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17 Aug 18. Rheinmetall wins contract worth over €2bn: Australia orders 211 Boxer wheeled armoured vehicles. Australia has awarded Rheinmetall an order for 211 Boxer wheeled armoured vehicles worth a total of €2.1bn (AUD3.3bn). The contract was signed at Parliament House in Canberra today by the Prime Minister of Australia Malcolm Turnbull and the Managing Director of Rheinmetall Defence Australia Gary Stewart. Delivery of the advanced 8×8 Combat Reconnaissance Vehicles (CRV) will take place between 2019 and 2026. The selection of the Boxer CRV ensures Rheinmetall will play a key role in the comprehensive modernisation of the Australia’s armed forces. Mr Turnbull first announced his government’s intention to order the fleet of Boxer vehicles in March 2018.
Rheinmetall AG Chief Executive Armin Papperger said it was a great honour for the company to be chosen as a partner by the Australian Government at such an important time for the ADF. “This demonstrates, in no uncertain terms, the continued successful cooperation between Rheinmetall and the Government and Armed Forces of Australia,” Mr Papperger said. “As a company, we are extremely pleased to have secured one of the biggest orders in the recent history of Rheinmetall.”
The Boxer vehicle is already in service with, or being procured by, the armed forces of Germany, the Netherlands and Lithuania. The ADF will introduce several variants of the Boxer with the reconnaissance variant – accounting for 133 of the 211 vehicles – equipped with Rheinmetall’s cutting-edge Lance turret system and armed with a 30mm automatic cannon. The Boxer CRV was selected after rigorous trials conducted by the ADF. Under Australia’s LAND 400 Phase 2 selection process, the Boxer CRV was chosen in 2016 as one of two candidates for Risk Mitigation Activity trials where the 8×8 wheeled armoured vehicle performed convincingly in the categories of survivability, mobility, firepower, and command & control.
Rheinmetall is co-operating closely with Australian defence industry, having established a strong, highly effective team in the country. A significant share of the industrial value added during production of the Boxer will take place in country. More than 40 Australian companies will be included in the programme. Head of Rheinmetall’s Vehicle Systems Division Ben Hudson said the Boxer CRV is the most capable, survivable and adaptable field-armoured fighting vehicle available today.
“The Boxer CRV is highly protected against both asymmetric threats that have been faced by Australian soldiers in recent operations, while also being highly protected against conventional battlefield threats that our soldiers may face one day in a conventional war-fighting scenario,” Mr Hudson said. “We look forward to building on our successful Land 121 program and extending the trustful partnership we have with the Australian Government and our Australian suppliers and partners into Land 400 to deliver an outstanding combat vehicle to the Australian Army.”
Mr Stewart said production of the Boxer vehicles would take place in a dedicated new facility in Queensland in partnership with the Queensland Government.
“This will allow us to establish as sovereign military vehicle industry in Australia that will underpin the enduring partnership with the Government to design, manufacture, deliver, support and modernise this world-leading capability,” Mr Stewart said.
Rheinmetall sets the global standard for excellence in a wide array of disciplines and offers an extensive array of military hardware that delivers mobility, lethality, survivability of troops, reconnaissance capability and networking of national and international systems. Rheinmetall Defence Australia and New Zealand is a subsidiary of Rheinmetall AG, with offices in Adelaide, Canberra, Melbourne and Brisbane.
17 Aug 18. Grant of M41C tanks to Uruguay advances. The donation by the Brazilian Army of 25 M41C (Caxias) battle tanks to Uruguay is awaiting clearance through the Brazilian Chamber of Deputies, before going to the Federal Senate for final approval. Started in 2011 and repeatedly stalled through Brazilian approval processes, the deal will see 15 of the 25 vehicles delivered to Cavalry and Armoured Infantry units of the Uruguayan Army, replacing older M24 Chaffee tanks currently in service. The remaining 10 vehicles will be utilised for spare parts and maintenance, with Brazil’s 3rd Military Region’s Regional Maintenance Park conducting maintenance and inspection before shipment to Uruguay. In 2013 Brazil stated it would fund the cost of approximately USD150,000 to transfer the vehicles to Uruguay, although this is likely to have increased in the intervening years. (Source: IHS Jane’s)
16 Aug 18. Brazil to receive remaining M109A5 in December. The arrival of the remaining 56 of 60 M109A5 155mm self-propelled artillery systems granted by the US Government to the Brazilian Army as excess defense articles (EDA) in a letter of offer and acceptance (LOA) in January 2018 is expected to take place in December, the service told Jane’s . This batch, which follows the initial four vehicles delivered in March, had been due to arrive in June or July. Under the terms of the transfer, Brazil has paid for packing, handling, and transportation of the vehicles and associated items. The M109A5s are currently at the US Army’s Anniston depot. (Source: IHS Jane’s)
16 Aug 18. Poland relaunches Mustang programme. Poland’s Armament Inspectorate has launched a tender with revised requirements for the procurement of 4×4 multipurpose vehicles. Poland is seeking to purchase 859 soft-skin vehicles and 41 armoured variants in 2019–22. The contract includes an option for an additional 812 unarmoured vehicles to be delivered until 2022. The deadline for submitting offers is 28 September. The selection criteria are price (65%), warranty period (5%), ground clearance (10%), engine power (10%), and monocoque design (10%). The soft-skin variant with a gross vehicle weight of under 3,500kg should be capable of carrying seven personnel and 1,000kg. The armoured variant should be able to carry five crew members and 600 kg of cargo and is to feature STANAG 4569 Level 1 ballistic and mine protection. (Source: IHS Jane’s)
14 Aug 18. Roboteam expands UGV portfolio. Roboteam took the opportunity at the Global EOD Symposium & Exhibition in Maryland to showcase its latest unmanned ground vehicle (UGV) range, which includes the new Light Interoperable Ground Robot (LIGR) and improved Reconnaissance and Surveillance Teamed Robot (RSTR). The LIGR builds on the knowledge and design of the company’s field-proven Micro Tactical Ground Robot (MTGR).
“While we kept the general MTGR concept, it’s a brand-new system – lighter, stronger, interoperable, and more reliable than any other back-packable ever made,” Shahar Abuhazira, CEO of Roboteam, told Jane’s on 14 August.
The base LIGR platform weighs 8.6 kg, with a laden weight of under 11.3 kg, making it light enough to be carried by a soldier.
The company has also updated its RSTR “flying UGV” concept, which places an Individual Robotic Intelligence System (IRIS) throwable UGV inside a hexacopter, enabling users to deploy the vehicle from the air and recover it at the end of the mission. The RSTR is fitted with the latest IRIS LR [long range] UGV. Abuhazira noted that this model features several improvements, including a Silvus mesh radio that offers extended communications range, an improved video camera, and a new battery providing more than 3.5 hours of run time.
“We are getting a lot of interest in it from the US military, and we have already sold several units,” Abuhazira said, noting that the RSTR is now in a production configuration. “We see it as the best of both worlds, an aerial vehicle and a ground vehicle working together,” he added. (Source: IHS Jane’s)
14 Aug 18. FNSS readies prototype Pars 4×4 ATV for delivery. FNSS Savunma Sistemleri has confirmed that it will hand over the Pars 4×4 anti-tank vehicle (ATV) prototype to the Turkish Land Forces Command (TLFC) for qualification once company trials have been completed. FNSS was awarded a contract for 260 ATVs in October 2016, with 76 of these vehicles based on the Pars 4×4 design and 184 vehicles employing the tracked Kaplan 10 platform. The design of the Pars 4×4 ATV was approved by the TLFC 15 months later. The company has built an additional example of each vehicle as part of its risk reduction programme in addition to the initial prototype, with these available for company demonstrations. Long lead items have already been ordered to enable production of the Pars 4×4 ATV to commence in 2019 with final deliveries to the TLFC expected in late 2021. While FNSS is the prime contractor for the Pars 4×4 ATV, production platform will be manufactured by wheeled armoured fighting vehicle (AFV) specialist Nurol Makina. The completed prototype will be fitted with FNSS’ Anti-Tank Remote Controlled Turret (ARCT), which is armed with two anti-tank guided missiles (ATGMs) that are mounted either side of the sighting system. The turret also carries a coaxial 7.62 mm machine gun provided with 500 rounds of ready-use ammunition.
Once the two missiles have been launched the vehicle will relocate to new firing positions. Missile reloads are performed manually via the oblong roof hatch. The stabilised sighting system includes a TV camera, thermal camera (mid-wave or long-wave), and laser rangefinder with a maximum range of 10,000m to ensure that targets are engaged within the effective range of the ATGM. Traverse of the ARCT is all electric through 360° with elevation from -25° to +25°. Elevation and traverse is performed at a maximum speed of 60°/s. (Source: IHS Jane’s)
10 Aug 18. Ineos chooses Germany to develop Land Rover Defender successor. Brexit-supporter Ratcliffe faces series of decisions on UK investments. Jim Ratcliffe, the founder of Ineos and a prominent Brexit supporter, has selected German companies to develop his successor to the Land Rover Defender. Ineos wants to branch out beyond its core business in chemicals and industrials into automotive manufacturing, with plans to make a 4×4 vehicle styled as natural replacement for the Land Rover Defender, the iconic off-roader that was retired by Jaguar Land Rover in 2014. For its car foray — called “Projekt Grenadier” after the Grenadier pub in London where Sir Jim conceived the idea — Ineos has already signed contracts with former Mercedes division MBTech for the engineering of the project, as well as Magna for the chassis, suspension and powertrain development. A decision on the ultimate manufacturing location — a toss-up between two UK sites and a number in continental Europe — is expected within months, one of a series of choices for Ineos about whether to invest in the UK. Ineos group director Tom Crotty said that Germany was chosen as the location for engineering work on the vehicle due to the country’s “reliability” when it came to automotive manufacturing, an attribute the Defender was notorious for lacking. “We will have to make a decision on the factory by the end of the year,” said Mr Crotty. (Source: FT.com)
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.