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25 janvier 2016 1 25 /01 /janvier /2016 12:50
2 YORKS Put On Impressive Live-Firing Display Despite Sub-Zero Chill

21 janv. 2016 Forces TV


2nd Battalion The Yorkshire Regiment (2 YORKS) have been in action in Northumbria.

The live firing exercise on the Otterburn training area was all part of their new light mechanised infantry role.

It's been a challenging time for the battalion who have had to squeeze two years of training into just five months.

The sub-zero temperatures only added to the testing ranges.

There are two main live firing range areas, at Otterburn and Redesdale, for artillery, demolitions, all infantry weapons and restricted armoured vehicle firing.

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9 décembre 2015 3 09 /12 /décembre /2015 08:35
IW New Rifles for the NZDF

7 déc. 2015 NZ Defence Forces

A glimpse of the new state of the art rifles to be introduced into service in 2016.

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3 juillet 2015 5 03 /07 /juillet /2015 07:30
AT-4 launcher photo 4th Stryker Brigade Combat Team

AT-4 launcher photo 4th Stryker Brigade Combat Team


June 8, 2015: Strategy Page


The United States recently delivered 2,000 AT4CS (the CS stands for "Confined Spaces") one-shot shoulder fired rocket launchers to the Iraqi military. Half of this shipment was held back for training purposes, since it does require some practice to become proficient with the AT4.


Made by a Swedish firm (Saab Bofors) the U.S. Marines have been using AT4 since the 1990s and Iraqis who saw it in action were impressed. The 6.8 kg (15 pound) weapon has a range of 300 meters and can destroy bunkers as well as armored vehicles. Many have been used in Iraq and Afghanistan by American and other NATO forces.


The AT4CS can be fired from inside a building and that capability attracted U.S. SOCOM (Special Operations Command) and the U.S. Marine Corps to buy many of these missiles. The AT4CS is a one shot system that can operate with reusable night vision equipment. The 1.8 kg (four pound) rocket is fired from a one meter (40 inches) long launcher. The maximum range of the rocket is about two kilometers. The warhead doesn't arm until the rocket is about ten meters from the launcher. It takes about one second for the rocket to go 250 meters. The warhead can penetrate about 500mm (nearly 20 inches) of steel armor. Thus the AT4 is very useful against the thick walled compounds commonly found all over Iraq.

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4 juin 2015 4 04 /06 /juin /2015 07:35
LG5 40mm Precision Grenade Launcher

LG5 40mm Precision Grenade Launcher


June 3, 2015: Strategy Page


A Chinese manufacturer recently announced a 40mm grenade launcher with a computerized sight and computer controlled 40mm rounds that the weapon could program to explode over a specific target being aimed at. At one weapons sales expo this LG5 system was touted as an anti-sniper system for police. Closer examination of the system indicated that the LG5 was actually designed for long range (over 500 meters) targets, especially structures or vehicles that had to be hit on the first shot. There have been no reports of the reports of the LG5, which looks like a large (40mm) rifle with a round magazine allowing for multiple shots and an impressive looking computerized sight, complete with laser range finder. The LG5 may have been just some misdirected hype, but it shows you how far Chinese weapons development has come since the 1990s.


Chinese weapons manufacturers have been developing more and more 20mm-40mm grenade launchers for infantry and mechanized units since 2000. Many of these systems are offered for export, to military and police units as well as, unofficially, anyone with the money to pay for the weapons and extra for “special delivery.” There are multiple manufacturers of these weapons and for most weapons in China and the competition is pretty intense.


This began by producing cheaper versions of existing grenade launchers. One example of this was the QLB06. Introduced in 2006, by 2012 the Chinese QLB06 35mm semi-automatic grenade launcher had apparently become a standard weapon for many Chinese infantry units. It weighs 9.1 kg (20 pounds) empty and is 1046mm (41 inches) long. A drum magazine can hold 4-6 rounds, giving the weapon a maximum weight of 9.6 kg (27 pounds). It's semi-automatic and effective up to 1,000 meters.


The QLB06 is but the latest of a growing number of similar weapons. All these portable grenade launchers have an interesting past. While the U.S. developed (in the 1960s) a 40mm grenade, launched from a single shot (resembling a shotgun) hand held weapon and later a heavier vehicle mounted machine-gun type weapon, China developed something unique in its line of 35mm grenade launcher weapons. The earlier QLB87 has a magazine system that can hold 6, 9, or 12 35mm rounds. It weighs 12 kg (26.5 pounds). It looks, and is used like a light machine-gun. This weapon has not been used in combat yet and Western armies have stayed away from this design because it's easier to mount automatic 40mm machine-guns (weighing over a 50 kg/110 pounds) on armored vehicles or light trucks. The Chinese, however, have more light (few vehicles) infantry. So for them the W87 makes a lot of sense. But apparently Chinese troops, and weapons developers, thought better of the QLB87 and came up with the lighter QLB06.


Automatic grenade launchers, firing low speed 30-40mm shells, became popular in the 1960s when the usefulness of the American single shot M79 40mm grenade launcher was noted. Many troops today want the M79 back. But back then Russia and the United States proceeded to develop automatic grenade launchers. This was actually the second generation, as the Russians originally developed such weapons in the 1930s. By 1939 the Russian Navy was testing a 40.8mm weapon and the army followed a year later. The 21 ounce shells were based on the Djakonow rifle grenade and were fired at 129 meters (400 feet) per second (about 40 percent the speed of a pistol bullet) for a maximum range of 1,200 meters. The weapon weighed 24 kg (53 pounds) and was used in the 1940 Winter War with Finland. For political reasons (the weapons designer fell out of favor) the weapon was withdrawn from service before the Germans invaded in 1941 and was forgotten. This sort of thing happens a lot in military history.


In 1965, the U.S. developed and put into service the M18 40mm automatic grenade launcher. This weapon used the same 40mm round as the M79. The 8.6 kg (19 pound) M18 used a hand crank to load rounds (from a belt). Work on this weapon actually began in 1962, but it took the popularity of the M79 in Vietnam to spur production. Some 1,200 M18s were built through 1968, and it was a popular weapon on U.S. Navy river patrol boats, where ambushes were frequently encountered. Starting in 1966, the M18 was replaced by the heavier M19 that was truly automatic but weighed 34 kg (75 pounds). This was also developed by the U.S. Navy. Russia followed in 1974 with the AGS17, a 30mm grenade launcher weighing the same as the M19 but firing a 285 gram (ten ounce) shell instead of the 458 gm (16 ounce) 40mm shell used in American weapons.


The U.S. and other nations have since come out with lightweight grenade launchers that fit under the assault rifle barrel. But the appeal of a dedicated grenade launcher for a "grenadier" has always been popular. One skilled grenadier with a weapon like the QLB06 or LG5 can be very effective and the Chinese are determined to come up with more effective and cheaper weapons of this type.  

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26 mars 2015 4 26 /03 /mars /2015 12:30
photo UK MoD

photo UK MoD


26 March 2015 Ministry of Defence


The Defence Secretary has announced that the UK will provide military training to Syrian moderate opposition forces.


As part of a wider package to ensure a robust international response to the threat of violent extremism in the Middle East, the UK will send around 75 military trainers and headquarter staff to provide training in areas such as the use of small arms, infantry tactics and medical skills.

Expected to start in the coming weeks, the US-led programme will train and equip thousands of screened members of the opposition over the next three years to help them defend Syrian communities against ISIL’s brutal attacks before leading offensives themselves.

Alongside the substantial training contribution, the UK will also provide headquarter staff to coordinate and develop the programme. The training will take place in Turkey and in other countries in the region that are members of the anti-ISIL coalition.

Defence Secretary Michael Fallon said:

Britain remains at the forefront of coalition military efforts to support the Iraqi government in their fight against ISIL. This effective and closely coordinated activity in conjunction with Iraqi and Kurdish ground forces has largely stalled the terrorists’ advances.

But ISIL must be defeated in both Iraq and Syria. In Syria, coalition airstrikes have supported the liberation of Kobane and have disrupted ISIL’s logistics and supply lines. However, defeating ISIL ultimately lies with local forces and we are helping to create effective ground forces in Syria, as well as in Iraq, so they can take the fight to ISIL.

As one of the few nations able to offer highly advanced Intelligence, Surveillance and Reconnaissance capabilities the UK has already deployed a number of assets to match coalition requirements. The Defence Secretary also announced today that the UK will be sending two Sentinel aircraft to the region to provide wide area surveillance over Iraq of ISIL activity and to track IED laying activity. These aircraft will join our Tornados and Reaper Remotely Piloted Aircraft which have conducted 194 strikes over Iraq as of 23 March and have continued to gather vital intelligence alongside Rivet Joint.

The UK continues to be the second largest contributor to the coalition airstrike campaign and is playing a leading role the coalition’s counter improvised explosive device (C-IED) training programme as well as the extensive infantry and Heavy Machine Gun skills training packages which together have been delivered to over 1100 members of the Iraqi Forces.

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24 février 2015 2 24 /02 /février /2015 12:40
Medical training - photo UK MoD

Medical training - photo UK MoD


24 February 2015 Ministry of Defence and The Rt Hon Michael Fallon MP


The Prime Minister has announced today that the UK will provide further non-lethal support to Ukraine by sending advisory and short-term training teams to build the capacity and resilience of its Armed Forces.


As part of wider efforts to support Ukraine and ensure a robust international response to Russia’s aggression, the teams will provide medical, logistics, infantry and intelligence capacity building training from mid March.

The UK Service Personnel will be based in Ukraine delivering support and training to their counterparts. The majority of this advisory and training support will take place in Ukraine, well away from the areas affected by the conflict in the East of the country.

Defence Secretary Michael Fallon said:

In light of continued Russian-backed aggression, the UK is committed to providing additional non-lethal support to Ukraine to help them deal with the pressures they are facing.

Today’s announcement builds upon the work that we have already undertaken through NATO and bilaterally. This will help the Ukrainian Armed Forces develop and maintain the capacity and resilience that they need.


Medical Short Term Training Team

We will be providing combat life support training. It is envisaged that this will include a ‘train the trainer’ package so that Ukrainian personnel can develop the capability to train their own personnel in due course. We will be using individual first aid kits to support this training and, in due course, will seek to gift further kits to help support the ongoing Ukrainian capacity building effort.


Logistics Short Term Training Team

The team will help the Ukrainian Armed Forces understand the deficiencies within their logistics distribution system and then help to provide training and support to improve their practices and processes.


Infantry Short Term Training Team

A small team will travel out to identify what training requirements the Ukrainian Armed Forces need.


Intelligence Capacity Building Short Term Training Team

The aim is to provide tactical level analysis training, which would help individuals to analyse information and from this disseminate intelligence to allow them better to understand their environment.

This support is in addition to ongoing defence engagement activities with Ukraine which include support on crisis management, anti-corruption, defence reform and strategic communications, and we will also be delivering procurement training in the coming weeks. Over the last year the UK has also provided personal protective equipment, winter fuel, medical kits, winter clothing and sleeping bags to the Ukrainian Armed Forces: this support totals over £1.2 million.

Our policy since the start of the crisis has been to provide non-lethal assistance to Ukrainian armed forces, in line with our assessment that there must be a political solution to this crisis.

We will continue to focus on support and assistance that will reduce fatalities and casualties amongst members of the Ukrainian Armed Forces and build their capacity and resilience.

We are also working closely with key allies through the Ukraine/ US Joint Commission for Bilateral Cooperation and Defence Reform.

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13 février 2015 5 13 /02 /février /2015 12:20
Squad X Core Technology – the Warfighter’s information superiority

DARPA plans to introduce lightweight, integrated systems that will provide dismounted infantry squads unprecedented awareness, adaptability and flexibility in complex environments. The SXCT projevct will demonstrate how Soldiers and Marines can intuitively understand and control their complex mission environments - DARPA artist concept.


Feb 10, 2015 Defence-Update


Warfighters in aircraft, on ships and in ground vehicles have benefited tremendously from technological advances in recent decades, with advanced capabilities ranging from real-time situational awareness to precision armaments. But many of these benefits depend on equipment with substantial size, weight and power requirements, and so have remained unavailable to dismounted infantry squads who must carry all their equipment themselves. This gap leaves squad members without the degree of real-time situational awareness and support for decision-making that warfighters typically experience while on board aircraft and ships and in vehicles.

“We are working towards advanced capabilities that would make dismounted infantry squads more adaptable, safe and effective”


DARPA’s new ‘Squad X Core Technologies’ (SXCT) program aims to address this challenge and ensure that dismounted infantry squads maintain uncontested tactical superiority over potential adversaries without being overburdened by cumbersome hardware. The goal is to speed the development of new, lightweight, integrated systems that provide infantry squads unprecedented awareness, adaptability and flexibility in complex environments, and enable dismounted Soldiers and Marines to more intuitively understand and control their complex mission environments.

SXCT aims to help dismounted infantry squads have deep awareness of what’s around them, detect threats from farther away and, when necessary, engage adversaries more quickly and precisely than ever before,” said Maj. Christopher Orlowski, DARPA program manager. “We are working towards advanced capabilities that would make dismounted infantry squads more adaptable, safe and effective.”

SXCT is seeking to introduce overwhelming tactical superiority at the small-unit level by enabling squad members to more quickly and effectively collect, synthesize and share data about their fellow members, their environment and potential threats without increasing physical or cognitive burdens.

Among the areas included in the program are:

  • Precision Engagement: Precisely engage threats out to 0.6 mile (1,000 meters), while maintaining compatibility with infantry weapon systems and without imposing weight or operational burdens that would negatively affect mission effectiveness
  • Non-Kinetic Engagement: Disrupt enemy command and control, communications and use of unmanned assets at a squad-relevant operational pace (walking with occasional bursts of speed)
  • Squad Sensing: Detect potential threats out to 0.6 mile (1,000 meters) at a squad-relevant operational pace
  • Squad Autonomy: Increase squad members’ real-time knowledge of their own and teammates’ locations to less than 20 feet (6 meters) in GPS-denied environments through collaboration with embedded unmanned air and ground systems

Specifically, Squad X plans to focus on providing:

  • Integrated access to and control of mobile sensors, including full-motion streaming video
  • A three-dimensional common operating picture
  • The ability to organically locate and identify friendly forces and threat locations in near real time
  • In previous request the agency also requested proposals for other focus areas including sensing technologies for warfighter health and operational status and non-optical and distributed sensing solutions.

Studies commissioned by Squad X program are to define the critical issues in Squad X implementation. The agency is also looking at critical infrastructure components such as radios, networking, computing applications, sensing, autonomous systems and size weight and power (SWaP). Integration Studies should also address Squad X architecture and integration approach. The goal is to establish an open, common, commercially extensible, government-owned architecture; defining key interfaces and standards; outlining the technology integration plan.

DARPA has scheduled a Proposers Day on Friday, February 27, 2015 to discuss the program with potential participants. In addition to the regular performers the agency invited ‘non-traditional performers’, including small businesses, academic and research institutions and first-time government contractors to participate. Special Notice document announcing the Proposers Day and describing the specific capabilities sought is available here.

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4 février 2015 3 04 /02 /février /2015 12:30
Infantry: Israel Makes Life Hard For Snipers


January 23, 2015:  Strategy Page


During the 50 Day War with Hamas in July-August 2014 Israel tested some new infantry equipment. This consisted of a new bullet-proof protective vest that is 15 percent lighter than existing ones. Israeli infantry do not regularly wear this type of heavy vest, but a lighter one that protects from shell and grenade fragments as well as most pistol bullets and ricochets from rifle and machine-gun bullets. To provide protection from snipers and machine-gun bullets SAPI (Small Arms Protective Inserts) were developed. These ceramic or polycarbonate plates are inserted in the front and rear of the protective vest. The basic "Level 3" SAPI plates are 25.4x305cm (10x12 inches) and weigh 2.1 kg (4.6 pounds) each. The new Israeli plates are lighter and thus easier for soldiers to wear for long periods. It’s very hot in Israel most of the time so the weight soldiers have to carry is particularly important. The SAPI plates double the weight of a protective vest so most of the time Israeli troops go without it. The lighter weight SAPI plates were popular in Gaza, particularly since Hamas used a lot of snipers. Only 400 of the new SAPI vests were available for testing, but 20,000 more are being ordered so large numbers of troops can use them is needed.


Also tested were new goggles, both day and night versions. These use shatterproof material and proved popular. Also much appreciated were the new ear protection, which kept very loud noises out. Max peak noise reduction was 30 db. Normal conversation is 65 db, a loud motorcycle is 110 db, a nearby jet engine is 140 db, a nearby shotgun blast is 165 db and battlefield explosions are often 180 db. Thus a 30 db reduction makes a big difference because noises over 140 db can be painful and lead to temporary or permanent hearing loss. With the new ear plugs troops could adjust these ear plugs to different levels of sound suppression.


There is also a new helmet in development that is lighter and provides better protection from sniper bullets. Providing better protection from high-powered sniper rifle bullets is important as Hamas and Hezbollah have learned that this is a very effective way of killing Israeli soldiers. In general Israeli troops will quickly defeat Hamas or Hezbollah gunmen in a fire fight, but a few snipers not only increases Israeli fatalities but also forces the Israeli troops to operate more deliberately and slowly, allowing more Arab gunmen to get away from a battle they are losing.  Israel has also pioneered the development and manufacturing of sniper detection equipment. But this is only useful after a sniper has fired. For pretection before that you need SAPI.

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4 février 2015 3 04 /02 /février /2015 07:40
Russian military to get new assault rifles


February 2, 2015 by David Pugliese


The Russian Ministry of Defence has selected two assault rifles manufactured by Kalashnikov Concern as new standard issue firearms for the Russian Ratnik soldier modernisation program, writes Remigiusz Wilk of IHS Jane’s Defence Weekly.

Deputy Minister of Defence Yuriy Borisov gave an interview on Russian radio on Jan. 24 where he outlined details of the procurement. The two assault rifles manufactured by Kalashnikov Concern were selected by the military and that up to 70,000 have been ordered. The rifles are -the AK-12, chambered in 5.45×39 mm, and the AK-103-4, which is chambered in 7.62×39 mm.

The AK-12 is similar to its predecessor, the AK-74M, and has some common parts, Borisov told Russian radio.


Full article is here

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18 janvier 2015 7 18 /01 /janvier /2015 20:35
photo USAF

photo USAF

recent report by the Guangzhou-based Southern Weekly on investments to outfit and equip Chinese soldiers in the People’s Liberation Army (PLA) has sparked controversy both within China and abroad—revealing sharp fissures in China’s ballooning defense budget. With a total defense budget estimated at $132 billion in 2014 and 2.28 million active duty soldiers on payroll, the PLA allocates a mere $1,523 (9,460 yuan) in outfitting each soldier, roughly one-thirteenth the value of the average deploying U.S. serviceman’s personal gear. At a time when the combat-readiness of China’s armed forces is already widely debated, costs of the basic infantrymen kit highlight critical shortcomings of the Chinese military.


Read more

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30 novembre 2014 7 30 /11 /novembre /2014 12:55
Journées nationales de l’infanterie


24/11/2014 Armée de Terre


Les journées nationales de l’infanterie (JNI) se sont déroulées les 18 et 19 novembre à l’École de l’infanterie de Draguignan.


Présidé par le général de corps d’armée Éric Margail, commandant le quartier général du corps de réaction rapide France, l’événement a été l’occasion de présenter un point de situation sur l’infanterie, de conduire des réflexions, de partager des expériences et de diffuser des informations sur les innovations récentes de matériels. Ces JNI revêtaient pour la première fois une dimension internationale, puisque tous les pays alliés de l’OTAN avaient été conviés. Ainsi, des représentants des armées italienne, espagnole, allemande, britannique ou encore américaine avaient fait le déplacement pour assister à ce rassemblement annuel. Ces deux jours de rencontre ont également permis de rendre hommage aux quatre fantassins qui ont perdu la vie en opération en 2014.

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16 juillet 2014 3 16 /07 /juillet /2014 07:45
South Sudan takes delivery of Chinese infantry weapons


15 July 2014 by Oscar Nkala - defenceWeb


The South Sudanese army has taken delivery of a consignment of new infantry weapons including anti-tank guided missiles (ATGMs), grenades, assault rifles and machineguns, which are expected to boost the army in its fight against armed rebels led by former deputy president Riek Machar.


According to Bloomberg, the consignment supplied by Chinese arms manufacturer China North Industries Group Corp (Norinco) includes 100 HJ-73D anti-tank missile launchers, nine simulators, 200 batteries, 1 200 missiles and spares parts worth $14.5 million.


The HJ-73D is a Chinese clone of the Russian AT-3 Sagger, but features a tandem warhead for defeating explosive reactive armour (ERA), and semi-automatic command to line of sight (SACLOS) guidance. The new anti-tank weapons may have been bought in response to Sudan’s acceptance of 110 T-72M1 tanks between 2010 and 2012.


The rest of the $38 million shipment includes small arms, notably 9 574 Type 56 assault rifles (based on the AK-47/AKM) with 20 million rounds of 7.62x39 mm ammunition; 2 394 40 mm grenade launchers with 20 000 BGL2 anti-personnel grenades; 319 Type 80 machineguns (based on the PKM) with 2 million rounds of 7.62x54 mm ammunition; 319 Type 69-1 rocket propelled grenade launchers (RPG-7 copy) with 40 000 high explosive anti-tank rounds; and 660 NP-42 pistols (export version of the QSZ-92) with two million rounds of 9x19 mm ammunition. It is believed the grenade launchers are designed to be fitted under the barrels of the assault rifles.


The shipment left the Chinese port of Xinjiang in Guangdong province on 16 May aboard the Feng Huang Song and arrived in the Kenyan port of Mombasa on 7 June.


South Sudanese defence minister General Kuol Manyang Juuk confirmed the delivery of the Chinese arms saying they were ordered well before the outbreak of the ongoing civil war in December last year. “My role is to defend the nation. That means I have to arm my army. The army has to be equipped," Juuk told Bloomberg.


China has good relations with South Sudan and currently buys most of its oil output. Chinese-made weapons have been used widely in the series of low-level rebellions which have taken place in the country since its independence from Khartoum a few year ago. Conflict monitoring groups have reported the use of Chinese-made weapons which include mortars, B10 recoilless rifles, Type 56-1 assault rifles, rocket-propelled grenades, vehicle-mounted anti-aircraft guns and landmines.


Due to the current conflicts in both Sudan and South Sudan, in which at least ten thousand civilians have died recently, the European Union maintains an arms embargo on both countries.

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1 juillet 2014 2 01 /07 /juillet /2014 14:55
photo SIRPA Terre

photo SIRPA Terre


06/26/2014  Richard de Silva - DefenceIQ


France’s procurement agency (DGA) declared a new tender on May 16 for its Arme Individuelle Future (AIF) replacement programme to the armed forces FAMAS standard assault rifle.


A total of 90,000 weapons are to be purchased, comprised of 45,000 assault rifles and 45,000 carbines, all chambered in 5.56 mm x 45 NATO ammunition. The tender includes all additional accessories, spare parts, maintenance kits, and instruction and technical support, as well as the provision of under-barrel 40 mm grenade launchers, 38 million training cartridges, 21,000 training rounds, 92,000 40 x 46 low velocity grenades, 13,000 smoke grenades, and 51,000 dual purpose anti-personnel/anti-tank cartridges.


The tender requires the AIF standard to be integrated with the other aspects of the France’s FELIN future soldier system modernisation programme.


A deadline for submissions has been set for June 26, with decisions to be made ahead of the final contract issue in December of next year. Eligible rifles must be manufactured within the European Union or the European Economic Area.


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25 septembre 2013 3 25 /09 /septembre /2013 17:40
Russian Army to Accept Armored Vehicles Rejected in 2010

MOSCOW, September 24 (RIA Novosti)


An order for the delivery of BMP-3 infantry fighting vehicles that the Russian Defense Ministry suspended three years ago over inferior quality will be completed, a defense industry official said Tuesday.


The vehicles, manufactured in 2010 at the Kurganmashzavod plant, “were criticized by the Defense Ministry” when they were first made, Oleg Bochkarev, deputy head of the governmental Military Industrial Commission, said in an interview with RIA Novosti.


The vehicle has since been modernized and given “a large number of various modifications,” he said, adding that the product is in high demand on foreign markets.


“This equipment will function for a long time yet,” Bochkarev said.


First Deputy Defense Minister Alexander Sukhorukov said last year that Kurganmashzavod had been fined 3 billion rubles ($90 million) over its failure to deliver BMP-3s on time and meet the required quality standards.

Russian Army to Accept Armored Vehicles Rejected in 2010
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17 septembre 2013 2 17 /09 /septembre /2013 07:55
Opérations préparations - L'infanterie

06/07/2012 Armée de Terre


L'armée de Terre, c'est avant tout l'infanterie. Tous les régiments qui la composent partagent les mêmes valeurs : enthousiasme, rigueur professionnelle, rusticité, modernité et camaraderie. Retrouvez dans cet album les parachutistes, les alpins, les mécanisés, les marsouins, les légionnaires et tous les autres.

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11 septembre 2013 3 11 /09 /septembre /2013 12:40
AK-12 photo Cslava2003

AK-12 photo Cslava2003

September 9, 2013: Strategy page


The Russian military has agreed to adopt the new AK-12 assault rifle as part of its new “future soldier” (Ratnik) set of gear for its infantry. The U.S. pioneered this concept in the 1980s ("Land Warrior") and has since introduced new body armor, personal communications, wearable computers, night vision devices, and personal medical equipment. Several European countries have followed, especially the German Infanterist der Zukunft (“Infantryman Of The Future”), and now Russia has done the same. Unlike the United States, Russia has agreed to include a new rifle design (AK-12) as part of its Ratnik gear. There was a lot of opposition to the AK-12 within the Russian high command, but at the troop level there was an even more vigorous and louder call for something to replace the Cold War era AK-74. The entire Ratnik collection will undergo final acceptance tests before the end of the year. All the items of Ratnik (firearms, body armor, optic, communication and navigation devices, medical, and power supply systems plus uniform items including knee and elbow pads) have been tested and accepted. A new rifle has been more of a problem.


The army has made several attempts to develop and introduce a replacement for the AK-74. Some special operations units got the new AN-94 in the 1990s, but most troops are still using elderly (in design and manufacture) AK-74s. The troops want something that can match the improvements in Western assault rifles. The firm that designed most Russian assault rifles since the 1940s has designed a new assault rifle in response to that but the Russian Defense Ministry stalled efforts to even test it. That resistance was finally overcome and the AK-12 recently passed the tests.


It was only last year that the two century old Russian firm (Izhmash) that has produced assault rifles since World War II announced the arrival of their fifth generation assault rifle. Called the AK-12 it uses a lot of the basic AK-47 design principles but adds many new features popular in Western assault rifles. The AK-12 is but the latest in a long line of innovative Russian infantry weapons. Appearing for the first time towards the end of World War II, assault rifles have since become the standard infantry weapon, almost entirely replacing bolt-action and semi-automatic rifles. The first generation AK was the AK-47, in the late 1940s, followed by the AKM in the 1960s, then the AK-74 (which was very similar to the U.S. M-16) in the 1970s, and limited numbers of the AN-94 (a much improved AK-74) in the 1990s. Over fifty million AK-47s and AKMs were made, most of them outside Russia. Production, on a small scale, continues. It is still the most numerous assault rifle in use.


photo Vitaly V. Kuzmin

photo Vitaly V. Kuzmin

The AK-12 is a 3.3 kg (7.3 pound) weapon that is 943mm (37.1 inches) long with a 415mm (16.3 inch) barrel. It can be fitted to fire one of four calibers: the original 7.62x39mm of the AK-47/AKM, the 5.56x45mm of the M-16, the 5.45x39mm of the AK-74, or the 7.62x51mm NATO rifle/machine-gun round. The AK-12 can use all AK-47/AKM magazines when firing 7.62x39mm ammo.


There are a lot of small but important changes in the AK-12. The stock is adjustable. The charging handle is easily used whether you are left or right handed. There is an improved safety switch, pistol grip, hinged top cover, muzzle break, iron sight, and (smaller) ejection port. The AK-12 has Picatinny rails (the U.S. developed standard for attaching all sorts of accessories). The fire control switch now allows for single shot, full automatic, and three round bursts. The AK-12 is inherently more accurate because of improved barrel rifling. The AK-12 handles more easily, has longer effective range (up to 600 meters), and apparently has the same ruggedness of the original AK-47. That last item is being put to the test, as the Russian military has agreed to put some AK-12s into the field, where their performance under combat conditions can be monitored.


The AK-12 is the second attempt since the end of the Cold War (in 1991) to develop a worthy successor to the AK-47. Earlier efforts had not been entirely successful. Part of the problem was that there was not a pressing need for a new AK in Russia. For example, in 2011, Russia stopped buying new AK-74 rifles. Since they already have ten million AK assault rifles (most of them older AK-47 and AKM models) in stock and only a million troops on active duty (and about as many in reserve units) buying more assault rifles was deemed wasteful. This did not stop the purchase of special small arms for commandos and other specialist combat units.


The new policy did not stop work on the new AK-12 (also called the AK-200). This weapon was originally based on the 5.45mm AK-74, which replaced the 7.62mm AK-47/AKM series as the standard infantry weapon towards the end of the Cold War. The AK-74 entered service in the 1970s and twenty years later a replacement was developed, the AN-94. This rifle used the 5.45mm round first seen in the AK-74 but was able to use larger (45-round and 60-round) magazines. The AN-94 also had burst fire (of two rounds, while Western rifles tend to use three rounds).


The AN-94 was supposed to replace all AK-74s in Russian service but due to the dissolution of the Soviet Union in 1991, and sharp cuts in the defense budget, this did not happen. There were also concerns about the mechanical complexity and reliability of the AN-94. That's apparently why the AK-12 was not based on the AN-94. One AN-94 feature that was adopted for the AK-12 was a 60 round magazine.


Meanwhile, an improved AK-74M was introduced in 1991, and is still in service. This is a 3.4 kg (7.5 pound), 94.3 cm (37.1 inch) weapon with a 41.5 cm (16.3 inch) barrel. It has rails for sights and such and can use a 30 or 45 round magazine. Rate of fire is 650 RPM on full auto, and max effective range was 600 meters. The AK-74 looked like an AK-47 and used the same technology.


Some five million AK-74s were built, most before the Cold War ended in 1991. North Korea manufactures a copy of the AK-74 called the Type 98. The AK-74M was the basis for the AK-12, and the two weapons are very similar, with the new rifle having more flexibility and capacity for accessories.


Meanwhile, several additional AK-74 variants have been developed and put on the market. The AK-101 fires the 5.56mm NATO round and has a 30-round clip. The AK-103 fires the 7.62x39mm round used in the original AK-47, for those who have concerns about the ability of the 5.45mm round to stop enemy troops. The AK-102, 104, and 105 are compact rifles designed for the export market and are available in 5.56mm NATO, 7.62x39mm, and 5.45x39mm calibers. All have 30-round magazines. This proliferation of models is meant to handle niche markets, which manufacturers of cheap AK-47s are not interested in. The AK-12 will be another something special, in this case Russian 21st century infantry.

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9 juillet 2013 2 09 /07 /juillet /2013 21:45
The British Army's Bassingbourn Barracks in Cambridgeshire

The British Army's Bassingbourn Barracks in Cambridgeshire

9 July 2013 Ministry of Defence and Foreign & Commonwealth Office


The Foreign Secretary has confirmed that up to 2,000 personnel from the Libyan Armed Forces are to be trained in the UK.


In a written statement to Parliament earlier today, William Hague confirmed that the UK Armed Forces are to train their Libyan counterparts in basic infantry skills and leadership in order to help professionalise them and help them achieve peace and stability across their country. Courses will begin later this year.

The training will take place at a British Army site in Bassingbourn, Cambridgeshire. Members of the Libyan Armed Forces – all of whom will be vetted in advance for medical, physical and behavioural suitability – will be brought to the UK in a number of small groups for courses which are expected to last a minimum of 10 weeks. The Libyan government will pay the costs of the training

Foreign Secretary William Hague answers questions from the media at the G8 foreign ministers' press conference on 11 April 2013 (library image) [Picture: Crown copyright]

Foreign Secretary William Hague answers questions from the media at the G8 foreign ministers' press conference on 11 April 2013 (library image) [Picture: Crown copyright]

The training of Libyan Armed Forces personnel in the UK is part of a broader package of defence and security assistance developed with the US, France and Italy. This is aimed at supporting the Libyan government’s efforts to increase the effectiveness and capacity of its security and justice sector institutions, and to ensure the state’s monopoly on security.

As the Prime Minister announced at last month’s G8 Summit in Northern Ireland, in total more than 7,000 members of the Libyan Armed Forces will be trained by some G8 nations.

William Hague said:

The government firmly believes that a stable, open and democratic Libya contributing to wider regional stability and security is in the UK’s interest. That is why we are working closely with the US and other European countries to lead the broader international effort, co-ordinated by the UN Support Mission in Libya, to support Libya’s democratic transition and the Libyan authorities’ efforts to make visible improvements in public security in Libya.

British soldiers training on an assault course (library image) [Picture: Peter Davies, Crown copyright]

British soldiers training on an assault course (library image) [Picture: Peter Davies, Crown copyright]

The UK Defence Secretary Philip Hammond said:

The UK’s Armed Forces are recognised as being amongst the best in the world so it is no surprise that we are one of the countries Libya has turned to for this specialist training.

The UK provides world class defence training and education to many countries, creating lasting ties between our Armed Forces and enhancing their ability to work together towards regional security and stability.

Detailed planning remains ongoing and the UK government continues to work on the specific terms of its assistance with the Libyan government. Close engagement will also be conducted with local authorities and the Bassingbourn community in advance of the training commencing.

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25 juin 2012 1 25 /06 /juin /2012 12:43

Gladius source Rheinmetall


June 25, 2012 Strategy Page


The German Army has ordered the first production versions of its Gladius system for its infantry. Initially, 900 Gladius systems are being bought. It was six years ago that Germany began developing a high-tech ensemble of weapons and equipment for their infantry. This rapidly evolved into Infanterist der Zukunft (“Infantryman Of The Future”), or IdZ for short. The name was subsequently changed to Gladius.


Germany had noted the decades of American effort to develop the "Land Warrior" infantry equipment. In development since the 1980s, "Land Warrior" then consisted of 7.8 kg (17 pounds) of computers, displays (an eyepiece), radio, GPS, vidcam and battlefield wi-fi. The helmet mounted display is a vidcam that provides the soldier with 6 and 12 X magnification, plus the ability to transmit images or video back to headquarters. The net increase in weight for infantry was only about 5 kg (11 pounds), because the "Land Warrior" stuff replaced some gear already carried, like the GPS and personal radio.


France, Spain and Italy quickly joined the United States and most NATO nations in equipping its infantry with a more effective set of weapons and equipment, including a lot of electronic items (personal radio, GPS, gun sights, sensors, computer, and so on), new body armor and accessories in general. India and China are also working on similar projects.


These systems often run into problems when the troops get to try them out. Five years ago, the German army took its ensemble of high-tech Infantry gear and put it to the test. When the troops finally got a chance to try the stuff out, the equipment developers were dismayed to discover that the soldiers found IdZ more of a hindrance than a help. That's surprising, since the German program, like many similar ones in other NATO countries, were based on the two decade old American Land Warrior program, which was known to have some serious problems, things that had to be fixed before these "infantry systems" would work.


In the 1990s, the American Land Warrior concept was more than ambitious, it was revolutionary, so to speak. But that version had a science fiction air about it, and something useful was not expected to appear for two decades or more. But then two things happened. First, the troops began buying consumer grade gear to perform some Land Warrior functions. September 11, 2001 happened. All that, plus the unexpectedly rapid appearance of new computer and communications technologies, caused rapid reductions in the weight and complexity of the original Land Warrior design. At the same time, this made it possible for the first version of Land Warrior to undergo field testing much sooner and, even though that resulted in the cancellation of Land Warrior, many of the individual components continued to be developed. Eventually the troops will have wearable computers, wi-fi capability, and all manner of neat stuff. Eventually came sooner than expected.


Six years ago, a battalion of U.S. infantry tested the then-current Land Warrior gear. Many of the troops involved were combat veterans, and their opinions indicated that some of the stuff was worth carrying around the battlefield, and some wasn't. But once the gear got to Iraq, for testing by a few hundred troops, it was a different story. When people are trying to kill you, all help is appreciated, and evaluated differently.


And then there was the competition. German soldiers commented that they could do a lot better with some commercial gear. This made it clear that the German army brass were out of touch with what was really going on in the world. German soldiers knew more about what the Americans were doing in this department, than the army bureaucrats in charge of the IdZ program. Many of the young troops, as well as NCOs and officers, understood English, and were able to get into the message boards and email lists U.S. troops were using to discuss their experiences with Land Warrior. This led to a lot of tweaks to IdZ before it evolved into the production version called Gladius.


The other NATO nation programs were set up to learn from the experiences of similar projects. But that may not be enough, because there is always a temptation for developers to include new gadgets which seem neat, but do not pass muster in combat. Germany had troops in combat in Afghanistan providing feedback that molded IdZ into something that works. All these ensembles tend to end up with a personal radio, the latest, and lightest, protective armor, GPS, better weapons (rifles, pistols, grenade launchers and knives), night vision devices (especially those incorporated into gun sights) and accessories like remotely operated, lightweight ground and aerial vehicles.


One of the main goals of these ensembles, battlefield Internet, has proved to be more difficult to implement. Obviously, the ability to quickly transmit maps, videos and photos is valuable. But getting the gear light and reliable enough, as well as easy-to-use, has proved easier said than done. Progress has been made, but it's been slow. Some battlefield wi-fi systems are being sent to the combat zone.


The usefulness of the ensembles has been impressive enough for nations like Russia to buy the French version for their own troops. While Russia does not like to buy military equipment from other nations, they also picked up on the fact that these futuristic infantry ensembles are difficult to develop. So to get the troops something workable quickly, the Russians are buying from abroad.

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6 octobre 2011 4 06 /10 /octobre /2011 11:50
NATO Nations Outfit Troops For Future Needs


Oct 5, 2011 By Paul McLeary, Christina Mackenzie, Nicholas Fiorenza - Aviationweek.com


Washington, Paris, Brussels - After nine years of combat in Iraq and Afghanistan, why are our soldiers still involved in fair fights?” asked U.S. Army Maj. Gen. (ret.) Robert Scales recently.


By “fair fights” Scales means the close-quarters combat that dismounted infantry engage in throughout Afghanistan daily, trading fire with an enemy who can partially negate NATO’s technical advantage with small-unit combat from concealed positions.


In an effort to use communication and sensor technologies to make the fight as unfair as possible, NATO allies are undertaking soldier modernization efforts akin to the U.S. Nett Warrior—formerly Land Warrior—suite of wearable networked sensors and communication gear.


While Nett Warrior continues to experience growing pains, particularly with its bulk and 8-12-lb. load, the Army issued a solicitation in September for a “smartphone or smartphone-like device” that is capable of “commercial-based, integrated computer display and data-entry capability for dismounted use in either standalone or networked configuration.”


While the Army tries to figure out how it wants to deliver the dismounted and networked connectivity it desires, NATO allies are ready with their own soldier modernization programs.


By the end of the year, French soldiers of the 1st Infantry Regt. of Sarrebourg—deployed to the Surobi region of Afghanistan—will be issued the new Felin (Fantassin a Equipements et Liaisons Integres, or dismounted soldier with data-linked integrated equipment) kit. The deployment is the first for Felin, which comprises 150 components and is a milestone in modernizing the kit used by French ground forces.


The equipment will be introduced piecemeal to give soldiers time to adapt. “These soldiers are [in combat], they’re not training, so we can’t run the risk of outfitting them entirely with equipment they’re not completely at home with,” a senior officer tells DTI.


Felin’s baggy combat outfit is water repellent, fireproof, mosquito repellent and has a low infrared signature. The NBC (nuclear, biological, chemical) version has a ventilation system that pulses filtered air into the mask, enabling a soldier to remain operational for longer periods. One problem from an operational perspective is that the ventilation system is audible 50 meters (164 ft.) away.


The system includes 73 items of basic gear—a fully equipped soldier (with Nexter’s Famas assault rifle and one-day supply of food, water and ammunition) will carry 26 kg (57 lb.) in a grenadier configuration. Soldiers say the weight is not an issue because the Felin kit “is extremely well balanced” when assembled.


Ballistic protection is modular and can be tailored to different missions: e.g., high-intensity, NBC, law enforcement or crowd control. A soldier’s torso, neck, pelvis, knees, elbows and shoulders are protected. The vest supports 11 portable electronic components, such as a battery case, radio, man-machine interface, tactical information system and soldier information network. These fit into pouches, which a soldier places wherever he feels is most comfortable and to accommodate left- or right-handed dexterity. The jacket has space for eight batteries.


The headgear comprises an additional 13 pieces of kit, including helmet, antilaser goggles, antishrapnel visor and jaw pad, an eyepiece for around-the-corner sighting, night-vision gear and osteophone headband with microphone. (The osteophone lets a soldier hear orders through bone near the ear, leaving the ear free to pick up sounds around him.)


Sagem, prime contractor for Felin, received orders for the 22,588 systems planned and has delivered full kits for four regiments—almost 5,000 soldiers.


Spain is also working on a soldier modernization kit called ComFut (Combatiente del Futuro, or soldier of the future), which was completed by Cassidian in 2010. The company is developing the second generation, scheduled for completion by 2015, unless it is postponed by the severe budget cuts Spain is implementing. So far, 36 prototypes have been produced.


ComFut includes a modified Heckler & Koch G36E assault rifle, thermal camera and image intensifier, ballistic vest, new 1.5-kg helmet, bad-weather clothing, eye protection, NBC equipment and battery power sources. There is also a C4I (command, control, communication, computers and intelligence) element, which includes a radio, GPS, osteophone and microphone, and mobile computer.


While some of the R&D has been abandoned, innovative ideas are in place. One is a boot-heel generator that produces electricity while the wearer walks. The Spanish government is reportedly looking into autonomous and renewable electricity solutions for some electronics, which might include a version of the boot-heel generator. The Spanish are expected to make heavy use of commercial off-the-shelf electronics and open-source Internet technologies such as Linux/Java in future generations of the kit.


The full ComFut system will not be provided to every soldier in the field. Plans call for full kits to be issued to platoon commanders and seconds-in-command. There is also doubt as to whether each soldier needs a complete voice and data link.


Germany has deployed its future infantry system (IdZ, or Infanterist der Zukunft) to Afghanistan. IdZ has been in use since 2004. In March, the federal office of defense technology and procurement ordered 400 more units from manufacturer Cassidian under an urgent operational requirement for the German contingent of NATO’s International Security Assistance Force, bringing the total number of equipment sets to 2,900.


An IdZ basic system (BS) consists of sets for the 10 soldiers in an infantry squad and includes a modular bullet-resistant vest with Class I-IV protection; C4I equipment including a NaviPad for situational awareness and transmission of messages, target data and images; night-vision device; radio; laser rangefinder; camera; and thermal sight.


Based on operational experience in Afghanistan and the Balkans, improvements in protection and ergonomics have been made to the IdZ voice and data exchange between infantry systems and vehicle-integrated C4I systems, and in the use of optronic equipment for day/night vision.


Integration into infantry combat vehicles such as Boxer and Puma comes by connecting to FuInfoSysH (Fuhrungsund Informationssystem Heer), the German army’s command, control and information system, used in Afghanistan. For dismounted use, vehicles are integrated into IdZ’s communication network for the exchange of voice and data. During mounted use, soldiers use a plug to connect to the digital vehicle intercom and exchange data with higher command. To avoid electromagnetic emissions inside the vehicle, IdZ-BS uses the vehicle-integrated radio for outside communication. The position of an IdZ-BS system is updated based on vehicle position to provide location when switching from mounted to dismounted operations.


Rheinmetall is developing the second-generation IdZ-ES (expanded system). The pre-series demonstrator underwent operational trials in August and September, including two weeks under hot and dry conditions in Spain, to ensure it is ready for production. Before the latest budget cuts, the Bundeswehr planned to procure 1,000 IdZ-ES versions.


IdZ-ES is actually a new system based on the lessons learned from operating the original in Afghanistan. Whereas IdZ-BS is based on commercial off-the-shelf components, IdZ-ES is based on a development program focusing on technical and ergonomic components and volume and weight reduction. Delivery of IdZ-ES versions is to begin in 2012, meaning it will overlap the service life of the original. Both versions are interoperable, however, and can be connected to FuInfoSysH.


The computer unit which is at the core of IdZ-ES, as well as the squad leader’s portable command computer, weighs less than the IdZ-BS, is more capable and requires substantially less power to operate. Cassidian and Rheinmetall have considered the use of fuel cells for power, but a Cassidian study deemed it economically unfeasible.


To improve ergonomics and effectiveness, the kit’s G36 assault rifle has an adjustable, foldable shoulder stock, both sides of the handguard have a push-to-talk button that activates the squad radio, and a laser rangefinder is activated by pushing a button next to the trigger guard. The IdZ-ES version uses modular day/night optronic aiming systems and a fire-control aiming unit for the AG36 single-shot, 40-mm grenade launcher.


A new carrying system lets soldiers haul a full complement of basic and mission-specific equipment. Troops that operate in vehicles will be equipped with harnesses where the volume and thickness of components worn on the back are kept to a minimum, enabling them to rapidly switch combat modes. For light infantry, a modular harness has been designed so soldiers can carry a full combat load and electronic devices for command and control.


IdZ-ES has room for growth—communication equipment and the computer decouple for replacement with more modern systems, and the armor plate is removable for upgrades.


Italy’s Soldato Futuro modernization program is based on two concepts that differ from Felin and ComFut: “evolution through production” and “transformation while operating.” This means the system is designed with a high degree of modularity—every element can be reconfigured or reengineered to meet evolving performance requirements. The process includes a continuous cycle of operational testing, design modification, technical and operational validation, design review and new implementations. One example of this is the NC4-09 ballistic vest. Developed to meet the ballistic requirements of soldiers in Afghanistan, it has since been incorporated within the program.


An industry team led by Selex Communications is focusing on the man-machine interface, ergonomics and improving integration of the system with ground vehicles. Ninety-two prototypes were ordered in 2007, of which 30 have been delivered. The rest are due by year-end.


Britain’s long-running Future Integrated Soldier Technology (FIST) program has been dominated by the need to quickly provide sighting systems for soldiers in Afghanistan. Some optics gear has been sent, but other program aspects such as survivability and C4I will likely not be ready before 2020. FIST is on an incremental schedule, with components being added when developed rather than as a single, complete system.


Thales U.K. is the prime contractor for the delivery and in-service support of the surveillance and target acquisition system, having been awarded a £150 million ($236 million) contract in 2010, with full delivery planned for June 2014. A Thales representative tells DTI that the idea is to establish what the British soldier needs and then see if there is a mature technology or off-the-shelf equipment that meets the need as quickly as possible.


Norway is working on the Norwegian Modular Arctic Network Soldier system (Normans), which, as the name suggests, is for cold-weather operations. Normans comes in light and advanced versions, with the former providing the soldier with situational awareness, navigation, communication and target handoff capabilities in a single display, while the advanced version is for unit commanders, providing Blue Force tracking, navigation tools, terrain elevation, messaging, targeting and an interface to laser rangefinders and GPS.


Earlier this year, French Gen. Stephane Abrial, commander of NATO’s Allied Command Transformation, told DTI that he had set up a task force to explore where multinational cooperation could overcome budget cutbacks among alliance members and aid in technology development. He said this “budgetary winter” would force NATO to “redouble our efforts” and “see how we can be more effective and more efficient,” while avoiding “unnecessary and unwanted duplications” in equipment development.


Questions remain as to whether the governments—and militaries—of member nations will accept collaboration on technologies that, while expensive for one country to pursue, are also secret, often battlefield game-changers, and could be prone to compromise if multiple nations have access to them.


It’s an issue that may not be soon resolved, but which will probably receive serious study for as long as budget cutbacks play an outsized role in soldier modernization.

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