Poland has developed a family of short-range drones that can perform strike and reconnaissance missions. The Warmate is a 12-pound uncrewed aerial vehice that can be armed with a 3-pound warhead and laser seeker or a sensor payload. It has become widely known as a loitering munition in Ukrainian service. There are several variants, including the Warmate 2 with an 11-pound warhead and a tube-launched air vehicle designed to be integrated with ground vehicles. The Warmate V features multiple rotors for operations in dense urban environments.
Development of the Warmate (at left) began in 2013. Serial production began in 2016 after orders were placed by two undisclosed customers, according to the manufacturer, WB Electronics. The Polish army ordered 1,000 systems in November 2017, with initial deliveries taking place the following month. Poland formally fielded the Warmate in February 2021. India and Turkey have also purchased and fielded the system, along with Ukraine. Ankara apparently supplied some of its systems to its allies in Libya.
The Streit Group in the United Arab Emirates has developed the Typhoon mine-resistant ambush-protected (MRAP) vehicle for troop carrier and other ground support operations. It can be easily modified for specific missions such as command and control or medical evacuation. The Typhoon has a V-shaped hull and ballistic steel construction providing NATO STANAG Level 2 blast protection. This can be increased to Level 3 with an add-on kit. A 7.62-mm or 12.7-mm machine gun can be mounted on the roof. Up to eight personnel can be carried in the rear troop compartment.
Seats for troops are not connected to the floor and feature an energy absorbing suspension connected to the roof to reduce the effect of mine blasts. In 2011, the Streit Group first unveiled the Typhoon (at right). An initial, controversial, sale to South Sudan was reported in 2014. Several vehicles were transferred to Libya and sales have been reported to Ghana, Mali, Nigeria, Sudan and Tunisia. A 6 x 6 variant, which offers greater protection, was unveiled in 2013.
Unhappy with high prices and long delivery times for Leonardo 76-mm naval guns, Turkey launched a program in 2020 to develop an indigenous naval cannon. The state-owned Machinery and Chemical Industry (MKE) took the lead in developing the 76-mm National Naval Artillery Gun. Development was completed in mid-2021 after 12 months, shortly followed by live-fire testing. In 2022, the cannon was integrated with the frigate Beykoz for harbor and sea acceptance trials. The new gun could replace aging systems on nearly three dozen Turkish warships. It will also be made available for export.
According to MKE, the 76-mm National Naval Artillery Gun (at left) can fire a wider variety of ammunition than the Leonardo Super Rapido cannon, use special fused rounds and offers digital controls. The gun features a unique coating to extend its service life, says the manufacturer. The Turkish cannon has a rate of fire of up to 80 rounds per minute and five different firing modes. It has a compact design enabling integration with smaller warships. The National Naval Artillery Gun has a range of 10 miles (16 km) with standard rounds and 12 miles (20 km) with extended-range munitions.
KAI Sees Electric Future for Trainer Aircraft
In 2021, Korea Aerospace Industries unveiled a concept for an all-electric basic trainer called the Black Kite. If developed, the aircraft could replace South Korea’s KT-1 trainers when they reach the end of their service lives in the mid-2030s.
Other aviation updates this month include the U.S. MQ-1 Predator drone, Bell 214 Super Transporter helicopter, French 30-mm Type 30 M 791 cannon, which arms the Dassault Rafale fighter, and the Russian 37-mm N-37 aircraft cannon.
Naval coverage this month includes the Indonesian Makassar-class amphibious transport docks, a new record for the Philippine Ivatan-class utility landing craft, which formerly served with the Royal Australian Navy, Canada’s Kingston-class patrol ships and the French SonoFlash active/passive sonobuoy.
Putin Threatens to Play the Nuclear Card
Much has been made of the potential for the war in Ukraine to go nuclear after the Russian army suffered serious setbacks on the battlefield. Andy Oppenheimer reviews the situation and Moscow’s longstanding habit of turning to nuclear threats in “Putin’s Nuclear Bluffs.”