuesday, December 30, 2014

V-22 Tanker Variant for USMC

V-22 Texaco?

V-22 Tanker Concept

According to Marine Corps Times' Dec 28 entry, USMC is going to have an aerial tanker variant of V-22 Osprey as early as 2017.

The image below shows a concept description of the Tanker V-22.

V-22 Tanker Concept

"The V-22 Osprey is getting topped-off with a new capability. An aerial refuelling system is being developed for the tilt-rotor aircraft, turning the cargo and personnel carrier into a tanker that can provide fuel to other aircraft, mid-flight.

"The aerial refueling capability is going to be the next thing," for the Osprey, Maj. Douglas Thumm, the plans officer for the V-22 at Headquarters Marine Corps, said.

The Osprey's tanker system is in the early stages of development and won't be ready until 2017, he said.

When operational, the V-22 could refuel the Corps' fleet of aircraft, including the new F-35B Lightning II. It could also rendezvous with ground vehicles, land, and fill them up, Thumm said. Many of the Corps' ground vehicles can run on aviation fuel, he said..."

The part that is interesting is the aerial-to-ground refueler concept.

Read the rest on  Marine Corps Times.

Tuesday, December 16, 2014

First Leopard 2A7's delivered to German Army

German Army has taken delivery
the First 
Leopard 2A7

Leopard 2 A7

Krauss-Maffei Wegmann (KMW) has delivered the first Leopard 2 A7 main battle tanks (MBT) to the German Army, at its facility in Munich, Germany.

The tanks are a conversion of surplus Royal Netherlands Army Leopard 2A6 NLs, which were supplied by Canada as compensation for the Leopard 2A6M MBTs it had borrowed from Germany in 2007. 

Initially Canada leased 20 Leo A6M's from Germany for operations in Afghanistan. Later, Canada bought 100 Leopard 2A4 MBTs from Netherlands and gave 20 of those tanks to Germany. KMW upgraded these to 2A7 standard and delivered them to German Army.

Canada has probably 40 Leo 2s in A6 standard and the rest will stay in A4 level.

The tanks have been fitted with features that optimise protection against asymmetrical and conventional threats while enhancing sustainment, in addition to sighting equipment for reconnaissance.

An auxiliary power unit has been installed to ensure they are fully operational even without a main running engine and to cool the turret and crew compartment.

Leopard 2 A7

Additional survivability enhancements include new a drivers hatch, all-electric gun-control equipment and a combat troops control and weapons deployment system to integrate the tanks into the control network.

Leopard 2A7
Photo: JPW

The Leopard 2 A7s have also been modified to fire fuse-programmable high-explosive ammunition, which is effective against bunkers and fortified positions. It can also fire the latest-generation Rheinmetall 120mm armour piercing fin stabilised discarding sabot - tracer DM63 round, IHS Jane's reported.

Rheinmetall 120mm DM11 round has programmable time fuse and axial and radial fragments capability combined with long range. The round can be programmed to explode on impact, impact function with delay and air burst.

DM11 can penetrate thick walls and explode inside to achieve maximum lethality which is attained by the delay function. The round have also impact fuse capability to penetrate light to medium armored targets. 


- Army Technology 

Saturday, December 13, 2014

France starts Scorpion Vehicle Programme

France starts Scorpion Vehicle Programme

Engin Blindé Multi-Rôles (EBMR) Scorpion programme  is aimed at providing Multi-Role Armored Vehicles to the French Army. The Scorpion program will transform the French Army, to allow it to meet the operational challenges of tomorrow. It also brings together all the French Army platform programs: EBRC, VBMR, modernized Leclerc heavy tank, Felin, Scorpion Combat and Information System (SIC-S) and communication means. 

On November 23rd, French Defense Minister Jean-Yves Le Drian announced the long-awaited launch of the €5 billion (US $6.1 billion) Scorpion modernization program, with partners Nexter, Renault Trucks Defense (RTD) and Thales with the first phase of €752 million  to develop two key armored vehicles.

Those two vehicles are 

VBMR Griffon

  • Véhicule Blindé Multirole (VBMR), Multi-Role Armored Vehicle,  a six-wheel troop carrier named Griffon

EBRC Jaguar

  • Engin Blindé de Reconnaissance et de Combat (EBRC), Reconnaissance and Combat Armored Vehicle, a six-wheeled combat vehicle, named Jaguar.

EBRC Jaguar is the more attention worthy of these in terms of its role and firepower. French Army will have a total of 248 Jaguar vehicles when the programme is completed. It is expected that around 110 vehicles to be delivered until 2025, started from 2020.

Jaguar is a 6x6 armored reconnaissance vehicle with a two-men turret.

Jaguar has a Combat Weight of 25 tons which is quite significant for a 6x6 vehicle and a crew of 3 of which two located in the turret.


Nexter T40 Two-Men Turret

Nexter's T40 Two Men turret forms the firepower of the Jaguar.

T40 turret is armed with 40mm CTA Anglo-French cannon, two MBDA's MMP medium range anti-tank missiles and a remotely operated 7.62mm. 

T40 has weight of 4.2 tonnes with Level 4 protection.

In addition to the gunner sight, T40 has a panoramic commander's sight to allow Hunter-Killer capability. In some sources, it is stated that the gunner's sight has an Identification Range of 3500 - 4.000 meters, which is quite  impressive, if true.


The Jaguar platform is a 6x6 wheeld vehicle with a combat weight of 25 tons. 

The vehicle is expected to have a protection level of STANAG 4569 Level IV providing a kinetic energy protection of 14.5x114mm Armor Piercing heavy machine gun rounds and a mine protection level that protects against 10kg mine blast under a wheel.

The driver is seated at the front center of the hull. He has a single-piece hatch which is provided with three day periscopes. 

The driver being in the front center indicated the powerpack might be at the rear of the vehicle.

The gunner of the Jaguar EBRC is seated on the right of the turret with the commander on the left.

French Wheeled Reconnaissance Vehicle Heritage

French has always been into the wheeled vehicles for Reconnaissance. 

Another French tradition for their wheeled reconnaissance vehicles is their tendency to provide heavy firepower.

After World War II, mainly around 1950-1960's, French has come up with a number of Armored Reconnaissance Vehicles with the lates one ERC90 entering service in 1984.

The chart below shows the chronology of the French Armored Cars for Recon.

French Armored Recon Cars

You can see that these armored cars pack a very large punch starting from of 90mm cannons up to the AMX10RC's 105mm rifled cannon.

It is astonishing to see a 105mm cannon on an armored car that only weighs 15 tons.

These led me to believe that French doctrine calls for fast and agile armored platforms to perform the reconnaissance mission. These platforms can:

  • Cover vast distances in a considerably short amount of time
  • Perform reconnaissance mission way front of the main force
  • Protect themselves even against heavily armored and armed opponents
  • Be used as fire support vehicles in low intensity conflicts such as the ones France fought in Africa.

In the near future, the Jaguar EBRC will take up the torch from his predecessors as shown in the family tree below:

French Armored Reconnaissance Heritage

In terms of firepower, French will replace the high caliber weapons such as the 90mm and 105mm with the new 40mm CT medium caliber cannon in the reconnaissance role.

I think this will give them, rapid firing capability supported by a new generation sighting system for the gunner and commander plus a modern fire-control system that will satisfy a high first round hit probability.

Coupled with the 40mm ammunition's acclaimed high penetration and the capabilities coming from the use of  programmable rounds, Jaguar will have a quite good lethality against a large range of targets.

The modern sighting equipment and data communication capability will also have an impact on the performance and success of the reconnaissance missions.

The UK's Scout SV a 40+ ton tracked vehicle with 40mm CT two-men turret and France's 6x6 25 ton wheeled vehicle with a similar weapon system show two different approaches in armored reconnaissance and only time will tell how they will perform.

Tuesday, December 9, 2014

V-22 Osprey Firing Missile

V-22 Osprey 
'Forward Firing'

V-22 firing missile

Via DefenseNews:

V-22 Osprey manufacturer Bell Boeing V-22 successfully tested its forward-firing capability last month at the US Army Proving Ground in Yuma, Arizona, it was announced Monday.

Company officials said the test showed the V-22 can be armed with a variety of forward-facing munitions and can hit targets with a high degree of reliability. That will reduce the Osprey’s reliance on forward arming and refueling points, which are sometimes necessary to supply short-range attack rotorcraft in support of V-22 operations.

Vince Tobin, vice president and program manager for the Bell Boeing V-22, said this would allow the V-22 to be launched more frequently and on shorter notice.

Forward-facing weapons and armor protection are among several quick-turnaround upgrades that US Special Operations Command is pursuing after three Air Force Special Operations Command (AFSOC) Ospreys were shot up over Juba, South Sudan, a year ago, a program official said in May.

I don't think this is the solution to provide the Osprey with a weapon system.

V-22 needs a weapon that can provide supressive fire during the approach to a Landing Zone (LZ) where the aircraft is most vulnerable.

This forward firing missile system cannot satisfy securing hot/unknown LZs. And 2-4 missiles wont make the Osprey an equivalent to a dedicated attack aircraft such as USMC AH-1Z or US Army's AH-64.

The system proposed for the V22 in the past would be a much better approach to weaponizing the Osprey.

V-22 Weapon System

Monday, December 1, 2014

M230LF Alternative for .50cal & 40mm AGL??

ATK 30mm M230LF ChainGun
An Alternative for Weapon Systems
to Replace
.50cal and 40mm AGL?

The story of the M230 30mm autocannon begins with Hughes Helicopter in early 1970's thru the effort to develop AH-64 Apache Helicopter. 

M230 ChainGun is now part of ATK's ChainGun family.

M230 30mm AH-64

AH-64 Apache M230 30mm ChainGun

M230 forms an integral part of the Apache helicopter with its 1200 round magazine. It enables he Apache crew to engage fortifications, light armor and personnel in the open.

M230 Cannon

M230 30mm ChainGun


M230 fires 30x113mm ammunition. The ammunition was first developed for British ADEN and French DEFA 550 revolver cannons in 1950s. These guns were developed for aircraft usage.

30x113 Ammunition

One common mistake about M230 gun and its ammunition is to think that it is better than the 25mm (25x137mm) and/or equal to the larger 30mm-30x173mm that is fired from Mk44/MK30 cannons.

In fact, 30x113mm ammunition can be best described as 'Light 30'. The following image shows the size comparison of 30x113mm and its big brother 30x173mm rounds.

You can see from the above image that, 30x173mm round fired from Mk44 cannon has a lot bigger punch than the M230's 30x113mm.

M230 30mm ChainGun

Three types of ammunition were developed for M230. These are:

  • M788 TP Target Practice
  • M789 HEDP High Explosive Dual Purpose
  • M799 HEI High Explosive Incendiary


For AH-64 and MH-60L Direct Action Penetrator helicopters, the preferred and widely used combat round is M789 HEDP. Some of its characteristics:

  • Weight: 350grams
  • Muzzle velocity: 805 m/s
  • Anti-personel effect: 4m lethality radius
  • Penetration: 25mm thick RHA Rolled Homogenous Armor at 50degree obliquity at a range of 500m
As comparison for lethality, 25mm APFSDS round that can be fired from a M242 Bushmaster cannon penetrates around 45mm RHA at 500m range.

The penetration for 30x173mm APFSDS round that is fired from Mk44 can easily penetrate about 55mm RHA at the same range.

So these numbers say that M230 is not a direct replacement for 25mm M242 Bushmaster, let alone Mk44 Bushmaster II 30mm.

Development of M230LF

ATK started the development of a new variant of M230 chaingun aimed at ground and naval platforms. It is called M230LF with LF stands for LinkFed.

The development effort concentrated on the following changes & improvements:

  • Link-feed ammunition to enable conventional belted ammunition usage and simple ammo cans
  • Increased barrel length to enable higher muzzle velocity
  • 24V DC electrical operation required for ground platforms
  • Hang-Fire protection to improve manned turret safety
  • Rate of fire better suited to land and naval applications

So how best M230/LF can be best employed?

Although 30x113mm ammunition is a member of the Medium Caliber Family, it is located at the lower end of the spectrum in terms of lethality.

However, M230 is a  compact, lightweight and low recoil cannon.


As you can see from the image, M230LF has a total length of around 2.2m. 
  • 25mm M242 has a total length of 2.6m
  • 30mm Mk44 has a total length of 3.4m
In terms of weight:
  • M230LF total weight: 72.6kg
  • 25mm M242 total weight: 119kg
  • 30mm Mk44 total weight: 156kg
Recoil force:
  • M230LF Recoil:  7.34kN (Naval)/ 28kN (Ground)
  • 25mm M242 Recoil: 40kN
  • 30mm Mk44 Recoil: 35.6kN
Looking at the values above, it seems M230LF can be a good alternative for light turrets and Remote Weapon Stations that are armed with:

  • 12.7mm/.50 cal M2 Heavy Machine Gun
  • 40mm Mk19/GMG Automatic Grenade Launcher

In that case, the main reasons/advantages will be:
  • M230LF's high lethality and longer range compared with M2/Mk19
  • M230LF's straight trajectory compared with Mk19's high trajectory
  • M230LF being an electric driven gun that does not need any fancy mechanisms such as trigger solenoid and cocking actuator
  • Frontal case ejection that makes it easier to integrate in a turret
  • Lower weight, smaller dimensions and lower recoil enables light turrets to be developed. This also provides light platforms packed with higher fire power.
However, M230LF also has some drawbacks when compared with M2 & Mk19
  • Apparently higher initial cost
  • Comparably higher weight that limits man portability
  • Lack of tripod operation in case of removal from the turret or platform.
The images below shows some applications of M230LF:

Mk51 Weapon System onboard LCS

M230LF would be a very good capability to upgrade the firepower of some platforms such as:

- US Marine Corps AAV7 Amphibious Assault Vehicle
- M1117 4x4 Armored Security Vehicle
- M113 to enable more firepower than the current .50cal cupolas
- M1126 Stryker 8x8

in 1-Man and remote turret designs.

Textron 1 Man Turret M230 30mm
Textron's 1 Man Turret Concept with M230 ChainGun

CMı CPWS Turret M230 ChainGun

CMI's CPWS with M230 ChainGun