The British Royal Navy has begun the recapitalization of its frigate fleet with the start of construction of the first of eight Glasgow-class ships. Optimized for anti-submarine warfare, these frigates will replace the aging Norfolk-class (Type 23) warships starting in the mid-2020s. The lead ship, Glasgow, is under construction, with two more ships on order. Australia has selected the design for its planned Hunter class and Canada has chosen it for the Canadian Surface Combatant program.
The Glasgow class is armed with a BAE Systems 5-inch Mk 45 main gun, the MBDA Sea Ceptor air defense system and 24 Mk 41 vertical launch system cells. These can fire anti-aircraft, anti-submarine, anti-ship and strike missiles, according to the shipbuilder. The aft flight deck can accommodate helicopters as large as the CH-47 Chinook. The hangar is designed for one Merlin Mk 2 anti-submarine warfare helicopter. Two AW159 Wildcat helicopters may also be carried. The Type 2087 active/passive towed sonar array provides anti-submarine warfare capability.
Japan is preparing to launch production of a new air-launched anti-ship missile. The ASM-3 is the first supersonic air-to-ship missile to be developed domestically. The missile has been designed for the F-2 strike aircraft, which can carry one missile under each wing. The ASM-3 is powered by a ramjet rocket engine enabling speeds of more than Mach 3. Guidance is via GPS/inertial navigation during the cruise phase, switching to an active/passive seeker for the terminal stage. The missile has a range of 80 nm (150 km).
Development of the ASM-3 began in 2003, with initial trials following in 2005. The final phases of prototype production began in late 2015. Testing continued into 2017, when the Acquisition Technology and Logistics Agency (ATLA), released video of a test-firing. The Japanese Defense Ministry announced in January 2018 that development of the ASM-3 had been completed and series production would start in 2019. Service entry is anticipated by 2023.
Turkish defense firm Nurol Makina has made inroads on the international market with its Ejder Yalcin 4 x 4 tactical vehicle. Development began in 2012 and an initial contract with the Turkish national police was inked in late 2013. Series production started in 2014. Over the last two years, the company has sealed several export deals, including with Tunisia, Qatar and Senegal. A joint production agreement was reached with Uzbekistan in October 2017.
The Ejder Yalcin is designed for missions such as border protection, air defense, reconnaissance, command, mine-detection and -clearance, personnel transport and medical evacuation. It features a V-shaped hull to deflect mine blasts and ballistic protection against small-arms fire and shell splinters. A variety of armament can be fitted, including remotely operated weapon stations and tactical missile launchers.
Surfboard With Sensors Hunts Subs
New to the database is the Liquid Robotics Wave Glider, known as the Sensor-Hosting Autonomous Remote Craft (SHARC) in its military guise, an unmanned surface vessel that uses solar power and energy from waves to power its onboard sensors. It is widely used in the energy industry, for scientific research and military missions, including tracking submarines.
Bratislava Orders New Self-Propelled Zuzanas
Updates this month include the Slovak Zuzana self-propelled howitzer, of which the Slovak government has just ordered a new batch. The U.S. Navy's Advanced Gun System record has also been brought up to date.
Vehicle updates include the British Light Reconnaissance Vehicle 400, the Israeli Zibar 4 x 4 vehicle and the Turkish Ejder 6 x 6 wheeled armored vehicle. The latest information has also been provided for the VL Mica and VT-1 Crotale NG surface-to-air missile systems.
New information is available for the Israeli ELM-2080 Green Pine missile defense radar and ELL-8265 radar warning system as well as the Swiss Integrated Self-Protection System. The Iranian Jamaran-class and Russian Neustrashimyy-class frigates have also been brought up to date.
Venezuelan Military Holds, For Now
Armed forces updates this month have a South American flavor, with the latest information on Chile and Venezuela. Caracas faces growing discontent amid an economic collapse, with the military seen as a key player in the ongoing survival of the Nicolas Maduro regime.
Militaries Around The World Seek To Boost Soldiers
Militaries are increasingly interested in ways to improve the physical capacity of their soldiers. Experiments are under way in a variety of fields, including with exoskeletons, biological and genetic improvements and brain-machine interfaces to bolster training. Andy Oppenheimer looks at this growing area in his report, "Building The Soldiers Of The Future."
China has long been seen as a growing threat in a number of realms, including cyber. While much of the focus has been on hacking attacks, the risk of buying equipment from Chinese firms has come to the fore in Eastern Europe. Reuben Johnson has the details in "China Seeks Back Door Into Europe."
Finally, Venezuela's economic and humanitarian crisis seems to get worse by the day. Nations Editor Kevin Ivey takes a look at the situation and major developments of late in "Venezuela's Slow Implosion."