Defence News Review (January)
Pistols, Missiles and Blockchain
France Begins Rafale F4 Upgrade
The F4 upgrade to the Dassault Rafale combat aircraft was announced January 14, during a visit by France’s defence minister Florence Parly to the Dassault factory at Merignac. The f4-standard includes upgrades to the aircraft’s targeting, communications and weapons systems.
MBDA Validates Mistral’s Dual-Role
MBDA has demonstrated that its very-short-range surface-to-air missile system Mistral can also operate effectively in a surface-to-surface role. During the trials at a secret location on the Mediterranean coast, a SIMBAD-RC turret situated on land successfully engaged a fast inshore attack craft (FIAC) at 3km. Both defence and attack were remotely controlled. The Mistral RMV (Rénovation à Mie-Vie, ‘mid-life renovation’) programme was begun in 2008 to replace the Mistral 2 currently in use with the French military.
Russian Federation MOD Completes Udav Pistol Testing
The MOD of the Russian Federation has completed trials of manufacturer TsNIITochMash’s Udav (‘boa constrictor’) pistol and recommended it for introduction to the armed forces.
The mean-looking Udav can hold 18 9×21 cartridges and has been put through extreme climate tests. Udav was still firing in the range from 50 to -70 degrees C.
Russia Trialling Kornet-D1 Anti-Tank Missile
The Kornet-D1 self-propelled anti-tank guided missile (SPATGM) will begin state trials ahead of its roll-out to the Vozdushno-Desantnye Voiska (VDV), the Russian Airborne Troops. The Kornet-D1 will have improved range and accuracy on previous systems.
India Relaxes Defence Licence Requirements
The Indian government has slackened its own defence licencing rules to promote local small and medium-szed enterprizes (SMEs). The new requirements are effective from 2019, replacing those of 2014.
South Korea Promoting Military Blockchain Development
South Korea’s Defense Acquisition Program Administration (DAPA) has made funding available for local tech companies to develop military blockchain applications. The move comes as part of South Korea’s Defence Industry Development Plan to ramp up robotics, artificial intelligence, autonomous systems and big data technologies.
US Army Searching for High-Altitude ISR
The US Army has extended the deadline on its Request for Information (RFI) concerning high-altitude Airborne Intelligence Surveillance and Reconnaissance (AISR).
Originally issued in November 2018 by the Special Electronic Mission Aircraft (SEMA) Product Directorate, the RFI stipulates an aircraft capable of operating above 35,000ft for 8+ hrs in anti-access/area-denial (A2/AD) contexts, carrying communications intelligence (COMINT) and electronic intelligence (ELINT) systems, among other things. The Bombadier Global 6000 is tipped as a contender.
Image: French Airforce Dassault Rafale at RIAT 2009 by Tim Felce (edited).