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By Julian Nettlefold, Editor, BATTLESPACE

16 Apr 08. Following our story regarding CTA last week BATTLESPACE understands that the French Government has agreed to consider CTA for the its recce vehicle.

However, the benefits of going down the CTA route seem once again to be a U.K. (with some French) –only approach. Just prior to the sole selection of CTA, BATTLESPACE understands that SELEX were close to fielding its 40mm Supershot round developed with a reported $11m of Finmeccanica PV money with GDOS involvement. The Supershot development took over from the cancelled U.S. Advanced Light Armament for Combat Vehicles (ALACV), a U.S. Program designed to introduce the 40mm Supershot into the U.S. inventory for better protection. ALACV was cancelled in favour of a joint missile-gun turret system for Bradley mounting a 25mm Bushmaster for close support and a Javelin missile for long-range vehicle engagements.

This is where WFLIP appeared to be going until the Programme was hijacked from the infantry by the cavalry who not only coveted a more powerful gun for FRES Recce but there were certain high-ranking cavalry officers whose egos would be badly dented by any CTA cancellation. Also retention of CTA satisfied the DPA who did not want to be seen to have wasted the many millions of TRACER/FSCS development money, which is part of the cause of the FRES debacle. In addition BAE Systems invested heavily with its own money in the MTIP 2 turret programme where again, write offs would be required following any cancellation.

Linda Hudson, Land Systems supreme of BAE Land Systems had also put her marker on CTA by her decision not to proceed with any other turret system for WLLIP or FRES, thus scrapping the Bofors and Hägglunds offerings

But, even with a combined U.K.-Franco order for a maximum of 500 guns, how are the investors BAE, NEXTER, the Mod and the DGA going to recoup their huge investments?

This is one of the talking points, we understand in the discussions prior to contract signature. There is little doubt, although this is not confirmed, that the U.K. MoD in particular will want some Royalties on any sales outside U.K. and France and it is likely that BAE may have given some bullish sales predictions.

But with the dual missile-cannon systems becoming the norm in France for the VCI-Eryx system, Spain – Pizarro-Spike, UAE Patria AMV-Russia, USA – Bradley-Javelin and Italy where a missile mount is an option.

Thus, the majority of the world markets is not going down a 40mm route, let alone a CTA 40mm route. One only has to look at the strength of ATK’s cannon sales to see the difficulty that BAE and NEXTER will have in braking into this market in the short to medium term.

ATK confirm that they have sold Bushmaster cannons to the following customers. (See: BATTLESPACE UPDATE Vol.10 ISSUE 14, 11 Apr 2008, Decision to sole-source the CTA cannon).

25mm M242 Bushmaster

Australia, Bahamas, Canada, Colombia, Finland, Israel, Kuwait, Malaysia, New Zealand, Philippines, Saudi Arabia, Spain, Singapore, Taiwan, Trinidad & Tobago, USA.

30mm Bushmaster II

30/40mm MK44 Bushmaster
Algeria, Belgium, Czech Republic, Finland, Ireland, Japan, Oman, Poland, Portugal, Singapore, Slovenia
Sri Lanka, Switzerland, Thailand, Trinidad & Tobago, UAE, UK, USA.

In addition to this ATK have 8 other countries that the company is currently in discussions with regarding purchase of MK44 weapon systems.

35mm Bushmaster III

Denmark, Netherlands

ATK Armament Systems

ATK Armament Systems is the largest ammunition manufacturing entity in the world, supplying products to the military, hunting, sport shooting, homeland security, and law enforcement markets. The group operates the ATK Lake City Army Ammunition Plant in Independence, Missouri, where it has the capacity to produce 1.5 billion rounds of small-caliber ammunition annually. It also operates the Radford Army Am

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