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23 Sep 22. Sources close to BATTLESPACE suggest that one of the causes of the noise issues on Ajax is down to having an Open Blenheim Chamber in the engine compartment rather than a Closed Blenheim Chamber which separates the fans from the engine.
23 Sep 22. DX Korea 2022: Hyundai Rotem readies for next stage of K2 MBT evolution.
South Korea’s Hyundai Rotem is poised to commence manufacture of new batches of K2 main battle tanks (MBTs) for the Republic of Korea Army (RoKA) that could eventually feature a fully indigenous powerpack during the latter stages of production, company officials told AMR at the DX Korea 2022 exhibition.
According to a company representative, production of the second batch of MBTs was completed in early 2022, and a third batch of approximately 50 vehicles will be provisioned for through the government’s 2023 defence budget. A fourth batch of MBTs is also expected to be acquired by the RoKA in the mid-2020s depending on available funding.
The representative added that a locally developed transmission could be incorporated into the third and fourth batches depending on its maturity and reliability. The requirement for a fully indigenous powerpack – comprising the engine and transmission – has been stipulated by the government’s Defense Acquisition Program Administration (DAPA), the country’s top defence procurement agency.
The first batch of K2 tanks is equipped with a German MTU 883 V12 diesel engine rated at 1,500 hp and coupled with a German Renk transmission with five forward and three reverse gears. The second-batch tanks feature the locally developed Doosan DV27K V12 diesel engine with the Renk transmission.
The domestic transmission system is being developed by SNT Dynamics, which has been working on its 1,500 hp-class EST15K system for the “past several years”. The transmission system features six forward and three reverse gears and is designed to support engines rated at between 1,500 and 1,650 hp with a maximum input speed range of 2,000-3,000 rpm.
The K2 MBT has a combat weight of 56 tonnes and is operated by a crew of three, with a maximum road speed of 70 km/h. Its main armament comprises a 120 mm L/55 smoothbore gun with an autoloader, a co-axial 7.62 mm machine gun, as well as a roof-mounted 12.7 mm heavy machine gun.
Hyundai Rotem was awarded a US$3.4 billion contract in late August to supply Poland with 180 K2 tanks from 2022 to 2025. Under a broader agreement with Warsaw, the company is also expected to transfer technology and production know-how to enable local production of up to 820 K2 MBTs – an improved version designated K2PL – in Poland under a separate contract.
The company would not comment on its plans for the Polish contract, but noted that the K2 MBT design is continuously being updated to address current and future battlefield threats. Being showcased at its pavilion is an updated tank featuring what appears to be Rafael’s Trophy Active Protection System (APS), although the representative said any type of advanced active and passive protection suites can be integrated to the platform.
Indeed, several K2 MBT models are also displayed in front of the full-sized tank, each featuring additional armour modules on the hull and turret’s frontal arc and flanks, as well as a range of sensors and electronic countermeasure systems. A representation of what appears to be the locally developed Korean APS (KAPS) is also prominently shown on the central tank model.
“We believe that the K2 MBT is a world-class platform that is competitive with the incumbent European designs, and look forward to demonstrating its performance and growth potential internationally,” said the representative. (Source: AMR)
23 Sep 22. Bulgarian T-72 upgrade expected to be completed in 2023. Bulgarian Defence Minister Dimitar Stoyanov said during a visit to the Novo Selo training ground that the modernisation of Bulgaria’s T-72 main battle tanks will be completed by the end of April 2023, his ministry reported on its website on 20 September. He expected the command and information systems for the upgrade to be delivered soon.
Bulgarian Ground Forces Deputy Commander Brigadier General Nikolay Karaivanov gave a briefing on the upgrade and the new capabilities it entails. The systems being installed were presented, including the battle management system, laser warning receivers, ‘autonomy enhancement system’, and tank monitoring and control system.
At the Novo Selo training ground, military personnel from the Specialist Training Center in Sliven conducted firings of the tank gun with various ammunitions at different ranges and with the co-axial machine gun when the vehicle was stationary and on the move. The capabilities of the upgraded tank’s thermal imaging camera at night and in poor visibility were also demonstrated. (Source: Janes)
23 Sep 22. DX Korea 2022: KAI launches UAM concept for Korean army. Korea Aerospace Industries (KAI) has showcased a scale model of a new unmanned urban air mobility (UAM) aircraft for military applications, at the DX Korea 2022 exhibition held in Goyang. The company told Janes that it plans to develop the electric vertical take-off and landing (eVTOL) platform during the 2020s and by 2029 present a prototype to the Republic of Korea Army (RoKA). A KAI official said the RoKA has a potential future requirement for more than 100 UAMs. Its main role will be transport and logistics, but the platform could also be adapted for operations including command-and-control, air assault, and medical evacuation. The rear of the aircraft contains the loading area supported with what KAI said would be a standard cargo pallet system. While the RoKA has identified a requirement for the system, KAI said other branches of the military are also expected to require a similar capability. (Source: Janes)
22 Sep 22. Marshall Land Systems has successfully achieved a significant milestone in its contract to supply the UK Ministry of Defence (MoD) by delivering the first 10 of 120 specialist military vehicles.
The new Explosive Ordnance Disposal (EOD) and electronic countermeasure (ECM) vehicles will be based throughout the UK, Northern Ireland, Cyprus, and Gibraltar. In total, eight vehicle variants will be produced to cover all operational situations.
The specialist vehicles will also enhance the British Army’s capability incorporating the latest technologies onto a more reliable vehicle platform.
Following extensive consultations with the soldiers who will be using the new bomb disposal vehicle, its Initial Operating Capability (IOC) was announced this week by the MoD.
The vehicle is the final addition to the MoD’s GASKET 3 fleet programme, part of a £60 m project that sees a range of 300 new vehicles from first response vehicles to a new 4×4 medium scale vehicle.
Marshall Land Systems’ delivery of the first 10 vehicles follows a two-week period of intense work – passing through both a final design review (FDR) and factory acceptance test (FAT).
The MoD contract is focused on the development, prototyping, testing, and production of 120 vehicles to replace its aging Wedgewood MoD vehicle fleet.
Cpl Briscoe of 621 Squadron, Royal Logistics Corps, said: “The new GASKET vehicle is great, a massive improvement on our current vehicle. We did notice our Vehicle-Borne IED disruptor could be in a better place for quick access and our suggestions were included in the final design.”
WO2 Baskerville of 11 EOD & Search Regiment, Royal Logistics Corps, added: “During trials we found the provided rain cover was a little complex and time consuming to put up. I’ve been assessing the new design from Marshall Land Systems, and it has really improved. It’s great that user feedback has made an actual difference.”
This is a significant milestone for both Marshall Land Systems and its customer – the MoD’s Defence Equipment & Support (DE&S), which equips and supports the UK’s armed forces.
Each vehicle has undergone a major trials programme which includes the vehicles being tested by the end-users in realistic scenarios.
Reaching this first milestone has been a remarkable achievement given that the vehicles’ development and prototyping phases occurred during the duel challenges of Covid-19 and the ongoing global supply chain crisis.
Reflecting on the achievement, Gary Moynehan, Managing Director of Marshall Land Systems, said: “This programme has not been a straightforward one for us, made even more difficult by the disruption caused by Covid-19 and the conflict in Ukraine. Reaching this point has taken incredibly hard work from a large number of people, and I would like to say thank you to them. We should all take pride in helping enhance a critical UK capability.”
22 Sep 22. SVI unveils six-wheeled Max 3. SVI Engineering has unveiled a new addition to its growing range of armour-protected vehicles, the MAX 3 six-wheel vehicle. Displayed for the first time at AAD 2022 at Air Force Base (AFB) Waterkloof this week, the MAX 3 six-wheeler is based on Toyota’s proven Land Cruiser 79 chassis, as with the 4×4 MAX 3. Both are powered by a 4.5-litre V8 turbodiesel powertrain.
The six-wheel concept unveiled at AAD 2022 is based on the MAX 3 double cab body style, with the new axle configuration also available on the company’s MAX 3 single cab and MAX 3 troopy armoured personnel carrier.
The addition of a third axle means MAX 3’s Gross Vehicle Mass (GVM) can be safely increased to 5 500 kg, opening the door to military and security applications, including the fitment of various weapon systems, cargo carrying options and even field ambulance concepts. Although the drivetrain is standard, the MAX 3 gains wheels and tyres with an improved load rating as well as upgraded suspension and an additional rear anti-roll bar.
To keep cost and complexity of the system in check, the additional axle is non-driven. “Even so, the already impressive go-anywhere ability of the standard vehicle is enhanced as the extra axle provides increased flotation over soft surfaces. The proven, highly capable powertrain remains untouched, simplifying servicing requirements and sourcing of spare mechanical parts,” SVI said.
The six-wheel modification includes a track width correction to align the track of the rear wheels with that of the front (a Land Cruiser 79 anomaly) as well as an upgrade to disc brakes on the twoback axles (in addition to the standard items at the front) to improve the stopping performance at full GVM.
The six-wheeler version of the MAX 3 double cab at AAD 2022 is fitted with a counter-drone solution offered by SVI and manufactured by Reutech. This employs radar to locate, identify and track hostile incoming drones. Information is relayed to the battle management system (BMS) connected to an automated grenade launcher (AGL). The BMS determines trajectory and distance to the drone, intercepting and disabling the pilotless device via close-proximity grenade explosions. The vehicle at AAD also has an off-road motorcycle for personnel to speedy retrieval of evidence from downed drones.
SVI explained the conversion process to create a MAX 3 entails removing the soft-skin body of the donor Land Cruiser 79 and replacing it with a hull designed in-house and manufactured from armoured steel plate. The construction of the multi-role vehicle provides a minimum protection level of EN1063 BR6 (assault rifles) with additional protection against anti-personnel grenades. The vehicle is furthermore upgradeable to BR7.
SVI has a prominent display at AAD 2022, and Benny Jiyane, Chairman of SVI Engineering, said the sheer size of the company’s stand at this year’s show is indicative of how SVI has grown – locally and internationally – over the past few years.
“SVI has long been the leading the way in South Africa when it comes to providing class-leading armouring solutions to the civilian, security and military industries. We’ve ramped up operations significantly over the past few years and our massive stand at AAD2022 – the largest defence and aviation exhibition in Africa – is a showcase of how far we’ve come and where we’re going.” (Source: https://www.defenceweb.co.za/)
22 Sep 22. UAE’s NIMR Prepares for Serial Production of Mark 2 Ajban and Hafeet Armoured Vehicles. United Arab Emirates armoured vehicle manufacturer NIMR (which means Tiger in Arabic) is completing the final touches to and is launching the Mark 2 versions of its increasingly popular Ajban 4×4 and Hafeet 6×6 armoured patrol vehicles.
Abri Du Plessis, chief executive officer, told Armada International that Nimr has been striving to deliver 90 percent commonality between the Mark 2 versions of both vehicles. The Ajban weights around 10-11 tons and is classed as a light armoured patrol vehicle while the Hafeet is larger and heavier at between 17-18 tons, each depending on the configuration. Both Mark 2 vehicles will feature a new electric architecture, have increased axel capability and come with ABS brakes, which were not available in the Mark 1 vehicles. Series production is expected to begin in late October with product deliveries beginning in Q1 2023 for the Ajban and six to nine months later for the Hafeet.
NIMR is currently producing around 500-600 of its armoured vehicles per year but is capable of scaling up its production lines and increasing shifts to raise that figure up to nearly 1,800 vehicles per year if there was demand. The UAE’s Armed Forces are the main customer but Du Plessis declared that he was “very optimistic for the success of the Mark 2 vehicles, as we know that the price point is good.” He sees sales opportunities In Eastern Europe, North Africa and South-East Asia.
The company holds the intellectual property (IP) ownership on all of its vehicle designs, and through after sales services can offer full cover for the lifecycle of each vehicle sold.
The company has its own on-site test track where every vehicle is put through a series of road, rough and slope challenges, before being taken out around an 80 kilometre course that will test it across all driving conditions including the desert.
Du Plessis also confirmed that the company’s new Jais 4×4 combat vehicle would be produced under a manufacturing license by Saudi Arabian Military Industries (SAMI), as signed at the World Defence Show in Saudi Arabia in February this year.
Du Plessis also hinted that NIMR was hoping to unveil a new lightweight vehicle for Special Forces at the forthcoming Abu Dhabi International Defence Exhibition & Conference – IDEX 23 – in February 2023. (Source: Armada)
22 Sep 22. Last US Army Stryker’s Leave Alaska. The US Army Forces in the Pacific are without one of its strategically deployable armoured ground combat brigades as the last Stryker armoured wheeled combat vehicles depart Alaska for Anniston Army Depot Alabama in the continental United States.
The 320 Strykers equipped the 1st Stryker Brigade Combat Team (SBCT), 25th Infantry Division stationed at Fort Wainwright, Alaska. The SBCT, according to Army documents, was introduced to fill the operational gap between light forces and heavy armoured forces. It provided a strategically transportable combined arms force that could be deployed rapidly to meet distant operational demands yet have high ground manoeuvrability of heavy armour.
The SBCTs, including those from Wainwright, have demonstrated this capability repeatedly since their formation. The 1st/25th SBCT was organised in December 2006 following the deactivation of the 172d Infantry Brigade also equipped with Stryker since October 2003.
The Stryker has been operating in Alaska for 19 years as both a contributor to meet deployment contingencies of the Pacific Theater and as a potential combat element for operations within Alaska itself.
The deactivation of the Alaska based Stryker Brigade was officially announced in June 2022 with its redesignation to a light infantry brigade, the 1st Infantry Brigade Combat Team (IBCT) of the 11th Airborne Division. The 11th Airborne Division is also the reactivation of an Army Division the operated in the Pacific during World War Two. Another of the 25th Infantry Division’s brigades, the 4th, will also be redesignated the 2d Infantry Brigade Combat Team (Airborne) giving the 11th Airborne Division two brigades. Major General Brian Eifler, commanding the 11th Airborne, stated it is not currently anticipated that the unit will be paratroops but rather operate as air mobile/assault light infantry.
Strykers line up for rail load
With the designation of the Wainwright brigade to light infantry, US Pacific Forces lose the armoured manoeuvre capability that could be potentially employed in support of operations anywhere in the Pacific theater provided by the Stryker’s. The return to light infantry may reflect increased emphasis on the need for forces capable of operating in the Arctic environment. The Army recent contract with BAE Systems for a new Cold Weather All-Terrain Vehicle (CATV) reinforces this possibility.
21 Sep 22. DX Korea 2022: KAI unveils MC-X transport aircraft proposal. Korea Aerospace Industries (KAI) has unveiled a model of its proposed new military multirole cargo aircraft, which it is calling the MC-X. A company official told Janes at the DX Korea 2022 exhibition – being held in Goyang from 21 to 25 September – that the new transport aircraft could be operational in the Republic of Korea Air Force (RoKAF) within 10 years.
“We envisage that the development of the MC-X could take about seven or eight years. We could start production of the aircraft in 2031 or 2032,” the KAI official said.
He added that while KAI plans to develop and produce the aircraft on its own, it is possible that a foreign industry partner could join the programme.
“We plan to do this ourselves. But we also plan to undertake a technology readiness assessment (TRA) and if this TRA identifies certain requirements it is possible that we would look for a foreign partner,” the official added. (Source: Janes)
21 Sep 22. Paramount launches Maatla light vehicle. Paramount Group subsidiary Paramount Land Systems is for the first time unveiling its new Maatla 4×4 Light Protected Vehicle (LPV), which is aimed at the rapidly growing lightweight and more affordable segment of the armoured vehicle market. The Maatla (meaning Power in Setswana) has already received orders for 50 vehicles from two customers, Paramount said.
“The latest addition to Paramount’s family of protected vehicles is already in production for an African country with one of the most challenging, rugged and remote environments for land forces to operate in,” the company stated.
Eric Ichikowitz, Senior Vice President, Paramount International, stated: “Our customers can now take full advantage of three decades of armoured vehicle innovation, engineering excellence and market leadership, but in a lighter class vehicle designed in response to changing customer requirements. We are very excited to offer border patrol, gendarmerie, police units and armed forces in Africa and around the world with best-in-class technologies and capability. The vehicle’s lighter weight and commercial components ultimately enables greater customer affordability and faster production rates.”
The Maatla has been manufactured on a commercial vehicle chassis for proven reliability and low cost. It features “Smart Floor” technology, enabling the seating to be quickly removed and the vehicle to be configured as either an ambulance, command vehicle or customisable for other mission requirements, such as border patrol, military support, policing, or peacekeeping missions. Day/night vision devices and extra sensors can also be fitted to provide 24/7 operability.
The Maatla provides ballistic and blast protections to STANAG 4569 Level 1, and can protect against handguns and other small calibre ball rounds. It also provides underbelly protection against M26 hand grenades or a blast equivalent.
Mobility and agility
The Maatla can reach a road speed of up to 100 km/h, with a cruising range of up to 600 km when traveling at 80 km/h, and a fording depth of up to 750 mm without preparation. The vehicle is fitted with a 2-speed transfer case and 3 differential locks for difficult terrain. The vehicle can be operated in environments with temperatures ranging from -10°C to + 55°C.
Deon Grobler, CEO of Paramount Land Systems, stated that, “We are very excited to diversify our product range, compete in this new class of Light Protected Vehicles, and introduce customers with these requirements into our world beating family of protected vehicles. The Maatla is a light armour, multi-purpose vehicle, offering excellent cross-country performance and reliability. Designed to handle a two-tonne payload, the Maatla offers near infinite-configurability in terms of onboarding mission specific equipment, weapons, and armour scalability.” (Source: https://www.defenceweb.co.za/)
21 Sep 22. Airbus tests loading system for outsized military cargo on Beluga. Airbus Defence and Space has developed and tested a loading system to lift outsized military cargo into the Airbus Beluga A300-600ST aircraft. The capability was successfully tested during a verification exercise with the German armed forces, the system’s first customer, by loading a CH53 military medium-lift helicopter into the Beluga.
“The demand for outsized air cargo capability is on the rise. Capacity is scarce and, in light of current geopolitical developments, many customers are looking for new, fast and efficient solutions. This is exactly what we offer with our BelugaST fleet,” said Michael Schoellhorn, CEO of Airbus Defence and Space. “Our teams have been working on a remarkable solution to facilitate a speedy, efficient and autonomous handling to load heavy military cargo onto the aircraft. Speed, agility and autonomy are crucial elements for our customers when it comes to such operations.”
The new self-funded cargo loading system and jig, developed by engineers at Airbus Defence and Space, have now been unveiled to customer representatives from international armed forces following the verification event in Manching, north of Munich. The system was developed and manufactured from scratch in 1.5 years – from the initial exchange of ideas with the German customer to its verification, which is still subject to final confirmation by the Bundeswehr in the coming weeks. The system enables arrangements for the loading of a CH53 in a reduced state of dismantling to be completed within less than 1.5 hours while the actual loading process into the Beluga aircraft can be accomplished in about an hour. The total lifting capacity of the system, which requires no crane for its use, reaches 35 tonnes and can be relocated to the aircraft’s destination.
Prior to announcing plans to offer the services of its existing BelugaST fleet earlier this year, the fleet of five aircraft was solely used for the transport of large aircraft sections between various Airbus sites as part of the company’s production system. With the advent of the new BelugaXL, based on the larger A330-200 platform, the existing BelugaST fleet is made ready for customer transport services worldwide.
21 Sep 22. OTT offers Ratel upgrade to fill Hoefyster gap. The OTT Group, having gained much experience remanufacturing Ratel infantry combat vehicles (ICVs), has developed a Ratel Service Life Extension Plan (SLEP) to keep these ageing vehicles in South African Army service for longer due to the non-delivery of the Badger vehicle under the Hoefyster programme.
OTT explained the Ratel SLEP project was born from necessity, as challenges at Denel and ongoing financial pressures experienced by the South African National Defence Force (SANDF) mean that South Africa can no longer expect Project Hoefyster to materialize, at least anytime soon. As a result, Armscor has examined the option of diverting Badger funding towards Ratel upgrades.
The delays with Hoefyster potentially leaves a gap in the operational readiness of the SANDF’s two remaining mechanised battalions, tasked with maintaining South Africa’s conventional capabilities. Age, obsolescence and supply chain constraints have added to the burden of maintaining the current in-service Ratels, which were earmarked for de-commissioning and a well-deserved retirement – Hoefyster was supposed to acquire over 250 Badger vehicles to largely replace the 50 year old Ratels.
The OTT Group of companies therefore took the initiative to develop the Ratel Service Life Extension Plan, which is internally funded, and engineered by OTT Group member ADGM.
“An absolute bare minimum’s requirement, and maximum value for money approach was followed to address the obsolesce and supply chain factors – but still enable a large leap in modernizing the current firepower delivery shortfall,” OTT explained.
Primary focus was on the engine and transmission, which shifts to a commercial off the shelf 360 hp engine coupled to a six-speed automatic gearbox. A new single speed transfer case completes the driveline upgrades, which are protected by a new cooling system.
OTT claims the SLEP upgrade provides a 30% increase in available engine power, in a lighter and smaller powerpack, and most importantly is maintainable from readily available commercial parts.
Additional platform upgrades include:
- Addition of applique add on armour
- Upgrades and replacement of obsolete components on the braking and pneumatic systems
- Addition of crew compartment insulation (against fumes, noise and heat)
- New generation of military grade tyres
- New seating arrangement
The Ratel SLEP retains the in-service GI2 20 mm automatic cannon, but ‘huge’ improvements are offered in first round accuracy by means of a partially stabilised and electrically assisted gun drive system. Coupled to this is a full day/night gunner sighting system with laser rangefinder and an independent commander’s fully stabilised sight. This enables the two-man (gunner/commander) crew to have the capability to engage/observe/track/designate targets.
“Obviously, the SLEP programme is not a first-choice approach to modernisation of SANDF capabilities, but a solid grip on South Africa’s current reality and quite possibly the only viable solution left for maintaining any form of combat readiness,” OTT concluded. (Source: https://www.defenceweb.co.za/)
19 Sep 22. India’s ‘Zorawar’ programme inches forward. Larsen & Toubro (L&T) has confirmed its role as partner in the programme to develop a light tank for the Indian Army. Janes has learnt that a prototype of the new tank is expected to be unveiled in late 2023.
Jayant D Patil, L&T’s senior executive vice-president for defence, told Janes on 16 September, “L&T is selected as development partner as of now.”
He added that while the company is involved in the platform’s development, L&T is not assured of a role in the tank’s production phase.
“[The] Indian process cannot place development and production contracts in one,” he said. “Developed equipment has to undergo field evaluation trials and emerge successful for the induction clearance, and then [the] production ordering process begins.”
Patil did not elaborate on L&T’s role in the programme, but a senior source from the Defence Research and Development Organisation (DRDO) disclosed to Janes that L&T is collaborating with the state-owned agency on the development programme. (Source: Janes)
19 Sep 22. Specialist brake and clutch manufacturer, Alcon, announces £300,000 machine investment to increase production capacity. Alcon Components Ltd, the acclaimed global brake and clutch company, has today announced a £300,000 investment in new machinery focussed on increasing production capacity to meet the demands of their growing specialist vehicle division. The investment in new machinery will help to service the increasing number of orders being received for volume production braking components from axle manufacturers, military vehicle OEMs and armoured vehicle conversion specialists.
Installed at their Tamworth site and working alongside their existing Northampton production site, Alcon’s new machinery will boost Tamworth’s production capacity and will increase security of supply by spreading the specialist vehicle production work across multiple Alcon sites. The new machinery will primarily be used for volume production in the defence and security sector where Alcon is fast becoming the global braking partner of choice.
This further investment decision comes off the back of some recent milestone successes in the defence and security sector. Alcon is the selected braking partner for Patria’s 6×6 and 8×8 vehicles that are winning multiple orders globally, securing a considerable volume of braking component manufacture for Alcon. Alcon’s armoured vehicle braking kits are also in high demand as the new Toyota LC300 armoured designs are rolled out by the world’s leading armouring companies. Behind the scenes, Alcon are working with a number of premier defence vehicle manufacturers working on global vehicle projects that cannot yet be announced.
Alcon has over 35 years of experience in engineering high-quality and high-performance brakes and clutches for specialist vehicles; from F1, World Rally and prestige performance cars to 60T-plus military armoured vehicles. This, combined with their proven pedigree in rapidly solving the unique braking problems created by the operational demands of the military environment, put them in a strong market position. Alcon braking solutions have been sought out by some of the world’s finest defence industry vehicle OEMs. Alcon braking systems are used by over 20 defence and security equipment OEMs, including Patria, Supacat, BAE, Ricardo and Jankel because Alcon provide bespoke braking systems that fully meet the demanding requirements of the challenging, high-performance, modern-day battlefield.
Jonathan Edwards, Group Sales Director at Alcon said: “As you can see from today’s announcement, we’re continuing to take the defence and security sectors very seriously with ongoing investments made to enable further growth. Our specialist vehicle business, including defence, forms a significant percentage of our turnover and our plan is to expand that further still within the next 3 to 5 years – and that is bearing in mind the fact that the rest of the business is also growing”. He added: “We’re very proud of the fact that multiple armoured vehicle manufacturers and modifiers are contacting us to solve their specific braking problems that occur every time weight is added to any vehicle. We’ve got some fantastic new projects on the go that we’re not yet able to disclose and having added production capacity sets Alcon up to be ready for those, whilst continuing to deliver our current orders”.
19 Sep 22. Embraer and L3 Harris to Develop New Agile Tanker via KC-390 to Support Air Force Operational Imperatives. Embraer S.A. (NYSE: ERJ; B3: EMBR3) and L3Harris Technologies (NYSE:LHX) today announced a partnership to develop an “Agile Tanker,” a tactical aerial refueling option to address the U.S. Air Force’s operational imperatives and joint force refueling requirements, especially for contested logistics environments.
The companies signed an agreement to expand the capabilities of Embraer’s KC-390 Millennium tactical tanker aircraft. Enhancements include the addition of advanced boom operations and mission systems to support agile basing and sustainment for operations in contested areas, and resilient communications supporting JADC2 requirements.
“U.S. Air Force strategic planners have stated agile combat employment will require refueling platforms optimized to support a disaggregated approach to air dominance in contested logistics environments,” said Christopher E. Kubasik, Chair and Chief Executive Officer, L3Harris. “Collaborating with Embraer to develop and integrate new capabilities to the multi-mission KC-390 provides a cost-effective, fast-to-field solution that embodies our trusted disruptor approach.”
Aircraft enhancements will complement the tanker’s existing capabilities, which already include the ability to refuel aircraft with a variable speed drogue, receive fuel, and to take off and land from short and improvised runways, allowing for greater mission area coverage.
“We continue seeking meaningful and strategic partnerships that generate new developments and expand the KC-390 Millennium’s market reach,” said Francisco Gomes Neto, President and CEO of Embraer. “Our aircraft is capturing the attention of Air Forces around the world, and we’re thrilled by this opportunity to combine Embraer’s state-of-the-art platform and systems with L3Harris’ mission-driven solutions to deliver on the U.S. Air Force’s operational imperatives.”
The Air Force operational imperatives are a roadmap for successfully bringing about the new technologies, thinking, and cultures the Air and Space Forces must have to deter and, if necessary, defeat modern day adversaries.
The speedy, versatile, customizable KC-390 Millennium can support a range of missions and possesses a high-reliability rate. By combining L3Harris’ experience as an aircraft missionization prime with Embraer’s state-of-the-art jet-powered KC-390 Millennium platform, both companies are ready to provide the next generation of tanker solutions for the Department of Defense and the US Air Force.
To support the Buy American Act requirements, the parties are studying the Agile Tanker program production with final assembly in the U.S., followed by aircraft modernization and missionization at the L3Harris’ Waco, Texas, aircraft modification center.
17 Sep 22. Poland’s TEAM CONCEPT earlier this month unveiled the long wheelbase 4-door LSV WIRUS 4 SOF variant of the in-service ŻMIJA (Viper) LRRV, reports Bob Morrison.
Conceived in direct response to user feedback following the urgent operational deployment of the ŻMIJA (Viper) LRRV or Long Range Reconnaissance Vehicle on internal security duties in December 2021 as tensions escalated on Poland’s eastern border with Belarus and, it was subsequently confirmed, Russian Federation forces started assembling in the region for the invasion of neighbouring Ukraine, the new four-door LSV WIRUS 4 SOF prototype broke cover at MSPO 2022 in Kielce.
The new LSV (Light Strike Vehicle) WIRUS 4 SOF (Special Operation Forces) is a long wheelbase variant configured for a crew of four (rather than the original design crew of three carried by the first two-door vehicles) with room to transport either cargo or potentially four more personnel under canvas in the rear. It is also fitted with a ZMT ZSU-01 12.7mm Remote Weapon Station with uncooled thermal and television camera plus laser rangefinder.
Based on the Mitsubishi L200, the frame is manufactured from high strength steel with two main beams and a tubular space frame forming a safety cage for the crew. The bodywork is of semi-open, lightweight composite (carbon fibre and aramid) and aluminium body panels, with a folding windscreen. The rear, designed to accommodate cargo or additional crew, has a folding tubular structure which can be lowered to reduce transport height.
A 360° ring mount can be fitted as an alternative to the Remote Weapon Station, which TEAM CONCEPT told us was integrated just before MSPO 2022, and machinegun pintle mounts can be attached in front of the commander’s and rear passengers’ seats; though as the RWS was fitted to the vehicle displayed in Kielce only two mounts were fitted. Doors are easily demountable and if specified both mine protection and lightweight appliqué armour panels can be fitted. Gross Vehicle Weight is 3500kg and it is powered by a 180hp turbo diesel engine through a 6F1R automatic transmission. (Source: www.joint-forces.com)
16 Sep 22. US DARPA RACER Off-Road Autonomous Vehicles Teams expand to a second course ~ speed is main goal as terrain becomes more challenging. Teams involved in DARPA’s Robotic Autonomy in Complex Environments with Resiliency (RACER) programme have one experiment under their belts and will focus on even more difficult off-road landscapes at Camp Roberts, California, September 15-27. The programme aims to give driver-less combat vehicles off-road autonomy while travelling at speeds that keep pace with those driven by people in realistic situations.
Carnegie Mellon University, NASA’s Jet Propulsion Laboratory, and the University of Washington have each developed autonomous software stacks for the DARPA-provided robot systems tested in ‘Experiment 1’ earlier this year at Fort Irwin, California, and are now involved in the current trials.
Experiment 1 took place March-April 2022 on six courses of combat-relevant terrain. The teams did more than 40 autonomous runs of about 2 miles each and reached speeds just under 20 miles per hour. The biggest challenge the teams faced in that desert environment was the vehicles’ ability to identify, classify, and avoid obstacles at higher speeds. The terrain at Fort Irwin provided a number of obstacles (rocks, bushes, ditches, etc.) that were a combination of debilitating hazards (able to severely damage the vehicle) and non-debilitating impediments (limited ability to damage the vehicle)
“Since the first experiment, teams have been working to improve perception of the environment and planning navigable routes through development of new autonomy algorithm technologies,” said Stuart Young, RACER programme manager in DARPA’s Tactical Technology Office. “The DARPA-provided RACER fleet vehicles being used in the programme are high performance all-terrain vehicles outfitted with world-class sensing and computational abilities, but the teams’ focus is on computational solutions as that platform encounters increasingly complex off-road terrain.”
Experiment 2 will require teams to go beyond the environmental features found in the desert environment, which primarily tested their perception algorithms, to also incorporate new challenges. One of the new challenges will be larger and steeper hills. This will stress the ability of the robot vehicles to maintain control, particularly going down steep slopes, on slippery surfaces, and navigating ditches. The teams must also create longer range plans while driving through or around such varied obstacles in order to successfully navigate the courses.
“We are after driver-less ground vehicles that can manoeuvre on unstructured off-road terrain at speeds that are only limited by considerations of sensor performance, mechanical constraints, and safety,” said Young. “At a minimum, the programme goal is software performance that allows off-road speeds on par with a human driver.” (Source: www.joint-forces.com)
16 Sep 22. Luxembourg Army to procure 80 CLRVs with NSPA support. The Army seeks to replace protected response vehicles and high-mobility multipurpose wheeled vehicles. The Luxembourg Government has announced plans to purchase 80 command liaison and reconnaissance vehicles (CLRVs) for its Army through the Nato Support and Procurement Agency (NSPA). Apart from enabling Luxembourg to acquire the vehicles, the NSPA will also support CLRV fleet life-cycle support requirements up to end-of-service-life. The latest move seeks to replace the protected response vehicles and high-mobility multipurpose wheeled vehicle fleet used by the Luxembourg Army.
NSPA general manager Stacy Cummings said: “Luxembourg had engaged NSPA to find the most efficient and effective solution to fulfil Luxembourg’s requirement for a modern ground fleet.
“The capability we have shaped in partnership with Luxembourg fully meets their requirements, in addition to providing interoperability with other Nato nations.”
With high ballistic and mine protection features, the multi-role CLRVs are expected to strengthen the operational capabilities of the country’s armed forces.
The vehicle will be equipped with a remote weapon station and mission equipment based on the French SCORPION programme.
This will enable Luxembourg soldiers to maintain interoperability with global partners.
CLRV’s mission equipment commonality with those used in Belgium and France will also allow cooperation in the field of logistics, reducing fleet support costs.
Luxembourg Deputy Prime Minister and Defence Minister François Bausch said: “With the support of the NSPA, the Luxembourg Defence will acquire new CLRVs, meeting the latest military standards.
“Three points were essential in this project. First and foremost, the security and protection of our troops during a mission.
“Secondly, to modernise our equipment and thus increase operational capabilities and thirdly, to ensure interoperability within the Army and with our close allies.”
In May this year, Luxembourg signed a letter of intent with the NSPA to support the development of a future surveillance capability. (Source: army-technology.com)
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