Iranian Army preparing for 3 wargames, says Commander

Commander of the Iranian Army Ground Force General Ahmad Reza Pourdastan said his forces will stage three sets of drills this year.

Pourdastan voiced pleasure in the results of the assessments made over the recent Beitol-Moghaddas 25 Wargames in the Central Isfahan province, saying that the exercises succeeded in achieving all its desired objectives.

“The Ground Force programs for the year 1392 (March 2013-March 2014) also includes more wargames, including the drills of the armored units in Southeastern Iran, followed by infantry drills in the Western parts of the country and tank-patterns exercises,” he said.

“Alongside these drills, we aim to reinvigorate the training of our forces and meantime enhance the operational capacities of the Ground Force for confronting threats in asymmetric battles,” added the Ground Force commander.

The Iranian Ground Force conducted Beit ol-Moqaddas 25 in the general zone of Isfahan from May 20 to 24 in a bid to boost its units’ military preparedness and exercise different asymmetric tactics.

Lieutenant Commander of Ground Force for Training General Hossein Shokouhi told FNA at the time that different army units, including air force, airborne, infantry, armored, cavalry, artillery, air-defense, drone, communications and logistical units participated in the wargames.

Shokouhi further noted that during the drills, the Iranian army tested its latest home-made weapons and equipment, including the newly unveiled Shaher sniper rifle, Neinava tactical vehicle, optimized Scorpion tanks, anti-chopper launchers, Fadak wireless radio and Akhgar machinegun.

The commander also said that Unmanned Aerial Vehicles (UAVs) and aircrafts were used in the exercises for reconnaissance and aerial imaging operations.

Iran’s Army and IRGC hold regular wargames to practice combat tactics and also test new home-made military tools, equipment and weapons in action.

Iranian officials and commanders have repeatedly underlined that all military exercises and trainings of the Iranian Armed Forces are merely meant to serve deterrent purposes.

“When the enemy observes that our Armed Forces are constantly in wargame zones and their fingers are kept on the trigger, it will not dare to invade the Islamic Iran’s borders,” Pourdastan said in January, underlining the significance of military trainings for boosting the country’s deterrent power.

As regards the Iranian Armed Forces’ military exercises, Pourdastan described wargames as “very important” to the Iranian military, and said drills have provided the Iranian military forces, including the Army Ground Force, with an opportunity to test its achievements and remove deficiencies for future missions.


Phantom Eye to fly missile defence payload

Boeing‘s high-altitude Phantom Eye technology demonstrator has secured its first customer, the US Missile Defense Agency (MDA).

The agency issued a $6.8 million contract modification to prepare Phantom Eye for installation of an unidentified payload following the aircraft’s fourth flight. Boeing recently finished the third flight, and is planning a fourth for envelope expansion.

Phantom Eye, a liquid hydrogen-powered technology demonstrator, is scheduled for eight to nine flights in total.

“[MDA] will be the first payload customer for Phantom Eye starting on Flight 5 later this year,” says Boeing. “Flights 5 and beyond will occur later on this year, perhaps into next year, depending on how those tests go.”

Phantom Eye is capable of carrying 204kg (450lb) of payload.

“There’s significant interest in Phantom Eye,” says Boeing. “We wouldn’t be demonstrating it if we didn’t think there was a market for it. There are a number of very interested parties both in the defence side and the civilian side.”

Phantom Eye first flew in June 2012, but was then grounded for a year following a mishap during landing. The aircraft is designed to fly for up to four days at 65,000ft (19,800m).

MDA did not respond immediately to questions.

C: Boeing

Has Israel Created A System the US Army Couldn’t Build?

By on Monday, June 3rd, 2013

Remember the Future Combat System (FCS)? This was a complex “system-of-systems” which involved manned and unmanned ground and aerial vehicles, advanced weapons systems and sensors, some of them remotely operated and an all-encompassing command, control and communications network to hold it all together. After nearly a decade of development and the expenditure of tens of billions of dollars with virtually nothing to show for it, then-Secretary of Defense Robert Gates cancelled the program.

So how is it that the Israeli Defense Forces (IDF), operating on a tight budget and timeline, seems to have been able to do what the U.S. Army with all the technological and financial resources available to it couldn’t? Take the network, what was to be the heart of the FCS. The network was supposed to connect vehicles, aircraft, unmanned aerial vehicles (UAVs), robots, autonomous sensors, remote weapons and dismounted soldiers, transmitting voice, data and video effortlessly, thereby enabling commanders and headquarters to maintain a common operating picture. The Army could never get the network to work properly.

The IDF is now deploying, albeit in pieces, the essential elements of such a network. Part of this system is the Digital Ground Army (DGA), a real-time system that provides a common operating picture for all echelons. DGA generates a map, updated in real time, of all forces – friendly and hostile – in a battle arena. Various units, including aircraft and ships, can share the coordinates of the enemy – and their own location – in the course of a battle. DGA is linked to the computers of tanks and cannons, and combat vehicles. The system will work at all echelons, from the individual soldier or vehicle, up to battalion, brigade and even division commanders. Another piece of the network is called See-Shoot, which operates along Israel’s borders. See-Shoot rapidly processes and transmits data from multiple sensors to remote firing stations as well as mobile platforms such as tanks, artillery and the Tammuz precision weapon. A third element is a frequency switching radio capable of transmitting voice, data and video with encryption. Sounds pretty much like the FCS network to me.

The Tammuz is another example of a capability that FCS was supposed to produce. One focus of the FCS was an autonomous missile system, called the Non-Line-of-Sight (NLOS) Launch System, essentially a clutch of tactical missiles in a box that could be deployed anywhere on the battlefield and launched remotely. Tammuz is just such a capability: an NLOS version of the Spike anti-tank missile with a 25 km range, deployed in a canister, able to be launched remotely based on data from distributed sensors. Tammuz is now deployed along Israel’s borders with Syria and Lebanon. The IDF also has the mini-Spike electro-optic guided missile, the world’s smallest personal missile, 70 cm long, 75 mm in diameter, weighing just 4 kg and with a range of 1.5 km.

FCS planned on employing an array of advanced unmanned ground and aerial sensors and vehicles. The unattended ground sensor was one of the last bits of FCS to be cancelled. The IDF has a host of such systems, including the EyeBall, an advanced audio-visual surveillance device a little bigger than a tennis ball, the Skylark, man-portable mini UAV, the Guardium Autonomous Unmanned Ground Vehicle and the SnakeCam for investigating tunnels and caves.

Filling out the array of FCS-like systems in the IDF’s inventory is the Trophy Active Protection System for military vehicles, an extensive family of medium and large UAVs, the Iron Dome tactical missile defense system, long-range guided mortars and advanced armored fighting vehicles such as the Namer – which had been considered a possible competitor for the role of the U.S. Army’s Ground Combat Vehicle. If you go down the list of the dozen or more elements of the FCS system-of-systems, the IDF has deployed virtually all of them.

Together with traditional systems such as the Merkava main battle tank, Apache attack helicopter and self-propelled artillery and rocket systems, the IDF has in the field a capability for advanced mobile, combined arms warfare that the U.S. Army can only dream about.