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19 Dec 13. Congressional authorisers mostly support ground vehicle programmes. The US Congress’ defence policy bill supports several US Army and US Marine Corps (USMC) vehicle development programmes and authorises funding mostly at the levels requested by the Pentagon, although the funds actually appropriated are likely to differ due to budget caps. On 19 December lawmakers completed their work on the Fiscal Year 2014 (FY14) Defense Authorization Act, which supports efforts to develop the army’s Ground Combat Vehicle (GCV) and Armored Multi-Purpose Vehicle (AMPV), the USMC’s Amphibious Combat Vehicle (ACV), and the Joint Light Tactical Vehicle (JLTV). About USD21m was removed from the USMC’s authorised budget because of the corps’ plans to indefinitely defer the Marine Personnel Carrier (MPC) programme in favour of focusing on the ACV. (Source: IHS Jane’s)
19 Dec 13. Finland negotiating for Dutch Leopard 2A6 MBTs. Finland is looking to purchase around 100 Leopard 2A6 MBTs from the Netherlands, to augment its existing Leopard 2A4. Finland has entered negotiations with the Netherlands to purchase around 100 Leopard 2A6 main battle tanks (MBTs), the Finnish Ministry of Defence (MoD) announced on 18 December. “The preparations for the acquisition and the related negotiations are ongoing,” a Finnish MoD statement said, adding that they “are proceeding in good faith”. The country is hoping it will be able to sign a contract for the order during a visit by Finnish defence minister Carl Haglund to the Netherlands in late January 2014. “If the [Finnish] Parliament approves the draft budget”, a decision on the purchase may come early in 2014, according to the MoD. Finland already operates 100 examples of the earlier Leopard 2A4 variant in frontline service, delivered from ex-German Army stocks from 2003 onwards. Around 30 moreLeopard 2A4s are used for training purposes. The Netherlands has a large inventory of ex-Royal Netherlands Army Leopard 2 MBTs on offer to potential export customers, following an April 2011 decision to retire the country’s entire MBT fleet. The Netherlands has previously tried to offload these Leopard 2s to Indonesia, although the Dutch Parliament rejected the sale in a non-binding vote in June 2012. Indonesia subsequently fulfilled its requirements from ex-German stocks. (Source: IHS Jane’s)
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.