Sponsored by TEK Military Seating Limited
27 Jan 23. Japan initiates unmanned amphibious assault vehicle effort. Japan is aiming to develop an unmanned amphibious assault vehicle (AAV) as part of its Future Amphibious Technology Research (FAT-R) programme, a representative from the Japanese Ministry of Defense’s Acquisition, Technology & Logistics Agency (ATLA) revealed at the International Armoured Vehicles (IAV) 2023 conference held in London on 23-26 January.
Colonel Sakasegawa Daisuke, 3rd Development Section Chief at ATLA’s Ground Systems Development Division, noted that two versions of the unmanned FAT-R vehicle are under consideration. The first is a tele-operated variant that will be remotely controlled by a crewperson from another FAT-R vehicle, while the other is expected to autonomously follow a crewed vehicle in ‘leader-follower’ mode.
Prototyping work, including experimentation with novel vehicle sensors such as a sonar system, is expected to be completed by between 2024 and 2025, Colonel Sakasegawa explained.
“Unmanned FAT-R vehicles can be used to support logistics operations such as transport of personnel and supplies, and also to minimise casualties as forward elements of an amphibious landing operation to recapture remote islands,” he added.
First announced in 2017, the FAT-R programme aims to mature technologies that would enable production of a high-speed AAV capable of manoeuvring in coral reefs and the steep terrain of Japan’s remote southern islands. The vehicle is designed to accommodate up to 10 fully equipped dismounts, with five seats on either side of the crew compartment facing inwards.
If successfully produced, FAT-R vehicles will likely equip Amphibious Rapid Deployment Brigade (ARDB), which was launched at Camp Ainoura in Sasebo, Nagasaki Prefecture, in March 2018.
The ARDB – which presently operates the BAE Systems AAV7A1 Reliability, Availability, Maintainability/Rebuild to Standard (RAM/RS) platform – was formed as part of an ongoing effort by the service to enhance its ability to defend or recapture the Nansei Islands in the southwest, including the Senkaku Islands in Okinawa Prefecture, which are controlled by Japan but claimed by China.
Following several years of computer-assisted design and subscale prototyping, ATLA also recently completed and tested a full-sized technology testbed and validated its ability to overcome coral reefs and steep terrain at a forward angle of up to 70º.
The 40-ton testbed, which measures 7.9 x 3.3 x 2.3 metres, is equipped with a Mitsubishi Heavy Industries 12VB engine which produces up to 3,000hp. The engine also powers a pair of 1,500hp-class waterjets, which combine with the tracks – which provide upward traction force – with propulsive force to overcome steep terrain. (Source: AMR)
26 Jan 23. Ajax put your foot….up! Sources close to BATTLESPACE suggest that limitations have been put on the Ajax Trials Team conducting the new User Trials. These include a limitation on the speed of the vehicle and the requirement for the crews to take their boots off the floor to avoid any vibration issues form the armoured floor. It is believed that earlier trials caused the vehicle to slew at speed. 26 Jan 23.
25 Jan 23. Zero interest in vintage armoured cars. There were no takers to an Armscor Defence Disposal Solutions (DDS) tender for either the sale or destruction of 21 scrap armoured vehicles at Army Support Base (ASB) Port Elizabeth. Included in the offering were Eland, Vickers and Ferret armoured cars, as they were known in service.
DDS sent out seven sets of tender documents as per enquiries. defenceWeb was informed the adjudication process is complete and none of the bids was successful.
If there had been a successful bid, he or she would have acquired the redundant armoured cars – a far cry from today’s high-tech wheeled armoured fighting and infantry vehicles – along with whatever “related equipment” service technicians at the Eastern Cape coastal city base found in stores.
Options to ensure the no longer required equipment leaves the base include moving them to the School of Armour Museum in Bloemfontein or finding a new – preferably – donated home at somewhere like Sandstone Estates in Eastern Free State.
The Armour Museum in Bloemfontein’s Tempe has its roots in a 1995 decision by then SA Army Chief, Lieutenant General Reg Otto, to use a historic building in the lines of the School of Armour to house the museum. The museum is home to a sizeable display of armoured fighting vehicles – tracked and wheeled – as well as indoor displays, an auditorium and a research library. Other assets are Garrison Hall and a Wall of Remembrance.
Sandstone Estates is a working agricultural estate where aficionados of steam trains, old agricultural equipment and implements as well as vintage military equipment gather to indulge their specialities. Its social media identifier includes Sandstone being recognised internationally as an agricultural, military and railway preservation site between Bethlehem and Ficksburg.
At the same time, the state-owned defence and security acquisition agency has been asked by the landward force to request information with a view to acquiring armoured personnel carriers (APCs) in two plus eight seating configuration. The intention, according to James Kerr of Orion Consulting, is for the APCs to “replace or supplement” the current Casspir and Mamba fleets.
Still on army mobility, Lieutenant General Lawrence Mbatha’s service wants Armscor to source a suitable supplier to maintain and repair the engines of its Ratel MK3s. This tender was issued on 14 December and closes on 3 February. (Source: https://www.defenceweb.co.za/)
23 Jan 23. Supacat and NP Aerospace Set to Release Recovery Vehicles for the British Army. NP Aerospace, the engineering authority for the UK Ministry of Defence protected mobility fleet, and Supacat, are progressing the development of new Lightweight Recovery Vehicles (LWRV) for the British Army.
A total of four Supacat LWRV vehicles are due to be released to the British Army later in the Spring 2023 – fulfilling a requirement for offroad capability in environments such as those seen in Mali, Africa, during Operation Newcombe. The vehicle development is part of the UK Ministry of Defence (MOD) Protected Mobility Engineering & Technical Support (PMETS) contract led by NP Aerospace and contracted vehicle OEMs and partners.
LWRV fills a capability gap for a recovery vehicle with the off-road performance to follow the routes of the British Army’s HMT `Jackal` and `Coyote` vehicles, developed by Supacat. The solution utilises four in service Jackal 2 with the addition of Supacat’s innovative ‘Extenda’ removable 3rd axle to provide the recovery module and configure the 4×4 Jackal 2 as the 6×6 `Coyote`.
The LWRV solution also introduces Supacat’s patented ‘Supalift’ recovery system technology that will allow the recovery of the Foxhound and HMT platforms.
The modular design allows the new recovery vehicles to be returned to either `Jackal 2` or `Coyote` with the respective removal or addition of the recovery module. It also offers the flexibility for further Jackal 2 vehicles, or the whole fleet, to be converted to the 6×6 `Coyote`.
David Petheram, COO, NP Aerospace, said: “As engineering authority for the MOD UK Protected Mobility fleet, we are pleased to be working with vehicle OEMs and partners to deliver enhanced vehicle platforms that deliver significant operational benefits for the British Army. The project has received great feedback and we look forward to delivering the capability over the coming weeks.”
Phil Applegarth, Director and Head of Supacat, said: “We are proud to be able to deliver a solution that not only fills an urgently needed capability gap, but HMT’s modular design demonstrates its flexibility such as integration of `Supalift`’s game changing technology in extending the lifting capability of light vehicle recovery systems for the Army”.
20 Jan 23. Czech Air Force completes L-159 overhaul and upgrades. The Czech Republic Air Force (Vzdušné Sily Armády Ceské Republiky: VzS AČR) has received back into the service the last of 16 L-159A ALCA light attack and air-defence aircraft to be overhauled and upgraded by Aero Vodochody.
The manufacturer announced the milestone on 19 January, saying that the single-engined jets had all completed a two-year refurbishment and modernisation process, with the final aircraft delivered back to the 21st Tactical Air Force Base at Caslav.
“To ensure the operational capability of the L-159 fleet and the defence of the Czech Republic, we delivered the repaired aircraft at regular intervals from September 2020 until the end of 2022, when we completed the repair of the last aircraft,” saidViktor Sotona, president and CEOofAero Vodochody.
Known as Prescribed Periodic (PP) 16, the overhaul included inspection and testing of all parts of the aircraft, including cockpit instruments and avionics. Further to refurbishment work, PP16 includes the addition of a night-vision goggle capability, new electronic backup display, and other enhancements. (Source: Janes)
20 Jan 23. USAF’s 621st CRW unveils upgraded light service support truck. The new trucks will be capable of performing various contingency response operations across the globe. The US Air Force’s (USAF) 621st Contingency Response Wing (CRW) has rolled out an initial prototype for their new multi-capable light service support vehicles.
The unit was scheduled to retrofit and upgrade a total of 48 trucks, as part of CRW leadership’s initiative to prepare the fleet to undertake various future contingency response missions across the globe.
Some of the major upgrades in the vehicle include increased handheld radios and amplifier range, power inverters, a public address system, laptop stands, infrared/amber strobe lights, improved storage capacity and tie-down points.
It is also certified to be used for secondary loads.
USAF 321st Contingency Response Squadron vehicle mechanic tech sergeant Rex Russell said: “We made it so you can use aircraft tie-downs on the rear of the truck, decreasing load time by 20%.
“I can remove two pallets from an aircraft, two less pallets to take off, means a faster load/unload time and you get more space to take equipment.”
The vehicles are currently undergoing testing phases by taking part in different exercises. The airmen who used the truck during these exercises have provided positive feedback about the new truck, with some minor adjustments.
The CRW team is now compiling associated data and paperwork to commence the final production phase, under which $2.5m contracts will be awarded to deliver vehicles in the next five years.
Russell added: “Contracting will review it for final approval and send it out for bids. We will review companies that place bids to ensure requirements are met and contracting will award it to start the process of getting them built.”
The trucks are currently in the inventory and will be delivered to two contractors for installing electronics and hardware for fleets on the west and east coasts. (Source: airforce-technology.com)
24 Jan 23. Iveco Defence Vehicles S.p.A. (IDV) announces a new partnership with HORIBA MIRA. IDV, a leading international defence player with over 85 years of experience in the development and manufacturing of a wide range of protected vehicles for military use, announces it has entered into an agreement to become the majority shareholder in MIRA UGV, HORIBA MIRA’s Uncrewed Ground Vehicle (UGV) division. The agreement combines IDV’s expertise as a manufacturer of defence vehicles with its technological know-how and global production capabilities, with HORIBA MIRA’s position as a sector-leading company in delivering state-of-the-art Uncrewed Ground Vehicle solutions. The agreement also provides capital and capability to move HORIBA MIRA’s UGV platforms and technology to the next stage of development and production.
Nuneaton, Warwickshire, UK & Bolzano, Italy. On January 24th, IDV and HORIBA MIRA have confirmed the formation of a new partnership to unite their complementary capabilities in the rapidly developing Uncrewed Ground Vehicle (UGV) market. IDV will become the majority shareholder and will contribute to move HORIBA MIRA’s UGV platforms and technology to the next step of development, accelerating the technology roadmap and aiming to fulfil the growing and advanced requirements of the UK MOD and its allies.
The venture will merge twenty years of pioneering experience collected by HORIBA MIRA in the use of remote control, teleoperated and autonomous vehicle technology in the defence sector. Based on its patented capability to navigate without GNSS, manage advanced off-road routing and self-identify and classify terrain and objects, when combined with IDV systems integration capability across a wide range of multi-terrain wheel or tracked platforms, the new partnership will develop state-of-the-art UGV solutions.
With this move, IDV confirms its continuous focus on technological excellence and innovation to deliver the most advanced automotive and protection solutions to meet the evolving needs of military customers worldwide. This union of specialist technology leadership, design engineering, proven platforms and global production capability demonstrates our intent for the venture to take a market-leading position in the international UGV market. The business will remain headquartered at MIRA Technology Park in the UK.
TEK Military Seating Limited
TEK Military Seating Limited is a UK based designer and manufacturer of ProTEK military vehicle seating which offer the highest standards of safety and protection. The ProTEK brand is well respected across the globe for its robust construction, innovative design, built in modularity and cost effectiveness. Our superior products are supported by our experienced team who endeavor to offer unrivalled service to our customers from enquiry, through design and acceptance, to through life support.
From its inception ProTEK seats have been designed around a family of innovative seat frames onto which tested and certified modules can be fitted to create a bespoke solution for the user. These include Blast protection to Stanag 4569 standards, vibration reduction, head and body protection, seat risers and turntables, fore & aft adjustment, and seat back rake along with viable seat dimensions without the need for additional tooling costs.
Contact: David Parkman