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17 Mar 23. Taiwan to upgrade M60A3 main battle tanks. Taiwan has announced plans to upgrade the US-made M60A3 main battle tanks (MBTs) in service with the Republic of China Army (RoCA).. Ministry of National Defense (MND) of Taiwan has awarded a contract worth USD241m to US-based engine manufacturer Renk America (RA) for supplying its AVDS 750 hp engines to modernise the M60A3 fleet in service with RoCA, RA told Janes.
RA said that the AVDS engines are 12-cylinder, turbocharged, air-cooled diesel engines. The mechanical configuration of the engines is 90° between two cylinders, which is also called V configuration. The power of the engine ranges from 750 to 1,200 hp. According to Janes Land Warfare Platforms: Armoured Fighting Vehicles, the M60 is produced by now General Dynamics Land Systems and is armed with a 105 mm gun and has a crew of four. Between 1960 and 1987, it was produced in several variants , and was used as a basis for numerous support variants. (Source: Janes)
17 Mar 23. India clears acquisition of ATAGS, mobility vehicles
India’s Defence Acquisition Council (DAC), chaired by Defence Minister Rajnath Singh, has approved the procurement of advanced towed artillery gun system (ATAGS), along with high-mobility vehicles (HMVs) and gun towing vehicles (GTVs) for the Indian Army. The Indian Ministry of Defence (MoD) said in a statement that the procurement, approved through the provision of an ‘Acceptance of Necessity’ (AoN) status under the ‘Buy (Indian)’ category, includes 155 mm/52 calibre ATAGS. The acquisition is a part of the AoNs granted for capital acquisition in the fiscal year (FY) 2022/23 worth over INR2.71trn (USD32.77bn).
A senior Indian Army official told Janes that the capability is required to provide direct fire support to artillery units along the country’s northern borders with China. (Source: Janes)
14 Mar 23. France provides VAB armoured vehicles to Benin. France has delivered a first batch of VAB armoured vehicles to the Beninese Armed Forces, which will use them for counter-terrorism and other security tasks.
The eight ex-French vehicles were handed over in Cotonou on 20 January by Marc Vizy, the Ambassador of France to Benin. He said violent extremism on the northern borders of Benin has hit the country hard, and the vehicles would help contain this threat.
The eight vehicles will be followed by another seven. They are equipped with machineguns in overhead turrets and night vision systems and will provide secure transport for troops, and protect them against weapons used by terrorists and improvised explosive devices.
Beninese soldiers have been trained in the maintenance and use of the vehicles, the Beninese government said in a statement. “France, by this gesture which follows a donation of pick-up vehicles a few weeks earlier, comes to testify once again the quality of its relations with Benin today at war against terrorist groups.”
Brigadier General Fructueux Gbaguidi, Chief of General Staff of the Beninese Army, said “Benin remains appreciative of your efforts to us since the beginning of this crisis”, adding that “police forces will appreciate the operational boost they receive from a long-time partner like France.”
France has also provided unmanned aerial vehicles (UAVs), protective equipment, armoured vehicles and other equipment to help Benin fight terrorism in the region.
Attacks by the Islamic State of the Greater Sahel and al-Qaida linked Jama’at Nusrat al-Islam wal-Muslimin have ramped up attacks in the last couple of years, with the country seeing an increase of more than 10 times the number of attacks — from 2 to 25 — between July and December 2022 compared to the same period in 2021, according to the Armed Conflict Location & Event Data project (ACLED).
Attacks were previously limited to Benin’s northern border with Burkina Faso as well as vast tracts of national parks where terrorists are able to hide, organize and stage attacks. Since June 2022, however, militants increasingly have attacked populated areas around the parks.
In a December 8 state of the nation speech, Beninese President Patrice Talon said the military response in 2022 included more than $130 m to recruit nearly 4 000 security personnel, modernize equipment and begin fortifying bases, while building 10 operating bases and “several dozen” fortified positions.
It is believed that France will supply older vehicles like the VAB to the militaries of Cote d’Ivoire, Ghana, Senegal and others. It has also provided VABs to Ukraine.
The VAB (Véhicule de l’Avant Blindé) was manufactured thirty different versions for the French military and over a dozen export customers – some 5 000 were manufactured. In French service it is being replaced by the VBMR Griffon and VBMR-L Serval. The base model VAB VTT (Véhicule Transport de Troupe) armoured personnel carrier carries an infantry squad of 8-10 fully-equipped troops in an armoured hull that protects the crew and dismounts from 7.62 mm rounds, artillery shell splinters and anti-personnel mines. (Source: https://www.defenceweb.co.za/)
14 Mar 23. First unit gets new Armored Multi-Purpose Vehicles replacing old M113s. The U.S. Army this week delivered the first BAE Systems-made Armored Multi-Purpose Vehicles to the 1st Armored Brigade Combat Team, 3rd Infantry Division at Fort Stewart, Georgia, marking the beginning of the end for M113 armored personnel carriers used since the 1960s.
“It’s been a long journey; about a decade ago, the Army embarked on an effort to modernize its armored brigade combat teams,” Jim Schirmer, deputy program executive officer for the U.S. Army’s Program Executive Office Ground Combat Systems, told reporters in a March 14 briefing.
The 3rd Infantry Division is the first of its type to have a fully modernized armored brigade combat team with Abrams SepV3 tanks, M2A4 Bradley infantry combat vehicles, M109A7 Paladin Integrated Management howitzers and now Armored Multi-Purpose Vehicles.
The AMPV shares common components with the howitzers and Bradley vehicles, including tracks, engines and transmissions, and will reduce the logistical burden on the unit, Schirmer said.
The milestone also signals a full-rate production decision is just around the corner for the program, which is expected by the end of the month, he added. BAE was recently awarded a $245.6m contract to buy long-lead items to keep production moving.
The program is expected to heat up in the coming years, but the Army’s fiscal 2024 budget request released Monday calls for a lower number of AMPVs than planned a year ago, rather than the anticipated ramp-up.
The Army had laid out in its FY23 budget documents a plan to buy 131 AMPVs in FY24 for $682.4m. Instead, the service’s base budget request asks for 91 vehicles for $555m, according to budget documents.
But Schirmer said Tuesday that while the numbers look low in the base budget, the plan to ramp up AMPV procurement is partially funded through congressionally approved supplemental funding provided to the Army to cover some of the cost of sending M113s — roughly 400 — to Ukraine.
Army Chief of Staff Gen. James McConville told Defense News last fall that the service would not replace equipment and weapons sent over to Ukraine to help it fight off Russian invaders with “new-old stuff; what we want to do is buy new-new things.”
The intent is to “backfill that inventory with new vehicles, with AMPV,” Schirmer said. Using supplemental funding, the service plans to buy a total of 154 new vehicles.
According to AMPV product manager Lt. Col. Nate Costa, the Army will buy 197 AMPVs total in FY24 when combining base budget and supplemental funding, which roughly doubles the amount of AMPVs funded in the base budget.
Congress approved funding in FY23 to build 72 vehicles in its first year of production.
BAE Systems will now have to ramp up production from 12 vehicles a month to 16, and plans to do so within the next two years, according to Costa. This would build enough vehicles annually for a brigade and a half.
The Army in recent years, due to initial production struggles at BAE’s York, Pennsylvania, facility, had downgraded the plan to produce a brigade a year, but has been able to restore the original fielding plans back to the higher rate, according to Schirmer.
The AMPV program entered low-rate production in January 2019, but the program office indicated last year that delivery of the first vehicles would be delayed by two months, and the completion of the production qualification testing would be delayed by seven months due to tooling and assembly line challenges at York. Coronavirus pandemic complications further slowed the effort.
“We did have a lot of struggles in the beginning, and we’re pretty confident now that the prime contractor BAE has worked through that. So they’ve been delivering on time for the vast majority of the past year, and the quality problems that we were seeing early on have largely been corrected,” Schirmer said.
To get BAE ramped up to 16 vehicles a month, additional investment is required, Schirmer acknowledged, adding that the funding exists to produce more than a brigade and a half a year, but the company does not have the capacity right now.
According to Costa, BAE is working through how it will adjust its production to ramp up, including evaluating what additional space might be required. He said the company does need more room for machining and welding to build at a faster rate, and has identified some space at the York facility to do that. The company, Costa noted, is also looking at purchasing additional welding robots and increasing paint booth capability, “which helps on the output for the vehicles.” BAE likely needs to hire more employees for the assembly and fabrication lines, he added. (Source: Defense News)
15 Mar 23. France’s CMN launches first tank landing craft for Angola. The first vessel (ND15) was launched at the end of February, Mer et Marine reported, and will be delivered around May. Construction of the second vessel has already commenced, and will be delivered in 2024.
Construction of the first vessel had begun in January 2022, at which time the customer was not disclosed, with CMN saying the vessels were being built on behalf of Privinvest under a follow-on to a 2016 contract by Privinvest for around 20 vessels destined for ‘an African country’.
The 70 metre long vessels will be able to carry 200 tons of payload, including 260 soldiers in addition to the crew of 18. Watertight bulkheads ensure survivability in the event of damage. A 5.25 metre boat can be launched by a crane. Each LCT will be powered by two diesel engines driving two fixed-pitch propellers and giving a speed of 16 knots.
The LCTs are the largest vessels to be built by CMN since the corvette Baynunah (71 metres long), delivered to the United Arab Emirates in 2011.
In 2016, Privinvest announced it would establish a shipyard in Angola and supply several naval vessels under a 495m euro deal. Privinvest has facilities and shipyards in a number of countries including France (CMN), Germany (German Naval Yards Kiel) and the Middle East.
According to the Stockholm International Peace Research Institute (SIPRI), the 2016 Angolan deal included three CMN HSI 32 patrol craft, which were delivered in 2019, and a long range offshore patrol vessel and a short range patrol vessel from France. Photos recently emerged confirming the HSI 32s in Angolan service, while in November 2022 CMN revealed it had delivered an Ocean Eagle 43 trimaran patrol boat to the Angolan Navy. The vessel is the first of three Ocean Eagles ordered by Angola, Mer et Marine reports.
Angola has turned to United Arab Emirates (UAE) shipyards for further expansion, in February revealing a bbn euro contract with Abu Dhabi Ship Building (ADSB) for a fleet of 71 metre BR71 Mk II corvettes. The Combattante BR71 Mk II an advanced variant of the Baynunah class (BR 71 design) corvette developed by CMN, a part of Privinvest Shipbuilding Group. The vessel is designed for littoral warfare defence operations against air and surface threats, patrolling tasks, law enforcement and intelligence, surveillance and reconnaissance (ISR) missions.
15 Mar 23. Romania requests sale of heavy gun carrier JLTVS from the US.
The vehicles will provide improved capabilities to Romanian armed forces to counter existing and future threats. The US Defense Security Cooperation Agency (DSCA) has notified Congress of a potential foreign military sale (FMS) of M1278A1 heavy gun carrier vehicles to Romania.
The sale has already been approved by the US State Department.
The estimated $104m FMS package will see the delivery of an additional 95 M1278A1 heavy gun carrier Joint Light Tactical Vehicles (JLTVs), along with related equipment and support, to Romania.
The newly requested JLTVs will be added to the initial FMS case, in which the Romanian government is also procuring 34 heavy guns carrier JLTVs. This case is valued at $43.73m.
According to the DSCA, the sale of additional JLTVs has been announced as a separate notification because the new package exceeds the total case value notification threshold.
This brings the consolidated number of M1278A1 heavy gun carrier deliveries to 129.
In addition, the FMS tranche comprises Defence Advanced GPS Receivers (DAGRs), DAGR integration kits, exportable power kits, power expansion kits, VRC-104 and VRC-114 radio kits, network switch ports, combat bumper kits, RF7800i intercom kits, baseline integration kits, silent watch energy storage, winch kits, flat tow kits, spare tire kits, run flat kits, and other basic issue items.
It also includes associated commander supply display units, M1114 turret ring hatches, improved turret drive systems, a two-year contractor spare parts package, total package fielding, technical assistance, publications/manuals, and other logistics support.
Oshkosh Corporation, Oshkosh, in Wisconsin, and Oshkosh Defense will be the prime contractors for the FMS.
In a statement, the DSCA said: “The proposed sale will improve Romania’s capability to meet current and future threats by providing a credible force that is capable of deterring adversaries, and enhance its participation in Nato operations.” (Source: army-technology.com)
15 Mar 23. Lithuania wants 54 new tanks in tweak to land forces layout. Lithuania’s chief of defense, Lt. Gen. Valdemaras Rupšys, has announced the country’s military aims to acquire up to 54 tanks to strengthen the combat capacities of the Lithuanian land forces.
“We are proposing to transform one mechanized infantry battalion into a tank battalion,” Rupšys said, as quoted by local broadcaster TV3.
The defense chief said that relevant recommendations had been submitted to the Lithuanian government as part of the nation’s efforts to create a division-sized unit within its armed forces. The unit will operate infantry fighting vehicles and tanks, among others.
The latest declaration comes as numerous Eastern European allies are pursuing tank acquisitions in the aftermath of Russia’s invasion of Ukraine.
In April 2022, Poland signed a deal worth about $4.75 bbn to purchase 250 M1A2 Abrams SEPv3 tanks from the United States. In January 2023, the country’s Ministry of National Defence inked a second contract, valued at some $1.4 bbn, to purchase 116 second-hand M1A1 Abrams from the U.S. In addition to the Abrams, last year, Warsaw ordered some 1,000 K2 Black Panther tanks, of which 180 units will be manufactured by Hyundai Rotem in South Korea, and a further 820 tanks in the K2PL variant are to be jointly made by the two countries’ defense sectors.
In Romania, the Ministry of National Defence aims to buy a battalion’s worth of Abrams from the U.S. Bucharest could acquire as many as 54 units to replace some of its Army’s outdated Soviet-times tanks.
Meanwhile, the Czech Republic is advancing plans to purchase new Leopard 2A7+ tanks from Germany. Last May, Czech Defence Minister Jana Černochová suggested the nation could buy up to 50 tracked vehicles for its land forces. (Source: Defense News)
14 Mar 23. UK Ministry of Defence Award Land Rover Spares Contract to TVS Supply Chain Solutions. The UK Ministry of Defence, acting through its Agent, Babcock Land Defence Ltd, has awarded TVS Supply Chain Solutions (TVS SCS) a contract for the supply of spares, consumables and accessories for the Land Rover Wolf Platform.
The two plus one-year agreement will see TVS SCS use its accredited inventory management, procurement and supply chain expertise to ensure the optimum availability of spares for this legacy vehicle platform.
The Land Rover Wolf fleet has been in service with UK MOD since the mid-1990s. Approximately 6,500 vehicles remain in service providing the UK MOD with its utility capability. Obsolescence management is an important ongoing requirement which TVS SCS, along with the Post Design Services contractor, will continue to address to support the availability and upkeep of the platform.
This award builds on TVS SCS’s strong position providing supply chain capability in support of several of the UK MOD’s vehicle platforms including: the MITER fleet (construction vehicles, mechanical handling equipment and protective plant); Armoured Fighting Vehicles; and Light Protected Vehicles fleets.
TVS SCS is a global supply chain organisation managing circa 3 m items per day for customers across automotive, beverage, defence, healthcare, rail, and utilities sectors. Clients across these sectors rely on TVS to create and manage resilient supply chains to proactively mitigate the risk of supply from global disruptions.
10 Mar 23. US Navy takes delivery of ship to shore connector LCAC 105. LCAC 105 completed acceptance trials, validating its readiness and capabilities. The US Navy has taken delivery of the next generation landing craft, ship to shore connector (SSC), Landing Craft, Air Cushion (LCAC) 105. The LCAC 105 handover followed the US Navy Board of Inspection and Survey-led acceptance trials of the craft. The trials were performed to assess the readiness and performance of the LCAC 105, as well as to validate the requirements.
Program Executive Office (PEO) Ships Amphibious Assault and Connectors Programs programme manager captain Jason Grabelle said: “LCACs are a critical tool for the Navy, the Marine Corps, and all of our warfighters.
“This delivery comes at an important time for the fleet, and their inclusion will only strengthen our posture.”
According to the US Navy, the SSCs are replacement for the existing fleet of LCAC vehicles with the service. They are built with similar configurations, dimensions, and clearances to the legacy LCACs.
The high-speed, fully amphibious landing craft can transport personnel, cargo, weapon systems and equipment to the beach through any environmental conditions. LCACs have a payload capacity of 60t-75t.
The latest LCACs are 100% compatible with the deck-equipped amphibious vessels, as well as the Expeditionary Sea Base and the Expeditionary Transfer Docks.
Currently, LCACs 107-115 are in different stages of production at Textron Systems in Slidell, Louisiana. In November last year, the US Navy accepted the delivery of LCAC 106 from the company. The company received a $386m contract in 2020 for the construction of LCACs 109 through 123. The SSC programme calls for the procurement of 72 craft and one test and training craft. (Source: naval-technology.com)
TEK Military Seating Limited
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Contact: David Parkman