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25 Mar 22. Rheinmetall BAE Systems Land (RBSL) marks start of Challenger 3 supply chain production following steel cutting ceremony with Pearson Engineering. RBSL has awarded a circa £25m supplier contract to Pearson Engineering to fabricate the turret structures for the British Army’s Challenger 3 Main Battle Tank. The two companies marked the announcement with a steel cutting ceremony at Pearson Engineering’s facility, Armstrong Works, in Newcastle. The ceremony was attended by Minister for Defence Procurement, Jeremy Quin MP and British Army Director Programmes, Major General Simon Hamilton, plus colleagues from DE&S, Army HQ, RBSL and Pearson Engineering. The group received an update on the Challenger 3 programme and addressed members of the Pearson Engineering workforce at the historic Newcastle site, before cutting the first piece of steel for the Challenger 3 turret structures using a water-jet cutter. The steel structures will house the turret subsystems which will ensure Challenger 3 is a network-enabled, digital Main Battle Tank with state-of-the-art lethality, upgraded survivability, plus world-class surveillance and target acquisition capabilities. The Challenger 3 subcontract, alongside other current land programmes, is a valuable investment in the north east of England and will sustain 285 skilled roles at Armstrong Works as well as prompt a £4 million investment in its machining capability. The contract will help the company recruit several new technical roles across project management, engineering and design, as well as 20 apprentices under an expanded STEM outreach programme.
Brig Nick Cowey, Challenger 3 Senior Responsible Owner, said: “I’m really excited at this key milestone in the Challenger 3 programme being achieved on schedule. The turret fabrication being conducted here by Pearson Engineering is crucial for the delivery of a fully digitised turret, ensuring that our modernised Main Battle Tank is the most lethal in Europe.”
Dr Marco Noeding, Managing Director for RBSL, said: “Today’s announcement marks the latest in a series of UK supplier contracts awarded by RBSL for Challenger 3, ensuring the programme benefits from the best of British engineering and manufacturing whilst also sustaining valuable skills across the country. The steel cutting ceremony in particular has been an excellent opportunity to commemorate a special milestone alongside our customer and new partner. Welcome to the team, Pearson Engineering.”
Craig Priday, Managing Director for Pearson Engineering, said: “This important contract for Pearson Engineering, delivered together with our sister company Responsive Engineering, demonstrates our success in bringing armoured vehicle manufacturing back to the North East. Alongside our strong export business, this multi-year project utilises the world class capabilities of our team at Armstrong Works, and allows us to further invest in skills, jobs and the local economy. It has been a real pleasure to welcome key stakeholders here today for the steel cutting ceremony and we look forward to working with RBSL as the programme progresses.”
23 Mar 22. BAE Submits Bid for Production of US Army CATV Program. BAE Systems is offering the Beowulf all-terrain vehicle for the U.S. Army’s Cold Weather All-Terrain Vehicle (CATV) program. The bid comes after Beowulf successfully completed the prototype evaluation phase of the program aimed at replacing the Army’s legacy fleet of vehicles for operating in tough arctic environments and other harsh terrain. Beowulf performed in multiple tasks while remaining fully mission capable during the prototype evaluation phase in Alaska that began in June and ended earlier this year. The testing included amphibious operations, navigating terrain with varying levels of complexity, starting and operating in extreme cold weather, and most critically, user assessment by soldiers. Ambient temperatures during the testing approached -50°F, and Beowulf performed in a region of Alaska that experienced one of the most severe winter storms on record.
“Beowulf was on point during the evaluation by demonstrating 100 percent availability, that it’s built for this mission and is an ideal solution for the CATV program,” said Mark Signorelli, vice president of business development at BAE Systems Platforms & Services. “Beowulf’s design and capabilities are based on our decades of experience with all-terrain vehicles, and over millions of miles logged through our legacy vehicles currently engaged in operations in very challenging environments like the Arctic.”
Beowulf is an unarmored, tracked, and highly versatile vehicle for carrying personnel and payloads in either of its two compartments. Beowulf can traverse snow, ice, rock, sand, mud, and swamp conditions, and can operate in steep mountain environments. Its amphibious feature also allows it to swim in flooded areas or coastal waters.
Beowulf’s articulated mobility system is key to its effectiveness, providing optimal maneuverability across varying surfaces. Its modular design can be reconfigured for multiple missions, such as logistical support, disaster and humanitarian relief, search and rescue, and other missions as required.
The large windows and generously spacious cabin make Beowulf suitable to the tasks for the CATV program, including search and rescue, defense support to civilian authorities, and homeland defense. Its modern, commercial design enhances soldiers’ operational effectiveness to arrive at their objective without degrading their ability to conduct missions.
The Beowulf is built by BAE Systems Hägglunds in northern Sweden, adding firsthand experience in operating in an arctic environment. The platform includes several key components from U.S. suppliers, such as its engine, transmission, and hydraulic system. The CATV program will replace the legacy fleet of Small Unit Support Vehicles (SUSVs), also built by BAE Systems Hägglunds, and known internationally as the BV206. The BV206 has been in service globally, including with the U.S. Armed Forces, since the early 1980s. (Source: ASD Network)
24 Mar 22. RAAF KC-30A conducts first air-to-air refuelling with US P-8A aircraft. The air-to-air refuelling provides improved interoperability between the RAAF and US naval forces. The Royal Australian Air Force’s (RAAF) KC-30A multi-role tanker transport (MRTT) has conducted air-to-air refuelling (AAR) with the US Navy’s P-8A patrol aircraft. This marks the first-ever AAR between the two aircraft in an operational setting. The maritime patrol and reconnaissance aircraft belonged to US Patrol Squadron 47 (VP-47) and the KC-30A was from RAAF No. 33 Squadron. The AAR was conducted during an evolution for the Royal Australian Navy Fleet Certification Period. The refuelling event was conducted to enhance interoperability between the RAAF and the US Navy.
RAAF No. 86 Wing commanding officer group captain Taylor said: “AAR provides a means of overcoming challenges to joint forces operating in the Indo-Pacific region, particularly by allowing aircraft to operate at much longer ranges.
“Refuelling a surveillance aircraft like the P-8A also provides it with persistence in the joint space and adds flexibility to how it might support the fleet.”
Aerial refuelling provides a longer endurance time to aircraft during missions, eliminating the need for them to land to obtain fuel.
In this AAR exercise, the KC-30A and P-8A flew in close formation at a speed of 500mph. (Source: airforce-technology.com)
24 Mar 22. Alcon enters series production with Patria 6×6 braking solution. Alcon Components Ltd, the highly acclaimed UK-based brake and clutch company, has entered series production with the high-performance bespoke braking solution being provided to the Patria 6×6 all-terrain armoured wheeled vehicle. Patria is a global market leader in the production of armoured wheeled vehicles and their 6×6 platform had been selected to be part of a joint programme to develop sustained mobility enhancements for the Finnish and Latvian Armies. There are also a number of other global programmes considering the Patria 6×6. Following an initial development programme, in 2018 Alcon was announced as the principal supplier of braking components for all Patria’s heavy armoured vehicle range including the Patria 6×6. Since then, Alcon has continued to work closely with Patria to determine the demanding requirements aligned to vehicle specification, usage profiles and operating environment; developing a bespoke braking system that matched the needs of these high-performance protected mobility defence vehicles. With the exceptional performance of Patria’s wheeled vehicle range creating conditions close to that of a rally car, in terms of disc and pad temperature cycling, Alcon have been able to draw on their pedigree of providing braking solutions for the top echelons of motorsport to develop exclusive caliper and disc mounting concepts for Patria; a fusion of those seen on heavy commercial vehicles and high-performance motorsport.
24 Mar 22. AACC signs technical partnership with Derco to grow and enhance C-130 Hercules aircraft MRO capabilities . Aircraft Accessories and Components Company (AACC), a subsidiary of SAMI, today announced the signing of a Preferred Supplier Agreement with Derco, a wholly owned subsidiary of Lockheed Martin, at the World Defense Show in Riyadh. The agreement will enable AACC to enhance further its existing capabilities in serving the C-130 Hercules fleets of the Royal Saudi Air Force (RSAF).
AACC’s partnership with Derco will create a high velocity C-130 supply chain solution for component repair and maintenance, which includes capability development to transition mutually agreed-upon spares and repair capabilities to AACC.
The partnership aims to further AACC’s vision to emerge as a leading SAMI center for mechanical component MRO and a military and commercial aviation service provider. Furthermore, the agreement will serve to not only optimize AACC’s manpower and resources and increase its productivity but will also allow Saudi technicians to gain valuable experience across a range of emerging military technologies.
Furthermore, the agreement will allow SAMI to advance its long-term strategic objectives by helping the Kingdom build a sustainable, self-sufficient military industries sector through facilitating the transfer of technology (ToT), transfer of knowledge (ToK), and transfer of production (ToP) in collaboration with industry leaders.
This partnership also represents another major milestone for SAMI and Lockheed Martin, who only a year ago inked a strategic joint venture agreement to facilitate cooperation between the two companies in enhancing Saudi Arabia’s domestic defense and security capabilities and supporting the industrialization and economic development objectives of Saudi Vision 2030.
23 Mar 22. BAE Systems to develop ACV-R variant for USMC. The variant will provide recovery, maintenance, and repair capabilities to the existing USMC’s ACV family of vehicles. The US Marine Corps (USMC) has awarded a contract to BAE Systems for the initial phase of the Amphibious Combat Vehicle (ACV) programme. The $34.9m contract has a performance period of 20 months and will see the company focus on the design and development of the ACV Recovery (ACV-R) variant.
The ACV-R variant will replace the USMC’s Assault Amphibious Vehicle Recovery (AAVR7A1) variant.
It will provide maintenance, direct field support and recovery to the existing USMC’s ACV family of vehicles.
An adaptable amphibious platform, ACV is designed to fulfil the challenging mission objectives of deploying marine forces from ship to shore.
Once the initial phase is completed, BAE systems will commence the second phase of the ACV programme that includes the delivery of production test vehicles for the user evaluation.
BAE Systems amphibious programme vice-president John Swift said: “The recovery variant will provide crucial recovery capability in the amphibious fleet.
“It also expands the ACV family of vehicles and demonstrates the base vehicle’s proven design, allowing it to be seamlessly integrated into the fleet without compromising performance.”
BAE Systems is under contract to deliver two other variants of the ACV vehicles including, ACV personnel variant (ACV-P) and ACV command variant (ACV-C) for the USMC.
Besides, the company has also received a $67m design and development contract for a 30mm medium calibre cannon variant (ACV-30).
The USMC has also provided task instructions to BAE Systems to study and incorporate command and control, advanced reconnaissance, communication and unmanned or computer aerial systems into an ACV variant.
Production work related to the ACV programme is underway at BAE Systems’ different US locations that include San Jose in California, Aiken in South Carolina, York in Pennsylvania, Stafford in Virginia and Sterling Heights in Michigan.
A rendering of BAE Systems Amphibious Combat Vehicle Recovery (ACV-R) variant. Credit: BAE Systems. (Source: naval-technology.com)
22 Mar 22. Patria vehicle scores highest in Slovak armored-vehicle acquisition race. Slovak Defense Minister Jaroslav Naď has announced Patria’s AMVXP armored vehicle obtained the highest score in the tender to modernize the country’s outdated fleet dominated by Soviet-designed machines.
“The Finnish government’s offer of Patria AMVXP was evaluated by the project’s expert team as the best of the five submitted offers (The Czech Republic, Finland, Romania, Spain, and the US),” Naď wrote in a Facebook post.
Naď said that the program’s feasibility study had been submitted to the Value for Money Department of the Slovak Ministry of Finance. The unit evaluates the government’s planned purchases with regards to their economic efficiency.
“We will reveal more information soon,” the minister said.
Under the program, Slovakia is to acquire at least 76 armored vehicles. Bratislava plans to spend about €332.2m (US$366.3m) on new eight-wheel-drive vehicles, according to the feasibility study.
The minister did not disclose the entities that submitted their offers. However, local media report the pitched vehicles included the Pandur II, Piranha V, and Dragón vehicles offered by General Dynamics European Land Systems and its partners from the Czech Republic, Romania, and Slovakia, respectively, and the Stryker, put forward by General Dynamics Land Systems.
Meanwhile, the Slovak ministry is also planning to purchase some 156 tracked infantry fighting vehicles (IFVs) for the country’s military under a deal estimated to be worth €1.739bn, with a recommendation on the selected vehicle expected by the end of June. (Source: Defense News Early Bird/Defense News)
22 Mar 22. Digital Twin Hololab goes live at USAF’s Tyndall AFB. The technology will enable facilities operators to view the real-time condition of AFB assets virtually. The US Air Force (USAF) has announced that the Digital Twin Hololab has gone live at Tyndall Air Force Base (AFB) in Florida.
The Hololab displays the AFB in a digital model and will facilitate integrating new planning concepts and technologies.
It will also help the airmen to explore the digital transformation of the base and allow facilities operators to view the real-time condition of AFB assets virtually.
Commenting on the digital twin, Air Force Civil Engineer Center Natural Disaster Recovery Division branch chief Lowell Usrey said: “[It is a] near life-like, virtual representation of the physical world.
“This is the place where Airmen can interact with the model using virtual reality goggles or just a good old-fashioned computer screen.
“It’s more than a display. It is an open canvas that puts the virtual world into the hands of potential users to improve mission effectiveness and collect feedback to help improve the system.”
The model made its debut as part of the larger $4.9bn rebuild schedule.
The Department of the Air Force is implementing several new technologies at the base as part of the Installation of the Future initiative. (Source: airforce-technology.com)
22 Mar 22. Five nations have now ordered Mbombe 4s from Paramount. Since its launch in 2019, Paramount’s Mbombe 4 infantry combat vehicle (ICV) has accumulated orders from the armed forces of five countries, amounting to more than 150 vehicles. Paramount Group said that the Mbombe 4 is presently in production in Africa and Asia, with more than 150 vehicles either being manufactured or on order for global delivery or deployment. First unveiled at the International Defence Exhibition & Conference (IDEX) 2019 in Abu Dhabi, the Mbombe 4 was initially acquired by the United Arab Emirates (UAE), which bought an initial four. In early 2021 it was revealed that the vehicle would be built in India as the Kalyani M4 by Bharat Forge Limited, part of the Kalyani Group. A ‘large number’ are being manufactured for India’s Ministry of Defence. Paramount has revealed the Mbombe 4 S desert variant, which was developed in response to customer feedback and trials in India, Saudi Arabia and the United Arab Emirates. Modifications include changes to the air conditioning system, fuel system, and front bumper with the addition of a winch, as well as changes to the rear door to allow for a spare tire to be carried, and interior changes to include additional storage space and improved access. A rear door ramp or side doors can also be fitted based on user preferences.
“The Mbombe 4 and its evolutionary capabilities reflect world-beating innovation, affordability and importantly, homegrown production opportunity, which has enabled our manufacturing expertise to be replicated on a global scale,” stated Paramount Group CEO Steve Griessel.
“Having implemented our local production model in several locations around the world, we are in a unique position to offer industry partners and governments the capability to set up local manufacturing facilities, transfer skills and technologies, and start production of vehicles in less than a year. The Mbombe 4, like all our other technology platforms, has been designed from the outset for production within customer countries. This is a key requirement from governments looking to strengthen their indigenous defence industrial capabilities,” he stated.
“Paramount Group believes in global partnerships. The Mbombe 4 has offered our partners and customers in-country, production of best-in-class technologies with the prospect of localised high-skills training and job creation, fundamental to enhancing any nation’s modern defence capabilities, now and in future,” Griessel concluded.
Key features of Mbombe 4 include flat-floor mine protection technologies and a distinct, rear-door ramp design. The vehicle has a burst speed of 140 km/h and a range of 800 km. Paramount said positioning the powerpack at the front of the vehicle and along its centre line results in greater efficiency in the transfer of power from the powerpack to the wheels. The in-line configuration has additional benefits, such as ease of maintenance and low noise in the crew compartments.
The platform offers crew compartment NATO STANAG 4569 Level 3 ballistic protection and blast protection to STANAG 4569 Level 4A and 4B and protection against a 50kg TNT side blast or IED/roadside bomb.
The 16 tonnes Mbombe 4 provides a payload of nearly three tonnes, encapsulating weapon systems, ammunition, crew (of seven) and supplies. The vehicle has been designed to accommodate a wide range of payloads and turrets, including a 30 mm cannon. The onboard mission computer and interface system is able to integrate with both Western and Eastern-made weapon systems. The vehicle is further fitted with the latest generation navigational, crew comfort and security systems, with examples including a driver-assist camera system, winterisation kit, vehicle location and tracking systems, a NATO standard tow-hitch, radios and intercoms systems and a Central Tyre Inflation System (CTIS).
The Mbombe 4 draws on the heritage of the eight-wheeled Mbombe 8, launched in 2016, and the six-wheeled Mbombe 6, which is in service. Commonality of components (roughly 70%) across the entire Mbombe family of armoured vehicles lessens the costs associated with support, repairs and training, Paramount maintains. (Source: https://www.defenceweb.co.za/)
21 Mar 22. New Mbombe 4 variant unveiled as platform gains traction. Paramount Group has developed a new version of its Mbombe 4 mine-resistant, ambush protected (MRAP) vehicle, Janes can reveal. A special desert variant of the vehicle, dubbed the “Mbombe 4 S” variant, is “equipped with the latest mission-critical technologies for optimal desert performance,” the company told Janes. The modifications are based on customer feedback and trials in India, Saudi Arabia, and the United Arab Emirates (UAE). Enhancements and optimisation made to the platform include changes to the air conditioning system, fuel system, and front bumper with the addition of a winch, as well as changes to the rear door to allow for a spare tire to be carried, and interior changes to include additional storage space and improved access. A rear door ramp or side doors can also be fitted based on user preferences. Overall Paramount Group claims to have more than 150 Mbombe 4 vehicles in production or on order. (Source: Janes)
TEK Military Seating Limited
TEK Military Seating Limited is a UK based designer and manufacturer of ProTEK military vehicle seating which offer the highest standards of safety and protection. The ProTEK brand is well respected across the globe for its robust construction, innovative design, built in modularity and cost effectiveness. Our superior products are supported by our experienced team who endeavor to offer unrivalled service to our customers from enquiry, through design and acceptance, to through life support.
From its inception ProTEK seats have been designed around a family of innovative seat frames onto which tested and certified modules can be fitted to create a bespoke solution for the user. These include Blast protection to Stanag 4569 standards, vibration reduction, head and body protection, seat risers and turntables, fore & aft adjustment, and seat back rake along with viable seat dimensions without the need for additional tooling costs.
Contact: David Parkman