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09 Oct 13. Japan’s Technical Research & Development Institute (TRDI) has rolled out a prototype of what it calls the 105mm Maneuver Combat Vehicle (MCV). This 8×8 vehicle, which was unveiled by the TRDI’s Ground Systems Research Centre at Sagamihara, Kanagawa Prefecture, has been developed to meet requirements for a vehicle with a high level of strategic mobility and firepower that can be rapidly deployed by air, land or sea. Local media reported that Mitsubishi Heavy Industries will manufacture the MCV, with the first units expected to enter Japan Ground Self-Defence Force (JGSDF) service in Fiscal Year 2016. The JGSDF currently deploys the 105 mm-armed Type 74 tracked self-propelled howitzer and 120 mm-armed Type 90 and Type 10 main battle tanks but these cannot be used in all types of terrain and can only be transported over long distances by heavy equipment transporters. The MCV has a reported maximum speed of up to 100 km/h and with a combat weight of about 26 tons, is more agile than its tracked predecessors. It also matches the minimum payload of the new Kawasaki C-2 tactical transport that Japan is building. The MCV’s turret is mounted towards the rear of the hull and is armed with a 105mm rifled gun that features a pepper pot muzzle brake, thermal sleeve and fume extractor. The gun is laid onto the target by a computerised fire control system that includes day/thermal sights for the commander and gunner. The commander has a panoramic roof mounted sight, indicating that hunter/killer target engagements could take place. A 7.62 mm machine gun (MG) is mounted co-axial with the main armament and there is also a roof-mounted MG. The all-welded hull and turret has appliqué armour and it is possible that laser detectors are fitted to form the first element of a defensive aids system. In concept the MCV is similar to the Italian 105mm Centauro (8×8) armoured car/mobile gun system, 400 of which have been built for the Italian Army and 84 for the Spanish Army. Italy has also developed the Freccia armoured infantry fighting vehicle (AIFV) and a complete family of specialised versions using components of the Centauro. It is probable that Japan will use the baseline MCV as the basis for a complete family of 8×8 wheeled vehicles and there is also the potential for a 120mm version in the longer term.
09 Oct 13. Warthog heads for UK UAV support role. The UK’s two Royal Artillery unmanned aerial vehicle (UAV) regiments are to be equipped with ST Kinetics Warthog articulated armoured all-terrain vehicles when they are returned from Afghanistan. According to the UK Ministry of Defence (MoD), the new role follows a decision to bring the Warthog into the British Army’s core vehicle fleet.
“Warthog will be used by the Royal Artillery to support unmanned aerial
systems”, an MoD spokesman told IHS Jane’s on 4 October. “Warthog is currently configured for use in Afghanistan and will be modified in order to meet contingency requirements under the new Army 2020 structures of ‘reactive and adaptive forces’.”
Army capability planners are currently assessing the final number of vehicles to be operated by 32 and 47 Regiment’s Royal Artillery, an army source told IHS Jane’s. Commercial negotiations have also begun with industry to complete the modifications that include removing much of the Afghan-specific equipment. The vehicles are expected to be used to transport Lockheed Martin Desert Hawk mini UAV detachments and intelligence, surveillance, targeting, acquisition and reconnaissance tactical groups, who provide specialist advice and imagery connectivity to infantry battlegroup commanders. 32 and 47 Regiments are already expected to receive 21 BAE Systems BvS10 Vikings, which were