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13 Sep 18. Thailand’s Defence Technology Institute to Digitalise Armed Forces’ Capabilities with Thales. Memorandum of Agreement (MoA) signed between Defence Technology Institute (DTI), Datagate and Thales for further collaboration in digital communications systems – First common project dedicated to upgrading Royal Thai Army’s existing fleet of Armored Personal Carrier (APC) – Thales will progressively transfer knowledge and technology to DTI with industrial support from Datagate, Thales’ key industrial partner in Thailand. The digital revolution has opened up a world of possibilities for armies by allowing them to use the best technology to outsmart opponents. Precise and secure digital radio communication is essential for soldiers in the battlefield to communicate critical information, make quick decisions, react to future threats and get the edge in the battlefield.
As the Royal Thai Army seeks to digitalise its capabilities for network-centric operations, Thales, Datagate (Thales’ key industrial partner) and the Thai Defence Technology Institute (DTI) have signed a Memorandum of Agreement (MoA) to further enhance collaboration in the Communications domain for military vehicles application.
The MoA follows a Memorandum of Understanding (MoU) signed in September 2017 which paved the way for Thales and DTI to collaborate closely in research and development related to air defence and digital communications systems. With this new agreement, the first common project for all parties will be dedicated to the upgrade of the Royal Thai Army’s existing fleet of Armored Personal Carrier (APC). The MoA focuses on upgrading the APCs with a C5I (Computerised, Command, Control, Communications and Combat Information) operational solution, integrating both VHF and HF combat net radios, a Battle Management System (BMS) for tactical command and control, and vehicle electronics integration. To develop expertise in Thailand, Thales will progressively transfer technology and knowledge to DTI, enabling, at the end, the capability for Thailand to design, integrate and validate C5I systems on any local platform.
Coupled with training courses focused on programming, robust digital vehicle architecture, manufacturing, maintenance and services, Thales supports the long-term ambitions of the Thai government to grow its capabilities in the high-end digital domain. This agreement further underscores Thales’ commitment to supporting Thailand 4.0, with one of its objectives being the development of local Thai capabilities in the defence industry, through knowledge and technology transfer.
“Thales is always looking to empower local capabilities in the defence industry so that they may continually develop technologies and take these innovations to greater heights. Additionally, we are glad to partner with Datagate and DTI and are fully supportive of DTI becoming Thailand’s Vehicle Infrastructure Design Authority for military vehicle application.” Massimo Marinzi, Country Director, Thales in Thailand. (Source: ASD Network)
13 Sep 18. Jankel achieves Direct Partnership certification from Mercedes-Benz. Jankel, a world-leader in the design and manufacture of high-specification defence, security and NGO protection systems, has today announced their achievement of Direct Partnership certification from Mercedes-Benz. This announcement coincides with the Defence Vehicle Dynamics (DVD) event taking place on 19/20 September 2018 at Millbrook, where Jankel will be exhibiting their capabilities on stand number OR-12.
The certified Direct Partnership approval comes at the end of an extensive and exhaustive Due Diligence process, where Mercedes-Benz has fully assessed Jankel’s capability to market, sell and support modified Mercedes Benz commercial-off-the-shelf (COTS) chassis systems; a significant achievement for Jankel. This partnership arrangement gives Jankel access to otherwise unavailable levels of technical information and support from Mercedes-Benz, as a COTS chassis system OEM, significantly strengthening the offering to the end-user.
Jankel has successfully developed their business model in recent years to become a company that delivers fully engineered tactical and military vehicles, with the benefits of matching a range of highly capable COTS chassis systems, such as those produced by Mercedes-Benz, amongst others. The recently announced contract award for the Light Troop Transport Vehicle (LTTV) programme in Belgium will see Jankel deliver 199 modified Mercedes UNIMOG vehicles to the Belgium Ministry of Defence (BeMOD). The LTTV contract follows on from Jankel’s contract win in 2015 to supply the BeMOD with over 100 FOX Rapid Reaction Vehicles (RRV); Jankel’s FOX being based on a modified COTS Toyota chassis system.
At DVD, as well as the Mercedes-Benz UNIMOG LTTV, Jankel will be presenting a range of Toyota-based options including a Civilian Armoured Vehicle (CAV) LC200; a Fox RRV-x; and a 6×6 70 series extended chassis Land Cruiser. With the Armoured LC200 CAV, Jankel will be show-casing specialist upgrades delivering higher protection levels, including innovative security and safety technologies.
Dan Crosby, Commercial Director at Jankel said: “Achieving Mercedes-Benz Direct Partnership certification is a huge step for the whole team at Jankel and one we’re exceedingly proud of. As well as enabling us to offer a range of OEM-approved armoured, tactical and utility vehicles based on modified Mercedes-Benz COTS chassis systems, this certification validates our ability to effectively modify other COTS vehicle types to the same exacting standards.” He added: “We’ve achieved a number of significant milestone successes in recent years and we’re looking forward to building on these, whilst continuing to deliver exactly what our customers need”.
12 Sep 18. Hanwha unveils infantry support UGV development. South Korea’s Hanwha Group has unveiled a new 4×4 modular unmanned ground vehicle (UGV) development programme that is aimed at addressing a future Republic of Korea Army (RoKA) requirement for autonomous tactical support platforms. Under development by Hanwha Land Systems’ Defense Robot Team since October 2017, the Multi-Purpose Unmanned Vehicle (MPUV) – which is 2.84m long, 1.5m wide, and 1.67m tall – leverages on the experience gained from its earlier 4?4 STAR-M4 logistics UGV programme and has a fully laden weight and payload capacity of 860kg. Unlike the smaller 350 kg Star M4 that is specifically designed to reduce the load of dismounted infantry by transporting their weapons and ammunition, mission-critical equipment and food, water, and medical supplies on unpaved roads and cross-country terrain, the MPUV can also undertake reconnaissance and combat operations to augment forward-deployed infantry units with a lightweight remote weapon station (RWS) armed with a S&T Motiv 5.56mm K3 machine gun.
Other mission equipment can include a gunfire locator system that enables the MPUV to detect incoming 5.56mm, 7.62mm, and 12.7mm calibre fire at distances of up to 3km, triangulate possible sources, and display these locations on the handheld operator’s console display. According to Hanwha engineers, the system and offers over 85% accuracy during company trials.
A multirotor unmanned aerial vehicle (UAV) can also be integrated into the MPUV, functioning as an organic offboard sensor and communications relay to extend the vehicle’s control and data transmission range. Alternatively, the rear payload bay can be used to evacuate a wounded soldier. The electric-powered vehicle features all-wheel drive (AWD) and all-wheel steering (AWS) capabilities for enhanced manoeuvrability, and is capable of carrying up to 160kg of stores at a maximum speed of 20km/h over uneven terrain. (Source: IHS Jane’s)
12 Sep 18. RoKA unveils 4×4 K-153C ATGM carrier. The Republic of Korea Army (RoKA) has unveiled a new anti-tank guided weapon carrier at the DX Korea 2018 exhibition. The K-153C ATGW carrier was introduced in 2017 as part of the service’s ongoing tactical vehicle fleet recapitalisation efforts, which include replacing the army’s ageing K-131 (Kia Motors KM420) light utility vehicles and K-311A1 (Kia Motors KM450) cargo trucks with a more survivable and agile multirole platform that can be readily configured for a variety of missions. The 5.7 tonne vehicle – which is operated by a crew of four including the driver, commander, gunner, and loader – is based on the standard wheelbase version of Kia Motors’ Light Tactical Vehicle (LTV) and measures 5 m long, 2.2 m wide, and 2 m high. The primary armament of the K-153C is a roof-mounted twin mount for the indigenous Raybolt anti-tank guided missile (ATGM) system and its associated Observation and Launch Unit (OLU) – a target acquisition device equipped with a day/night thermal sight. The weapon has been developed by the Agency for Defense Development (ADD) and manufactured by LIG Nex1 to replace the RoKA and Republic of Korea Marine Corps (RoKMC) BGM-71 TOW (Tube-launched, Optically-tracked and Wire-guided) missiles.
Jane’s understands from a RoKA spokesperson that the fire-and-forget capability of the Raybolt ATGM increases the K-153C vehicle’s lethality and survivability as it carries a tandem high-explosive anti-tank (HEAT) shaped charge that can defeat up to 900 mm of rolled homogeneous steel under explosive reactive armour protection. The vehicle carries up to four ready-to-fire Raybolt missiles in their launch tubes in its rear cargo bay. (Source: IHS Jane’s)
12 Sep 18. North Korea parades latest self-propelled howitzers, missile carriers. North Korea displayed what appear to be a new tracked self-propelled gun-howitzer (SPGH) and a new missile carrier in a parade held in Pyongyang on 9 September to mark the 70th anniversary of the country’s founding. The SPGH, nine units of which were paraded at the event, has a similar layout to most modern SPGHs. It is not clear where the chassis, turret, and ordnance of the system are derived from. The ordnance bears some resemblance to the 2A64 152 mm weapon from the Soviet-made 2S19 MSTA-S SPGH, or the 2A64 weapon from the MSTA-B towed gun-howitzer, but its recoil system (buffer and recuperator) as well as muzzle brake are of a different design. The turret bears some resemblance to the Chinese PZL-45 and the Iranian Raad-2 SPGH, although this is only superficial. It is also unclear where the chassis has been derived from and whether it is of indigenous design.
The North Korean military also displayed nine units of what appears to be a new missile carrier, the chassis of which appears to be based on the M2010 6×6 armoured personnel carrier. An eight-round inclined missile launcher is mounted on the vehicle and encapsulated in a multifaceted turret. Imagery made available by the Korean Central News Agency (KCNA) shows that the vehicle’s turret roof is raised to allow the missiles to fire. The appearance of the missile containers is similar to those of multipurpose missile systems such as the Chinese Red Arrow 10 (HJ-10) and the Israeli Spike NLOS. The capabilities of the missile system carried by the vehicle were not disclosed. North Korea’s military parade was described in media reports as “low key” because it did not feature any long-range missiles, including the Hwaseong-14 and Hwaseong-15 intercontinental ballistic missiles (ICBMs) that Pyongyang paraded for the first time in February. (Source: IHS Jane’s)
12 Sep 18. Supacat announces ATMP Modernisation Programme to future hybrid and autonomy. UK creator of high mobility vehicles, Supacat, has announced the modernisation programme of its highly successful All Terrain Mobility Platform (ATMP) at DVD 2018. The original vehicle has been in service with the UK MOD, foreign militaries and other non-defence sectors since the early 80’s and remains the reliable, flexible and capable workhorse that it was designed to be. The vehicle is undergoing a modernisation programme to initially manage obsolescence issues whilst also supporting the future hybrid development and automisation of the platform. The ATMP can carry a substantial payload of 1600kg which, combined with its “go anywhere” ethos, has made it the vehicle of choice for many years. Already proven on a variety of military and humanitarian operations in locations such as the Gulf, the Falklands, Bosnia, Kosovo, Canada, Malaysia and Afghanistan, the ATMP can be transported within or underslung below a range of air platforms providing instant mobility support for light forces on the ground.
The modernisation programme will involve updating the engine and drive train whilst also managing legislative requirements and Human-Machine Interface. It will also integrate a hybrid drive train into the platform. Supacat and the University of Exeter are working together as part of a Knowledge Transfer Partnership to develop the alternative drive solution, and have made good progress. Matthew Harvey of the University of Exeter comments, “The Knowledge Transfer Partnership is an exciting opportunity for us to use the latest academic research in industry to improve and modernise what is already a hugely successful vehicle. It is fantastic to work with a company like Supacat who have a huge wealth of experience and a really agile approach to engineering.”
The hybrid ATMP offers a number of benefits to the user. These include a reduced logistic burden, a silent running mode and a mobile battery charging platform. The hybrid ATMP will not compromise on the existing capability of the vehicle, aspiring to improve on what has been a timeless, hugely successful product. Supacat intends to fully autonomise the ATMP, developing the mule concept of follow on vehicles and opening up a number of capability options. A technical demonstrator with hybrid drive and novel fuel cells will be built in the first half on 2019. A second KTP, starting in October 2019, will create an ‘optionally manned’ demonstrator, leveraging off the development of the hybrid demonstrator. This will incorporate elements of autonomous operation which will be of benefit to both defence and other users operating in dangerous or challenging environments.
Steve Austen, Engineering Director said, “This is an exciting time for Supacat as we seek to harness the rapid advances in hybrid propulsion and autonomous technologies made over the last few years to enhance the capabilities of our products and team for the benefit of our defence and non-defence customers.”
10 Sep 18. The LAV Sale Is Being Scaled Back. Critics Want It Killed Completely. A Canadian defence contractor will be selling fewer armoured vehicles to Saudi Arabia than originally planned, according to new documents obtained by CBC News. That could be a mixed blessing in light of the ongoing diplomatic dispute between the two countries, say human rights groups and a defence analyst. The scaled-back order — implemented before the Riyadh government erupted in fury over Canada’s public criticism of Saudi Arabia’s arrest of activists and froze new trade with Canada this summer — could make it politically less defensible for the Liberal government, which has argued it’s in the country’s business and economic interests to uphold the deal. The documents show General Dynamic Land Systems Canada, the London, Ont.-based manufacturer, was — as of spring last year — going to deliver only 742 of the modern LAV-6s, a reduction from the original 2014 deal. The initial order from the desert kingdom was for 928 vehicles, including 119 of the heavy assault variety equipped with 105 millimetre cannons. Details of the agreement have long been kept under a cloak of secrecy. General Dynamic Land Systems, the Canadian Commercial Corporation (the Crown corporation which brokered the deal) and the Saudi government have all refused to acknowledge the specifics, other than the roughly $15bn price tag. (Source: defense-aerospace.com/CBC News)
11 Sep 18. France launches Scorpion studies. The Direction Générale de l’Armement (DGA), the French defence procurement agency, announced on 11 September that it had launched studies to prepare three new capabilities of the Scorpion programme. The studies are on the integration of unmanned ground and aerial vehicles into the Scorpion combat system, communication with dismounted soldiers, and management of the greater number of battlefield sensors.
TNS-MARS, which groups together Thales, Nexter, and Safran, was notified of the preparatory studies that the DGA said would allow development to start in the next four years.
Work on integrating unmanned ground and aerial vehicles into the Scorpion combat system to increase units’ reconnaissance and employment capabilities is scheduled to begin in 2022. The second study aims to give dismounted soldiers the ability to exchange information securely in real time with other soldiers and vehicles, and to increase tactical situational awareness. (Source: IHS Jane’s)
11 Sep 18. This armored vehicle can resist mines and jam airwaves. Soldiers from the 1st Cavalry Division’s 3rd Armored Brigade Combat Team recently fielded an electronic warfare tactical vehicle, one that will allow units and electronic warfare teams to sense and jam enemy communications. The Army’s Rapid Equipping Force delivered the capability to the unit and conducted training in Yuma, Arizona, according to a news release.
“This effort will allow the ability for EW soldiers to influence future vehicle improvements and grow their knowledge,” Army Lt. Col. Scott Schumacher, chief of the Rapid Equipping Force solutions team, said in the release.
“This is an advanced EW technology that can provide the Army new offensive and defensive capabilities.”
The kit being tested by the 3rd Armored BCT is installed on a four-wheel drive MaxxPro Dash — a mine-resistant, ambush-protected armored vehicle. The Army is in the process of restoring EW capability from the tactical to the strategic level. Officials noted the revolutionary nature of this recent delivery.
“It has never been used at the brigade level, so we have to really put it through its paces and see what its capabilities and limitations are,” said Army Chief Warrant Officer 2 Alexander Torres, the brigade’s electronic warfare technician.
“This is a huge benefit, because now we have it on our time instead of relying on our sister services to provide us with jamming capabilities and hoping it is available when we need it.” (Source: C4ISR & Networks)
11 Sep 18. Russia’s Strategic Missile Forces replace heavy tractors. Russia’s Strategic Missile Forces (RVSN) will receive new Platforma-O heavy wheeled transporters to replace those produced by Belarus’s Minsk Wheel Tractors Plant (MZKT Volat), an industry source has told Jane’s.
“The newest Platforma-O family of heavy wheeled transporters designed by JSC Kamaz and produced by the JSC Remdizel Plant have successfully passed state trials and an adoption order is being drafted. The Platforma-O transporters will be adopted before the end of the year,” the source said. He added that the order could be signed in October.
The military will receive 8×8, 12×12, and 16×16 wheeled transporters with maximum payload weights of 25, 50, and 85 tonnes respectively, an 8×8 semi-trailer with a maximum towing capacity of 165 tonnes, and an 8×8 vehicle with a maximum towing capacity of 400 tonnes.
“Members of the Platforma-O family have 86% commonality,” the source said. “Hub reduction allows the transporters to have relatively low weights.”
The 12×12 and 16×16 platforms will be used as transporter erector launchers (TELs) to be developed for the Topol-M and Yars intercontinental ballistic missiles, while the 8×8 platform, semi-trailer platform, and wheeled ballast prime mover will carry various support systems. “The RVSN will switch completely to the new chassis for TELs and logistics systems within 10 years,” the source said. (Source: IHS Jane’s)
11 Sep 18. South Korea to begin mass-producing K806, K808 armoured combat vehicles. South Korea’s Hyundai Rotem will begin mass-producing its K806 and K808 wheeled armoured combat vehicles later this year after the vehicles completed a series of field tests by Republic of Korea Army (RoKA) units between April and August, the country’s Defense Acquisition Programme Administration (DAPA) said on 10 September. The move comes after Hyundai Rotem announced in December 2017 that it had been awarded a contract to start series production of the vehicles. Although the DAPA did not disclose how many platforms the company is under contract to build for the RoKA, Jane’s reported in September 2016 that the service has a total requirement for around 100 16-tonne 6×6 K806 vehicles and 500 20-tonne 8×8 K808s.
Hyundai Rotem is thought to have capacity to build around 100 of these vehicles a year, which are expected to be outfitted with a one-person protected weapon station armed with an M2 HB machine gun.
As Jane’s previously reported, the K806 and K808 share many of the same performance characteristics. According to specifications supplied by the manufacturer, the vehicles are powered by a 420 hp Hyundai Motor Company diesel engine that provides a maximum road speed of 100 km/h via a seven-speed automatic transmission. They are operated by a two-person crew with accommodation for up to nine fully equipped troops. (Source: IHS Jane’s)
11 Sep 18. Australian audit report raises procedural and reliability concerns over Hawkei procurement. Concerns over the acquisition procedures involved in the AUD1.3bn (USD975m) purchase of the Hawkei Protected Mobility Vehicle – Light for the Australian Army, together with ongoing reliability issues, have been raised by the Australian National Audit Office (ANAO) in a report released on 11 September. Auditor-General Grant Hehir advised in the report that he has been unable to reach a clear conclusion on whether the procurement under Project Land 121 Phase 4 has been effective and achieved value for money, following correspondence from Australia’s attorney-general stating that the disclosure of certain information would be contrary to public interest. (Source: IHS Jane’s)
10 Sep 18. Indonesia plans to acquire Sprut-SDM1 SPATGs, says Kurganmashzavod chief. The Indonesian military is planning to procure the Russian-made 2S25M Sprut-SDM1 air-droppable self-propelled anti-tank gun (SPATG), Pyotr Tyukov, the executive director of manufacturer Kurganmashzavod, told Russian TV broadcaster Zvezda on 5 September.
“The Sprut-SDM1 features amphibious capabilities and is heavily armed. A contract with Indonesia for this SPATG will be signed soon,” Tyukov said without specifying the number of guns to be procured by Jakarta.
A Kurganmashzavod source told Jane’s that the manufacturer “sees a potential for the promotion of the vehicle in the arms markets of several Asian and Middle-Eastern countries”.
The latest variant of the Sprut-SDM1 was displayed at the Army 2018 defence show held in Kubinka near Moscow in August. The system is armed with a 2A75M 125 mm smoothbore gun and two Kalashnikov PKTM medium machine guns: one coaxial and the other fitted onto a remote weapon station. The Sprut-SDM1 is based on the lengthened chassis of the air-droppable BMD-4M infantry fighting vehicle. The source also said the manufacturer is planning to increase the ballistic protection of the Sprut-SDM1. (Source: IHS Jane’s)
07 Sep 18. Orders for 100 Turkish-Indonesian Medium Battle Tank. The Philippines and Bangladesh have put an order for 100 KAPLAN medium tanks which are co-produced by Turkish defense contractor FNNS and Indonesia’s PT Pindad, said Windu Paramata, the head of the medium tank project at Pindad. Paramata said the two countries had expressed willingness to buy 40 to 50 units each.
“In October, we will be demonstrating medium tanks there, as a condition for the procurement of defense equipment in their countries,” Paramata told Anadolu Agency on Friday.
Paramata said the Indonesian Ministry of Defense also mulled purchasing the KAPLAN tanks but the ministry was still evaluating the number of units to be procured. Paramata said the Indonesian Army’s Research and Development Agency had certified the medium tank earlier this year. Paramata praised the Turkish-Indonesian battle tank as featuring the most recent technology in the global defense industry. Poland followed suit in producing a similar tank, Paramata said, adding, however, that the country was still at the concept stage. Paramata said the medium tank is suitable for use in countries with only two seasons in Southeast Asia, such as Indonesia, Malaysia, Singapore, and the Philippines as well as in four-season countries as it can operate at a maximum temperature of 50 degrees Celsius, and at a minimum temperature of – 30 degrees Celsius. (Source: defense-aerospace.com/Anadolu Agency; published Sept 07, 2018)
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.