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02 Nov 18. Ineos in talks with Ford to produce cars at Bridgend plant. Move offers hope to more than 1,000 workers at risk of redundancy at the site in Wales. Ineos is in talks with Ford about manufacturing vehicles at the automaker’s Bridgend engine plant, offering hope to more than 1,000 workers currently at risk of redundancy at the site, according to several people familiar with the discussions. Jim Ratcliffe’s business is seeking to break into the automotive industry with an off-road vehicle, hoping to mimic the Land Rover Defender, and has shortlisted the south Wales location for its production centre. The two businesses are in live talks, according to three people with knowledge of the discussions. Bridgend employs more than 1,700 people, but Ford has warned that it expects to lose 1,100 workers from the site after a contract to make petrol engines for Jaguar Land Rover comes to an end in 2020. The long-term future of the facility is also in doubt as Ford also produces the same engines in several other global locations and the plant is exposed to any tariffs or trading frictions after Brexit. A successful deal with Ineos would secure the future of the site, and bolster UK automotive manufacturing at a time when the industry is concerned over Brexit and some businesses, such as Dyson, plan to locate assembly work overseas. Ineos is proposing to use the portion of the Bridgend facility currently occupied by JLR to assemble its new vehicle, which the company wants to start producing by the end of the decade, according to one of the people with knowledge of the discussions. Sir Jim has said he wants to invest “hundreds of millions of pounds” in his vehicle project but has declined to say how many vehicles he intends to make. Ineos said it planned to make a decision on its factory by the end of the year and had “several great options” on its shortlist, but declined to confirm or deny the Bridgend talks. He added that the previous shortlist, which included two UK sites and a number in Europe, had been whittled down, without giving specifics. The company has already signed contracts with former Mercedes division MBTech for the engineering, and with Magna for its chassis development. Ford declined to comment on Ineos, but said: “We continue to look at other high-technology opportunities for the future [of the site].” Ford’s two British engine plants, in Bridgend and Dagenham, are both supported by contracts with JLR, which has taken engines from Ford since Jaguar Cars and Land-Rover were sold to Tata by the US carmaker in 2008. JLR has its own engine plant at Wolverhampton, which will take both petrol and diesel manufacturing in-house after its Ford contracts end. Recommended Automobiles Ineos chooses Germany to develop Land Rover Defender successor Unions have warned about the future of the sites, and called on Ford to find work for the facilities after the JLR contracts end. The sites are also particularly exposed to the prospect of tariffs after Brexit because every single engine is shipped overseas. Ford has already planned to reduce the workforce at Bridgend this year after moving from producing the 500,000 Sigma engines a year to making 125,000 Dragon engines a year. Work on the Dragon engines began this week. The JLR portion of Ford’s Bridgend factory has already seen its workload fall, with a planned five-day shutdown last week because of lower demand from Jaguar and Land Rover customers. (Source: FT.com)
31 Oct 18. US Army prepares for November AMPV production decision. The US Army and BAE Systems are ironing out the final design for the new Armored Multi-Purpose Vehicles (AMPVs) fleet in anticipation of a low-rate initial production (LRIP) decision in November.
“The AMPV programme recently completed a successful LUT [limited user test] and a large majority of the developmental testing scheduled prior to [the Milestone C decision],” the army said in a 31 October statement to Jane’s. “In both cases, the AMPVs demonstrated superior effectiveness and survivability than the M113s.”
While an LRIP decision is scheduled for November, the service said BAE Systems will begin delivering vehicles in the second quarter of fiscal year 2020 and ramping up to a rate of more than 180 vehicles in the first 13 months. The service also noted that programme officials are using LUT feedback to “make minor modifications” to vehicle designs before moving into LRIP.
“These modifications will improve overall vehicle reliability and soldier accommodation,” the service added.
During a 25 October interview with Jane’s, BAE Systems business development director for combat vehicles James Miller explained that some of the potential changes deal with trade-offs between cost and objective.
“Do we want to have ‘X’? Is it going to give us such a great advantage or are we going to scale that back a little bit?” Miller explained. “Those are some of the decisions the army’s making now that we’re going to help them with and work through the redesign on.”
“You want to learn as much as you can about the vehicle and the manufacturing process so you can get it right,” Miller added. “We learned a bunch of stuff about the vehicle [and] we’re going to get it right.” (Source: IHS Jane’s)
01 Nov 18. Challenger 2 LEP Smoothbore through IAB? Sources close to BATTLESPACE suggest that the addition of a Smoothbore option for the Challenger 2 LEP has passed through the MoD Investment Appraisal Board (IAB). The same source suggested that the project will now be rescoped to allow for the addition of a smoothbore gun with new the proposal being issued soon. BAE Systems is believed to be looking at a solution to upgun the existing Challenger 2 turret with a 120mm smoothbore gun from a source outside Rheinmetall, and a 4 man crew with a newly designed bustle to accommodate the one piece ammunition whilst Rheinmetall is believed to be offering a Leopard 2A7 turret with the L/55 smoothbore gun. The other option as discussed here in an earlier issue is for the BAE Team to offer a General Dynamics M1A” SEP V3 turret which provide a less risky solution and bring the best US technology to Challenger 2.
31 Oct 18. Indonesian FNSS tank prepared for production. Turkish company FNSS will display its medium tank at Indo Defence 2018 as the company announced the vehicle is now ready for serial production. FNSS has partnered with Indonesia’s PT Pindad to develop and manufacture the tank which was showcased, albeit in model form, at Indo Defence 2016. The tank will meet the Indonesian Army’s requirement for a new medium-weight class tank.
Qualification testing has been conducted in Indonesia and were conducted during the summer this year. The qualification tests were conducted in three phases, comprising mine tests, endurance tests and firing tests. The mine tests, conducted with a mine prototype mock-up in the first phase, were completed successfully in July. In a statement released on 31 October 2018, Nail Kurt, CEO of FNSS Defence Systems said, ‘The vehicle has low weight and silhouette, while making no concession in performance in terms of ballistic or mine protection.
‘Our target was to have Medium Tank offer the highest ballistic and mine protection in its class, and following the successful completion of the challenging qualification tests, we are delighted to see that we have achieved our goal.’
The gun turret, a 105mm system, will be provided by Belgian company CMI Defence. The subsystems and sensors are defined by Indonesia and PT Pindad. As part of the new tank FNSS will provide its Kaplan armoured fighting vehicle chassis which has been developed for Turkey’s anti-tank weapon carrying vehicle programme. In 2016 Shephard reported on the concept vehicle which was set to be 7m long and 3.2m wide and an overall height of 2.7m. The company will also be showcasing its Marine Assault Vehicle which is being developed by FNSS to meet an amphibious armoured vehicle requirement of the Turkish Navy, as per an agreement signed in 2017.
Under the Marine Assault Vehicle Project of the Presidency of Defence Industries in Turkey, FNSS will deliver a total of 27 vehicles, including 23 personnel carriers, two command control vehicles and two recovery vehicles. (Source: Shephard)
31 Oct 18. SAPA Transmission aims for US market growth. SAPA Transmission Inc is aiming for additional orders in its local US market, as some of its electro-hydraulically controlled power shift automatic transmissions are now in quantity production for the Spanish Army by SAPA Placencia SL. SAPA Transmission has established a facility in Shelby Township, Michigan, in anticipation of additional contracts with the US Army and growing its presence in the United States. By the end of 2018, this facility could have the capability to assemble and test prototype transmissions for installation in tracked platforms with a gross vehicle weight (GVW) from 25 to 80 US tons, and with power outputs of up to 1,100kW (1,500hp). (Source: IHS Jane’s)
29 Oct 18. Nexter, CMI Defence join forces to build combat vehicles for Belgium. France’s Nexter and Belgium’s CMI Defence have signed a cooperation pact to revamp the Belgian army’s fleet of ground combat vehicles, the companies announced. The deal follows an inter-governmental agreement between Paris and Brussels aimed at letting Belgium in on the French land program for ‘motorized capabilities,’ known under CaMo acronym in France. Nexter is the lead for that program for the French armed forces, which is part of the larger Scorpion land-warfare modernization effort. All told, Belgium is looking to buy 382 Griffon multirole armored vehicles and 60 Jaguar armored reconnaissance and combat vehicles. According to a CMI Defence statement, the ‘industrial mastery of work’ will come from Nexter. Under the terms of the agreement, CMI Defence would be the ‘final assembler’ for the Griffon vehicles and act in a similar capacity for putting a 40mm turret onto the Jaguars, according to Nexter. Deliveries to the Belgian army will stretch from 2025 to 2030. The vehicles used by both countries are meant to be virtually identical, thus boosting the potential for interoperability during operations.
“Our cooperation with Nexter is a good example of how European defense companies can jointly participate in the establishment of the Europe of Defense,“ CMI Defence president Thierry Renaudin was quotes as saying in a statement.
Nexter CEO Stéphane Meyer similarly praised the European element of the new cooperation agreement, saying it would pay dividends especially when it comes to the upkeep of the Belgian fleet. News of the joint effort in land warfare comes after Europe suffered a serious setback in its effort to unify the continent’s aerial capabilities with a domestically produced warplane. Brussels last week chose the U.S.-made F-35 stealth fighter over competing offers from Airbus and Dassault. (Source: Defense News)
26 Oct 18. SYSGO launches ELinOS 6.2 with PowerPC 64 and Security Services. As of October 2018, SYSGO AG, a Thales company, is an official “Development Partner” in the AUTOSAR consortium, a worldwide partnership developing the standardized software framework for intelligent mobility. For a number of years now, car manufacturers have been packing their vehicles with ever-increasing numbers of electronic systems and equipment, providing new functionalities designed to improve drive quality and boost passenger safety. But there’s a hitch – these computer systems on wheels are becoming a prime target for cyber criminals and hackers; thus the need of a standardized cybersecured software framework. All AUTOSAR partners share a common goal: to establish an open, standardised, secure software architecture for electronic control units used in automobiles. After announcing a joint venture with Vector in January 2018, SYSGO is emphasising its continued commitment in the automotive market by formally joining the consortium.
As a leading European provider of real-time operating systems, SYSGO will bring its long expertise in safety-critical embedded environments to the AUTOSAR development. SYSGO’s solution PikeOS supports the strict separation of multiple applications on a single platform, even of different criticality, and therefore promotes one of the key design features of the AUTOSAR Adaptive Platform. This will offer automotive manufacturers and their suppliers significantly more flexibility and scalability than classic platforms have so far and is just one of the reasons why SYSGO will be a significant participant in the development of AUTOSAR Adaptive.
“AUTOSAR partitions have always been supported by SYSGO’s solution PikeOS. Becoming a member of the AUTOSAR consortium gives us the opportunity to contribute to the development of AUTOSAR Adaptive, right at the forefront”, comments Franz Walkembach, VP Marketing & Product Strategy at SYSGO AG. “European manufacturers and their suppliers, in particular, consider AUTOSAR support a must-have. Active participation in the continuous development of the Adaptive Platform will allow us to provide fast, comprehensive support for this new technology.”
Since January 2018, SYSGO has been working closely in a joint venture with Vector Informatik, a Stuttgart-based company, to further the development of an AUTOSAR Adaptive Platform. This integrated software platform is essentially based on the separation kernel and hypervisor used in SYSGO’s PikeOS and the MICROSAR AUTOSAR Adaptive basic software from Vector.
22 Oct 18. US Army Wants to Use Robots to Help Conduct Precision Strikes on the Enemy. US Army maneuver officials are hoping that a consortium of experts in non-military robotics can find new ways for combat units to defeat the enemy, especially in dense urban terrain. The Army’s Capabilities Development and Integration Directorate, or CDID, at Fort Benning, Georgia, recently partnered with the National Advanced Mobility Consortium to conduct an outcome-based innovation workshop — an approach to challenges that has been “proven in the commercial industry sector but never potentially used in a partnership with the military to get after some of the military’s problems,” according to Col. Tom Nelson, the head of CDID’s Robotics Requirement Division. The consortium recently had discussions with various groups, such as soldiers from 3rd Battalion, 75th Ranger Regiment; Army captains from the Maneuver Captains Career Course; and Training and Doctrine Command officials representing Army infantry, armor and Stryker brigade combat teams. Between now and April, the consortium will consider tactical problems and potential solutions involving robotics and autonomous systems, Nelson said. Army officials are hopeful that the group can help develop a solution that can be used for precision engagement in close urban terrain, for dealing with enemy forces that hide among the population in large cities.
“I like to use the example, you can’t blow up a zip code to kill a mailbox,” said Don Sando, director of CDID.
“How do you go after that mailbox, or that individual or small unit that is taking it upon themselves to hide and protect themselves in an environment that they know you are going to have difficulty going after,” he said.
The Army, he said, thinks robotics can help soldiers do just that.
“In an ideal world, he said, “we can make it where it is very affordable and your mission payload is either a riot-control agent or some kind of concussion or, on the high-end, some kind of lethal effect … delivered by a robotic and autonomous system under the control of a soldier.”
Another problem the group wants to go after is how to more effectively provide combat leaders with a more-defined, “common operating picture” of the battlefield, Nelson said.
“We think that robotic and autonomous will allow us to do that in a way that we haven’t been able to do in the past,” Nelson said.
“If you think about a battalion scout platoon on a screen line — how can a robotic and autonomous system assist in producing situational awareness and then feeding that [to soldiers] so they see things on the battlefield? … How does that become something that a decision maker can use?”
The consortium will continue to work the problem and hopes to present either prototypes or white papers describing solutions during the National Defense Industry Association’s National Robotic Conference in April, Army officials said.
“It’s just an opportunity to help us look at the problem differently, and they may come up with the same answers that we have been looking at for years … but I suspect that they may come at it a little differently,” Sando said.
In the past, the Army has gone to industry with a problem and said, “here is kind of what we think is a way to solve that problem with an [unmanned aerial system] or a ground robot,” Nelson said.
“We are not providing that to them. All they want at this point is the problem and the data that helps define that problem. So hopefully they can come up with something that hasn’t been looked at before.” (Source: Defense News Early Bird/Military.com)
25 Oct 18. BAE Systems moves out on US Marine Corps ACV 1.1 production. On its factory floor in York, Pennsylvania, the first BAE Systems’ Amphibious Combat Vehicle (ACV) 1.1 hull is being built under a low-rate production contract with the US Marine Corps (USMC).
“I was just up at York last week and the first ACV hull is being put together on the line,” James Miller, the company’s business development director for combat vehicles, told Jane’s on 25 October. Earlier this year, the service selected BAE Systems to produce 30 low-rate production vehicles for delivery beginning in fall 2019. The contract could total USD198m. Eventually, the service is expected to buy 204 platforms. (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.