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10 Nov 22. Ajax Update. UK Defence Minister Ben Wallace has made some more positive statements about Ajax recently, following successful completion of the User Validation Trials on the noise/vibration issues. One update is that the new dual layer headsets are performing well. These headsets will also be used for other vehicles in the fleet such as Warrior, Challenger 2, CRAAV and Trojan. BATTLESPACE understands that the trials, which restarted in October are strictly managed with crews being give long rest periods between trial runs However, whilst the headset issues solves the noise issues, it does not solve the vibration problems where one solution put forward is for a Horstman suspension system to be installed in preference to the current torsion bar system. Who pays for this is currently being considered, BATTLESPACE understands. However, we understand that funding for further projects to GD is currently frozen which would of course mean that the Company pays no Corporation Tax. The current Trials should conclude within 6 months whilst the User Validation Trails could well last three years which means an In Service Date (ISD) of 2028 at the earliest with Full Operational capability (FoC) being 2030, a figure we quoted last year.
09 Nov 22. Canada buys 39 General Dynamics vehicles, eyes anti-tank weapons. The Canadian military has ordered 39 additional light-armored vehicles from General Dynamics for $165m as it aims to replace equipment it donated to Ukraine earlier this year, according to a spokesman with the National Defence Department.
The country also has plans to buy new-generation Carl Gustaf anti-tank systems to replace older weapons shipped to Ukraine.
The procurement efforts follow a promise by Canada’s Liberal Party government that military equipment sent to Ukraine this year would be restocked.
In July, Canada announced it was redirecting 39 light-armored vehicles, originally ordered for the Canadian Army, to Ukraine. The Armoured Combat Support Vehicles had just been built and were rolling off the assembly line at General Dynamics Land Systems’ location in London, Ontario.
Dan Le Bouthillier, the spokesman with the National Defence Department, said a new contract between Canada and General Dynamics for $165m was signed for 39 ACSVs. The funding will come from the CA$500m (U.S. $371m) that the government set aside to support the purchase of military equipment for Ukraine.
Canada has shipped ammunition, anti-tank rounds, grenades, M72 rocket launchers and small arms to Ukraine from its own stocks as the European country fights off a Russian invasion. Canada also provided four M777 howitzers and 100 older-generation Carl Gustaf M2 recoilless rifles.
Department spokeswoman Jessica Lamirande said Canada will replace the small arms ammunition, grenades and M72s; however, details are still being worked out.
“Given the Carl Gustav M2 model is now obsolete, we’ll be looking at developing the acquisition solution for the M4 model instead,” she said.
Department procurement specialists are also examining how to replace the M777s. Options include looking at the international market for existing M777s, or acquiring such guns if BAE Systems’ M777 production line reopens, she said. Another option is to examine the acquisition of other types of artillery guns. (Source: Defense News)
09 Nov 22. US Army’s Spartan Brigade preparing for training rotation with newest ground combat vehicles.
US Army soldiers with the 2nd Armored Brigade Combat Team, 3rd Infantry Division, also dubbed the Spartan Brigade, were recently the first to completely divest of older, legacy combat vehicles and receive the newest equipment. They are preparing to head to the National Training Center in February 2023 to test out how they operate the service’s newest vehicles in austere environments.
The service has embarked on a new life-cycle management initiative called the Regionally Aligned Readiness and Modernization Model (ReARMM). It is designed to improve readiness and balance operational tempo, in part, by better aligning current force demands and fielding new weapons. (Source: Janes)
09 Nov 22. Parliamentary oversight visit to DLS not encouraging for Hoefyster. Probably the most poignant comments to date on what is increasingly looking like a dead duck – Project Hoefyster – include “a sad sight”, “about 15 partially completed Badgers”, “unused components stored for about five years” and “lost technological skills”.
They were made by Kobus Marais, the Democratic Alliance (DA) shadow minister for Thandi Modise’s Department of Defence and Military Veterans, following a recent portfolio committee oversight visit to Gauteng. Armscor, including Gerotek, Protechnik, Hazmat, Flamengro and Ergotech; Denel; the Department of Military Veterans (DMV) and the Special Forces School north of Pretoria were all stops on the parliamentary delegation’s itinerary.
There were seven parliamentarians from three political parties serving on the Portfolio Committee on Defence and Military Veterans (PCDMV) on the oversight visit that was accompanied by four officials. All were told before entering the Denel Land Systems (DLS) facility on the Denel Lyttelton campus “no photographs allowed”, an instruction given as regards what is termed the “confidential nature” of the long-running project to supply a new infantry fighting vehicle (IFV) to the SA Army.
After seeing the current – sorry – state of the project Marais, in a personal report to the PCDMV, offered his solution, which involves manufacturing sufficient Badgers to equip a mechanised battalion and upgrading the long-serving Ratel to meet other Infantry Formation – and other services’ – needs. He points out there are South African defence industry (SADI) companies with “proven records” in extending Ratel life using modern technology and equipment, giving Rwanda as an example. The South African designed and manufactured wheeled fighting vehicle was the first of its type in the world when it was introduced in 1976. Upgraded ones, according to Marais, are successfully utilised by the thousand strong Rwandan contingent in Mozambique assisting government forces in ridding particularly Cabo Delgado of ASWJ (Al Sunnah wa Jama’ah) insurgents.
The PCDMV believes there is “a disjuncture” between Denel as the manufacturer and Armscor as project manager for Hoefyster which “impacts” on its “prospects” and is reportedly planning to recommend “urgent engagements” between the two with the SANDF – as end user – also present.
08 Nov 22. India outlines light bulletproof vehicle acquisition.
The Indian Army has outlined detailed requirements supporting its acquisition of 375 light bulletproof vehicles (LBPVs).
In an acceptance of necessity (AoN) document issued by the army, the service confirmed that the LBPVs would be procured from local industry.
The AoN also stated that the vehicles will be procured under a fast-track procedure in accordance with provisions of the Defence Acquisition Procedure (DAP) 2020, which supports India’s drive to spur indigenous capability development and achieve self-reliance.
According to the AoN, the vehicles should be a manual transmission 4×4 type with the capacity to carry four fully equipped soldiers along with a driver and a co-driver.
The vehicles must have the capacity to carry a load of 600kg with an onroad speed of not less than 60km/h and a cross-country speed of 40 km/h. (Source: Janes)
08 Nov 22. InterRoC research project – Rheinmetall HX trucks demonstrate automated driving capabilities. On behalf of Germany’s Federal Office for Bundeswehr Equipment, Information Technology and In-Service Support (BAAINBw), Rheinmetall is currently conducting the InterRoC research and technology project. The abbreviation stands for Interoperable Robotic Convoy. In the last weeks, the impressive capabilities of this high-tech approach to autonomous driving were on display at two remarkable events.
The InterRoC project encompasses two HX2 military trucks from Rheinmetall, each equipped with an autonomy kit, and which alternate in accordance with the leader-follower principle. With this principle, the first vehicle is always driven manually, while the pursuit truck (or trucks) drives autonomously in its path. These are manned only by a backup driver, who can intervene in case of a malfunction. Here, it is not just the so-called primary functions, such as steering and accelerating, that are controllable; secondary functions like starting the engine, the lights, differential locks, etc., are as well. The current project uses an autonomy kit (A-Kit) furnished by the German authorities, and originally provided by the US government under a project agreement. Rheinmetall’s role in the programme includes modifying the basic vehicles and integrating the autonomy function, together with commissioning and testing.
Proven interoperability: a US-German convoy
As part of its Autonomous Ground Resupply (AGR) project, the US Army uses the same A-kits in its Oshkosh trucks that Rheinmetall uses for InterRoC. This makes mixed US-German convoys possible. This was tested in an operational demonstration (OPDEMO) from 26 September to 7 October at the US Army’s Grafenwöhr Training Area in Bavaria.
The intensive preparations paid off, with the first two-vehicle convoy already on the move the second day. During these two weeks, a convoy consisting of five vehicles tested every conceivable operating mode of the system in multiple variants. In the process, 1,051 km were driven autonomously. It is worth noting that the entire convoy overcame a gradient of 40 percent, with the A-Kit operating the differential locks.
Furthermore, the vehicles were able to operate continuously for over 75 minutes without manual intervention. The maximum convoy length was 1,100 metres.
Dynamic reconfiguration of the convoy proved possible with minimal idle time.
All in all, the tests turned out to be a complete success for everyone involved, resulting in numerous valuable findings.
Success at ELROB 2022
In early summer 2022, in the presence of German government officials, InterRoC vehicles had already taken part in the international European Land Robot Trial (ELROB) event.
ELROB is Europe’s toughest field test for unmanned systems. It is an open, multinational competition in the realm of robotics, sensors and autonomy, drawing participants from universities as well as civilian industry and the defence sector. It takes place every two years at a military installation. This year’s event was held at an exercise area near Vienna, 30 May to 3 June.
Participants have to contend with various scenarios and overcome multiple challenges, conceived in close cooperation with military users. Completion of the tasks is evaluated by a team of experts.
Participating for the first time with the InterRoC research and technology project in the event’s Convoying category, Rheinmetall’s small team took second place, finishing behind the University of the Bundeswehr in Munich.
This year’s challenges strained the specified capabilities of the vehicles and A-Kit alike, but the creative Rheinmetall team, reinforced by colleagues from RMMV Austria, largely succeeded in overcoming these.
In addition to the evaluated scenarios, Rheinmetall also carried out an autonomous driving presentation for a throng of interested visitors at the test site. The vehicles clearly captured the crowd’s imagination and proved highly popular.
07 Nov 22. UK Light Vehicles Update. Sources close to BATTLESPACE suggests that Army HQ is re-modelling the old MRVP programme into a Protected Mobility (PM) pipeline which essentially may or may not include JLTV or any other vehicles and until a requirement has finalised to reflect the here and now, nobody knows what is in/out or numbers involved to create an IOS; one solution is believed to be more Foxhound vehicles from GDELS and a possible upgrade of the RWIKs with a new armour system. This suggest that there will be no imminent announcement on a JLTV buy until next year at the earliest. Army HQ should know what they are doing by Mar 23, LIOS isn’t due in until FY 2025/2026 unless they pick up the pace between now and when the funding is believed to comes on stream and existing contracts have or are about to expire. The source stated that there will be many proposals put forward ahead of a competition with the OEMs will be included this time. It is likely that the buy for the Ranger Battalion will proceed at a greater pace than the new MRV(P) Programme. An RFI is expected after April 2023.
07 Nov 22. Rosomak to supply more technical reconnaissance vehicles to Poland. Rosomak WRT enables troops to take up multiple tasks including diagnostics, evacuation, and repair of damaged vehicles. Credit: Rosomak S.A.
The Polish Armaments Agency has awarded a contract to Rosomak for the delivery of 11 additional Rosomak WRT technical reconnaissance vehicles.
Valued at more than $30.55m (zl144m), the contract involves the supply of technical reconnaissance versions of wheeled armoured personnel carriers (APCs) for the Polish Army.
The vehicles are expected to be delivered between 2024 and 2025.
With the provision of a crew, which includes a commander, driver, two mechanics, and a paramedic, Rosomak WRT will support the operations of motorised infantry subunits using the APCs.
The vehicles enable troops to perform multiple tasks, including diagnostics, evacuation, and repair of damaged vehicles, and other activities related to observation, rescue, and technical reconnaissance operations.
Armed with the ZSMU weapon module’s automated systems and a 7.62mm machine gun, Rosomak WRT is capable of self-defence.
The vehicle features a remote-controlled boom, with a 1.3t lifting capacity, diagnostic, service, evacuation and rescue equipment, onboard power generator, welding units, and a set for instant electrical and mechanical repairs.
The WRT is also equipped with cameras for daytime missions.
The vehicle’s tactical and technical parameters are in line with other variants of KTO Rosomak and offer high mobility, protection, and swimming abilities.
As many as 33 Rosomak WRT vehicles, which were delivered between 2016 and 2018, are in service with the Polish Armed Forces.
The deliveries, worth $49.55m (zl233.5m), were part of a contract finalised between the Polish State Treasury – Armament Inspectorate and Rosomak in 2014. Last month, Rosomak announced that the licence period to produce and sell new Rosomak vehicles has been extended until 31 December 2028. (Source: army-technology.com)
TEK Military Seating Limited
TEK Military Seating Limited is a UK based designer and manufacturer of ProTEK military vehicle seating which offer the highest standards of safety and protection. The ProTEK brand is well respected across the globe for its robust construction, innovative design, built in modularity and cost effectiveness. Our superior products are supported by our experienced team who endeavor to offer unrivalled service to our customers from enquiry, through design and acceptance, to through life support.
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