BAE Mortar Combines GPS, Canards
Feb. 1, 2012

LONDON — BAE Systems is offering land forces a precision 81mm mortar round in a development that has tapped into General Dynamics technology using GPS guidance and canards offering the military an almost direct-hit capability using a standard mortar tube.

Company executives who unveiled the weapon Jan. 31 at the new munitions factory at Washington, in northeast England, said the development gave front-line infantry a portable “one-shot, one-kill” precision weapon at an affordable cost. They wouldn’t be specific about likely costs.

The two land systems rivals have been quietly working for more than 12 months to develop and produce a precision-guided weapon marrying the current U.K. L41 bomb and U.S. M734A1 fuze from a conventional mortar round with GPS guidance and General Dynamics roll-controlled fixed canard technology.

Trials of the roll-controlled weapon at the U.S. Army’s Yuma Proving Ground in Arizona last week saw five of the live bombs travel 3.7 kilometers and strike within two and five meters of the target, BAE representatives said at a briefing in the U.K.

Government representatives from Australia, Britain, Canada, the Netherlands, Sweden and the U.S. Army and Marine Corps witnessed the trials.

BAE followed up the demonstration the next day with tests on several inert bombs fitted with a slightly longer tail unit allowing the weapon to travel four kilometers and striking between four and six meters of the target.

By comparison, a conventional round fired from the same standard 81mm mortar tube supplied by BAE to more than 40 nations around the globe, including the U.S., is capable of traveling about 5.6 kilometers with a circular error of probability of 40 meters.

Kelvyn Grimes, the business development manager at BAE’s Global Combat Systems Munitions business, said if the company started qualification of the weapon midyear, they could be in production by the end of 2013.

The weapon can be programmed within 10 seconds and BAE estimates it could cut the logistics tail by 30 percent because fewer rounds would be needed to complete a mission, he said.

Britain’s Col Chris Sanderson, the Ministry of Defence’s defense munitions deputy team leader at the Defence Equipment and Support Organisation, said DESO was interested in the weapon, but there is no current requirement, and “whether it ends up in our arsenal remains to be seen.”

The new program is a return to the precision-guided mortar market for BAE. The company spent large amounts of its own money in the 1990s developing the Merlin terminally guided 81mm mortar bomb. The program was shut down when it failed to attract any customers.

The General Dynamics Ordnance and Tactical Systems business unit has already successfully demonstrated its roll-controlled canard technology on a 120mm mortar using GPS guidance.

General Dynamics Ordnance and Tactical Systems Fields Expeditionary Fire Support System

March, 2009

ST. PETERSBURG, Fla. – General Dynamics Ordnance and Tactical Systems, a business unit of General Dynamics (NYSE: GD), announced today that they have successfully fielded the Expeditionary Fire Support System (EFSS) with the United States Marine Corps (USMC) Bravo Battery, 1st Battalion, 10th Marine Artillery Regiment located at Camp Lejeune, North Carolina.

As the third leg of the USMC’s triad of land-based fire support for expeditionary operations, EFSS is the primary close-in fire support system for vertical assault maneuvers and is perfectly suited for missions requiring tactical versatility, speed, mobility and close-in fire support. The system can be emplaced, fired and displaced in under five minutes using a standard five-man crew and is designed to be internally transportable in both the Marine’s tiltrotor MV-22B Osprey and the CH-53 helicopter.

Each battalion in the 10th Marine Regiment will have six EFSS systems comprising of a pair of Prime Mover vehicles, a 120mm M327 mortar weapon, ammunition family and trailer. At the center of EFSS is the 120mm M327 mortar that combines the simplicity and firepower of a mortar with the precision and range of a field artillery piece. The system can effectively fire both rifled and smoothbore ammunition. At 1,798 lbs., the 120mm M327 is the Marines’ largest internally transportable indirect fire support system and provides the maneuver commander with greater fire support capability against an array of targets.

“The EFSS will give the Marines unmatched mortar performance in terms of lethality, accuracy and mobility. Combined with the MV-22 Osprey capabilities, it gives the Expeditionary Force a superior tactical advantage over their adversaries”, said Dr. Dean Bartles, vice president and general manager of large-caliber ammunition for General Dynamics Ordnance and Tactical Systems.



 America's Cup 2010: BMW Oracle make light work of Alinghi

By Kate Laven
Published: 6:58PM GMT 12 Feb 2010, London Telegraph

BMW Oracle's towering wingsail proved a giant slayer in the first race of the 33rd America's Cup to give the Americans a resounding 15-minute win over Alinghi.  Any questions over the relative performance of the two boats were quashed just moments into the race even though defender Ernesto Bertarelli drew first blood by winning the start on Alinghi. By the end of the epic 40-mile clash, raced in a friendly six knot breeze, he was trailing by a massive 15min 28sec and seeing his chances of retaining the Auld Mug drift away in a sea of soft sails.

After 2½ years of warring between Larry Ellison and Bertarellli and three more days of frustrations created by too much wind or too little, the series finally got uner way. BMW Oracle's James Spithill told colleagues on Friday that his first mission was to put a penalty on Alinghi even before the start and sure enough, just moments before crossing the line, he did just that, forcing Alinghi to gybe in the closing stages of the starting sequence then raising the flag in protest at their failure to stay clear.

Both boats stalled but Bertarelli somehow manoeuvred Alinghi V out of the hole while Spithill floundered handing a 660 metre advantage on the line to the Swiss. It was a major triumph for the defenders but that was to be the high point of their race since as soon as they headed out on to the race track, the differences in power and speed became immediately obvious. It took just 16 minutes for USA to catch up. In six knots of breeze, it was the lighter Alinghi V that was expected to have an advantage but the effect of the 238 foot wingsail was to allow the trimaran to fly their two hulls more consistently which added an estimated 10% to their speed.

By the windward mark, after the boats had been on the course for around 90 minutes, USA was 1400 metres ahead, which was equivalent to more than three minutes. Everyone assumed that downwind, the lighter catamaran would again have the edge but it was USA that took off, reaching speeds never before recorded in the America's Cup of around 30 knots. BMW Oracle owner Larry Ellison was all set to race but half an hour before the scheduled start, he climbed into the support rib fully aware that his presence would complicate the critical weight ratios on board.

He left his $300 million monster in safe hands as Spithill, who spent his Christmas break gaining a pilots licence so that he could better understand the aerodynamics involved in controlling the wingsail, made up for his earlier error with a flawless performance.  Every tack and gybe was executed as if they were on ice skates and Bertarelli who will be wondering why he opted for conventional sails rather than the more powerful wing, was unable to claw back any ground over the remaining 20 miles.
Sportingly, Alinghi completed the penalty turn just minutes from crossing the line but the margin of defeat was so emphatic that the extra two minutes made no difference. The two teams meet again on Sunday for the second and possibly final clash in this best of three contest.

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