The U.S. Missile Defense Agency is developing an interceptor that will be able to defeat multiple ballistic missile warheads. The Multi-Object Kill Vehicle (MOKV) program aims to fit several kinetic interceptors on a single missile. The system is intended to defeat incoming warheads in the mid-course phase of a ballistic missile's flight. Each interceptor will have its own sensors for target identification and tracking. A communications link could allow the interceptors to work together for a swarming attack.
The MOKV is designed to be integrated with existing and future booster systems. Boeing, Lockheed Martin and Raytheon have all received contracts to develop MOKV interceptors. Preliminary development work was launched in 2015. Follow-on contracts in 2017 covered further risk-reduction work. Funding in fiscal 2018 focused on the development of maneuvering thrusters and efforts to accelerate program completion from 2030 to 2025.
China is developing a large amphibious aircraft that can handle a variety of maritime missions. The AG600 has a maximum takeoff weight of 118,000 pounds (53,500 kg) and a wingspan of 127 feet (39 m). It is intended for missions such as search-and-rescue, resource exploration, maritime security and aerial firefighting. It can operate in conditions up to Sea State 3 and in waters as shallow as 8 feet (2.5 m).
The AG600, intended for both civil and military missions, made its first flight in December 2017 and conducted its first water takeoff and landing in October 2018. The aircraft is expected to receive its civil airworthiness certification in 2021, with production deliveries to follow in 2022. The manufacturer, AVIC, has indicated that it has already received 17 orders for the amphibious aircraft.
Belarus has developed a new armored reconnaissance vehicle based on the chassis of the Soviet-era BRDM-2. The Cayman lightly armored vehicle can carry up to six troops and has a weapons mount on the roof that can accommodate pintle-mounted machine guns or a remotely operated weapon station. It is fitted with two propellers at the rear for water operations. It requires no preparation prior to entering water.
The Cayman, which features a V-shaped hull to deflect mine blasts, entered service with the Belarusian army in mid-2017, with several vehicles participating in the large-scale Zapad exercise with Russia later that year. It is designed for reconnaissance, support, escort, peacekeeping and internal security missions. A number of vehicles have also been sold to Ivory Coast, where they have been fielded with the army and gendarmerie.
Israel Expands Sub Fleet
Submarines are a highlight of this month's updates. Israel's Dolphin-class diesel-electric submarine record has been updated and there is a new record for the follow-on Dolphin II class. Indonesia's Nagapasa class, based on the South Korean Jang Bogo class, has also been brought up to date.
Several vehicle records have been made current, including the British Weapons Mounted Installation Kit (WMIK) and German Wiesel 1 reconnaissance vehicles and the Belgian SIBMAS armored personnel carrier, which carries on in Malaysian service.
Ashgabat Stocks Up On Chinese Emitter Locating Systems
Turkmenistan has reportedly acquired from China DWL002 emitter locating systems, which are optimized for air defense and coastal surveillance missions. Other sensor system updates include the AN/AAS-52 airborne electro-optical/infrared system; the Dutch Deployable Integrated Sensors for Compound Security (DISCUS); and the Russian Dog Ear radar, which is part of the SA-13 Gopher surface-to-air missile system.
There have been several missile system updates, including the British Sea Skua anti-ship missile; Japanese Type 81 and Type 91 surface-to-air missiles; and the South African Umkhonto surface-to-air missile.
Poland Bolsters Defenses
Warsaw has been strengthening its defenses in response to Russian aggression in Ukraine. This has included the creation of a new territorial defense force. More details are available in our newly updated Poland record.
Terrorist updates include the Popular Front for the Liberation of Palestine-General Command (PFLP-GC) and the Revolutionary People's Liberation Front (DHKP-C) in Turkey.
Cleaning Up After ISIS
With the defeat of ISIS in its strongholds in Iraq and Syria, the work has begun to safely remove the explosive remnants of the conflict. ISIS has also employed chemical weapons, creating different dangers for those cleaning up. Andy Oppenheimer has the details in "The Islamic State's Chemical Legacy."
Qatar has made headlines of late with large-scale weapons purchases, including new fleets of fighter jets. This is part of the small Gulf nation's efforts to maintain policies independent of its larger neighbors. Nations Editor Kevin Ivey looks at Doha's strategic environment in "Independent Qatar."
Iranian aviation industry has struggled under international sanctions. The optimism at Tehran's biennial air show in 2016 has disappeared following the Trump administration's decision to withdraw from the multinational nuclear deal with Iran. Reuben Johnson has the latest from the 2018 Iran Air Show in "Iran's Aerospace Dilemma."