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18 Oct 18. IAI reports UGV developments. Israel Aerospace Industries (IAI) has announced significant developments in two of its autonomous robotic systems. The Sahar unmanned ground vehicle (UGV), which detects and clears improvised explosive device (IEDs), has completed a development phase and is now due to undergo trial and evaluation processes by a customer IAI did not identify. The Sahar is a 6×6 platform with hydraulic arms at the front fitted with a forked blade for digging up IEDS. The company said the Sahar integrates multiple sensors to detect IEDs hidden in complex areas and can “engage and remove them as necessary using the blade installed on the vehicle. (Source: IHS Jane’s)
18 Oct 18. Supacat receives Armed Forces Covenant Employer Recognition Scheme Silver Award. UK military vehicle developer, Supacat and parent SC Group, have been awarded the Armed Forces Covenant Employer Recognition Scheme (ERS) Silver Award, which acknowledges employers who have provided exceptional support to the armed forces community and defence by going above and beyond their covenant pledges.
Nick Ames, Chief Executive of SC Group, and Phil Applegarth, Head of Supacat received the Silver Award on 4 October from the Lord Lieutenant of Devon, David Fursdon, supported by his Deputy Lord Lieutenants, Admiral Sir Mark Stanhope GCB, OBE, DL, and Lieutenant General Sir Andrew Ridgeway KCB CB DL, Commanding Officers of 6 RIFLES and 165 Port and Maritime Regiment RLC, the High Sheriff and other Civic dignitaries. The Lord Lieutenant also formally appointed a number of cadets representing each of the three Armed Services to accompany him on his official duties
The Silver Award is bestowed to organisations meeting specific criteria, which include proactively demonstrating that service personnel and the armed forces community are not unfairly disadvantaged as part of their recruiting and selection processes. Supacat employs many former service personnel and reservists who continue to serve their country and also regularly supports activities on behalf of the armed forces community. The Awards scheme recognises the different levels of commitment provided by employers and allows the Ministry of Defence to publicly thank and honour those organisations for their support.
Earlier this year Supacat re-signed the Armed Forces Covenant, affirming its pledge to uphold the Covenant. This is a promise by the nation, enshrined in UK law, to those who serve or who have served in the armed forces, and their families, that they are treated with fairness and respect in the communities, economy and society they serve with their lives.
On receiving the award, Phil Applegarth said, “We delighted that our commitment to supporting the armed forces has been recognised with the Silver Award and are very proud to uphold the Armed Forces Covenant. It was a pleasure for us to witness the next generation of the Armed Forces attending this prestigious event and how the Cadet organisation provides an important pathway for individual development”.
17 Oct 18. Brazil soon to receive Italian protected 4×4s. Rio de Janeiro’s Federal Intervention Cabinet (GIFRJ) is to receive 16 VTLM Lince K2 4×4 protected vehicles (the Italian designation for modernised Iveco Light Multirole Vehicles, or LMVs) that are surplus to Italian Army requirements. The first tranche of four vehicles is scheduled to arrive in Rio de Janeiro on 26 October and the remaining 12 vehicles on 2 November, the GIFRJ told Jane’s on 17 October. The fleet will be fielded by forces placed under the GIFRJ command in ongoing security operations in the state of Rio de Janeiro, thus significantly increasing their mobility and protection. The fleet was purchased according to a 25 September contract between the Brazilian Army Commission in Washington (CEBW) on behalf of the Brazilian Army Logistics Command (COLOG) and the Defense Industry Agency of the Italian Ministry of Defence. (Source: IHS Jane’s)
17 Oct 18. INKAS unveils Superior APC/AMEV. INKAS has introduced its new INKAS Superior 4X4 armoured personnel carrier (APC)/armoured medical evacuation vehicle (AMEV), the company announced on 12 October.
INKAS Superior APC/AMEV is a multipurpose vehicle designed to operate in harsh environments and rough terrain while safely transporting up to 14 personnel or up two personnel and six wounded passengers. The vehicle can be deployed within law enforcement, paramilitary and peacekeeping operations and its modular foundation enables it to be equipped with a range of additional components. The CEN BR7 rated Superior APC/AMEV has a hydraulic rear ramp system enabling the easy loading of wounded passengers, an optics package featuring PTZ infrared and thermal processing as well as drivetrain and suspension modifications. The vehicle is powered by an inline-six diesel engine that produces 330hp and 950lb-ft of torque capable of reaching a tested top speed of 130km/h. The vehicle also features a fifth generation Allison 3000 push button transmission, a 10,000lb-ft rated transfer case and an electro-hydraulic fuel system. (Source: Shephard)
17 Oct 18. Analysis of the PQs about MRV(P) below underlines the concerns expressed to BATTLESPACE that new vehicle Programmes, in particular, are all on hold or being delayed due to MoD Budget overspend and the lack of a final budget which is now expected in February. The JLTV selection is reported to be with the IAB this week, with the smaller Package 2 between Thales and GDUK being delayed. The Challenger 2 LEP extension for the addition of a smooth bore solution could double the final contract price and again, given the new Requirement expected next week, this will delay C2 LEP into late 2019.
17 Oct 18. Navistar Defense reveals third-generation Special Operations Tactical Vehicle. Navistar Defense has revealed details of its third-generation Special Operations Tactical Vehicle (SOTV) to Jane’s at the Association of the United States Army (AUSA) conference in October.
The SOTV began as the Non Standard Tactical Truck (NSTT) concept in 2008. In early-2015 Navistar secured the complete IP and Technical Data Package for the design. As shown at AUSA, the third-generation SOTV is essentially the completed refinement of the Navistar-developed second-generation design, which was first shown at AUSA in 2014.
According to Navistar, the main design differentiator between the SOTV and the vehicles it resembles is that the SOTV is designed from the ground up as a military grade armoured vehicle. It is intended for special forces and other operators that require a pick-up style design that blends in with locally prevalent commercial designs, but without the compromises associated with adapting commercial designs for more severe-duty cycles.
The average commercial crew-cab pick-up truck is manufactured with a gross vehicle weight rating (GVWR) of between 3,000 and 3,200 kg, and therefore requires extensive upgrading when used for military roles. Navistar’s SOTV is designed to a GVWR of 5,670 kg.
Some military users employ green/sand-painted off-the-shelf pick-up types for rear echelon and light duties, and in such roles desire around a 10-year service life. However, the viable life expectancy of any such design in military severe duty applications (even when uprated) is often no more than five years. The SOTV was designed for a 15-year military service life with the ability for reset factored into the original design.
While visually similar to mass-produced commercial pick-up trucks, Navistar confirmed that the SOTV is not chassis-based. Its design centers around an armoured crew citadel to which front and rear suspension-mounting subframes are bolted. (Source: IHS Jane’s)
16 Oct 18. Mack Defense details new US Army M917A3 Heavy Dump Truck. Mack Defense has confirmed additional M917A3 Heavy Dump Truck (HDT) technical details to Jane’s after showing the type publicly for the first time at the Association of the United States Army’s annual conference in October.
Following a solicitation released on 26 May 2017 and a subsequent competition between Mack Defense and Navistar Defense, on 29 May 2018 the US Army announced that it had awarded the HDT contract to Mack Defense. The initial market survey for this requirement had been released by the US Army in 2014.
The M917 is a member of the M900 series of trucks. The M900 series are based on commercial vehicles with the minimum of modifications to make them suitable for military use, and as such are not classed tactical trucks by the US Army. In addition to the M917, the M900 series includes the M915 6×4 and M916 6×6 tractor trucks, and has previously included M918 6×6 bituminous distributor, M919 8×6 concrete mixer, and M920 8×6 tractor truck.
Mack’s winning M917 HDT bid is based on the company’s Granite axle-forward construction grade chassis. A key differentiator between the commercial offering and the HDT is the latter requiring a force protection capability. To meet this requirement Mack offered a swap-cab solution. The drop-in armoured cab, designed by Tencate, will be manufactured by JWF Defense Systems and fitted with Jankel BLASTech seating. The gap between the dump body and cab is primarily to retain a weight balance and axle loads with the armoured cab fitted. The 18 yd³ (13.76 m³) heated steel dump body is manufactured by Crysteel Manufacturing Inc. (Source: IHS Jane’s)
16 Oct 18. Lithuania receives new batch of Unimog U5000 military trucks. The Lithuanian Armed Forces has received the delivery of 54 Unimog U5000 trucks from the Nato Support and Procurement Agency (NSPA). Later this month, the Defence Materiel Agency under the Ministry of National Defence is expected to sign an updated agreement with the Nato agency for the procurement of the Unimog vehicles in 2019. Based on preliminary data, Daimler would need to supply an additional 110 trucks to the Lithuanian Armed Forces by September next year.
A fleet of 142 trucks can be ordered and delivered to the country between 2020 and 2021.
The tactical vehicles are deployed into service with the Lithuanian Land Force and other units. They are used to supplement equipment fleets with the same technical characteristics that Lithuania’s army troops are already familiar with. Manufactured by German company Daimler, Unimog U5000 vehicles have a permissible load capacity of 5t.
The trucks are designed with a flexible frame concept for high body rigidity on the road and high torsional flexibility for off-road applications. They also feature an all-wheel drive (AWD) capability with differential locks at both axles, and portal axles to ensure ground clearance. In 2015, the Lithuanian Armed Forces signed an agreement with Daimler for the procurement of 340 Unimog trucks in order to upgrade its vehicle fleet. The contract also included provision for logistical support over the first 15 years of operation, in addition to the delivery of specialised tools and testing equipment. The armed forces previously received 88 Unimog U5000 trucks from the NSPA. (Source: army-technology.com)
11 Oct 18. Arquus signs development agreements, looks to US partnership. Arquus has announced that it has signed agreements to increase the appeal of its land vehicles to a number of target markets. Most notably, it has signed a teaming agreement with Humvee maker AM General that will facilitate the latter manufacturing a US-made licensed version of the French company’s 12-tonne Bastion 4×4 armoured personnel carrier (APC).
Arquus – previously known as Renault Trucks Defense – also announced that it has signed an agreement with French SME Agueris, a subsidiary of CMI Group, to provide a simulation system for the Arquus Hornet remote-controlled weapon station that is being developed for the French Army’s Scorpion fleet modernisation programme.
The company also revealed that it has signed a service contract with another French company, NSE, to develop new support services for customers, specifically the management of diagnostic kits and smart glasses stocks for the French and international markets.
Arquus claims that developing a network of partners facilitates sustainment of growth and performance, and by co-operating with other companies, it can optimise the cost of the systems, develop more innovative offerings, and have partners across the world that can support the systems globally.
“In seeking new international partnerships, Arquus can develop its export positions by gaining footholds in local markets,” it said.
“These partnerships also give us an opportunity to combine our technology and industrial expertise with those of our partners.” (Source: IHS Jane’s)
15 Oct 18. General Dynamics Griffin Takes Lead To Replace M2 Bradley. BAE System’s CV90 Mark IV is the latest upgrade of a 25-year-old vehicle widely used in Europe; the Rheinmetall-Raytheon Lynx is an all-new design, although individual components have a good track record; but the General Dynamics Griffin III is in the middle, combining a new gun and new electronics with the time-tested chassis from the European ASCOD family. General Dynamics looks like the early favorite to replace the Army’s 1980s-vintage M2 Bradley troop carrier. That’s my personal assessment after talking at length to officers and contractors at last week’s Association of the US Army conference, where months of uncertainty finally gave way to some real clarity about both what the Army wants and what industry can offer. In brief, GD’s Griffin III demonstrator seems to hit the sweet spot between innovative and proven technologies that the Army wants to start fielding a Next Generation Combat Vehicle (NGCV) as soon as 2026. Of the three vehicles on display at AUSA,
- BAE System’s CV90 Mark IV is the latest upgrade of a 25-year-old vehicle widely used in Europe;
- the Rheinmetall-Raytheon Lynx is an all-new design, although individual components have a good track record;
- but the General Dynamics Griffin III is in the middle, combining a new gun and new electronics with the time-tested chassis from the European ASCOD family.
The competitors do have a lot in common. All offer tracked vehicles with diesel engines — even BAE, which once touted its hybrid-electric drives as a key selling point. All three boast open-architecture electronics to ease future upgrades, an integrated Active Protection System to shoot down incoming anti-tank warheads, modular armor that can be layered on or stripped down depending on the mission, and a turret capable of mounting a 50mm gun, the Army’s preferred caliber. Only the Griffin actually has a 50mm installed right now, however. The others currently have 35mm cannon. It’s also the only vehicle that can point its gun almost straight up, at an 85 degree angle, to hit rooftop targets in urban combat, something the Army has worried about extensively. Details like this suggest that General Dynamics has been listening more closely to the Army than its competitors. In fact, even where the Griffin III underperforms its competitors, most notably by carrying fewer infantry, it does so in areas where the Army is willing to make tradeoffs.
The End of the Beginning
Now, it’s still early in the NGCV race. While we only saw three contenders on the floor at AUSA, it’s still entirely possible a fourth player could jump in. My money’s on the team of SAIC and Singapore-based STK, which is already offering a modified Singaporean army vehicle for the US Army’s Mobile Protected Firepower (MPF) light tank.
The other MPF competitors are BAE, with an update of the Armored Gun System cancelled in 1996, and GD, offering a version of the Griffin. By November, the Army will award two of the three companies contracts to build prototypes. If either GD or the SAIC-ST team wins, they’ll have at least a slight advantage for NGCV, since buying related vehicles for both roles will simplify training, maintenance, and supply. (BAE’s AGS is totally unrelated to its CV90, so an MPF win wouldn’t help it on NGCV).
By contrast to MPF, the competition for NGCV is only at the end of the beginning, not the beginning of the end. The Army’s still refining its requirements, in part based on discussions with industry at AUSA.
What’s the timeline? Col. James Schirmer, the program manager, said at the conference that “we are within weeks of having that requirement finalized.” Brig. Gen. Richard Ross Coffman, the Army’s director of armored vehicle modernization, said a formal Request For Proposal (RFP) based on those requirements will come out no later than January.
So there’ll be time for the competitors to revise their NGCV designs before submitting them. Even after that, more than one company will get a contract to build prototypes for Army testing.
What’s the objective that drives both this pace and the technological tradeoffs the Army is willing to make? Fielding the first operational unit in 2026 — nine years earlier than the original plan — to help deter Russian aggression.
“All options are on the table, but the schedule will be the schedule,” Brig. Gen. Coffman told reporters at AUSA. “We would like to field this vehicle by 2026.”
“If someone could develop a clean sheet design that could meet that timeline,” he said, “it’d be great, but I don’t know that’s doable.”
(By contrast, the potential replacement for the M1 Abrams tank is coming later, so the service is looking for radical innovation).
Schirmer offered more specifics. “We have a pretty challenging test schedule… very similar to MPF, (so) we really can’t afford a clean sheet design,” he said. The more mature the component technologies, the better, he said, but what’s best is that those individual components have been proven as an integrated system.
Specifically, Schirmer said, “for the Bradley replacement, we are going to be buying vehicles that are based on a mature architecture — powertrain, track, suspension — that’s already in service somewhere in the world.”
While these remarks leave the door open for the Lynx, or at least ajar, they’re not particularly encouraging. By contrast, the CV90 series entered service with Sweden in 1993, with variants now serving in Denmark, Estonia, Finland, Holland, Norway, and Switzerland. The Griffin III is the latest member of the ASCOD family — the Spanish Pizzaro, Austrian Ulan, and British Ajax — which debuted in Spain in 2002.
While the Army wants a proven hull, however, Schirmer says there is one area where technology is advancing fast enough for it be worth taking some risk: lethality, i.e. the gun and sensors. In particular, while the Bradley has a 25mm chaingun, the Army really wants NGCV to have a 50mm cannon — firing shells about four times as big — that’s now in development at the service’s Ammunition Research, Development, & Engineering Center (ARDEC).
That gun, the XM913, is currently integrated on just one competitor, the Griffin, although both the Lynx and CV90 turrets could accommodate it. All three vehicles, like the Bradley, also have room in the turret to mount anti-tank missiles of various types.
Even on weaponry, however, the Army is willing to make compromises to speed fielding, just as it introduced the original M1 Abrams with a 105 mm gun but with room to upgrade to the desired 120mm when it was ready a few years later. For NGCV, Schirmer said, they want the vehicle to have the 50mm gun eventually but “may settle on the 30 in the near term, just to meet schedule.”
Armor & Passengers
Besides gun caliber, the other easily measured aspect of an armored vehicle is its weight, which is very much a two-edged sword. There’s been no breakthrough in armor materials since the 1980s and none on the horizon, so the only way to get better armor is to make it thicker. So a heavier vehicle is probably better protected, but it also burns more fuel, wears out more spare parts, and has more trouble getting places: Bridges and transport aircraft in particular can only take so much weight.
“Having just left Poland…and traveled to Korea and elsewhere, the infrastructure doesn’t support a heavy vehicle,” Coffman said. “At this stage, before the RFP is written, we’re looking at everything as options, (but) the idea is we have a smaller vehicle that is lighter, but survivable.”
Now, armor weight is a product of both the thickness of the protection and the size of the vehicle to be protected. For a troop carrier, whose raison d’être is delivering infantry to close combat, what drives size is the number of passengers. So, Coffman said, “in order to maintain the same under-armor protection for our soldiers, if you have nine people in the back of a vehicle, it gets really big and heavy.”
Of the new vehicles, only the Lynx is large enough to carry a full squad of nine infantrymen. The CV90 comes close, with eight. But the Griffin only has room for six, little better than the Bradley, which can manage four to six depending on their gear.
The Army has long sought a troop carrier that could carry both a full squad and a turret full of heavy weapons to support them. But after designs for the (canceled) Ground Combat Vehicle program grew from 60 to 84 tons, the service decided it was asking too much.
“Right now we’re looking for a three-man crew with six soldiers in the back,” said Col. James Schirmer, the Army’s program manager for NGCV. That’s “a pretty important compromise.”
Now, the weight of a vehicle can change from upgrade to upgrade, or even from mission to mission. Modern vehicle design includes modular armor that troops can add on or strip off in the field. Of the vehicles at AUSA, the CV90 is by far the lightest, ranging from 26 US tons (stripped for air transport and light combat) to 40 tons (fully uparmored for heavy combat). The Lynx as configured for the floor at AUSA was the heaviest, but in fact the vehicle offers the widest range of options, from 35 (stripped) for 55 (heavy urban combat). Griffin doesn’t have a stripped-for-travel configuration, but ranges from 38 to 50 tons.
Even as the Army tries to maximize the number of passengers the Bradley replacement can carry, it’s trying to minimize the number of crew required to operate it. In fact, while NGCV is still the name of the overall program, which also includes unmanned Robotic Combat Vehicles, the Bradley replacement specifically is now officially known as the Optionally Manned Fighting Vehicle (OMFV). That’s because the Army foresees future advances in automation making it possible to conduct at least some missions by remote control, starting with simpler tasks like convoys but expanding over time.
But even when the human crew is aboard, the Army wants a limited Artificial Intelligence to help them out. The machine might find its own way around obstacles to reach a destination set by the crew, for instance, so they can rest or focus on scanning for danger. Or it might pull together sensor data to pinpoint threats: heat and sound might warn of an approaching enemy tank, for instance, or reveal where an hidden anti-tank missile team just fired from.
The current Bradley, by contrast, is cluttered with screens and controls from 40 years of upgrades. That puts a heavy burden on both the electrical system — many Bradleys can’t actually use all their upgrades at once — and the cognitive capacities of the three-man crew: driver, gunner, and commander.
The Lynx and CV90 have tidier electronics than the Bradley but the same three crew positions. The Griffin, by contrast, can be configured for either three crew members or two, depending on how much you trust the automation to assist them on their current mission. Initially, in 2026, the vehicle will probably need all three humans, GD exec Mike Peck admitted, but if you don’t make a two-man crew an option in the initial design, he argued, you’ll never get there through upgrades.
BAE and the Rheinmetall-Raytheon team could certainly redesign their crew positions before submitting their final proposals. But the fact that General Dynamics has already designed in reduced manning — and is already talking about it — is another area they seem to have been listening most closely to the Army. (Source: glstrade.com/Breaking Defense.com)
12 Oct 18. General Dynamics delivers first A-GMV 1.1 vehicles to US Army. The US Army has received the delivery of the first lot of army-ground mobility vehicles (A-GMV 1.1) from General Dynamics Ordnance and Tactical Systems. The successful completion of the delivery marks the First Unit Equipped (FUE) with the new A-GMV 1.1 capability, which was provided to the US Army within four months of the contract award.
The scope of the project comprised the delivery of vehicles, in addition to associated spares and training.
The General Dynamics-developed A-GMV 1.1 vehicle helps address a need in the airborne and air assault operations undertaken by the army’s airborne infantry combat teams.
With a payload capacity of more than 5,000lb, the carrier is configured specifically to carry an airborne infantry squad of nine paratroopers, along with their associated equipment.
General Dynamics Ordnance and Tactical Systems Armament and Platform Systems vice-president and general manager Steve Elgin said: “The A-GMV 1.1 provides the Army with a vehicle of superior off-road mobility. We’re proud to support the Army in accelerating this capability to the field.”
Capable of being transported by the US Army inventory helicopters, the open design of the vehicles enables the service to carry out a wide range of mission roles.
The A-GMV 1.1 carrier also has the provision to be modified and upgraded to accept potential kit configurations such as remote and manned turrets, and armour and arctic kits, if the army develops a requirement for them in the future. (Source: army-technology.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.