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12 Dec 11. Austria is in talks to sell 40 secondhand Leopard 2A4 tanks back to their German manufacturer after Vienna balked at the Canadian military buying them, a press report said Dec. 12. Austrian Defence Ministry spokesman Michael Bauer confirmed only that talks with the firm, Krauss-Maffei Wegmann, were “going well, although nothing has been signed yet.” The Austrian daily Kronen-Zeitung said the Canadian military had also expressed interest in buying the 15-year-old tanks, which Krauss-Maffei will buy back for 400,000 euros ($532,300) each and then modernize.
“But that would have meant so much red tape, since the Canadians are fighting in Afghanistan, meaning that the sale would not have been approved,” the paper cited an unnamed army insider as saying. This created consternation among some partners in the NATO military alliance, although “as luck would have it” Canada decided it was no longer interested, the daily added. The paper said Austria bought the tanks for 1.3m euros each in 1996. (Source: Defense News)
15 Dec 11. The Australian Government has approved the purchase of four wheeled route clearance vehicles under Project NINGAUI to provide increased protection to troops against improvised explosive devices (IEDs) in Afghanistan. The fleet will be used by the Army engineers to detect, confirm and clear explosive devices from a far off distance as well as create a safer pathway for troops to conduct patrolling in Afghanistan’s Uruzgan province. The $71.5m four route-clearance package includes the Husky Mk III armoured recovery vehicle (ARV), high mobility engineer excavators (HMEEs) and Bushmaster protected mobility vehicles (PMV). The two Husky Mk III protected route clearance vehicles equipped with ground penetrating radars (GPR) and a single vehicle fitted with an interrogator arm will be purchased from the US under a foreign military sales programme. The vehicle is also capable of detecting devices with less or no metal content that are usually not detected by other detection equipment. The HMEE protected high mobility engineer excavators and Bushmaster PMV fitted with self-protection adaptive roller kit (SPARK) mine rollers will be acquired from JCB Sales and ThalesAustralia respectively. The HMEEs will be used to repair damaged routes and build bypass routes, while the Bushmaster is designed to offer greater levels of protection against explosive hazards. Australia will use three vehicles in Afghanistan, while the fourth will be used for training purposes. Additionally, 200 Bushmaster mobility vehicles will also be upgraded in Australia as well as in the Afghanistan from 2012 to further enhance protection of the vehicle against IEDs. The upgrades include integration of energy absorbing seats and stronger welding to lessen lower limb and spinal injury caused due to explosion of sophisticated roadside bombs used by insurgents in Afghanistan. The government will also loan two Husky vehicles from the Royal Canadian Army for 12 months for route clearance missions in Afghanistan. (Source: armytechnology.com)
15 Dec 11. Force Protection Industries, Inc., a FORCE PROTECTION, INC. group company, received two firm fixed price modification awards under contract M67854-07-D-5031 for the extension of field service representatives (FSR) in Afghanistan and Kuwait from U.S. Marine Corps Systems Command, totaling approximately $150.3m. On December 12, 2011 , Force Protection received an $88,860,348 firm fixed price modification under previously awarded contract (M67854-07-D-5031) for a 12-month renewal of 240 field service representatives to install liner blanket kits, install modernization safety kits, and conduct general maintenance work on the Cougar Mine Resistant Ambush Protected (MRAP) vehicle fleet supporting Operation Enduring Freedom. Work