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25 Apr 22. INEOS Automotive has today announced that the first INEOS Grenadier retailers in the UK will open in June with 24 locations confirmed so far. INEOS Automotive has nominated the partners that will operate the first 24 retail sites in the UK. These are among the first 160 locations to be confirmed in markets around the world.
By the end of 2022 INEOS plans to have a network of 200 sales and service sites for the Grenadier spanning over 50 countries, including established dealer groups, 4×4 specialists and agricultural equipment dealers.
The 24 retail locations confirmed so far in the UK are:-
- Bowker, Ribble Valley
- Busseys, Attleborough
- Cambria, Birmingham
- Cambria, Edinburgh
- Car Barn, Beamish
- Chandlers, Belton
- Chandlers, Horncastle
- Compass, Bridgwater
- Day’s, Neath
- Denton, Skipton
- Endeavour, Gerrards Cross
- Halliwell Jones, Chester
- Harwoods, Portsmouth
- Heritage, Dorchester
- Heritage, Gloucester
- Hollybrook, Belfast
- Jardine, Colchester
- Jardine, Sevenoaks
- JT Hughes, Telford
- Lloyd, Carlisle
- Ocean, Plymouth
- Sandicliffe, Nottingham
- Northampton, retailer confirmed
- West London, retailer confirmed
INEOS is working with these retailers to set up their outlets and be ready to welcome customers in the next few months. That process includes an intensive INEOS training programme for the sales agents and workshop technicians. The first of the newly nominated sites will open in June.
The aim is for the majority of customers in the UK to always be within 45 minutes of an official sales and service location. The retail partners will form the backbone of the service network in the country, with additional geographical coverage provided by ten selected partners and hand-picked INEOS-accredited Bosch Car Service outlets. All servicing centres in Scotland will eventually support sales and test drive activity, including sites confirmed for Stirling, Kilmarnock and Inverness.
“We have worked tirelessly for over a year to find retail partners in the UK that share our enthusiasm and excitement for the Grenadier,” said Gary Pearson, Head of UK and MENA for INEOS Automotive. “They understand 4X4 users and their requirements, and have a proven track record for exceptional customer service. Together with these partners, we look forward to providing Grenadier customers with the advice, guidance and support they need.”
Prospective customers will be able to find their nearest Grenadier retailer via an interactive map. Technical specifications and pricing for the INEOS Grenadier in the UK will be confirmed by the end of April, with order books opening in May. (Source: www.joint-forces.com)
01 May 22. The Thyssen Henschel UR-416 is the third of a trio 4×4 armoured personnel carriers used by the Saudi Arabian SSF or Special Security Force, writes Bob Morrison. My knowledge of the UR-416, prior to encountering examples of the vehicle in use with the Saudi Special Security Force this March, could pretty much have been written on a pinhead so I turned to my colleague Carl Schulze for help.
In a nutshell, Carl said: “The vehicle was designed in the mid-1960s by Rheinstahl with company funds and based on the Unimog 416 chassis. It was offered as a replacement for the [Mowag] Sonderwagen 1 and Sonderwagen 2 armoured cars which at that time were in service with the West German Bundesgrenzschutz (Federal Border Guard) but it was not procured by them. However some West German district police forces separately procured single vehicles in the late 1960s.”
In 1973 the company Rheinstahl AG, a contraction of the then already 100-year old Rheinische Stahlwerke AG or Rhineland Steelworks PLC, was bought by Thyssen which later became part of Henschel (since 1999 a part of Rheinmetall) and as a result the vehicle they designed in the 1960s became known as the Thyssen Rheinstahl UR-416, though it is now more usually referred to as the Thyssen Henschel UR-416. Height of production seems to have been from the early 1970s until the late 1980s, when the Daimler / Mercedes-Benz Unimog 416 and associated models were phased out in favour of the newer and larger 436/437-series models. By this stage Thyssen Henschel had already been producing the TM-170, known as Sonderwagen 4 by the BGS, for several years and this newer and slightly larger Unimog-based 4×4 APC took over from the UR-416.
Walk-round of the domed cupola UR-416 variant with dozer blade used by the Saudi SSF ~ note the many vision ports in the cupola and the ten firing ports in the sides and rear [©BM]
In addition to Saudi Arabia, at least fifteen other countries procured the UR-416 and, despite their age, possibly as many as ten of these nations still either use them or hold them in reserve stocks; mostly their use is, or was, by border guard, gendarmerie or specialist police units. Although very basic in design, as this chunky APC is essentially just a 6.4mm (0.25”) armoured steel all-welded angular box dropped onto an ultra-reliable Unimog 416 mule (i.e. rolling chassis with power train) it is still a credible Internal Security Vehicle with good off-road and rough track performance. It is also remarkably easy to maintain in the field and mechanical spare parts are relatively easy to source around the globe; indeed the body, which unlike most more modern vehicles is not heavily mine-protected, can be quite easily jacked or craned clear of the chassis to allow ease of maintenance.
Two of the more numerous Fire Support Vehicle versions with angular 20mm cannon turret ~ base vehicle is the ultra-reliable Unimog 416 [© Bob Morrison]
Powered by a six-cylinder 5.7 litre Daimler-Benz OM 352 series diesel engine and with a combat weight of less than 8 tonnes, the 5100x2250x2250mm (to top of hull) UR-416 has a top road speed around 80km/h or 50mph and a road range of around 600km at cruising speed. Coil sprung portal axles give a very credible 440mm of ground clearance and it is possible for the vehicle to ford 1,300mm of still water without preparation. In addition to a crew of two, up to eight troops or police officers can be transported with their basic personal equipment.
Note the basic but functional firing port and two-piece side door designs ~ the 20mm turret has armoured glass vision blocks [© Bob Morrison]
It is believed that in excess of 1,000 examples of the UR-416 were eventually produced, mostly with a simple 7.62mm or 12.7mm machine gun mount in front of a central circular roof hatch. However the original vehicle designed for the Bundesgrenzschutz requirement had a large, domed, one-man cupola with 15 vision blocks for all-round visibility and a 7.62mm machine gun for self-defence; it also had a lifting dozer blade with small wheels which could be used for barricade clearance. The Saudi SSF use this version in small numbers along with a more numerous Fire Support variant armed with a more angular turret sporting a 20mm cannon which I suspect to be the Rheinmetall Mk 20 RH-202. Some sources state that the Saudis also have Command and Ambulance versions of the UR-416, but I did not spot any of these at World Defence Show 2022 (which was my first visit to the Kingdom since 1991, when my primary focus was on British vehicles deployed on Operation GRANBY / DESERT SABRE rather than on Saudi equipment).
Two four-man SSF squads can be transported in the rear compartment ~ when they dismount the second crew member would provide fire support with the 20mm cannon [© Bob Morrison]
Footnote: There was actually a fourth armoured 4×4 APC in use with the SSF at WDS 2022, the Jankel Stirling, which I also managed to grab a couple of shots of. It is my intention to delve into my archives to find photos of this rare vehicle in service with another Arab SpecOps force to produce a follow-on feature. (Source: www.joint-forces.com)
25 Apr 22. Belgian CaMo programme – Nexter and MOL sign a cooperation agreement for the assembly of the Belgian Army’s GRIFFON MRAV. Nexter has chosen the Belgian company MOL as its partner for the assembly of the multi-role armoured vehicles GRIFFON intended to equip the Belgian Army’s land component from 2025 onwards, as part of the CaMo (Motorised Capability) programme. MOL is a company specialised in the construction of trucks, trailers and special heavy vehicles, and has already worked for the defence industry.
The CaMo programme, for which Nexter is acting as industrial prime contractor with its strategic subcontractors Arquus and Thales, was launched in 2019 by the Belgian and French governments. It aims to equip and make the Motorised Brigade of the Belgian Army’s land component fully interoperable with the French Army’s SCORPION units, both in terms of doctrine and equipment.
This industrial cooperation agreement signed on April 11 with MOL is one of the many cooperation projects conducted by Nexter with Belgian defence industry players in the CaMo programme. The 382 GRIFFON of the land component will be assembled by MOL, which will benefit from a significant transfer of skills and know-how from its new partner Nexter. This transfer will start in the second half of 2022 in order to prepare the production and assembly, which will take place from 2024 to 2030, with a planned increase of 25 full-time equivalent jobs for MOL. (Source: www.joint-forces.com)
29 Apr 22. Another success for the Mission Master SP: Rheinmetall wins bid for Spiral 3 of UK’s Robotic Platoon Vehicles Programme. For the third time, the British Ministry of Defence has awarded Rheinmetall a contract for its Robotic Platoon Vehicles (RPV) programme. The RPV programme is a three-phase experiment to determine the extent to which unmanned vehicles can boost the combat effectiveness and capabilities of dismounted troops at platoon level. For Spiral 3, the programme’s final phase, the British once again chose to work with Rheinmetall Canada. The British Army ordered four Rheinmetall Mission Master SP – Surveillance Autonomous Unmanned Ground Vehicles (A-UGV) in an Intelligence, Surveillance, Target Acquisition, and Reconnaissance (ISTAR) configuration and three Rheinmetall Mission Master SP – Cargo vehicles, for a total of seven new A-UGVs. The UK had procured a total of eight Mission Master vehicles in previous phases of the programme. The Rheinmetall Mission Master SP is part of the Autonomous Unmanned Ground Vehicle (A-UGV) family developed by Rheinmetall Canada. The new order, placed in January 2022, is scheduled to be fully delivered by the end of August of this year. It includes comprehensive training, support services, and spare parts. Rheinmetall Canada is the prime contractor, working in cooperation with Rheinmetall Provectus, its Ottawa-based robotics branch.
The Mission Master SP is a low-profile A-UGV designed to stealthily follow soldiers anywhere. Agile and highly transportable, the Mission Master SP has a low-signature electric motor, silent drive mode, and compact profile to escape detection under threat. Like all members of the Mission Master family of A-UGVs, the Mission Master SP is powered by the PATH autonomy kit (A-kit). This proven, agnostic, trusted, and autonomous suite of advanced sensors and perception algorithms enables the Mission Master to find the safest routes through dangerous environments and challenging terrain, and to complete its missions seamlessly.
The Mission Master SP – Surveillance comes equipped with an ISTAR payload. This module supports forward and last-mile resupply missions, performs silent watch operations, and carries payloads. Built to optimize situational awareness, the ISTAR module’s array of sensors can be easily swapped depending on mission objectives. These sensors provide leading-edge target detection, recognition, and identification at long ranges, regardless of weather and lighting conditions. They also facilitate early warning and identification of chemical threats in the event of a chemical warfare.
The ISTAR module is fitted on top of an improved version of the Mission Master SP vehicle. Feedbacks from customers and lessons learned from trials have been the main drivers for these improvements. For instance, the drivetrain and frame are more rugged and more accessible to ease maintenance operations. In addition, the Mission Master SP platform now includes a diesel generator that can be used on extended missions.
The Mission Master SP – Cargo, for its part, reduces soldiers’ combat load, hence improving mobility and efficiency. The robust A-UGV can transport supplies, tactical kits, and medical equipment either independently, in follow-me mode, or in convoy mode with other Mission Master vehicles.
Now the owner of several Mission Master vehicles and modules, the British Army possesses a true force multiplier that can be harnessed for more complex experimentation, especially related to Rheinmetall’s wolf pack (swarm) concept.
The wolf pack consists of a team of Mission Master vehicles working together to accomplish missions ranging from surveillance to target position transfer and slew-to-cue. The units communicate with each other using their advanced artificial intelligence capabilities to maintain rich situational awareness. The wolf pack is remotely managed by a single operator, who is thereby able to focus on a successful mission outcome rather than on individual UGV tasks. This unique capability is enabled by the Rheinmetall Command and Control Software.
Rheinmetall Canada’s successful bid for Spiral 3 demonstrates further proof of the British Army’s trust in the Canada-based branch of the Rheinmetall group, one of Europe’s leading defence suppliers. The contract was awarded following a request for tenders in which Rheinmetall ranked exceptionally high.
While the delivery of Spiral 3 will mark the end of the RPV Programme, Rheinmetall Canada intends to continue its involvement in the UK’s experimentation with robotic vehicles at the newly formed Expeditionary Robotic Centre of Expertise (ERCoE).
27 Apr 22. US Army to choose whether it’ll pursue a hybrid Bradley vehicle in FY23. The U.S. Army will decide whether it will further pursue a hybrid version of the BAE Systems-built Bradley Infantry Fighting Vehicle in fiscal 2023, according to budget justification documents.
The service has been working to develop a hybrid Bradley for several years and will wrap up the process through a series of tests in FY22.
The funding for hybrid Bradley prototyping is not broken out of a combat vehicle prototyping line item of $164m in FY22, according to the documents. The funding includes other efforts to examine advanced combat vehicle concepts, next-generation fire control technologies, XM913 chain gun development and even a vehicle protection technology demonstrator.
The Bradley vehicle is already pushed to the maximum when it comes to using power to support everything from running the vehicle to controlling its payloads. Going hybrid would provide other benefits as well such as greater survivability by reducing thermal and acoustic signatures, better acceleration, increased lethality and more onboard power to support the possible incorporation of high-energy lasers, according to budget documents.
The Army plans to conclude development efforts in the third quarter of FY22 and will then test prototypes at Aberdeen Proving Ground, Maryland. Testing at Yuma Proving Ground, Arizona, will also take place beginning in the fourth quarter of FY22.
Both testing efforts will come to a close in the first quarter of FY23, the justification books show.
Earlier this year, a 3rd Infantry Division unit at Fort Stewart, Georgia, became the first unit equipped with the modernized M2A4 Bradley following the Army’s decade-long effort to upgrade the vehicles.
The “A4″ variant is an engineering change proposal program that brings in new suspension and track upgrades. It also upgrades the electrical system and powertrain to restore lost mobility and integrate new technologies.
The road to delivering the A4 has been rough. A year ago, the Army was testing a solution to address overheating and toxic gas production in the newest version of the Bradley’s turret battery, for example, which delayed the program by almost a year.
Integrating electric capability into a vehicle like Bradley is challenging. but it will likely be far into the future when the Army considers fully electric options for combat vehicles or tanks.
The Army’s recently released climate strategy lays out a goal to field fully electric tactical vehicles by 2050, but hybrid ones by 2035.
Robotic platforms might be the first to be fully electric, or perhaps the Army’s still unfunded electric light reconnaissance vehicle effort.
Additionally, the Army is continuing analysis and technology development of a next-generation powertrain for the Joint Light Tactical Vehicle that considers hybrid and a fully electric option. Oshkosh unveiled a hybrid version of the JLTV earlier this year.
“It’s about size and weight,” Brig. Gen. Glenn Dean, program executive officer for ground combat systems, told Defense News in an interview last year. “If you took the amount of batteries with current technology that you would need to move an Abrams tank purely electrically, it’s bigger than the tank, so we have a packaging and storage problem when it comes to pure electric.” (Source: Defense News)
28 Apr 22. USAF’s KC-46A conducts first refuelling of international aircraft. The aircraft can now support around 85% of receiver aircraft requesting air refuelling. The US Air Force’s (USAF) KC-46A Pegasus aerial refuelling aircraft has conducted its first refuelling of an international aircraft, the Spanish Air Force’s EF-18 Hornets or C-15.
The milestone was achieved on 18 April during the Employment Concept Exercise (ECE) 22-03 at Morón Air Base in Spain.
The ECE 22-03 aimed to improve the aircraft’s sustainment and operational fielding along with strengthening the interoperability with allies and partners.
Around 220 active Guard and Reserve airmen along with four KC-46As Pegasus were deployed by the USAF’s Air Mobility Command (AMC) to Moron AB to conduct the exercise.
The deployment follows the KC-46A’s second phase of Interim Capability Release (ICR) on 10 March.
The ICR plan allows the KC-46A to perform operations, which are otherwise undertaken by the KC-135 Stratotanker and KC-10 Extender.
AMC commander-general Mike Minihan said: “The KC-46A, its aircrews, maintenance and support personnel performed magnificently over the last seven weeks in Spain.
“They pushed hard to run the aircraft through its paces during the ECE, including supporting a bomber task force, refuelling US fighters over Eastern Europe, and completing the first-ever refuelling of an international aircraft.”
The KC-46A aircraft has already offloaded more than 78 m pounds of fuel, demonstrating its growing operational capabilities.
Besides, Pegasus has also completed nearly 2,200 drogue and 34,900 boom contacts since January 2019.
AMC KC-46A Cross-Functional Team lead brigadier general Ryan Samuelson said: “The Pegasus is now cleared to support nearly 85% of joint force receivers requesting air refuelling from US Transportation Command.”
The KC-46A aircraft achieved its fourth ICR milestone in December last year.
Currently, the USAF has 57 KC-46As in its inventory, which operate from different air force bases (AFB), including Altus AFB in Oklahoma, McConnell AFB in Kansas, and Seymour Johnson Air Reserve Base in North Carolina, among others. (Source: airforce-technology.com)
28 Apr 22. Book Review – Special Forces Land Vehicles.
By Alexander Stilwell.
Over the last 30 years, Special Forces have become a key component of the world’s armed forces, often employing unconventional tactics as part of airborne operations, counterinsurgency, counterterrorism, hostage rescue, covert ops and intelligence gathering. To carry out their role…
Over the last 30 years, Special Forces have become a key component of the world’s armed forces, often employing unconventional tactics as part of airborne operations, counterinsurgency, counterterrorism, hostage rescue, covert ops and intelligence gathering. To carry out their role effectively, specific vehicles have been developed for these elite units.
Organized by type, the book explores a wide range of vehicles, from the light utility vehicles through mine-resistant protected vehicles (MRAP) to mini bikes and quad bikes. Discover the Pinzgauer High-Mobility All-Terrain Vehicle, a high clearance, all-wheel drive transporter used by Delta Force and the New Zealand SAS; the fast, light Arquus Scarab, a protected vehicle that can turn both the front and rear wheels simultaneously, allowing it to move sideways like a crab; the MRZR, used by the U.S. Marines for fast forward deployment and off-road reconnaissance; the Toyota Hilux pick-up, which due to its simplicity and rugged durability, has proved its worth in conflicts from South America to Central Asia; and the Christini AWD motorcycle, used by U.S. Navy SEALs in Afghanistan.
Illustrated with more than 100 photographs and artworks, Special Forces Land Vehicles provides a detailed guide to the specialist vehicles used by elite soldiers in the modern era.
BATTLESPACE Comment: A well written book covering all SF vehicles from inception to the present, including many driven by the Editor. Excellent photos and diagrams.
27 Apr 22. Purchase of Boxer armoured vehicles to cost EUR 343m. The purchase of 45 Boxer armoured vehicles that Slovenia plans to acquire through the Organisation for Joint Armament Cooperation (OCCAR) will cost EUR 343m including tax, the Defence Ministry revealed on Tuesday after the agreement with the OCCAR entered into effect following a Constitutional Court ruling. The deal involves 45 eight-wheeled vehicles with armament, logistics services and project management costs. Value added tax, which comes to nearly EUR 62m, will be paid in Slovenia, shows a press release from the Defence Ministry.
One vehicle is slated for delivery in 2023, followed by nine in 2024, 22 in 2025 and 13 in 2026. The price can increase by no more than 2.8% per year, regardless of potential increases in costs of materials. There were no intermediaries in the deal.
“The per-vehicle price Slovenia will pay is the same as paid by other countries for the same configuration,” the ministry said.
The purchase is “essential for the creation of the Slovenian Armed Forces’ key capacity, which has been delayed for a long time – a medium-sized battalion battlegroup” that Slovenia will contribute “as a serious NATO member.”
This is the first time the ministry has disclosed the price, having previously said that price negotiations would start once the agreement is ratified. The revelation comes just hours after the Constitutional Court declared that the National Assembly did not act in an unconstitutional fashion when it voted to ban a referendum on the defence deal proposed by the Left. It agreed with MPs that international treaties cannot be subject to referenda. The Left has long opposed higher defence spending and reiterated today that the purchase was senseless and should be stopped, as it decried Defence Minister Matej Tonin’s decision to sign the contract within days saying this was not legitimate.
“Voters clearly said on Sunday they want change and other priorities for the future, they don’t want old weapons dealers to continue their senseless purchases,” Left deputy group leader Matej T. Vatovec said today.
Boxers are provided via OCCAR by the industrial consortium Artec. OCCAR will help with the delivery and in the resolution of any complications, the Defence Ministry said. (Source: https://sloveniatimes.com/)
26 Apr 22. US Army to launch light robotic combat vehicle competition in FY23. The Army will launch a competition in fiscal 2023 for a light robotic combat vehicle and plans to spend nearly three-quarters of a bn dollars over the next five years on the effort, according to the Army’s FY23 budget justification documents.
The Army will continue a phased surrogate prototype program for Robotic Combat Vehicle-Light (RCV-L) with QinetiQ North America, which won a contract in early 2020. The service plans to flow data and lessons learned into its full-system prototype competition.
From FY23 through FY27, the Army plans to spend $698.2 m on both the surrogate and full-system prototype efforts and a software acquisition pathway integral to the functionality of the robotic combat vehicles.
The Army on Feb. 10 approved the rapid prototyping program for RCV-L.
The surrogate prototypes built by QinetiQ will go through three “design-upgrade-test” cycles to include operational pilots, during which soldiers will provide feedback and improved capabilities will be demonstrated “related to autonomous software, system safety, and cyber and spectrum resiliency,” the budget justification documents say.
The three test cycles will begin in the first quarter of FY23 and end in the fourth quarter of FY25. Each cycle will also determine capabilities ready for incorporation into the full-system prototype.
The surrogate prototype — a diesel-electric hybrid — to be built by QinetiQ will include an integrated camera and radar perception sensors and payloads such as the Common Remotely Operated Weapon Station-Javelin and tethered unmanned aircraft systems.
The vehicle has a gross weight of no more than 8,500 pounds and a maximum payload of no more than 7,000 pounds with a top speed of about 40 miles per hour, according to the Army.
The service plans to spend roughly $40m in FY23 to build and test up to eight surrogate prototypes. The Army intends to run an initial six-month operational pilot with the surrogate prototypes.
The Army will then select up to five vendors to provide two bid samples for evaluation for full-system prototypes. The service will release a request for proposals in the third quarter of FY23, according to the documents, and make contract awards to vendors in the fourth quarter of FY23.
A total of about $15m will be spent in FY23 to award contracts and evaluate those platforms, the documents note.
In the fourth quarter of FY24, the Army plans to choose a single vendor to build the full-system prototype. Testing on that prototype will begin in the first quarter of FY26 and wrap up in the final quarter of that fiscal year.
The service will decide on its next steps in the second quarter of FY27.
Simultaneously, the Army will work toward delivery of the software capability for the RCV platforms.
The service signed an acquisition decision memorandum in August 2021 directing it to use a draft capabilities needs statement as the base user capabilities document for the RCV software acquisition pathway, according to the justification documents.
The Army plans to use a hybrid government-contractor development approach to mature, integrate and secure the software capabilities.
Development and testing for the software pathway begins in the fourth quarter of FY22 and will continue through the fourth quarter of FY27.
A total of about $20m in FY23 would go toward the software development line of effort.
The Army expects to reach a minimum viability capability release in the first quarter of FY24 followed by three capability releases at the beginning of the first quarter of each subsequent fiscal year through FY27.
The service has been working on concept and technology development for RCVs in the light, medium and heavy categories for several years. This summer, it will put both medium and light RCV surrogate prototypes through a company-level soldier assessment at Fort Hood, Texas.
A Textron, Howe & Howe and FLIR team is providing RCV-Medium prototypes to the evaluation.
RCV-M is also a diesel-electric hybrid vehicle with a gross weight of 25,000 lbs. The vehicle is equipped with a remotely operated 30 mm cannon and has a top speed of over 25 miles per hour.
The service already conducted an RCV assessment at Fort Carson, Colorado, in 2020, but it was focused on heavy vehicles using surrogates. (Source: Defense News)
25 Apr 22. First unit gets modernized Bradley Fighting Vehicle. A 3rd Infantry Division unit at Fort Stewart, Georgia, is officially the first to be equipped with and trained on the modernized M2A4 Bradley Fighting Vehicle, marking the end of a decade long effort by the Army to upgrade their Bradley Fighting Vehicles. Soldiers with 3rd Battalion, 67th Armor Regiment, 2nd Armored Brigade Combat Team, first received the M2A4 variant in early February, the Army said in an April 23 release. The soldiers completed training on the new equipment during a series of events this March, the Army release stated. Included in the Bradley Fighting Vehicle upgrade were enhancements to improve speed performance and increase power in the turret.
“This Bradley variant will ensure that the platform maintains combat relevance now and for decades to come as we wait for the Optionally Manned Fighting Vehicle platform to eventually replace it,” said Brig. Gen. Glenn Dean, who leads Program Executive Office-Ground Combat Systems.
“We fielded the most capable Bradley Fighting Vehicle to date, with the Bradley in service for three decades. Because the A4 variant has enhanced mobility and power generation, we’ll be able to integrate new technologies.”
The Army plans to acquire more than 700 of the new M2A4 Bradleys through 2029. Each vehicle costs roughly $4.35 m. The Army plans to continue providing field units with the M2A4 variant until the new Optionally Manned Fighting Vehicle is produced, which will eventually replace the Bradley. The last upgrade made to U.S. armored troop carriers came in 2002. The prototyping phase for the Optionally Manned Fighting Vehicle will begin in fiscal 2025, and the Army is expected to select in the fourth quarter of fiscal 2027 one company to build low-rate production vehicles. Full-rate production isn’t expected to begin until fiscal 2030, meaning most soldiers will be using the M2A4 Bradley for years to come. (Source: Army Times)
23 Apr 22. Philippine Army reactivates tank battalion to strengthen capabilities. The battalion will be equipped with Sabrah ASCOD light tanks and Pandur 8×8 wheeled light tanks, among others. The Philippine Army (PA) has reactivated the Armor Division’s 1st Tank Battalion in a bid to further strengthen its capabilities amid evolving security threats, reported the Philippine News Agency.
The first tank battalion was officially activated in September 1958, but it was then deactivated in 1961 due to high maintenance costs.
The reactivated tank battalion at Camp O’Donnell, in Capas, Tarlac, will support ground operations.
It will be equipped with assets such as 18 Sabrah ASCOD light tanks, ten Pandur 8×8 wheeled light tanks, a tank gunnery simulator, a command vehicle, and a recovery vehicle.
The Philippine Army expects to receive the Sabrah ASCOD light tanks this year while the Pandur tanks are scheduled to be delivered in 2023.
The light tanks are being acquired through a government-to-government scheme.
Following the reactivation, Army chief Lieutenant General Romeo Brawner Jr was quoted by the news agency as saying: “Looking at the future operational landscape, the PA has reactivated the 1st Tank Battalion to provide our infantry and mechanised infantry forces with advanced firepower capability and enhance the standards of protection, especially in conducting contingency missions, and combined arms and joint operations in the country.”
The Philippine Army dissolved the 8th Cavalry Company after the reactivation of the 1st Tank Battalion to transfer its focus to the new unit.
Last year, the Philippine Army received a Messerschmitt-Bolkow-Blohm (MBB) Bo 105 multi-purpose rotorcraft helicopter as a donation.
The helicopter was given to PA’s Aviation ‘Hiraya’ Regiment. (Source: army-technology.com)
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