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21 Sep 18. Will Challenger 2 Smoothbore Upgrade trigger a rethink on Challenger 2 LEP? As industry digests the strong possibility that the UK MoD will include a smoothbore, APS and new armour package in the Challenger 2 LEP Programme on October 25th, will this trigger a complete rethink on the Programme given the reported impasse in no new money for the Budget and the engineering challenges on a new gun in an old turret already studied by BAE Systems under the original CHARM Project, now defunct. There have always been reported problems over the size of the Challenger 2 turret accommodating a smooth bore canon that requires a one piece shell vs the two piece on the rifled L-30. BATTLESPACE interviewed an expert involved in CHARM last year and it was his view that the smooth bore gun required an autoloader which the turret could not accommodate. This was rebutted by one bidder who told BATTLESPACE that this problem had been overcome.
However that still leaves the engineering challenges as faced by Lockheed under WCSP, new wine in old bottles. One solution doing the rounds at DVD was for the MoD to consider a totally new approach in buying a complete turret assembly such as the GDLS V3 turret with the smooth bore gun. This would be a much more simple engineering exercise with much less risk and all technologies developed and matured, with far less integration issues, than the current options and provide the latest in tank turret technology, short barrel, fire control system, displays and sighting systems. The V3 turret also has a better stowed kill layout.
The M1A2 SEP v3 adds a number of new features to improve the lethality, survivability and networking of the tank. An ammunition data link (ADL) has been added to the tank, which allows the use of programmable ammunition. The tank can utilise new and improved ammunition like the M829E4 and the XM1147 multipurpose round. Furthermore the forward-looking infrared optics were replaced by a newer generation and the CROWS remote weapon station (RWS) was modified to the CROWS-LP (low profile) version, which allows folding down the RWS in order to decrease overall height of the tank.The APU has been moved to a place under armor protection (probably into the rear hull section) and the digital screens inside the tank have now a 1080p resolution.
Politically post-Brexit, it would align the UK with the US, with whom we have fought alongside in most conflicts, and give flexibility for the new British Army MBT proposed fro 2035, rather than the possibility of being forced into the Franco-German new tank in 2035.
Having said all the above, I am sure that Rheinmetall would press for a similar solution offering the Leopard 2A5 turret as their solution. It’s all to play for!
18 Sep 18. All set for Challenger 2 Smoothbore Upgrade. In our piece Smooth Bore for Challenger 2? BATTLESPACE UPDATE Vol.20 ISSUE 25 And EUROSATORY EXHIBITION NEWS ISSUE 02, 18 June 2018, we said: ‘There was a buzz around the halls at Eurosatory that the UK MoD had resurrected the Smooth Bore gun requirement for Challenger 2 (C2). The requirement for a smooth bore on C2 has been around for years and has been an on-off debate much of it surrounding costs and the ability to integrate the Rheinmetall 120mm canon into the C2 turret. The Challenger 2 LEP Programme is believed to have been delayed for 6 months with the Smooth Bore Requirement believed to be released in September. Rheinmetall told BATTLESPACE that they had already undertaken a Smooth Bore study outside LEP and it is achievable within the current turret structure. Integrating the smooth bore 120mm will of course add additional costs as the extended range of the weapon will require a new Fire Control System, sensors and displays. Should Rheinmetall win the Smooth Bore contest against BAE then it is very likely that BAE will sell the Land Systems Division to Rheinmetall, excluding the ammunition business. This will give Rheinmetall the critical mass the Company needs to establish a credible UK Land Systems business to manage the Boxer Programme. Other sources suggest that the UK content of Boxer discussed at the Open Days two weeks ago will give Rheinmetall the export version it needs outside the stringent German Export laws.’
BATTLESPACE sources suggest that the MoD’s DE&S has scoped the addition of a smooth bore gun, Active Protection System (APS) and an armour package to the Challenger 2 LEP, which is currently being assessed by the MoD’s Investment Appraisal Boar (IAB) with an announcement expected on October 25th 2018. The gun mandated is believed to be the Rheinmetall L-55AI 120 Smooth Bore. For the APS Rheinmetall is believed to be offering the Rafael Trophy system as selected by the US Army with Leonardo DRS as Prime whilst BAE Systems has chosen the IMI Iron Fist system as shown on their Black Knight demonstrator at DVD. The politics involved in this selection are considerable. Do the MoD risk losing a sovereign capability by placing the contact with Rheinmetall, thus ensuring that the Franco-German new MBT slated for 2035 be the natural choice to replace Challenger 2 in 2035 or does the MoD stick with BAE Systems to ensure flexibility of a partner such as GDLS? The Editor asked MG Colin McLean, Diector Land Equipment DE&S at today’s MDVD to confirm or deny these rumours. He said that the MoD could not comment given the current negotiations with the Challenger 2 LEP bidders but should there be a requirement for smooth bore and APS seen in the operational capability of the system then it would be considered.
20 Sep 18. HIPPO ATSV gains autonomy. Hippo Multipower displayed an autonomous variant of its amphibious HIPPO All Terrain Support Vehicle (ATSV) at Defence Vehicle Dynamics (DVD) 2018, Millbrook, Bedfordshire, UK, fitted with a robotic applique kit. Hippo Multipower has teamed with Digital Concepts Engineering (DCE) to demonstrate the vehicle’s ability to operate remotely and with autonomous operation to the UK Minstry of Defence (MoD) through the Defence Science and Technology Laboratory (DSTL) Autonomous Last Mile Resupply (ALMR) project. The HIPPO ATSV is an eight-wheel-drive platform designed to reduce the load of dismounted soldiers, enabling them to operate further, faster, and longer. The vehicle is powered by a 1.5 litre, 45 hp diesel powerplant and is capable of carrying up to 750 kg of cargo on its rear deck, with a further 1,500 kg load when using a trailer. The HIPPO can transport an entire mortar section with three mortars and ammunition. Adding a second or third vehicle to the mortar section allows for a greater dispersion of barrels, thereby enhancing survivability. It also improves the endurance of each detachment by increasing the number of mortar bombs that can be carried.The vehicle is equipped with skid-steer functionality to manoeuvre in tight conditions. A track kit can optionally be fitted to improve mobility in arctic, deep snow, and muddy conditions. It underwent field trials in Missouri and Florida in the US in June, where it was tested in temperatures exceeding 40 degrees C. A 5kW onboard power generator is used to charge batteries, heat water, and power mission equipment such as radios, electronic countermeasures (ECM), and surveillance systems, while its high-capacity 3 kWh lithium-ion battery enables silent operation of the equipment with the generator switched off. (Source: IHS Jane’s)
21 Sep 18. Russia upgrades Uran-9 combat UGV. The Russian defence industry is upgrading the Uran-9 unmanned ground vehicle (UGV), Jane’s has learnt. The baseline Uran-9 UGV was unveiled in December 2015.
“The trials of the Uran-9 combat UGV will be finished by the year-end,” an industry source said. “The vehicle has already entered its operational evaluation and tests. The [vehicle] has been tested in Syria and demonstrated high performance in an operational environment,” the source claimed, noting that industry is now working to increase the Uran-9’s range, response time, and data bandwidth.
Firepower enhancements have also been incorporated, including 12 Shmel rocket-propelled thermobaric grenades aimed at increasing its anti-personnel and anti-materiel effectiveness during assaults and urban operations. The grenades are stored and launched via two six-cell revolving launchers mounted on the UGV’s roof. The updated armament suite also comprises a 30mm 2A72 automatic cannon, a Kalashnikov PKTM 7.62mm coaxial machine gun, and two ready-to-use 9M120 Ataka (AT-9 ‘Spiral 2’) anti-tank guided missiles (ATGMs). Up to two additional Ataka ATGMs or four Igla-family short-range surface-to-air missiles (SAMs) can be optionally installed. (Source: IHS Jane’s)
20 Sep 18. ST Engineering and Paramount team up on Belrex. Singapore Technologies Engineering (ST Engineering) and South Africa’s Paramount Group have signed an agreement to collaborate on marketing the Belrex family of 4×4 military vehicles to global defence markets. ST Engineering said on 19 September that the agreement applies to 10 variants of the Belrex Protected Combat Support Vehicle (PCSV), which is based on Paramount’s Marauder mine-resistant, ambush-protected (MRAP) platform. The Singapore Army inducted the 20-tonne Belrex into its motorised infantry combat units in November 2016. Under the new agreement, ST Engineering will collaborate with the Paramount Group to showcase and promote the family of Belrex PCSVs at key international defence exhibitions. The launch of the family of vehicles was held at the biennial Africa Aerospace and Defence 2018 exhibition in South Africa, which runs 19–23 September. Tung Yui Fai, president of defence business at ST Engineering’s Land Systems division, said, “We believe the Belrex protected vehicle, with its variants, will be a key asset to armed forces and paramilitary, offering protected mobility transport for combat and non-combat operational requirements.” ST Engineering said the 10 variants of the Belrex include security, engineer, reconnaissance, logistics, fuel, mortar, medical, signal, maintenance, and mortar ammunition carrier. It added that the base platform, which can be configured for a range of missions due to its modular design, comes in three basic crew compartment sizes: 4, 8, and 10. The vehicle has provisions for a suite of C4 systems and can be deployed in peacekeeping roles in conflict areas and other paramilitary roles. Jane’s has previously reported that the vehicle features a power-to-weight ratio of 14.8 hp/t and can attain a top speed of 110km/h and a maximum range of 600 km. The platform can clear vertical steps of up to 0.4m high, trenches of up to 0.95 m deep, and slopes of up to 60%. (Source: Google/IHS Jane’s)
20 Sep 18. British Army to purchase new Boxer fighting vehicles from UK companies. The British Army intends to acquire a new initial fleet of more than 500 eight-wheeled multirole armoured Boxer vehicles. To this end, the UK Ministry of Defence (MoD) has given a green light to Artec to invite British companies with their new contractible proposals for the Boxer vehicles project. Artec is a joint venture company formed by Krauss-Maffei Wegmann, Rheinmetall MAN Military Vehicles and Rheinmetall Military Vehicles Nederland, and is responsible for leading the production of the UK Boxers. UK Defence Procurement Minister Stuart Andrew said: “A new 8×8 armoured vehicle is a key part of our British Army’s future, and today marks a big step towards equipping our soldiers with this brand-new troop carrier.
“British companies are stepping up to the plate yet again for a project which could support up to 1,000 jobs across the country, and it is great to give the industry the green light to now pull together a full plan of action.”
With the go ahead, Artec will now have to complete its supplier selection process and provide a formal proposal to the UK MoD next year. In March this year, the British Army rejoined the Boxer programme with an aim to modernise and upgrade its vehicle fleet and meet the mechanised infantry vehicle (MIV) requirement. Under the deal, the new fleet of troop carriers is expected to be fully assembled in the UK with at least 60% of the production to be carried out by the British companies, thereby sustaining and developing the industrial capabilities, facilities and skills of the country.
In January, the ARTEC consortium signed agreements with BAE Systems, Pearson Engineering and Thales UK for the production of the Boxer armoured fighting vehicle. The BOXER is an 8×8 all-terrain heavily armoured utility vehicle that is being developed in nine different variants. (Source: army-technology.com)
19 Sep 18. MIV Moves Ahead! Stuart Andrew MP, Minister of Defence Procurement announced on the opening day of DVD that the MoD had issued an RFQ to ARTEC for the MIV requirement to supply Boxer 8×8 vehicles to the British Army. In an upbeat address he also announced that the Challenger 2 LEP Main Gate would be in 2019, although if the smoothbore option is chosen then this is sure to slip. He also said that the MoD is looking at a number of new land systems including a Portee 155mm system such as Nexter’s Caesar. Other systems under consideration include the Defence Targeting Toolset, next generation weapons locating systems to defeat indirect fire threats. He said that the new Ajax vehicles, ordered under the largest vehicle contract for 30 years involves 230 companies and would sustain 4000 jobs. He said that the Warrior WCSP Trials are preceding well with 11 vehicles in five variants under trials at Bovington.
*FV510 Infantry Section Vehicle. This is the principal version operated by the British Army, as described above. 489 were produced (including 105 as platforms for the mobility of ATGW teams, originally equipped with MILAN and later with Javelin).
*FV511 Infantry Command Vehicle. 84 of these were produced.
*FV512 Mechanised Combat Repair Vehicle
*FV512 Mechanised Combat Repair Vehicle. Operated by REME detachments in Armoured Infantry battalions. It is equipped with a 6.5 tonne crane plus power tools and is able to tow a trailer carrying two Warrior power packs or one Challenger power pack. 105 of these were produced.FV513 Mechanised Recovery Vehicle (Repair). Also operated by REME detachments in Armoured Infantry battalions. It is equipped with a 20 tonne winch and 6.5 tonne crane plus power tools and (like the FV512) is able to tow a trailer carrying two Warrior power packs or one Challenger power pack. 39 of these were produced.
FV514 Mechanised Artillery Observation Vehicle.
These trials will take the form of 12 months of qualification and test and 12 months of growth trials followed by a period of integration of the vehicle into the fleet.
19 Sep 18. Ural AZ upgrades Ural-53099 MRAP vehicle. Russia’s Ural Automotive Plant (Ural AZ) has upgraded its Ural-53099 4×4 mine-resistant ambush-protected (MRAP) vehicle, which the Russian government calls the Taifun-U, that is primarily intended for military units. The Ural-53099 is 9.55m long, 2.55m wide, and 3.35m high. The updated vehicle weighs 14,500kg, transports eight soldiers or a 2,000kg useful payload, and features a welded five-door monocoque hull. The Ural-53099 is powered by a 312hp YaMZ-53677 turbocharged diesel engine, producing a maximum speed of 100km/h and a cruise range of 1,000km. The powerpack is coupled to a YaMZ-2393 nine-speed transmission. “The chassis of the vehicle incorporates only serially produced components, resulting in a twice reduction of its price compared to the original model. It is also fitted with a central tire inflation system,” a source from the Ural AZ told Jane’s. The vehicle’s single-space compartment is equipped with a climate control system and filtration unit. The crew compartment has two anti-blast seats (ABSs) for the driver and commander and two side-mounted doors, while the troop compartment is fitted with six ABSs, two side-mounted doors, and a rear hatch. “A number of auxiliary systems can be mounted on the vehicle’s rear platform. The Ural-53099 has also received externally mounted protected fuel tanks,” the source said. However, he did not disclose the protection level of the updated 4×4. The baseline Ural-53099 MRAP vehicle is armed with the BMDU light remote-controlled weapon station (RCWS) developed by Uralvagonzavod’s NPO Elektromashina. The RCWS is armed with a dual-axis stabilised Kord 12.7mm heavy machine gun and carries 250 ready-use cartridges. The BMDU weighs 210 kg, has an elevation angle varying between -14 degrees and 70 degrees, and an all-round traverse angle. (Source: IHS Jane’s)
18 Sep 18. Boxer UK update: Boxing clever. This article first appeared in the Jun-Jul 2018 issue of LWI magazine. Since its inception in the 1990s, the Boxer programme has had highs and lows. By 2015, the vehicle had only secured two customers – lead partner nations Germany and the Netherlands. Three years on, however, and the 8×8 has been selected by several countries and is now enjoying its most successful period so far. The Boxer 8×8 has a long and storied past, something that seems only to occur when European governments attempt to come together to deliver a common defence project. The vision, known in the 1990s as the Multi-Role Armoured Vehicle (MRAV), was to consolidate armoured platform production in Europe and have a common AFV family across the major regional powers, namely France, Germany and the UK – similar in principle to the Eurofighter Typhoon or A400M. While sound in theory, in practice the project to build a pan-European armoured vehicle was mired by morphing requirements from partner nations and inevitable political disagreements surrounding manufacturing and workshare. France left the programme in 1999, going on to develop its own 8×8 VBCI, and the UK followed suit in 2003, citing the MRAV’s significant weight, but having no real alternative in place.
What was once seen as an ambitious defence project was scaled down to a joint German-Dutch programme (the latter joining in 2001), which saw the roll-out of the first series production Boxer in 2009.
Turning things around
Now, nearly a decade on, the Rheinmetall/Krauss-Maffei Wegmann (KMW) JV ARTEC has delivered over 400 vehicles and added four more countries to its list of potential operators. Lithuania became the third Boxer partner nation in 2015, selecting an IFV variant of the vehicle known as the Vilkas, and this year has seen Australia and Slovenia select the platform for its respective reconnaissance and mechanised requirements. Most notable, though, was the UK’s announcement in March that it would rejoin the programme, 15 years after the MoD decided it would withdraw from it. The decision confirmed rumours that had circulated for several years that the UK wanted to expedite a sole-source Boxer acquisition as its new Mechanised Infantry Vehicle (MIV), especially after the disastrous attempt to acquire an 8×8 medium-weight platform as part of the Future Rapid Effects System (FRES) in the 2000s.
In April, senior UK officials put more meat on the bones of their proposed acquisition of the Boxer 8×8, outlining how much it will cost and what the proposed workshare was likely to be amongst UK companies. Guto Bebb, the UK Minister for Defence Procurement confirmed the proposed cost of the MIV programme would be in the region of £4.4bn ($5.83bn) over the next ten years.
That figure will include procurement of approximately 500 vehicles with integration of UK-specific capabilities, such as C4I and ECM equipment, and support for an initial ten-year period.
One senior British Army source told Shephard that the 500 vehicles will likely include four main variants: APC; ambulance; command; and engineer platforms. He confirmed that there would be no heavily armed IFV variant of MIV. That indicates that the UK will closely follow the operational experience of both the German and Netherlands use of Boxer, which have a similar mix of variants already in service.
That was echoed by Lt Gen Paul Jacques, the MoD’s Chief of Materiel (Land) during the committee meeting, during which he told British MPs that the Germans ‘had been very forthcoming’ in their experience of Boxer and its use in Afghanistan. ‘We have a great deal of confidence; the Germans are good at collecting data and pulling it together and what its actual performance will be. It’s very novel at this stage of an acquisition to have a very thorough understanding of the performance of what you’re buying in detail,’ he added.
Germany is currently in the process of upgrading its Boxer vehicles to the A2 standard.
Value for money
The UK’s cooperation with the ARTEC consortium has also extended to pricing, with German and Dutch costings also being made available to the British government. ‘That enables us to have a very strong confidence in the price that we will pay for the vehicle.’
Negotiations will still take place, with officials noting that the requirement for 500 units could bring the cost down further due to economies of scale.
Jacques also revealed that the Australian Army, which announced in March that it would be purchasing 211 vehicles for A$5.2bn ($4.09bn), released its testing data to the British Army after it went through an extensive trial period against the Patria/BAE Systems AMV as part of the country’s Project Land 400 Phase 2. ‘That gives us a mine of data for us to understand, which will shape what we will do in the demonstration phase,’ said the general.
A two-year demonstration phase will see the British Army refine the UK-specific requirements, including the communications fit, ECM equipment, RWS and safety equipment.
Currently, the MIV programme is in its assessment phase, which is seeing industry compete for workshare on the multi-billion-pound effort. This will likely run to the end of 2019 and be followed by a main gate decision that effectively greenlights the project. Jacques noted that for the assessment phase he wanted to have a ‘complete understanding of the architecture of the vehicle’ to take into the demonstration phase.
Bebb told Parliament that purchasing through the Organisation for Joint Armament Co-operation (OCCAR) – the body that runs the Boxer programme – would also ensure price transparency and full intellectual property rights for potential exports. ‘The degree of detail in terms of pricing which is available through OCCAR is certainly significantly more than would happen through a normal competition process,’ he said.
In terms of capability, Jacques pointed out the army had determined that the Boxer is the best protected vehicle in its class, offering the service the best growth potential in terms of weight and power for the MIV’s projected 40-year life. The platform’s modularity, principally the ability to swap out mission modules, was also cited as a key capability for future adaptability.
Boxer vehicles are currently produced in both Germany and the Netherlands by KMW and Rheinmetall, although that manufacturing base will extend to Australia and the UK. ARTEC has promised that 60% of the MIV programme’s value and 100% of final assembly would be in the UK, supporting at least 1,000 jobs. ARTEC has teamed with BAE Systems, Thales UK and Pearson Engineering to support manufacturing in the UK.
There is still a competition ongoing between this trio of companies, said Stefan Lischka, MD of ARTEC, also speaking to the defence committee. He added that there will also be competition for supplying subcomponents, which will make up 90% of the vehicle, amongst Tier 2 companies.
Craig Priday, MD of Pearson Engineering, confirmed during the hearing that his company had been selected for assembly of the Boxer drive modules at its facility in Newcastle. A significant amount of fabrication work is also expected to be carried out by KMW-owned WFEL in Stockport, according to Rheinmetall Defence UK boss Peter Hardisty. He added that he expected a ‘large package’ of module work to be carried out in the West Midlands. Although not named, this is likely to be at BAE Systems’ facility in Telford. Boxer’s renewed popularity and success could eventually see a revival of the UK’s AFV manufacturing capability, which has steadily waned and ultimately disappeared in the last two decades. (Source: Shephard)
19 Sep 18. Supacat supports Rheinmetall with engineering services for Challenger 2 Life Extension Programme. Supacat, part of SC Group, has been supporting Rheinmetall with a wide range of engineering services on vehicle programmes including the Challenger 2 Main Battle Tank Life Extension Programme (Assessment Phase), the company announced at DVD 2018. Supacat has been a preferred supplier of engineering services to Rheinmetall on the Challenger 2 LEP, which included Supacat fabricating a Human Factors demonstration asset. The two companies have worked together before, with Supacat supporting Rheinmetall MAN Military Vehicles (RMMV) on a number of programmes and providing specialist staff placements working alongside Rheinmetall Landsysteme (RLS) in Germany.
Thomas Zierke, Vice President Programmes at Rheinmetall Landsysteme, said, “Supacat provides Rheinmetall with a range of excellent support services including supply chain management, project management and engineering design and analysis. Supacat’s experience and knowledge is renowned, and having its full engineering capability available for us to draw on, gives Rheinmetall the agility to apply additional specialist resources quickly”.
Nick Ames, CEO of SC Group, said, “Supacat is experienced in delivering fully-engineered, integrated and battle-ready vehicle systems to the UK MoD, so there is no doubt that we can add significant value. SC Group’s long-term strategy for Supacat is to build its engineering services to support successful defence primes, in parallel with its core OEM vehicle business. Our relationship with Rheinmetall is therefore a highly significant development for us and one which we hope will create future opportunities on programmes such as the British Army’s MIV (Mechanised Infantry Vehicle)”.
18 Sep 18. Czech Republic, Slovakia eye joint armored vehicle, howitzer acquisitions. Czech Prime Minister Andrej Babis and his Slovak counterpart, Peter Pellegrini, have announced the two countries will cooperate on joint purchases of weapons and military equipment.
“The governments of both countries perceive potential in the field of armament to modernize their armed forces. They also consider cooperation of their defense industries as very promising,” the Czech prime minister’s office said in a statement.
Speaking at a joint session of the two cabinets in the Slovak city of Kosice, Babis noted the Czech Republic produces armored vehicles and Slovakia makes howitzers, owing to which their armed forces could perform joint acquisitions of this gear, as reported by local news agency CTK. France’s Nexter Group and Czech vehicle-maker Tatra Trucks jointly produce the Titus six-wheel drive armored vehicle. Slovakia’s DMD Group makes the Zuzana 2 155mm self-propelled howitzer.
Pellegrini said that, as the state of the international security environment continues to decline, the European Union and NATO should increase their focus on fostering defense cooperation among their member states.
Babis said this closer defense cooperation format could also include neighboring Poland and Hungary. After years of sluggish spending, Prague and Bratislava both moved to increase their respective defense budgets following Russia’s alleged military intervention in Ukraine’s eastern part and its annexation of the Crimean Peninsula in 2014. (Source: Defense News)
17 Sep 18. Supacat’s HMT Light Weight Recovery (LWR) progresses through development trials. Since the launch of the Supacat HMT Light Weight Recovery (HMT LWR) vehicle at DSEi in September 2017 the prototype vehicle has been undergoing trials both by Supacat at its test facility and by CSS TDU (Combat Service Support Trials & Development Unit). The trials have identified areas with potential for further capability gains and enhancement to the original specification. The next phase of development trials will start in October 2018 and will continue throughout 2019. The 10.5 tonne HMT Light Weight Recovery (HMT LWR) has been developed to fill a capability gap to recover vehicles operating in hard to access urban and rural locations as required by the UK MoD’s Light Weight (Air Portable) Recovery Capability (LW(AP)RC) programme.
The 6×6 HMT LWR offers high levels of agility, off-road performance and protection in common with Supacat’s High Mobility Transporter (HMT) family, which includes `Jackal` and `Coyote` now within UK MoD’s Core Fleet. HMT LWR utilises many HMT design features such as the variable height air suspension system, engine and drive line that have been battle proven in numerous theatres. Blast and ballistic protection has been built into the chassis providing the optimum protection for its weight of 10.5 tonnes.
HMT LWR utilises an innovative new Supacat designed technology, `Supalift` (patent pending), which increases the size of vehicles that can be recovered by a light weight recovery vehicle. HMT LWR’s recovery system can be operated both in conventional mode and by the operator engaging `Supalift`, which increases the maximum lifting weight of the recovery system by up to 50%. In conventional mode the HMT LWR recovery system lifts a maximum recovered vehicle axle mass of 3.8 tonnes and in `Supalift` mode rises to 6.1 tonnes (specification based on recovering an HMT 400 `Jackal 2`). `Supalift` technology is based on the principle of distributing the weight of the casualty vehicle more evenly over the recovery vehicle.
Phil Applegarth, Head of Supacat, said, “We are very excited by the potential of this pioneering vehicle. The HMT platform has proven itself as the vehicle of choice for modern fighting forces and we look forward to the successful delivery of this latest addition to the HMT family. It will be a game-changer in extending the lifting capability of recovery systems for defence and other industry sectors.”
17 Sep 18. Arquus to adapt additional 1,200 unarmored vehicles for French military use. France on Sept. 5 ordered from Arquus a 1,200-strong batch of VT4 Mk2 light tactical vehicles for the French armed forces, the Direction Générale de l’Armement procurement office said. That is the second batch of VT4 four-wheel drive cars ordered by the DGA, which placed an initial order for 1,000 Mk1 units in December 2016. The planned total fleet of VT4 vehicles is 4,380 units, based on a modified version of the Ford Explorer car, for the Air Force, Army, Navy and support services, a DGA spokesman said Sept. 17. The first of a batch of 500 units are due for delivery this year, with a second 500-strong batch to be shipped in 2019, he added. A first shipment of the VT4 will go to the Army, the DGA said in a Sept. 6 statement.
“To effect this, the DGA put in a place a procedure to execute the program in the most timely manner,” the procurement office said. This swift delivery is part of the government’s drive to transform the DGA in acquiring equipment, the office added.
Arquus had said last year that an initial delivery is been expected in 2017.
Arquus adapted the unarmored vehicle “to militarize it and make it meet all demands in terms of payload, weapon integration, notably the Famas and HK416” assault rifles, the company said in a statement. Communications equipment, security systems, air conditioning and comfortable seats were also part of the adaptation.
The Mk1 version will be used for training and street patrols in the domestic anti-terrorist Sentinel operation, while the Mk2 will be equipped for overseas deployments, the company said. Assembly of the latter will start next year. Service is included in the order, with a pledge of 90 percent availability of the total fleet.
Both versions of the VT4 were on display at the Sept. 10-11 Summer defense university event at the military staff college. The VT4 replaces the P4 patrol car, which has been in use since the 1980s. (Source: Defense News)
17 Sep 18. BAE Systems details Black Night demonstrator. On 11 September, Jane’s was given an exclusive tour of Black Night, BAE Systems’ Challenger 2 Life Extension Project (LEP) technology demonstrator. The LEP is intended to address mission system obsolescence and ensure that the vehicle remains supportable until 2035. However, BAE Systems’ proposal demonstrated in Black Night not only addresses obsolescence but also improves capability.
Simon Jackson, campaign leader of BAE Systems’ Team Challenger 2, told Jane’s, “BAE Systems is nearing the completion of the Challenger 2 LEP assessment phase contract with the MoD [Ministry of Defence]. We have submitted documentation to support the MoD’s preliminary design review and Black Night has been developed to both inform the development of our Challenger 2 Mk 2 solution, and to demonstrate the maturity of our design.”
He went on to say, “The new capabilities of the upgraded vehicle will ensure that it is effective out to 2035, with growth potential to proceed beyond this date if the MoD so requires.”
Furthermore, the design process has provided commonality with the Ajax, the UK’s future reconnaissance vehicle currently under production by General Dynamics Land Systems (GDLS) UK, to the extent that an Ajax commander could operate in a Challenger 2 Mk 2 with relatively little adjustment. This will reduce the training and support burden, an issue that many countries have encountered when deploying a mixed fleet of vehicles.
According to Jackson, Black Night “is a demonstrator designed to show what Team Challenger 2 has achieved during the assessment phase. It includes the core offering of advanced mission systems as well as options such as active protective measures.”
The improvements include a Safran Paseo commander’s independent sight, Leonardo thermal imager for the gunner, and Leonardo night sight DNVS 4. The enhancements are designed to provide a 24-hour hunter-killer capability through the provision of thermal imagers for the gunner, commander, and driver. (Source: News Now/IHS Jane’s)
17 Sep 18. RoKA unveils K600 combat engineer vehicle. The Republic of Korea Army (RoKA) debuted its new K600 combat engineer vehicle (CEV) at the DX Korea 2018 land forces exhibition held in Goyang from 12–16 September, with one example being showcased to the public during daily mobility demonstrations at the event. Developed and manufactured by South Korean land vehicles defence prime Hyundai Rotem to meet the specific requirements of the RoKA, the K600 is also known by its development name of Korean combat engineer vehicle (KCEV) and is based on a similar chassis found on the in-service K1 armoured recovery vehicle (ARV), which supports the K1 and K2 main battle tanks (MBTs).
The new K600 CEV is designed to facilitate movement and support of friendly forces by performing a wide range of battlefield construction and demolition tasks, including clearing battlefield obstacles and mines, conducting breaching operations, and preparing positions for artillery and combat vehicles.
According to specifications provided by Hyundai Rotem, the K600 CEV is based on the K1A1 MBT chassis and has a combat weight of approximately 62 tonnes. It is powered by a 1,200 hp diesel engine, enabling it to attain a maximum road speed of up to 60km/h. The vehicle is operated by a two-person crew seated in a protected cabin at the front left side of the vehicle, with the driver positioned at the front and the commander to the immediate rear. It is equipped with Pearson Engineeringʼs Full Width Mine Plough (FWMP) that can clear mines to a maximum depth of 0.3 m. It is also fitted with the company’s Magnetic Signature Duplicator (MSD), which is designed to neutralise anti-tank mines fitted with advanced fuzes, as well as with the Obstacle Marking System (OMS), which dispenses rods to mark a safe path for friendly troops and vehicles. (Source: IHS Jane’s)
17 Sep 18. Hanwha to unveil Biho 2 self-propelled air defence system. South Korea’s Hanwha Corporation is planning to unveil a new and improved version of its Hybrid Biho (Flying Tiger) self-propelled gun and missile defence system at the upcoming Association of the United States Army (AUSA) conference in Washington DC in October, company officials revealed to Jane’s during the DX Korea 2018 exhibition in Goyang City.
Chanwook Lim, senior research engineer at the Mobility and Fire System Research Institute, told Jane’s on 16 September that the company has developed the Biho 2, which will be based on a new 8×8 chassis derived from the 6×6 Tigon armoured personnel carrier (APC). The Tigon was earlier launched at the Defence Services Asia 2018 exhibition in Kuala Lumpur, Malaysia, and Jane’s understands that several prototypes have already been demonstrated to Malaysia and the United Arab Emirates.
“The new Biho 2 has already been fully developed and features improved radar detection and missile engagement capabilities and range,” Lim said, noting that the turret will be of a type and configuration similar to that of the Hybrid Biho, which is in service with the Republic of Korea Army (RoKA).
The 26.5 tonne Hybrid Biho is based on the tracked K200 APC chassis, but has been modified with an additional road wheel on each side for increased surface contact with the terrain, lowering the vehicle’s ground pressure and delivering improved traction. The K200’s original 350hp Doosan Infracore D2848T diesel engine has been replaced with a more powerful 520hp D2840L to address the increased combat weight.
The Hybrid Biho is armed with two 30mm Oerlikon Contraves KCB-B cannons with a range of 3km, with each gun firing at a cyclic rate of fire of 600rds/min and a total magazine capacity of 600 rounds. The platform also has two missile pods, each containing a pair of LIG Nex1 Shingung (Chiron) short range air defence missiles designed to engage fixed- and rotary-wing aircraft, unmanned aerial vehicles (UAVs), and cruise missiles out to a range of 7km. (Source: IHS Jane’s)
17 Sep 18. Jankel launches 6×6 additions to their successful FOX vehicle range at DVD 2018. Jankel, a world-leader in the design and manufacture of high-specification defence, security and NGO vehicles and protection systems, is launching an exciting new addition to their FOX range of tactical vehicles. Having partnered with NSV and MDT, Jankel are now able to offer 6×6 variants of their Toyota-based FOX vehicles. The new FOX variants utilise the Multi-drive 6×6 technology, originally developed in Australia and built by NSV. This launch 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 new 6×6 FOX variants benefit from increased payload and capacity whilst maintaining the mobility and tactical fighting capability already well-proven with the 4×4 configurations. Using NSV experience and Multi-drive technology, Jankel can deliver an all-wheel drive solution that has been proven over years of durability testing and in-service use with mining, exploration and government organisations. The 6×6 FOX has a Gross Vehicle Weight (GVW) of 6,300kg and offers a significant and configurable payload of up to 3,000kg. The increased vehicle length also delivers additional user payload and operational space. Both the 6×6 and 4×4 FOX variants carry as standard a crew of 3 or 4 and can achieve speeds of up to 96mph/155kmh at maximum GVW. Available in both Toyota Hilux and Land Cruiser 79 series base platforms, this new addition to the FOX family increases the role and variant flexibility on offer to the user whilst maintaining automotive and logistic cross-fleet commonality. As already proven, the Fox vehicle is capable of withstanding the roughest treatment in the harshest of environments.
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. In 2015, Jankel was awarded a contract by the Belgium Ministry of Defence (BeMOD) to supply over 100 FOX 4×4 Rapid Reaction Vehicles (RRV).
At DVD, as well as the extended 6×6 base platform for the FOX, Jankel will be presenting a range of Toyota-based options including a Civilian Armoured Vehicle (CAV) Land Cruiser 200 (LC200) series and a Fox RRV-x, alongside a Mercedes Benz UNIMOG that is used as the base drive train for the Light Troop Transport Vehicle (LTTV) currently being developed for the Belgian Ministry of Defence. With the Armoured LC200 CAV, Jankel will be show-casing specialist upgrades delivering higher protection levels, including innovative security and safety technologies.
Sam Foreman, Head of Sales at Jankel said: “the new 6×6 FOX variants are an important addition to our growing vehicle family. Payload and capacity are high-value assets to the war-fighter so offering users increased capability whilst maintaining the levels of mobility and fleet commonality is a key step for our existing and future users.” He added: “Our partnership with NSV and MDT is fundamental to the success of this new 6×6 variant as with this partnership comes well-proven, reliable technology that can be integrated into our existing 4×4 designs”.
13 Sep 18. RoKA unveils new CBRN reconnaissance vehicles. CBRN Recon Vehicle II seen on display at DX Korea 2018. The Republic of Korea Army (RoKA) has unveiled its enhanced chemical, biological, radiological, and nuclear (CBRN) defence capabilities at the 2018 edition of the DX Korea land forces exhibition held from 12-16 September. Fielded in 2017, the service’s latest CBRN Recon Vehicle II is an armoured CBRN reconnaissance vehicle designed to detect and rapidly identify nuclear and chemical warfare agents, and provide early warning of dangers to friendly units in the same area of operations. The CBRN Recon Vehicle II is manufactured by South Korean defence prime Hanwha Land Systems, and was derived from the improved K200A1 Korean Infantry Fighting Vehicle (KIFV) chassis. It is essentially an updated and networked version of the earlier K216 NBC Reconnaissance Vehicle (NBCRV), which is based on the first-generation K200 KIFV chassis. The latest vehicle is equipped with newer and more effective samplers and sensors, data analysis and processing systems, as well as a battlefield management system (BMS). The 13-tonne vehicle is operated by a four-person crew inside a 5.4m long, 3.1m wide, and 2.1m high hull that can protect them from small arms fire; air-blast effects; and nuclear, biological, and chemical (NBC) agents. It is powered by a 350hp diesel engine that provides a maximum road speed and range of 70km/h and 480km, respectively, when using the standard 400-litre fuel tank. The vehicle is expected to operate close to the forward edge of the battlespace behind the RoKA’s tank and armoured fighting vehicle units, so it is armed with a M60 7.62mm machine gun (MG) and a K6 12.7mm heavy MG for self-defence. Its primary capabilities reside in its NBC detection suite, which includes equipment such a soil and air sampling system, chemical sampling tools, contamination marking set, mass spectrometer, radiological detection system, warfare agent indication system, and weather observation system. (Source: IHS Jane’s)
14 Sep 18. BAE Systems eyes BvS10 opportunity in South Korea. BAE Systems Hägglunds is ramping up efforts to position its armoured BvS10 articulated all-terrain tracked vehicle for a potential requirement by the Republic of Korea Army (RoKA) for the eventual replacement of its ageing Bv206 platforms, which were also manufactured by the company.
Darren Restarick, Asia-Pacific business development director at BAE Systems Hägglunds, said the market potential in the region for the company’s BvS10 and the latest BvS10 Beowulf vehicles is “significant” as the vehicles not only meet military requirements, but also address an increasing interest in disaster response and commercial applications.
“No one knows for sure, but globally there are probably around 6,000 to 7,000 vehicles left out of the 11,000 that we have produced over the years, with most of these being in the defence domain,” Restarick told Jane’s on 13 September. “Some of these vehicles are quite old, so there is always the prospect of a replacement programme.”
According to Jane’s World Armies, the RoKA has about 393 Bv206 all-terrain vehicles, with the latest batch of 93 vehicles understood to have been delivered around 2005, although it is likely that some of the older vehicles have been lost or written off through routine operations and training.
“One of the reasons that we are here is to explore that possibility,” said Restarick, “and another is to explore the possibility of how we can leverage on Korean industry to pursue local [and regional] opportunities. We have been very active in Southeast Asia and now we are looking to expand our presence in other Asian regions.”
“As far as we know, there are no programmes to date but we are looking at the region [in terms of] the future to see where the opportunities are,” he said. (Source: IHS Jane’s)
14 Sep 18. Hyundai Rotem readies K2 MBT for Middle East opportunities. South Korean defence prime Hyundai Rotem has taken the opportunity at the DX Korea 2018 land forces exhibition to showcase a desert-optimised version of its 56-tonne K2 ‘Black Panther’ main battle tank (MBT), revealing its aim to position the vehicle for opportunities in the Middle East. The K2 MBT on display was painted in desert camouflage and brought to an undisclosed location in the region for mobility and firing trials in early 2018, Hwan Cho, General Manager of the Global Defense and Marketing Team, told Jane’s on 14 September. Cho noted that only minor modifications were required to adapt the K2 to the hot and sandy environment. (Source: IHS Jane’s)
14 Sep 18. Ammo resupply vehicles join SPHs gifted from US on way to Brazil. The 40 M992A2 ammunition resupply vehicles granted by the United States to Brazil as ‘excess defense articles’ (EDAs) will arrive between 15 October and 15 November, the Brazilian Army has told Jane’s. The former US Army vehicles, which were previously stored at Sierra Army Depot, have since 13 September begun the process of being shipped from Pensacola, Florida, to Paranaguá in Brazil, together with 56 M109A5 155mm self-propelled howitzers (SPHs). Several M109A5s will be used as a source of spare parts. The vehicles will be then moved to the Brazilian Army 5th Military Region facilities for maintenance work prior to being distributed to self-propelled artillery units. (Source: IHS Jane’s)
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.