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19 Oct 22. US Army readies to select tactical truck builders.
The Army is slated to select early next year multiple vendors to build prototypes for its Common Tactical Truck competition.
The service received “multiple” bids to compete, Brig. Gen. Luke Peterson, the Army’s program executive officer in charge of combat support and combat service support, told Defense News in a recent interview.
“We are on track for a January award, and it’ll be more than one company,” he said, “as a part of that prototyping effort to really allow the Army to evaluate current commercial technology in a military-type application, modified off-the-shelf for military purposes.”
The Army hopes the new trucks, set to replace its Family of Heavy Tactical Vehicles, will address a reliability issue, as the service is struggling to sustain its legacy trucks, Peterson said.
“We are going to really learn what industry can offer us and affordability is going to be the key driver here for the Army to make those informed decisions,” Peterson added.
The service in late June released a request for proposals to build prototypes. The prototyping phase is meant to help the Army define requirements.
Following the prototyping phase, the Army plans to again open the competition, allowing vendors to submit bids for the engineering and manufacturing development phase. The service expects to enter EMD in the fiscal 2024 time frame and is targeting the end of FY26 to enter the production phase with a single winner.
Initial production could total about 5,700 vehicles valued at around $5bn.
At the Association of the U.S. Army’s annual conference earlier this month, hulking tactical trucks were hard to miss on the exhibition floor.
American Rheinmetall Vehicles and GM Defense, who earlier this summer agreed to partner in the CTT competition, displayed Rheinmetall’s MAN Military Vehicles HX tactical military truck at GM Defense’s two-story booth. The truck was hauling one of the Infantry Squad Vehicles GM Defense is building for the U.S. Army.
“The Army customer says they want modern, advanced technology based on commercial investments made so that we can deliver the best capability to the warfighter as quickly as possible,” GM Defense President Steve duMont told Defense News in August. “That’s what this team is preparing to do.”
Mack Defense brought to the conference its M917A3 Heavy Dump Truck, based on the commercially available Mack Granite model. In 2018, the Army awarded Mack Defense a $296 million contract to provide over seven years dump trucks to replace decades-old Army trucks. Mack began building those vehicles in 2021 in Allentown, Pennsylvania.
Just ahead of AUSA, Dave Hartzell, the company’s chief executive, told Defense News it had submitted a bid for the prototyping phase of the CTT program.
The company is taking its base design and technology from the Granite family of vehicles, and militarizing it.
“We made some performance enhancements to it to meet the Army’s requirements for off-road capability, or mobility requirements, and then they have a force protection requirement, there’s an armoring requirement, so obviously, we had to design that to provide that capability as well,” Hartzell said.
Roughly 80% of the parts are shared with Mack’s commercial vehicle platforms. The Army wants “a commercial base vehicle platform that can still meet the mission roles that are required for the military application, but with a degree of commonality with commercial industry as much to the extent possible,” he said.
AM General also announced at AUSA it submitted a bid to compete for the CTT. AM General is teaming with Italian Company IDV Iveco Defense Vehicles, which previously partnered with BAE Systems to supply the U.S. Marine Corps’ Amphibious Combat Vehicle.
AM General has long supplied Humvees to the U.S. Army and is planning to compete again for a chance to build the service’s Joint Light Tactical Vehicle after losing to Oshkosh Defense in 2015. The Army is recompeting the contract and plans to select a winner early next year.
“The team’s High Mobility Range Vehicle architecture for CTT will be based on a newly launched highly modular range of trucks, specifically designed for military use,” according to AM General’s statement. (Source: Defense News Early Bird/Defense News)
05 Jan 23. Bradley replacement, OMFV, will live or die by software.
The Army may spin off a procurement track solely for software development — in parallel to physical production — in hopes of hastening the “cadence” of essential digital upgrades to OMFV, officials told Breaking Defense.
Pentagon procurement has plenty of problems, but two of the biggest are acquiring modern software and replacing marquee platforms like the Reagan-era M2 Bradley Infantry Fighting Vehicle. So it’s at once bold and a bit unnerving that the Army is trying to tackle both those problems with its third attempt to replace the Bradley, the Optionally Manned Fighting Vehicle, a program whose success depends not on armor or guns, but on software.
“There had been many prior programs to provide a new infantry fighting vehicle,” admitted Maj. Gen. Glenn Dean, the Army’s Program Executive Officer for Ground Combat Systems (PEO-GCS), in an exclusive interview with Breaking Defense. “What is really different about this time [is] digital engineering and modular open systems architecture; that [is] what we are doing fundamentally differently than any of our previous programs.”
“OMFV… is really our leading candidate for our current initiatives” in both those areas, he said.
Digital engineering refers to designing the vehicle entirely on computers, which allows higher precision and easier changes than traditional paper blueprints. The OMFV program has already funded five corporate teams to develop “preliminary digital designs,” of which up to three will win the right to build a physical prototype.
Modular architecture means building all components to strictly specified, widely shared standards — for everything from cable ports to data transfer protocols — which allows easier “plug-and-play” upgrades than traditional bespoke parts. All OMFV vendors must follow a set of standards called the GCS Common Infrastructure Architecture (GCIA). What’s more, because OMFV will operate with a slimmed-down two-man crew or, on some missions, entirely unmanned (hence “Optionally Manned”), it requires unprecedented automation. All these things are all about software.
In fact, Army officials told Breaking Defense that software is so central to OMFV that Army leaders are considering a separate series of contracts specifically for software development, in parallel to the contracts already planned for the physical vehicle. OMFV contractors are already required to deliver new code every six weeks, but the proposed dual track would allow even more intensive focus on software, in hopes of moving even faster.
“The software pathway will be key,” said Col. Jeff Jurand, who, as Dean’s program manager for Maneuver Combat Systems, oversees OMFV. And if the Army can decouple the pace of software upgrades from the much slower cycle for new hardware, Jurand told Breaking Defense, “we can pour it in on a cadence that we’ve never been able to do.”
ISR-as-a-Service will let the Army see more, farther, and persistently at every echelon
ISR at standoff distances that counters near-peer capabilities demands sensors with greater range, more varied types of sensors for detection, and the ability to quickly swap them out as threats evolve.
From BREAKING DEFENSE
But the service is still deciding whether to include all software development as part of the current five-phase OMFV program or spin some off as a separate set of contracts.
OMFV Could Follow Robotic Vehicle Program’s Footsteps
Another Army program, the Robotic Combat Vehicle (RCV), is pioneering the two-track approach with separate contracts focused on hardware and software — though it’s still too early to say how successful it’ll be. RCV contracted with QinetiQ and Textron to build experimental remote-controlled mini-tanks, including the embedded software to run the vehicles. But it’s also contracted, through the Defense Innovation Unit, with Applied Intuition for software development tools and with Kodiak, which makes self-driving trucks, for navigation algorithms.
“It’s new ground for the department,” said Lt. Col. Chris Orlowski, Dean’s product manager for Robotic Combat Vehicles. “I’m not aware of any other programs that have structured a hardware and software program in parallel like this.”
“This is something that’s going to be a challenge for us” in the RCV program, Orlowski said. “We cannot completely decouple the hardware and the software.”
For instance, he said, specific physical components such as sensors may require very specific software to run, depending on their design. But higher-level functions, such as navigation, don’t really care what kind of vehicle they’re running on. Splitting off these functions into a separate contract, Orlowski believes, will let the Army pick the “best of breed” companies for software development, a highly specialized skillset, rather than just award everything in one bundle to the best builder of hardware.
EXCLUSIVE: Pentagon not prepared for software updates at the speed of war, report finds
Ultimately, Orlowski added, the RCV program might split things up further, awarding contracts for specific software functions. “We’re not ready to make a decision [yet] on how to compete software at the module level,” he said. “We’re monitoring different vendor approaches.”
To have companies compete for individual modules, however, you need your software to be made up of modules in the first place. Modularity, in turn, requires a common set of standards for how those different pieces of software plug-and-play together — a Modular Open Systems Architecture like the Army’s GCIA. Even when a specific make and model of sensor, say a LIDAR, requires unique software to run, Orlowski said, “the interface to those sensors is then standardized through the GCIA interface, [so] the LIDAR [data] is shared.”
In World War II, the Allies designed tanks like the M4 Sherman for easy transport using standard-sized harbor cranes, railroad cars, and bridges. In the 21st century, the standards armored vehicles have to meet are increasingly digital. That’s why the Army’s PEO-GCS has developed what it calls theGCS Common Infrastructure Architecture, GCIA. GCIA, in turn, builds on existing standards, said PEO-GCS Dean, particularly the military aviation community’s FACE (Future Airborne Capability Environment), albeit customized for ground vehicles.
GCIA is a living, evolving thing, not a static template, and it’s being developed in concert with industry. Currently, said Dean, “we’re on GCIA version 2.0,” which is currently circulating for comment.
All OMFV proposals must be designed from the ground up to meet GCIA standards, while RCV is working towards compliance. Dean also hopes to gradually upgrade existing armored vehicles like the 8×8 Stryker to use GCIA-compatible components, allowing them to share at least some parts and programs across the fleet, such as collision sensors or navigation algorithms.
But it’s impractical to rip out all the existing components that do not meet the standard. The reason: There’s been a radical revolution in how hardware and software work together.
During the Cold War, when processing power was minuscule by modern standards, a given piece of hardware, such as a gunsight, might require only a few lines of code, painstakingly tailored to run on the specific circuitry that could be crammed in that component. You couldn’t upgrade the hardware without rewriting the code (and vice versa). Any exchange of data between different components — say the gunsight and a targeting computer — was laboriously custom-built and hardwired. Update one component, and you had to carefully retest the whole vehicle to make sure there were no unforeseen effects.
By contrast, in 2023, processing power, memory, network connectivity, etc. (collectively called “compute”) are all abundant and compact. Each piece of hardware can host its own miniaturized computer running complicated programs, those devices can share lots of data at high speed over a network (wired or wireless), and modern programs rarely care what specific make and model of computer they’re running on thanks to programing techniques known as containerization and virtual machines. So you can replace one component of software or hardware without having to modify and re-test everything it’s connected to — as long as everything is built to a common standard that lets it share data.
Traditionally, said OMFV program manager Jurand, programs had to bundle a bunch of upgrades together into a single package for efficiencies of scale and test them all at once, a process known as “block upgrades” that typically took multiple years. But with every OMFV component required to be GCIA-compliant, he said, you can push out individual upgrades — a new sensor, a better navigation algorithm, and so on — much more quickly. His objective is to upgrade OMFV at least once a year “at a minimum,” he said, likening it to automakers rolling out their new models every fall.
The Global Upgrade Pipeline
That streamlined process could allow much faster fixes to new bugs discovered in the field, faster exploitation of new technology, and faster countermeasures to new threats, that is, if the Army can work out a way to swiftly and securely deliver new code to combat units around the globe. “That’s a technical challenge we have to work through,” Jurand said.
If the Army can get the software pipeline to work worldwide, however, it opens up another form of frontline adaptability: having alternative algorithms available for vital functions, so the vehicle can switch to whatever software works best for a given situation. For instance, you might use one navigation program while on the road, then switch to another app, perhaps coded by a different company altogether, when you go cross-country. Or maybe even have specific algorithms optimized for specific terrains, like desert, swamp, or forest. Likewise, you might use one target-recognition AI for enemy tanks, another for infantry. Or perhaps use one targeting AI by night and one by day, or one tailored to defeat a particular enemy countermeasure. That switch might be done automatically by a higher-level piece of software or manually by the soldiers onboard, based on both their training and their personal experience of what works best where.
RELATED: Lighter, hybrid & highly automated: The Army’s next-gen armor
“It is very hard, technically, to make … one algorithm to rule them all,” Jurand said, “because certain algorithmic techniques will perform better in certain environments.” So it might be best to have multiple modules for any given function and swap between them.
“You’ve got to have sufficient processor space … to house two different two different software solutions to the same problem set,” Jurand acknowledged. “But that is not an uncommon thing” nowadays.
Engineers have always aimed to design new vehicles with more horsepower and stronger chassis than strictly needed, to allow a margin for growth, Dean said. That’s why the Bradley has been able to accommodate so many pounds of upgrades over the last four decades. In the future, he said, you’ll also need extra computing power.
“Future capabilities growth is largely going to be about how we handle data,” said Dean said. “We’re starting to see how … collecting and analyzing data, integrating that data, and then turning that data into information [from] which you generate combat capability is all going to be based very heavily on software.”
“Today, our mechanism for handling data on a platform is mostly the brain of the vehicle commander. He has a bunch of sensors which are feeding him information,” Dean continued. “I’m looking through a scope and I’m listening to a radio and I might have text coming over valid command display. He’s got to make sense of that.”
In the future, Dean said, artificial intelligence could help commanders impose order on this incoming flood of data, fast. That’s a crucial edge in combat, where shooting first often means living longest, and every second counts.
(Source: Breaking Defense.com)
05 Jan 23. DCD Husky is leading landmine detection system. Springbuck armoured vehicle detonates a simulated improvised explosive device.
DCD Protected Mobility rates its Husky as the world’s leading landmine detection system. Tested to international standards in the United States (US), France and South Africa and a track record to date of detonating over 7 000 explosives without loss of life. The Boksburg, Gauteng, company has a history of saving lives through innovative design and high quality build standards of its Husky landmine detection vehicle and the proven Springbuck armoured personnel carrier (APC).
“DCD Protected Mobility’s flagship product, the Husky – also known as the Vehicle Mounted Mine Detector (VMMD) – is in service in 17 countries around the world, including NATO nations,” general manager Cornelius Grundling said adding: “From early beginnings 42 years ago our third generation Husky 3G is now available.”
According to him, the new Husky 3G was developed with greater emphasis on crew ergonomics, field maintenance, reducing exterior noise levels as well as ease of manufacturing, single steer axle and reduced total lifecycle costs. The improvements follow years of operational experience and end user feedback.
Husky is certified for Level 4a and 4b for blast and Level 3 for ballistic and artillery fragmentation protection in accordance with STANAG 4569 and AEP‐55 (Volume 2, Edition 2) and AEP‐55 (Volume 1, Edition 1).
As a versatile sensor platform, Husky can detect, mark and interrogate landmine and IED threats. In the event of detonation, components engineered to break in a predictable manner. This facilitates speedy infield repairs; any damage to the system can usually be repaired without having to resort to workshops, increasing uptime and system availability.
The metal detector and GPR (ground penetrating radar) sensor fitted to Husky can detect a three metre wide path on route clearance missions. Besides an interrogation arm, the roof-mounted remote weapon station provides protection against sniper attacks and/ or ambushes.
“DCD Protected Mobility has a long-standing partnership with the US-based AirBoss Defense Group (ADG), through which we market and support the Husky Mine Detection System,” Grundling said.
Aside from Husky, DCD Protected Mobility manufactures the Springbuck family of tactical wheeled vehicles.
“Springbuck vehicles play a significant role in route clearance missions as support vehicles to the infantry, Command and Control, EOD (explosive ordnance disposal), fire support and emergency evacuation applications,: he said adding an indicator of their success is Springbuck vehicles operating in seven African countries with the customer base ranging from the United Nations (UN) through to army, police, gendarmerie and Special Forces.
Thanks to its innovative design and quality manufacturing standards, alongside significant blast and ballistic protection features, Springbuck vehicles are credited with saving countless soldiers’ lives on the African continent.
“In terms of mobility our vehicles meet tactical, critical and strategic mobility requirements as well as all vehicles meeting International road regulation requirements. Durability testing ensures reliable and available products to end users,” he said.
Springbuck vehicles are built with simplicity, crew comfort, protection, and cost-effectiveness in mind, making use of internationally available driveline components for assured performance and parts availability.
With permanent 4×4 engaged, Springbuck is powered by a turbocharged diesel engine and carries a driver and 10 personnel.
The Springbuck vehicle family comprises standard (SD), heavy duty (HD) and extra duty (XD) versions. Performance, payload and protection increases on each successive model.
DCD Protected Mobility is the official distributor of SHERP vehicles in Africa. The SHERP amphibious utility vehicle is comfortable on most surfaces and can overcome difficult natural obstacles. This makes it suitable for use by specialists such as geologists, oil workers and rescue agencies. It is also useful for fishermen, hunters, extreme drivers and travellers. The UN World Food Program (WFP) utilises SHERP vehicles in its fight against hunger in several countries around the world. (Source: https://www.defenceweb.co.za/)
04 Jan 23. Poland signs deal to buy 2nd batch of Abrams tanks.
Poland’s defense minister on Wednesday signed a deal to buy a second batch of U.S Abrams main battle tanks as Warsaw beefs up its defensive capabilities and strengthens military cooperation with Washington in light of Russia’s war in neighboring Ukraine.
Officials said Poland is the first U.S. ally in Europe to be receiving Abrams tanks.
Defence Minister Mariusz Błaszczak signed the $1.4bn deal at a military base in Wesola, near Warsaw. The agreement foresees the delivery of 116 M1A1 Abrams tanks with related equipment and logistics starting this year.
Attending the signing ceremony were U.S. deputy chief of mission in Poland Daniel Lawton and U.S. Brig. Gen. John Lubas, deputy commander of the 101st Airborne Division, elements of which are stationed in southeastern Poland close to the border with Ukraine.
The deal follows last year’s agreement for the acquisition of 250 upgraded M1A2 Abrams tanks that will be delivered in the 2025-2026 time frame. Poland is also awaiting delivery of American High Mobility Artillery Rocket Systems and has already received Patriot missile batteries. Speaking in Wesola, Polish and American officials said the deals strengthen Poland, the region and NATO’s eastern front as the war in Ukraine continues. (Source: Defense News)
04 Jan 23. Germany sees Puma combat vehicles as great but too iffy for war. Germany’s Puma infantry fighting vehicles feature superior capabilities but are too prone to failure for actual operations, according to an initial assessment from defense officials over recent breakdowns in the fleet. The brief statement released Jan. 4 caps weeks of intense debate in Germany about the future of the program after Der Spiegel reported in December that all of the 18 vehicles used during an exercise experienced outages.
The drill was meant as a final checkup before including the Pumas as an integral part in Germany’s contribution for NATO’s high-readiness force pool, led by Berlin in the 2023 rotation. Following reports of the Puma’s last-minute problems, officials quickly designated the Bundeswehr’s decades-old Marder vehicles as replacements.
According to the Defence Ministry, the highly digitized Puma is still a superior weapon “in principle.” But its proper functioning is too dependent on the closely interlinked collaboration of soldiers, logisticians, project managers and industry — conditions unlikely to be optimal on the battlefield.
Officials said they would invite top representatives of the Army, industry and the acquisition bureaucracy to a “near-term” meeting aimed at hammering out improved usability conditions for the vehicles. Barring effective measures to that effect, Defence Minister Christine Lambrecht froze plans for new upgrade contracts and a second lot of 50 new vehicles from manufacturers Rheinmetall and Krauss-Maffei Wegmann.
Germany’s armed forces, the Bundeswehr, have 350 Puma vehicles in their inventory, 42 of which are in an upgraded configuration meant for NATO’s high-readiness service.
Industry officials were able to fix 17 of the 18 vehicles affected by the recent exercise failures. Analyses so far paint a picture of damage “mostly” of small and medium severity, according to the Defence Ministry. But there were also more significant problems related to “high-value parts” and fire damage that happened inside a vehicle.
A Rheinmetall spokesman previously described the extent of the damage as “bagatellen,” or trivial, in most cases, German press agency dpa reported Jan. 2. (Source: Defense News)
03 Jan 23. Oshkosh Defense Receives $102m Order to Supply JLTVs to International Allies. Oshkosh Defense, LLC, an Oshkosh Corporation (NYSE: OSK) company, announced today that the U.S. Army Contracting Command – Detroit Arsenal has placed a $102m order for Joint Light Tactical Vehicles (JLTVs). JLTVs will be delivered to Romania, Lithuania, North Macedonia, Brazil, and Montenegro. NATO, Allied and Collation partners continue to leverage the JLTV’s superior mobility, proven protection, unmatched reliability, and interoperability for their Light Tactical Vehicle solution. To date, seven international customers have ordered or committed to this exceptional capability.
“We are committed to supporting our international allies in protecting their Warfighters and strengthening their capabilities while improving interoperability with the U.S. Military,” said John Lazar, Vice President, International for Oshkosh Defense. “Lithuania recently received its second delivery of Oshkosh Defense JLTVs, and by the end of 2024, they will have a fleet of 500 JLTVs.” (Source: ASD Network)
03 Jan 23. GDLS Delivers Advanced Reconnaissance Vehicle Prototype to USMC. On December 23, 2022, General Dynamics Land Systems, a business unit of General Dynamics (NYSE: GD), will submit to the U.S. Marine Corps its Advanced Reconnaissance Vehicle (ARV) prototype for evaluation in the service’s ongoing competition.
“We are proud to have delivered this transformational capability to the Marine Corps,” said Gordon Stein, General Dynamics Land Systems Vice President and General Manager of U.S. Operations. “Our purpose-built ARV prototype is the fruition of several years of research and development internally and in collaboration with the USMC. We can’t wait for Marines to get their hands on this ARV and use it as their quarterback on the multi-domain battlefield.”
General Dynamics Land Systems’ ARV connects to an array of onboard and offboard sensors, plus uncrewed aerial vehicles and, eventually, ground robotic systems. General Dynamics Land Systems Advanced Reconnaissance Vehicle.
Along with the ARV prototype, General Dynamics Land Systems today also delivered a blast hull for survivability testing and a system integration lab.
“We have continued to align with the Marine Corps’ 10-year transformational initiative, Force Design 2030, and our ARV capability furthers that objective,” said Phil Skuta, General Dynamics Land Systems director of strategy and business development for U.S. Marine Corps and Navy programs. “The ARV is highly mobile on land and in the water and will allow Marines to sense and communicate like never before. Our design also ensures growth margins and modular open architecture to rapidly incorporate new technology as it develops.” (Source: ASD Network)
03 Jan 23. STOOF International presents armoured SUV Trojan with certified maximum protection. The “Trojan,” based on the Toyota LC 300, in resistance class VR9, from STOOF International, represents an absolute novelty with absolute maximum protection for civilian, military and police missions, usable as an armoured SUV and armoured limousine for quiet driving on all roads, light, medium as well as heavy terrain, reinforced with high-performance components on body, frame, suspension, wheels and brakes.
STOOF International armoured vehicles have strong steel plates, aramid, Window panes several centimetres thick, special chassis with special brakes, fire extinguishing systems, GPS tracking systems, wheels with run-flat systems, armoured tanks, protected exhaust systems, sirens, flashing lights as well as many other secret special features and are above all one thing: to protect the occupants.
Special protection vehicles are rolling fortresses and offer comprehensive protection against attacks. Bullets and shrapnel cannot penetrate the bodywork, but the occupants remain unharmed. STOOF armoured cars serve as a safe means of transport for politicians, kings and queens or high-ranking managers.
Stoff was founded in 1865 and is now in its 5th generation with 150 employees.
This vehicle is unique and unsurpassed in the world. With it, the company sets an unsurpassed standard. The new “Trojan” based on the Toyota LC 300 is a superlative security vehicle, luxury and security on wheels, which is currently without equal.
This vehicle is not only tested according to the civilian guidelines VPAM, but also according to the military standard STANAG 4569.
STOOF International, has built a successor model based on the Toyota LC 300 with the brand name “Trojan” in the company’s production halls in Borkheide, on an area of approx. 25,000 m², just under 50 km from the gates of the German capital Berlin, after the VPAM BRV and ERV version 3, also achieved certification with a blast at 2 metres with three out of three stars from the German Beschussamt, reflecting 150 years of experience in the construction of special vehicles.
Fred Stoof on this armoured maximum protection all-terrain vehicle: “When it comes to protecting human life, there is no room for error. We as STOOF International develop and produce our special vehicle protection solutions exclusively according to the guidelines of the VPAM (Association of Test Centres for Attack Resistant Materials and Construction) and the STANAG (Standardisation Agreement of the NATO Standards Office). We use certified ballistic materials for the armouring. During the weak point analysis, Stoof International’s experts pay attention to hinges, edges, weld seams and bondings. Beforehand, the armour plates and the armour glass installed in the vehicle are tested for bullet resistance in a separate material test.
“The official testing and certification of our specially protected vehicles is carried out by the German government’s independent bulletproof office and stands for uncompromising security and occupant protection with its special certification procedure.”
For more information on STOOF International’s armoured Trojan, click here: https://www.stoof-international.de. You can see the video about the certification of the vehicle, Made in Germany, here: https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=E0PPb_tXPOs. (Source: PR Newswire)
02 Jan 23. Progress in the Series Production of the Eitan APC. The Israeli Ministry of Defense has chosen the Oshkosh Defense company to manufacture hundreds of hulls for the Israel Defense Force’s new armored wheeled APC. At the end of a competitive process conducted by the procurement mission of the Israeli Ministry of Defense in the USA, in cooperation with the Directorate of Tanks and Armored Vehicles (Mantak), the Oshkosh Defense company was chosen to produce hundreds of hulls for the Eitan Armored Personnel Carriers (APCs). The value of the deal signed with the company is estimated at over $100m and will be financed with American aid funds.
The Eitan APC was developed by NTC in the Ministry of Defense, and the vehicles that are expected to arrive in Israel, starting in about a year and a half, will go directly into the production line at the Merkava factory in Tel Hashomer (MSHA). At the end of their assembly, the vehicles will be transferred for operational use in the IDF and will significantly expand the range of protected APCs.
The Eitan, which is considered the most advanced wheeled vehicle of its kind in the world, is designed to carry 12 soldiers with a maximum level of protection, to include the “Dorvan Arrow” (also known as Iron Fist) active defense system and advanced fire control systems. In the coming weeks, the Ministry of Defense will deliver the first operational Eitan heavy-duty APCs to the IDF’s Nahal Brigade.
The IMOD, @IDF, and @ElbitSystemsLtd announce: “Iron Fist” Active Protection System completes a series of successful interception tests in challenging scenarios, the next step in completing its development process for the Eitan APC & D9 bulldozer.
The Head of the Tank and APC Directorate at the Ministry of Defense, Brigadier General Oren Giber, said “The signing of the contract with the American company Oshkosh is an important step in the Eitan project. The move will allow us to increase the production resources for the project, not at the expense of the production lines in Israel, with the aim of providing the advanced APC to the IDF soldiers. The agreement with Oshkosh may also open opportunities for the Ministry of Defense and Israeli industries to export the ‘Eitan’ and the systems installed in it.”
Head of the procurement delegation in the USA, Brigadier General (Res.) Michel Ben-Baruch, said “It is the close and fruitful cooperation between the procurement team and the personnel of the National Security Agency that made it possible to carry out the competitive procedure successfully. This deal, like many others, is made possible thanks to the strong alliance with our American partners.” (Unofficial translation by Defense-Aerospace.com) (Source: Israel Ministry of Defense/https://www.defense-aerospace.com/)
02 Jan 23. AAR Corp welcomes new US law on used aircraft parts.
US-based aircraft maintenance provider AAR Corporation could benefit from a provision in the recently enacted fiscal year (FY) 2023 National Defense Authorization Act (NDAA) that requires the US Air Force (USAF) and US Navy (USN) to consider buying used parts for their commercial-derivative aircraft, according to the company’s chief executive.
While AAR has “had success here and there” selling used aircraft parts to the US government, the government has tended to favour new aircraft parts, said John Holmes, AAR’s president and CEO. However, the new law requires the USAF and USN to “implement processes and procedures” for buying used parts, and AAR believes it is well-positioned to furnish such items.
“We think this could be the starting point of [a] meaningful opportunity for AAR,” Holmes told analysts on 20 December. “How much and how long, I think, is a question, but we’re really encouraged by the fact that that language is now part of the NDAA.” (Source: Janes)
04 Jan 23. HMS Prince of Wales’ repair works to complete by spring 2023.
In August 2022, the ship’s starboard propeller shaft suffered a mechanical defect, while heading to the US. The UK Royal Navy (RN) has reportedly confirmed that repair works on its second Queen Elizabeth Class (QEC) aircraft carrier HMS Prince of Wales will conclude this spring. According to a report by BBC, the aircraft carrier is currently undergoing repairs in a dry dock in Rosyth, Scotland.
An undisclosed RN spokesperson told BBC: “Repairs to HMS Prince of Wales’ starboard shaft are expected to be completed by spring 2023. The ship will then return to Portsmouth for a pre-planned maintenance period.”
Last year in August, the right-side starboard propeller shaft of the QEC aircraft carrier suffered a mechanical defect, while the vessel was heading to the US from its home port, Portsmouth Naval Base.
Following this incident, the RN divers and personnel carried out inspections to understand the condition of shaft, which later revealed that the vessel required to enter dry dock in Rosyth to undergo repairs.
The carrier’s engineers and divers said that the extent of time required, and the amount of repair works needed cannot be known completely and precisely until HMS Prince of Wales enters dry dock.
Before departing to Rosyth, the defective 33t starboard propeller was also removed from the 65,000t vessel.
According to the RN, the incident further resulted in rescheduling the 2022 autumn deployment of HMS Prince of Wales to 2023.
It involved the warship to operate with F-35B fighter jets, uncrewed aerial vehicles and MV-22 Osprey aircraft in the Eastern Seaboard of the US. While being repaired, a crew of around 750 personnel will remain deployed with the ship in Rosyth and continue their training to undertake future deployments and missions, while also supporting the maintenance work. (Source: naval-technology.com)
31 Dec 22. Troop carrier replacement production ramping up.
To retire the aging M113 armored troop carriers, the Army and BAE Systems are working to accelerate the new Armored Multi-Purpose Vehicle production. Efforts to increase production come as the United States continues to supply weapons to Ukraine.
The Pentagon has sent several of the current M113s to Ukraine. As of October, the department had pledged 200 vehicles to Ukraine since Russia invaded. The M113s came from the Army National Guard, Maj. Gen. Glenn Dean, program executive officer for ground combat systems, said.
Congress has already provided some funding to replace the M113s with AMPVs, according to Dean. The service is working with BAE to increase its rate of production, originally reported by Army Times sister publication Defense News
Moves to quicken production may surprise some, considering the service originally sought to slow rate of AMPV acquisitions over its five-year plan between fiscal years 2023 and 2027. The new pace would extend procurement for AMPV out to 2035, as the Army went from a purchase rate of 190 AMPVs a year to 131 a year.
Due to lingering challenges in the supply chain and economic inflation, BAE had to restructure its first full-rate production proposal as a two-year deal with another two-year deal down the road. By doing this, it eases the concerns of some suppliers from getting locked into products at a certain price despite the possibility of changing costs.
The AMPV completed its initial operational test and evaluation earlier this year. Dean said the service expects to start fielding to the first brigade at the beginning of 2023. (Source: Army Times)
03 Jan 23. Paramount positions Mbombe 8 as Hoefyster alternative.
The Paramount Group achieved major export successes with its Mbombe range of infantry combat vehicles (ICVs) and is now turning toward the domestic [South African] market, offering the 8×8 Mbombe 8 as an immediately available and affordable alternative to the long-delayed Badger vehicle.
Under Project Hoefyster, the SA Army was due to receive 242 Badger vehicles in different variants from Denel Land Systems (DLS) to replace some Ratels in the mechanised infantry. Deliveries were scheduled between 2019 and 2022 but this slipped due to development issues, technical challenges and Denel’s financial difficulties. Armscor was at one point so concerned about Project Hoefyster it recommended cancelling the programme and diverting funds to upgrade Ratels as an interim solution.
The OTT Group developed a Ratel service life extension plan (SLEP) to keep the ageing vehicles in service for longer due to Badger non-delivery. The Ratel SLEP is a privately funded development offered to the SA National Defence Force (SANDF).
Paramount Group believes a better alternative is to supply its Mbombe 8 infantry fighting vehicle (IFV), launched in mid-2016 and now a mature design. It has been further developed by Kazakhstan Paramount Engineering (KPE) as the Barys 8 and last year concluded a four-year series of trials conducted by the Ministry of Defence of Kazakhstan.
The Mbombe 8 has a gross weight of 28 tonnes, kerb weight of 19 tonnes and nine tonne payload covering weapons system, ammunition, crew and supplies. It is powered by a six cylinder turbocharged diesel engine driving a six speed automatic transmission with a top speed of 110km/h. Range is 800km. Eight dismounts can be accommodated in addition to three crew. Ballistic protection is to STANAG 4569 Level 3+ and blast protection is to STANAG 4569 Level 4a and 4b.
These specifications, Paramount points out, closely match the Badger, also with a nearly 110km/h top speed and range of 800km. Additionally Mbombe has flat-floor mine protection.
A range of turrets and weapon stations can be integrated onto the Mbombe 8, such as a dual feed 30mm cannon and 7.62mm machinegun turret. Turrets fitted include those developed by South Africa’s Comenius and a Russian AU-220M remote turret with 57mm cannon and a 7.62mm machine gun. Anti-tank guided missile (ATGM) launchers can be fitted.
The Badger was meant to be delivered in five main variants for the South African landward force: Section variant with 30mm CamGun; Mortar variant with a 60 mm mortar; Fire Support variant with 30mm CamGun; Anti-tank variant with Ingwe missiles and the Command variant enabling command and control at company level.
The Mbombe 8 payload of 9 tonnes gives room to add missiles, mortars, cannons and other items to match Badger variants. Production of 30 mm CamGuns, 60mm long range mortars and turrets started, meaning they can be retrofitted to the Mbombe 8. While Denel Land Systems (DLS) is finalising production baseline of the initial section Badger variant, Paramount can put the Mbombe into production right away and, the company says, at a lower cost – a single Mbombe 8 costs under $2m. The Mbombe family (Mbombe 4, Mbombe 6, and Mbombe 8) share an 80% parts commonality, giving cost benefits to armed forces due to greater efficiencies and significant savings in main. (Source: https://www.defenceweb.co.za/)
03 Jan 23. Philippine Army receives Sabrah light tank. The Philippine Army has received a Sabrah ASCOD II light tank from Israelʼs Elbit Systems.
In a social media post, the Philippine Army’s Armor Division (AD) said that it has received one Sabrah light tank based on the ASCOD platform and the tank will be used by the 1st Tank Battalion of the AD.
The tank is equipped with a 105 mm main armament cannon, a 7.62mm co-axial machine gun, and a fully electric turret drive, the AD said. The tank provides ballistic protection of up to NATO standardization agreement (STANAG) 4569 Level 4.
“The Sabrah light tank further improved the AD’s capabilities in providing lethal firepower for both internal and external security operations,” the AD added. (Source: Janes)
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