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13 Oct 22. France’s new UNAC RIDER ATVs paradropped during exercise. France’s new UNAC Rapid Intervention Droppable Equipment for Raiders (RIDER) all-terrain vehicles (ATVs) participated in Exercise ‘Manticore’, held in south central France from 16 September to 7 October by French Army special forces, 11th Parachute Brigade and 4th Air Combat Brigade. A French Army spokesperson told Janes on 12 October that the ATVs were transported and paradropped by A400M transport aircraft during the exercise.
The Direction générale de l’armement (DGA), the French defence procurement agency, announced on its website on 22 September that it had ordered the last 180 of 300 RIDER ATVs foreseen by France’s Loi de Programmation Militaire (LPM) 2019–2025 military funding programme. The EUR44m (nearly USD43m) contract was awarded on 30 August and also includes the last 100 of 172 trailers foreseen by the LPM 2019–2025, plus 10 years of support.
The RIDER ATV is equipping the French Army and special forces, with the first two ATVs having been delivered on 19 April.
The DGA expects eight RIDERs to be delivered in 2022, with deliveries continuing until 2027. (Source: Janes)
12 Oct 22. US Service eyeing January 2023 release of draft RCV-L prototyping solicitation. The US Army is moving forward with plans to host a Robotic Combat Vehicle – Light (RCV-L) competition and will likely release a draft solicitation by early 2023, according to the Director of the Next Generation Combat Vehicles Cross Functional Team, Brigadier General Geoffrey Norman. Several army leaders provided reporters with an RCV-L update on 11 October at the 2022 Association of the US Army’s (AUSA’s) annual conference in Washington, DC, to include new details about plans to acquire these unmanned vehicles. Right now, the service wants to run two parallel efforts. The first is born out of the acquisition of four RCV-Ls from QinetiQ North America and Oshkosh Defense based on a ‘variant’ of the Expeditionary Modular Autonomous Vehicle (EMAV). The service has used these vehicles in a couple of soldier operational experiments, including one in mid-2022. (Source: Janes)
12 Oct 22. Allison Transmission Introduces the eGen Force™ Electric Hybrid Propulsion System for Armored Combat Vehicles.
Allison Transmission, a leading designer and manufacturer of conventional, electric hybrid and fully electric vehicle propulsion solutions, is pleased to introduce the eGen Force™ electric hybrid propulsion system for tracked combat vehicles. Designed for 50-ton tracked vehicles, the eGen Force meets the requirements for the U.S. Army’s Optionally Manned Fighting Vehicle (OMFV) program. The eGen Force is also scalable to 70-ton tracked vehicles, making it capable of meeting future Main Battle Tank requirements as well.
“This product is more than a transmission – it is a power distribution system featuring an electric motor and inverter for on-board vehicle power and parallel hybrid operation,” said Dana Pittard, Vice President, Defense Programs, Allison Transmission. “This enables engine-off mobility to reduce enemy detection – both acoustic and thermal – ideally increasing soldier survivability.”
Allison has combined its decades of experience with both combat vehicle and electric hybrid propulsion solutions to develop the new eGen Force system. Prior to initiating the design of the eGen Force, Allison leveraged voice of customer by conducting a comprehensive trade study based on more than 70 years of cross-drive development to select the optimal architecture for an electric hybrid combat vehicle with the goal of optimizing efficiency, performance, reliability and manufacturability. To reduce developmental risk, Allison has combined established parts from its X1100-3B1 transmission, used in the Abrams Main Battle Tank, with new components that follow proven design strategies for the gearing. The high efficiency range pack utilizes eight forward and three reverse gears providing an efficient 12:1 ratio coverage and generates 220 kilowatts of electrical power.
“We are very pleased with sub-system performance testing and validation,” said Michael York, Executive Director, Defense Engineering, Allison Transmission. “Currently the eGen Force has began dyno and engine stand testing followed by vehicle testing in early 2023. System and vehicle level integration expertise is a core competency and differentiator for Allison, and we are proud to deliver these next generation capabilities in partnership with our defense customers.”
Allison is proud to partner with American Rheinmetall Vehicles (ARV) to integrate the eGen Force into their OMFV offering. The ARV vehicle delivers best-in-class mobility and unmatched power in a highly maneuverable and modern chassis that will transform the way soldiers and squads accomplish their mission. (Source: BUSINESS WIRE)
12 Oct 22. Here’s what industry is offering to meet US Army’s electric vehicle needs. For the defense industry, creating hybrid and fully electric vehicles for the U.S. Army isn’t about being eco-friendly: it’s about making soldiers more lethal and survivable.
The trucks increasingly feature radars, radios, weapons and other power-hungry mission modules. The Army wants the ability to operate quietly and to lessen its heat signature, pointing toward battery power rather than a running motor. And the less troops rely on refueling, the more agile they are during operations.
To bring these benefits and more to the battlefield, GM Defense is taking a swing at fully electric vehicles. With parent company General Motors making a $35bn investment in the underlying technology for its Ultium base platform used in commercial vehicles, GM Defense President Steve duMont said he can leverage that work for the Army.
After GM Defense won the Infantry Squad Vehicle contract in 2020, the company used its own research and development dollars to rip out the internal combustion engine and put in a fully electric motor. That’s still an internal effort, but the company sold a Hummer EV to the Army so the service can begin testing the Ultium technology in a tactically relevant environment, duMont said.
He believes it’s “inevitable” the Army will get to an all-electric fleet due to the operational benefits. But he acknowledged there’s not much of an infrastructure yet to recharge these vehicles at the tactical edge.
That leads him to two ideas: GM Defense and its partners can pursue hybrid technologies as a steppingstone, and they can pursue concepts to bring power to the battlefield.
Plasan North America’s All-Terrain Electric Mission Module, or ATeMM, seeks to address both. The modules can be remotely controlled or towed behind a lead vehicle.
John Cavedo, the company’s president, said ATeMM started as an effort to create a smart trailer that could better traverse tough terrain under its own power behind a lead vehicle. It morphed into something much more.
“I am quite convinced that this can replace towed generators, this can replace towed trailers, this can potentially augment or replace some of the Robotic Combat Vehicle-Light platforms that people are looking at. So I think this is really a multitool,” Cavedo said.
GM Defense is eyeing the trailer as a means to recharge all-electric vehicles in the field. But Cavedo said the ATeMM has the potential to become a mobile microgrid as well, or to convert gas-powered vehicles into hybrids.
Technology and innovation manager Dan Jakiela explained the ATeMM could push the lead vehicle to which its hitched, either creating better fuel economy while the vehicle’s motor is running, or allowing for so-called silent watch mode, which lets the vehicle run its communications systems and sensors while the motor is off.
“How do we leverage 100,000 existing tactical wheeled vehicles that are already in the fleet? How do we leverage those ms of dollars that have already been spent, and be able to hybridize those vehicles as an interim bridge, as other companies such as GM Defense come along with a purpose-built hybrid or with a purpose-built EV? This can become a great bridge,” Cavedo said.
These purpose-built hybrid systems are taking shape in different ways, with General Dynamics Land Systems creating distinct platforms to optimize different features of its ground vehicles. For its part, BAE Systems is opting for a common system that can be scaled to support vehicles of different sizes.
Tim Reese, the director of business development for GDLS, said its StrykerX hybrid is optimized to move at high speeds and longer distances on battery-only power, allowing for silent operations when needed. The AbramsX tank, on the other hand, sought to reduce the size of the engine, which is quite large to allow the platform to perform in the most strenuous conditions. Its hybrid electric drive was focused on using a smaller and lighter engine that can provide enough power for the bulk of the tank’s operating profile, with the battery providing an extra boost in especially tough conditions.
BAE Systems has a scalable hybrid system that can fit vehicles of 30-60 tons, which covers the whole portfolio except the Abrams tank and the recovery vehicle, according to the company’s director of business development, Jim Miller.
BAE has already delivered two hybrid Bradley fighting vehicles to the Army for testing, which Miller said have already gone to several exercises.
The service may go on to test a whole platoon or company of these vehicles before committing to the hybrid system when they fully understand the technology and the operational benefits. Miller said he hopes success with Bradley vehicles could pave the way for adding hybrid drives to howitzers, Armored Multi-Purpose Vehicles and more.
“You’d have a common hybrid-electric-drive platform in the brigade, which, if the Army wants that and can afford that, that could be a really substantial step for them to take,” Miller added. (Source: Defense News)
12 Oct 22. ‘Arion-SMET’ UGV handpicked for US Army’s field tests – Hanwha Defense-developed ‘Arion-SMET’ unmanned ground vehicle selected to be tested by the U.S. DoD for the Foreign Comparative Test (FCT) program – The 6×6 Arion-SMET features futuristic technologies including remoted-controlled and autonomous maneuvers; tethered follow-me move; remoted controlled weapons station – The Arion-SMET is optimized for manned and unmanned teaming (MUM-T) tactical operations for infantry troops October 11, 2022 _ Hanwha Defense’s state-of-the-art unmanned ground vehicle (UGV) will join the U.S. Army’s competitive field test and evaluation program. The UGV, codenamed Arion-SMET been selected as one of the equipment for the Foreign Comparative Testing (FCT) operated by the Office of the Secretary of Defense under the U.S. Department of Defense. The FCT aims to test items and technologies of U.S. foreign allies that have a high Technology Readiness Level (TRL) so as to satisfy valid defense requirements quickly and economically. This is the first time that a South Korean unmanned weapon system has been chosen for performance tests in the United States, paving the way for potential cooperation with the U.S. military’s future modernization programs. “This is a key achievement for Hanwha Defense and the South Korean defense industry,” said Executive Vice President, Youngwoo Seo, head of the Department of Defense Robotics and Autonomous Systems Development. “Arion-SMET’s participation in the FCT program proves our technologies of defense robotics and unmanned systems are already in the world class and recognized competitive enough to enter the U.S. and other foreign markets.” Following the FCT decision, the company is discussing the detailed measures with the U.S. military authorities on how to conduct field tests on mission capabilities, as the comparative tests on the Arion-SMET are expected to take place by the year’s end at the earliest, at a U.S. Army base.
The Arion-SMET is an acronym of Autonomous and Robotic systems for Intelligence Off-road Navigation – Small Multi-purpose Equipment Transport. The 2-ton vehicle is a 6×6 UGV evolved from a 4×4 multipurpose UGV developed in 2019 under a civil-miliary joint research and development program led by Hanwha Defense. The South Korean Army successfully operated the ARION-SMET last year to trial the vehicle’s tactical operational capability. The Arion-SMET was built primarily for supporting infantry operations such as transporting munition and weapons; evacuating the wounded; remote-controlled or autonomous reconnaissance and surveillance; and close combat support. The vehicle has a modularity-driven design to support various missions. Some of the key technologies of the ARION-SMET include autonomous off-road navigation; devices for tethering to follow a soldier or vehicle; autonomous homing for the communication failure; and software for supporting MUM-T operations. The vehicle is armed with a Deep Neural Network (DNN)-based remote-controlled weapons station (RCWS), which can detect/ track enemy soldiers, localize the source of gunfire and fire back in the direction of the gunfire coming from. With these innovative functionalities, the ArionSMET is optimized for supporting manned and unmanned teaming (MUM-T) operations for infantry troops. “Along with those great, legacy weapon systems such as K9, Hanwha Defense has striven for delivering robotics and autonomous systems with superb and tailor-made capabilities since 2006,” said EVP Youngwoo Seo. “The Arion-SMET is the latest edition to this effort that would stand strong at the era of ushering in Manned-Unmanned Teaming (MUM-T), and recently gets lots of attentions from the domestic and international market as its functionalities are easily expandable and its capabilities are very competitive.” The electric-powered Arion-SMET offers high mobility with a maximum speed of 43kph on paved roads and 34kph on unpaved roads. The vehicle can drive up to 100km when fully charged, and has a maximum payload capacity of 550kg.
11 Oct 22. US Army, BAE aim to accelerate armored vehicle production. The U.S. Army and BAE Systems are working together to identify ways to accelerate production of the new Armored Multi-Purpose Vehicle, which would let the service more quickly replace aging M113 armored troop carriers. The Pentagon has sent some M113s to Ukraine; in total the department has committed 200 of the vehicles since Russia invaded its neighbor in February.
“I’ve seen them on the internet and they seem to be doing pretty well by Ukraine, and the Ukrainians are using them in their intended role — a battle taxi, not a fighting vehicle,” Maj. Gen. Glenn Dean, program executive officer for ground combat systems, told Defense News ahead of the Association of the U.S. Army’s annual conference.
Congress has provided some funding to replace M113s with AMPVs, Dean said, “so for the National Guard, [which] gave up vehicles, we already have the money in hand to buy back some of [their] vehicles.”
The Army is “working with BAE to build their production rate up higher,” Dean added. “It’ll take them a while to get to the rate that we need to be able to replace those M113s in an expedited fashion, but that is the plan. We have additional, significant increase in production money actually already in hand. It’ll be combined with [fiscal] 2023 monies for the full-rate production decision, and then we will expect to see that continue to FY24.”
The move to quicken production may come as a surprise, given the Army originally planned to slow the rate of AMPV purchases across its five-year plan, from FY23 through FY27. That initial approach was meant to help the Army pay for other priorities, despite the expectation that the service will reach a full-rate production decision on the AMPV in early 2023.
The new pace, described in the most recent FY23 budget plan, would extend procurement for AMPV out to 2035. The Army went from a plan to buy vehicles at around a rate of 190 per year to buying 131 a year.
In FY23 alone, the Army cut 177 vehicles from its previous budget plan for FY22.
“The original plan had us ramping up to a brigade set a year in [low-rate initial production],” Bill Sheehy, BAE’s AMPV program director, told Defense News. “Then we were going to drop down substantially as we began full rate … but with issues going on in Eastern Europe, the United States supplying the Ukrainians M113s, we have been approached by the [U.S.] Army to start to develop courses of action that would allow us to ramp up our production rates in order to divest of 113s faster.”
BAE is now in the planning process to figure out how to meet the demand, Sheehy said, adding that the effort is an acceleration of the current plan to divest M113s faster and does not increase the total objective quantity of AMPVs the Army plans to acquire.
For now, BAE is preparing to submit its full-rate production proposal to the Army ahead of the service’s upcoming decision.
Because of lingering effects the coronavirus pandemic had on the supply chain, coupled with some suppliers wanting to avoid getting locked into longer-term contracts due to uncertainty over costs, BAE has structured its first full-rate production contract proposal as a two-year deal with a plan to pursue another two-year contract down the road.
Sheehy noted the Army is onboard and understands the business situation.
AMPV also completed its major initial operational test and evaluation earlier this year. While Dean warned to take his initial assessment with a grain of salt since he hasn’t seen all the reports, “based on at least what I’ve gotten from every test and evaluation command [report], it is as good a test outcome as I have ever seen in my career: effective, suitable, survivable.”
The Army is on “track to start actual fielding to the first brigade in January,” Dean added.
The AMPV program had a bumpy start, with delayed completion of vehicles due to tooling and assembly line challenges at BAE Systems’ York, Pennsylvania, production line. The Army test community also identified deficiencies with the vehicle that required correction before low-rate initial production, further delaying the program.
Then pandemic complications contributed to additional delays in building vehicles.
But Sheehy said the issues are behind BAE thanks to “advanced manufacturing techniques and the robotic welding that we’re using in there. We’ve been able to maintain schedule, and part of that schedule is ramping up to the full-rate production numbers … and we’ve been able to do that and maintain consistent delivery for over a year now.” (Source: Defense News Early Bird/Defense News)
11 Oct 22. BAE Systems delivers upgraded CV90s with brand new turret to the Netherlands. First upgraded CV90s with increased combat effectiveness unveiled for Royal Netherlands Army at a ceremony at BAE Systems Hägglunds in Sweden. The first newly-upgraded CV90 infantry fighting vehicles (IFVs) for the Royal Netherlands Army’s fleet were recently unveiled during a rollout ceremony at the BAE Systems Hägglunds facility in Sweden. Customers, local dignitaries, and BAE Systems employees attended the event, which celebrated the first vehicles completed in the 500 m euro upgrade program. The upgrade enhances the vehicles’ capabilities by providing vehicle crews with improved protection, firepower, and ergonomics, and significantly increased combat effectiveness.
“This rollout is an important step in the mid-life update of the infantry fighting vehicles for the Royal Netherlands Army,” said Vice Admiral Arie Jan de Waard, the National Armaments Director of the Defence Materiel Organisation (DMO). “The upgrade of the CV90 results in a state-of-the-art infantry fighting vehicle which provides more protection, a new turret, greater firepower, and a new IT infrastructure. The vehicle enhances crew operational effectiveness when facing new threats and keeping our infantry safe at the same time. It is a powerful combination of man and machine. The 122 upgraded Dutch CV90s are futureproof,” he added.
The Dutch CV9035 vehicles have been equipped with several enhanced capabilities such as an Active Protection System (APS), an Anti-Tank Guided Missile (ATGM), and a new Electro-Optic Aiming System (EOPS), which provides additional situational awareness. The vehicles also include an upgraded fourth generation digital backbone, with embedded and more robust cybersecurity, to future-proof the electronics.
“We are committed to delivering the most modern and adaptable IFVs to meet our customers’ requirements, and we are extremely proud of the technological developments underway as part of this significant mid-life upgrade program,” said Tommy Gustafsson-Rask, managing director of BAE Systems Hägglunds. “This is the first step in delivering the IFV that meets our Dutch customer’s needs, increasing their combat efficiency on the future battlefield.”
In January 2021, BAE Systems signed an extensive mid-life upgrade contract with the Dutch Defence Materiel Organization (DMO) for the Royal Netherlands Army’s fleet of 122 CV90s, to ensure the CV9035NL remains in service through 2039.
A key improvement is the newly-designed CV90 turret, a leap forward in capability and functionality, developed by BAE Systems Hägglunds. The main weapon position has been changed, resulting in even better vehicle balance, as well as creating new options for alternative solutions for both weaponry and crew, including significantly improved lethality and ergonomics.
More than 20 Dutch companies are involved in the supply chain for the mid-life upgrade program, providing mechanical and electrical components to both BAE Systems Hägglunds and its main subsystem suppliers. These relationships will support the Dutch defense industrial base for many years to come.
11 Oct 22. Reader’s comment: Ref this week’s MILITARY VEHICLE, LOGISTICS AND THROUGH LIFE UPDATE, 22 Sep 22. The UK MoD has today released the April 2022 official statistics for armed forces equipment. Not a pontification (!!) but you may wish to know ref Panther and Husky:
- Army decided to choose between retaining Husky or Panther. Their decision (early-ish 2021) was to remove Husky and retain Panther. Panther Out of Service Date is now 2037, and funding has been amended to reflect this.
11 Oct 22. Tank swap: Rheinmetall supplying the Czech Republic with Leopard 2 MBTs and Büffel ARV. Under the German government’s “Ringtausch” equipment exchange programme, Rheinmetall will soon be supplying the Czech Republic with main battle tanks and other military hardware. This has now been contractually agreed in Prague between representatives of both countries and Rheinmetall.
The Czech armed forces will be receiving Leopard 2A4 main battle tanks and Buffalo armoured recovery vehicles. In turn, the Czech military will be transferring military equipment to Ukraine. The order includes ammunition as well as a service package encompassing training and spare parts. The first vehicle is due to be shipped in December 2022, with delivery to be complete by the end of 2023.
The “Ringtausch” is a procedure developed by the German government in cooperation with Germany’s neighbours and NATO allies to support Ukraine in its fight against Russian aggression. Specifically, NATO member states are providing Ukraine with Soviet-era heavy equipment in exchange for readily available Western military systems.
Working in close cooperation with the German Ministry of Defence and the Czech authorities and armed forces, Rheinmetall swiftly negotiated the necessary contracts. These were signed on 11th October 2022 at the Ministry of Defence in Prague by Major General Ladislav Jung, Land Forces Commander of the Czech Republic; Colonel Robert Bielený, Director of Logistics Section General Staff of the Czech Republic; Vice Admiral Carsten Stawitzki, National Armaments Director in the German Ministry of Defence; and Dr. Björn Bernhard, CEO of Rheinmetall’s Business Unit Tactical Vehicles.
Work on the vehicles has already begun. The property of Rheinmetall, the vehicles now being made available are upgraded Leopard 2A4 MBTs formerly in the inventories of various user states. The state-of-the-art ARV 3 Buffalo armoured recovery vehicle is mounted on an enhanced Leopard 2 chassis.
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