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12 May 22. MoD Stops Payment to GDUK! When the Editor rang the GDUK Accounts Department today o request payment for an outstanding invoice he was informed that no payment would be made because the MoD had stopped paying the MoD (for Ajax?). The Editor said it was wrong that GDUK should penalise SMEs due to lack of payment. WE had assumed that GDUK had parental company guarantees in place in the event of payment issues with the MoD? The Editor emailed the PR spokesperson for a statement, and none was forthcoming. What has triggered the escalation in the Ajax debacle at a time when certain sources were suggesting it is fixable albeit late and with added costs? Has a disagreement as to who pays for the fix broken out or has the problem been found which will require a more costly fix to save the programme? No doubt the next few weeks will provide and answer and possibly payment for our invoice?
12 May 22. Jankel partners with IDES to deliver defence sector capability to Australia. Jankel, a global company and world-leader in the design and manufacture of high-specification defence, security and NGO protection systems, has announced a new partnership with the Australian company Integrated Design & Engineering Solutions (IDES). The partnership aims to deepen and expand Jankel’s successful engagement within Australia that reaches back for nearly 20 years. Jankel first entered the Australian market in 2003 with sales of Civilian Armoured Vehicles (CAVs) based on the award-winning Toyota chassis. Since then, Jankel has delivered a wide range of projects for multiple customers including the Australian MoD’s Capability Acquisition and Sustainment Group (CASG) and, formerly, the Defence Materiel Organisation (DMO). In addition, Jankel is a key supplier to a number of other prime contractors and key partners. The new partnership with IDES seeks to maximise Australian opportunities of mutual benefit, within the defence sector. The teaming of the two companies will be focused on selected current and future major equipment programmes such as, for example, the upcoming Project Greyfin (LAND 1508); a project that will provide the first $500 m of a $3 bn, 20-year investment in equipment for the Australian Special Forces. Project Greyfin is expected to include the procurement of light vehicles of a type that sit directly within Jankel’s proven product and capability offering. The partnership will also consider through life support opportunities of previous, current and future equipment.
The partnership capitalizes on Jankel’s world class reputation as a defence engineering and systems specialist providing bespoke conversions, complex integrations, customised support services and advanced technologies across a wide range of vehicles for the military, government agencies and OEMs. IDES are a specialist provider of operationally focused engineering and integration solutions, undertaking design, development, prototyping, evaluation and production of systems integrations kits and turnkey platforms for military, government and corporate customers throughout Australia. Therefore, the partnership is superbly balanced with shared company goals and an ethos of innovation, quality and being customer solution focused – driving mission success. Stuart Morse, General Manager at IDES said: “IDES is pleased to announce this new partnership and excited to work together with an industry leader in Jankel. IDES’ established expertise, know-how and reach right across Australia, will provide unparalleled support to match the exceptional capabilities of Jankel’s vehicles and systems”. He added: “With the complimentary skill sets and objectives that IDES & Jankel share, I am sure that together, we will drive the growth of our user focused and outcome driven solutions to Defence here in Australia”. Andrew Jankel, Chairman at Jankel said: “This is an excellent opportunity for Jankel and IDES to work in partnership to bring our respective capabilities to the Australian defence market. We at Jankel have a long and successful history working in the region, and this partnership will help to deepen and expand that position”. He added: “Working together with IDES we intend to highlight our full range of defence capabilities. Our recently re-shaped specific capability areas include specialist vehicle conversions, advanced technologies and through-life support, combined with our world-renowned protection systems and complex integration solutions. The partnership will also deliver capability on the ground in Australia that will ensure that Jankel can comply with any future Austra.
12 May 22. Marshall has successfully manufactured and delivered its 1000th auxiliary fuel tank in support of Boeing’s Global P-8 program.
The company celebrated this major milestone at their manufacturing facility in Cambridge alongside attendees from Boeing and the Royal Air Force.
“I am delighted to be able to congratulate Marshall on reaching this significant milestone for the global P-8 maritime patrol fleet,” said Anna Keeling, vice president and managing director of Boeing Defence UK. “Marshall is one of the historic names in the UK aerospace industry and a long-term partner of Boeing, developing and delivering the latest in aviation technology right here in Cambridge, serving multiple nations around the world.”
The P-8 maritime patrol aircraft is a military derivative of Boeing’s Next Generation 737-800. The auxiliary fuel tanks, extend the flight range of the aircraft and allow for additional time on station. The tanks are supplied in ship sets of six, along with a number of components.
Neil McManus, Managing Director, Marshall Aerospace comments: “The whole team are thrilled to deliver 1000 auxiliary fuel tanks to Boeing. Since starting our design and manufacture in 2006, we have established an efficient assembly capability and high-quality international supply chain with a 100% on time delivery record.
This milestone demonstrates our ability to provide a market-leading lightweight fuel system solution and integrate it with consistently high quality.”
Using proprietary and pre-approved honeycomb technology that has been developed to meet the latest civil and military airworthiness regulations, Marshall developed a complete auxiliary fuel tank system to meet the P-8 aircraft’s demanding needs.
Boeing has delivered more than 140 P-8 aircraft to global customers, including the United States, Australia, India, United Kingdom and Norway.
12 May 22. Australia earmarks $1bn for Garden Island. The development of a new regional maintenance centre forms part of the Coalition government’s latest commitment to bolstering defence capability. Minister for Defence Peter Dutton has announced $1bn would be invested in the establishment of a naval regional maintenance centre at the Garden Island Defence Precinct in Sydney under a re-elected Coalition government.
The pledge, which forms part of the Continuous Naval Shipbuilding program, is expected to pave the way for a request for tender open to industry stakeholders in Sydney.
According to Dutton, the project would help “mitigate the boom-and-bust cycle”, helping to deliver long-term work packages and remove barriers to entry for SMEs.
“By adopting this new approach, the Morrison government is opening up opportunities for local small and medium enterprises to be involved in building our sovereign defence industry and reducing administration for the workforce, making it easier to do business with Defence,” he said.
The proposed Regional Maintenance Centre East is expected to initially support the three Hobart Class destroyers and HMAS Choules, before supporting other Sydney-based platforms.
These include the RAN’s Canberra Class landing helicopter dock ships and landing craft, one Supply Class auxiliary oiler and two Anzac Class frigates.
Regional Maintenance Centre East is scheduled to be operational by mid-2024.
This latest announcement builds on previous commitments to deliver regional maintenance centres in Cairns, Darwin and Henderson.
“This tender will see the government meet its commitment to the establishment of four regional maintenance centres in a national network to provide continuous sustainment of the Navy’s fleet around Australia,” the minister added.
“The successful tenderer for this maintenance centre will play an integral role in planning, managing and delivering maintenance at Garden Island, the home of Navy’s major fleet units and a strategic asset for delivery of naval capability.”
The Sydney-based centre is tipped to generate approximately $1bn into the Sydney region economy over the next five years and takes the initial investment across the network of four regional maintenance centres to approximately $1.327bn.
“As we have seen with other regional maintenance centres, the provision of this crucial sustainment work provides significant long-term job opportunities for direct and indirect workforce, with the number of workers rising as the scope of services increases over the initial five-year period of the contract,” Minister Dutton added.
“This another piece of the record $270bn investment by the Morrison government to support the men and women of the Australian Defence Force.” (Source: Defence Connect)
10 May 22. Colombia seeks Abrams tanks amid new ally status with US. Colombia has asked the U.S. about procuring secondhand M1A2 Abrams tanks to bolster the armored capacity of its land forces, local military sources have told Defense News.
Colombia is currently on a path to becoming a major non-NATO ally of the U.S., with President Joe Biden in March announcing the process has begun.
The Colombian Army currently has no main battle tanks. The main armored vehicle in its inventory is the Brazilian-built Engesa EE-9 Cascavel, a six-wheel drive armored truck fitted with a 90mm gun, of which 123 were bought in the 1980s.
Plans to procure at least 50 main battle tanks were unveiled about 20 years ago. The country’s focus on upgrading and diversifying its conventional capabilities comes after decades of prioritizing equipment and training to fight terrorism, insurgencies and drug trafficking.
One of the factors driving these efforts is tension with neighboring Venezuela, a country that in the last two decades invested heavily in procuring modern military equipment from Russia and China, including T-72B1V main battle tanks and Sukhoi Su-30 fighter-bomber jets.
Colombia is also looking for a new advanced fighter-bomber to replace its Israeli-built Kfir jets that are reaching the end of their service lives. The Lockheed Martin F-16 — both secondhand and new-built advanced Block 70 versions — are under consideration.
Colombia’s Defense Ministry did not respond to a request for comment, and military sources spoke to Defense News on the condition of anonymity, as they were not authorized to speak to the press.
The status of a major non-NATO ally of the U.S. will entitle Colombia to receive special treatment when it comes to American financial aid and access to surplus materiel. It would also help Colombian President Iván Duque fulfill a promise he made in 2018 to modernize the armed forces.
Closely aligned with the U.S. since the 1940s, Colombia received $10bn in American military aid between 2001 and 2016 to fight insurgents and drug trafficking, according to the U.S. State Department. In 2017, Colombia became NATO’s first Latin American global partner, and in 2021 it signed a new agreement deepening and expanding cooperation with the alliance.
Colombia is the second-largest defense spender in South America, behind Brazil, helped by the expansion of its economy that saw gross domestic product grow 36% since 2012, according to Robin Brooks, chief economist at the Institute of International Finance. (Source: Defense News)
11 May 22. DOD should consider commercial technology in the adaptive acquisition process. “GM DEFENSE.” In recent years, Congress granted the Department of Defense (DOD) new and more flexible acquisition tools. Whether allowing more novel contract types or “agile” approaches, Congress and the DOD agreed on the need to decrease the development timeline and delivery of new capabilities. The expanded use of tools, such as other transaction authorities (OTAs) and middle tier acquisition, gave rise to DOD’s new “adaptive acquisition framework” aimed at staying ahead of global competitors.
While the acquisition tools may be new, the process of developing and procuring new systems remains fundamentally the same. Essentially, the way to go faster was to eliminate “paperwork.” New authorities waived or deferred detailed cost estimates, testing plans, technology assessments and more. This indeed increased speed and momentum in some cases, but the department’s implementation didn’t always anticipate the inherent risks of going “fast” with very new technology, costs or competition.
Reforms like these new authorities require effective implementation guidance to move past being just a good idea, and in this case much of the implementation practice is still catching up with the reform policy. The OTA, by example, is not new. In fact, Congress first gave NASA this authority in 1958. However, the expansive use of new acquisition tools we’ve seen in recent years is new. Doing a lot of something new, coupled with very new technology, makes it hard to grasp all of the second- and third-order effects that might be building. The push for “new and novel” might also cause program leaders to miss what might be gained with less risk by focusing new authorities on work already being done in relevant commercial technology development.
A non-traditional defense company, GM Defense offers reach back into its parent company, General Motors, including the company’s robust advanced technologies and bns of dollars in committed investments to develop and mature technologies. GM Defense’s access to commercial technology offers many advantages to customers, especially as the administration and DOD consider a transition to a more electric future. GM Defense is uniquely positioned to leverage GM’s $35 bn in investments to accelerate the development of electric vehicle, fuel cell and autonomous vehicle technologies to support defense and government applications. By the time GM Defense brings a technology to bare in a prototype, it’s already been through extensive R&D, development and testing — the kind of approach that helps de-risk a fast-to-field acquisition approach while simultaneously getting enhanced capabilities into the hands of warfighters and government customers quickly.
Much like a military operation, the key to success in acquisition is to “set the conditions” early to mitigate the risk of unintended or unanticipated consequences. In the case of agile acquisition, setting the conditions to maximize the use of commercial technology and competitive pressures reduces risk and fosters the most innovative, competitive and lowest cost industrial base solutions. When NASA began using OTAs for the space program, the federal government and its research entities often led new technology development. Today, from cell phones to electric vehicles, American industry finds revolutionary advancements every day. Partnering with this competitive, innovative power ought to hold great promise for fast and affordable defense acquisition programs.
Fortunately, there are several emerging candidates for new authorities to make the most of commercial technology: the Army’s Common Tactical Truck and Electric Light Reconnaissance Vehicle. Neither is unique to the military, and commercial industry has vibrant, competitive markets for both large trucks and electric vehicles today. The Army talked about leveraging commercial prototypes for each, beginning as soon as this fall. They are ripe for low-use risk of the department’s new acquisition authorities, rapidly competing to deliver new and more affordable capabilities. The key here will be the Army’s willingness to also manage its requirements in a way that allows it to benefit from affordable commercial technology.
It’s true that the Army keeps its vehicles far longer than the average family or corporation, and that our Soldiers absolutely need the most dependable gear. But how much of what the Army needs in a line haul truck, for example, should be unique and different from what is used in thousands of demanding commercial applications today? Similarly, if platforms can pass the testing needed to operate ms of electric vehicles on American roads each year, can that testing perhaps suffice to further speed programs along? And will the Army be willing to consider treating the rights to design data differently for commercial platforms without discouraging industry from competing for fear of losing a competitive edge outside the department’s sphere? The DOD’s new authorities give it tremendous power to enhance the U.S. military faster, at less cost, backed by proven commercial technology. An expanded dialogue about how to share these goals and technologies together while addressing tight budgets and growing threats is a national security priority, and one that all U.S. organizations should be ready to engage.
10 May 22. SCORPION programme: GRIFFON and JAGUAR order under 2019–25 Military Programming Law awarded to EBMR consortium. The French defence procurement agency (DGA) has awarded the order for conditional tranche 4 (TC4) of the SCORPION programme to Nexter, Arquus and Thales, operating through the EBMR* consortium. Tranche TC4 corresponds to an additional 88 JAGUAR armoured reconnaissance and fighting vehicles and 302 GRIFFON multirole armoured vehicles. This new order will bring the number of JAGUAR and GRIFFON vehicles ordered to 150 and 909 respectively, in line with the target laid out in France’s 2019–25 Military Programming Law. This represents half of the French government’s total commitment for JAGUARs and GRIFFONs (excluding the MEPAC variant) to be acquired under the SCORPION programme to renew the medium-tonnage segment of the French Army’s armoured vehicle fleet. The TC4 award comes shortly after an order was placed for 54 GRIFFON MEPAC versions, which are equipped with a 120-mm mortar, with deliveries scheduled from 2024.
These two awards were announced by the French Prime Minister during his visit to Nexter’s Roanne site on 19 February. This latest order underscores France’s continuing confidence in the EBMR consortium partners, which have been ensuring on-time deliveries since the beginning of the programme. It provides Nexter, Arquus and Thales, as well as the entire land defence industrial and technological base in France, with better visibility of their industrial activity through to 2025.
*EBMR: Engin Blindé Multi Role (France’s multi-role armoured vehicle programme)
10 May 22. Polaris and its customers are celebrating 10 years of MRZRs and a news release is below for your information and use. 10 years, 40+ customers, thousands fielded, and countless configurations (troop carrier, CASEVAC, reconnaissance, USMC L-MADIS C-UAS, Raytheon HEL MRZR, TAGRS – USMC Tactical Aviation Ground Refueling System, MRZR GSV – Ground Support Vehicle for Airbus Helicopters (refueling, loading, maintenance and repair), C2 MRZR – Command and Control – USMC Warfighting Lab, Swiss Army Knife, U.S. Army’s Hunter-Killer application (Army AMRDEC), border security, MRZR UGV with APKWS, up to 6 person transport, another 6-person configuration, smoke screen, Manned-Unmanned Teaming, 8-person (!) troop transport, Philippine Presidential Security Group Special Reaction Unit, extended INFIL and EXFIL for SOF.
09 May 22. Rheinmetall MAN Military Vehicles logistic vehicles for Germany: the success story continues. Official handover ceremony for new palletized load-handling system and delivery of 3,000th Unprotected Transport Vehicle. The Rheinmetall MAN Military Vehicles success story continues. At a ceremony in Munich, Michael Wittlinger, Chairman of the Management Board of Rheinmetall MAN Military Vehicles GmbH, and Armin Papperger, Chairman of the Executive Board of Rheinmetall AG, together with the Head of the Land Support Division of the German federal procurement authority Bundesamt für Ausrüstung, Informationstechnik und Nutzung der Bundeswehr (BAAINBw), First Director at the BAAINBw Jan Gesau, officially handed over the key for the new generation of palletized load-handling system to the German Armed Forces – represented by the Commander of the Bundeswehr Logistics Command and General Bundeswehr Logistics, Major General Gerald Funke, Brigadier General Frank Schmitz, Head of the Planning Department at the Joint Support Service Command and Brigadier General Dr. Thomas Czirwitzky as representative of the German Army Office.
A further cause for celebration was the delivery of the 3,000th Unprotected Transport Vehicle, or UTF. The fact that the logistics vehicles are a showcase project in which politics, the armed forces and industry work together successfully was also expressed by the presence of other high-ranking visitors from politics, the Bundeswehr and partner companies. Among others, the Bavarian State Minister of the Interior, Joachim Herrmann, the Deputy Chairman of the Defence Committee of the German Bundestag, Henning Otte, as well as Karsten Klein MdB, Chairman of the Budget Committee, and Bernhard Loos MdB from the Economic Committee took part in the ceremony.
In June 2020 the Bundeswehr entered a framework agreement with Rheinmetall MAN Military Vehicle Systems (RMMV) for the supply of up to 4,000 palletized load-handling systems. The framework agreement runs until 2027. Known in German as “Wechselladersysteme”, or WLS, these palletized load-handling systems are mounted on RMMV’s successful family of HX military trucks ensuring high commonality to the already fielded Unprotected Transport Vehicles, or UTFs. The prime feature of the WLS is the hook loader, developed by the Hiab company. This means that the flatracks in use with the Bundeswehr can be picked up and set down on almost any terrain without the need for additional handling equipment. Alternatively, the vehicles can also transport an interchangeable flatbed or a container via the standardised 20-foot ISO interfaces.
A large share of the Bundeswehr’s WLS trucks feature a protected cabin. The protected WLS will substantially enhance the survivability, sustainment capability and tactical flexibility of the logistic formations of the German Federal Armed Forces.
The WLS is a critically important component of NATO’s Very High Joint Readiness Task Force VJTF 2023, which the Bundeswehr will be furnishing. In March of this year, instruction began for military drivers in the first protected WLS.
For several years now, the Unprotected Transport Vehicle family has been contributing to the operational effectiveness of the German Bundeswehr’s logistic formations. In July 2017 the Bundeswehr contracted with Rheinmetall MAN to supply its new “UTF mil gl in den Zuladungsklassen 5t und 15t” family of unprotected trucks capable of carrying payloads of 5 and 15 tonnes.
“The UTF is a showpiece project that paved the way for new procurement methods,” says Michael Wittlinger. “It was the first large-volume flexible framework agreement. Financed by the German government’s pandemic recovery package, additional vehicles were called-off and delivered. By the beginning of May, 3,000 vehicles had been transferred to the customer – almost a thousand more than envisaged in the original framework agreement for delivery by 2024. RMMV is therefore well ahead of schedule in this project.”
Armin Papperger also emphasised the high importance of the WLS and UTF for the company in his speech. “Both projects from the field of logistics vehicles are closely interwoven, not only from a technical point of view. They are among our lighthouse projects. WLS and UTF show how defence programmes can be carried out in exemplary fashion. This success is the result of close cooperation built on mutual trust between the German parliament, the armed forces and the defence industry – for which great thanks are due to all those involved!”
A large portion of the value added in the WLS and UTF projects – over 75 percent – is generated in Germany. In close coordination with the Bundeswehr, RMMV has boosted its UTF capacity to 1,000 vehicles per year. Against the background that logistical transport capacities are likely to increase further and more vehicles will be needed, the production capacity for the Bundeswehr will be further expanded. RMMV is also moving to greatly increase delivery capacity for WLS trucks. Rheinmetall MAN thus remains a strong, efficient and reliable partner of the Bundeswehr, capable of meeting its delivery commitments even under extremely difficult circumstances, as demonstrated during the coronavirus pandemic and the Ukraine crisis.
Both the WLS and UTF are based on RMMV’s robust HX vehicle family. Designed for military use right from the start, they display outstanding mobility even in tough terrain. The wide distribution of the HX vehicle family around the world brings major advantages when it comes to interoperability and logistics. Among other countries, the circle of user nations now includes the United Kingdom, Australia, New Zealand, Norway, Sweden, Austria, Hungary and Denmark. In cooperation with the armed forces of Germany and other partner nations, RMMV is eager to write new chapters in the success story surrounding the company’s tried-and-tested HX vehicles.
02 May 22. Supacat, in collaboration with AM General and Mandus Group, are integrating a 105mm cannon onto the HMT 600 MK2 using Soft Recoil Technology. Devon-based Supacat Group has today announced that, in collaboration with AM General and Mandus Group, they are integrating a 105mm cannon onto the HMT 600 MK2 using Soft Recoil Technology which is revolutionising artillery systems. More will be unveiled at the Eurosatory 2022 expo in Paris this June. Footnote: In May 2021 AM General and its strategic partner Mandus Group were contracted by the US Army to produce two Hawkeye Mobile Howitzer Systems with Soft Recoil Technology for testing. (Source: www.joint-forces.com)
05 May 22. Over one hundred French Army vehicles from Arquus have been deployed in Romania with the NATO Response Force as part of Mission AIGLE. As a NATO member country, France is currently taking part in several reassurance and cooperation measures in Northern and Eastern Europe. These measures notably include international exercises such as COLD RESPONSE in Norway or BOLD DRAGON in Estonia, but also deployments of units and equipment to Estonia and Romania.
As part of Mission AIGLE (EAGLE), France has deployed in Romania 500 personnel from the 27e Bataillon de Chasseurs Alpins (27th Alpine Hunters Battalion) from Annecy, the 126e Régiment d’Infanterie (126th Infantry Regiment) from Brive-la-Gaillarde, the 4e Régiment de Chasseurs (4th Chasseurs) from Gap and the 93e Régiment d’Artillerie de Montagne (93rd Mountain Artillery Regiment) from Varces, as well as support services. Under France leadership, they form, with the support of another 300 troops from Belgium the Spearhead Battalion of NATO Rapid Response Force in Southeastern Europe.
These units have taken their quarters in Mihail Kogalniceanu base near Constanţa, where they have been welcomed by their Romanian counterparts. The AIGLE battalion has been deployed with a wide variety of combat equipment, including several armoured and non-armoured vehicles, many of which produced and supported by Arquus.
Among the vehicles recently deployed in Romania:
- 43 VAB
- 27 VBL
- 19 PVP
- Several GBC 180
- Several VT4
The deployment of French units and equipment in Romania in the framework of the NATO Response Force will further increase the level of cooperation between the French and Romanian Armies, while strengthening the historical links which have always united the two countries. The future deployment of Romanian elements in the Sahel, alongside their French counterparts, also emphasizes the need for interoperability and mutual training. (Source: www.joint-forces.com)
06 May 22. US Army sparks up ‘electrifying’ plan for future battlefields. In an era of constant competition across the globe, the British Army has announced a major step-change in its commitment to ultra-modern warfare with the publication of its new Battlefield Electrification Approach.
The ambitious vision sets out detailed plans for electrifying the battlefield over the coming decade, a period when we will be relied upon to protect our nation and undertake a range of wider activities oversees.
The drivers for the approach include massive societal change at a time our adversaries invest ever more heavily to challenge our own technological edge and threaten our national interests.
The adoption of innovative technologies, commercial and military, at pace, is critical to achieving competitive advantage as the British Army modernises and transforms.
While future research and experimentation will focus on diverse areas including Artificial Intelligence and Machine Learning, Robotics and Autonomous Systems, Networked Sensors and Effectors, Novel Weapons Robotics and Autonomous Systems (RAS) – it is the electrification of the battlefield that will be the underpinning enabler of the new paradigm with lighter more mobile forces and increased human-machine teaming achieving far more while reducing the risk of harm to our soldiers.
The aim and key to it all will be delivering the right power, in the right place, at the right time, with electrification providing the spark that will ignite the British Army’s transformation.
Electric vehicles will enable significant advances in stealth mode capabilities, with reduced thermal and noise signatures, as well as enhanced mobility over challenging terrain.
A key part of the Army’s Future Soldier vision, the battlefield electrification approach sets out how the Army, over a 15-year period, will focus on an increase in the use of batteries, hybrid electric drives, and other technologies across its vehicle fleet.
With future military land capabilities expected to become increasingly power hungry with the introduction of new weapons, active protection, and an increase in computer processing, the performance of these capabilities will depend on the ability to power, charge, and sustain them.
The Army has already invested £10m fitting hybrid electric drives to Man SV, Jackal and Foxhound vehicles with their performance currently being evaluated.
In the future, one hybrid electric MAN SV vehicle capable of producing over 500 kilowatts of power will be able to replace nine generators.
This means two and a half hybrid MAN SV vehicles could power an Army Field hospital or provide emergency power to relief teams in a disaster zone.
It is just one example of the advantages of the innovative vehicle technology being tested and revealed by the Army’s new approach to battlefield electrification.
The electric motors can also immediately pick up rapid speed which will be a real tactical advantage when accelerating up steep gradients and escaping the enemy.
Trials of pre-production models are currently taking place, including assessments on how to fully recharge electric uncrewed, autonomous systems.
06 May 22. South Korean Army augments Redback export efforts.
The Republic of Korea Army (RoKA) is set to commence local trials of the Hanwha Defence Australia AS21 Redback infantry fighting vehicle (IFV), the South Korean government’s Defense Acquisition Program Administration (DAPA) said in a 30 March statement.
The effort, which will be headed by the RoKA’s 11th Maneuver Division from April to May this year, is aimed at supporting the ongoing campaign to export the Redback IFV. The vehicle is a finalist in the Australian Army’s Land 400 Phase 3 programme alongside Rheinmetall Defence Australia’s KF41 Lynx, which seeks up to 450 IFVs and 17 manoeuvre support vehicles at a potential acquisition cost of A$27 bn.
Three prototype vehicles were deployed to Australia in 2021 for user risk-mitigation trials and other tests. An example returned to South Korea in March, which will be used by the RoKA to assess its field performance – including its mobility, usability, and maintainability – and share test results with its Australian counterpart.
The prototype IFV will also be used to inform South Korea’s Future Infantry Fighting Vehicle (FIFV) programme.
DAPA also noted that the Redback IFV will demonstrate its offboard health and usage management system (HUMS), which monitors and detects component faults in the early stages for preventative maintenance intervention.
The Redback is an improved version of the K21 IFV in RoKA service. According to Hanwha, the vehicle has a combat weight of 42 tons and can accommodate three crew and up to eight fully-equipped dismounts.
The company has teamed up with several local and international partners to push the Redback for the Australian programme. For example, the vehicle is being offered with the new T2000 two-person turret developed by the Canberra-based EOS Defence, which will be armed with a medium-calibre main gun and anti-tank guided missiles and integrated with a command, control, communications, computers, and intelligence (C4I) suite developed in collaboration with Israel’s Elbit Systems.
The turret can also be further enhanced with the EOS R150 or EOS R400S Mk-2-HD remote weapon stations. (Source: AMR)
06 May 22. South Korea continues to push K2 MBT for Norwegian tank requirement. South Korean and Norwegian officials have gathered in Seoul on 2 May to continue bilateral discussions on defence industrial co-operation.
The ninth session of the three-day joint committee meetings, which is aimed at exploring local partnerships to increase defence exports to the Nordic country, included South Korea’s bid to export Hyundai Rotem K2 Black Panther main battle tanks (MBTs) to Norway, the Defense Acquisition Program Administration (DAPA) stated.
The session was chaired by Kim Saeng, Director-General of International Co-operation Bureau at DAPA, and Morten Tiller, National Armaments Director of the Norwegian Ministry of Defence (MoD). Besides Seoul’s competitive bid to supply K2 MBTs to Norway, the two parties will also discuss potential joint-development of advanced weapon systems and technologies.
South Korean Defense Minister Suh Wook had earlier visited Norway in February and held talks with his Norwegian counterpart, Odd Roger Enoksen, with the trip generating cautious optimism for Seoul’s export ambitions for the K2 MBT. However, the latter had eventually resigned from his post in April. The latest joint committee meeting is seen as a vital engagement following that unexpected hiccup.
South Korea had earlier won a contract to deliver 24 Hanwha Land Systems 155 mm K9 Thunder self-propelled howitzers (SPHs) in December 2017 along with six K10 armoured ammunition resupply vehicles worth around US$215 m.
The first batch of K9 Thunders arrived in Norway in late 2019. Once fully operationalised, the new SPH will replace the M109A3GNM systems currently in service with the Norwegian Army. The South Korean system had emerged victorious in a competitive tender which included the French CAESAR, German Panzerhaubitze 2000 (PzH-2000), and the Swiss RUAG M109 Krait upgrade.
Seoul no doubt hopes to ride on the momentum of its K9 Thunder win to help boost its prospects to supply Norway’s next-generation MBT, which will replace the army’s Leopard 2A4 platforms. Its only competitor is Germany’s Krauss-Maffei Wegmann (KMW), whose PzH-2000 system lost out against the Koreans in the SPH programme. KMW has entered its latest Leopard 2A7 MBT.
The Norwegian Defence Materiel Agency (NDMA) announced on 28 January that winter trials for the MBT programme have begun at the Rena camp in Østerdalen, with both companies deploying two tanks each to be evaluated for mobility and shooting performance. A contract is expected to be awarded by the end of the year with deliveries planned to commence from 2025. (Source: AMR)
06 May 22. Boeing and Air Works provide MRO services for Indian Navy’s P-8I aircraft. Boeing India has collaborated with Air Works Group to deliver maintenance, repair and overhaul (MRO) services for the Indian Navy’s P-8I maritime patrol aircraft fleet.
The companies will carry out extensive MRO works on a total of three P-8I aircraft at Air Works facility in Hosur, Tamil Nadu, India.
Boeing Defence India managing director Surendra Ahuja said: “We are proud to build on our existing collaboration with Air Works that enables us to generate significant value for our defence customers in India and contribute towards the Government’s vision of making India an MRO hub for the region.”
The strategic partnership is the first milestone achieved under the Boeing India’s Repair Development and Sustainment (BIRDS) hub.
Launched in 2021, the BIRDS hub aims to partner with local industries and businesses to make India a hub for providing defence and aerospace sustainment capabilities.
Air Works Group managing director and CEO D Anand Bhaskar said: “Maintaining such mission-critical platforms for the nation’s defence forces is a matter of immense pride for Air Works.
“At the same time, it also reflects the ‘coming-of-age’ or maturing of indigenous MRO capabilities in aviation, defence and aerospace which can deliver huge advantages for the country.”
Boeing and Air Works first collaborated to carry out Phase 32 checks for the first P-8I long-range maritime aircraft.
The collaboration has further grown to include other sustainment works, including MRO on the landing gear of the Indian Air Force’s 737 VVIP aircraft and Phase 48 checks.
Recently, Boeing delivered the 12th and the last aircraft to the Indian Ministry of Defence. (Source: naval-technology.com)
06 May 22. Optomec to develop additive repair process for USAF aircraft engine parts. The additive process is estimated to deliver more than 80% in cost savings for the USAF. The US Air Force (USAF) has awarded a contract to Optomec to develop an additive repair process for the aircraft engines’ oversized titanium components.
The components are used on USAF aircraft, including the F22 Raptor and F35 Lightning II.
Under the $1.5m contract, Optomec will develop metal additive manufacturing system, which will help repair the parts.
The integrally bladed rotors (IBR), also known as the blisks, are single-piece compressor rotors that often gets damaged or worn out in the normal use.
Cost of replacing each of the lightweight, titanium-alloy blisks can amount to more than $500,000, noted the company.
With Optomec’s additive repair process, the USAF is expected to save more than 80% of the total repair cost, including tens of ms of dollars in annual investment.
The contract will see Optomec deliver and induct a five-axis LENS/DED metal printer, along with a work envelope of 5ft x 5ft x 3ft, which can handle blisks with diameter of up to 46in.
In addition, the system includes a proprietary gas purification system, which is required when depositing titanium to ensure superior metallurgical properties.
The gas purification system can maintain a moisture-free environment (<10ppm).
The company will examine different process monitoring techniques’ efficacy. The techniques are used to track main variables, which serve as measure for quality assurance and verification.
The project will also showcase feasible repairs for large blisks, as well as the restoration of foreign object damage (FOD) and representative wear across several areas of individual blades.
Optomec will also repair different sections of an aircraft’s large scale blisk for spin fit testing, which will be the primary step for qualification.
Optomec business development vice-president Jamie Hanson said: “Optomec is best positioned to deliver production solutions to this growing need, based on its proprietary machine, software and process capabilities, combined with its existing position as the market leader delivering machines for production repair of individual turbine blades.” (Source: airforce-technology.com)
09 May 22. “Focus On Logistics, Not Material” – UK commercial drone expert calls for focus on maintaining supply chains to save Donbas region. As nations around the world continue to pledge bns in military support to Ukraine, and Russia continues to cut off supply lines to Ukrainians on the front lines and those trapped in cities in the Donbas, the question as to how we get supplies across Ukraine to where they’re most needed is as pertinent as ever. UK Drone expert, Robert Garbett, CEO and Founder of Drone Major Group Ltd, is calling for world leaders to “think more laterally” and consider deploying commercial drones to improve supply chains to help Ukraine.
“In any war, food, fuel, ammunition and medical re-supplies to frontline troops and besieged civilians is critical to success, and with thousands of people still trapped in areas dominated by Russian forces, delivering these key resources quickly, regularly and without further risk to human life is a must. Sadly, in many areas, delivering supplies by rail, road or traditional air transport is becoming extremely risky or impossible due to military activity. Every day, volunteers risk their lives to deliver supplies to Ukrainian frontline forces or beleaguered civilians, and sadly, many give their lives in doing so.”
In particular, Ukraine’s rail network, one of the largest in the world, with 12,400 miles of track, has played a huge role in the conflict so far, delivering refugees, aid and military ordnance to and from Eastern Ukraine. In recent weeks, Russia has recognised this much, targeting rail junctions in central and western Ukraine to stop inbound military aid from Western nations that are resupplying Ukrainians in the east of the country.
As western countries move to commit bns more in aid to Ukraine – the UK alone pledging a further £1.3bn in miliary support – there is a risk they will not be able to reach the East of the largest country in Europe. Robert Garbett, one of the world’s leading advisors on the advanced capabilities of unmanned air systems [drones] – has stressed the potential for commercial drone technology to provide an innovative, lower-risk solution to the mounting issue of keeping Ukrainians in the east of Ukraine supplied sufficiently supplied to push back Putin’s army.
Robert Garbett added: “Since the start of the conflict in Ukraine, unmanned air systems (UAS), otherwise known as air drones, have played an important role in the defence of the country against Russian aggression. Whether they are military offensive systems delivering devastating effects on advancing Russian convoys or small drone camera systems providing intelligence in support of defensive operations and targeting for ground-based anti-tank weapons, air drones have undoubtedly been instrumental in enabling the Ukrainian military to mount an effective defence against the Russian invasion, but we have yet to unleash their true potential to support Ukraine’s supply-chain infrastructure.
Imagine an army of air drones from a range of global manufacturers that can deliver a range of cargo from 20Kg to 500kg of critical supplies to locations across Ukraine. With a huge range of fixed-wing, rotary-wing, gyrocopter or hybrid aircraft operating in a co-ordinates network of short and long-range supply lines, we could provide an almost inexhaustible supply-chain to deliver anything that front line forces or trapped civilians might need without risking a single human life.
Flying at night, close to the ground (nap of the earth) and employing specialist technology to allow flights in areas where Global Navigation Satellite Systems (GNSS) are jammed and coatings designed to significantly reduce radar cross-section, it would be possible to significantly enhance supply lines into the Ukrainian frontline or into Russian controlled areas or frontline locations. Of course, there would be losses…but not in human life and replenishing these vehicles would be cost effective and rapid, so surely, we should be exploring and implementing this technology as a matter of urgency.
These capabilities are available now through the application of commercial drone technology and at a tiny fraction of the cost of just one military offensive air drone system… so why aren’t we using it? Understandably, requests for air drone technology from Ukraine focusses on the need for military grade offensive systems and small Chinese camera systems because they have been, and continue to be, effective in a rapidly moving conflict but, it is also a fact that no-one is offering them, and you don’t know what you don’t know. The missed opportunity is that, in the desire to supply Ukraine with what it is asking for, it seems no one is considering alternative methods for turning the tide against Putin’s aggression.
Of course, drones could be utilised for more than just logistics. Fast-moving, quiet air drone systems in an electronic warfare role to disrupt Russian communications on the ground or confuse Russian aircraft; small systems can also be used to deliver passive target acquisition beacons to increase the efficacy of defence systems. The long and short of it is that while we are slowly making progress, I believe more could be done if we think more creatively about how we can utilise drones to help people across Ukraine – whether they be fighting on the front line or trapped in besieged towns and cities – gain better access to the supplies that nations across the globe have so generously and bravely donated.
During the Second World War, the British were famous for their ingenuity in the face of adversity and tyranny, and so it can be again…Now is the time to show we can provide powerful solutions using existing civilian air drone technology sourced from suppliers around the world to deliver a co-ordinated logistics supply and relief effort. Coupled with ingenuity and the determination of the Ukrainian people I believe that this can make a huge difference in the struggle ahead, keeping front line forces and trapped civilians supplied. Morale is one of the core principles of war and resupply is essential to its maintenance. To win the war in Ukraine, we need to focus on logistics, not material.”
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