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TECHnOLOGY

THE SHARPEST TOOLS


IN THE SHED
Technology is increasingly assisting the soldiers work in the urban environment.
Advances in optronics, Unmanned Aerial Vehicles (UAVs), weaponry and
command and control are all playing their part in easing the MOUT burden.

A
ccording to General Alain Bouquin,

Safran
Thales army advisor: discussions
over tactics and strategy for
MOUT (Military Operations in
Urban Terrain) have been taking place for
quite some time now, however discussions
over the adaptation of technologies in order
to respond to the specific needs of these
operations have only been ongoing for the
past ten years. According to him and to Gadi
Shamni, a retired Israeli Army Major General
who is now head of MOUT activities at Israel
Aerospace Industries, this is in part due to the Safrans latest version
difficulties within armed forces to perform of the FELIN includes a
such reflections. Maj. Gen. Shamni argued new communications
that: the military is usually more traditional, system, integrated by
and it is not always easy to (introduce) new ATOS which networks
concepts and ways of doing things, so it is infantry soldiers to
often the case that the industry is ahead their vehicles battle
of the military when it comes to adapting management system.
technologies to new threats.

I LIgHTER IS EASIER 20000 of the first incarnation of the FLIN sor to avoid arousing suspicion when used
For Patrick Curlier, vice president of sales system to the French Army. in a residential area. The firms X-95 Tavor
and marketing at the optronics and defence According to Mr. Curlier, the French 5.56mm weapon has been designed by IWI
division of Safran, the complex environment Army has also expressed the need for a lighter to combine the roles of an assault rifle, a car-
of MOUT means that soldiers need to have weapon. For the past forty years, French infan- bine and submachine gun. As indicated in
as much freedom of movement as possible. try has been using the GIAT/Nexter FAMAS- the companys brochure: the X95 is manufac-
As such: it is crucial to provide our soldiers F1 5.56mm assault rifle but in September 2016 tured out of high strength impact modified
with a modular system that can be adapted the French Ministry of Defence announced polymer, providing a strong but light weapon
according to missions and threats and can, that the FAMAS-F1 would soon be replaced and incorporates advanced technology that
therefore, be lighter. To this end, Safran has by the Heckler and Koch HK-416F 5.56mm allows the conversion among different
been equipping the French Army with its F- assault rifle: The HK-416F is up to 1.5 kilo- calibres within minutes.
LIN (Fantassin Equipements et Liaisons In- grams/kg (3.3 pounds/lb) lighter than the FA-
tgrs/Integrated Infantry Soldier Equipment MAS-F1, Mr. Curlier concludes. The French I WEAPONS Of cHOIcE
and Communications). Now in its second in- Direction Gnrale de lArmament (DGA/Gen- The close proximity of soldiers comrades,
carnation, FELIN is designed for dismounted eral Armaments Directorate) procurement plus obscured fields-of-view caused by build-
soldiers and includes a small tablet that con- agency told Armada that the French Army ings can heighten the risk of so-called blue-
nects all the soldiers equipment, including will start receiving the HK-416F in 2017, and on-blue friendly fire accidents during MOUT.
their radio, the transmission of images from that deliveries will span over the next ten years. According to a French military source: ac-
optronics systems used by them, their com- Over 100,000 weapons will be delivered. cidents involving friendly fire happen in
rades or from external sources such as UAVs, The quest for the development of a lighter pretty much each and every operation. It is
and the GPS (Global Positioning System) infantry weapon and more modularity is therefore absolutely necessary to ensure that,
geolocation device that transmits the sol- also at the heart of Israel Weapons Industries amongst their capabilities, armies can count
diers position: The latest version has been (IWI) philosophy. Its UZI PRO 9mm subma- on weapons that are as precise as possible, or
conceived taking into consideration lessons chine gun utilises modern polymers to make can be used to empty buildings without risk-
learned from the recent combat experiences the gun lighter than its predecessors, bring- ing civilian life or contributing to fratricide.
of the French Army, says Yann Gerard, sales ing the weight down to 2.3kg (5.1lb) without Gen. Bouquin indicated that Thales is
manager at Safrans optronics and defence its magazine (compared to the 3.6kg/7.9lb of working towards meeting these challenges.
division: It now includes a number of kits the FAMAS-F1): The UZI PRO Submachine In his opinion: it is important to have weap-
that can be added or removed according to Gun is perfectly designed and adapted for ur- ons with reduced lethality that can however
the mission, and the new communications ban operations and the urban environment, be used to neutralise the adversary, or mis-
system, integrated by ATOS, networks the says Marcelo Rubin, IWIs vice president of siles with the capability to change course at
(infantry soldier) to their vehicles battle marketing and sales: Its compact size and the last minute if new information has ar-
management system. The second version of advanced accuracy enable the soldier to suc- rived that would indicate potential casual-
FLIN has also been made much lighter than cessfully operate in a crowded area. Moreover, ties. Thales is currently working on its Rep-
the previous one. Safran has delivered over the UZI PRO features a quick fitting suppres- tile laser, a device aimed at helping special

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TECHnOLOGY

Forces remove obstacles (by cutting fences or

IWI
drilling holes) without causing further dam-
ages to the surroundings. It is also develop-
ing a portable electromagnetic power source
aimed at damaging the electrical components
of adversarys vehicles in order to immobilize
them without destroying them.
Firing certain weapons in closed environ-
ments such as buildings or small alleyways can
become very dangerous for the person using
the weapon. According to Gen. Bouquin: the
detonation of certain weapons such as rock-
ets can result in deadly high pressures in the
room where the shooter is located. To this
end, MBDA has developed the MMP (Mis-
sile Moyenne Porte/Medium Range Missile)
thermal-guided surface-to-surface weapon
which is currently in production for the
French Army and will commence delivery in
early 2017. A spokesperson for MBDA told
The UZI PROs compact size, advanced
Armada that: two areas were prioritised for
accuracy and reduced weight make it ideal
the development of the MMP: firing from
for use in complex urban environments
confined spaces and developing a bi-mode
where flexibility is key.
military load, that is, anti-infrastructure and
anti-tank capabilities, which can be selected
by pressing a simple button before firing. The
MMP can be operated either by a dismounted quarter of 2017, with the weapon expected to wall life detector that uses a radar sensor and
soldier using a firing post or from armoured be declared available for procurement by the mathematical algorithms to detect the pres-
vehicles such as a Panhard/Renault PVP four- US armed forces by late 2017. The US Army ence of life behind a wall. It can penetrate ma-
wheel drive vehicle. MBDA states that it will operates the legacy M3 Carl Gustav, having terials such as cement, plaster, brick, concrete,
deliver 2850 MMP missiles and firing posts to declared the weapon as standard equipment reinforced concrete, adobe, stucco and dry-
the French Army. for army light infantry units in 2014, its op- wall at ranges of between four metres (13.1
Elsewhere in Europe, in 2014, Saab re- eration had previously been the preserve of feet) and 20 metres (65.6 feet) with a field-of-
vealed its new M4 Carl Gustav recoilless rifle the US special forces community, according view of 120 degrees in azimuth and elevation.
which the firm has developed as a variant of to open source reports. Using the same technology as the Xaver-100,
the Carl Gustav family optimised for use in the Xaver-400 goes one step further by pro-
urban terrain. According to Saabs official I EyEs and Ears viding not only information regarding the
figures, the M4 has a lighter weight than its MOUT are particularly stressful, compared presence of life behind a wall, but also the
predecessors, with a 3.5kg (7.5lb) weight to operations in open spaces, because threats number of people, their location in the room,
reduction due to using lighter carbon fibre can come from many different directions. The their movement patterns and the rooms gen-
components, and with a shorter length of echoes resulting from the confined spaces eral layout, including dimensions and major
905mm (37in). In 2014, media reports an- can misguide perception, making it particu- infrastructure elements.
nounced that the US Department of Defence larly difficult to understand from where shots Meanwhile, IAI offers the EL/O-5220
(DOD) would spend two years evaluating have been fired. Israeli company Camero has Othello, a passive optical fire locator that de-
the M3A1 (as the M4 is designated by the developed two products that facilitate the tects and precisely locates the source of hos-
US DOD) with testing and weapons qualifi- detection of people and movement through tile fire on the battlefield. It can be mounted
cation expected to be completed by the first walls. The Xaver-100 is a handheld, through- on a vehicle as four independent detection
units that cover 360 degrees in azimuth, or
used as a portable device, which consists of a
single unit covering 96 degrees azimuth. Us-
IWI

ing thermal imaging technology it can detect


the heat signature of incoming surface-to-
surface missiles, rocket propelled grenades
and small arms fire. Furthermore, IAI states
that the EL/O-5220 can be integrated in
a wide variety of systems such as vehicle-
mounted remote weapons stations.
Similarly, to respond to the challenge of
threats coming from all directions, Meprolight
has developed the Mepro-M5 red dot weapons
sight. Compatible with second and third gen-
eration night vision goggles, the Mepro-M5
has a large display window that allows the user
to aim with both eyes open, thus avoiding a
reduction of their field-of-view. Benny Kokia,
The X-95 Tavor can
Meprolights vice president of marketing and
be easily converted
sales said With its large display window and
between an assault
clearly-defined red dot, the MEPRO-M5 en-
rifle, a carbine and
sures critical rapid target acquisition with both
submachine gun.
eyes open, in an area where targets appear for
a very short time.

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TECHnOLOGY

Camero
Cameros Xaver-100 is a
handheld, through-wall life
detector that uses a radar
sensor and mathematical
algorithms to detect the
presence of life behind a wall.

I ISR observation system. According to Senop, the other users, via wired and wireless connectiv-
Another French military source strongly product is designed for day and night use and ity, the LISA includes a GPS and the ability to
emphasised to Armada that: while it is key provides the user with an uncooled thermal capture still and video imagery.
to prepare any kind of military operation, imager, which unlike a cooled thermal imager In Israel, IAI offers a wide range of man-
MOUT requires even more preparation and does not take time to chill once activated, a portable and vehicle-mounted surveillance
planning because it takes place in such com- day channel, plus an eye-safe laser rangefind- equipment. The EL/I-3370 light portable
plex environments that one can never have er. With the ability to hand off its imagery to surveillance system includes a ground move-
enough information regarding potential
threats. ISR (Intelligence, Surveillance and

Saab
Reconnaissance) technologies, while not nec-
essarily initially developed for the purpose of
MOUT, have found a special place of impor-
tance in the context of these operations. For
example, Safrans JIM-Compact lightweight
and long-range multifunction binoculars
weigh under two kilograms (4.4lb) and have
three observation channels (cooled thermal,
colour day and low light) that give soldiers
a maximum detection range of twelve kilo-
metres (7.5 miles) for vehicles. Another key
feature is the JIM-Compacts connectivity as
it can store and stream images and videos
across Ethernet, WiFi or Bluetooth links, to
name just three. The JIM-Compact has al-
ready been sold to two NATO (North Atlan-
tic Treaty Organisation) countries, including
France to replace the French Armys current
Sagem/Safran JIM-LR optronics systems,
with Safran disclosing that some JIM-Com-
pacts were delivered to the French Army in Saabs M4 Carl Gustav recoilless
late 2016; with mass production commenc- rifle has been optimised for use
ing at the end of that year. Similarly, Senop in urban areas. The weapon is
of Finland provide soldier optronics, in addi- now in use throughout infantry
tion to its weapons sights products, optimised units in the US Army.
for use in urban areas such as the firms LISA

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TECHnOLOGY

be used for a wide variety of missions. As Mr.

IAI
Thales
Curlier indicated: robots can be used for re-
connaissance, transport, or simply following
the unit as a backup. To this end, Safran has
been developing the E-Rider, a hybrid four-
wheel drive vehicle that can be used in three
different configurations: It can seat four peo-
ple and can be driven as a simple transport
vehicle with a capacity of over 100kg (220lb).
It can also be remotely operated and used as a
reconnaissance vehicle or deployed as an au-
tonomous device to identify potential threats
such as IEDs. Currently the E-Rider is at the
first stages of development and in Novem-
ber 2016 it began a six month trial with the
French Armys Technical Department.

Thales Spy Ranger is a mini-UAV that can IAI provides its Tac4G broadband tactical

Safran
be transported in a backpack and quikcly smartphone and modem that supports
deployed without which offers three hours secure third and fourth generation cellular
autonomy with an optronics package. communications.

ment detection radar integrated with day not only BFT and situational awareness, but
and night optronics. According to the firm, provides an intuitive map, and communica-
it has a detection range of eight kilometres tions in the form of instant messaging and
(five miles) for a person and 15km (nine push-to-talk radio communications as well
miles) for a vehicle with a 90 degree field- as voice-over-internet-protocol calls. Accord-
of-view and a total weight of 45kg (99lb). ing to Mr. Curlier: mobile phones will play
an increasing role in command and control
I Unmanned VehIcles capabilities, as not only are they are lighter
According to Armadas French military source: and smaller to carry but they are also an easy
robotics and, more generally, unmanned ve- Safran is developing the E-Rider, a hybrid interface to use which todays young soldiers
hicles will certainly evolve and develop expo- four-wheel drive vehicle that can be used grew up with. With this in mind, IAI offers
nentially in the coming years; not only do they as a simple transport vehicle seating four, its Tac4G broadband tactical smartphone and
save lives by doing reconnaissance ahead of a remotely operated or deployed in as an modem that supports secure third and fourth
units movement, but they also allow military autonomous device. generation cellular communications.
forces to perform reconnaissance without put-
ting a human life in danger. I connectIVIty I VehIcles
In relation to UAVs, the same military Gen. Bouquin stresses that: cities, with their Urban areas are also complex for military ve-
source remains cautious, however: they need many streets, their ring roads and obstacles hicles which can be limited in where they can
to be pretty small, such as micro- or mini- such as destroyed buildings and debris, travel due to their high curb weights, which
UAVs (see below), otherwise if they are too quickly become disorienting, making it cru- may have a detrimental effect on roads and
big they may be able to carry more but they cial for armies to have adequate technology bridges. As a point of comparison, official
also simultaneously become more vulnerable to help them proceed in this environment ef- company figures note that a General Dy-
to threats. As such, Safrans Patroller UAV has ficiently and safely. In an environment with namics M-1126 Stryker eight-wheel drive ar-
a payload of up to 550lb (250kg) but might dismounted soldiers and combined arms ma- moured personnel carrier can have a weight
remain too conspicuous for the urban envi- noeuvre, it is equally as important to have a of 16 tonnes. Manoeuvrability is also complex
ronment. Mr. Curlier indicated that Safran Battle Management System (BMS) that links in urban environments due to narrow streets
is currently working on the development of everyone and everything as much as possible. or low bridges. Military vehicle manufactur-
a mini-UAV, which should be ready for test- Thales offers the Commander Battle- ers therefore need to take all these aspects
ing in 2018. Generally speaking, mini-UAVs group, a system that delivers accurate situ- into consideration, without compromising
weigh less than circa 44lb (20kg) with micro- ational awareness fed by geospatial data, Blue on armour protection, especially as vehicles
UAVs having a wing span as small as 150mm Force Tracking (BFT) as well as critical sensor can be particularly vulnerable to IEDs.
(six inches/in). Thales has developed two data. The systems facilitates the sharing of Oshkosh has been working to develop
UAVs in the form of the Spy Ranger and the comprehensive and near real time situational vehicles that attempt to respond to as many
Spy Arrow: The Spy Ranger is a mini-UAV that awareness between all members of a unit, thus of these challenges as possible. The firms M-
can be transported in a backpack, deployed increasing operational capabilities such as ATV four-wheel drive vehicle: offers troops
without tools in less than twelve minutes, of- navigation, observation and protection to fa- the optimal balance of agility, interior capac-
fers three hours autonomy and is equipped cilitate the synchronisation of manoeuvre and ity, mobility and protection for military oper-
with an optronics package. The Spy Arrow is close fire. ations in urban environments, said Jennifer
an easy to use, lightweight, portable UAV, with Away from Europe, IAI has developed the Christiansen, vice president for global strat-
a wingspan of 670mm (26.3in), a weight of Combat Team Battle Management System egy and marketing at Oshkosh: So whether
1.3lb (0.6kg) and an autonomy of 30 minutes. (CT-BMS), a command and control software its engaging or disengaging, on-road or off-
On 5th February 2017 Thales announced that that connects commanders, soldiers, sensors, road, the M-ATV can be tailored at the ve-
it had been selected by the DGA to deliver 70 weapons, platforms, headquarters and sup- hicle design level to meet a militarys unique
Spy Ranger systems, with three UAVs per sys- porting forces to create a comprehensive, ac- mission or customisation requirements. Ac-
tem, to the French Army. Deliveries are slated curate, real-time common situational aware- cording to Ms Christiansen, more than 10000
to commence by the end of 2018. ness picture across the whole combat team. such vehicles have been ordered and are in
The progress made in robotics is also The CT-BMS is carried across conventional service worldwide with the US Army and
opening up new avenues for the develop- tactical radio links as well as satellite commu- Marine Corps, as well as with US allies in the
ment of unmanned ground vehicles that can nications and cellular networks. It provides Middle East and Europe.

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