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———————————————————————–23 Nov 11. The Austrian Army will sell, scrap or recycle two-thirds of its armored vehicles by late 2013, allowing it to save up to 15m euros yearly, Defence Minister Norbert Darabos announced Nov. 23. The number of armored vehicles, which has already seen cuts over the past four years, will shrink to 389 by the end of 2013, from 1,147. Several models, including more than 400 Saurers dating back to the 1960s, will be scrapped entirely, while others will be recycled as spare parts for other vehicles. Further models, such as the more modern Leopard tanks, will be put up for sale. Several governments and firms have already expressed interest, the defense ministry said. The sales should help bring in 19m euros ($25.5m), although 2m euros will go toward destroying ammunition.
Additionally, the army will save up to 15m euros per year in maintenance
through the cuts, according to the ministry. “We need more than ever to adapt our capabilities to realistic deployment scenarios,” Darabos said. Where Austria once stood with its back against the Iron Curtain, with the prospect of a conventional war with the Soviet bloc on its doorstep, now “we face cyber threats, terrorist threats: these are the challenges of the future,” he said. (Source: Defense News)
24 Nov 11. The French Direction Générale de l’Armement (DGA) accepted its first VHM all-terrain vehicles on the 7th of November 2011. Ordered at the end of 2009, delivery of the 53 VHMs runs until the end of 2012. The supplying companies are Swedish Hägglunds AB (part of BAE Systems) and French Panhard. In particular, Panhard is in charge of all integration of equipment specific to the French army (armaments, radios, information systems, etc.). The VHM is a 14-tonne, 7.60 m long, tracked, armoured vehicle. Between the vehicle’s two modules, a special articulation device enables it to negotiate terrain that is inaccessible for wheeled vehicles. Consequently, it can avoid routes that may be booby-trapped with improvised explosive devices. Provided in three versions (command post, logistic carrier and troop carrier), the VHM can carry up to 11 FELIN infantrymen and their personal and collective weapons. Depending on the version, each VHM has either a 12.7 mm support weapon or a 7.62 mm self-defence weapon. The VHMs also offer embarked crews protection against small-calibre munitions, rocket-propelled grenades (RPGs), mines and improvised explosive devices. Qualified in September 2011 after 8 months of intensive trials, the VHM has been tested on all types of terrain and, in particular, ground with poor bearing capacity (e.g. snow, sand and marsh). On top of all this, the vehicle’s amphibious capabilities (river and sea) make it an extremely mobile machine.
28 Nov 11. Oshkosh Defense has expanded its military training capabilities with the new Oshkosh Virtual Trainer. This virtual training element makes the overall vehicle training program safer and more cost-effective. Oshkosh will unveil its first virtual training module for the Heavy Expanded Mobility Tactical Truck (HEMTT) M978 Tanker at the annual Interservice/Industry Training, Simulation and Education Conference (I/ITSEC) Nov. 28–Dec. 1 in Orlando, Fla. In a recent pilot of the inaugural Oshkosh Virtual Trainer, the HEMTT Tanker module was shown to reduce training time by two days compared to the traditional classroom approach – an efficiency that equates to a 20 percent or more cost savings per participant. During the training, 12 students were able to train simultaneously and demonstrate skill proficiency in the virtual environment before performing tasks on the actual vehicle. For example, students are able to practice fueling and refueling procedures, and recovering from a fuel spill in the virtual world, without being exposed to the real-life hazards. The