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14 Mar 19. Sudan reveals ‘Shareef-3’ upgrade to BTR-70.-3 8×8 A. Sudan’s Military Industry Corporation (MIC) has expanded its range of wheeled armoured personnel carriers (APC) with an upgraded Russian BTR-70 8×8 called the Shareef-3. Shareef-3 replaces BTR-70’s original two ZMZ-4905 engines with a more fuel-efficient KAMAZ-7403 V8 water-cooled diesel developing 260hp at 2,600 rpm, which gives a maximum road speed of 80 km/h. Shareef-3 retains BTR-70’s amphibious water speed of 8–10 km/h. The turret is replaced with one from the Russian BMP-1 infantry fighting vehicle (IFV), armed with a 73 mm 2A28 gun and a 7.62 mm PKT machine gun (MG). To allow the turret basket to be retained complete with gunner’s seat, an additional spacer is fitted between the turret and the hull. Shareef-3 retains the launcher rail for the Russian 9M14 Malyutka (Sagger) anti-tank guided weapon, although this was not fitted to the vehicle shown at the IDEX exhibition in February.
Aside from the commander, gunner, and driver, the Shareef-3 carries six dismounts seated on two bench seats in the middle of the troop compartment. Dismounts can exit via roof hatches or side hatches between the second and third road wheels. As with the BTR-70, steering is power-assisted on the front four wheels and a central tyre pressure system is standard. MIC is still marketing other wheeled armoured fighting vehicles, such as the Shareef-1 8×8, which is a BTR-80A that has a two-person turret armed with a stabilised 30 mm 2A42 dual feed cannon and 7.62 mm coaxial MG. (Source: IHS Jane’s)
14 Mar 19. European land forces pursue UGV technologies for future infantry operations. European armed forces should collaborate further to explore concepts of operation, tactics, techniques, and procedures associated with emerging unmanned ground vehicle (UGV) technology, defence sources told Jane’s. Addressing delegates at SMi’s Future Soldier Technology conference in London on 12 March, senior service officials from French, German, and UK armed forces independently addressed issues regarding the ongoing evaluation of UGVs including Milrem Robotics’ Tracked Hybrid Modular Infantry System (THeMIS). According to Lieutenant Colonel Nick Serle, commanding officer of the British Army’s Infantry Trials and Development Unit, a “few MILREM UGVs will be brought into service” to support the service’s 21st Century Infantry concept.
However, Lt Col Serle warned of duplication of effort by multilateral partners. “[Many] nations are looking at UGVs, situation awareness, and moving data around the battlefield,” he said. “I sense we can do more to work together to realise some more of those benefits.”
Lt Col Serle highlighted how UGVs could be used to support “last mile logistics support”, moving supplies forward and casualties backwards. “There will be huge investment in the next few years,” he suggested before highlighting the British Army’s consideration of the Platoon Robotics Project, which is focused on the provision of logistics, lethality, and surveillance and target acquisition (STA) to dismounted close combat small unit teams.
He questioned whether UGVs should be optionally manned and asked whether they should also feature “follow-me” technology and electric or hybrid motors. Furthermore, he asked whether UGVs should carry multiple payloads or remain exclusively dedicated to supporting logistics, lethality, or STA mission serials; and whether an operator should operate a single or multiple UGVs on the battlefield.
“Decisions will be made over the next three years,” Lt Col Serle confirmed while also referencing the army’s Light Tactical Mobility Platform requirement that has yet to downselect a preferred solution. (Source: IHS Jane’s)
14 Mar 19. Iraq takes first steps to producing its own military vehicles. Iraq’s Samar Alkhair factory, a subsidiary of the Iraqi State Military Industries Company, unveiled an indigenously produced, lightly armoured 4×4 vehicle at the IQDEX exhibition, which was held in Baghdad from 9-12 March. Called the Hajjam 1, the vehicle is likely to be based on a Toyota Land Cruiser chassis and features a Toyota V8 4.5-litre turbo-diesel engine delivering 232hp coupled to an automatic transmission. The vehicle is 4.7m long, 1.8m wide, 2.1m high, and has B6-level armoured protection, meaning it can withstand 7.62×39mm rounds from a Kalashnikov rifle.
Company officials told Jane’s that the new vehicle could be used as a troop transport, ambulance, combat vehicle, for border protection duties, or for use by private security companies.
“The Iraqi armed forces need armoured combat and tactical vehicles, so we designed and manufactured an Iraqi-model Hajjam that matches international standards,” Jalal Hussein, the chief engineer of Iraqi State Military Industries Company, told Jane’s on 11 March.
“Our manufacturing is taking place in complete co-ordination with [the] Iraqi Ministry of Defence and Ministry of Interior, as at the first stage we are looking to respond to the Iraqi security forces’ needs, then looking for export opportunities,” Hussein added. (Source: IHS Jane’s)
13 Mar 19. Pentagon budget 2020: More funding proposed for USMC ACVs. The proposed fiscal year 2020 (FY 2020) US Navy budget includes about USD395.3bn for the US Marine Corps (USMC) to begin the full-rate production of lot 3 for Increment 1.1 of 56 Amphibious Combat Vehicles (ACVs). The FY 2019 budget included USD233.6bn for 30 ACVs while the FY 2018 budget included USD307.1m for 26 ACVs. The FY 2020 funding request includes money for production, support, systems engineering, programme management, engineering change orders, government-furnished equipment (GFE), and integrated logistics support. The request also includes research-and-development funding for the procurement of 12 mission-role-variant test-article vehicles, associated GFE, and the initiation of a Vehicle Protective System trade study and integration work. (Source: IHS Jane’s)
13 Mar 19. German Army’s Panzerlehrbrigade 9 receives motorcycles. The German Army announced on its website on 5 March that Panzerlehrbrigade (Armour Demonstration Brigade) 9 is receiving motorcycles to carry dispatches. The brigade received the first 29 of a total of 84 brand-new BMW F 850 GS motorcycles on 4 March. Major General Ullrich Spannuth, commander of Panzerlehrbrigade 9 and during 2019 commander of the NATO Response Force’s (NRF’s) Very High Readiness Joint Task Force (VJTF) being led by the brigade, said, “The motorcycles increase the command capabilities of our force.” They will be used for dispatching if communications break down, carrying maps, orders, or memory sticks, according to the German Army. Maj Gen Spannuth added that it was easier and less visible for motorcycles to reconnoiter close to deployed units.(Source: IHS Jane’s)
13 Mar 19. US Army cuts current vehicle fleet to make way for next-gen tech. The Army has clearly telegraphed its plans to terminate 93 programs and truncate another 93 to make room for next-generation technology under ambitious and rapid modernization plans and the first major programs to feel the ax blows in the next five years are vehicles in the current fleet. According to the fiscal year budget documents released March 12, the service plans to cut back on upgrade plans to its Bradley Fighting Vehicle program, an aging platform in the fleet, lacking in power to support technology like active protection systems. But the Army is also planning to cut not-so-legacy systems as well — the Armored Multipurpose Vehicle built by BAE Systems and the Oshkosh-manufactured Joint Light Tactical Vehicle — that recently replaced legacy systems, according to Army Comptroller Lt. Gen. Thomas Horlander during a March 12 budget briefing with reporters at the Pentagon.
The JLTV has not yet reached a full-rate production decision. That was pushed back from December 2018 to May 2019 due to new plans to alter the vehicles — to include larger windows and the addition of a muffler — due to soldier feedback.
And the first prototype for AMPV — the M113 personnel carrier replacement — rolled off the line in 2016.
The budget documents lay out the Army’s FY20 plans to cut Bradley A4 upgrade plans from 167 vehicles to 128.
The plan is to procure five more sets of Bradley A4 vehicles with one going to prepositioned stock in Europe and the other four replacing the oldest sets of Bradleys. Then the program will stop around 2023 to make way for the Next-Generation Combat Vehicle, according to Lt. Gen. James Pasquarette, the Army’s G-8 chief. Yet, even though Bradley will be curtailled, Pasquarette noted that Bradley’s funding in FY20 was up 37 percent from last year at $639m. While the Army — as of last year — planned to buy 3,035 JLTVs, it now plans to purchase just 2,530 of the vehicles in FY20.
Army Under Secretary Ryan McCarthy told an audience at the McAleese & Associates and Credit Suisse Defense Programs conference in Washington March 13, that the Army would stop at five brigades of Bradley A4 vehicles which would sync with an increase in investment in the NGCV expected in 2023 and beyond.
And while the Army plans to decrease JLTV buys in 2020, cuts will likely not stop there.
McCarthy said the Army is looking at lowering the requirement for JLTVs and could be locking in a new top line requirement number soon.
Yet Pasquarette said, also at the McAleese conference, the top line requirement would not change for the JLTV but would just be pushed to the right.
McCarthy added that cutting the fleet of JLTVs was justified because the Army currently has a wealth of vehicles from 55,000 Humvees, and 49,000 more JLTVs and another 800 Infantry Squad Vehicles planned.
“We clearly have more capability than we need,” he said.
The AMPV buy holds steady in FY20 at 31 vehicles. The FY19 plan shows the Army wanted to buy 30 vehicles. The five-year plan has yet to be released by the Army, but is likely to show a decline in AMPV buys following FY20.
Pasquarette said the AMPV top line requirement remains unchanged, but the service was simply slowing the procurement rate per year.
The cuts to current programs were made following painstaking deliberations among Army leadership over the course of last year in a forum dubbed “night court.”
Through the process, the service measured current capability against its contribution to increasing capability in a modern, more lethal Army and terminated or truncated programs that didn’t fit the bill.
Pasquarette noted that the programs which were fully terminated were small programs that did not contribute to the lethality of the future force. Some of the bigger programs were slowed such as the vehicle programs.
Overall, the Army moved an additional $3.6bn into modernization funding accounts in FY20 over last year’s levels — planning to spend $8.6bn on programs that get after a more modern force. And across the five-year budget plan, the service moved an additional $32bn to fund modernization efforts beyond what was planned in FY19 for a total of $57bn.
The Army isn’t cutting or slowing all of its legacy vehicle systems, Pasquarette noted. The Stryker Double V-Hull (DVH- configuration combat vehicles will get $550m per year over the next five years to outfit a half of a Stryker Brigade Combat Team a year. The Abrams tank will receive $1.7bn in FY20 funding, a 64 percent increase over last year, Pasquarette added. (Source: Defense News Early Bird/Defense News)
13 Mar 19. US Army to Cut JLTV Buy to Pay for Future Systems. The under secretary of the Army said Wednesday that the service plans to buy fewer of the brand-new Joint Light Tactical Vehicles in fiscal 2020 to free up money for future modernization, and is considering reducing its overall requirement for the high-performance combat vehicle. The service just began fielding its new vehicle in January, but it plans to buy only 2,530 JLTVs in the fiscal 2020 budget request, a significant reduction from last year’s purchase of 3,393.
Under Secretary Ryan McCarthy confirmed Wednesday that the JLTV is one of the 93 programs selected to have its funding cut over the next five years to find more than $30bn for the service’s ambitious modernization strategy. Army leaders also terminated another 93 programs across the service’s investment portfolio in the name of modernization.
The JLTV became a modernization priority for the Army and Marine Corps after the Humvee proved unable to protect troops from deadly improvised explosive devices, mainly during Operation Iraqi Freedom.
It took almost a decade to develop but, in August 2015, Oshkosh Corp. was selected over Lockheed Martin Corp. and AM General LLC to build the JLTV for the services.
“We had to be ruthless in the prioritization,” McCarthy said, said speaking at the 10th Annual Defense Programs conference hosted by McAleese and Associates. “We had to look at how could you finance this ambition in a flat or declining fiscal environment.”
Army officials have said it will take the service until the mid-2030s to complete JLTV fielding, which means that most soldiers will go into combat in Humvees if war breaks out in the near term.
McCarthy said the service is considering lowering its requirement for 49,000 JLTVs since it already has 55,000 Humvees and 800 infantry squad vehicles.
“We clearly have more capability than we need,” he said. “We are locking in on that number and will publish it soon.”
McCarthy would not go into details about the 93 programs the Army terminated but said that the Bradley fighting vehicle and the CH-47 Chinook are among the 93 programs to have funding cut over the next five years to finance modernization programs such as the next-generation combat vehicle and future vertical lift.
The Army plans to equip only five brigade combat teams with the modernized Bradley A4 and move the rest of the program’s funding to the next-generation combat vehicle program in 2023, he said.
The service also plans to stop buying Chinooks for the conventional force after fiscal 2020 to fund efforts for a next-generation helicopter as part of the future vertical lift program, McCarthy said.
“We went through and did a full, thorough exercise on the aviation portfolio, and we have 10 percent more Chinooks on today than we need,” he said. “So we continue through the buy [in fiscal 2020] for the conventional force, but we will only be buying [Special Operations Command] Chinooks in the outyears.”
The Army began laying the groundwork for modernization in its fiscal 2018 and 2019 budgets, realigning about 80 percent of science and technology funding toward its six modernization priorities, which include long-range precision fires, the next-generation combat vehicle, future vertical lift, a mobile network, air and missile defense, and soldier lethality.
In the end, the Army hopes to field a new fleet of combat systems by 2028, replacing the Big 5 — the M1 tank, Bradley Fighting Vehicle, UH-60 Black Hawk, AH-64 Apache and the Patriot air defense system.
“From a modernization standpoint, our systems — the Big 5 weapons systems — are old, in most cases over 40 years old,” McCarthy said. “There is only so much more you can engineer out of these systems and still be able to maintain that technological overmatch in the years to come.” (Source: Military.com)
12 Mar 19. Lockheed Martin touts reliability gains in British Army’s ‘Warrior’ vehicle upgrade. Lockheed Martin UK is beginning a series of trials on a Warrior infantry fighting vehicle update for the British Army in hopes of swaying the Ministry of Defence to push forward with a manufacturing deal.
Key reliability growth trials are getting underway at Bovington, southern England, this month. The results, if they go to plan, will be the catalyst for production negotiations to get underway later this year between Lockheed Martin and the Defence Equipment and Support arm of the ministry.
The reliability trials are scheduled to run until July 2020 but DE&S Warrior upgrade director Marcus Bruton told Defense News during a Lockheed Martin industry supply chain briefing at Bovington on March 7 that the crucial production talks could get underway much sooner.
“What we are doing at the moment is going through the demonstration phase, we will push hard on the reliability growth trials, and as the confidence increases then we are going to enter into manufacturing negotiations this year,” said Brunton.
The long-running Warrior capability sustainment program is scheduled to address shortfalls in lethality and survivability of a vehicle that has been in service since the late 1980s.
Addressing the gap in the maneuver capability caused by Warrior has been a priority for the Army for at least the last ten years. The vehicle is a key component of the Army’s armored infantry 2026 program.
The current vehicle is unable to fire on the move, and the aging 30mm Rarden cannon can only be loaded with three rounds at a time.
The revised Warrior infantry fighting vehicle includes a new turret, a stabilized 40 mm cannon, a fire-on-the-move capability, improved armor, digital fire control and other enhancements.
Other variants of Warrior, like the command, observation and recovery vehicles, also will be upgraded.
The demonstration and manufacturing phases of the program were approved by the Ministry of Defence in 2011 at a cost of £1.3 bn.
An in-service date (ISD) for the upgraded vehicle was set for March 2020, and the out-of-service date extended to beyond 2040.
But the program has been dogged by problems, some of them related to installing the unconventional new CT40 40 mm cannon designed by CTA International, the BAE Systems-Nexter joint venture.
A production contract with the consortium has been signed, though, and over 250 barrels delivered for the Warrior and the tracked Ajax scout vehicle being built for the Army by General Dynamics UK. Ajax uses the same cannon in a Lockheed Martin-supplied turret.
Use of the weapon was mandated by the MOD for Warrior and Ajax, and it has also been adopted by France.
The latest assessment of the Warrior program by Stephen Lovegrove, the ministry’s permanent secretary and the department’s highest-ranking civil servant, says the Warrior is “currently forecasting a three-year delay to ISD and cost growth of approximately £227m.”
“A further delay of at least six months is anticipated pending the results of ongoing schedule recovery activity. No commitment to manufacture has been made,” said Lovegrove in a Jan. 29 letter to the parliamentary Public Accounts Committee.
Lovegrove said delays and related cost increases result from difficulties encountered during the demonstration phase.
But the permanent secretary said in the assessment report that there is evidence the demonstration issues are “beginning to be overcome.”
Asked why it had taken so long to reach the reliability trials phase Brunton said, “Integrating 21st century technology into 1970s technology had been very challenging – that’s at the heart of the issue.”
Lee Fellows, Lockheed Martin’s Warrior program director, said concurrent qualification of the turret and the cannon had been tougher than expected.
“We have had concurrent qualification. The cannon has gone through a qualification program and that drove some changes into our work and driven some milestone dates, but we are through that now. We have a qualified the cannon that we are installing and firing so we have a production-standard weapon. We have seen an impact historically, but I don’t see those impacts extending,” he said.
“Qualifying a cannon and a turret in a legacy hull is always going to be hard. The complexity was harder than we anticipated … but we met all our milestones,” he added.
Lockheed Martin’s Warrior production director, Richard Claydon, confirmed it remains unclear what the size and shape of the production order will look like when it arrives.
“Quite what the production schedule is going to be in terms of quantity, variant split, and schedule is to be determined. We are working with the authority, DE&S, on that at the moment. Budget is always an issue with the MoD,” said Claydon.
“We do really need to get still a higher level of confidence in the design coming out of the reliability growth trials,” he said.
At one time the number of hulls to be updated was in the region of 380, but suppliers at the briefing said that as the British Army has shrunk and budgets got tighter that figure is now down to around 265 and maybe even lower.
Lovegrove said the Army had given up other capability enhancements to ensure the program remained affordable but that work “continues to determine the most cost and operationally effective mix and number of upgraded platforms.”
The great unknown for Warrior, as with other programs, is just what sort of MoD budget will emerge from the upcoming government spending review and the fallout for the country’s finances stemming from Brexit.
Executives at the briefing were also starting to wonder what impact a MoD strategic review expected in the fall might have on equipment procurement going forward. (Source: Defense News)
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