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03 Aug 16. Turkish, German, Malaysian Firms in Armor Venture. Armor industry manufacturers from Turkey, Germany and Malaysia have joined forces in an effort to expand into local and external markets.
Turkey’s BMC, Germany’s Rheinmetall AG and the Malaysia-based Etika Strategi announced that they launched a Turkey-based joint venture with a view to cooperation in armored solutions.
The companies said that the joint venture would focus on wheeled and tracked armored vehicles.
“This will be a joining of forces aiming at the Turkish, Gulf, Malaysian and other Asian markets, with quite a long-term vision,” an industry source in Turkey said.
He said that the deal may also mean Rheinmetall may partner with BMC in Turkey’s multibillion-dollar contract for the production of hundreds of new-generation main battle tanks under the indigenous program dubbed the Altay.
“But apparently this [deal] aims more than the Altay contract,” he said. “It looks more international than local.”
BMC will be one of the bidders in a deal for the serial production of the Altay, Turkey’s first indigenous battle tank. The program will involve the production of 1,000 tanks with an initial batch of 250.
The Altay was developed by Otokar, a rival of BMC. The Turkish government commissioned Otokar to build four Altay prototypes under a $500m program. The tanks are now undergoing field tests.
BMC’s owner, businessman Ethem Sancak is known to be a close friend of Turkey’s president, Recep Tayyip Erdogan. Earlier this year, BMC was given land to relocate its plant. The government decided to allocate 222 hectares to the company in support of its expansion plans. BMC will relocate from Izmir on Turkey’s western coast to Sakarya. (Source: Defense News)
02 Aug 16. US Army puts battlefield robots to the test. The Army, which like other military services has been working to increase the effectiveness of deployed troops on expeditionary missions, recently demonstrated a couple new technologies that will play a big part in the future of battlefield operations: robotics.
At an exercise called PACMAN-I, held at Marine Corps Training Area Bellows, Hawaii, soldiers tested a palm-sized personal unmanned aerial system called the PD-100 and an unmanned ground vehicle called MUTT, for Multipurpose Unmanned Tactical Transport.
The purpose is not just to enhance battlefield performance but also to assist rescue efforts.
“When we go to a place where there may be the need for us to do reconnaissance type work in a disaster area…they’ll be able to use these systems that way,” Tollie Strode Jr., senior project officer at Maneuver Center of Excellence Maneuver Battle Lab at Fort Benning, Ga. said in an Army release. “That isn’t trying to find someone to shoot, that’s trying to find someone to save.”
One device tested was the PD-100 pocket-sized UAS, which researchers at the Natick Soldier Research, Development and Engineering Center in Massachusetts have been working on for several years. Researchers started with a commercial system, the Prox Dynamics’ PD-100 Black Hornet, and adapted it for military use under its Cargo Pocket Intelligence, Surveillance and Reconnaissance, or CP-ISR, program.
The device is intended to give soldiers the kind of ISR they’re used from larger systems, but in constrained environments where those larger UAS might not work, such as in areas with thick tree cover, inside buildings or in densely packed villages
The other robotic device tested during the two-week exercise was the MUTT, made by General Dynamics, a four-wheeled vehicle that can navigate steep slopes, sand, mud and water while carrying about 600 pounds of supplies. What’s more it’s quiet, which is an advantage in the field (noise is one reason the Army and Marines gave up, at least temporarily, on their robotic, tho