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12 Nov 21. Poland to acquire 300 used Cougar MRAPs from the US. Poland’s Defence Minister Mariusz Błaszczak has announced the country will acquire 300 second-hand Cougar mine-resistant, ambush-protected (MRAP) vehicles from the United States as part of efforts to modernize the country’s land forces.
“They are proven vehicles that the U.S. Army has used for many years and on many foreign missions,” Błaszczak said in a tweet.
The forthcoming procurement is the latest in a series of purchases of American military gear by the Polish ministry. Last July, Błaszczak announced that Poland will buy 250 M1A2 Abrams SEPv3 tanks from the U.S. in a bid to match the armored technical capacities of its neighbor Russia.
Under the plan, the Cougars are to be delivered to the Polish Armed Forces by the end of 2022 “owing to an accelerated procedure,” according to the minister.
“The contract also covers a logistics and training package,” Błaszczak said.
The value of the deal was not disclosed. The Cougar’s four-wheel-drive variant is enabled to transport a crew of six, and it has been used by the U.S. Marine Corps since 2004, according to data from General Dynamics Land Systems. (Source: Defense News)
11 Nov 21. U.S. Marine Corps Advanced Reconnaissance Vehicle Prototypes Feature Allison Transmissions. Allison’s 3000 Specialty Series™ transmission chosen by both manufacturers competing for the Marine Corps’ newest wheeled armored vehicle prototype.
Allison Transmission, a leading designer and manufacturer of conventional and electrified vehicle propulsion solutions for tactical wheeled and tracked defense vehicles, and medium- and heavy-duty commercial vehicles is an active participant in the U.S. Marine Corps’ combat vehicle modernization plan. Both Textron Systems and General Dynamics Land Systems have been down-selected by the Marine Corps to build prototypes for the Advanced Reconnaissance Vehicle (ARV) competition and both are equipped with an Allison Specialty Series transmission as their propulsion solution.
The Marine Corps also announced it will work with BAE Systems to study the possibility of adapting their Amphibious Combat Vehicle (ACV) to become the ARV. BAE’s ACV, which entered full rate production in February 2021, uses an Allison 4000 Specialty Series transmission.
“Allison takes great pride collaborating with leading defense partners, providing propulsion solutions for their vehicles, and meeting the requirements of the U.S military and our customers around the world,” said Dana Pittard, Vice President for Defense Programs at Allison Transmission.
The Marine Corps is looking to replace its fleet of Light Armored Vehicles as part of the Marine Corps’ modernization. The ARV will weigh less than 37,000 pounds and requires the power and torque to maneuver effectively on land and sea; under extreme conditions through the surf zone, across sandy soil, and into combat action.
“Allison’s fully automatic transmissions are engineered without compromise, and deliver Continuous Power Technology™ for smooth, seamless, full-power shifts and superior acceleration. Allison Automatics have no power interrupts during shift changes making the best use of the engine’s horsepower and torque by delivering more power to the wheels, and allowing the vehicle crew to focus on mission accomplishment,” said Pittard.
The two OEMs are expected to deliver their prototype vehicles in 2023 followed by a rigorous six-month government evaluation. In its solicitation to industry, the Marine Corps said it may pursue a production effort upon successful completion of the prototype project, and build approximately 500 vehicles over five years. (Source: BUSINESS WIRE)
11 Nov 21. CS/VP3 and Mengshi APCs delivered to Nigeria. The Nigerian military has taken delivery of dozens of new armoured personnel carriers (APCs) from China, including CS/VP3 vehicles from Poly Technologies and Mengshi vehicles from DongFeng. Earlier this week, video emerged on social media of dozens of CS/VP3s driving through Lagos. It is believed they were shipped earlier this year, with unconfirmed reports suggested 100 vehicles were delivered around September. The Nigerian Army has been operating Poly Technologies’ CS/VP3 since at least 2014, making it the vehicle’s second known export customer after Uganda. Nigeria apparently acquired an initial 120 of the vehicles. The CS/VP3 has a road speed of around 100 km and a range of some 800 km. It can be fitted with two turrets, on the front and rear above the crew compartment, and fitted with 7.62 or 12.7 mm machineguns. The vehicle has a V-shaped hull and all welded steel armour for protection against landmines and small arms. The vehicle can apparently resist a 16 kg TNT blast under each wheel or 8 kg TNT all round. A total of 12 personnel, including the driver and commander, can be accommodated. Also earlier this week, dozens of DongFeng Mengshi vehicles were spotted at the port in Lagos. Apparently 100 vehicles were cleared through the port.
In August 2020, DongFeng announced that an undisclosed African country had ordered 100 Mengshi (Warrior) 4×4 armoured vehicles through Poly Technologies – this was most likely Nigeria. The Mengshi family of 4×4 MRAP/off-road vehicles was initially developed by DongFeng from the license-built Humvee, while later generations of the vehicles are of indigenous design. The version supplied to Nigeria appears to be the largely indigenously developed CSK-131 variant, which accommodates a driver and five passengers or a 2 000 kg payload. The CSK-131 can mount various weapons on top of the roof and can be fitted with a shielded machine gun position or remotely-controlled weapon station. It has been seen armed with a 12.7 mm heavy machine gun, and 35 mm automatic grenade launcher.
The latest deliveries come as Nigeria in October commissioned into service 60 new Type 89 tracked infantry fighting vehicles (IFVs) from China’s Norinco. The Type 89 is powered by a license-built Deutz 320 hp diesel engine giving a top speed of 65 km/h, and can carry 15 soldiers plus crew. The main armament of the basic APC version was a QJC88 12.7 mm anti-aircraft machine gun, protected by a cradle-type shield/open turret. All-around armour provided protection from rounds up to 12.7 mm. Nigeria has previously acquired other equipment from China, including VT-4 main battle tanks, ST-1 8×8 tank destroyers and SH-5 105 mm self-propelled howitzers. The first batch of hardware was delivered from Norinco in April 2020 and is believed to have been order under a $152m 2019 contract. (Source: https://www.defenceweb.co.za/)
10 Nov 21. US Navy demonstrates capabilities of two UASs for cargo resupply. TRV-150 and Blue Water UAS are being considered for future cargo resupply missions. The US Navy’s Air Test and Evaluation Squadron Two Four (UX-24) have demonstrated the capabilities of two uncrewed aerial systems (UAS) for future cargo resupply missions. The two drones are tactical resupply UAS (TRUAS or TRV-150) and Blue Water logistics UAS (BWUAS). The systems are being considered for delivery to the US Navy and US Marine Corps through ‘non-traditional acquisition strategies’. Demonstrations using the TRUAS and the BWUAS took place in St. Inigoes, Maryland, US on 27 October. The event was coordinated by the navy and Marine Corps Small Tactical Unmanned Aircraft Systems program office (PMA-263) and Naval Air Warfare Center Aircraft Division (NAWCAD).
NAVAIR commander vice-admiral Carl Chebi said: “It’s exciting to see the close collaboration between the programme office, NAWCAD and the operators. The team’s ‘can do’ spirit and innovative acquisition approach will speed much-needed capability to the navy and Marine Corps.”
TRV-150 UAS is a marine-focused platform designed for tactical resupply primarily on shore, while BWUAS is a navy-focused platform used for resupply at sea. It is designed to transport items like food and tactical gear to marines and has a shorter range and heavier lift around compared to Blue Water UAS. In the first mission, the team made an air drop where TRUAS flew to a pre-programmed point to drop a payload and flew back to the original point. In the second leg, TRUAS flew to specified coordinates, landed, released the payload for delivery, and then returned to its location. The BWUAS was flown to prove a vertical take-off, transition to forward flight, and then back to vertical take-off and landing (VTOL) for an air drop. During this testing, the system was able to transition back to forward flight and returned with a vertical landing. NAVAIR noted that TRUAS will be delivered to marines next summer as part of an ‘extended user assessment’. (Source: naval-technology.com)
10 Nov 21. Royal Navy and French Navy combine to test new support ship. One of Britain’s biggest warships was towed through the Channel to help the French test the power of a new specialist ship. The FS Garonne hauled huge assault ship HMS Albion past the coast of Devon to assess its pulling strength and abilities – as well as hone Anglo-French naval co-operation and the Royal Navy’s own emergency procedures. The Garonne is one of four new specialist Loire-class support ships built for the French Navy designed to provide a multitude of services, from supporting diving operations and dealing with pollution in the aftermath of a spillage at sea, to assisting submarines and surface ships, including salvage operations.Classified as bâtiments de soutien et d’assistance métropolitains – metropolitan support and assistance ships – they’ve also been designed with the ability of towing France’s next-generation carrier due to enter service in the mid-2030s and displacing 75,000 tonnes. While sailors train extensively to fix problems without the need for outside help, sometimes damage is too extensive or breakdowns are beyond solving ‘in house’ – and the ship requires towing to a safe haven. With HMS Queen Elizabeth deployed and her sister Prince of Wales undergoing maintenance in Portsmouth Naval Base, the next largest British warship HMS Albion – 18,500 tonnes, 176 metres long, 29 wide – acted as the ‘breakdown victim’ to test the Garonne’s towing ability. The Plymouth-based amphibious assault ship pretended to be dead in the water in the Channel – with the Garonne throwing her a line, figuratively and physically. From the British side, the complex seamanship exercise was overseen by the MoD’s Salvage and Marine Operations (SALMO) team which provides salvage, towing, and heavy lift capability.
“Exercises such as this are fundamental to ensuring an enduring seamanship capability between international maritime partners is maintained. This tested HMS Albion’s ability to be towed safely in the event of an emergency,” said David Price, the SALMO representative onboard HMS Albion.
Commander James Walton, HMS Albion’s Second in Command, added: “Our French Naval counterparts are highly skilled and professional – it was a delight working with them.
“The ability to integrate quickly and effectively with international partners is a key component to operating as a global navy, supporting global Britain.”
Before participating in the Towing Exercise, Garonne carried out intensive trials and training to prove her ability to work with NATO’s Submarine Rescue System (NSRS).
The jointly owned UK, French and Norwegian system is capable of diving down to a submarine in distress, docking with the escape hatches and carrying out an evacuation. One of the key parts of the system is a Remotely Operated Vehicle (ROV) used to confirm the location of disabled submarines and supply them with life support equipment and to clear any debris or wires entangling the vessel. The NSRS team – headed by Commander Richard Cragg Royal Navy – worked with Garonne’s crew with the ROV to carry out tests with new technology which will speed up emergency reaction time. The NSRS is designed to be transported anywhere in the world within 72 hours to support the global submarine rescue network and is based at the home of the UK’s Submarine Service at Clyde Naval Base in Scotland. This was the first deployment of the NSRS to the Loire-class, which will provide a new level of operational flexibility for the system following the successful training off the South Coast of the UK. On top of this joint working, last month destroyer HMS Dragon also took part in an intensive workout with French warships and air power off the Brest peninsula, Exercise Sky Sharks, to ensure greater integration between the two navies. (Source: https://www.gov.uk/)
10 Nov 21. The cancellation of a non-contract! On October 16th the Daily Express published a story Secret plans to cut British army exposed: UK force to be smaller than Germany.’ Within that story was the statement that, ‘a contract for 400 US-made Joint Light Tactical Vehicles (JVLT) has been cancelled.’ BATTLESPACE understands that no contract had been placed! Perhaps the Daily Express meant the MRV(P) Package 2 Requirement for ambulances and command vehicles being competed by Thales with Bushmaster and GDELS with the Eagle 6×6 for which ‘Best and Finals’ are believed to be due this month.
10 Nov 21. Altay power pack talks between Turkey, SKorea changes to off-the-shelf supply. Negotiations between Turkish and South Korean companies to power Turkey’s first indigenous tank are shifting from plans for co-production in the European country to an off-the-shelf contract, Turkish procurement and industry sources told Defense News. In October, Turkey and South Korea signed a letter of intent under which two South Korean companies would supply engines and transmission mechanisms for the Altay tank. The deal, penned Oct. 22, came during a meeting between Turkish Foreign Affairs Minister Mevlüt Çavuşoğlu and the South Korean minister in charge of the country’s Defense Acquisition Program Administration, Kang Eun-ho. Turkish armored vehicles manufacturer BMC, which is making the Altay, is negotiating strategic agreements with South Korean manufacturers Doosan and S&T Dynamics for joint work on a power pack for the tank. Under the deals, the Asian businesses would supply the know-how for an engine and transmission mechanism, which makes up the power pack that would be co-produced in Turkey.
But that’s changing.
“Co-production option did not go ahead as planned,” a company source said. “The new understanding is about off-the-shelf acquisition of Korean power pack.”
A procurement official confirmed the off-the-shelf deal but voiced concern about a potential political intervention blocking the deal. “We fear the U.S. administration may pressure South Korea to avoid any tank engine technology transfer to Turkey,” the official said.
Earlier this month, 41 members of the U.S. House of Representatives sent a letter to Secretary of State Antony Blinken opposing the sale of F-16 fighters to Turkey. The bipartisan letter noted that the U.S. placed sanctions on Turkey under the Countering America’s Adversaries Through Sanctions Act over its acquisition of the Russian-made S-400 air defense system. Turkey was also ejected from the F-35 Joint Strike Fighter program and cannot purchase the advanced aircraft.
Under the new Altay deal, the South Korean companies will directly supply the power pack and assist with its integration with the tank, as well as the testing phase that follows.
If all goes well, BMC officials said, the Altays may be powered by Doosan and S&T Dynamics within 18 months.
BMC won the multibillion-dollar Altay contract in November 2018 to produce an initial batch of 250 units, provide life-cycle logistical support, and establish a tank systems technology center and relevant operations. BMC was also charged with designing, developing and producing a tank with an unmanned fire control unit.
The Altay program is broken into two phases: T1 and T2. T1 covers the first 250 units, and T2 involves the advanced version of the tank. Turkey plans to eventually produce 1,000 Altays, to be followed by an unmanned version. (Source: Defense News)
09 Nov 21. FIU secures US Army grant for additive manufacturing research. FIU will focus on development of high-performance materials that can be used to produce munitions or vehicles. Florida International University (FIU) has secured a $22.9m grant from the US Army to support its research on additive manufacturing technologies. The five-year research grant was awarded by the US Army Combat Capabilities Development Command (DEVCOM) Army Research Laboratory. Particularly, the university will focus on the development of high-performance materials that can be used to produce munitions or vehicles. FIU Department of Mechanical and Materials Engineering chair and Advanced Materials Engineering Research Institute director Arvind Agarwal said: “There is much potential for advancing this highly innovative technique.
“The research at FIU will primarily focus on the development of high-performance metallic materials, which are lightweight and of ultra-great strength, using Rapid Advanced Deposition (RAD) techniques including wire arc, solid-state cold spray and friction-stir additive manufacturing.”
According to an FIU statement, solid 3D parts can be printed in minutes using the latest automation techniques. A compact form of the technology that will use a portable handheld applicator is expected to be effective in military field operations.
The new research will explore the scientific understanding of this process as well as seek to develop enhanced tools and techniques to enable faster and cost-effective production and repair of materials.
FIU College of Engineering and Computing dean John L Volakis said: “We are thrilled to once again participate in a substantial collaboration with the federal government, other leading research institutions and commercial entities.
“This research not only addresses the US Army’s needs but it also allows public universities to contribute toward significant initiatives of national interest.”
During the first two phases of the grant, FIU teamed up with other academic institutions to develop solid-state AM and polymer coatings. (Source: army-technology.com)
09 Nov 21. Czech MoD suspends tracked IFV procurement. The Czech Ministry of Defence (MoD) on 5 November suspended the procurement of 210 tracked infantry fighting vehicles (IFVs) after a commission of experts completed the assessment of the bids. The ministry said in a press release that the three bidders – BAE Systems Hägglunds with the CV90 Mk IV, General Dynamics European Land Systems (GDELS) with the ASCOD 42, and Rheinmetall with the Lynx KF41 – “cannot be evaluated … because none of them meets all the requirements of the contracting authority“. The MoD gave as examples “missing or inaccurate data on the technical characteristics of the vehicles offered and incomplete information on co-operation with the Czech defence industry“. The ministry informed all three bidders of the suspension by letter on 5 November. The MoD did not say what the next steps in the procurement would be, but Janes understands that the IFV offers expire on 30 June 2022. The CZK52bn (USD2.4bn) procurement aims to replace the Czech Army‘s BMP-2 IFVs. Asked by Janes for a reaction, Rheinmetall on 8 November declined to comment and GDELS did not reply to emails on 8–9 November. (Source: Jane’s)
09 Nov 21. FEINDEF 2021: TSD’s Ibero armoured vehicle family makes public debut. Spanish company TSD showcased its Ibero family of armoured vehicles for the first time in public at the International Defence and Security Fair (FEINDEF) held in Madrid from 3 to 5 November. A company executive told Janes that the Ibero made its debut in November 2020 when it was unveiled during an online event, as the Covid-19 pandemic precluded a traditional public presentation. All Ibero vehicles are 4×4 and based on a Daimler FGA chassis derived from that of the Mercedes Unimog series of trucks. (Source: Jane’s)
05 Nov 21. FEINDEF 2021: Duma Engineering’s ASV350 ready for series production. Spanish company Duma Engineering told Janes at the International Defence and Security Fair (FEINDEF) held in Madrid on 3–5 March that its ASV350 armoured fighting vehicle (AFV) has completed test trials and is now ready for series production. According to a company executive, the ASV350’s design was finalised in 2020 and work on the first prototype began in earnest with trials taking place early this year. The vehicle completed these trials by the middle of the year and the first two variants – the armoured personnel carrier (APC) and the infantry fighting vehicle – are now ready for production. Duma Engineering is still working on the specialist variants of the platform, including an ambulance version and an armoured recovery vehicle. The ASV350 is completely modular, with all variants based on the same 4×4 amphibious chassis. The gross vehicle weight is 14.5 tonnes, with NATO Standardization Agreement (STANAG) 4569 level 3 all-round protection being offered as standard and level 4a/4b protection against landmines. The 375 hp turbo diesel engine produces a maximum speed of 105 km/h on roads and 10 km/h in water using two hydrojets. Several weapon fits are available, including cupola-mounted and remotely operated machine guns, as well as 25 mm, 30 mm, or 90 mm gun turrets. A mortar carrier variant able to carry 81 mm or 120 mm tubes is also being developed. The APC variant can carry two crew members and nine dismounts. (Source: Jane’s)
03 Nov 21. Sweden acquires hundreds of logistics vehicles. The Swedish Defence Materiel Administration has placed two orders with Scania and Volvo for 487 logistics vehicles, with initial deliveries scheduled for 2022. The Defence Materiel Administration (FMV) on 2 November announced the acquisition of 487 logistics vehicles for the Swedish Armed Forces.
The trucks were ordered from Scania and Volvo with initial deliveries taking place from spring to winter 2022. The FMV placed two orders with a total value of approximately SEK700m ($82m) to replace an ageing Swedish military fleet. According to the FMV, the Swedish armed services have a great need for utility logistics vehicles without major customisations.
About 60 of the trucks in the latest order are equipped with cranes and another 30 include trailers and carts.
Sweden also plans to procure other military vehicles for its ground forces. In September, the FMV confirmed its intention to join the collaborative effort between Finland and Latvia to develop the Common Armoured Vehicle System (CAVS). The country is also teaming Germany, Sweden, the Netherlands and the UK in the Collaborative All-Terrain Vehicle (CATV) programme. (Source: Shephard)
04 Nov 21. USMC plans AAV divestment, plots way to support vehicles sold to foreign nations. The US Marine Corps (USMC) is poised to retire its family of assault amphibious vehicles (AAVs) in the coming years, with tentative plans to sell legacy platforms to foreign nations. As it plots the vehicle divestment roadmap it is now gauging industry interest in sustaining these vehicles sold under Foreign Military Sales (FMS) deals. In late October, the service issued a sources-sought notice seeking vendors able to provide AAV parts and components and those also interested in being the lead systems integrator (LSI) for the FMS customers who acquire these vehicles designed to move troops from ship to shore.
“With the inception of the Amphibious Combat Vehicle (ACV), [the service] may gradually divest of the AAV capability through fiscal year [FY] 2027,” the USMC wrote. “AAVs from the United States Marine Corps fleet of vehicles may be identified, refurbished, and sold to FMS customers.
“The FMS vehicles will go through the return-to-condition code alpha (RCCA) process … [that] includes disassembly of the vehicle; inspection, repair, and finishing of the vehicle hull and attachments; reassembly of the vehicle, to include replacement of mandatory replacement and unserviceable parts; vehicle testing; and preparation for delivery,” the service explained. (Source: Jane’s)
05 Nov 21. The Army wants to change how it sustains critical technology and communications gear. The Army is changing how it sustains technological equipment to improve the maintenance process, according to the service’s top official in charge of those efforts. The sustainment community wants to embed itself in the requirements process for new systems to get ahead of timelines, said Maj. Gen. Robert Edmonson, who leads Communications-Electronics Command, which is charged with sustaining command, control, computers, communications, cyber, intelligence, surveillance and reconnaissance systems.
“What we’re doing is we’re embedding ourselves further left in the process. We’re getting engaged in the Army Requirement Oversight Council, Army capabilities boards and many others, and we are ensuring that our capabilities and our requirements are clearly understood and codified early so that we can plan appropriately to deliver that capability at the point of need,” he said in a Nov. 2 interview. “That’s not a conversation that begins the day in which you realize that you have a need. That’s a conversation that begins many years in advance.”
During the last 20 years, as America’s forces focused on counterterrorism, the sustainment of systems was often an afterthought. Early engagement, however, allows the sustainment community to better prioritize capabilities, Edmonson said.
He noted that under the Army’s new readiness model — Regionally Aligned Readiness and Modernization Model, or ReARMM — there are certain resourcing decisions that must be made.
“We have decisions to make under ReARMM. We have deliberate decisions to make with regard to units that are modernizing inside of a certain window and units that are deploying inside of a certain window,” he said. “That’s going to allow us inside of CECOM to target our efforts to program our resources to be much more deliberate and precise in the readiness that we’re providing to units.
“Not all units will be in the same cycle in the same window at the same time. From a CECOM perspective, what that means for us is we’ll able to see when units are most available for sustainment, what units are maybe not as available for certain levels of sustainment at a certain time. But really it’s going to be much more dynamic of a process than previous[ly].”
Moreover, he said, ReARMM allows CECOM to look at today’s maintenance requirements and modernization priorities under a single model to make informed decisions about what to divest, adding it is critical for the multiyear budgeting cycle.
As the Army tries to improve its sustainment capability, Edmonson said he is challenging the community to examine how it might sustain commercial off-the-shelf equipment differently than is currently does.
“We need to understand more of that commercial off-the-shelf capability, and we need to be able to build ourselves into what we’re going to want to look like tomorrow,” he said, noting these capabilities will increasingly factor in the Army’s capability arsenal of the future.
“As the network and cybersecurity are major pillars within the National Security and National Defense strategies, Tobyhanna Army Depot is improving its organic industrial base to provide world-class C5ISR depot-level support to the Army’s 31+4 signature modernization efforts and joint weapons systems,” he said. “As the Army and other services adopt agile acquisition strategies for network-enabled weapon systems, Tobyhanna Army Depot remains linked to the program offices, Army Futures Command and [Department of Defense] materiel developers to obtain common or standardized technical capabilities necessary to develop infrastructure investment strategies to support those future, enduring requirements.” (Source: Defense News)
04 Nov 21. New AM General chief vows to ‘put the full weight of the organization’ into pursuing JLTV. Private-equity firm KPS Capital Partners acquired Humvee-maker AM General last year, and now the South Bend, Indiana-based vehicle maker has a new chief executive.
Jim Cannon took over in late September. He previously was CEO of FLIR Systems, a company focused on sensors and unmanned systems recently acquired by Teledyne Technologies.
AM General is known for its iconic Humvees but is setting its sights on future opportunities as the U.S. Army, other U.S. military services, and international partners and allies look to modernize their forces.
Defense News sat down with Cannon in a recent interview at the Association of the U.S. Army’s annual conference to talk about his plans for the company.
This interview was edited for length and clarity.
AM General was acquired about a year ago. Tell me about the firm that acquired you and how the sale is affecting the company.
KPS is a private-equity firm that focuses on great American companies. It is pro-union, they partner with the union to create jobs and they really specialize in manufacturing companies. Really unique in the world of private equity in that they are not afraid of hardcore industrial companies.
What is your background?
Before this job, I was the CEO of a company called FLIR Systems. We made defense technologies. This past May, we reached an agreement to merge with Teledyne. Before that, I worked for a long time at Stanley Black & Decker, a tool company. Nobody uses more tools than the U.S. Army.
But before that, and the thing I’m most proud of, I was a soldier for a little over a decade and it was the best job I ever had. I was an infantryman in the 24th Infantry Division and served in the first Gulf War — Desert Shield, Desert Storm — and then I became an armor officer in Germany in the ‘90s during the Bosnian missions.
How is your strategy for AM General taking shape?
We have a pretty clear task, and that’s to grow the business. We have a purpose that I think everybody here shares in and that’s to ensure our soldiers have overmatch on the battlefield. Industry has a part to play; we need to innovate, we need to change the way we think and we need to move quickly. That’s first and foremost.
We want to be purpose-oriented in what we do internally. We say this is for “Sgt. Smith.” Sgt. Smith could be your son, daughter, could be your brother, sister, mom or dad. Many of us used to be Sgt. Smith. Sgt. Smith is going to take this equipment — they’re going to do a tough mission. Our purpose is their mission, and we need to have that kind of connectivity and make it personal to the warfighter.
As we go forward, AM General is known as the Humvee company and Humvees are an enduring platform. They’re going to be utilized for decades to come. The Humvee today is not the same Humvee that you had 10 years ago, 20 years ago, even five years ago. The suspension, the power train, the safety features, the capability, the skin may look very familiar. But a new Humvee today has capabilities unlike any of its predecessors. We’re going to continue to focus on the Humvee, of course. No. 1 rule of business: Keep the business you got.
But 2022 is going to be a watershed year for the light tactical vehicle industry. You’ve got [the Joint Light Tactical Vehicle competition] coming up. You’ve got the Common Tactical Truck competition coming up. We want to compete to win. We’re absolutely focused on shaping the conditions in 2022 to compete on those programs. There’s a need for competition in the industrial base.
Then what you see in the [AUSA] booth out here is new products and new channels. We’ve got the most significant new product that we’ve introduced really since the Humvee in a product out here called the NXT 360. It’s going to get a different name.
Tell me about why AM General developed the NXT 360 and how you plan to market and sell it.
It may look a little bit like a Humvee — that’s on purpose. But it has an armored compartment that’s got the kind of ballistic protection you get from a JLTV or a [Mine Resistant Ambush Protected vehicle] with a patented hull design with commonality as much as possible with other Humvee spare parts. So what’s that give you? It gives you the ballistic protection that you want in a lighter vehicle, that’s less expensive, that needs fewer incremental spare parts to keep it operating in the field. We think it’s pretty compelling.
There’s not a requirement for it right now, but this is what I think industry has to do. It has to innovate, show what’s possible to the warfighter and perhaps that shapes future requirements.
In the meanwhile, we’re going to continue to actively sell it through non-programmatic channels to allied partners, maybe special operations communities.
The vehicle was officially unveiled at the DSEI, [a London-based defense exhibition in September], and we’re beginning to have discussions now.
The JLTV competition is just around the corner. Tell me about your strategy going up against incumbent Oshkosh Defense after AM General lost the initial competition in 2015.
There are only a handful of companies making light tactical vehicles in the states. We’re one of them. We have a physical footprint and manufacturing muscle that is significant and right now significantly under-utilized. So 100 percent, we’re going to compete, we’re going to put the full weight of the organization behind it. We have new owners in KPS that want to win. There’s opportunities with seven technical inserts to do things a little bit differently, perhaps, than Oshkosh does.
Incumbency matters, it gives a lot of advantages. You could debate how fair recompetes are with the kind of incumbency advantage, but the bottom line is, there’s no reason why we shouldn’t win in my mind. For a living, we make light tactical vehicles. That’s what we do as a day job; it’s not like an extra thing we do.
You are working on soft recoil technology with the Army. How is that effort going?
It’s a really unique technology that eliminates 60 percent of the recoil from an artillery piece or a mortar and what that allows you to do is put a bigger weapon on a smaller vehicle. And so for deployability, expeditionary operations … you can carry more ammo — all the advantages that you would get by being able to put a bigger gun on a smaller vehicle.
We’ve taken a 105mm cannon, a howitzer, and put it on a Humvee and it’s called the Hawkeye. So the Army is taking a couple of Hawkeyes and they’re going to take them this winter and shoot them and really evaluate and test the technology. And then we’ll see what happens from there.
This is a technology [the Army] is considering along with a bunch of other things; we’ll determine exactly what that solution might be.
(Source: Defense News)
TEK Military Seating Limited
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Contact: David Parkman