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27 May 22. Bushmaster and Hawkei for UK? Sources suggest that as part of the Hunt Class Type 26 and forthcoming AUKUS submarine Offset agreements, that the UK is looking at a government-to-government deal to buy Bushmaster vehicles under the stalled MRV(P) requirement for ambulances and light vehicles in preference to the Oshkosh JLTV. The source suggested that the vehicles will be assembled in Scotland, possibly at the Govan shipyard. In other news the same source said that the Hanwha Redback vehicle is slated to win in Australia against the Rheinmetall Lynx for the Land 400 Phase 3 Requirement.
27 May 22. Brazil prepares international competition for armed recon vehicle. The Brazilian Army has written up requirements for its next eight-wheel drive armored reconnaissance vehicle, following approval for the service to buy up to 221 of the platforms — each armed with either a 105mm or 120mm gun — according to sources and an Army document seen by Defense News.
The VBC Cav-MSR procurement effort replaces another program known as VBR-MR.
The Army’s General Staff is now awaiting approval to publish the rules and schedule for industry bids. Companies that have already expressed interest include Italy’s Iveco-Oto Melara Consortium, which is offering the Centauro II; General Dynamics European Land Systems, with the eight-wheel drive LAV 700; and China North Industries Group Corporation Limited (otherwise known as NORINCO), with its ST1.
The program is meant to replace part of the Army’s fleet of EE-9 Cascavel six-wheel drive armored reconnaissance vehicles, which are armed with 90mm guns. It’s unclear how much money the government authorized for the effort.
Sources with knowledge of Brazil’s vehicle procurement efforts spoke to Defense News about the Army’s progress thus far, speaking on the condition of anonymity because they were not authorized to talk to the press.
An official Army bulletin dated May 20 stated that the ordinance EME/C Ex No. 716, signed on May 9 by the service’s chief of staff, Gen. Valério Stumpf, is now in force and defines the operational requirements for the new armored vehicle.
Under plans made in the last decade, the EE-9s were to be replaced by a heavier eight-wheel drive version of Iveco Brasil’s six-wheel drive Guarani, also known as VBR-MR (or Viatura Blindada de Reconhecimento—Média Sobre Rodas in Portuguese, and loosely translated to English as Armored Reconnaissance Vehicle on Wheels).
Development for the VBR-MR began in 2014, with production samples to be delivered for testing at the start of 2020. But financial problems slowed down the program, and amid a lack of resources, the development process and ability to fit a locally made tower with a 105mm gun on the wheeled vehicle became impossible. The program was ultimately suspended in 2017.
Even after considering a 90mm gun as the VBR-MR’s main weapon, the Army decided in 2019 to keep its original 105mm requirement, without ruling out 120mm as an option, and to seek a foreign solution, which would be selected through an international competition.
What will happen to the EE-9?
The armored reconnaissance vehicle Brazil eventually selects is to replace half of the approximately 400-strong EE-9 fleet in service with the Army. Brazil has acquired about 600 Cascavels from the 1970s through the 1980s.
Meanwhile, up to 201 of the EE-9s that remain in service will undergo refurbishment and modernization by Força Terrestre, a consortium led by local firm Akaer and also made up of Universal Engenharia and Opto Space and Defense. In early May, the group was awarded a $14.5 million contract to produce two prototypes of the upgraded EE-9, with assurances Brazil would hire it to modernize at least 98 of the vehicles.
The upgrade package for the EE-9s includes a new, indigenous turret to be developed by Akaer to replace the original one, keeping the 90mm gun but adding Spike anti-tank missiles from Israeli firm Rafael Advanced Defense Systems as well as fitting on new sensors and optronic systems for targeting. The vehicles will also get more powerful and fuel-efficient engines as part of a completely new locomotive system.
More than 1,000 EE-9s have been exported around the world, with several hundred still in service. (Source: Defense News)
27 May 22. UK to send 70 Husky vehicles to Ghana. The UK troops will also provide related training regarding the operation and regular maintenance of the vehicles. The UK is set to send 70 armoured vehicles to Ghana to help the latter increase security along the northern parts of the border.
The announcement comes during UK Minister for Africa Vicky Ford’s visit to Ghana. This is the minister’s second visit to the country this year and aimed to further strengthen the bilateral partnership between the two nations.
As part of the UK-Ghana security and defence partnership, a deal will see 70 Husky vehicles arriving in the African country, the Ghana News Agency reported, citing a statement issued by the UK High Commission in Accra.
Besides reinforcing security, the deployment of the armoured vehicles will help in protecting the local communities near the northern border from extremists.
As part of the deal, the UK armed forces will also provide training to the Ghanaian troops. This will include offering vehicle operation and maintenance training to a group of Ghanaian instructors.
Based on the International MXT model, the Husky is designed as a medium-armoured, high-mobility tactical support vehicle (TSV).
The vehicle can be used for patrolling missions. It has three variants including a utility vehicle, ambulance, and command post vehicle.
Minister Ford was quoted by the news agency as saying: “I am proud to use my visit to announce a successful deal between our nations that will see 70 armoured Husky vehicles deployed to Northern Ghana to ensure the safety of vulnerable communities.”
Bilateral trade between the UK and Ghana totals nearly $1bn so far. The British Government is working to increase the figure by the end of 2024. (Source: army-technology.com)
26 May 22. Rheinmetall readies Oto Melara buy-in, with its Lynx fighting vehicle in mind. Germany’s Rheinmetall will make an offer to take a minority stake in Italian cannon maker Oto Melara within a month, a source acquainted with the operation has told Defense News.
If accepted, the deal would see off reported interest in Oto Melara from KNDS – the alliance of Germany’s Krauss-Maffei Wegmann and France’s Nexter which sounded out Oto Melara’s owner, Italian state controlled Leonardo, about a sale last year.
Leonardo has been keen to sell part or all of the firm, considering it non-core as it focuses on electronics, helicopters, aircraft and cyber technology.
Oto Melara produces turrets for fighting vehicles and naval cannons which have been purchased by navies around the world. It also teams with Italian firm Iveco to build wheeled fighting vehicles.
Rheinmetall’s wish to take a minority stake, rather than the 100 percent purchase reportedly proposed by KNDS, has garnered favor with Italian politicians concerned about ceding the firm to a foreign buyer just as the Ukraine war ups the value of armored vehicle know-how.
If the operation goes ahead and Rheinmetall takes a stake in the firm, it would offer to build in Italy its Lynx vehicle to fulfill the Italian army’s requirement for a new light tracked fighting vehicle, the source said.
The new vehicle would replace Italy’s ageing Dardo vehicles. Oto Melara is currently valued at 500 million to 600 million euros ($536-$644 million), but its value is expected to grow if and when it obtains work on the new vehicle.
Last year’s Italian defense spending document predicted the new vehicle program would cost 2.14 billion euros ($2.29 billion) spread over 14 years.
The turret of the Italian Lynx could be supplied by Oto Melara and the communications by Leonardo, said the source, who could not be named because he was unauthorized to speak to the media.
Through its Italian unit Rheinmetall Italia, the German firm already operates six facilities in Italy and employs 2,500.
KNDS and Italy’s state-controlled shipyard Fincantieri may now also make offers to take stakes in Oto Melara.
A 2021 defense budget document stated that the Italian government is keen on developing its new tracked fighting vehicle in a “multi-national context, based on alliances between solid European entities that already collaborate with Italian firms.”
Such a deal would help prepare the ground for Italy’s involvement in the fledgling European plan for a common main battle tank, the document said.
Both KNDS and Rheinmetall are already part of the program, known as the Main Ground Combat System. (Source: Defense News Early Bird/Defense News)
26 May 22. UK gifts £1m Land Rover spare parts to Lebanese Army. Land Rover Defender vehicles form the backbone of the LAF’s mobility the spare parts will keep the LAF’s Land Rovers on the front line for the foreseeable future. As part of our continuing support and partnership with the Lebanese Armed Forces (LAF), through the UK’s Conflict and Stability Fund (CSSF), British Ambassador to Lebanon Dr. Ian Collard announced the gifting of Land Rover spares worth £1m to support the LAF in its mission to defend the security and stability of Lebanon.
In a handover ceremony organised at the Lebanese Army Logistical base in Kfarshima, Ambassador Collard oversaw the gifting of the Land Rover spare parts by the British Government. In attendance were Brigadier General Pilot Ziad Haykal, Deputy Chief of Staff for G4, representing the Armed Forces Commander, General Joseph Aoun, Brigadier General Ibrahim Abboud, Commander of the Logistics Brigade, British Defence Attaché Colonel Lee Saunders and Head of Security Programme Sarah Kronfol.
After the ceremony, Ambassador Collard said: “I am proud to be able to gift spare Land Rover parts worth £1m to contribute to the LAF’s resilience and operational readiness. The role of the Lebanese Armed Forces is crucial to safeguarding Lebanon and its people, particularly in these increasingly challenging times. A team of military mechanics from the UK’s 16 Air Assault Brigade is currently deployed to support LAF mechanics and maintenance facilities across Lebanon. Our continuing partnership will further enhance LAF resilience and readiness.”
Focussing on the Land Rover Defender vehicles that form the backbone of the LAF’s mobility, the UK team is working with the LAF to support routine maintenance and more complex mechanical repairs that will keep the LAF’s Land Rovers on the front line for the foreseeable future. Since 2010, the UK has committed over £85 m, through its Conflict, Security and Stability fund, allowing the LAF to optimise its capabilities, develop and modernise to become a respected, professional armed forces able to defend Lebanon and provide security along its border with Syria. (Source: https://www.gov.uk/)
24 May 22. Czech Republic to receive Leopard 2 tanks from Germany. Germany will supply Leopard 2A4 tanks to the Czech Republic, the two countries’ ministries of defence (MoDs) announced on 18 May. The German MoD, in a press release, described the donation as backfill in support of the Czech Republic supplying heavy equipment to Ukraine.
However, the Czech MoD told Janes on 23 May, “The German decision to provide 15 tanks is a sign of appreciation to all the efforts of the Czech Republic to provide as much military equipment as possible to Ukraine since the beginning of the Russian invasion. However, it is not tied to any specific Czech deliveries.”
The German MoD said that Germany would pay for the tanks from industry stock, and the Bundeswehr would train Czech crews. Germany will also provide ammunition and spare parts for the tanks. (Source: Janes)
25 May 22. Milrem Robotics launches an autonomous ISR UGV, the THeMIS Observe. The European leading robotics and autonomous systems developer Milrem Robotics will launch a newly developed autonomous Intelligence, Surveillance and Reconnaissance (ISR) unmanned ground system THeMIS Observe that will be showcased during the fourth iMUGS project demonstration in Belgium.
“A UGV based ISR system significantly increases a tactical unit’s reaction speed on targets as well as the stand-off distance from enemy units,” explained Cpt (res) Jüri Pajuste, Defence Research Director at Milrem Robotics. “Thanks to that the capability and survivability of tactical reconnaissance units will increase considerably,” Pajuste said, adding that this type of capability is usually not available on one platform for light infantry units.
The THeMIS Observe is based on Milrem Robotics’ THeMIS UGV and integrated with ISR equipment from various leaders in their fields. The system includes the Z:Sparrowhawk camera from HENSOLDT, the Squire radar by Thales, Metravib Defence Pearl acoustic shot detection and the ROSY (Rapid Obscuring System) by Rheinmetall. The system can also be equipped with a light remote weapon station.
“The combination of those systems allows units to do multi-sensor identification on one platform and react faster on emerging targets,” Pajuste added.
Additionally, the THeMIS Observe is equipped with Milrem’s Intelligent Functions Kit that enables autonomous functions such as follow-me, waypoint navigation with obstacle detection and avoidance.
The THeMIS Observe will be demonstrated during the European Commission’s European Defence Industrial Development Programme (EDIDP) funded iMUGS project’s fourth demonstration in Belgium in June. The iMUGS project aims to develop a European standardized unmanned ground system (EUGS). During the project, modular and scalable architecture for hybrid manned-unmanned systems will be developed to standardize a European wide ecosystem.
The system will also be on display at Eurosatory on Milrem Robotics’ stand in Hall 6 K 253.
25 May 22. SA Defence minister admits Badger IFV unlikely to happen. The SA Army is unlikely to see any Badger infantry fighting vehicles (IFVs) supposed to be procured under the more than a decade old Project Hoefyster, with Defence and Military Veterans Minister Thandi Modise conceding no progress was made in recent years and Armscor recommends cancelling the contract.
Is the project to replace the Ratel and its variants with the Badger and its variants cancelled, Democratic Alliance (DA) shadow defence and military veterans minister Kobus Marais wanted to know from the Minister.
Replying to his parliamentary question, Modise’s written response dated 15 May reads in part “Denel, by their own written admission, has conceded that they cannot complete Project Hoefyster within specification, budget or timescale.”
“Over the past three years there has been virtually no progress on the project due to financial and capacity constraints within Denel. As a responsible acquisition agency, the board of directors of Armscor resolved during December 2021 to cancel the Project Hoefyster industrialisation and production contract on Denel in principle, conditional on engagement with all relevant stakeholders.
“Based on a recommendation by the SA Army, Armscor submitted to the DoD (Department of Defence) Acquisition Forums that Project Hoefyster be deferred upon completion of Phase One (Development) by Denel. Completion of Phase One would imply that a baseline would be established for the future industrialisation and production of the range of vehicles, should funding become available and sufficient capacity within the domestic defence industry exist. Completion of Phase One and establishing an acceptable baseline would imply [that] the cost of development would not be regarded as fruitless and wasteful.”
She further informs Marais R200 m is needed to complete the development phase over a three year period. Production, Modise states, will take six years, again funding dependent. It would cost an estimated R9 bn.
Canning Hoefyster does not affect the need of the SA Army, particularly its Infantry Formation, for an IFV to replace the Ratel, currently in service for 48 years and when taken into use, the first wheeled IFV.
Options to provide another IFV to the landward force include a Ratel upgrade. This would use engines, gearboxes and other components acquired for Hoefyster. Modise told Marais investigation of the “most appropriate and cost effective solution” would only start when the Hoefyster cancellation is confirmed.
“The DoD supports the pursuance of a replacement for the Ratel ICV in order to stimulate and support the South African defence industry (SADI)” as well as maintain specialist capabilities, Modise states with a warning to end her reply.
“The pursuance of an acquisition of a replacement or upgrade of the Ratel would be subject to sufficient funds being allocated to the DoD to meet the requirement.”
Spending on Hoefyster, Parliament’s Portfolio Committee on Defence and Military Veterans (PCDMV) heard in February, is R7.6 bn to date. When VAT, escalation and the ubiquitous “other costs” are included, Armscor values the entire project at R16.2 bn.
Hoefyster was planned to deliver 246 Badger vehicles to partially replace the long-serving Ratels. Five variants – command, missile, section, fire support and mortar – were announced for the new wheeled vehicles.
Denel is unable to complete Project Hoefyster due to insufficient capability. Earlier this year Armscor recommended cancelling the Badger contract as Denel Land Systems (DLS) cannot deliver and recalling R1.4 bn in bank guarantees as well as R550 m covered by Denel. Hoefyster items worth R1.2 bn could be sold off.
Interim Denel Chief Executive William Hlakoane told defenceWeb Hoefyster, which is a dozen years late, suffered a myriad of issues, including scope creep as well as designing and building simultaneously. “We are still committed to deliver, but not under the same budget,” he said. “Is there still a need for the full 220 Badgers? The SA Army survived so far without it. Maybe we only need to supply 60 to 80.” A final decision will be made by Armscor and the DoD. (Source: https://www.defenceweb.co.za/)
24 May 22. BAE Systems showcases unmanned vehicle built on M113 chassis at EDGE22. BAE Systems has exhibited a Robotic Technology Demonstrator (RTD) built on the lower hull of the M113 armoured fighting vehicle as part of its bid to develop a vehicle that meets US Army requirements for the Robotic Combat Vehicle-Medium (RCV-M). The vehicle was demonstrated on 19 May at the Experimental Demonstration Gateway Exercise 2022 (EDGE22), an exercise held in preparation for Project Convergence 2022, the US Army’s yearly warfighting and integration experiment. BAE Systems first exhibited its RTD in 2019, but it has since undergone a number of significant changes in design. Janes understands this specific configuration displayed at EDGE22 has been in development since 2021. The vehicle was exhibited with a Fletcher 70 mm rocket launcher mounted and composite rubber tracks (CRT). Explaining the rationale for the use of the M113 as a base vehicle, Helen Park, Future Tech Works director at BAE Systems, told Janes (Source: Janes)
23 May 22. On 19 May, Clive Sheldon QC was formally appointed to conduct the follow-on review of the Ajax AFV procurement programme.
On 19 May, Clive Sheldon QC was formally appointed to conduct the follow-on review of the Ajax Programme.
In December 2021, Ministry of Defence’s Director Health, Safety and Environmental Protection published conclusions and recommendations from his review of health and safety on the Ajax programme. This found failings not only in the handling of health and safety concerns raised during vehicle trials, but also in MoD’s acquisition system more generally.
Clive Sheldon QC will lead the Ajax Lessons Learned Review that will help the department deliver major programmes more effectively in future.
Terms of Reference
To: Clive Sheldon QC
Aim: In light of the delay to date in delivering the Armoured Cavalry programme (Ajax), you are to conduct an independent focused review into the programme. You should identify lessons and make recommendations to help Ministry of Defence (MoD) deliver major programmes more effectively in future, with a particular focus on how MoD shares and elevates issues across the Department and the commands.
In order to encourage openness, evidence given during the course of the review will not be used in disciplinary proceedings unless there is evidence of gross misconduct, in which case, individuals will be subject to appropriate sanction.
AJAX at IAV 2020 [©Bob Morrison]
Scope: The review should examine the following areas in light of the experience with the Ajax programme, identifying any lessons that can be applied more broadly across defence:
- how should the leadership, culture and governance in MoD (including in the armed forces and relevant arms-length bodies) relating to the delivery of future major programmes be improved to ensure timely and appropriate elevation of problems to the right levels within the department (including to ministers) and the commands
- you should focus on systemic and process issues as well as individual action and inaction. This should include looking at whether individuals are aware of how to elevate problems – informally and formally – and whether senior personnel are given appropriate training on acting upon the information received
The review should not examine or make findings on the accuracy of any complaints regarding:
- the existence of noise and vibration problems on armoured fighting vehicles
- military communication systems used in armoured fighting vehicles
The review should not consider the ongoing delivery of the Ajax programme. It is the responsibility of General Dynamics Land Systems-UK to deliver a vehicle that is fit for purpose and meets the contractual specification.
The review should seek to avoid making findings on issues which in due course may fall to be determined by other bodies, for example, contractual disputes and personal injury claims.
Resources: Dedicated secretariat support will be provided for the review. You should familiarise yourself with key documents setting out the MoD’s operating model and acquisition processes and evidence that informed major decision points on the programme.
Schedule/Reporting: You will report to MoD ministers through the MoD Second Permanent Secretary and provide regular updates on progress. You should advise ministers of the likely duration of your review within one month of starting. (Source: www.joint-forces.com)
BATTLESPACE Comment: Given that the terms of reference stated are procedural not contractual, this appointment of Mr Sheldon will no doubt slow down the final Report on Ajax which we now won’t see until the late summer at the earliest. Sources suggest that the Ajax programme is being ‘stretched,’ with the earliest ISD of 2032.
20 May 22. BAE Systems’ New CV90 Combat Support Vehicles Delivered to Norway. The four CV90 vehicles are the first of 20 modernized CV90 engineering vehicles BAE Systems will deliver, in partnership with Ritek and the Norwegian Defense Materiel Agency. (Credit: BAE Systems) The first CV90 combat support vehicles were delivered to the Norwegian Armed Forces during a ceremony hosted by local industry partner Ritek AS in Levanger, Norway. The four vehicles are the first of 20 modernized CV90 engineering vehicles BAE Systems will deliver, in partnership with Ritek and the Norwegian Defense Materiel Agency.
“While rebuilding these vehicles, it has been important for the government that Norwegian jobs are supported,” said Bent Joacim Bentzen, the State Secretary in the Ministry of Defense. “This has been possible thanks to a smooth and well-functioning collaboration between the Armed Forces, Defence Material Agency, Ritek, and the licenser BAE Systems Hägglunds.”
Partnering with the Norwegian defense industry was a key factor in getting the contract signed and the vehicles into production quickly, under measures implemented by the Norwegian parliament to support the country’s economy through the challenges posed by the coronavirus pandemic.
BAE Systems serves as the main supplier, while Ritek plays a central role in purchasing, logistics, final assembly, and integration. Ritek has also been responsible for coordinating the project and growing the participation of Norwegian industry. As a result, about 20 Norwegian companies are now qualified suppliers of products and components for the CV90 vehicles, and an integral part of BAE Systems’ Norwegian supply chain.
“This is an example of how it is possible to achieve fast deliveries through well-functioning cooperation,” said Gro Jære, Director of the Defence Material Agency. “Just over a year after the contract was signed, we can now confirm that we are in the process of delivering the latest production series of CV90-based combat support vehicles to the Armed Forces. I would like to thank BAE Systems, Ritek, and my project staff for their flexibility, focus on delivery, and effort so far.”
The close cooperation between all parties has broadened Norway’s overall national capacity in the defense vehicle space and its preparedness to support the vehicles. The Norwegian CV90 fleet is fully digitalized, and among the most advanced combat vehicles in the world.
“Norway should be proud of its ability to work with political leaders, procurement authorities, and industry to innovate and meet challenges like COVID-19 in a world of uncertainty,” said Tommy Gustafsson-Rask, managing director of BAE Systems Hägglunds. “Yet again, this milestone project demonstrates the strength of the relationships between all partners by delivering high-quality vehicles, on time and on cost.”
The delivery ceremony coincided with the completion of Ritek’s new assembly hall for the CV90 project, which increases the total workshop area to 5,500 square meters. The hall is designed to meet all requirements for lifting capacity and flexibility in Ritek’s existing defense-related project portfolio and for future projects. (Source: ASD Network)
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