Eurosatory - Bigger than ever.

Despite the global downturn having an effect on many defence budgets, this year’s Eurosatory exhibition – held outside Paris – was around 10% larger in terms of exhibitor numbers than the previous show in 2008.

1st Jul 2010

Despite the global downturn having an effect on many defence budgets, this year’s Eurosatory exhibition – held outside Paris – was around 10% larger in terms of exhibitor numbers than the previous show in 2008. Focussing on land technology, the show features displays from around the globe, with exhibitors from Europe, North America, China, Russia, former Eastern bloc countries and, of course, Israel:

Hatehof looks to expand market share

Israeli manufacturer Hatehof unveiled the latest version of its Zibar ultra high-mobility special operations vehicle and also gave further details on its Xtream 4x4.
Ido Cohen, Zibar project manager, told Defence Review Asia that the new Zibar Mk 2 only finished development six months ago. The configuration exhibited included an overhead weapon station produced by Elbit Systems and flat load bed. Cohen, an experienced rally driver who won the Dakar event in 2004, said that Zibar was fully customisable to individual user requirements and that there had been a large amount of interest in the vehicle at the show.

The original Zibar Mk 1 entered service with the Israel Defence Force in 2002 to patrol some of the remote border areas between Egypt and Israel. Since then the vehicle has also been successfully sold in to several African countries.

The light weight vehicle can move from 0 to 100kph in seven seconds and has a top speed of 170kph. It was designed with difficult terrain in mind and has a range of 800km. The Zibar weighs 2.5 tons and has a payload capability of 2000kg.

Chief marketing officer, Yuval Marshak, was also keen to extol the virtues of the companies Xtream 4x4 all-terrain armoured vehicle. The vehicle offers a high level of protection against improvised explosive devices and can carry 4600kg with a gross vehicle weight of 16.5 tons.

Hatehof is among the companies currently competing for a Canadian Defence Force requirement for an armoured 4x4. If successful the production of 600 vehicles for a Western country would be a huge boost to the company, which is also looking at an opportunity in Australia. ‘We would also like to enter the US market,’ Marshak stated.

Currently, the company is manufacturing two vehicles a week.

Thales brings Hawkei to export market

Thales used Eurosatory as an opportunity to exhibit a mockup of its Hawkei protected light mobility vehicle to potential export customers. The vehicle was originally developed by its Australian business for the Land 121 Phase 4 programme.

The Hawkei is just one of the contenders that are to be evaluated alongside the U.S. Joint Light Tactical Vehicle to determine which design best meets the Australian Army’s requirements for some 1,300 protected mobility vehicles.

The design of the Hawkei builds on the experience Thales Australia gained in developing the Bushmaster infantry mobility vehicle also for the Australian Army, but which also one export success by being bought by the British and Dutch armies for use in Afghanistan.

The vehicle has an integral V-shaped monocoque hull to which can be added a Plasan ceramic appliqué B Kit armour package; the B Kit can be installed or removed in about 30 minutes. It can be configured to carry four to six crewmembers in suspended seats and its open electronic architecture allows the installation of remote controlled weapon stations from any 'major' supplier, as well as sensors, radios and battle management systems.

The Hawkei prototype has completed over 13,000 km of off road testing and five hulls have undergone blast testing in Israel by Plasan. Two additional 'Alpha' prototypes are scheduled for completion in August and will be followed by four 'Beta' vehicles, two of which will be delivered to the DMO for evaluation.

BAE Systems debuts ULW to the world’s armies

BAE Systems launched its recently developed Ultra Lightweight Warrior (ULW) system of body armour internationally at Eurosatory while simultaneously unveiling it at the Special Operations Forces Industry Conference in Tampa, Florida.

ULW is designed to offer adaptable protection and dramatic weight savings for soldiers said Sean Martin, Business Development Director for the company’s Personnel Protection Systems division. The system provides scalable, modular protection qnd a weight saving of up to 35 percent when measured against comparable soldier equipment.

The company has done this by focusing on five key product areas including the helmet, vest/soft body armour, armour plates, load carrying equipment and integrated power supply. While each of these offer distinct features and benefits, such as a rechargeable, integrated power supply strategically designed to be worn within the ballistic vest, and a quick-release mechanism that provides faster actuation and easier assembly, the company said that the real value associated with ULW is in how the individual pieces work together for the soldier.

‘What ULW provides to the armed forces is options,’ said Martin, ‘ULW is a flexible, modular soldier equipment platform that can be modified a number of ways, and provides multiple mission-specific options. Its ergonomic design features new, lighter weight advanced materials, which provide greater comfort and needed mobility without sacrificing protection.’

The company has already started delivering ULW to several SOF communities for evaluation and will begin trials in earnest this summer.

New eyes in the sky

IAI exhibited one variant of its new ETOP virtual mast at this year’s Eurosatory exhibition. The square frame has a POP EO/IR sensor at its centre and is lifted in to the air by four fans.

The sensor is tethered to the ground by a power and data cable that transmits the senor data back to the ground. The platform can extend up to 50 metres in the air and ‘see’ in excess of 20km.

According to a company official the ETOP has a number of advantages over other solutions including conventional masts and air balloons. The virtual mast is less observable and can stay aloft indefinitely given its tethered power supply.

The ETOP was initially developed with fixed installations in mind. However, IAI is now examining the challenges of getting the system to move with a vehicle, which it believes is technically feasible.
The company has already proved that the ETOP can remain stabilised in winds up to 20 knots and allowing it to manoeuvre would mainly require developing the flight dynamics to tilt the platform.

Eurocopter unveils newest platform, EC 645

Eurocopter has unveiled its new EC 645 twin engine medium multi-role helicopter in order to meet the requirements of customers seeking a 3.5 metric ton utility platform. With few options available in this weight category, Eurocopter has produced the aircraft from its EC 145 platform, and the militarised version will now be available for international export.
The aircraft is available with a large range of optional equipment and according to Eurcopter, offers outstanding mission flexibility, thanks to its easily re-configurable main cabin, to both military and parapublic operators.

The EC 645 offers true multi-role capabilities in a medium-aircraft, and will be a valuable addition to the options currently available in the market for military operators. The aircraft is capable of performing transportation of troops, VIP, internal cargo and cling loads; medical and casualty evacuation; search and rescue; insertion and extraction of commando troops from unstable areas; surveillance and reconnaissance, airborne battlefield management, armed reconnaissance, close air support, maritime patrol, littoral warfare and coast guard.

The aircraft is equipped with the Stand Alone Weapon System (SAWS) developed Eurocopter and ATE, which is also being launched for the first time. It also incorporates a mission computer with electro-optical system with TV and infra-red cameras and laser telemeter. It also features a targeting system with a helmet mounted sight and display, two multi-purpose weapon plylons with slaving units, and a choice of weapon loads including guns, missiles, and guided or unguided rockets.

It also incorporates an integrated weapon system for full situational awareness, and self-sealing fuel tanks, armour, threat detectors and chaff/flare dispensers for self-protection. Access to the aircraft is optimised by sliding rear and side clamshell doors, and the high-set main and tail rotors allow easy loading and unloading of cargo, passengers and patients even while the rotos remain turning.

It is believed that the EC 645 will be offered for standing requirements in the Middle East and Asia, the SAWS package will be available for existing operators of AS 550, EC 725, EC 635 and AS 565 helicopters.

G-Nius reveals new payload package

Industry sources have revealed that the UK Ministry of Defence (MoD) is in talks with G-Nius Unmanned Ground Systems regarding the possible acquisition of its AvantGuard UGV for route-clearing and force protection in Afghanistan.

The UK MoD is understood to be in the process of enhancing its route proving capabilities in Afghanistan, where the growing use of Improvised Explosive Devices (IEDs) by insurgents is proving the leading source of death and injury to coalition troops. The MoD is looking at a number of potential additions to its existing counter-IED assets in order to reduce the risk to troops on the ground.

The AvantGuard system has been in use with the Israeli Defence Force (IDF) since early 2009, where it is being used for route proving, force protection and border patrol operations as part of the Northern and Southern Commands.

The AvantGuard system was on display at the G-Nius Eurosatory stand, featuring a Rafael remote control weapon station, supply racks, ground penetrating radar, Elisra EJAB C-IED jammer, Mini-Pop cooled thermal surveillance camera, as well as human detection radar. The Elbit System Remote Control Weapon Station is also compatible with the system.

Based of the strengths and capabilities of the Guardium UGV and Dumurs' Tactical Amphibious Ground Support Vehilce (TAGS), the system is highly maneuverability in harsh terrains. It can be controlled by mobile or portable Operational Control Unit (OCU), and can also operate in a follow-me mode, where it can autonomously trail a Guide foot soldier or Guide vehicle.

The system has a modular selection of payloads depending on specific mission requirements, providing comprehensive situational awareness, including EO/IR camera, radar, electronic counter measures, hostile fire indicator, and radio frequency identification, in addition to the remotely operated weapon system.

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