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Millbrook, based in Bedfordshire, UK, makes a significant contribution to the quality and performance of military vehicles worldwide. Its specialist expertise is focussed in two distinct areas: test programmes to help armed services and their suppliers ensure that their vehicles and systems work as the specification requires; and design and build work to upgrade new or existing vehicles, evaluate vehicle capability and investigate in-service failures. Complementing these is driver and service training and a hospitality business that allows customers to use selected areas of Millbrook’s remarkable facilities for demonstrations and exhibitions.
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27 Jan 11. Challenger 2 Main Battle Tanks (MBT): Numbers. The Defence Equipment Minister said (27 Jan 11) that the cost of in-service support for Challenger 2 in the current financial year is approximately £35m. The planned out of service date for the MBT is 2035.
Comment: The Strategic Defence & Security Review concluded that the number of Challenger 2 will be reduced by 40% (i.e. from 345 to 207). The Minister has subsequently confirmed that holdings of Challenger 2 MBT and other armoured fighting vehicles are to be reduced “in light of Operational priorities and revised planning assumptions”.(Source: DNA DEFENCE NEWS ANALYSIS, Issue 11/05, 31 Jan 11)
27 Jan 11. The U.S. Army still plans to launch a competitive program to upgrade its Humvee fleet, according to the final draft of the service’s Tactical Wheeled Vehicle Strategy, released Jan. 27. But the service has been unsuccessful so far at securing funding for the effort. The service still hopes to upgrade the existing fleet. (Army) The Army would like to start the Humvee recap effort this fiscal year, Maj. Gen. Thomas Spoehr, who directs force development in the Army’s G-8, told reporters Jan. 27.
Getting the effort started will require the Army to submit a second reprogramming request to Congress. Last spring, the Army asked permission from Congress to shift money away from procuring new Humvees toward a Humvee recap program. That request was denied. Since then, the Army has done a lot of talking to members of Congress and their staff, Spoehr said. The service also has continued to refine its acquisition strategy and explore what industry can offer. The Army first released a request for information for the recap program in January 2010. Most vehicle makers had an improved Humvee on display at their booths at the annual Association of the U.S. Army (AUSA) conference in October. The improved Humvee designs featured everything from double-V hulls to advanced armor solutions to structural blast chimneys. The service plans to release a second request for information before issuing a formal request for proposals, said Col. David Bassett, project manager for tactical vehicles. In the near term, the Army plans to reset its Humvees used in Iraq and Afghanistan in its depots. The Army does not plan to buy any new Humvees beyond 2012. However, the service is working with Humvee maker AM General to keep the production line running as long as it makes sense, Bassett said. There are other services’ requirements to fill as well as requests from other countries, he said. The Tactical Wheeled Vehicle Strategy represents a “paradigm shift” for the Army, Spoehr said. Rather than look out five to 10 years as previous documents have, this strategy lays out a plan for how to manage the service’s fleet of trucks for the next 30 years, he said. The Army plans to reduce its overall fleet of 260,000 trucks by 15 percent by fiscal 2017, Spoehr said. In doing so, the Army will reduce what it spends on procurement for tactical wheeled vehicles from $4.4bn a year to $2.5bn a year. Part of this divestiture could include some of the Army’s Mine Resistant Ambush Protected (MRAP) vehicles. The Ar