I/ITSEC 2021: Kongsberg unveils new Protector RWS simulator

by Giles Ebbutt

The Kongsberg CORE Training Simulator for the Protector RWS displayed at I/ITSEC 2021. (Giles Ebbutt)

Kongsberg has integrated its Protector remote weapon station (RWS) fire-control system (FCS) with the Bohemia Interactive Simulations (BIS) Virtual Battlespace 4 (VBS4) synthetic environment to provide a new version of the RWS simulator, known as the CORE Training Simulator.

Kongsberg showed the simulator for the first time at the Interservice/Industry Training, Simulation and Education Conference (I/ITSEC) 2021 held in Orlando, Florida, on 29 November – 3 December.

Unlike the existing Protector simulator, the CORE Training Simulator runs on the real RWS fire-control hardware and software, with only the sensor feed into the system substituted with VBS4 to provide the synthetic environment. This allows the system to be embedded in a vehicle, with an additional computer connected to the vehicle network and streaming VBS4 into the FCS. When operating in simulator mode, the commander and gunner will, therefore, see the VBS4 environment on their screens.

Kongsberg told Janes that when the RWS is ‘fired' in the simulation, the ballistic calculations are performed by the RWS software, overriding VBS4 calculations, because this is more accurate.

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Update: Bulgaria receives special forces vehicles

by Aleksandar Mladenov & Krasimir Grozev & David Ing & Nicholas Fiorenza

The Bulgarian MoD received the first batch of 45 armoured vehicles for its JSOC on 21 December 2021. (Bulgarian MoD)

The Bulgarian Ministry of Defence (MoD) announced on its website on 21 December 2021 that it had received the first batch of 45 armoured vehicles from Samel-90 for its Joint Special Operations Command (JSOC) that day. The MoD said 98 vehicles would be built in 10 different versions, with deliveries to be completed by the end of 2022.

The MoD signed the urgent procurement contract for the vehicles with Samel-90 in December 2020. The Bulgarian manufacturer has a joint venture with the UAE-based International Armored Group (IAG), which has the design authority for the vehicles, with final assembly and customisation taking place at Samel-90's new factory in Samokov, southwest of Sofia.

JSOC commander Major General Yavor Mateev told Bulgarian military TV on 21 December 2021 that the first vehicle is intended for major tactical employments, with the up-armoured Toyota Land Cruiser 70 series to be employed when greater mobility is required. He added that both models had undergone major customisation work to meet a specific set of Bulgarian MoD requirements.

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New Czech defence minister sets her priorities

by Nicholas Fiorenza

The Czech procurement of 210 tracked IFVs is one of the priorities of new Defence Minister Jana Černochová. The contenders (from left to right) are the BAE Systems Hägglunds CV90 Mk IV, Rheinmetall Lynx KF41, and GDELS ASCOD 42. (Czech MoD)

New Czech Defence Minister Jana Černochová presented her ministry's priorities during a press conference on 10 January. This includes meeting the NATO goal of spending 2% of GDP on defence in 2025, as agreed by the new Czech government that was inaugurated in mid-December, and setting up a special defence fund for strategic modernisation projects as early as 2023 or in 2024.

Černochová expects the defence fund to provide greater predictability and flexibility, with funding secured for individual years. “Once the acquisition process begins, virtual funding will be deposited, and when the process nears completion, the Finance Ministry will transfer the necessary amount,” she explained.

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US Army moves ahead with Stryker-based 50 kW-class laser weapon test plan

by Ashley Roque

A US Army DE M-SHORAD prototype. The service plans to host an upcoming round of prototype testing to further refine the design before providing soldiers with an initial version in September 2022. (US Army)

The US Army will continue testing Stryker vehicles integrated with 50 kW-class lasers in anticipation of sending the weapon to the first unit in September, according to a service leader.

Lieutenant General Neil Thurgood, the army's director of hypersonics, directed energy, space, and rapid acquisition, participated in a Center for Strategic and International Studies event on 12 January and fielded questions about a range of development capabilities including the Directed Energy Manoeuvre-Short Range Air Defense (DE M-SHORAD) programme, which is now dubbed the Guardian. Service officials announced last year that a Raytheon-backed team had been tasked with progressing the development effort after a Northrop Grumman prototype was forced out because of technical challenges. Kord Technologies is the programme's prime contractor and was overseeing both teams.

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Kongsberg has integrated its Protector remote weapon station (RWS) fire-control system (FCS) with th...

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