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19 Aug 15. Foreign sales could bolster JLTV programme. A builder for the Pentagon’s Joint Light Tactical Vehicle (JLTV) could be announced in the coming weeks, and although the winner must first focus on producing vehicles for the US Army and US Marine Corps (USMC), there is significant potential for international sales as well.
AM General, Lockheed Martin, and Oshkosh have been competing to replace the Humvee since development phase contracts were awarded in 2012, and Pentagon equipment buyers on 25 August are scheduled to decide on moving the JLTV programme forward, after which a low-rate initial production deal would go to the winner. JLTV’s total acquisition cost is estimated to be about USD30bn over more than 20 years. (Source: IHS Jane’s)
20 Aug 15. Ukraine conflict drives German tank orders. Germany has halted the decommissioning of the Bundeswehr’s main battle tank, the Leopard 2. Nato’s eastern European members are displaying “concrete interest” in buying German heavy weaponry, one of the country’s largest defence groups has revealed, as the Ukraine conflict exposes gaps in conventional deterrence. Frank Haun, chief executive of KMW, the Munich-based manufacturer of the Bundeswehr’s Leopard tank, has told the Financial Times: “In the eastern EU and Nato countries, there is very concrete interest in the establishment or upgrading of specific capabilities. Nato is aware of the deficiencies in its conventional deterrent capability.”
Military action by Russian-backed groups against Ukrainian government forces has started to nudge policymakers back towards weaponry designed to resist a land assault, manufacturers and analysts added.
For Rheinmetall, the Düsseldorf-based defence and automotive company that supplies the cannon, ammunition and firing system for the Leopard tank, the Ukraine crisis has also spurred procurement.
Rheinmetall said: “Ukraine has given defence a political shove.” Defence sales grew by 18 per cent to €1bn in the first half of this year, while Rheinmetall’s operational loss fell from €52m to €27m, according to interim results published this month. The group is anticipating sales of €2.4bn for its defence division this year, at the upper end of its previous forecast.
KMW’s turnover declined from €790m in 2013 to €750m last year, but the company is privately held and does not disclose more up-to-date sales or profit figures.
Until recently, all of Germany’s defence contractors had been suffering from years of dwindling EU military spending despite collectively being the largest arms exporters after the US, Russia and China.
Ursula von der Leyen, Germany’s defence minister, said earlier this year that the country’s defence priorities had to shift in response to Russia’s “hybrid conduct of war”.
Ukraine has prompted Germany and other Nato countries to review their land forces, paying closer attention not just to tanks but to armoured vehicles that can be used to deploy troops rapidly. Asked what equipment was attracting interest from customers, Mr Haun of KMW said: “Simply put, what would deter a potential aggressor from risking a conventional war? It’s combat tanks and armoured personnel carriers, heavy artillery and heavily armoured wheeled vehicles.”
Germany, which is supplying a large proportion of the troops for Nato’s new rapid reaction force, has halted the decommissioning of the Bundeswehr’s main battle tank, the Leopard 2. Ms von der Leyen is spending €22m to raise the number of Leopard 2 tanks in service from 225 to 328.
This newer version of the Leopard, which weighs about 64 tonnes and is 2.6m high, was most recently used in a combat deployment by Canadian forces in Afghanistan.
Germany’s defence ministry is now considering the procurement of an upgraded model, with improved features including better