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14 Nov 18. Excalibur Army eyes Indonesian requirements with Pandur II CZ. Czech company Excalibur Army has developed a new version of the 8×8 Pandur II CZ armoured fighting vehicle (AFV) called the Pandur II CZ Fire Support Vehicle (FSV), which has recently undergone trials in Indonesia alongside an infantry fighting vehicle (IFV) variant.
The Pandur II CZ FSV is fitted with the Belgian CMI Defence CT-CV 105HP turret, which is armed with a 105 mm rifled gun fitted with a thermal sleeve, fume extractor, and muzzle brake. The gun is fed by a bustle mounted automatic loader that holds ready for use 105 mm ammunition.
The turret also features a co-axial 7.62 mm machine gun (MG) and an additional MG mounted on the left side of the turret roof. (Source: IHS Jane’s)
13 Nov 18. BAE Systems Leverages Industrial Network As Ramp-Up Of Armored Vehicle Production Approaches. In the years following the collapse of the Soviet Union, production of heavy armored vehicles like tanks and troop carriers almost became a lost art in America. The Army and Marine Corps repeatedly deferred development of new vehicles, leaving industry with little work besides upgrading combat systems developed during the Reagan years. As a result, there are only two integrated manufacturing sites left where new heavy vehicles can be produced — one for tanks, the other for almost everything else.
I wrote about the nation’s sole surviving tank plant on November 2. Today’s piece is about the plant where almost everything else is produced — the sprawling BAE Systems manufacturing complex at York, Pennsylvania. BAE Systems is a contributor to my think tank and a consulting client, so I have a fairly detailed understanding of what goes on there. At the moment, York is in the midst of a renaissance, having recently won orders for a new Army troop carrier and a new Marine amphibious vehicle.
It is also upgrading the Army’s Bradley fighting vehicle and Paladin self-propelled howitzer. The company is investing heavily in new machining systems and other capital equipment to sustain an expected surge in output, and is hiring hundreds of workers who must be trained to a high level of proficiency in specialized skills such as the welding of aluminum armor. This is all good news for the local economy, but to a large degree what BAE Systems is doing at York involves building back capacity that was lost during the Obama years.
BAE Systems has been highly successful at booking new business in the armored-vehicle segment of the military market as Army and Marine leaders have become increasingly worried about their reliance on Cold War combat vehicles. An industrial-base study released by the White House in September stated that over 80% of new armored-vehicle production for the two services will occur at York. The study speculated that all the new work might stress the production capabilities of the site.
BAE Systems is manufacturing an improved version of the Paladin self-propelled howitzer, a core system in the Army’s indirect fires capability. The Army is expected to buy nearly 600 of the vehicles.
However, that issue was thoroughly analyzed by the Army before it awarded recent contracts for Paladin howitzer upgrades and a new Armored Multi-Purpose Vehicle to replace Vietnam-era troop carriers in its armored brigades. The Army found no significant capacity constraints so long as BAE makes suitable investments and hires skilled workers. The findings of the Army’s industrial-base analysis are not reflected in the White House report. Here are a few reasons why capacity concerns are overblown.
First, although York is the final assembly point for diverse armored vehicles, it is only one part of a nationwide manufacturing network on which BAE Systems relies to produce combat vehicles. The company operates other manufacturing facilities in Alabama, Oklahoma and South Carolina, including one of the nation’s largest integrated forges for producing track components. It also works closely with Army depots (as does the tank plant), and has a supplier network containing over a thousand industrial partners.
Second, preparation of the White House report predated release of some details concerning how BAE Systems plans to invest in robotic welding, advanced machining technology and other cutting-edge capital equipment. The combination of these investments and programs with schools near manufacturing sites to train the necessary workforce will provide BAE Systems with more production capacity than it requires to address projected levels of demand.
Third, the current level of production capacity at York is the inevitable result of uneven demand from U.S. military customers over the last decade. The White House report identifies lack of stable funding as a key factor explaining the fragility of the military supplier base, but fails to explicitly make the connection in explaining why York is facilitized to its current capacity level. BAE Systems is now investing heavily to meet future demand, but it is understandably wary about building capacity much beyond what it expects to need.
The latter factor is critical in understanding why there are only two sites left in America capable of integrating heavy armored vehicles. There were many more in the past when high levels of demand were sustained for decades, but industry can’t carry capacity indefinitely if no customer is prepared to fund the resulting costs. The reason the workforce assembling Abrams tanks at the Ohio plant dwindled to less than 100 personnel during the Obama years was that nobody was buying tanks. This is not a hard connection to grasp.
York has some advantages over the tank plant because it produces a diverse array of vehicles for multiple customers, and the industrial skills required are fungible across its portfolio. But if the Army or Marine Corps were to trim their production objectives for ground vehicles as they have repeatedly over the last decade, it is inevitable that production capacity will adjust to match the reduced level of funding. That’s how an efficient industrial base works: supply matches demand.
At the moment, the York plant is generating products that satisfy all customer technical standards. There are no outstanding issues — which is a good thing, because BAE Systems and its legacy enterprises have been the sole providers of Marine amphibious vehicles since World War Two and today manufacture a majority of the combat vehicles in the Army’s armored brigades. Company executives do not anticipate problems as they gradually ramp up to two shifts per day at the site.
But the point they stressed to me is that York is the central node of an industrial network scattered across the nation, and there is adequate capacity going forward not only to meet expected demand, but also to cope with potential surges. The company estimates that combined demand from the Army and the Marine Corps will be the equivalent of one-and-a-half armored brigades worth of equipment per year, and that should be easily manageable within the limits imposed by planned capacity. They are confident the company can deliver what warfighters need, when they need it. (Source: Defense News Early Bird/www.forbes.com)
12 Nov 18. US Army Pursues Israeli Robots. TARDEC, soon to be part of the new Army Futures Command, is exploring a wide range of Israeli robots. But IAI is already looking into the next generation: “flocks” or swarms of robotic systems that communicate with each other and collaborate to accomplish their mission. The US Army is looking into robots designed by Israel Aerospace Industries, with the first contracts likely to be signed in early 2019, after which production will shift to IAI’s US subsidiaries. In recent months top officials of the US Tank-Automotive Research, Development & Engineering Center (TARDEC) have been visiting IAI facilities almost on a weekly basis, Breaking Defense has learned.
“We consider the US Army a big potential customer,” retired Maj. Gen. Gadi Shamni, IAI’s VP for land systems and the former Israeli defense attaché in the US, said in an exclusive interview. “They have been briefed in Israel and saw the systems in action in the US.”
TARDEC, soon to be part of the new Army Futures Command, is exploring a wide range of IAI robotic systems, Shamni said: counter-IED bots to handle roadside bombs; robotic mules to follow infantry soldiers with extra supplies; “leader-follower” systems where manned vehicles lead unmanned ones in convoy; engineering robots to bulldoze obstacles under fire; optionally manned vehicles that can switch to unmanned operation “in seconds”; and even armed robots. All these systems, he said, can either be remotely controlled by human operators or switch into a fully autonomous mode where they make decisions based on what their sensors see and what instructions the humans gave them before the mission.
But IAI is already looking into the next generation: “flocks” or swarms of robotic systems that communicate with each other using Internet Of Things (IOT) technology and collaborate to accomplish their mission. The US Army and other potential users want robots that can react in real time to immediate threats, Shamni said: “This requires operational decisions to be made in the front line and not in remote command centers, (using) robotic systems that are interconnected and can assist each other (in) fast changing conditions.”
Already, Shamni said, IAI is designing many of its ground robots to work with or even launch its combat-tested mini-drones and loitering munitions such as Harop (Harpy) and Green Dragon. With such robotic technologies likely to be be implemented on a “massive” scale, he said, “it opens operational opportunities that are now considered a wild dream.”
Robot Roll Call
While some of IAI’s robotic systems are highly classified, they’re eager to talk about the others. For years, IAI has been a leading developer and manufacturer of drones, but more recently, Shamni explained, the company has applied its Unmanned Air Systems (UAS) technologies to a new family of unmanned ground vehicles. Driven initially by Israeli Defense Force demand, the IAI robots are now attracting international attention from the US, Australia, and others:
One of the largest is the seven-ton, six-wheel RoBattle – an unmanned, heavy-duty, highly maneuverable robotic vehicle designed to support foot troops in a wide range of missions, including armed reconnaissance, convoy protection, decoy operations, ambush, and attack.. Operators can equip RoBattle with different payloads including manipulator arms, sensors such as radars, and remotely controlled weapons. There’s even an option to replace the wheels with tracks. Overall, the 14,000 pound vehicle can carry up to 6,000 pounds of mission-specific equipment or cargo.
Robattle currently communicates with its human overseers using 4G LTE cellular technology, although the US might rather install a military-specific communication kit that’s more resistant to jamming.
Another, smaller infantry support robot is the REX, currently under evaluation by both the Israeli and Australian armies. Shamni — a former paratrooper and IDF chief of infantry himself — noted that the modern infantryman must carry body armor, ammunition, and a wide array of electronics, not to mention batteries, that while tactically useful push the human body to the limits of its ability to carry the weight.
That’s why the US Army has explored — but never fielded — a range of robots to help haul supplies like extra ammo, rations, and batteries. The lineage runs from the ill-fated MULE (Multifunction Utility/Logistics & Equipment), part of the cancelled Future Combat Systems, to the current SMET (Squad Multipurpose Equipment Transport) trials.
In this niche, IAI is offering REX, a small unmanned platform with a hybrid engine that allows it to follow foot soldiers for 12 hours nonstop, carrying 880 pounds of equipment and supplies. It can also be configured to carry a stretcher with a single casualty — instead of taking at least two healthy troopers out of action to evacuate a wounded comrade — or even carry a remotely controlled automatic weapon.
A single soldier can use a remote control device to control the robot’s every action, set a series of waypoints for it to follow without further human intervention, or simply have the Rex follow him around at a pre-set distance using a virtual electronic “leash.” The goal is to minimize the amount of time and energy the infantry spend managing the machine, Shamni said, so “the leader becomes a mission operator rather than a robot operator.”
While Rex and RoBattle are still being evaluated by the IDF, another IAI robot is already in use, Shamni said: the PANDA, a D9 heavy bulldozer modified to operate unmanned so it can clear roadside bombs and other obstacles while the humans stay out of the danger zone. This is another unmanned mission where the US Army has showed intense interest, not just for counter-IED work in counterinsurgency, but for major war, where conventional militaries like Russia’s practice building complex defensive belts of landmines and anti-tank obstacles, all covered by dug-in gun teams to kill any combat engineer who tries to breach them.
IAI has also developed an equivalent to TARDEC’s experimental “leader-follower” system, in which unmanned supply trucks follow a manned vehicle in convoy. IAI’s RoboCon is a “convoy leader” that can autonomously maneuver around obstacles and over difficult terrain. RoboCon is not a specific vehicle but a robotic kit that can be adapted to a variety of platforms. Shamni said that a likely future application would be a manned heavy tank, like the Israeli Merkava Mk 4, leading a convoy of robotic trucks. (Source: glstrade.com/National Defense)
13 Nov 18. Future of Turkey’s indigenous Altay tank in question over foreign involvement. More than two decades after the program was officially launched, Turkey has signed a contract for the serial production of the country’s first indigenous, new-generation main battle tank, the Altay. The multibillion-dollar contract was signed Nov. 9 between Turkey’s defense procurement authority, the Defence Industry Executive of the Presidency (or SSB, formerly SSM) and Turkish-Qatari armored vehicles manufacturer BMC, which has close links to Turkey’s ruling party. Officials did not reveal the contract price. The contract involves the production of an initial batch of 250 units, life cycle logistical support, and the establishment by the contractor of a tank systems technology center and its operation. As part of the contract, BMC will also design, develop and produce a tank with an unmanned fire control unit. The first Altay tank will roll off the assembly line within 18 months, according to the contract.
According to Ahmet Raci Yalçın, head of the land vehicles department at SSB, the Altay program will materialize in two phases: T1 and T2. T1 covers the first 250 units, he said, and the T2 phase will involve the advanced version of the Altay.
Ismail Demir, the head of SSB, said: “This contract is the joint work of the parties (SSB and BMC) for the optimal production of a cost-efficient tank.” He added that the Turkish government has not ruled out partnerships, cooperation and support with and from foreign entities.
He also noted that the government expects BMC to deliver unmanned armored vehicles solutions.
Despite plans for the Altay to be the “best tank in the world” (in the words of BMC Chairman Ethem Sancak), industry sources and experts are questioning the program’s future.
“No one knows if, as originally planned, the Altay would be powered by a German-made engine (from MTU) and a German-made transmission mechanism,” one source said. “There are big questions marks about the armor and the active protection system. … And of course, if the Altay will feature German know-how, will it be on the market with German export licenses, or restricted for sales abroad, or even deployed for certain sensitive missions like in Syria or Iraq?”
Demir, however, is confident Turkey “will not allow any restrictions” in regard to indigenous programs with foreign know-how, including the engine. In other words: BMC will use foreign engines in the first Altay tanks due to “time limitations,” but ultimately Turkey wants to maximize locally made parts for its indigenous programs.
In terms of where this foreign technology will come from, A London-based defense expert noted that a potential German blockade could mean “BMC will not have too many options and may have to go non-NATO, like Russia or Ukraine.” Such a move would be the second major defense contract that Turkey — a NATO ally — would sign with a non-NATO country, after the government’s decision to acquire and deploy the Russian-made S-400 air and anti-missile defense system.
Security experts say Turkey’s regional rivals, as well as state and nonstate entities Turkey views as security threats, are closely watching the Altay’s progress.
“The future pace of the Altay program and potential technological and financial snags it may face will be watched closely by Greece, Syria, Iraq and, to a lesser degree, by Russia,” said Ahmet Doğan, vice president of the Ankara-based think tank Sigma.
In April, the procurement authority SSB, then SSM, announced that it selected BMC as the winner of the Altay contract. BMC defeated Otokar, an armored vehicles producer that built the Altay’s prototype, and FNSS, another privately owned armored vehicles maker. In 2008, Otokar, Turkey’s largest privately owned defense company, signed a $500m contract with SSM for the development and production of four prototypes of the Altay. The prototype contract did not involve serial production. BMC is a partnership between a Qatari investment fund and a Turkish venture, whose partner, Sancak, also sat on the executive board of Turkey’s ruling Justice and Development Party. Under the original program, Turkey wants to produce an eventual batch of 1,000 Altays. (Source: Defense News)
13 Nov 18. Dutch airborne troops choose the Mercedes-Benz G-Class. After 20 years, the majority of the G-Model off-road vehicles used by the Dutch military are to be replaced. In their place will come proven Mercedes-Benz G-Class 300 CDI vehicles which are, however, much more technologically advanced. Following a successful tendering process, Mercedes-Benz Cars Netherlands B.V. (MBCNL) will supply around 515 vehicles in 14 variants, 8 fighting vehicles and 6 logistic and support variants, to the Dutch military between 2021 and 2023. Known as the “12kN AASLT”, the vehicles (1200kg payload air assault vehicles) can be transported with precision to their place of deployment by Chinook helicopters as either internal or external cargo. In a second tranche, a further 550 vehicles could be purchased through to the year 2030. Other vehicle variants are a logistics body and an ambulance body.
“We are proud that an intelligent combination of modular solutions from Graz in Austria and local flexibility was demanded by the Dutch army,” explains Niels Kowollik, CEO of MBCNL. “For the Dutch dealer network this also means that servicing, maintenance and repair of these vehicles will be required over an extended period.”
Dr. Gunnar Güthenke, CEO of the Mercedes-Benz G-Class, had this to say about the pleasing result of the Dutch army’s tendering process: “The G-Class speaks for itself. In all deployment scenarios, the off-road vehicle is compelling for its performance, outstanding handling characteristics and safety, whatever the terrain. Time after time, we see that nations who have bought the G-Class once opt again and again for the G-Class’s proven quality.”
Jane’s reported that formal AASLT activity traces back to a tender published in December 2016, for which there were nine respondents. Between May and August 2017 a selection process reduced that to five. These were invited to participate in a two-phase follow-on ‘dialogue stage’ that ran from September 2017 until February 2018, and four accepted the invitation.
For the tender stage, which ran from March 2018 until August 2018, there were three respondents: Mercedes-Benz Cars Netherlands, the Netherlands’ Defenture BV, and the UK’s Jankel. Mercedes-Benz’s selection was announced on 23 October.
Following contract signing, an engineering and verification phase is to run from 2019 to 2020, with production and delivery running from the first half of 2021 until 2023. Jane’s sources suggested that a contract option could allow for another 515 vehicles to be delivered between 2023 and 2028.
The winning solution is based on the recently introduced 3.12 m wheelbase option of Mercedes-Benz’s G-Class, which will be supplied to the Netherlands as a rolling chassis from the G-Class production facility in Graz, Austria. No official comment has been made regarding local industry involvement, although Jane’s sources suggested the VDL Group is involved.
The AASLT will be delivered in three main variants: Combat (FV) (329), Logistics (LOG) (144), and Casualty (CAST) (42). The FV variant will seat four within roll-over protection and feature a central ring-mount. The Logistics and Casualty variants will seat two (the Casualty variant accommodating up to two stretchers). The payload of all variants is 1,223kg.
Jankel offered a variant of the Fox Rapid Reaction Vehicle (RRV), whilst Defenture ATTV (Air Transportable Tactical Vehicle). The vehicle was launched at the Land and Airland Defence and Security international exhibition, EUROSATORY 2014, held in Paris, France. General Dynamics European Land Systems markets the vehicle in Europe under an agreement with Defenture BV. The ATTV is a new member of General Dynamics European Land Systems’ light tactical vehicle line including EAGLE (4×4 and 6×6), DURO, and Super Light Tactical Vehicle QUAD.
13 Nov 18. Oman reportedly testing K2 tank. Oman has been revealed as the potential customer for the desert-optimised K2 main battle tank that Hyundai Rotem displayed during the DX Korea exhibition held in Seoul in September. Citing industry sources, South Korea’s Pulse news website reported on 12 November that the tank had been tested in Oman in July as part of a bid to sell 76 tanks to the sultanate, a deal that could be worth up to KRW1trn (USD882m). Oman is expected to make a decision regarding the eventual supplier in the second quarter of 2019, it added. The K2 displayed during DX Korea was fitted with dust covers, a turret shade, and an additional air conditioning system installed on the turret bustle to augment the existing unit in the hull. (Source: IHS Jane’s)
12 Nov 18. Turkey signs Altay MBT serial production contract with BMC. Turkey’s Presidency of Defence Industries (SSB) announced on 9 November that it had signed the first serial production contract with BMC for 250 Altay main battle tanks (MBTs). The contract covers life-cycle logistics support for the tanks as well as the establishment and operation of a Tank Systems Technology Center (TSTM), the SSB tweeted on 9 November.
SSB President İsmail Demir said during the signing ceremony that the Altay MBT is among the major projects to develop the Turkish defence industry. The first Altay MBT is expected to be delivered to the Turkish Land Forces Command (TLFC) within 18 months, he said.
Turkish-Qatari armoured vehicles manufacturer BMC’s CEO, Ethem Sancak, said during the signing ceremony that both the SSB and the Turkish Armed Forces had requested that the tanks be 100% locally produced. As a result, the company terminated its partnership with Rheinmetall through the Rheinmetall BMC Savunma Sanayi ve Tic AŞ (RBSS) consortium, without actually naming the German company, for the joint serial production of Altay tanks. The foreign partnership would only provide consultancy services, he added.
Demir said the engine of the first Altay tank would be foreign, adding that locally produced engines were planned at a later stage.
Four Altay prototypes produced earlier by Turkey’s Otokar were fitted with German MTU engines. The MBT contract may eventually lead to the procurement of a total of 1,000 MBTs in four tranches of 250 each. (Source: IHS Jane’s)
12 Nov 18. One company wants to help herd US Army robots. Endeavor Robotics has provided quick, off-the-shelf solutions to the U.S. Army for many years, but the Boston-based company is now gaining significant traction at a time when the service is looking to streamline its petting zoo of ground robots.
By necessity, during the wars in Iraq and Afghanistan, the Army scrambled to buy unmanned ground vehicles that could provide a level of standoff between soldiers and the dangers faced on the battlefield. This resulted in the procurement of roughly 7,000 UGVs from Talons to PackBots to Dragon Runners.
Endeavor, which launched as a private company in 2016 but previously existed as iRobot’s defense and security business, supplied PackBots to the service as well as a few other small UGVs. It gained more traction in October 2017, when the company secured a to provide the service a platform it calls Centaur: a medium-sized robot (less than 164 pounds) to provide standoff capability to identify and neutralize explosive hazards.
That served as the groundwork for what the company hopes will be major expansion in the Army, not only delivering an array of systems but supporting a strategy of interoperability.
Now Endeavor is setting its sights on two other efforts underway that would transition the Army from its hodgepodge procurement strategy used during the wars in the Middle East to a common chassis for a small, medium and large UGV, all managed by one common controller.
Each system is meant to have a high level of interoperability and plug-and-play capability as missions expand for ground robots and technology improves. The Army already whittled down the competition in April to provide a Common Robot System-Individual, or CRS-I — a man-packable robot that is less than 25 pounds and highly mobile, equipped with advanced sensors and mission modules for dismounted forces. The design will allow operators to quickly reconfigure for various missions in the field.
Endeavor will compete against QinetiQ for a contract expected to be worth up to $400m to build more than 3,000 robots. The contract award is anticipated in the first quarter of calendar year 2019.
Endeavor’s offering has been kept under wraps, literally and figuratively, with its CRS-I platform covered in a shroud inside of a case at the Association of the U.S. Army’s annual conference.
The Army’s other major program — the Common Robotic System-Heavy or CRS-H — is a larger platform expected to weigh 500 to 1,000 pounds. The system will be expected to perform highly dexterous manipulation procedures to disarm vehicle-borne improvised explosive devices from a safe distance.
Endeavor survived a first downselect in the CRS-H competition with plans to use its Kobra platform as the base, Tom Frost, Endeavor’s president, told Defense News in a recent interview.
There are now three competitors in the mix as of this summer. The program will have a series of demonstrations that will assist the Army in choosing a winner.
The first demonstration is underway at Fort Leonard Wood, Missouri, and the second is expected to take place in the first quarter of 2019.
Beyond the Army’s current programs, Endeavor has been working to refine its technology through programs like the Defense Advanced Research Projects Agency’s effort to build a system-of-systems solution that can operate in subterranean environments. It’s the only company among a list of participants in academia to secure a $1.5m contract to participate in the DARPA challenge.
The company’s solution consists of the Kobra robot that will enter subterranean environments carrying radio repeaters — based on the company’s small, throwable FirstLook robots — and drop them off along the way to continue connectivity as it travels deeper underground, according to Frost.
The system will also carry a four-legged robot supplied from Ghost Robotics. The robot would deploy from Kobra to explore more difficult and rugged terrain, and a quadcopter will investigate vertical shafts and other hard to reach places, Frost described.
“All robots will be linked by the same radio technology and all the data they gather will be assembled into one picture,” Frost said.
The final winner of the challenge will win $2m in 2021.
An era of autonomy
While robots have been around for years and “are really fantastic,” Frost said, “the way you really recognize the full potential of the ground robots is to make them autonomous.”
The company has been working on capability for its robots to self-build maps of an area, travel autonomously, and report or tag noteworthy information along the way.
All of Endeavor’s systems have built-in algorithms, for instance, to detect a human or an explosive.
“They don’t require an operator to have their hand on the joystick the entire time,” Frost said. “Our systems have eliminated the joystick altogether” in favor of a touchpad with self-explanatory icons.
Looking deeper into the future, Endeavor is positioning itself to participate in the Army’s newest, and potentially largest ever, ground robotics modernization effort, the Robotic Combat Vehicle program, which is just beginning to take shape under Army Futures Command. (Source: Defense News Early Bird/Defense News)
12 Nov 18. BSVT rolls out production ready Berserk combat UGV. Belarussian firm Belspetsvneshtechnika (BSVT) has demonstrated the production-ready version of its Centaur unmanned ground vehicle (UGV) prototype at the 174th training ground of the country’s Air Force and Air Defence Forces in early October, Jane’s has learnt. The tracked and weaponised UGV is called the Self-Propelled Robotized System ‘Berserk’ (SPRS ‘Berserk’) and can operate as a single unit, or be programmed to work as part of a team to undertake a 24-hour patrol along pre-programmed routes while automatically detecting and tracking objects of interest. The Berserk is equipped with a suite of four cameras comprising two colour cameras and two thermal imagers (TI) for day/night operations, while its tracks enable it to traverse different types of terrain at speeds of up to 5km/h. The UGV has a remote weapon station (RWS) that can be armed with a pair of four-barrelled 7.62mm GShG Miniguns, which can target airborne targets that are moving at speeds of up to 300 km/h at a distance of 1km. The RWS can traverse 360° in the azimuth with an elevation of -5 to 50°.
The weapon is manufactured by KBP Instrument Design Bureau, Tula, and is driven by an electric motor, enabling a standard rate of fire of 6,000 ds/min, although this can be lowered to 3,500rds/min to conserve ammunition. It features a muzzle velocity of 850m/s with a claimed effective range of up to 1,000m. The guidance/targeting system comprises two daylight TV and two thermal imaging (TI) cameras that enable the operator to identify human-sized objects at a distance of 2,000m, armoured vehicles at 6,000m and helicopters out to 10,000m. Targets can be detected, identified, and selected by neural-networking analysis.
09 Nov 18. Airshow China 2018: Norinco expands Lynx ATV family. The China North Industries Corporation (Norinco) displayed several new variants of its Lynx family of open-top, all-terrain vehicles (ATVs) at the 6-11 November Airshow China 2018 in Zhuhai. The original 8×8 Lynx ATV, which had entered service with the People’s Liberation Army’s (PLA’s) mountain and airborne units by 2015, has now been complemented by a number of variants, including a self-propelled gun-mortar (SGM), two self-propelled mortars, a multiple rocket launcher (MRL), a medical evacuation vehicle, three reconnaissance vehicles, and a firefighting variant. The 6×6 SGM variant, which is operated by a crew of three, is fitted with a 120mm rifled gun-mortar that has firing range of up to 13.5km, a Norinco representative told Jane’ s. The vehicle seems to be based on the 2A51 ordnance used by the 2S9 Nona-S, or a later version of it, such as the 2A60 and 2A80 used respectively by the 2S23 Nona-SVK and 2S31 Vena.
The 6×6 self-propelled mortar variants are equipped with either a 120 mm or an 82mm conventional smooth-bore mortar. Both platforms are operated by a crew of two and are fitted with a digital fire-control system (FCS).
The 6×6 MRL variant is equipped with a modified Type 63 107mm 12-tube MRL in a 2×6 configuration. Like the previous variant, this vehicle, which can carry an additional 12 107mm rockets, has been fitted with a digital FCS and is operated by a crew of two. (Source: IHS Jane’s)
09 Nov 18. Airshow China 2018: Unmanned military systems take centre stage. New Chinese unmanned aerial, ground, and sea vehicles (UAVs, UGVs, and USVs) took centre stage at the 6-11 November Airshow China 2018 defence exhibition in Zhuhai. At least 100 state-owned and private companies that develop and manufacture unmanned air and land platforms – as well as associated equipment such as avionics, mission payloads, weapons, power and propulsion systems, and structural components and spare parts – showcased their latest developments at the event, with many of these companies displaying in a dedicated UAV Hall for the first time in the event’s history.
Consistent with Airshow China’s reputation for being an outlet to officially unveil previously secret developments to the public, state-owned defence primes such as China Aerospace Science and Industry Corporation (CASIC) and China Aerospace Science and Technology Corporation (CASC) took the opportunity to take the wraps off secretive programmes that had appeared as conceptual designs or models at earlier exhibitions.
For example, CASIC highlighted its stealth unmanned combat aerial vehicle (UCAV) technology demonstrator called Tian Ying (Sky Eagle). This UCAV adopts a low-observable flying wing design comparable to that of Lockheed Martin’s RQ-170 Sentinel reconnaissance UAV, which was stated to have a maximum take-off weight (MTOW) of 3,000 kg. The company’s Third Academy, which is responsible for the air vehicle’s development, had released a statement in February 2018 announcing that it had already completed a series of successful trials. Two years after CASC displayed a model of its then unnamed stealth UCAV to a selected audience within its private chalet at the previous exhibition, a full-sized model of the company’s new Cai Hong 7 (Rainbow 7 or CH-7) prototype was prominently showcased at the Zhuhai show. (Source: IHS Jane’s)
09 Nov 18. Indo Defence 2018: PT Pindad pursues medium tank exports. Indonesian land systems specialist PT Pindad is pursuing export opportunities with its newly developed Kaplan MT Modern Medium Weight Tank (MMWT), the company has confirmed to Jane’s. A PT Pindad official told Jane’s at the Indo Defence show in Jakarta that Bangladesh, the Philippines, and Brunei have all expressed interest in procuring the 35-tonne platform and that representatives from the three countries will attend separate MMWT demonstrations in Indonesia before the end of November. The MMWT is being developed by PT Pindad and FNSS Savunma Sistemleri – a joint venture between Turkey’s Nurol Holding and the UK group BAE Systems – under an agreement signed in 2014.
“Countries are looking for a lighter tank than an MBT (main battle tank),” said the PT Pindad official. “Countries are looking for a platform that can easily be transported and deployed.”
The official confirmed that PT Pindad has concluded trials of the MMWT and is now in the process of achieving certification for the tank. This is expected before the end of the year, he said. A contract to mass produce the MMWT is expected to be awarded in fiscal year 2020. No funds to produce and procure the platform were allocated in Indonesia’s 2019 defence budget, the official confirmed.
However, once started the programme is expected to be expansive. According to PT Pindad, the Indonesian Army (Tentara Nasional Indonesia-Angkatan Darat: TNI-AD) has a requirement for 400 Kaplan MMWTs to replace the service’s depleted fleets of French-made AMX-13 light tanks, which originally numbered more than 300. The PT Pindad official explained that the scope of the programme provides an opportunity for Indonesian industry to become self-reliant in tank manufacturing. At least 100 local defence companies are expected to be involved in the programme once production starts. (Source: IHS Jane’s)
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