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18 Aug 23. Rheinmetall opens Lynx infantry fighting vehicle factory in Zalaegerszeg, Hungary. Europe’s most advanced plant for armoured vehicles . Rheinmetall officially opened its new factory in Zalaegerszeg on 18 August 2023. The new plant marks a major milestone for Rheinmetall and underscores the Group’s commitment to Hungary. In future, this cutting-edge facility will produce the Lynx infantry fighting vehicle, the world’s most advanced IFV.
“The opening of Rheinmetall’s new factory in Zalaegerszeg is a significant step for our company and a sign of our close ties with the government and armed forces of Hungary, an EU partner and fellow NATO member state”, declared Armin Papperger, chairman of the executive board of Rheinmetall AG. “We’re proud to be part of the growing industrial community in Zalaegerszeg and look forward to working with local partners and drawing on local talent. Hundreds of people are working together here in Zalaegerszeg to produce top-notch military systems for the Hungarian armed forces as well as export customers.”
Headquartered in Zalaegerszeg, Rheinmetall Hungary Zrt. focuses on the development and manufacture of state-of-the-art tracked and wheeled armoured vehicles for the Hungarian military, especially the new Lynx infantry fighting vehicle.
Rheinmetall plays an important part in Hungary’s “Zrínyi 2026” initiative, which aims to reequip the country’s armed forces with locally produced modern equipment.
The Hungarian defence ministry has contracted with Rheinmetall, Europe’s foremost maker of systems and equipment for ground forces, to supply it with the world’s most advanced tracked and wheeled armoured fighting vehicles, including associated services.
Rheinmetall sees Hungary as a home market to be supplied with Hungarian-made products. In this context, a new, extremely well-equipped development, production and test centre is now being built on a 33-hectar site in Zala County in southwest Hungary, including an EMV/ CLIMA chamber and a firing tunnel. In designing the plant, special emphasis was placed on the latest industrialization
principles as well as flexibility, growth potential, efficiency, the implementation of advanced transport and logistics concepts and cutting-edge production techniques. In the quality control domain, a 3D measurement cell will guarantee fast, permanent, automated assurance of component quality, setting a new standard here as well. Over the next few years, another 350 new jobs are planned at the Zalaegerszeg plant.
Rheinmetall supplying state-of-the-art tracked and wheeled armoured vehicles and associated services
The contract encompasses 209 Lynx KF41 in seven variants, plus 18 combat support vehicles, including Büffel/Buffalo 3 armoured recovery vehicles, as well as 38 military trucks. In addition, the contract incorporates products and services such as simulators; training and instruction; and an initial stock of spare parts and maintenance support. Throughout the Lynx’s decades-long anticipated lifespan, spare parts and regular maintenance will be needed to ensure operational readiness.
In a first production phase, Hungary will be supplied with 46 Lynx systems configured as infantry fighting vehicles or for a command & control role, plus nine Büffel/Buffalo 3 ARVs, all of which will be made in Germany. Delivery has already begun. In a second phase, a joint venture will build and ship a further 172 Lynx systems and various combat support vehicles in Hungary.
The new factory will do more than just contribute to the regional economy. It will also promote innovation and the creation of highly qualified jobs. Looking ahead, Rheinmetall plans to keep investing in the plant in order to increase production capacity and integrate new technologies.
In setting up this factory, Rheinmetall is signalling its confidence in the growth potential of the Hungarian economy and the skills and abilities of Hungarian workers. By creating jobs and fostering special knowledge, Rheinmetall is helping to further strengthen the Hungarian economy and defence industry, simultaneously establishing its ultramodern, future-proof Lynx infantry fighting vehicle – equipped with advanced high-performance sensors and the Lance weapon station – in the global market.
18 Aug 23. Brazilian Army Acquires Fleet of Rescue Tanks. The Brazilian Army has acquired 20 additional specialized armored vehicles, unprecedented in the country. Delivered at the Paranaguá Container Terminal (TCP), the MaxxPro Recovery Vehicles have 6×6 drive and will be used to recover Guarani armored vehicles on the battlefield. The vehicle is armored against 5.56mm and 7.62mm weapons, as well as artillery shrapnel, mines and improvised explosives. It has the capacity to tow up to 42 tonnes.
Manufactured by the American company Navistar Defense, the vehicles were acquired through the Armored Forces Program, which is part of the Land Force Strategic Portfolio. The vehicle purchase process began in 2018 and went through several stages, in accordance with the operational requirements of the Brazilian Army.
After document release, the fleet will be transported to Curitiba and will be in charge of the Logistics Section of the Command of the 5th Army Division. The 27th Logistic Battalion and the 5th Logistic Battalion will be the military units that will operate the twenty armored vehicles to the Regional Maintenance Park, which will be the temporary destination of the armored vehicles until they are distributed to different organizations of the Brazilian Army.
Armored Forces Strategic Program
The Armored Forces Program is aimed at obtaining armored vehicles on wheels and tracks and their component subsystems, such as weapons and communications systems. The aim is to modernize the Army’s armored and mechanized units.
The Program encourages research, development and innovation in the country for different solutions in defense and security products, such as the different versions of the family of armored vehicles on wheels and the modernization of vehicles on wheels and on tracks, as well as the technological systems of remotely controlled weapons and command and control systems (C2). (Unofficial translation by Defense-Aerospace.com) (Source: https://www.defense-aerospace.com/ Brazilian Army)
17 Aug 23. AM General Features Advanced Vehicle Capabilities and Reveals New Brand Identity at NGAUS 2023. AM General, the leading global light tactical vehicle and mobility systems provider, is proud to participate in the National Guard Association of the United States (NGAUS) 2023 General Conference and Exhibition at the Reno-Sparks Convention Center, Booth #1419, in Reno, Nevada from August 18 through August 21, 2023. The Company will feature its mission-ready capabilities that support the National Guard when the National Guard is needed most. AM General will also debut its new brand identity.
“We are proud of our long and strong partnership with NGAUS and recognize that the work done at this important event furthers the National Guard’s mission to support our communities in this nation and abroad,” said Jim Cannon, AM General President and CEO. “We are also extremely excited to reveal our new branding at this exhibition as our new brand look was inspired by our purpose to serve those who serve to support us and it’s a signal that there are great things to come from AM General.”
AM General will display the HUMVEE 2-CT™ with the Troop Transport Expanded Capability Kit (XCK); a 9-person conversion kit with crush protection of 10,000 lbs., improved seating with integrated restraints, a 360º weapons ring, and available mountings for squad weapons. This vehicle represents the latest automotive technology that AM General can offer the National Guard, including enhanced occupant safety, upgraded powertrain options, and improved mobility and handling.
The Company’s new brand identity was inspired by its purpose and culture which is to serve the Warfighter, represented by SGT Smith; the fearless person who volunteers their service to protect the freedoms in this nation. AM General took a wholistic approach to generating its new look and feel which includes an updated logo, a new color palette, and new imagery to convey its core capabilities as the leading light tactical vehicle manufacturer in the world and to pay homage to its end users.
Logo: The new logo is now capitalized in a more sculpted font to represent the strength and power of the Company’s products. The tag line “Mission Ready, Future Driven” is also incorporated into the brand to convey that its products will always meet the demands of the ever-changing battlefield. The Star in the logo represents the mark that is emblazoned on its vehicles.
Color Palette: The poem “Pikes Peak,” later turned into the song “America the Beautiful” by Katharine Lee Bates paints a vivid picture of the grandeur of our nation. The descriptions within this poem inspired the new color palette: Halcyon Sky, Enameled Plain, Amber Wave, Alabaster Gleam, Patriot Dream. It also honors the Warfighters who serve to preserve our “America the Beautiful.” The Company’s vehicles represent mobility on the battlefield and thus the earth tones of the landscapes they traverse were leveraged for the new look.
Imagery: With the new brand identity, AM General’s images will feature the Warfighter as a testament to its commitment to build platforms that can and will go wherever the Warfighter needs them. They will also showcase existing and new vehicle capabilities to demonstrate how AM General continues to push the envelope of innovation. (Source: PR Newswire)
17 Aug 23. Navistar Defense, LLC (Navistar Defense) announced today it was selected by leading military mobility solutions provider, AM General, to partner in the Joint Light Tactical Vehicle (JLTV A2) program. The subcontract is to manufacture an estimated 10,000 JLTV trailers over the life of the contract.
“We are excited that AM General chose us to partner in this important program to support the United States military,” said Ted Wright, chief executive officer, Navistar Defense. “AM General is a world class Tactical Vehicle manufacturer and we’re eager to support their team.”
“We look forward to working with our industry partner on this contract,” added Wright. “The JLTV trailer subcontract allows us to continue diversifying our business portfolio, support our growth in Mississippi, and expand our growing business,” added Wright.
“Welcoming Navistar Defense to the JLTV A2 program is a key milestone in our operations,” said John Chadbourne, AM General Executive VP – Chief Business Development Officer. “Their commitment to excellence translates into the quality products they are known for in the industry. Since receiving the JLTV A2 program contract, our main focus is to deliver quality vehicles on time and on target and this includes the equipment needed to ensure our Warfighters can succeed in their missions.”
The JLTV A2 trailer is a multipurpose platform configured to support general purpose cargo and tactical generator mobility missions. The trailer is built to operate with the Closed Combat
Weapons Carrier, the General Purpose, Heavy Guns Carrier and Utility JLTV variants over the same mission profile of those vehicles. Production will begin in 2024 and will take place at Navistar Defense’s Assembly Plant located in West Point, Mississippi. The period of performance is for five-base years, with the option for an additional five years.
16 Aug 23. US Army to expand production of 3D-printed parts for HMMWV vehicles. The service has produced a battery bracket but is seeking manufacturing partners to design other components. Already aiming to mass produce a 3D-printed battery bracket for the M998 High Mobility Multipurpose Wheeled Vehicle (HMMWV), the US Army is now interested in using additive manufacturing to crank out other components for the classic platform.
“We are looking for more using cases. We are looking for manufacturing partners. Our plan is to expand consideration to other parts,” Eric Wetzel, team leader for the project at the US Army Research Lab, said Tuesday during the 15th Annual Ground Vehicle Systems Engineering & Technology Symposium, in Novi, Mich.
The future HMMWV’s additive manufactured components should be available for Army expeditionary production after being approved in range and quality trials.
The Army is hardly the only service that sees a future in additive manufacturing for simplifying logistics and reducing downtime for platforms. Earlier this month Breaking Defense reported exclusively on a Navy ship that 3D-printed a part that the service estimates saved it nearly a half-million dollars and kept the ship at sea rather than having to come in for repairs.
For the Army, the 3D-printed battery bracket designed for the M998 was produced using fused filament fabrication (FFF) technology followed by a post-annealing process in order to ruggedize the parts, the service said. The development process used two approaches aiming at eliminating slump and creep during annealing in addition to preserving part geometry.
The US Army Research Lab tested the deployment of a high-temperature support shell and building the components out of a filament that includes both a low-temperature, annealable phase, and a higher-temperature phase to stabilize the part during annealing.
Launched three years ago, the study to design and produce the HMMWV’s components involved three filament types and three different printers to make comparative bracket quarter-sections. Trials with the 3D-printed parts were conducted in eight processing conditions.
The data collected through the evaluations suggests that annealing — a kind of heat treatment to subtly soften a metal — is an effective strategy to increase the mechanical robustness of 3D printed parts and shell annealing is an effective approach. Based on the outcomes of the tests, full-size brackets will be printed using dual material. The components will be installed on HMMWVs and field tested with the Maryland Army National Guard.
The 3D printed battery bracket for the M998 “is planned to replace the standard aluminum bracket battery, which the army is trying to phase out,” Wetzel said.
The branch has been paying great attention to 3D-printing capabilities and in April established the Advanced Manufacturing Commercialization Center (AMCC), in Sterling Heights, Mich.
AMCC is dedicated to exploring new additive manufacturing options and will produce large parts for various ground vehicles.It is intended to enable the Tank-Automotive & Armaments Command (TACOM) and the Ground Vehicle Systems Center (GVSC) to increase the speed of fielding new advanced manufacturing capabilities. (Source: Breaking Defense.com)
15 Aug 23. US Army has ‘lot of work’ to do to push AI in ground vehicles: Official. The service has been working on several efforts to improve data and infrastructure and enable broader use of those capabilities.
The operational and tactical benefits artificial intelligence (AI) and machine learning (ML) can provide to ground vehicles has been apparent for years, and has pushed the US Army towards seeking ways to turn those ideas into reality. But while AI is all the rage as a mainstream idea in 2023, the service is still working out the early stages, an official said today.
Speaking at the 15th Annual Ground Vehicle Systems Engineering & Technology Symposium, in Novi, Mich., Col. Jeffrey Baker, Acting Director, US Army Artificial Intelligence Integration Center (AI2C) said that the branch is currently researching the best ways to test AI systems and ML capabilities.
“Certainly, we have a lot of work to do in this area. How we make sure that we test this in a way that commanders can say, I am comfortable putting this solution or this capability in the hands of my soldiers,” Baker said.
Responsible for implementing the Army’s Artificial Intelligence Strategy, AI2C partners with universities, industry and other Army units to modernize the service’s portfolio. Baker said that this enables the branch to ensure that “the lessons learned from one are certainly getting incorporated by the others” in order to develop best capabilities moving forward.
Currently, AI2C is working on several AI technology blocks with potential to provide operational advantages in the deployment, management and sustainment of ground vehicles. The focus areas include autonomy, human-AI Interaction, planning and acting, decision support, modeling, massive data management, devices and computing. More broadly, Baker’s team is working on workforce development, strengthening partnerships, and modernizing ground platforms. The branch has been also conducting trials and evaluations of AI- and ML-based models.
“The American people are comfortable with AI and ML solutions [use] in sustainment, and we are currently working on those areas, on safe predictive maintenance, on that the ability to see yourself logistically developing that common operating picture,” Baker told the audience.
AI2C has been working on efforts to provide well-structured and labeled data to operators in order to build up trust in AI tools. But the Army faces other obstacles preventing widespread use of those capabilities across its fleet, such as regulation, connectivity and data engineering.
“The policy and the understanding of how organizations can get access to the data is probably one of the things we need to solve in the near term,” Baker noted.
Army efforts to increase the use of AI are in line with the US National Defense Strategy 2022, which stated that the area has the “potential not just to change kinetic conflict, but also to disrupt day-to-day US supply chain and logistics operations.”
The document also notes that DoD will implement institutional reforms that integrate data, software and artificial intelligence efforts and “speed their delivery to the warfighter.” (Source: glstrade.com/Breaking Defense.com)
16 Aug 23. Abrams tanks gain maximal power capacity with RTX electric generators. The electric generators provide Abrams tanks with 50% more power, enabling advanced systems such as laser warning receivers and radio jamming capabilities.
The US Department of Defense (DoD) has awarded Collins Aerospace, a Raytheon subsidiary, a $24m contract to deliver electric generators and containers to power the US Army’s Abrams M1A2 main battle tanks (MBTs).
Abrams M1A2 System Enhanced Package version 3 (SEPv3) is a modernised configuration of the Abrams MBT in service with the US Army. The new version offers enhanced protection and survivability, as well as higher lethality than its predecessors – with the RTX generator playing a significant part in delivering its power capacity for advanced systems.
The tank also features various advancements in technology, including improved armour, communications, reliability, sustainment, and fuel efficiency.
As part of the Army’s SEPv3 to improve the M1A2’s performance and extend its service life, Collins’ generator will provide 50% more onboard power than the MBT’s legacy system in the same space, enhancing the tank’s survivability and reliability.
Russell Andrey, Programme Manager for Collins pointed out that “To date, Collins has delivered 800 electric generators in support of the SEPv3 programme supplying critical power, diagnostics and predictive maintenance support on the ground.”
With increased power, the electric generator helps improve the M1A2’s survivability by enabling the addition of advanced systems, such as laser warning receivers and radio jamming capabilities.
GlobalData reveals that the US Army has integrated unmanned turrets on some of its armoured vehicles, such as the M1A2 Abrams and the Stryker. These unmanned turrets use advanced sensors and targeting systems to provide increased accuracy and situational awareness for the crew; this requires enormous electrical processing power, especially as systems become more autonomous and network-centric.
Furthermore, the generator uses advanced magnetics and active load management to deliver 100% rated power throughout the M1A2’s operating range.
This is an important step as the defence industry looks to curtail unnecessary energy consumption. It is this turn toward ESG principles that has led to theme to consistently perform among the top three themes with the highest patent filings this year according to GlobalData intelligence.
Collins also designed the generators to fit in the same space as the legacy system without requiring major changes to the vehicle or its existing electric systems architecture as the US Army moves to integrate systems across its increasingly multi-domain fighting force. (Source: army-technology.com)
15 Aug 23. The Australian Government will build an Aircraft Coating Facility at Newcastle Airport to maintain the stealth of Australia’s fleet of F-35A Lightning II aircraft.
A Boost for the Hunter Region with Newcastle Airport to be a Regional Hub for Maintaining Fighter Jets. At Australia’s first dedicated coating facility, a specialised paint will be applied to the aircraft to ensure they are virtually invisible to an adversary’s radar. This work is vital for Australia’s air combat capability.
The new facility is being established in partnership with BAE Systems Australia, which is responsible for the maintenance, repair, overhaul and upgrade activities for Australia’s fleet of 63 F-35A aircraft, which is being expanded to 72.
Establishing the facility will create up to 25 new local ongoing jobs, which will be integral to the larger team of around 360 local workers that already sustain the F-35As at Newcastle Airport.
The design for the coating facility is due to be finalised by the end of this year, with construction expected to start around mid-2024. It is expected to cost more than $100m and involve more than 100 local jobs in the construction phase.
Minister of Defence Industry Pat Conroy joined us at our Williamtown Aerospace Precinct to announce Commonwealth funding for a dedicated Aircraft Coating Facility that will provide the stealth paint for Australia’s F35 jets.
To date, only Australian F-35As have undergone maintenance by BAE at Newcastle Airport. The new coating facility will support the maintenance of other F-35A fleets operating in the Indo-Pacific, transforming Newcastle Airport into a future regional hub.
The sustainment and upgrades at Newcastle over the next 30 years will support up to 750 direct and indirect jobs across Australia. So far, more than 70 Australian companies have had contracts contributing to the F-35 program.
In addition to BAE Systems Australia, other companies in the Hunter which have contributed to this success are the Nupress Group and Varley Group.
Minister for Defence Industry, Pat Conroy, said: “This is a vote of confidence in the Hunter that ensures these world-class aircraft will operate and be sustained from Newcastle Airport for decades to come.
“The Hunter community can be proud to be playing a vital role in sustaining this critical defence capability not only for Australia, but also for our region. Defence industry companies in the Hunter and across Australia are already making a significant contribution to the F-35 program and this will grow in the years ahead.” (Source: https://www.defense-aerospace.com/: Australian Department of Defenc)
14 Aug 23. Poland signs deals for light recon vehicles, heavy infantry combat vehicles and APCs. Poland signed a roughly $290m deal for 400 Lekki Pojazd Rozpoznawczy Light Reconnaissance Vehicles, as well as two framework agreements to develop new ground vehicles for the future.
The companies of the Polish Armaments Group (PGZ) this morning announced a trio of new contracts with the Poland’s MND Armament Agency: one for the supply of nearly 400 Lekki Pojazd Rozpoznawczy (LPR, Light Reconnaissance Vehicles) and two framework contracts for the supply of Ciężki Bojowy Wóz Piechoty (CBWP, Heavy Infantry Combat Vehicles) and a Nowy Kołowy Transporter Opancerzony (NKTO, New Wheeled Armored Personnel Carriers).
It’s a continuation of Poland’s massive defense spending spree of the last two years, which has seen Warsaw throw what a top officer told Breaking Defense are proverbial “suitcases with money” at modernizing its military. Among the splashy orders were Abrams tanks, Apache combat helicopters and HIMARS rocket launchers from the United States, South Korean-made K2 tanks, Chunmoo rocket launchers, K9 self-propelled howitzers and FA-50 combat aircraft, and at least two Swedish early warning aircraft to complement additional tethered warning systems.
The first of today’s three contracts, signed by the consortium of PGZ and Rosomak, covers the supply of approximately 400 LPRs in a 4×4 chassis. The approximately PLN 1.2bn ($290m) contract comes with a delivery period between 2024 and 2030.
“The LPRs that we ordered in the amount of 400 units will be produced in a very short time at the Rosomak plant (in Siemianowice Śląskie in Poland). The vehicle meets the needs of the Polish Army. We are already going down in history with the era of the [Polish multi-purpose off-road vehicle] Honkers and various such vehicles. We intend to introduce this vehicle to the Polish Army as soon as possible,” said Polish Defense Minister Mariusz Błaszczak.
The LPR is a polonization of the Korean family of KIA KLTV vehicles, continuing the growing military relationship between South Korea and Poland. The vehicle will receive a new, modernized body prepared for the needs of the Polish military; the MND expects to adjust the design over time as it gets more feedback from Polish military users. Over the next few years, Rosomak plans to gradually transfer the production of vehicle components to Poland, starting with the transfer of body production technology.
The vehicle is equipped with armor providing ballistic protection at level I of NATO standard STANAG 4569, and it is powered by a 225 HP diesel engine. It also has a central tire inflation system and a runflat system for driving after a puncture of tires.
The LPR will be equipped with a turntable on the roof enabling the installation of a 7.62mm or 12.7mm machine gun, or a 40mm grenade launcher. The permissible weight of the LPR is approx. 5.7 tons, helping to fill the gap between light vehicles and heavier systems.
Heavy Infantry Fighting Vehicle: Ciężki Bojowy Wóz Piechoty
The second framework contract signed by the consortium of PGZ and Huta Stalowa Wola will result in the delivery of several hundred modern Heavy Infantry Fighting Vehicles in various configurations, collectively referred to as CBWPs. (Pricing details were not made public for either two framework contracts announced today.)
The implementation of the framework will allow the first CBWP to be delivered to the Polish Armed Forces in 2025, together with a logistics and training package. The agreement also includes the expansion of the production and service infrastructure.
“The CBWP is the implementation of the idea regarding the use of technology that was already owned by the PGZ for the benefit of the Polish Army. […] We are dealing here with an idea that goes beyond the framework, but this idea is carried out in such a way as to equip the troops with a CBWP in a short time,” said Mariusz Błaszczak, Poland’s Minister of National Defense.
Among the configurations is the use of the domestically built ZSSW-30 remotely controlled turret system, developed by HSW together with WB Electronics. The main armament of the ZSSW-30 is the 30mm Bushmaster Mk.44S automatic chain gun, able to fire with five different types of ammunition, including programmable ammunition. The auxiliary armament, integrated with the turret, is a modified 7.62mm UKM-2000C machine gun coupled with the cannon, as well as double anti-tank guided missiles launchers. Currently, the Spike-LR ATGM launcher has been integrated into the turret, but integration with the Javelin ATGM is also being considered in the future.
The chassis of the CBWP will be made using elements of the Krab self-propelled gun-howitzer with the ZSSW-30. The vehicle will enable the transport of a three-person crew and eight soldiers and will provide fire support to the transported squad in all weather conditions, day and night.
The main task of the CBWP will be to engage armored and unarmored targets, incapacitate and destroy exposed fire means, manpower, shelters and field fortifications in direct contact with the enemy. It will also have a high level of ballistic and anti-mine protection, as well as traction capabilities.
New Wheeled Armored Personnel Carrier: Nowy Kołowy Transporter Opancerzony
The subject of the last, but not least, framework contract concluded is the delivery in the 2028-2035 to what the government calls several hundred (according to a PGZ release, nearly a thousand) NKTO in the combat version, equipped with a Remotely Controlled Weapon System (ZSMU), plus logistics and training packages.
The NKTO is to be another domestic product, alongside the NBPWP Borsuk, designed from scratch on the basis of the experience and competence of Polish defense industry. Currently, preparations are underway to negotiate an executive contract with the military regarding the development of a vehicle, the rights to which will remain in Poland.
Warsaw seeks the ability to develop subsequent generations of NKTOs, and the acquisition of intellectual property rights to the results of development work will enable the Polish industry to do serial production of NKTOs. In addition, there will be no limits on exportability; While PGZ could work with foreign partners in the future, NKTO design with foreign partners is not planned at the current stage.
“Rosomak APC is a good product, but this license, this deal was not the best. There are limitations when it comes to the development of this product. […] We took up the challenge of developing a new version of this vehicle. I am convinced that it will be a hit, it will be an export hit. First of all, the needs of the Polish Army, but we also try to ensure that these products can be exported,” Błaszczak added.
However, this system appears the farthest from getting in the hands of Polish forces.
Under the contract, the company will stand up the ability to develop and manufacture a NKTO, maintain technological and organizational processes guaranteeing constant deliveries of transporters, perform maintenance and repair tasks and repairs at the plant level, as well as support the operation in the form of supplies of spare parts.
The implementation of the framework contract for the supply of a new APC will result in the conclusion of a contract for development work, which will allow for the acquisition of competences and know-how enabling the production of a domestic NKTO. The agreement also provides for integration with a ZSSW-30 system, as well as with a ZSMU, which will be developed as part of the above-mentioned development work. (Source: Breaking Defense.com)
14 Aug 23. Hanwha Defense Australia collaborates with Army on robotics. Hanwha Defense Australia has hosted representatives from the Australian and South Korean industries to pitch to the Australian Army via the Robotic and Autonomous Systems Implementation and Coordination Office (RICO). Hanwha’s joint industry and Army pitch aims to solve the Chief of Army’s Robotic and Autonomous Systems (RAS) Strategy.
The Australian Army’s Robotic and Autonomous Systems (RAS) Strategy V2.0 articulates how Army aspires to leverage emerging technology such as artificial intelligence (AI), autonomy, and robotics to gain operational advantage. This document builds on the first iteration of the strategy in 2018 which led to rapid acceleration in both knowledge and demand for RAS across Army.
The “VenomX” concept provides a platform for many of Australia’s best and brightest in defence industry to showcase their disruptive technologies. VenomX’s Australian partners are 4Zero Technologies, Eclips Logistics, Deakin University, and Visionary Machines.
This solution seeks to support various elements of Army’s Robotic and Autonomous Systems Strategy such as:
• Generating mass and scalable effects through teaming, swarming technologies and optionally crewed platforms.
• Efficiency through improving logistics, maintenance, and medical effects utilising AI, data analytics, autonomy, and leader-follower technologies.
The purpose of the Chief of Army’s RAS Strategy is to ensure Army can generate and maintain a combat advantage. By optimising the use of RAS capabilities, Army will be able to determine the best ways to team with machines and systems.
This presents a range of options to enhance, augment, or replace those capabilities currently in service or under development, critically Army will need to continue managing the productive tension between being simultaneously Ready Now and Future Ready.
RAS will create opportunity to influence concepts, doctrine, and force design. Army’s RAS Strategy V2.0 articulates how Army aspires to leverage emerging technology such as AI, autonomy, and robotics to gain operational advantage. As one of Chief of Army’s priorities, VenomX is excited about the prospect of potential future collaboration with Army. (Source: Defence Connect)
11 Aug 23. Australian Army upgrades Bushmasters with satcom capabilities. The Australian Army has integrated satellite communication (satcom) systems into some of its Thales Australia Bushmaster 4×4 protected mobility vehicles, the Australian Department of Defence (DoD) said on 3 August. An undisclosed number of Bushmasters have been equipped with the satcom systems to enable “stable and reliable communication services, even while commanders are on the move in the battlespace”, the DoD said.
The initiative is part of Australia’s Project Land 2072 Phase 2B, also known as Project Currawong, to enhance battlefield telecommunications. Project Currawong is led by Boeing. Bushmasters integrated with the satcom systems are known as the Protected Mobility Headquarters on the Move (HQOTM) variant. This variant is a mobile version of the Currawong battlespace communications system.
Tom Minge, Boeing’s Currawong programme manager, told Janes on 9 August that “the satellite terminals selected for the Protected Mobility HQOTM were built by L3 Harris and integrated into the platform by Boeing”.
11 Aug 23. Do generals dream of electric tanks? Members of the House Armed Services Committee have expressed concerns over the electrification of Army combat vehicles. Though such concerns have some merit, there is also a larger issue motivating research and development efforts — the growing demand for energy on the battlefield.
Strategists analyzing a potential U.S.-China conflict will often comment on the challenges presented by the vast area of responsibility in the Indo-Pacific region, calling it a “Tyranny of Distance.” But there also exists a “Tyranny of Energy” that cannot be ignored — just ask Rommel. The huge demand for energy on the modern battlefield cost NATO forces thousands of lives in Iraq and Afghanistan and the ongoing Russo-Ukrainian war demonstrates that fossil fuel energy continues to be targeted by conventional and irregular forces alike. A fight with China would similarly strain fuel supplies in the region.
Vehicle propulsion requires energy, whether that energy is carried in liquid fuel, batteries, hydrogen, or any other form. Heavier vehicles and longer ranges increase that energy demand, which must be met by Army logisticians utilizing long, complex supply chains. The new M10 Booker combat vehicle, expected to weigh about 40 tons, is a completely additive system not replacing any previous vehicle. The energy needed by an M10 to travel 150-200km, its approximate cross-country range, is roughly equivalent to 5.5 barrels of additional crude oil that the Army will need to procure, store, and distribute.
The electrical demands from onboard power systems also increased tenfold during the wars in Iraq and Afghanistan — not to mention desirable new capabilities such as directed energy weapons or advanced RADAR systems. Modern command and control, communication, intelligence and many weapon systems also contribute to increasing energy demand. Electricity is lost, however, when it is transmitted over distance, so when demand increases, supply must increase even more so.
Army commanders cannot make informed decisions about resources without reliable information on total capacity, rate of depletion, and the effect(s) of proposed actions to control the consumption rate. Electric utilities began developing demand-side energy management programs with the first energy crises 50 years ago. Some of the tools and techniques are more suited to controlling large scale electrical grids, but implementing the following six would gain the Army a more resilient energy supply chain capable of fighting the Tyranny of Energy by sustaining a modernized Army with advanced abilities and enhanced freedom of maneuver:
• Reduce forward forces and their footprint through product and process efficiencies;
• Maximize use of local resources to shorten supply chains and reduce the energy loss from transmission and distribution;
• Implement conservation, rationing and prioritization schemes for energy;
• Disperse logistics activities into smaller, interconnected nodes with more efficient distribution paths;
• Develop interoperable means of generating, storing, transforming, transporting and distributing energy and power from various sources into a common network; and
• Leverage advanced and disruptive technologies to meet demands at or near where it’s needed.
Once commanders can manage energy as a commodity, hybrid or battery electric vehicles won’t be the end point of a vulnerable supply chain, but rather part of a modular network of combat and support capabilities. Local commanders can recombine these capabilities to best meet their operational needs. In such a design, the inability to fast charge a vehicle from 0-100 percent in less than 15 minutes is moot, as the use case will never require it. EV charging equipment, swappable batteries, and vehicle-to-vehicle cross-leveling can also be integrated for use when and where the situation merits.
To meet these growing energy demands, the Army is seeking to reduce energy use elsewhere. Some of the more obvious goals for electrifying ground platforms are documented in the Army Climate Strategy (ACS) and its initial Implementation Plan (ACS-IP), which are built upon decades of work by government, industry and academia. The Army plans to deploy fully electric non-tactical vehicles (i.e., commercial EVs sourced via the Government Services Administration) by 2027; hybrid tactical vehicles (i.e., not tanks) by 2035; fully electric tactical vehicles (i.e., again, not tanks) by 2050. The ACS-IP calls for fielding anti-idle technology in less than 25 percent of Army light, medium, and heavy tactical vehicles by Fiscal Year 2027 — a technology that was successfully prototyped by the Army as far back as 2017.
So, do generals dream of electric tanks? Prototyping a hybrid-electric Bradley was proposed in 2014 and the Army has even entertained the idea of an electric “cannon-vehicle” as far back as 1995. What has driven these electric or hybrid powertrain R&D efforts is the promise of reduced energy demand and new capabilities. For example, an extended silent watch mode could lengthen mission times while also reducing heat and audio signatures — and thereby increasing the survivability of the warfighter. These reduced signatures, combined with a smaller fuel footprint, will save lives.
Today’s network of acquisition professionals who make up the Army’s EV community of interest are familiar with the technology, its limitations, and the capabilities needed by the future force. Service electrification efforts have been, and will continue to be, focused where they provide new or improved performance for soldiers.
Electric tanks may or may not be part of that future force, but a maneuverable direct fire capability doesn’t have to be a tank or weigh 40 tons. Whether in a near peer fight, an aid mission in an area of destroyed infrastructure, or a deterrence posture, energy-informed leaders backed by a robust supply network will have the flexibility to act as they see fit for longer periods and over longer distances. (Source: Paulo Dominonni via LinkedIn)
10 Aug 23. Israel receives first of two landing ships. The Israeli Navy received the first of two landing ships that are being built for it at Pascagoula in the United States, the Israel Defense Forces (IDF) announced on 9 August.
The IDF said the first ship, INS Nahshon , was handed over to the commander of Haifa naval base on the previous day. It is about 95m long, 20m wide, and weighs about 2,500 tonnes, the IDF said. It added that the ship will sail to Israel in a few months and is expected to be operational in 2024. The IDF said the landing ships will strengthen the Israeli Navy’s ability to support multizone operations by moving equipment and personnel to near and far operational theatres. The landing ship construction project began about four years ago and was financed using US military aid funding to Israel, the IDF added. (Source: Janes)
09 Aug 23. Australian Army trials uncrewed systems at Talisman Sabre. The Australian Defence Force has trialled new ground uncrewed systems (GUS) during Exercise Talisman Sabre in Northern Australia, as international unmanned innovation begins to bear fruit. Australian Army soldiers from the 13th Engineer Regiment were able to use and evaluate the unmanned systems at RAAF Base Curtin near Derby, Western Australia on 26 July.
Exercise Talisman Sabre 2023, the largest Australia-US bilateral multilaterally conducted exercise, continues until 4 August with more than 30,000 military personnel from 13 nations participating in Queensland, Western Australia, the Northern Territory and NSW.
Other nations taking part in Talisman Sabre include Fiji, France, Indonesia, Japan, Republic of Korea, New Zealand, Papua New Guinea, Tonga, the United Kingdom, Canada, and Germany. The Philippines, Singapore, and Thailand are attending as observers.
In the field of unmanned land-based robotics, the Australian Army has previously conducted fire and manoeuvre demonstrations of two autonomous Australian Army M113 AS4 armoured vehicles in front of Department of Defence senior leadership at Majura Training Area in late 2019.
It’s understood in-service R400 EOS remote weapon stations have been integrated onto the M113 armoured personnel carriers to act as optionally crewed combat vehicles, and the Army expects to test fire the weapon system later this year.
Internationally, Rheinmetall’s Mission Master “Silent Partner” fully electric autonomous unmanned ground vehicle has recently undertaken UGV trials involving obstacle avoidance, speed, and manoeuvrability organised by the Estonian Military Academy and the Estonian Defence Forces in Estonia.
Eleven companies took part in the challenges over two days to display their UGVs to representative from more than 20 countries. Challenges included navigation of open fields with high grass, dense woodland, and rough terrains with limited visibility.
Alain Tremblay, Rheinmetall Canada innovation and robotics business development vice-president, said the Mission Master SP can be fitted with different modules for logistic transport, fire support or medical evacuation.
“These trials have shown just how far autonomous technology has come in recent years,” he said.
“We were proud to put our system to the test alongside some of the world’s most skilled developers. We are really pleased with our performance and look forward to seeing how our technology will evolve over the coming years.”
In the United States of America, contracts have been announced late last month on 31 July for the design and prototyping of a US Army optionally manned fighting vehicle, the XM30 Mechanized Infantry Combat Vehicle.
American Rheinmetall Vehicles, L3Harris Technologies, Team Lynx partners Textron Systems, Raytheon, Allison Transmission, and Anduril Industries will produce the vehicle design then build and test prototypes before a final contract is expected in 2027.
The XM30 is expected to replace the M2 Bradley Fighting Vehicle as the US Army’s first ground combat vehicle designed using modern, digital engineering tools and techniques.
“We welcome the opportunity to continue working with our partners to produce the most advanced and most secure vehicles for our warfighters,” said Ed Zoiss, L3Harris space and airborne systems president.
“We are developing innovative technologies that will pave the way for future battlefield dominance.
“This includes a vehicle with superior protection, unsurpassed firepower, and unbeatable mobility that features L3Harris third-generation sights to identify threats better and earlier.” (Source: Defence Connect)
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