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28 Sep 23. Brazil sets up fund for Army’s armored vehicle, missile capabilities. The Brazilian government has launched fund to dedicated to Army capabilities, including the acquisition and development of armored vehicles from the Italian manufacturer Iveco Defence, Astros missile system from Avibras and more.
The plan is part of the Growth Acceleration Program, or PAC, announced by the government in August. The effort is set to spend about 53bn reals (U.S. $11bn) on defense. Some of that money will go toward an armored forces strategic program, the Army told Defense News.
“This program has a profound impact not only on the modernization of military capabilities but also on the development of critical technologies,” the Army told Defense News in a Sept. 20 statement.
The focus on armored vehicles will see various types manufactured by the Iveco, which opened a local factory 10 years ago as part of its work with the Army, the service explained. Types include six-wheel drive Guarani armored vehicles, four-wheel drive multitask Guaicuru armored vehicles, eight-wheel drive Centauro combat vehicles, six-wheel drive Cascavel medium reconnaissance vehicles, and modernized Leopard 1 tanks made by Krauss-Maffei Wegmann.
The tank modernization effort was previously postponed “due to high demand for armored vehicle parts in the international market,” the military reported Sept. 17.
The Astros missile system is part of an overall effort to “contribute to the organization of missile and rocket artillery,” enabling long-range and high-precision strategic fire support, the Army said.
Earlier this year, Avibras unveiled new variants of the weapon: the Astros II MK6 and the Astros III. The former has a maximum range of 300 kilometers (186 miles). The latter, which has greater firepower, is designed to operate from an eight-wheel drive vehicle and can launch ballistic rockets, guided rockets, ballistic missiles and tactical cruise missiles, according to the company.
Another part of the investments is directed toward the Army’s aircraft and drones. The military reported aircraft acquisition efforts include “maneuver helicopters” used to transport troops and equipment. According to the armed forces, these helicopters would weigh more than 7.5 tons and could contribute to civilian missions, such as national emergencies.
According to the government, the PAC investment effort is funding the modernization of six HM-1A Pantera helicopters, manufactured by Brazilian firm Helibras, a subsidiary of the French company Airbus Helicopters. The company this year delivered the first modernized unit.
The plan also includes “the acquisition of ten general-purpose helicopters,” the military announced, without providing further details. However, the force has an aviation battalion composed of Helibras-made Caracal helicopters, which are known as HM-4 Jaguars within the Army. They were made under Brazil’s H-XBR project, which involves all three armed forces and continues to provide aircraft for the military.
Another part of the project involves the purchase of nine drones. According to the Army, which did not identify the manufacturers involved, these unmanned aircraft will belong to categories 0 through 2, which vary in terms of operating altitude and range. Category 0 corresponds to drones weighing up to 2 kilograms (4 pounds). Category 1 ranges from 2 kilograms to 150 kilograms, and the third category ranges from 150 kilograms to 600 kilograms. (Source: Defense News)
28 Sep 23. Oshkosh Defense RCV Selected for Platform Prototype Design & Build. Oshkosh Defense, LLC, an Oshkosh Corporation (NYSE: OSK) company, announced today that it was selected by the U.S. Army, through the Ground Vehicle Systems Other Transaction Agreement (GVS OTA), to participate in Phase I, Platform Prototype Design and Build, of the Robotic Combat Vehicle (RCV) program.
Leveraging an elite team of Oshkosh Defense, Pratt Miller Defense, and QinetiQ, Oshkosh submitted its response to the Army’s Request for Prototype Proposal in May 2023.
“We are proud to be selected to participate in Phase I of the RCV program,” said Pat Williams, chief programs officer for Oshkosh Defense. “We offer a mature and proven solution, with demonstrated durability and flexibility to incorporate new technologies, to meet the demands of an evolving battlefield.”
The tracked, autonomous vehicles will support varying payloads and advanced weapons systems through scalable, mission-focused modularity. Oshkosh will showcase the RCV capabilities from October 9 – 11 in their booth (#739) at the 2023 AUSA Annual Meeting and Exposition. Earlier this year, Oshkosh displayed the platform’s essential versatility during the 2023 AUSA Global Force Symposium.
“Our RCV is informed by years of customer feedback and tailored to meet the needs of the Soldier,” Williams continued. “We look forward to continuing our partnership with the Army to deliver a soldier-centered, purpose-built solution.”
Oshkosh will deliver two platform prototypes for testing in August 2024. The Army has announced the intent to select one vendor for Phase II, Full-System Prototype Design and Build, in FY24.
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28 Sep 23. Rheinmetall May Build Its New Panther Main Battle Tank in Hungary. Germany’s largest weapons manufacturer, Düsseldorf-based Rheinmetall Group, will complete the development and begin production of its new Panther main battle tank in Hungary, according to German media reports.
Rheinmetall is marketing the Panther as the successor to the Leopard 2, stressing it will be available in the short term as a more advanced yet cheaper alternative to the latest A8 and AX variants of the Leopard 2.
Another advantage of the Panther over previous systems is its price: industry experts quoted by Handelsblatt estimate it to cost around 15m euros, or about a quarter less than a modern Leopard 2.
The Hungarian government, which is already manufacturing Rheinmetall’s Lynx infantry fighting vehicle, is also willing to pay to complete Panther’s development and pre-production costs, Rheinmetall CEO Armin Papperger said in an interview for the ARD documentary “Inside Rheinmetall: Between War and Peace.” It will air in October, but Papperger’s quotes were released in advance, NDR said.
“We still need about 15 months to get it ready for series production; Hungary is now paying for that,” said Papperger in Düsseldorf in an interview with film author Klaus Scherer. “And then I assume that will be the state that procures the first series.”
However, the Panther is not fully developed, and for example needs a new hull as it is currently based on the Leopard 2 made by its competitor Krauss-Maffei Wegmann (KMW). Handelsblatt reported Wednesday that Hungary’ is willing to pay about 300 m euros to complete development. Rheinmetall declined to comment.
In mid-August, Rheinmetall opened a new factory to produce the Lynx infantry fighting vehicle in Zalaegerszeg, Hungary for the Hungarian army. A Panther tank was exhibited when the factory was officially opened by Hungarian Prime Minister Victor Orban, and it was said at the time that the Panther could also be built there.
Rheinmetall recently caused a stir with the announcement that it wanted to build a Panther plant in Ukraine, according to German broadcaster NDR, and the group is also sticking to this. “I think there are a lot of customers,” Papperger continued. “There will be a lot of customers in the next 20 years who need to replace their old battle tanks.” (Source: https://www.defense-aerospace.com/)
28 Sep 23. First of 76 Patria 8×8 Armoured Modular Vehicles (AMV) XP is Already in Slovakia. Today, the first of 76 Patria 8×8 Armoured Modular Vehicles (AMV) XP, which has been delivered to Slovakia to be finalised by SVK defence firms, was introduced at the First Slovak Armed Forces Patria 8×8 AMV XP Presentation Event, in the presence of Defence Minister Martin Sklenár, Deputy Defence Minister Marian Majer, Chief of Defence Gen Daniel Zmeko, and other representatives of the MOD and the Slovak Armed Forces.
Also in attendance at the event presenting the Patria Ambulance (AMB) variant were Finnish Ambassador Pasi Tuominen and representatives of Patria Land Ltd as defence supplier and KONŠTRUKTA-Defence JSC as prime contractor.
Speaking of Slovakia’s first Mechanised Infantry Vehicle (MIV) in front of media representatives, Defence Minister Martin Sklenár said: “This is a truly historic moment for our Armed Forces as these vehicles will give our forces a vital capability.“ As he reminded us, the Patria 8×8 AMV XP is among the most advanced vehicles of its kind and meets the highest standards and requirements in this class of armoured fighting vehicles.
The first vehicle manufactured for the Slovak Armed Forces is the Patria Ambulance (AMB) variant, which, following its finalisation and trials, will be the first to be accepted into service with the Slovak Army in 2024.
Despite the impact of the current situation in Ukraine on the delivery schedules for a large number of components used in the vehicle, the latest vehicle has been produced in the past 13 months since the signing of the contract documents in August 2022, Minister Sklenár pointed out.
A total of 76 Patria 8×8 AMV XP vehicles are expected to be delivered by 2027 in the following variants and numbers: 60 Infantry Fighting Vehicles (IFV), 10 Ambulances (AMB), and 6 Command Post (CP) vehicles.
The finalisation of all Patria 8×8 AMV XPs, including the one presented at the MOD today, will be carried out in Slovakia, given that the supplier is expected to achieve SVK defence industrial involvement in the project at the level of at least 40%. This was one of the basic requirements in the terms and conditions of the contract for a replacement IFV vehicle put by the Slovak MOD out to international competition in 2021.
Alongside this, Patria Land Ltd’s plan to move the production of some vehicle components to Slovakia is up and running. The transfer of production capacity to Slovakia will be managed by CSM Industry JSC. To get the necessary know-how, the company is already involved in the production of the first vehicles in Finland.
On SVK defence industry content in the project, Deputy Defence Minister Marian Majer said it is important that the Slovak defence firms involved in the production of the vehicles will become part of the extensive supply chain for Patria. “In practice, it is envisaged that the SVK defence industry will participate in the projects contracted by the Finnish company. So, the Slovak Armed Forces Patria 8×8 AMV XP programme is a milestone in terms of both delivering defence capabilities and strengthening our defence industryʼs production capacity,” Deputy Defence Minister Majer said.
On the newest armoured vehicle capability, Chief of Defence Gen Daniel Zmeko said: “In the Armed Forces, we consider this vehicle to be very special as some of its design elements are unique on the market. These new armoured fighting vehicles based on the 8×8 platform will replace our BVP-1 infantry fighting vehicles, which are hopelessly outdated.“
As Director General of the MOD Modernisation Branch and National Armaments Director Michal Homza noted, this Patria Ambulance variant will be on display by Patria Land Ltd at IDEB Bratislava at the Incheba Exhibition & Conference Centre on 3-5 October 2023, before being transferred to SVK defence firms, including to KONŠTRUKTA-Defence and Aliter Technologies, for its finalisation.
(Source: https://www.defense-aerospace.com/Slovak Republic Ministry of Defence)
27 Sep 23. Swiss to sell back Leopard II tanks to help restock after Ukraine donations. Germany has welcomed a decision by neutral Switzerland to open the way to sell back some of its German-made Leopard II tanks to help rebuild stocks depleted by aid to Ukraine. Germany had asked Switzerland in February to sell back some of the 96 Leopard II tanks it has in storage to manufacturer Rheinmetall AG (RHMG.DE). To comply with Swiss neutrality laws, Berlin has assured Bern the weapons would not go to Kyiv, but remain in Germany or with a NATO or European Union ally. (Source: Reuters)
22 Sep 23. Germany, France eye new partners for next-gen tank in 2024. The defense ministers of France and Germany expect to begin negotiations for their next-generation tank project with industry leaders KNDS and Rheinmetall in 2024, after which other European countries could join the initiative.
Italy, the Netherlands and “many others” expressed an interest in joining the project to develop the Main Ground Combat System, or MGCS, German Defense Minister Boris Pistorius said at a press conference at Evreux airbase west of Paris on Thursday.
There is the possibility of nations joining as “observers” as a first step, French Armed Forces Minister Sébastien Lecornu said. German and French top military leaders are in discussion with the Italian armed forces, who have their own future armored cavalry requirements, the minister said.
Berlin and Paris will spend the rest of the year hammering out of project specifications, after the two countries’ army chiefs reported on the operational requirements for the replacement of Germany’s Leopard 2 and France’s Leclerc main battle tanks. That will put both governments in a position to uphold their military objectives, as MGCS contractors are expected to push their own ideas for the next-generation tank once negotiations begin, Pistorius said.
The agreement on operational requirements “shows to what point, basically, it won’t be a new Leopard and it won’t be a new Leclerc,” Lecornu said. “The technological breakthroughs are going to be brutal.”
The future tank is expected to come into service on the 2040-2045 horizon, according to Lecornu. The French minister said he hopes the first contracts will be signed in 2024.
Other interested EU countries will only be invited to join the project once France and Germany have defined the specs of the future tank, according to Lecornu.
The future tank will be modular, including platforms that can be either manned or automated, according to Lecornu. It will have a classic fire capability – “it goes without saying that the function of classic fire will not have disappeared” – but also electromagnetic weapons, electronic warfare functionality and laser weapons, the minister said.
The MGCS will require a reactive defense with a hard-kill capacity, drones to protect the tank, artificial intelligence functionality to coordinate fire in a connected environment, and the technological leap in terms of cybersecurity will be “absolutely colossal,” Lecornu said.
France and Germany will discuss in the coming days how to divide the work on the project into several “pillars,” Pistorius said. The countries are taking inspiration from their joint Future Combat Air System project, which has defined pillars including the combat aircraft, engine, drones and combat cloud architecture, each assigned to a different group of contractors with a national lead.
The war in Ukraine has shown the costs of tank maintenance in a high-intensity conflict, and keeping operational support costs under control will be a “major element” in the choices for the future tank, according to Lecornu.
Pistorius said the MGCS is “a lot more advanced” than a separate project by German, Spanish and Italian defense companies for a modern battle tank, and the two governments don’t expect the industrial project, which responds to a European Union-defined capability gap, to compete with their plans.
France has included €500m ($533m) in its 2024-2030 military budget for the MGCS project, which doesn’t include the costs for a mid-life overhaul of the country’s Leclerc tanks, according to Lecornu.(Source: C4ISR & Networks)
25 Sep 23. Danish Army Takes Delivery of Final Upgraded Leopard 2A7. Today, tank number 68650 rolled into the main parade ground at the Dragoon barracks in Holstebro. It is the final tank to come home from the factory in Germany, where it was modernized and upgraded. All of Denmark’s Leopard 2 tanks have thus been upgraded.
In 2020, the first four modified Leopard (LEO) 2A7 tanks rolled into Dragoon Barracks. Since then, work on the modification of the remaining 40 tanks has taken place at the German supplier Krauss-Maffei Wegman (KMW), and today the Army received the last, upgraded Leopard 2A7 tank.
It is the German company Krauss-Maffei Wegman (KMW) which has been responsible for the modification of the 44 Leopard 2A5 tanks to a new standard called the Leopard 2A7. KMW is also the manufacturer of the Leopard tanks.
On arrival in Holstebro, the last tank was handed over to the 2nd Brigade, which is responsible for the education and training of the crews on the Leopards.
“It’s a big day for the 2nd Brigade, the Jutland Dragoon Regiment and the entire Army today,” says Lt Col Frederik Calundan, chief of staff at the 2nd Brigade. “With the upgrade of the Leopard tanks, we have one of the absolutely best tanks in the world, and can really move something. It is of great importance to our soldiers that we have the latest and best equipment to work with.”
On Thursday, the last upgraded tank was officially handed over from the Ministry of Defence’s Materiel and Procurement Agency to the Jutland Dragoon Regiment, where it will serve with the 3rd Tank Squadron – Liljeeskadronen.
The upgrade of the tanks includes, among other things, a new and more efficient cannon, better communication equipment, better protection, air conditioning and much more. It is almost a new tank that the tank crews in Holstebro are working with now.
“It’s a really good tank to work with. After all, we’ve had more and more over the last few years, and we’re really looking forward to getting out and driving them all. The fact that the entire fleet of tanks has now been upgraded means that we can train and practice on a much larger scale than before and thus increase our professionalism, from single tanks to squadrons and battalions,” says Captain Kaare, tank commander and squadron commander.
The Leopard 2A7 replaces the old 2A5, which the Swedish Armed Forces have had since 2005. (Unofficial translation by Defense-Aerospace.com) (Source: defense-aerospace.com/ Danish Defence Command)
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