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20 Jan 22. Rafael to display Complete Combat Suite for Armored Vehicles with HYPERCORE AI-Based Management System. From January 24-27, 2022, Rafael Advanced Defense Systems will participate in IAV 2022 in London. Throughout the week, Rafael will showcase its full suite of capabilities for armored combat vehicles that enhances combat effectiveness and survivability, while reducing crew size and their cognitive burden.
Rafael’s Advanced Vehicle Integrated Combat Systems (A-VICS) is a modular system that can be customized and adapted to any platform and can be connected to any platform’s sensors, cameras and other systems. The complete system provides operators a full video management system, 360-degree situational awareness and automatic target recognition (ATR). It allows crew members to perform any type of operational task from inside a closed-hatch cabin. Its open, modular architecture provides optimal protection and precision by integrating some of Rafael’s most highly regarded operational systems, including:
TROPHY Active Protection System (TROPHY APS) – the world’s only operational, combat-proven active protection system – detects, classifies, and engages incoming threats and delivers unmatched survivability and maneuverability for all vehicle classes. TROPHY can be integrated onto any armored vehicle, and is central to A-VICS advanced protective capabilities.
The SPIKE Missile Family of 5th generation, multi-purpose, multi-platform EO-guided missile systems provides pinpoint precision up to 32 km and fire-and-update capabilities. SPIKE’s exceptionally high precision extends Beyond Line of Sight to greatly enhance the vehicle’s survivability while also minimizing the risk of collateral damage. SPIKE family variants have been purchased by 39 nations, including 19 NATO nations, and have been integrated onto 45 different vehicles, helicopters, and naval platforms.
The SAMSON Family of high-performance remote-control weapon stations (RWS) for combat vehicles delivers high performance and maximized survivability. With 40-years of operational experience, Rafael’s RWS have been adapted worldwide to a broad range of tracked and wheeled armored vehicles, and accommodate diverse weapons and sensors.
The HYPERCORE AI-Based Management System for Combat Vehicles integrates the best-of-breed technologies and capabilities that make up the A-VICS. It ensures faster, smarter decision-making, greater success across complex missions, and reduces the necessary number of troops and their cognitive burden in the battlefield. It enables manned-unmanned teaming (MUM-T) in both conventional and asymmetric scenarios. HYPERCORE’s combat AI acts as a 3rd crew member for more autonomous mission management. It provides 360-degree situational awareness by managing the vehicle’s array of sensors and fusing each of the video feeds into a single, live, augmented battlefield picture with a common visual language, and utilizes automatic target recognition (ATR) to detect, recognize, and track multiple types of targets.
FIRE WEAVER is a networked sensor-to-shooter combat system with sophisticated autonomous capabilities connecting the formation of armored vehicles and their operational capabilities in real time over any tactical radio. It utilizes AI and data fusion to instantly selects the most relevant shooter for a given target, and, as a result, can handle multiple, simultaneous targets more efficiently and swiftly.
20 Jan 22. RoK Army receives new Hyundai Rotem UGVs. The Republic of Korea Army (RoKA) has received two new 6×6 multirole Unmanned Ground Vehicles (UGVs) developed by Hyundai Rotem, the company announced on 10 January. Hyundai Rotem said the two Multi-Purpose UGVs (MPUGVs) were delivered to the service following six months of evaluation by the Defense Acquisition Program Administration (DAPA) and the RoKA, with extensive testing of its autonomous and remote-driving capabilities performed in various environments and terrain as well as operations along the Demilitarised Zone (DMZ). DAPA selected Hyundai Rotem in November 2020 to develop the MPUGVs under a US$3.6m contract, which included associated training and support. Two prototype UGVs were handed over to the agency in July 2021.
While technical specifications of the MPUGV were not disclosed, the company said in a statement that the new vehicle is derived from its HR-Sherpa platform and offers more performance to undertake a wider variety of roles, including in close combat support, reconnaissance and surveillance, as well as ammunition and expendables resupply and casualty evacuation missions.
The baseline HR-Sherpa is powered by on-board batteries measures 2.7m in length, 1.7m in width, and 0.9m in height, weighing around 1,600kg unloaded. It can carry up to 400kg in mission equipment or stores. The HR-Sherpa also offers a claimed endurance of up to six hours when cruising at 5km/h, although it can attain maximum road and cross-country speeds of up to 40km/h and 10km/h, respectively.
In contrast, the MPUGV is equipped with a small remote weapon station that can be armed with a light or heavy machine gun. A gunfire locating system is mounted on the vehicle that detects and triangulates gunshots and automatically slew the RWS towards potential threats.
The vehicle can turn on its axis and features an integrated heat management system that enables it to perform long-range travel in austere conditions. Each of its six wheels are equipped with in-hub electric motors that provide independent propulsion, while airless tyres enhance its survivability against battle and terrain damage.
Hyundai Rotem also noted that the MPUGVs feature day-and-night cameras that provide real-time images to the operator and support various modes of operation, including leader-follower, tele-operation, and waypoint-based semi-autonomous navigation.
20 Jan 22. Defending Australian investment in armoured vehicle capability. Senator for NSW and retired Major General Jim Molan responds to criticism of the Commonwealth government’s multibillion-dollar acquisition of armoured vehicles.
Let me write about one criticism of the tank purchase decision. As some readers may know, I have publicly defended tanks in our army for years, often against well-meaning but narrow minded and ignorant uniformed critics of all services, as well as civilians, and I am roundly criticised for doing so normally by those with little or no land combat experience.
As I have learned in politics, advocating a point of view until you are sick to death of it normally corresponds with your audience just starting to listen. Well, it is great that the Australian government has listened.
ANU honorary professor and independent consultant on strategy, technology and policy Lesley Seebeck is just plain wrong in her very academic criticism of the government’s decision to purchase $4.8bn worth of armoured vehicles (tanks $3.5bn and self-propelled artillery $1.3bn).
In fact, if you add up the cost of 30 self-propelled artillery vehicles, 15 artillery resupply vehicles, roughly 120 tanks and tank-like support vehicles, 211 reconnaissance vehicles and 450 infantry fighting vehicles, the total amount of money spent or planned to be spent on armoured vehicles is something in the order of $38bin!
Let’s not hide it, or be ashamed of it. Let’s yell it from the roof tops.
But does honorary professor Seebeck only disapprove of tanks and artillery to the tune of about $4.8bn? Does she approve of an army which can find the enemy and get infantry close to the fight but only against an enemy which is pretty light weight?
Tanks enable us to actually win land battles. At the moment this is a very un-Australian concept but one which in the future might be very, very important. We don’t have the greatest record of winning over recent decades (over half a century!) but in the future, winning might be everything.
You see, what Lesley has written about here is a reflection of a view of strategy, technology and policy which is stuck severely in the last 75 years. She may not have noticed that we don’t have the next 75 years to muck around with a Gucci military designed to send small token forces to be part of a US force with the aim of showing the flag, rather than winning.
Lesley is stuck in the mindset that has existed for far too long in Australia that if one capability is needed, another has to be given up.
To get tanks to enable the army to actually fight and win, you must give up something else. Nowadays, our military might just have to fight in order to win. Not just deploy to show the flag.
We are updating our armoured vehicle force just as the UK, France, Germany, Italy and Spain are doing, and of course, Russia and China. If it costs a bit of money to do so, to enable the ADF to start the process of winning, then tough. Australia must pay and this government is doing so.
Lesley is all about using any funds to invest in long-term efforts to bolster defence capability. Fantastic, as long as you don’t actually have to fight a war in the meantime. Do both – long-term research and short-term capability to actually fight the war, then set your priority.
Lesley’s views are dangerous ‘last-75-years’ thinking. That kind of thinking gave us the silliness of a “no threat for 10 years” strategic policy that built the complacency of a military (army, navy and air force) which as a result still lacks lethality (it cannot fight nasty enough), sustainability (it cannot fight for long enough) and lacks mass (it is not big enough), as well as a nation that lacks resilience and self-reliance.
If Lesley thinks that the biggest thing that is wrong with national security in this nation is the purchase of tanks, then we are all in trouble.
Lesley and I were both in Defence during the “no threat for 10 years” period. I hope she fought against that idiocy as hard as I did. During that 10-year rule period there was no consideration of how long preparation for a threat might take.
We are only just starting to get over that handicap. Strangely, we still have a 10-to-20-year submarine project, a 20-year missile project, a 10-year infrastructure project, and no project to make the ADF bigger.
But at least the Coalition government has started, and the defence minister is working his way through the legacy deficiencies that past strategy, technology and policy advice from civilian and uniformed bureaucrats created.
Lesley acknowledges “an assertive, authoritarian China and new technologies (which) are challenging geopolitical balances, force structures and doctrine” and adds that “fast change is needed” yet apparently, she wants long-term investment. What is fast about that? That view is great if you are an academic or a cloistered strategist in Russell Offices but not much good if you face air, sea or land combat.
From very wide reading, the average prediction by world commentators who think that war is possible between the US and China is three to five years, but most acknowledge there is a chance it could be earlier. We need to be ready to fight in three to five years at the longest.
The only thing I agree with Lesley on is “the need for a coherent strategy for Australia’s new geopolitical circumstances”.
If that occurred, Lesley might see a need for both short-term combat capability and long-term investment, one without the other is useless, but my priority would be in current combat capability.
For army, this is armoured vehicles. She might also see that winning in the land, air and sea spaces (as well as space itself) is no longer an academic exercise as it has been for 75 years but goes to the very continued existence of this nation as a liberal democracy.
We cannot afford to prepare for the wrong war, a subject I will very soon publish a book on, and in which I don’t even mention tanks. (Source: Defence Connect)
18 Jan 22. Hanwha Defense outlines K21-105 offer for the Indian Army. South Korea’s Hanwha Defense is preparing to offer the Indian Army a range of weapons and missions systems and local industrial involvement to support its bid to supply the service with its K21-105 light tank.
The company is offering the platform in response to an Indian Army request for information (RFI) issued in April 2021 to procure approximately 350 light tanks. A Hanwha Defense spokesperson told Janes on 13 January that active and passive kill capabilities will be fitted onto the K21-105 in line with customer needs. The spokesperson said that the light tank programme is weight-sensitive and that the Indian Army will be expected to evaluate the required countermeasures.
Hanwha Defense offers the K21-105 with smoke grenade launchers; a laser warning system; a nuclear, biological, chemical (NBC)-filtered overpressurisation system; and an instant fire detection and suppression system (IFDSS), among other systems.
“If any other measures are added by the customer in the request for proposal (RFP), we are willing to offer [the systems],” the spokesperson said. (Source: Janes)
18 Jan 22. The Iveco – Oto Melara Consortium signs the contract for the Italian Army’s new VBM Plus. The Iveco – Oto Melara Consortium (CIO) announces the signing of a contract to supply 14 Mortar Carrier VBMs, 26 Command Post VBMs (13 in Tactical Unit and 13 in Command Unit version), along with six “10×10” rescue and recovery vehicles.
Signed on 30 December 2021, at the Secretary of Defence (Segredifesa) Land Armaments Directorate, the contract comes as part of the ongoing supply (“Phase 2”) of Medium Armoured Vehicles to the Italian Army’s Second Medium Brigade, and includes an upgrade to “PLUS” version for the VBM platform, as well as long-term integrated logistics support for all platforms purchased.
The VBM Combat “PLUS” version will see changes to both the vehicle and the turret. Changes to the vehicle include upgrading to common rail technology for the engine, taking it from 550 HP to 660 HP ready for a future hybrid-electric traction system, and upgrades to the driveline, increasing growth potential by up to 15% compared to current levels.
As regards the turret, Leonardo is upgrading the fire control system, introducing latest generation electronic components capable of interfacing the new “Janus D” and “Lothar D” digital optic detection and aiming systems. The contract also includes the supply of a new digital intercom system and a fully upgraded CIS system with four-channel SDR VQ1 radio, as well as the new C2D / N Evo Command and Control system, both developed by Leonardo.
The new VBM PLUS distinguishes itself by increased mobility, lethality and integrated C4I, allowing the Italian Army to face the challenges of the coming years with a truly state-of-the-art vehicle, integrated into the net-centric architecture of the digital battlefield. The vehicle will also be equipped with Galileo PRS technology developed in Italy as part of the European Union secure satellite navigation system. In specific terms this means the VBM will be equipped with a newly developed satellite receiver, the first of its kind capable of receiving secure satellite navigation services from both the US GPS and European Galileo PRS systems.
In conclusion, the Iveco Defence Vehicles Recovery and Rescue platforms feature all-wheel drive over 5 axles, with three steering axles, FPT Industrial’s 680 HP Cursor 16 engine and a new-design cabin offering the highest crew protection standards. These vehicles can lift and move loads of up to 25 t from a stable platform and recover vehicles broken down, damaged or overturned with overall weight up to 32 t.
The story of CIO Iveco – Oto Melara
The Iveco – Oto Melara Consortium, CIO for short, was established in 1985 on an equal participation basis between Iveco Defence Vehicles and former Oto Melara, now Leonardo. Within the Consortium, Iveco Defence Vehicles, an Iveco Group company, provides for the engines, transmission and all the automotive components, as well as the hull and final assembly, while Leonardo handles the weapon systems, sight, command and control communication systems, as well as the hull and final assembly of tracked armoured vehicles. Both companies have consolidated experience in the field of protection against direct fire, mines and IEDs. (Source: https://www.epicos.com/)
14 Jan 22. RACER Revs Up for Checkered Flag Goal of High-Speed, Off-Road Autonomy. DARPA’s Robotic Autonomy in Complex Environments with Resiliency (RACER) program is picking up speed after three teams were selected to go to the starting line last October. The program is focused on advancing off-road autonomy of combat vehicles and seeks to demonstrate the ability of these platforms to travel at speeds that maintain pace with manned combat vehicles in complex terrain typical of that seen in real situations. Awards for Phase 1 were given to Carnegie Mellon University, NASA-Jet Propulsion Laboratory, and University of Washington.
The DARPA RACER program’s goal is to develop and demonstrate autonomy technologies that enable unmanned ground vehicles (UGVs) to maneuver in unstructured off-road terrain at the limit of the vehicle’s mechanical systems and at, or beyond, human-driven speeds and efficiencies. “RACER is intended to disruptively advance the integration and fielding of autonomy for robotic combat vehicles into the Army, Marine Corps, and Special Forces communities,” said Stuart Young, RACER program manager in DARPA’s Tactical Technology Office.
In November, the selected teams received the first of the DARPA-provided RACER Fleet Vehicles (RFVs) – a high performance all-terrain vehicle outfitted with world-class sensing and computational abilities – that they are using to develop platform-based autonomy for testing at upcoming DARPA-hosted field experiments.
RFV robots include 360o range and image sensing such as multiple LIDARs, stereo camera pairs, color and infrared imaging cameras, RADAR, event sensors, and inertial measurement sensing. Computation tools have multiple best-of-class graphical processing units (GPUs) in an environmentally protected, shock/vibration proof, and thermally managed Electronics Box (E-Box) that’s specifically engineered for the demands of the RACER high speed, off-road terrain expected in DARPA’s tests.
The sensor and E-box combination currently collects four terabytes of sensor data per hour to support artificial intelligence, machine learning-based autonomy algorithms and stack approaches required of fast-paced combat maneuvers in complex terrain. Modifications for roll protection, sensor/E-box integration, autonomous control, and increased 7kW of power are included in each RFV. The RFVs were integrated by Carnegie Robotics LLC (CRL) and are housed on a Polaris RZR S4 1000 Turbo base drive-by-wire platform.
Four RFVs have been completed, with three already delivered to RACER Phase 1 performers in November 2021. Four more are expected to be built prior to DARPA’s first RACER-hosted field experiment, scheduled for March of 2022 at the National Training Center in Ft. Irwin, California.
DARPA-hosted field experiments will provide the teams with a place to demonstrate the full capability of their autonomy stacks in complex environments. At Ft. Irwin, teams will demonstrate their ability to navigate courses with a variety of terrain and distances up to five kilometers.
To further support software development, DARPA has also collected over 100 terabytes of RFV-based sensor data from more than 500 kilometers of terrain in the Mid-Atlantic and West Coast. Shared with teams and managed within a RACER development tool for efficiency and security, this data will assist with learning approaches. Conceptual government baseline stacks and autonomy architectures will also be provided. They leverage recent products of Combat Capabilities Development Command-Army Research Laboratory initiatives in collaborative robotics, learning, and intelligent systems activities in partnership with basic research university and industry consortia.
The RACER program also has awarded two contracts to develop simulation environments and capabilities to enable development of off-road autonomy algorithms. “The RACER-SIM portion of the program looks to expand current simulation capabilities and physics-based models to support the testing of off-road autonomy in virtual environments,” said Young. “These simulation environments will allow teams to test and validate portions of their autonomy stacks without having to spend large amounts of time and money with field testing.”
The two primes for the RACER-SIM program are Duality Robotics and Intel-Federal.
Future RACER program activities include continuation into a RACER Phase 2 effort with a more representative 10T combat vehicle surrogate. The plan is to evolve in speed, scale, and mobility beyond the RFVs, as well as add a research track exploring tactics-based derivation of the new platforms. (Source: ASD Network)
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