Thursday, May 13, 2010

Daewoo K11 OICW dual-caliber air-burst weapon (South Korea)

South Korea version of the xm-29 OICW

K11 dual-caliber air-burst weapon, right side

Caliber: 5.56x45mm NATO + 20x30B mm
Action: Gas operated, rotating bolt for 5.56mm and manually operated for 20mm
Overall length: 860 mm
Barrel length: 310 mm (5.56mm); 405 mm (20mm)
Weight: 6.1 kg (with optics and battery but less magazines)
Rate of fire: ?
Magazine capacity: 30 rounds of 5.56mm and 5 rounds of 20mm

The K11 dual-caliber air-burst weapon was first shown to public in 2009, during DSEI military expo, although information on its development was available since about 2006. The K11 (XK11 during early development) weapon is being developed under direction of the Agency for Defense Development of the Republic of Korea. The K11 shows more than passing similarity to the ill-fated American XM-29 OICW weapon, but it appears that K11 has better chances to see the service - it is believed that first unit of South Korean army could receive the K11 weapons in 2010. This is not surprising, considering the fact that Republic of Korea is among world's leading countries in the field of design and production of advanced micro-electronics, and also has an established defense industry and strong motivation for constant upgrade of military equipment.
As of now, the K11 dual-caliber air-burst weapon is proposed for infantry squad support role, multiplying soldiers capabilities to engage enemy personnel in defilade and soft-skinned vehicles and equipment, using 20mm air-burst grenades with pre-programmed fuse and 5.56mm ammunition for short- to medium range direct fire.

K11 dual-caliber air-burst weapon consists of three major units, linked into one weapon. Those are 20mm multi-shot grenade launcher (which serves as a bone to the system), the 5.56mm automatic rifle with firing controls, and an electronic fire control unit.
The grenade launcher is a manually operated, bolt action weapon that is fed from detachable box magazines. It is built in bullpup layout, with aluminum alloy receiver and titanium alloy barrel. The trigger system of the grenade launcher is mechanically linked to the trigger / selector / safety unit of the integral rifle component. The rifle component is more or less conventional, gas operated, rotary bolt selective-fire weapon which uses M16-type magazines. Its layout is more or less similar to US-made M16 or Korean-made K2 rifles. The trigger unit is a common part between grenade launcher and rifle components, with single safety / fire selector lever providing fire from grenade launcher (single shots) or rifle (single shots or 3-round bursts). The third component is an electronic fire control unit, which includes laser rangefinder, environmental sensors, ballistic computer, and day (optical) and night (IR) sighting channels. The ballistic computer output is fed to the electronic aiming reticle (providing visible point of aim pre-set for proper range) and to the fuse-programming unit in the grenade launcher, which sets the 20mm grenade to explode at specified range, above or to the side of the target, to provide maximum kill effect from explosive fragmenting warhead. At the present time, two types of 20mm ammunition are specified for K11 grenade launcher - the K167 HE air-burst grenade and K168 TP target practice grenade. Rifle component can use any NATO-standard 5.56mm ammunition.

A-10 Thunderbolt II: TLPS Upgrades

A-10 Thunderbolt II: TLPS Upgrades Keep “Hogs” Current to 2028 or Beyond

By Jan Tegler

For the first time in almost 33 years of operational service, the A-10 Thunderbolt II has an integrated sustainment/modernization program worthy of its impressive record as a close-air-support/ground attack aircraft for the USAF. The $1.6 billion Thunderbolt Lifecycle Program Support (TLPS) Prime Integration contract puts ongoing A-10 modernization and sustainment efforts on a competitive footing and ties together piecemeal upgrades that Hogs have been receiving for most of the last decade.

Awarded by the A-10 System Program Office in June 2009 to three major prime contractors (Boeing, Lockheed Martin, Northrop Grumman), TLPS replaces the contract Lockheed Martin had as the single prime integrator for upgrades and refurbishment. Under the previous arrangement, most supplies and services for the A-10 were obtained via stand-alone acquisitions, including major upgrade programs such as the Precision Engagement (PE) Program and the Wing Replacement Program (WRP).

“TLPS is a means to an end,” says Jim Marx, A-10 Logistics Management Lead for the 538th Aircraft Sustainment Group, Hill AFB. “As our Prime Integration contract, TLPS provides the means to compete acquisition and integration of supplies and services supporting current and future modernization and sustainment efforts on the A-10. Under TLPS, individual modernization and sustainment efforts are competed as task/delivery orders amongst the three prime contractors to deliver a ‘best value’ solution to warfighter needs.”

Warfighter needs with respect to the A-10 have already been significantly addressed with the aforementioned PE Program. Begun in 2006, PE represents the largest gain in combat capability in the history of the Hog, lending modified examples the designation A-10C. Upgrades range from the inclusion of precision munitions employment capability to enhanced air-to-air and air-to-ground situational awareness (SA). Modified aircraft can carry both LITENING II and Sniper laser targeting pods, and boast Joint Direct Attack Munitions and Wind Corrected Munitions Dispenser capabilities. SA is improved with a redesigned main instrument panel with two five-by-five-inch multifunction color displays, a new armament heads up display control panel and a hands-on stick and throttle system with a modified F-15E throttle grip, and a modified F-16 control stick grip.

The enhancements have transformed the A-10 into an “electric jet’ Marx adds, allowing it to take advantage of further operational flight program software upgrades to enhance capabilities, reliability and maintainability. Sustainment work persists under TLPS as the A-10 completes a Service Life Extension Program and turns to a Structural Inspection Program.

“We’ve nearly completed the Service Life Extension Program overhaul on the fleet and are now transitioning our focus to our new Scheduled Structural Inspection program which will ensure we can safely and effectively fly the A-10 to 16,000 flying hours or beyond 2028,” Marx continues.

“Building on these programs, we are also partnered with Boeing to deliver 233 new A-10 wings (WRP) which can fly for 10,000 hours without major inspection and are projected to save $1.3 billion in life cycle costs. The first new A-10 wing is slated for delivery in late Fiscal Year 2010 with additional deliveries and installations through 2016.”

The continuing upgrades are evidence of the Hog’s value in the current conflicts in Afghanistan and Iraq. Uniquely able to combine precision firepower with maneuverability and meaningful loiter capability, the venerable straight-wing attack jet excels in these demanding environments. Reports indicate that it is the close-air-support weapon of choice among American and allied troops.

TLPS is aimed at efficiently continuing the process of refining the Warthog. Two basic elements guide the program. Along with its emphasis on competitive, integrated acquisition solutions, the program seeks to ensure that each contractor participates fully in the requirements definition process for lifecycle improvements through an apparatus known as an Integration Support Task Order (ISTO). The ISTO specifies that each prime contractor will provide a small cadre of their own personnel to manage and integrate day-to-day activities within their respective company, between their company and the other primes, and to coordinate with the A-10 System Program Office as Prime Integrator.

Together, the contractors work with Air Combat Command, the National Guard Bureau, the Air Force Reserve and the A-10 System Program Office to identify future requirements for the A-10. According to Marx, new capabilities are defined and awarded with TLPS on a regular basis.

“Current programs under TLPS include assessments for future Embedded GPS/INS modernization, fuel system improvements and Aircraft Structural Integrity Program modernization, amongst others,” Marx explains. “Ongoing and future improvements will enhance the warfighting capabilities to increase situational awareness to the pilot, allow greater ease of digital network connectivity, and enhance weapons employment capabilities. These improvements, along with better data and fault code reporting and integrated support equipment will make the A-10 not only easier to operate, but easier to maintain.”

Those improvements and continuing efforts by A-10 System Program Office under TLPS to incorporate a comprehensive, depot-level fuselage inspection and repair program should give the A-10 the longevity Air Force planners seek while next generation platforms like F-35A mature.

“In late 2009, the A-10 System Program Office completed a full-scale fuselage/empennage fatigue test, the results of which are currently being analyzed for incorporation into our existing Scheduled Structural Inspection program,” says Jim Marx. “With the inclusion of these inspections and repairs, we are confident we can safely and effectively fly the A-10 to 16,000 hours or beyond 2028.”



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