Sponsored by TEK Military Seating Limited
09 Sep 22. Is the Added Armour Package on Ajax causing the weight and vibration issues? The original Pizarro design was based on a24 tonne chassis with the accompanying suspension system. The UK Ajax weight is now up to 44 tonnes which includes the added armour packages, one, a lighter version for urban warfare and heavier battlefield package with a blast belly plate. Sources suggest that the Plasan package was seen as too heavy with another lighter Israeli system requested but refused. This added weight will put considerable stress on the existing suspension system for which Horstman offered an upgrade package which was refused, given that the vehicle would have to be requalified. In other news, a source suggested that one of possible source of the noise issues could be a problem identified in the engine bay but left unsolved.
26 Aug 22. Under one roof – vehicle architecture and SitaWare. Modern armoured vehicles are becoming increasingly complex platforms, as an ever-growing number of sensors, effectors, communications systems, and more are being added. But how to make the most efficient use of them, and ensure they all work together?
Underpinning modern armoured vehicle design is a common principle, referred to as a generic vehicle architecture (GVA). The overarching aim of a GVA is to help deliver common standards, ease system integration, and reduce risks and costs, while also ensuring that future upgrades can be undertaken easily. This helps end-users avoid vendor lock-in, as well as migrating new and legacy subsystems to support cross-fleet interoperability.
Work on a formalised GVA standard began in the United Kingdom and has continued over the past 20-30 years to develop a baseline GVA standard, with NATO also developing a standard, NATO GVA (NGVA), and Australia also creating their own standard (AS-GVA). Early efforts at delivering this standard focused on the power and electrical systems within a vehicle, before evolving to include data systems and subsystem integration.
GVA now promotes the idea that data is to be in the centre, and systems and applications can be both consumers and providers of data. The design seeks to lay the foundation to avoid direct system-to-system, system-to-sensor integrations by describing a common approach based on data, use cases/workflows, and using the same technology for exchanging data.
“Under earlier vehicle design and subsystem integration practices, systems sometimes each required their own sensor for essentially the same data, which also meant duplicated integration into the overall vehicle architecture,” Christoph Pauls, Business Product Manager at Systematic, said. “Under the concept of GVA, this could be simplified. For example, a vehicle may have had multiple GPS receivers to provide the position to the radios, battle management system, inertial navigation system, remote controlled weapons stations, and so on. Under GVA principles only one GPS receiver system is needed, and its data is easily shared out to each subsystem through a common software data bus.”
This means that there is a reduction in cabling and external antennas, as well as reduced power consumption to support these common subsystems. This can support positive changes in other areas such as reductions in overall vehicle weight, added space availability for extra loads, increased protection, or improved ergonomics for passengers. Other benefits can include easier maintenance and a reduced number of components that can break and potentially undermine vehicle availability.
Data communication under GVA
Data exchange is governed through the Land Data Model, allowing for specified information to be transferred over standardised interfaces such as ethernet cables. Enabling an open systems architecture allows for “interoperability by design,” which can mean both within the vehicle’s own subsystems, as well as in sharing data with other vehicles and units.
SitaWare Frontline, the battle management system (BMS) designed for mounted commanders, has been designed from the outset as a modular and extendable system to allow for easy integration with various radios, sensors, and vehicle and weapons stations. A public API and software development kit also allows original equipment manufacturers to smooth the integration journey, and supports customer choice in vehicle subsystems and equipment, while futureproofing SitaWare Frontline equipped vehicles.
SitaWare Tactical Communication acts as the core backbone underpinning the integration between the BMS, radio systems, and vehicle, weapon, and sensor interfaces. Integrations with external sensors and systems can be saved and reused on other GVA-compliant vehicles, thereby reducing the costs of redevelopment on vehicles developed to the same GVA standard.
Upgrade and update cycles
The process of upgrading and updating the technology within a military vehicle is made even more complicated by the different timeframes for technology refreshes, Pauls said.
“We typically see the IT side of a vehicle platform or subsystem going through an innovation cycle every one to two years. For the electronics side – the networking infrastructure, power interfaces, plugs, and cabling, and so on – this goes through an innovation or replacement cycle every four to six years. The mechanical componentry, which brings in new mounts and cabling, as well as other interfaces or entirely new systems, could only be really changed every 10-20 years.”
As a result, the IT systems within an armoured vehicle are usually added in at the end of the initial development cycle to ensure that all the planned subsystems can be integrated together. However, with the IT environment constantly evolving to account for a range of factors such as cybersecurity, changing interoperability requirements, and new subsystems and payloads, it is essential to keep updating it.
Working with an agile open architecture software system such as SitaWare Frontline that can be easily upgraded and patched as necessary is essential. If changes and upgrades to the software system deployed through a vehicle requires a corresponding significant hardware refurbishment, then costs can rapidly increase. More extensive and invasive works can reduce the availability of vehicles, and potentially require further re-integration work of existing subsystems. The ability to migrate an IT system to a broader fleet is also a key part in ensuring that a national operating capability can be maintained, and supporting interoperability across vehicles undertaking different roles in support of operations.
Current methods employed for fleet software upgrades help to ensure that vehicles equipped with SitaWare Frontline can operate the latest technology quickly, and that user profiles can be easily transferred from one SitaWare Frontline-equipped vehicle to another. New technology is being developed by Systematic to further improve the ease of system upgrades and support, allowing for rapid deployment of new software, drivers, and firmware.
SitaWare Frontline as an ISR tool
As the variety of sensor and effector systems are integrated, the ability for the vehicle commander to improve their situational awareness through a single screen is dramatically increased.
Sensor data gathered by a vehicle can be rapidly disseminated automatically to SitaWare Insight, feeding into a data lake and being assessed as part of a regular intelligence cycle by analysts. Vehicle commanders operating SitaWare Frontline are then able to take advantage of the resulting analysis to change mission plans dynamically or reorient rapidly to address new threats. As a result, a SitaWare Frontline equipped armoured vehicle can be a powerful asset to any mission, being able to rapidly improve and support situational awareness.
07 Sep 22. Irish Defence Forces Award New Military Bridging Contract to WFEL. WFEL, world leading supplier of rapidly deployable military bridges, has signed a contract with the Irish Defence Forces for the supply of the MGB Medium Girder Bridging System. The Irish Defence Forces have chosen the 31m double storey MGB variant, which can be erected in various configurations to cover the full range of military and emergency bridging requirements and will be supplied complete with handrails, making the system adaptable for use not only during military operations but also in Disaster Relief and Emergency scenarios, such as the severe flooding situations seen in Europe recently.
The Irish Military have been users of WFEL’s MGB Medium Girder Bridging System since the late 1970s and are therefore already familiar with the many benefits of this versatile, modular bridging system. The Corps of Engineers – military engineering branch of the Defence Forces of Ireland – will take delivery of the new MGB bridging. The Corps is responsible for combat engineering and construction engineering services, providing engineering on the battlefield and has successfully leveraged its skill and expertise in several of the Irish Army’s deployments on United Nations operations.
Colonel Damian McEvoy, Director of Engineering for the Irish Defence Forces, said, “As long-time users of the Medium Girder Bridge system, we are already familiar with its many benefits and, by updating our bridging assets with the latest version of the MGB, we will continue to be equipped with the most versatile, modular bridging system available, allowing our Engineering Division to rapidly react to situations both on and off the battlefield.
“Of particular importance to us is the lightweight nature of the MGB system, not only for reducing transportation weight, but to enable the bridge components to be handled by our troops without the need for mechanical aids”.
With over 500 systems already supplied to militaries around the world, the MGB modular military bridging system provides interoperability with any other MGB of any age and is already adopted by many NATO members.
A full support and training package is included in the contract and the Irish Defence Forces can expect delivery of their new bridging assets by the end of 2023.
WFEL is currently supplying 17 Sets of its MGB Medium Girder Bridges to the UK MoD, following a review of the MoD’s modular gap crossing capabilities, which aimed to draw together existing in-service capabilities into a single coherent capability. One of the key criteria for this contract was the fact that the MGB system can be configured in several different ways to provide flexibility to the Commander on the ground.
Tom Winney, Business Development Director at WFEL, said, “We are delighted to be working closely with the Irish Defence Force once again and refreshing their military bridging stocks with the latest MGB systems, to provide vital engineer capabilities. We are seeing increased interest in our MGB bridging systems worldwide, due to their modular and versatile nature, as forces worldwide recognise the need for rapid gap-crossing capability to ensure unrestricted manoeuvre for vehicles of up to 70 tonnes.”
07 Sep 22. African nations developing air transport sharing mechanism. African nations are looking at developing an Air Transport Sharing Mechanism to improve the African Union’s airlift capability, and a conference to this effect was recently concluded in Botswana.
The conference took place in Kasane, Botswana, from 22 to 26 August during the 5th Liaison Officer Working Group hosted by US Air Forces Africa and the Botswana Defence Force.
“The ATSM [Air Transport Sharing Mechanism] aims to create a dependable, organized, readily-available, effective and efficient air transport operations system on the continent to carry persons and cargo in support of common national and regional peace and security requirements,” said US Air Force Major James Johnson, US Air Forces in Europe and Air Forces Africa (USAFE-AFAFRICA) southern Africa regional desk officer.
USAFE-AFAFRICA reported that the ATSM goal is to enhance the African Union’s strategic lift capability to include medical evacuation, non-combatant evacuation, and humanitarian action and natural disaster support through the Africa Air Mobility Command Centre (AAMCC), a multi-national African airlift unit under the authority of the African Union.
“The role of this Pan-African unit is to provide air mobility in support of peace and security operations and through the support of all African nations contributing to this unit whether through personnel or any other logistic support,” said Tunisian Air Force Colonel Kais Sghaier, 11th Air Unit commander.
Topics discussed during the working group included qualifications of the unit’s commander and personnel requirements.
“We need to come up with mechanisms of optimising the use of the very limited resources available to us, hence the expectation is that Airlift Resource Sharing is one of the topical issues for this conference,” said Botswana Defence Force Brigadier Collen Mastercee Maruping, acting deputy air arm commander.
Each nation’s representative will discuss the working group’s ideas and plans with their nation’s leadership.
“I think it’s every African’s dream to see an African airplane with all African flags across its tail, flying across the continent providing relief and support to Africans,” said Sghaier.
Further proposals for the AAMCC’s location and other qualifications will be discussed during the 12th annual African Air Chiefs Symposium scheduled to be held in Senegal in 2023.
This was the ATSM’s first in-person conference between African nations with the previous nine meetings conducted virtually, USAFE-AFAFRICA reported. (Source: https://www.defenceweb.co.za/)
06 Sep 22. What is the Marine Corps’ Advanced Reconnaissance Vehicle?
General Dynamics Land Systems and Textron Systems are in a head-to-head competition with nearly $7bn on the line. As the Pentagon increasingly focuses on the primacy of battlefield information through its Joint All Domain Command and Control efforts, the Marine Corps’ quest for a new reconnaissance vehicle is focused not just on traditional battlefield intelligence gathering, but the ability to ingest and process data from across the joint force.
Now, after five years of technology demonstrators and other preliminary efforts, the service has two companies — General Dynamics Land Systems and Textron Systems — on track to deliver their final versions of the Advanced Reconnaissance Vehicle (ARV) to the service for evaluation in December. An announcement declaring a winner is not expected to come until late next year, but just last month the companies put prototypes through swim testing to make sure they are ready for the end-of-year deadline, executives said.
With a contract worth up to $6.8bn at stake for the prevailing bid and amid some skepticism of the program from the very top of the Corps, Breaking Defense spoke to both vendors to understand what they hope the ARV will bring to the fight and how the new combat vehicle intersects with two emerging Pentagon interests: information warfare and unmanned systems.
“The Advanced Reconnaissance Vehicle (ARV) is imperative to realizing Marine Corps requirements for Fleet Marine Force 2030,” the services wrote of the program in its latest budget request to lawmakers. “As part of the portfolio of reconnaissance, surveillance, and target acquisition systems, ARV will be a purpose-built combat vehicle system, highly mobile on land and water, that can sense, communicate, and fight as the manned hub of a robotic and autonomous systems-enhanced team.”
A Focus On Command And Control, And UAVs
The ARV’s core purpose is to replace the Marine Corps’ Light Armored Vehicle fleet, a program that has served the Marines since the 1980s and was built by General Dynamics.
The LAV program is scheduled to sundown in the mid-2030s, right after the brand new ARV is scheduled to “full operational capability,” the Pentagon’s final acquisition milestone signifying the military’s confidence that the ground vehicle is completely tested, proven and ready for combat.
The Marine Corps is interested in six variants of the ARV each with unique roles: command, control, communications and computers-unmanned aerial system (C4/UAS); organic precision fire-mounted; counter UAS; 30mm autocannon and anti-tank guided missile; logistics; and recovery. (Separately, the Corps has also put BAE Systems, the prime contractor for another program, the Amphibious Contract Vehicle, under contract to study how the C4/UAS package used on the ACV could be equipped on the ARV.)
Perhaps in a sign of its importance to the Corps, the ARV competition winner will be determined by which company the Marines choose based on the C4/UAS variant of the vehicle. Later the service will work with the winning firm to make the other five variants.
The Marines refer to the C4/UAS variant as the “battlefield quarterback” because the intent is to have an ARV capable of ingesting the massive amounts of data that will be moving across Pentagon and Marine Corps networks as well as help Marines make decisions in the moment based on the information they receive.
Two Teams With Deep Histories In The Pentagon, Abroad
Phil Skuta, a General Dynamics executive overseeing the company’s ARV bid, said the core difference between the ARV’s predecessor, the LAV, and ARV is the ability to ingest data.
“You basically have 40-year-old technology,” he said of the LAV. You don’t have “operational awareness really beyond line of sight… Here, we’re talking about a true expansion of being able to sense and detect the enemy on the battlefield tens of miles outside” the ARV’s line of sight.
That focus on ingesting, analyzing and allowing Marines to act on data from throughout the battlefield is core to the Pentagon’s JADC2 efforts, and more specifically, the Navy’s branch of it, routinely called Project Overmatch.
Navy officials have been tight lipped about what exactly their Overmatch efforts include — the program’s chief said that silence is meant to keep adversaries guessing — but the notion behind Overmatch revolves around sharing data from platform to platform. The earliest iterations of the technology were scheduled to be put on some aircraft carriers late this year.
One way the Marines hope to feed ARV data about what is going on around it is an unmanned aerial system capable of being deployed potentially as far as 30 miles away from the vehicle. A focus for the competition, the executives said, was gaining a clear grasp on how that drone will integrate with the ARV.
“Understanding how that flight will take place and then bringing that data back into the ARV and turning that data into useful information to base — whether it’s your reconnaissance decision or other decisions off of [it] is what we mean by integrating the unmanned aerial system capability,” Skuta said.
In General Dynamics’ favor in this competition is their history with the program. The company is effectively the incumbent as the makers of the LAV and has taken part in technology demonstrators since 2019. The company is also coming into this competition having recently picked up a separate $1.14 bn Army contract for the Mobile Protected Firepower vehicle.
“ARV [has] to be small, mobile, survivable platform that can operate in multiple areas of the globe, and especially in those littoral areas [and] coastlines as the Marines have staked a lot of their future concepts in the Indo-Pacific region,” Skuta said. “We think our vehicle is suited optimally for those type of tactical areas to be operating in.”
Despite the history, Skuta said their ARV candidate is a “clean sheet” design, meaning it was created from scratch.
Likewise, Textron senior executive for land and sea systems David Phillips told Breaking Defense their offering, called the Cottonmouth, was a “clean sheet” design, despite that company having other Army contracts as well.
During an interview, Phillips stressed that Cottonmouth is not derived from the company’s M117 Armored Security Vehicle, which has been bought by the US Army as well as international customers, nor the Commando vehicle, a variant of the M117.
He also said the combination of C4 and unmanned systems integration makes this first variant of the ARV particularly complex. But naturally, he added, his company’s bid was made with the Marines’ needs in mind.
“Where we believe Textron Systems coming with a clean sheet design on this thing really brings value to the Marines is we’ve got a very unique background and history in both ground combat vehicle development and manufacturing, but also in systems integration… in multiple domains across” manned and unmanned systems, he said.
In addition to the M117 and Commando vehicles, Textron is also responsible for the Shadow and Aerosonde unmanned aerial systems, both of which are used by the Pentagon, and the Marine Corps’ new Ship-to-Shore Connectors, medium-sized vessels designed to transport Marines and their equipment from deep blue water ships through shallow waters and ultimately onto land. The familiarity with the latter is important because a key requirement for the new ARV is to be a weight and size that allows four of them to be transported on one Ship-to-Shore Connector.
“We wanted to … make sure that from a durability and really reliability standpoint, we were building a solid vehicle and certainly from [a] size and transportability [perspective], keeping really mindful of four systems on a Ship-to-Shore connector,” he said. “We know how important that is for the Marines in transporting things through the littoral and onto the shore.”
That familiarity with the Ship-to-Shore Connector’s capabilities combined with the company’s wider portfolio of unmanned systems integration is sure to play to its favor in the final bid.
A Skeptical Eye On The Program, From The Top
Once both bids are submitted to the Marines in December, the service plans on announcing a winner around fall of 2023. If all goes according to plan — not something that is ever surefire in the world of Pentagon acquisition — the next Advanced Reconnaissance Vehicle will be ready for real world operations around 2030.
The service has deemed the ARV as “critical towards the modernization of Marine Corps reconnaissance capability,” according to the Navy’s fiscal 2023 budget justification documents. But, like every other major acquisition program in the Pentagon, not everyone is fully convinced. In this case, the skepticism is from the Marine Corps’ top officer.
“While I have repeatedly stated that all-domain reconnaissance and counter-reconnaissance will be a critical element of any future contingency, I remain unconvinced that additional wheeled, manned armored ground reconnaissance units are the best and only answer – especially in the Indo-Pacific region,” Commandant Gen. David Berger wrote in his initial Force Design 2030 rollout. “We need to see more evidence during Phase III to support this conclusion before engaging in an expansion of our existing capacity, or committing bns of dollars in procurement funds towards the acquisition of an Advanced Reconnaissance Vehicle (ARV).”
With that in mind, the general has since directed in his May 2022 update to Force Design that the Marine Corps “review and validate all assumptions” regarding the ARV. In other words, Berger wants the service to consider the changing winds at the Pentagon and make certain this program is still going to produce a product worthy to fight in 2030.
Despite Berger’s comments though, the ARV program is still rolling along and for the competition’s winner, it will be an opportunity to solidify its place in the Marine Corps’ future ground vehicles portfolio.
06 Sep 22. BATTLESPACE visit to GDUK Oakdale plant delayed. BATTLESPACE Editor Julian Nettlefold was due to visit GDUK on August 25th at the Oakdale plant for a brief on Ajax. The brief was: ‘This visit and briefing is for your background and knowledge only. The visit will provide plenty of information for your use at a future date once we can publicly say more on the Ajax Programme.’ The visit was cancelled, and BATTLESPACE is slated to revisit prior to DVD. However, GDUK told BATTLESPACE that at DVD GDUK will ‘brief you on how we manage Noise and Vibration on Ajax.’ Manage is not a solution, and sounds very much like a compromise which accepts noise and vibration? That confirms the existence of these issues and how GDUK will solve and manage through life, which gives a pointer that from GD’s point of view the programme will survive, facing headwinds from various parliamentarians to cancel. The cancellation of the visit was due to a high level visit from the USA. Gossip surrounds whether the Programme will survive, BATTLESPACE understands that lawyers have been appointed by both sides as to who will pay the bill. One pointer to ‘damage limitation,’ by the MoD in particular is the reluctance to discuss the GFE CT40 canon and the extra cost and delays incurred by design changes. As it is GFE, that gives GDUK big leverage over the cost overrun issue. A source stated that GDUK will use DVD as a high profile re-launch of Ajax with all six variants being on display and with the MoD present on the Stand. Watch this space for a relaunch statement at DVD!
One reader has pontificated and given the views below:
Reasons to cancel:
- Cannot solve the vibration, noise and/or the flexing turret issues
- MOD and GD cannot agree who funds the solutions
- DVD will demonstrate how GDUK will manage Noise and Vibration on Ajax”. – cop out
- Save money and re-invest elsewhere
Reasons to keep
- Cancelled Warrior: the Army is internationally a joke already with tanks and no IFV – so to have no armoured recce would be even more ridiculous
- Army and MOD reputation – they cannot afford to have another major programme failure and wasted public money
“I’m not at all convinced GD will pay for it all, MoD will have to pay. This is one reason, I reckon, that we have not seen any new funded programmes or committing of funds announced by the Army for the last year (less more Boxer) – waiting to see how much of the Army budget will have to spent on AJAX.”
Waiting in the wings for funding:
- Tyro – new bridges contract for WFEL
- Trojan, Titan, Terrier MLUs
- 432 replacement
- AS90 replacement
- Mounted Close Combat Overwatch – anti-armour
- Counter air/UAS
The likelihood is that DVD will provide details on the way ahead for Ajax or cancellation.
Watch this space, the BATTLESPACE money is on saving the programme with a delayed ISD to 2032 and MoD paying most of the bill.
06 Sep 22. American Rheinmetall Vehicles and Anduril Industries Team to Deliver Data Fusion and Battlefield Awareness for U.S. Army’s Optionally-Manned Fighting Vehicle
American Rheinmetall Vehicles (Sterling Heights, MI), a leading developer of tactical wheeled and tracked combat vehicles and systems has formed a strategic partnership with Anduril Industries, a defense technology company, in pursuit of the U.S. Army’s Optionally-Manned Fighting Vehicle (OMFV) program.
American Rheinmetall Vehicles has built an elite U.S. industry team that consists of numerous leading U.S. defense companies including, Textron Systems, Raytheon Technologies, L3Harris Technologies and Allison Transmission, who are collectively known as “Team Lynx.” Anduril, the newest member of the team, brings its deep experience in software development, mission autonomy, systems integration, and command and control; developed and deployed in support of National Defense priorities. American Rheinmetall Vehicles leads Team Lynx in offering the Army a next-generation infantry fighting vehicle (IFV) solution for the OMFV program that features a mature, game-changing platform with a purposeful, future-proof modular design that ensures not just overmatch today, but overmatch for decades to come.
“The partnership with Anduril brings with it exceptional innovations in software development, command and control, sensor integration, and counter UAS systems for inclusion in our OMFV offering. These additional technologies coupled with our existing Teammates respective strengths provide Soldiers capabilities not available anywhere else in the world. Further, Anduril’s innovative technologies and focus on customer requirements make it a superb partner to join Team Lynx in support of our work to deliver an unmatched, transformational IFV to the Army for the OMFV program,” said Matt Warnick, Managing Director at American Rheinmetall Vehicles.
“Software is at the core of the weapons and military systems of the future,” said Zach Mears, Head of Strategy, Anduril. “Anduril specializes in delivering advanced mission autonomy, enabling commanders and battle managers to command and control more lethal capability at the tactical edge. We are thrilled to join Team Lynx and will leverage our deep experience in artificial intelligence, mission autonomy, and sensor integration to significantly reduce the cognitive burden of the OMFV’s two soldier crew and provide them with next-generation tactical awareness, C2, and decisive lethality to dominate future battlefields.”
Anduril will support Team Lynx with customized command and control software for Lynx OMFV formations that enables collaborative formation maneuver, and collaborative detection, targeting, and engagement of threats for future armored combat formations. Anduril’s software, in alignment with Army IDEE software development process will have an agile based development and improvement plan, integration, and delivery cycles, enabling persistent modernization for IFVs to rapidly adapt to and defeat emerging time-sensitive threats. The Team’s solution, the Lynx OMFV, redefines the modern battlefield and enables the Army to satisfy its number two modernization priority, a next-generation combat vehicle with leading protection, mobility, growth, and lethality capabilities that will sustain overmatch for decades. The Modular Open Systems Approach (MOSA), along with substantial growth potential in power, weight, and volume make the Lynx OMFV exceptionally well prepared to confront the challenges of the future battlefield like no other.
About American Rheinmetall Vehicles
American Rheinmetall Vehicles delivers next-generation, advanced tactical wheeled vehicles and innovative tracked and wheeled combat vehicles in support of today’s highest combat vehicle modernization priorities. Rheinmetall’s collaborative global structure allows for the maturation and strengthening of the U.S. Industrial Base now and into the future. American Rheinmetall Vehicles is part of the American Rheinmetall family of U.S. companies including American Rheinmetall Munitions in Stafford, VA, American Rheinmetall Systems in Biddeford, ME and U.S. corporate parent American Rheinmetall Defense in Reston, VA. www.rheinmetall.com/arv
Anduril Industries is a defense technology company with a mission to transform U.S. and allied military capabilities with advanced technology. By bringing the expertise, technology, and business model of the 21st century’s most innovative companies to the defense industry, Anduril is changing how military systems are designed, built and sold. Anduril’s family of systems is powered by Lattice OS, an AI-powered operating system that turns thousands of data streams into a real-time, 3D command and control center. As the world enters an era of strategic competition, Anduril is committed to bringing cutting-edge AI, computer vision, sensor fusion, and networking technology to the military in months, not years. For more information, visit www.anduril.com.
05 Sep 22. Project: General Support Utility Platform RFI – General Support Utility Platform RFI The Army are seeking market information as to military light utility platforms as part of an initial scoping of options to replace Land Rover and other similar vehicles as part of the General Support Utility Platform Programme. Companies are invited to provide information on current and developing military utility platforms. Variants of interest include General Support, Ambulance and Fitted for Radio particularly when these are all included within the same vehicle family. Platforms should be no more than 3.5T and be driven on Cat B license (potentially less ambulance variant).
CONTRACT NOTICE – NATIONAL
Notice Type: SUPPLIES
Official Name: Ministry of Defence
For the attention of: Maj Tom Murphy
Internet Address (URL):
- Project Code
General Support Utility Platform RFI
- Project Title
General Support Utility Platform RFI
05 Sep 22. Ricardo demonstrates militarized version of Ford Ranger. Looking at the above Spec, as a reader pointed out, this looks very much like the Ricardo version of the Ford Ranger will be one of the major contenders for this Requirement.
- Ricardo has produced a highly versatile and cost-effective general service defence adaptation of Ford’s iconic Ranger product, Europe’s best-selling pickup
- The demonstrator is ideally suited as a flexible application, general purpose utility vehicle for defence, policing, security and rescue services roles
Ricardo has a longstanding and well-deserved reputation for the creation of high quality, cost-effective special vehicles for the world’s armed forces, based both on bespoke concepts and on the adaptation of existing automotive platforms to meet the required level of robustness and in-field serviceability. The company was responsible, for example, for the design and construction of a fleet of WMIK light attack Land Rovers and the all-new Foxhound vehicles, both of which are in successful ongoing use by the British Army.
Ricardo’s modification/adaptation demonstrates a militarized adaptation of Ford’s Ranger product, to show how this workhorse of industries from construction to agriculture can offer a highly cost-effective multi-role transportation product for defence and other security-related applications. The general service Ranger concept created by Ricardo is intended to be available with a range of powertrain options, including Ford’s powerful and refined 213 PS 2.0-litre EcoBlue Bi-turbo diesel powertrain, which produces 500 Nm of torque for excellent load-hauling capability. This is mated to an advanced new 10-speed automatic transmission for easy, economical driving.
Key features of the adaptation designed by Ricardo include options for a rollover protection system; a ring mounted weapon system, similar to that used in the WMIK; an armoured ballistic underfloor and armoured glass; lightweight but heavy-duty front and rear bumpers; skid plates for the radiator, powertrain and fuel tank; rock sliders and improved wading/fording protection; NATO IRR paint/camouflage and 4-point seat harnesses. In addition, the 24V electrical system is enhanced to provide the power requirements and EMC protection expected of modern defence vehicle applications, and the chassis can be equipped with upgraded springs, dampers, brakes, heavy-duty wheels and all-terrain tyres, offering greater ride height and more versatile towing capacity. In delivering this project Ricardo has worked closely with Polaris Government and Defense, in particular for support in the areas of onboard power management and C4i (command, control, communications, computers and intelligence) integration.
“Ricardo is pleased to have created this general service demonstrator based on the Ranger vehicle,” commented Paul Tarry, special vehicles director, Ricardo. “The adaptation of existing and well-proven automotive platforms for defence roles provides an opportunity to deliver a robust, fit-for-purpose and highly cost-effective package that is easy to maintain, benefitting as it does from an established international supply chain of parts and service. However, it is also crucial in such adaptations to engineer a solution that meets the exacting requirements of the intended applications; even the most robust of commercially available vehicles is unlikely to meet this threshold without careful, role-specific adaptation of the type that Ricardo is ideally placed to provide. The militarized Ranger that Ricardo has created with the support of Polaris Government and Defense, thus demonstrates the flexibility of this robust and versatile platform – as developed, re-engineered and re-imagined to fulfil multiple defence roles in an effective and very cost-efficient manner.”
05 Sep 22. South Korea approves funding for third batch of K2 MBTs. South Korea’s Ministry of National Defense (MND) has allocated funding for a third batch of Hyundai Rotem K2 main battle tanks (MBTs).
Funding for the programme was contained in South Korea’s 2023 defence budget, which was announced in late August.
Funding for the third K2 batch was part of a KRW6.64 trillion (USD4.8 bn) package contained in the budget to strengthen “operational response capabilities”, the MND said. The package also includes the procurement of additional Ulsan-class Batch III frigates and ammunition. The total 2023 defence budget is KRW57.1 trillion.
Citing sources, Janes has previously reported that the third K2 batch could comprise a total of 54 MBTs, with the new tanks expected to feature a locally developed engine and a German-made transmission system, like those made in the second batch. However, Hyundai Rotem and the Defense Acquisition Program Administration (DAPA) have not yet confirmed this, and had not responded to Janes questions about the third batch, at the time of publication. (Source: Janes)
TEK Military Seating Limited
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From its inception ProTEK seats have been designed around a family of innovative seat frames onto which tested and certified modules can be fitted to create a bespoke solution for the user. These include Blast protection to Stanag 4569 standards, vibration reduction, head and body protection, seat risers and turntables, fore & aft adjustment, and seat back rake along with viable seat dimensions without the need for additional tooling costs.
Contact: David Parkman