Israel is buying four new corvettes from Germany to strengthen its maritime security capabilities. The Magen-class corvettes, based on the Blohm+Voss Class 130 design, are designed to protect Israel’s exclusive economic zone and offshore natural gas infrastructure. The warships are expanding the size of the Israeli navy, because they were not acquired to replace an existing class. The ships, displacing 1,900 tons and measuring 295 feet (90 m) in length, are heavily armed for their size. They have a top speed of 24 knots and a range of 2,500 nm.
The Magen class (at left) is armed with Barak 8 and C-Dome air defense systems and anti-ship missiles, reportedly the Israeli Gabriel V. There is a 76-mm Super Rapido main gun and two 25-mm Typhoon remotely operated turrets. A pair of 324-mm torpedo launchers are fitted, equipped with Mk 54 lightweight torpedoes. The ELM-2248 MF-STAR is the primary radar system. All four ships have been delivered to Israel, where they are fitting out with domestically developed weapon and sensor systems.
China has fielded a long-range, radar-guided air-to-air missile for its advanced fighter aircraft. The PL-15 is designed to fit in the internal weapons bay of stealthy aircraft such as the J-20. It was reportedly designed to shoot down hostile aerial refueling and early warning aircraft beyond the range of their fighter escorts. The missile is powered by a solid-powered rocket, providing speeds of up to Mach 4 and a range of up to 190 miles (300 km). A 250-mile (400-km) range variant has been reported in development.
The missile features active electronically scanned array (AESA) radar guidance and a blast-fragmentation warhead. The PL-15 (at right) may also have a limited surface attack capability. The first test-firing of the missile was reported in 2015 and it is believed to have entered service the following year. It was first seen publicly in 2017. An export variant, the PL-15E, with a reduced range of 90 miles (145 km), was unveiled in 2021. Pakistan was believed to be the first export customer for the missile, which would potentially equip its new J-10 fighters and the latest variant of the JF-17.
The Kaplan-10 is an anti-tank missile carrier developed by Turkish firm FNSS. Armed with domestic Omtas or Russian Kornet-E anti-tank guided missiles, it is designed to keep up with main battle tanks on the battlefield. The Kaplan-10 has a top speed of 40 mph (65 kph) and a range of more than 330 miles (525 km). The armored vehicle has an amphibious capability, with a top speed of 4 mph (6 kph) in the water. An advanced fire-control system includes a thermal camera, day camera, laser rangefinder, gunner-control system and stabilized electric turret.
The Turkish Presidency of Defense Industries (SSB) awarded FNSS a contract for a total of 260 Kaplan-10 (at left) and Pars anti-tank vehicles in 2016. An Omtas anti-tank missile was fired from a Kaplan-10 for the first time in early 2019. Qualification testing was completed by April of that year, with the first vehicles handed over at the end of 2019. Series production reportedly began in early 2020. A follow-on order was made in August 2021. Deliveries under the initial order were scheduled to conclude in early 2022, with deliveries under the new contract slated to begin in 2023.
Ukraine Fights Russian Invaders
Military Periscope has updated a number of records for weapon systems seen since Russia’s unprovoked invasion of Ukraine in February. These include the U.S. FIM-92 Stinger surface-to-air missile; FGM-148 Javelin anti-tank system, Swedish MBT LAW (also known as the NLAW) anti-tank weapons, Ukrainian KBA-105 Shkval remote weapon station and Russian BMD-4 airborne combat vehicle.
There is a new record for the French Admiral Ronarc’h-class frigate and the U.S. Navy’s Optical Dazzling Interdictor (ODIN), which is being integrated with several Arleigh Burke-class destroyers. Other naval updates include the Russian Ropucha I-, Ropucha II- and Vitse-Admiral Ivan Gren-class amphibious warships as well as the U.S. AN/SSQ-926 ALFEA and Australian SSQ-801 Barra sonobuoys.
Another Coup Attempt In Guinea-Bissau
Armed forces record updates have a West African focus this month, including Guinea-Bissau, which saw its 17th coup attempt since independence in February, and Ivory Coast.
Experts See Need For Pentagon Reforms To Meet Future Challenges
An expert panel at the Sea-Air-Space conference outside Washington, D.C., in early May discussed what the Dept. of Defense needs to do to prepare for future conflicts. Senior Editor Jeremiah Cushman has the details in “Building A Pentagon For The Digital Age.”
The German Luftwaffe has set its eyes on a major modernization, but questions remain about funding. Weapons Editor Brody Ladd has the story in “The Luftwaffe Tries To Modernize.”
Libya seems headed toward more strife as a deal between the eastern and western governments appears increasingly fragile. Nations Editor Kevin Ivey reviews the situation in “Libya’s Vicious Cycle.”
Finally, Andy Oppenheimer looks at some of the nuclear perils following Russia’s unprovoked invasion of Ukraine in “Nuclear Dangers In Ukraine.”