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13 Mar 14. Indian Army authorised to advance T-90 tanks upgrade. The Indian Army has received approval from its Ministry of Defence (MoD) to move ahead with its planned upgrade of more than 600 Russian-built T-90 main battle tanks (MBTs). An MoD official told Defense News that the tender for the T-90 tank modernisation will be sent only to the local defence companies. More than $250m are scheduled to be spent on installation of Defence Research and Development Organisation (DRDO)-built air-conditioning systems, and replacement of the tanks’ existing thermal imaging sights, navigation systems and fire control systems. India had signed contract with Russia for supply of 310 T-90s in 2001, 190 of which were license-produced by Avadi-based Ordnance Factory Board (OFB), and followed it up with a second contract in 2007 for the licensed production of additional 330 tanks. One Army official said the absence of an air conditioning system in T-90 tanks caused damage to their thermal imaging systems during operation in hot climates. The Indian Army is planning to acquire a total of 1,657 T-90s by 2020, 1,000 of which will be domestically manufactured under full transfer of technology (ToT) from Russia. The indigenous production is yet to commence, even though a contract has already been signed with Russia. Russia insists that it has supplied all necessary technology, and the Avadi factory is responsible for production delays. (Source: IHS Jane’s)

20 Mar 14. US ONR develops self-healing anti-corrosion paint for military vehicles. The US Office of Naval Research (ONR) and the Johns Hopkins University Applied Physics Laboratory have jointly developed a new paint additive to help military vehicles such as the Marine Corps variant of the Joint Light Tactical Vehicle (JLTV) heal similar to human skin and avoid costly maintenance due to corrosion. The additive, known as polyfibroblast, is a powder that can be added to commercial-off-the-shelf paint primers to enable scratches forming in vehicle paint to scar and heal before the corrosion effects reach the metal beneath. ONR Expeditionary Maneuver Warfare and Combating Terrorism Department logistics research programmes manager marine captain Frank Furman said that corrosion costs the Department of the Navy billions of dollars each year. Made up of microscopic polymer spheres filled with an oily liquid, the new self-healing paint is specifically designed for tactical vehicles used in a variety of harsh environments. When scratched, resin from the broken capsules creates a waxy, water-repellant coating across the exposed steel, protecting against corrosion. During a laboratory experiment, the new additive demonstrated its ability to prevent rusting for six weeks inside a chamber filled with salt fog. Light Tactical Vehicles, Program Executive Officer (PEO) Land Systems deputy programme manager Scott Rideout said that the team is seeking ways to make the additive even more effective, but the initial results are encouraging. The polyfibroblast research and development represents the US Marine Corps’ aim to be “modernized with equipment and logistics that expand expeditionary capability and preserve our ability to operate from the sea”, according to a statement in the Marine Corps Vision and Strategy 2025. (Source: naval-technology.com)

17 Mar 14. As many as nine companies or consortiums may have passed the first hurdle in their efforts to acquire the UK’s Defence Support Group (DSG), the state-owned military vehicle and small arms maintenance and repair company put up for sale by the British government, sources said.
At least five of the companies approved by the Defence Ministry to move to the next stage of the bidding are thought to be US-owned, they said.
Dyncorp International, General Dynamics, KBR, Northrop Grumman

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