Archive for the ‘Munitions’ Category

SOF Week 23 – DefendTex DRONE40 Update

Monday, May 15th, 2023

I first wrote about the DRONE40 during SOFIC 2019. Since then Australian manufacturer DefendTex has continued development.

Above is the latest version. Although it is designed to be launched from a side opening grenade launcher like the M320, it can also be hand launched after delpoying the four rotors which keep it aloft via an internal battery (10W). Playloads include ISR as well as kinetic options.

Below is the original model I mentioned in 2019. As you can see, the updated model is a bit longer.

It weighs around 190 grams depending on payload. Max loitering time is up to 30 minutes with a max flight distance of 20km and a max dash speed of 20m/s. It can be controlled via various apps on an EUD along with ISR downlink. However, it also offers autonomous flight characteristics (GPS-based) which also allow use of swarm tactics. Although there are explosive payload options, the DRONE40 can be reused for distraction, ISR, and EW missions. Below is the new stored form factor for safe transport.

DefendTex also developed a cassette launcher for the DRONE40 called HIVE, for up to six systems, which can be deployed as a stand-alone launcher or mounted to other platforms like the BANSHEE I wrote about during last fall’s Land Forces exhibition in Brisbane, Australia.

Rheinmetall NIOA Munitions Ramps Ups As First Exports Roll Out

Wednesday, May 3rd, 2023

Defence manufacturer Rheinmetall NIOA Munitions’ Queensland artillery shell plant is growing exponentially as it takes another important step towards full-rate production.

The Maryborough factory’s workforce has more than doubled to 60 since this time last year, with another 30 vacancies to be filled by July.

The jobs surge comes as Rheinmetall Waffe Munitions CEO and Rheinmetall NIOA Munitions Chairman Roman Koehne toured the $90m facility for the first time to congratulate the team on the first international shipment to Germany.

A consignment of 155mm shells produced out of Maryborough recently landed at Rheinmetall’s Unterluess Test Centre where they successfully completed dynamic testing. 

RNM uses cutting edge technology to produce 155mm artillery projectiles and metal parts for other munitions used by the Australian Defence Force as well as allied countries.

Rheinmetall Waffe Munitions CEO and Rheinmetall NIOA Munitions Chairman Roman Koehne with RNM Project Manager Jeff Crabtree, right, and NIOA Group CEO and RNM Deputy Chairman Rob Nioa at the Maryborough factory.

At full rate production, it will have a workforce of up to 100 with the ability to produce up to 100,000 projectiles a year running multiple shifts.

“Factories like this are the future,” Mr Koehne said. “The level of technology combined with highly-skilled people make this facility the most advanced of its kind in the world.

“The war in Ukraine has showed us that allied nations are increasingly looking for reliable sources that can manufacture the 155mm projectile.

“Rheinmetall has a great partnership with NIOA and together we believe that Maryborough has the potential to serve as a key link in the global munitions supply chain while building Australia’s defence manufacturing base.

“Germany, like Australia, requires certainty of supply for critical munitions to support our armed forces.

“We congratulate Jeff and the RNM team on what is an important milestone with the first batch of shells arriving at Rheinmetall in Germany.”

RNM Project Manager Jeff Crabtree said the demand for workers would continue as the plant accelerated capacity.

Roles include skilled and unskilled operators, trades and apprentices, quality control,  IT and security, supply chain and administration support.

RNM staff with the first consignment of test shells exported to Germany

“This facility not only contributes to Australian and allied capability, but the benefits are clearly flowing through to the local economy,” he said.

“We have had some good success in attracting quality people from around the Wide Bay region, Queensland and internationally with a variety of skills and experience.

“As production increases, so will the demand to find more people. There are some great opportunities to be part of the team in a next-generation Australian defence manufacturer.”

Worldwide artillery supplies of the kind RNM produces are dwindling as the Ukraine war drains US and NATO stockpiles faster than they can be replenished.

155mm projectile on the Maryborough production line.

Rheinmetall NIOA Munitions Deputy Chairman and NIOA Group CEO Robert Nioa said NIOA would continue to invest in future defence capability.

“NIOA is committed to growing our defence industrial base well into the future. High-tech factories like RNM play a significant role in delivering that capability,” he said.

“Being able to produce our own ammunition in Australia is not only vital to our national resilience but it creates new jobs and new technologies as well as export potential.”

The joint venture RNM factory has had multi-level government backing with a $28.5m injection from the Federal Government’s Regional Growth Fund on top of $7.5m from the Queensland Government’s Jobs and Regional Growth Fund and support from the Fraser Coast regional council.

Saab Receives Carl-Gustaf Ammunition Order from Lithuania

Friday, March 3rd, 2023

Saab has received an order from Lithuania’s Defence Materiel Agency for Carl-Gustaf® ammunition. The order value is SEK 145 million and deliveries will start during 2024.

The order is placed within a framework agreement initially signed between Saab and the Swedish Defence Materiel Administration, which allows Lithuania, together with Latvia and Estonia, to place orders for Carl-Gustaf M4 weapons and ammunition during a ten-year period.

“We are pleased to receive an additional order from Lithuania and are ready to continue to deliver our world-leading ground combat capabilities to the customer,” says Görgen Johansson, head of Saab’s business area Dynamics.

Proven to deliver results on the battlefield, the Carl-Gustaf provides the effectiveness soldiers need. The wide range of ammunition types available for Carl-Gustaf makes it flexible and able to handle any situation on the battlefield, whether it is to destroy an armoured vehicle or structure, or illuminating the battlefield during night-time operations.

Explosive Hazard Recognition Cards

Thursday, March 2nd, 2023

My friend Grzegorz gave me a pack of playing cards today that were created to help keep people alive in Ukraine.

Intended to educate about different types of munitions, each card features a photo with size and weight ?data and a QR code to learn more about the item.

For example, here it the card for the PFM-1 with the QR code going here.

To learn more, visit

SH Defence, DA-Group and FORCIT Defence Signed a Multiparty Memorandum of Understanding to Develop the Use of the CUBE for Launching, Laying and Storing Sea Mines

Friday, February 10th, 2023

SH Defence, Denmark; DA-Group and FORCIT DefenceOY AB, both located in Finland, have signed a multiparty Memorandum of Understanding (MOU) to corporate and jointly explore the potential in the development of launching, laying, and storing sea mines designed by and manufactured by DA-Group and FORCIT, such as but not limited to the BLOCKER and TURSO sea mines, into the Containerized Multi-Mission Module system called The Cube™ System.

The cooperation will be based on SH Defence’s modular mission concept, The Cube™ System with associated handling equipment, and will include design and conception; supported with DA-Group patented modular SUMICO naval minelaying concept. 

Lars Gullaksen, Area Sales Director, SH Defence, said: “The Cube™ System from SH Defence is rapidly becoming the standard within modularization of maritime mission capabilities for naval, coastguard, and SAR vessels around the world, especially within NATO and around the Baltic Sea. Hence our motto The Cube – changing the game at sea.

Modern naval vessels must be capable of carrying out different missions and roles both in peacetime and wartime. Therefore, the easy and rapid exchange of capabilities is an increasing requirement for new buildings and the retrofit of naval vessels.” 

He continued: “The Cube™ System, currently available with more than 300 different payloads from approximately 160 vendors, offers a flexible and cost-efficient solution that enables reconfiguration of a vessel in only a few hours. 

This partnership with DA-Group and FORCIT allows us to jointly develop the multi-mission capabilities and expand the portfolio of payloads to include the most modern sea mines for the adaptability of both Scandinavian, NATO, and other foreign navies.” 

Kristian Tornivaara, Chief Business Officer at DA-Group Defence and Aerospace, said: “We are excited to start the collaboration with SH Defence. They are now taking real action and provide world navies the future proof modular solution for naval minelaying. We have been working with sea mines and mission modularity for years and we have seen the need for such a system. This is also the reason for SUMICO patent, which now can be utilized in Cube System to enhance navies’ operational capabilities and flexibility.”

Hannu Hytti, Executive Vice President, Forcit Defence, said: “Forcit Defence has been developing and manufacturing modern naval mines since 1988. Recent developments in the security environment have emphasized the importance of sea denial and naval mine capabilities. With this partnership with SH Defence and DA Group we are able to provide world class full spectrum naval capabilities for maritime defence.

Fresh Sales Successes for Rheinmetall in Artillery Ammunition: Total Order Value in the Double-Digit Million-Euro Range

Friday, February 3rd, 2023

Rheinmetall has just won two new contracts in the indirect fire ammunition domain. An international customer has ordered propellant charges worth around €40 million from Rheinmetall Denel Munition, the Group’s South African subsidiary. Another customer, a NATO state, has placed an order with Rheinmetall Denel Munition for its tried-and-tested Assegai 155mm ammunition. This order is worth around €17 million. The Assegai family of artillery ammunition can be fired from any NATO STANAG-compatible artillery system, including the PzH 2000 self-propelled howitzer.

“We’re very pleased that two customers – including a NATO member state and a non-NATO country – have again placed their trust in our globally proven Assegai indirect fire technology”, says Jan-Patrick Helmsen, managing director of Rheinmetall Denel Munition. “As a systems maker, we work constantly to improve our cutting-edge technologies so that we can provide our customers’ soldiers with the very best, most reliable solutions possible.”

Back in 2019, Rheinmetall succeeded in setting a new maximum range record in South Africa with the Assegai family and other Group products like the new Extended Range Charge from Rheinmetall’s subsidiary Nitrochemie AG. Thanks to the Assegai system approach – from fuse to projectile to propelling charges – long ranges were attained with various artillery systems. A non-NATO 155mm artillery gun with 52 calibre lengths and a 25-litre propelling charge chamber achieved a record range of 76 kilometres.

Rheinmetall Denel Munition is already working on other future artillery technologies. For example, the rocket motor in conventional 155mm Assegai projectiles is being improved. In addition to this, a new development is on the way that will boost the maximum range to over 155 kilometres.

Multimillion-Euro Contract for Rheinmetall: Finland Orders Spike Guided Missiles

Tuesday, January 31st, 2023

The Finnish armed forces have contracted with EuroSpike GmbH, a joint venture of Rheinmetall Electronics GmbH, Diehl Defence, and Rafael, to supply Spike antitank guided missiles. For Rheinmetall, the order is worth a figure in the mid-double-digit million-euro range.

Of great importance for Rheinmetall, this order also underscores the tremendous trust placed in EuroSpike GmbH: the German-Israeli joint venture is now an industrial mainstay of the antitank capability of many EU and NATO member nations.

The German armed forces were among the first Spike users. A version of the system known as the Mehrrollenfähiges Leichtes Lenkflugkörpersystem (MELLS; multi-role light guided missile system) is in service with the Bundeswehr. Made by EuroSpike – a joint venture in which Rheinmetall holds a 40% stake – the MELLS is a latest-generation effector designed for engaging armoured targets at ranges of up to 4,000 metres or, depending on the model, up to 5,500 metres.

Rheinmetall possesses extensive experience with the MELLS. The company has already integrated this advanced guided missile into various combat vehicles.

Saab Receives Order for AT4 from France

Friday, January 27th, 2023

Saab received an order in mid-December 2022 for the anti-armour weapon AT4 from the French Armament General Directorate (DGA). The order value is approximately EUR 24 million and deliveries will take place in 2023. The order was booked in Q4 2022.

The AT4 family is a range of lightweight, man-portable, disposable weapons characterised by ease of use. AT4 can be used against tanks and heavy combat vehicles as well as threats in buildings and fortifications and to protect fixed installations, supply points and other vital assets.

“We are proud to yet again be chosen to deliver our world class single-shot AT4 system to France. Our future ready AT4 will ensure the French armed forces have the necessary firepower to give them the advantage on the battlefield,” says Görgen Johansson, head of Saab´s business area Dynamics.

France has previously ordered Saab’s AT4CS ER (Extended Range), the AT4CS HE (High Explosive) and the AT4CS AST (Anti-Structure). The AT4 family is known as the Roquette NG (Nouvelle Génération) in France.