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16 Feb 23. EDGE acquires majority stake in Estonia-based Milrem Robotics. Tallin-based Milrem Robotics has agreed to become part of the EDGE Group after the acquisition of a majority stake in the hope of expanding its capabilities internationally. United Arab Emirates state-owned conglomerate EDGE Group has agreed to purchase a majority controlling share in Milrem Robotics. Milrem Robotics is a developer of robotics and autonomous systems. Its main products are the THeMIS, Multiscope crewless ground vehicles, the Type-X uncrewed combat vehicle, and the MIFIK land and vehicle autonomy package.
The first two are intended to support dismounted soldiers, and the Type-X is a wingman for mechanised defence units.
Following the majority stake acquisition by EDGE Group, Milrem Robotics will join the conglomeration of military and weaponry companies as a new entity within its Platform & Systems cluster.
The companies have not disclosed financial details and other aspects of the deal.
Mansour Al Mulla, managing director & CEO of EDGE Group, added: “There is great potential here for both companies, and our investment in Milrem will allow it to take advantage of EDGE’s considerable resources to offer our customers operating in perpetually changing operating environments a more robust portfolio of superior autonomous systems at competitive costs.”
Milrem Robotics’ products have been sold to 16 countries, eight of which are NATO members: the US, Estonia, Spain, the Netherlands, Norway, France, Germany, and the UK.
Kuldar Väärsi, founder and CEO of Milrem Robotics, added: “I am also pleased that we can continue working with our other strategic minority shareholder Krauss-Maffei Wegmann, whose expertise has been instrumental to Milrem Robotics’ work since acquiring a stake in 2021. We look forward to a prosperous future together.”
The latest deal follows the 24.9% acquisition of Milrem Robotics by Munich-based Krass-Maffei Wegmann. (Source: army-technology.com)
16 Feb 23. Ajax armoured vehicles contract. Interestingly, Investors’ Chronicle’s sister paper, Financial Times, has reported that the MoD is poised to resume payments to US Defence company General Dynamics (GD:NYQ), which was awarded a £5.5bn contract in 2014 to deliver 589 Ajax armoured vehicles. However, it has not been paid for two years as the UK government probed serious noise and vibration problems during the trials that caused hearing problems for some crews.
The US contractor has received £3.2bn from the MoD to date, but has $1.7bn (£1.4mn) receivables outstanding and now expects payments from the MoD to resume next month. (Source: Investors Chronicle)
14 Feb 23. British Army puts unmanned vehicles of the future to the test.
The British Army’s Armoured Trials and Development Unit (ATDU) is paving the way for crewless vehicles to play their role on the battlefield.
The Bovington unit has been testing heavy unmanned ground vehicles (UGV) with the aim of exploring how useful they could be in the future theatre of war.
Lieutenant Colonel James de St John-Pryce, Commanding Officer of ATDU, said: “We’re now looking at big platforms that can carry between one and up to four tonnes, so that we’re starting to see how they could potentially fight alongside our armoured vehicles, currently in service in the British Army.”
The unmanned land vehicles will be tested over two weeks in terms of their speed, how easily they can cross difficult terrain and how good their communication systems are, as shown in the video above. (Source: forces.net)
15 Feb 23. Badger set for public debut at Armed Forces Day.
An upbeat Mike Kgobe, interim Denel chief executive, has let personnel at the State-owned defence and technology conglomerate know seven Badgers – “our very own infantry combat vehicle (ICV)” – will be in the landward force line-up for Armed Forces Day (AFD) in Richards Bay.
He writes of his “great joy” which comes with the long-delayed Ratel replacement making its public debut at a day when “the South African population honours the men and women of the SA National Defence Force (SANDF) by affirming their support and gratitude to them”.
The Badger, under Project Hoefyster, was conceived in June 2007 with a then expected delivery of the first vehicles in May 2012. That this did not happen is history and Hoefyster has been the subject of much discussion around alternate plans to ensure the SA Army eventually takes the new eight-wheeled fighting vehicle into service. As far as is known five main variants will come out of Denel Land Systems (DLS) Lyttelton, Centurion, production facility with Denel not committing to delivery dates.
What is known are some Finnish Patria infantry fighting vehicles (IFVs) were brought to South Africa for the development of South African prototypes and then production vehicles, to be called Badger in acknowledgement to its predecessor the Ratel (badger in Afrikaans). The lack of progress over the years was attributed variously to mismanagement at Denel and what is called “State capture” (grand corruption) in South Africa.
An Armscor presentation to the Joint Standing Committee on Defence (JSCD) last year revealed that Hoefyster is more or less presently paused with parts of the development phase at various stages of completion. They are 72% of hull and turret items common to all variants; 84% of the lead – Section – variant; 83% of the Fire Support variant; 73% of the Command variant; 44% of the Mortar variant and 53% of the Missile variant.
Completed as per phase two (industrialisation and production) are locally developed 30 mm CamGuns and ammunition; 60 mm long range mortar bombs; 15 Patria vehicle platforms; 64 training simulators and four pre-production models of the Section variant.
The movement of seven Badgers to Richards Bay is, according to Kgobe, “positive”.
“It re-affirms Denel’s locally designed and produced Badger which is the culmination of decades of research, testing and development that produced a mature vehicle which will provide South African soldiers with unrivalled firepower, mobility and maximum armoured protection.”
Kgobe added: “Our participation will afford us an opportunity to showcase our capability and the critical role we play in supporting the SANDF. This also bodes with our progress and bold steps of streamlining and refocusing our operations to build a sustainable business and return to profitability.
“We remain an innovative company with the ability to evolve and deliver world-class products across the spectrum of aerospace, defence and related technologies – from land to sea, to air, to the cyber and security environments.”
SANDF exhibitions and events in support of Armed Forces Day 2023 start today (15 February) when a fan park opens at the uMhlathuze central sports complex in Richards Bay Central. AFD events culminate in a parade on 21 February through Richards Bay and an address by President Cyril Ramaphosa, wearing his Commander-in-Chief hat. (Source: https://www.defenceweb.co.za/)
14 Feb 23. Allison Transmission to support US Army’s CTT programme.
The CTT programme will replace the army’s existing fleet of heavy tactical wheeled vehicles. Allison Transmission has confirmed the selection of its 4000 Specialty Series transmissions in support of the US Army’s Common Tactical Truck (CTT) programme. The company’s fully automatic 4000 Series transmissions, designed specifically for heavy-duty vehicles, will be included in the CTT prototype platform being developed under the initial phase of the programme.
According to the company, this speciality series of transmissions features a next-generation electronic controls system to provide functional safety, cybersecurity, advanced communications, and over-the-air programming capabilities.
Allison’s transmissions also feature FuelSense 2.0, an advanced set of software, that will save up to 6% of fuel and reduce CO₂ emissions in traditional vehicles, offering maximum equipment readiness for tactical wheeled vehicles.
Its productivity and reliability allow it to deliver enhanced performance and fuel efficiency to the customers.
Allison Transmission Defence Programmes vice-president Dana Pittard said: “Allison is committed to leveraging advancements made in the commercial vehicle industry to provide defence customers with fuel-efficient, reliable, and innovative propulsion solutions.
“System and vehicle level integration expertise is a core competency and differentiator for Allison, and we are proud to deliver next-generation capabilities in partnership with our defence customers to optimise vehicle performance for men and women of our nation’s armed forces.”
Last month, the US Army announced the selection of four companies for the new CTT tactical wheeled vehicle programme. (Source: army-technology.com)
10 Feb 23. Challenger 3 MBT programme completes CDR. ahead of schedule.
The milestone achievement means RBSL can begin building the CR3 prototypes. The British Army’s Challenger 3 main battle tank (MBT) programme has completed the critical design review (CDR) ahead of schedule and within budget.
The achievement was announced by the UK Ministry of Defence’s (MoD) procurement arm Defence Equipment and Support (DE&S).
The milestone means the tank’s design has been approved and Rheinmetall BAE Systems Land (RBSL) can start building the prototype vehicles.
In a tweet, RBSL said: “This is a significant achievement made possible as a result of effective and close collaboration between industry, @BritishArmy and @DefenceES. Together we are moving closer to providing the British Army with a world-class #capability made in the UK.”
In May 2021, RBSL won an £800m contract from the MoD to convert 148 Challenger 2 MBTs into the Challenger 3 configuration. The upgrade decision is in line with the UK Defence Command Paper.
The Challenger 3 MBTT will feature a new 120mm smoothbore gun, a new suite of sights, an active protection system, a turret and an upgraded engine, and new hydrogas suspension.
It will be capable of travelling at speeds of up to 60mph, with increased range and the capacity to carry more ammunition.
The programme’s initial design review was held in March last year. RBSL will begin delivering the fully digitalised MBBTs to the British Army from 2027.
The Challenger 3 Delivery Team has also carried out trials of the tank’s new advanced armour system.
RBSL has also completed awarding supply-chain sub-contracts to UK supply chain companies including Pearson Engineering, Thales, Curtiss-Wright, and Atec.
Work on the contract will be led out of the company’s manufacturing facility in Telford. (Source: army-technology.com)
TEK Military Seating Limited
TEK Military Seating Limited is a UK based designer and manufacturer of ProTEK military vehicle seating which offer the highest standards of safety and protection. The ProTEK brand is well respected across the globe for its robust construction, innovative design, built in modularity and cost effectiveness. Our superior products are supported by our experienced team who endeavor to offer unrivalled service to our customers from enquiry, through design and acceptance, to through life support.
From its inception ProTEK seats have been designed around a family of innovative seat frames onto which tested and certified modules can be fitted to create a bespoke solution for the user. These include Blast protection to Stanag 4569 standards, vibration reduction, head and body protection, seat risers and turntables, fore & aft adjustment, and seat back rake along with viable seat dimensions without the need for additional tooling costs.
Contact: David Parkman