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19 Jan 23. US Army turns to predictive maintenance to cut mishaps.
The Government Accountability Office is praising the military’s use of predictive maintenance — meaning repairs made before equipment breaks — to avoid accidents and save money, according to a recently released report.
This approach has long been encouraged; indeed, the Pentagon issued a policy two decades ago meant to promote predictive maintenance adoption. But GAO said it wasn’t until recent years the services began making progress.
The Army, for instance, first implemented predictive maintenance on AH-64 helicopters in 2005. By 2012, the service was using this approach with the UH-60 helicopter as well as some vehicle programs. By early last year, it had installed predictive maintenance capability on 65% of its CH-47 Chinook cargo helicopter fleet.
Maj. Gen. Thomas O’Connor, the Army Aviation and Missile Command commander, told Defense News in an interview this month that the approach is bolstering safety and saving money.
Previously, it was far more challenging to catch early wear and tear on parts that could, if unaddressed, lead to serious or fatal accidents. Or the Army swapped out too early parts with plenty of life left.
Now, O’Connor said, the service is increasingly catching problems before they generate in-flight issues for its aircraft.
“Every day we are getting these red flags,” O’Connor said. “We’re removing components and replacing them earlier in order to save short-term readiness and prevent any catastrophic failures.”
In one instance, a UH-60 Black Hawk was experiencing some abnormal tail rotor vibrations. Using predictive maintenance capabilities, the Army determined a gearbox was failing.
“During the teardown inspection, we determined that this one was within hours of catastrophic failure, which would have likely resulted in loss of aircraft,” O’Connor said.
In another instance, the Army identified through sensor data that an AH-64 Apache attack helicopter’s nose gearbox was operating abnormally. The Army removed the aircraft from service and determined the part was about to fail.
The Army also identified abnormal vibration in a UH-60 main rotor swashplate, tore it down and discovered the bearings were giving out, which could have led to another catastrophic event, O’Connor said.
He told Defense News the service is increasingly relying on technology to help it determine what repairs are needed when.
For the CH-47 fleet, for instance, the Army used to perform major service on the helicopters at two key times: after 200 flight hours and again after 400 flight hours.
“We have a lot of historical data that helps drive us to understand component wear and services and all associated with the CH-47 fleet,” he said. With the help of that data, “we extended that [second] service out to 620 flight hours.”
According to the GAO, predictive maintenance has reduced costs. Aviation battalions with CH-47s avoided costs of $24m and realigned 6,237 maintenance hours to higher priorities over a six-year period, the report states, though it does not specify the exact time period.
The Army also reported avoiding $215m in costs and realigned 5,324 maintenance hours to higher priorities after using predictive maintenance on UH-60 Blackhawk helicopters also over a six-year period, according to the GAO.
Now, the GAO is recommending the Army develop a comprehensive implementation plan for predictive maintenance across the force and include a process for monitoring progress and tracking milestones.
At the same time, the Army is looking to a new fleet of Future Vertical Lift aircraft that will be designed with embedded, high-tech, predictive maintenance capabilities and recently began fielding a system on the AH-64 designed to deliver to mechanics real-time data from the predictive maintenance sensors, O’Connor said.
The Army is also beginning to use 3D digital designs to address predictive maintenance and weighing how to use artificial intelligence, for instance, to enhance the capability, according to O’Connor, including developing digital twins of its current fleet of aircraft.
“That is to really to get a digital engineering footprint of the design items and then use some physics-based modeling and stress modeling to really predict fatigue life on components,” he said. (Source: Defense News)
18 Jan 23. Oshkosh Defense, LLC, an Oshkosh Corporation (NYSE: OSK) company, announced today that the U.S. Army Tank-Automotive and Armaments Command (TACOM) Life Cycle Management Command (LCMC) has placed a $141m order for 414 Family of Medium Tactical Vehicles A2 (FMTV A2) and 56 FMTV trailers. The FMTV A2 is a modernized version of the FMTV A1P2, offering increased force protection, greater payload capacity, superior off-road mobility, enhanced engine power, and an upgraded electrical system. These advanced capabilities allow the FMTV A2 to support a wide range of duties, from combat missions and logistics operations to aiding in relief efforts.
“Since we were awarded the FMTV A2 production contract in 2018, we’ve worked closely with the U.S. Army to refine the platform and add additional capabilities,” said Pat Williams, Chief Program Officer for Oshkosh Defense. “We’re confident that we are delivering the best performing medium tactical vehicle in the world.”
With today’s announced order, Oshkosh Defense has received orders for 1,412 FMTV A2s and 800 FMTV trailers for a total order value of $627m to date.
18 Jan 23. Indian Army orders Mahindra Scorpio SUVs. The Indian Army has ordered Scorpio sports utility vehicles (SUVs) from Mahindra Automotive, the company announced in a social media post. The SUV has been selected under the 4×4 light utility vehicle – general services (LUV-GS) category. Mahindra has received an order for 1,470 Scorpio Classics from the Indian Army. The seven-seater SUV is fitted with a 2.2-litre diesel engine that generates a maximum power of 130 HP and torque of 300 nm, the company said. In March 2022, India’s Defence Acquisition Council (DAC), chaired by Defence Minister Rajnath Singh, approved the procurement of 4×4 LUV-GS. The new LUVs are intended to replace the in-service Maruti Gypsy vehicles.
In 2016, the Indian Army selected the Tata Safari Storme over Mahindra Scorpio to replace fleets of Maruti Gypsy and Mahindra MM Jeep-derived models. Tata was awarded a contract to supply 3,192 4×4 Tata Safari Storme vehicles at that time. (Source: Janes)
17 Jan 23. The Armored Group Expands U.S. Operations in Southeast with Purchase of 110-acre Campus.
The Armored Group, LLC (TAG), a leader in engineering, manufacturing and customizing armored vehicles, today announced it has completed the acquisition of IF Armor International, LLC and its facility in Shelby, North Carolina. The strategic move expands TAG’s manufacturing capabilities to meet unprecedented demand from global partners and future customers.
“We continue to see requests for best-in-class armored vehicles rising across all markets and establishing this footprint in North Carolina is vital to our deliverables,” said Beau Gailey, General Manager and Chief Operating Officer of TAG. “This will no doubt help accelerate our domestic and international growth and we look forward to becoming part of the Shelby community.”
With deep roots in Shelby and the greater North and South Carolina surrounding areas, thousands of vehicles have been produced out of the Carolinas since the Iraq War to aid and protect soldiers. The main facility sits on 110 secured acres with two independently alarmed and surveilled buildings, a live-fire testing range and a vehicle mobility test field. TAG Shelby will have a significant daily manufacturing capacity and this expansion will bring more than 100 jobs to the Shelby, NC. TAG’s additional staffing to the current personnel in Shelby will support $240 m in current orders for armored vehicles over several multiyear contracts.
- TAG Shelby campus covers 110 acres
- 227,000 square feet of manufacturing space in Shelby, NC
- State-of-the-art manufacturing and fabrication equipment, paint facility, live-fire shooting range and vehicle mobility testing track
- 40-ton brake press and a 246-foot laser cutter
- Separate 70,0000 square-foot paint and coatings facility in Forest, NC
The original facility was constructed and became operational in the early 1990s, and in 2007, was upgraded to support armored vehicle manufacturing. TAG purchased IF Armor International at the end of 2022 and is currently ramping up production to bring its celebrated armored vehicles to governments, military, law enforcement agencies, private businesses and individual citizens around the world.
TAG has produced thousands of specialty vehicles for U.S. organizations including the United States Secret Service, White House Communications Agency (WHCA), SOCOM, U.S. Army, U.S. Air Force, Department of State, FBI, DHS, and local law enforcement agencies. TAG also has produced thousands of vehicles internationally to organizations including the Armed Forces of Ukraine, United Nations, Iraqi Ministry of Defence, European Union, and Bangladesh National Police to name a few.
(Source: PR Newswire)
17 Jan 23. Navistar Defense, LLC (Navistar Defense) announced the signing of a sales agreement with Polski Holding Obronny sp.z o.o. (PHO) which enables Navistar Defense to provide parts to support vehicles used in Ukraine and the Eastern European region.
“With the increased instability in Eastern Europe, we want to ensure that U.S. allies have access to innovative vehicles and solutions that Navistar Defense provides to protect and support military, law enforcement, and humanitarian missions,” said Mr. Ted Wright, chief executive officer of Navistar Defense. “We look forward to our new relationship with Polski Holding Obronny.”
Under this agreement with PHO, Navistar Defense will provide genuine Original Equipment Manufacturer (OEM) and aftermarket spare parts for militarized commercial off-the-shelf and tactical vehicles to PHO. In addition, PHO will facilitate vehicle sales in the Eastern European region. It is Navistar Defense’s first step towards providing training, logistics, and service support in the region.
“The Polish-American meeting is a clear signal that Poland continues to modernize the Polish Armed Forces and increase its potential,” said Mr. Artur Gocel, president of Polski Holding Obronny. “The Republic of Poland is a key link of NATO’s eastern flank and will distribute top-class combat equipment to many countries in Europe. Polski Holding Obronny (Polish Defense Holding) will cooperate on a long-term basis with the U.S. company Navistar Defense, LLC in the sale of spare parts for MRAP (Mine Resistant Ambush Protected) vehicles and new vehicles manufactured by Navistar Defense, LLC.”
Gocel added “MRAP is a type of military armored vehicle that is manufactured to protect the crew against possible explosions of mines or improvised explosive devices (IEDs). A characteristic feature of these units is the constructed chassis in the shape of the letter “V”, which allows to level and disperse a significant part of the impact force of the explosion. Vehicles of this type were used by Polish soldiers on missions abroad in combat conditions and received very good reviews.”
About Navistar Defense: Headquartered in Madison Heights, Mich., Navistar Defense manufactures and sustains tactical wheeled and commercial off-the-shelf military vehicles and adjacent battlefield systems for the U.S. government and NATO allies and provides contract manufacturing services at its facility in West Point, Mississippi. Additional information is available at www.NavistarDefense.com.
About Polski Holding Obronny: Headquartered in Warsaw, Poland, Polski Holding Obronny sp. z o.o. (Polish Defense Holding LTD.) is a trading company with over 45 years of experience in special trade, organization of production and conducting complex long-term strategic programs in the field of modernization or supply of weapons systems for the Polish Military, Law Enforcement and for export. It is the largest Polish exporter of military equipment.
Since 2014, Polski Holding Obronny sp. z o.o. (Polish Defense Holding) serves as a capital group connecting over 20 companies of the Polish defense industry in Poland and abroad, and thus the largest producer and supplier of armaments in Poland.
16 Jan 23. UK to consider whether it needs larger tank fleet.
Defence Secretary Ben Wallace has said he will review the number of the British Army’s Challenger 3 conversions to consider “whether the lessons of Ukraine suggest that we need a larger tank fleet”.
In 2021, it was announced 148 Challenger 2 main battle tanks would be upgraded to Challenger 3s – with the remaining 79 vehicles from the fleet set for retirement.
It comes as the UK prepares to give Ukraine 14 Challenger 2s as part of what Mr Wallace described to the House of Commons as the “most significant package of combat power to date to accelerate Ukrainian success”.
“Even as we gift Challenger 2 tanks, I shall at the same time be reviewing the number of Challenger 3 conversions to consider whether the lessons of Ukraine suggest that we need a larger tank fleet,” the Defence Secretary said.
“We will also build on the Army’s modernisation programme at pace, specifically on artillery. I’m accelerating the Mobile Fires programme, so instead of delivering in the 2030s it will do this earlier this decade.”
Mr Wallace said the UK will bring a “further squadron of our own Challenger tanks to high readiness in place of the squadron” being sent to Ukraine.
The country has been calling on the West to send tanks as it aims to retake territory lost to Russian forces.
The Challenger 2 has been used on operations in Bosnia, Kosovo and Iraq and has never been defeated by the enemy.
The UK awarded Rheinmetall BAE Systems Land (RBSL) an £800m contract in 2021 to upgrade 148 Challenger 2s into fully digitised Challenger 3s.
Upgrades to the Challenger 3 are set to include a new turret and a new automatic target detection and tracking system.
16 Jan 23. 113 GRIFFON and 18 JAGUAR: Nexter, Arquus and Thales Meet Delivery Targets for 2022.
- The EBMR temporary consortium (Nexter, Thales and Arquus) delivered 113 GRIFFON and 18 JAGUAR vehicles to the French defence procurement agency (DGA) this year.
- The consortium therefore successfully achieved its delivery target for 2022.
- In 2022, the DGA placed an additional order for 88 JAGUAR, 302 GRIFFON and 54 MEPAC vehicles.
Ongoing deliveries and qualification
Nexter, Thales and Arquus met annual delivery milestones for 2022 in line with the provisions of the 2019-2025 Military Programming Law. Since 2019, the French defence procurement agency (DGA) has taken delivery of a total of 452 GRIFFON and 38 JAGUAR vehicles. The EBMR1 consortium has also developed a new field ambulance version of the GRIFFON, the GRIFFON SAN. The new medevac version was qualified by the DGA on 12 September 2022. It includes a medical module, provisions for medical equipment integration and stowage and a patient support system with an adjustable table and stretcher lift. The interior is configured to accommodate patients seated or lying down, with room for four stretchers. The SAN version includes all the common features and functions (mobility, weapon systems, protection and connectivity) of the GRIFFON family.
In June 2022, the consortium members also jointly submitted the results of a derisking study on the use of lithium-ion batteries in military vehicles. Trials were conducted on a vehicle mock-up and on a GRIFFON prototype to enable DGA Techniques Terrestres (the DGA’s land forces centre of expertise) and the consortium to test the whole system. In the future, these new batteries could power larger numbers of electrical devices with the same stand-by time as existing batteries and half the charging time. The consortium’s study opens up new opportunities for equipping the most energy-hungry vehicles in the theatre of operations.
SCORPION, an ambitious programme
The JAGUAR armoured reconnaissance and combat vehicle (EBRC2) and the GRIFFON multi-role armoured vehicle (VBMR3) were developed under the SCORPION programme led by the DGA, alongside the SERVAL light multi-role armoured vehicles. They are natively designed for the SCORPION combat information system (SICS4), enabling land forces to conduct collaborative combat operations, with real-time communications between deployed units and other digitalised battlefield solutions to ensure that the French Army would stay one step ahead of the adversary in a high-intensity conflict situation.
The first SCORPION combined arms brigade will be formed at the end of 2023 to deploy these new combat capabilities.
The JAGUAR is a 25-tonne armoured reconnaissance and combat vehicle armed with a 40 mm cannon with telescoped munitions (CTA) and the MMP missile.
The vehicle is unique in several respects:
- It has three advanced turret-mounted weapon systems: the 40 mm CTA cannon from Nexter, two medium-range missiles (MMP) from MBDA and the T3 remote weapon station.
- Its state-of-the-art vetronics, developed by Thales, includes latest-generation optronic systems (IR/TV, missile launch detector, laser warning receiver, etc.) and an onboard tactical training capability.
- Its new-generation chassis, developed by Arquus, as well as all-wheel drive (6×6), an innovative suspension system and a 400 CV engine, provide exceptional tactical, theatre-level and strategic mobility for a 25-tonne vehicle.
The GRIFFON is a 24-tonne multi-role armoured vehicle, available in numerous versions, including troop transport, command post, communications relay, artillery observation and 120 mm mortar (MEPAC). Deployed by the French Army in the Sahel in 2021, the GRIFFON is recognised for its operational performance, high mobility and ease of maintenance. It includes the common systems developed for the other SCORPION vehicles, such as the vetronics, the SICS combat information system and the Hornet remote weapon station. (Source: ASD Network)
12 Jan 23. Ukraine war impacts spare parts supply for Indian military: Army chief.
India’s army chief said Thursday the war in Ukraine has impacted the supply of spare parts for India’s military.
Gen. Manoj Pande made his comments to reporters while discussing the border situation with China, which he described as stable but unpredictable. The two countries remain in a nearly two-and-a-half-year standoff in the eastern Ladakh area. He added that the countries were continuing to talk both at the diplomatic and military levels, and that India’s military maintains a high level of preparedness.
“The sustenance of these weapons systems — equipment in terms of spares, in term of ammunition — is one issue that we have addressed,” Pande said, without providing more details.
“We have adequate forces. We have adequate reserves in each of our sectors to be able to effectively deal with any situation or contingency,” he added.
Experts say up to 60% of Indian defense equipment comes from Russia, and New Delhi finds itself in a bind amid the standoff with China over a territorial dispute. Twenty Indian troops and four Chinese soldiers died in a clash in 2020.
The Times of India newspaper reported Thursday that India is having problems transporting back one of its diesel-run submarines after a major refit in Russia, which was hit with sanctions over its invasion of Ukraine.
India says China occupies 38,000 square kilometers (14,672 square miles) of its territory in the Aksai Chin plateau, which India considers part of Ladakh, where the current faceoff is happening.
India says any unilateral change in the border status quo by Beijing is unacceptable.
The Line of Actual Control separates Chinese- and Indian-held territories from Ladakh in the west to India’s eastern state of Arunachal Pradesh, which China claims in its entirety. India and China fought a deadly war over the border in 1962. (Source: glstrade.com/Defense News)
12 Jan 23. Germany provides support to Moldova with PIRANHA-3H armoured transport vehicles funded by the Enable and Enhance Initiative.
Today, the Moldovan armed forces received the first PIRANHA-3H armoured transport vehicles funded by the Enable and Enhance Initiative of the Federal Government.
A total of 19 vehicles will be provided from industry stocks. The Federal Government funds the PIRANHA to modernise the defence capabilities of Moldova. The first three vehicles were handed over to the Moldovan armed forces in Chișinău today. The remaining 16 will be delivered in the course of this year.
Federal Minister Lambrecht on the importance of this project: “Together, we are strengthening the armed forces of Moldova. The quick delivery of the first vehicles is a great example of the effective cooperation between our two countries. Thanks to the PIRANHA, Moldova will be able to cooperate more closely with armed forces of other nations, especially in the context of UN peacekeeping operations. As a close and reliable partner, Germany continues to stand firmly by Moldova as the country modernises and enhances its military capabilities.”
Background: During her visit to Chișinău in early October, Minister Lambrecht announced the intensification of relations with Moldova. The PIRANHA delivery forms part of a bilateral agreement that was signed during the visit. The vehicles will replace older models used in the Moldovan peacekeeping battalion. The defence cooperation between Germany and Moldova dates back to 2003 when both countries signed an agreement on military cooperation. (Source: www.joint-forces.com)
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Contact: David Parkman