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23 Oct 13. US Army and Alcoa partner to develop single-piece Aluminium hull for combat vehicles. The US Army Research Laboratory (ARL) has partnered with Alcoa to develop a single piece aluminium solution to help enhance safety against improvised explosive devices (IEDs) threats. Developed as part of army’s affordable protection from objective threats programme, the aluminium hull is claimed to be the world’s largest, and is scheduled to replace the existing assembled hulls of the service’s ground combat vehicles, while offering even greater strength and durability. Army research laboratory materials manufacturing technology branch chief Dr. Ernest Chin said the army has for decades recognised the survivability benefits of a single-piece hull for ground combat vehicles, due to its thickness, size and shape. Alcoa executive vice-president and chief technology officer Ray Kilmer said the company has developed innovate durable and lightweight aluminium technologies to keep US military stay ahead of emerging threats since World War I. The single-piece aluminium hull is expected to enhance combat vehicle performance by improving its blast protection capability and increasing damage resistance. In addition, the hull will reduce operating costs over the life of the vehicle by increasing fuel efficiency through weight reduction and elimination of assembly time and complexity, according to the company. The affordable protection from objective threats programme aims to boost the military’s defence against a range of modern-day threats, including IEDs, which pose a critical threat to ground forces during combat operations, using affordable and advanced manufacturing technologies. (Source: armytechnology.com)

29 Oct 13. Starting next month, select draftees inducted into Israel’s Armored Corps will undergo training for eventual deployment in new multi-discipline companies designed to support future battalions of main battle tanks (MBTs). The new specialty companies, each composed of reconnaissance, observation and mortar platoons, will form an integral part of future armored battalions, which consist of two active-duty MBT companies and a third MBT company from the Israel Defense Force (IDF) reserves. The merger of traditional infantry missions into Israel’s future armored order of battle is part of an Army-wide revamp aimed at retiring older-model Merkava MBTs and optimizing Israel’s maneuvering ground forces for urban and heavily forested arenas. Under the plan, mortar platoons will be equipped with Keshet, an M113-based, autonomous, self-propelled 120mm mortar by Elbit Systems, according to Brig. Gen. Shmuel Olansky, IDF chief armor officer. In an interview with Shachar Ruppin of the IDF spokesman’s office, Olansky said budget cuts and changing battle conditions were driving the revamp, which will allow the retirement of older-model MBTs as it brings on new infantry support cadres.
“Retirement of older tanks is a process that is being implemented after lengthy discussions and simulations,” Olansky said. “It allows us, in parallel, to equip ourselves with essential combat support elements.”
Maj. Arieh Berger, operations officer for the Armored Corps’ first brigade slated for the revamp, said infantry support elements will be equipped with advanced command-and-control systems for rapid transfer of targeting data to armored formations. The revamp, he said, will maximize the IDF’s ability to operate in closed and built-up areas.
“There are no more battles where tanks face off against other tanks on an exposed hill,” Berger said in the IDF-posted story. “These new forces will be able to direct tank battalions between homes of villages or into brush, according to our needs.” (Source: Defense News)

30 Oct 13. Saab and BAE submit bid for Canadian Army’s close combat v

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