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01 Apr 19. Krauss-Maffei Wegmann (KMW) has been awarded a contract to modernise 101 Leopard 2 A6 main battle tanks. The contract in question was signed on 28 March 2019 at the German Federal Office of Bundeswehr Equipment (BAAINBw). It is worth more than €300m. Among other things, the operating concept, targeting system and fire control computer as well as the chassis are being upgraded to the level of the Leopard 2 A7V. By this step, the diversity of different models of main battel tanks being operated in the Bundeswehr will be reduced further and the logistical footprint of the systems will be simplified. Moreover, tank crews will no longer need additional training on the different Leopard variants to be able to operate the systems. All 101 vehicles will have been delivered by 2026.
04 Apr 19. Russia’s Eastern Military District receives upgraded T-80 tanks. Russia’s Eastern Military District (EMD) has received 120 upgraded T-80 main battle tanks since the beginning of the year, the Ministry of Defence (MoD) announced on 2 April. “The EMD’s combined arms units stationed in the Amur Region, the Sakhalin Region, and Primorsky Krai have received 120 upgraded T-80s since early 2019,” the MoD said in a statement. The tanks have been fitted with gunner’s multichannel sights, updated weapon stabilisers, TVN-5 night vision devices, upgraded radios, and modular explosive reactive armour (ERA), according to the ministry. A Russian defence industry source told Jane’s the MoD had received refurbished T-80BV tanks with some new subsystems. (Source: IHS Jane’s)
04 Apr 19. Could a few stickers fool military vehicles of the future? It is easy to picture the moment a convoy turns into catastrophe. There are the dangers soldiers train for: ambushes and attacks, IEDs and interference. But what happens in the future when the disaster is cued, not by an abrupt explosion, but by stickers strategically placed on the road ahead, fooling the lead vehicle and all its followers into a seamless change of course?
This remains a hypothetical for the military for now, but it’s potentially a live concern for civilian-operated autonomous vehicles. In March, Tencent Security Research Lab demonstrated a variety of adversarial attacks against a Tesla Model S. The Tesla has autonomous features that allow it to do everything from detect rain and automatically start the windshield wipers to seamlessly change lanes, with minimal input from a human driver. These systems can be fooled and to great effect, with a dedicated understanding of how they work.
Tricking windshield wipers into responding to stimuli besides water is mostly harmless, but it’s illuminating for the whole process. Tesla’s autowiper uses existing Tesla cameras to take a picture of the windshield, feeds that into a neural network, and then determines if the windshield looks like it has raindrops on it and needs to be wiped. Researchers were able to fool the autowiper into responding with different images on a TV screen in a garage.
“Reversing autowipers is a good start point for Tesla Autopilot research,” the researchers wrote in their published report. “Once we have understood how vision-based autowipers works, we can settle down to try some attack methods.”
Headlining the report was how the researchers fooled the Tesla autopilot by placing stickers on a road.
“Since Tesla autopilot vision module has good performance of lane recognition, then we think the opposite way, could the car regard some inconspicuous markings we made on the ground as a normal lane?” wrote the researchers.
Rather than convincing the car that an existing lane isn’t there, the attack instead uses a few small stickers to trick the car into seeing a lane that no human would see or drive around. A trio of small white stickers, spaced in front of the car, convince the vehicle to follow the lane into the lane of oncoming traffic. (The research appears to have been conducted in a closed course.)
Civilian and commercial traffic are not direct analogues to military operations, though any self-driving military vehicle will likely have to perceive and sometimes follow existing traffic directions. It’s informative, nonetheless, because it shows some of the novel approaches that can be engineered to disable vehicles by understanding how their autonomy works. As the Army works to implement largely self-driving convoys, and especially self-directed combat vehicles, it’s worth examining the ways in which an adversary could attempt to fool those systems. GPS spoofing is a live concern; putting fail-safes or back-up systems that check purely vision-based navigation could mitigate risks from stickers or other machine-visible obstacles. If the possibility of adversarial misdirection isn’t taken seriously, self-driving military vehicles are in for a rough crash course in why it’s important. (Source: C4ISR & Networks)
05 Apr 19. General Dynamics Land Systems confirms AJAX for LAND 400 Phase 3. General Dynamics Land Systems-Australia is the last contender to confirm its bid for the LAND 400 Phase 3 program, offering the AJAX family of armoured vehicles. The AJAX family is recognised worldwide as the very latest generation family of armoured fighting vehicles (AFVs), a fully-digital platform that can be readily adapted to meet the LAND 400 Phase 3 Mounted Close Combat Capability requirement, including the infantry fighting vehicle (IFV). This AJAX IFV will incorporate, among other leading technologies, a modern General Dynamics Land Systems-designed 30mm turret.
Kevin Connell, vice president and general manager of General Dynamics Land Systems–Australia and the Indo-Pacific, said, “AJAX will allow the Australian Defence Force to see first, decide first and act first. Its proven protection levels, mobility and lethality will keep soldiers safe and allow them to do their job effectively.”
The Commonwealth of Australia can leverage the UK’s significant nine-year investment in AJAX, including extensive testing that has demonstrated that the platform offers proven levels of protection, mobility and lethality, along with a wealth of high-fidelity training assets that are available now.
The first of 589 AJAX vehicles was delivered to the British Army in February 2019. General Dynamics Land Systems–Australia is actively engaging with Australian industry to develop an innovative, sustainable and sovereign on-shore supply chain to maximise the amount of work undertaken in Australia for LAND 400 Phase 3.
“With the first AJAX vehicles already delivered to the British Army, the Commonwealth can have high-confidence in our ability to deliver to meet their timelines, whilst we maximise the role for Australian industry to ensure a sovereign tracked AFV manufacturing capability in Australia for years to come. We will reveal more details on our LAND 400 Phase 3 solution over the coming months,” Mr Connell said.
General Dynamics Land Systems is a global defence company that delivers innovative wheeled and tracked platform solutions, systems integration services, upgrades, fleet management, through-life support, maintenance, repair and overhaul worldwide.
The company specialises in working with its customers through both commercial and government-to-government arrangements to provide efficient and effective capability contributing to the security of Australia through the ASLAV and M1 Abrams Tank programs.
General Dynamics Land Systems–Australia maintains local technical capability and expertise with global reach-back. This capability enables a systems approach to all its projects to ensure that equipment capability and growth is fully considered through its life cycle, and brings multinational customer combat experience to bear on product solutions.
LAND 400 Phase 3 is a $10-15bn Army program that will recapitalise Army’s Vietnam-era M113 armoured personnel carrier (APC) force, with a combination of a tracked IFV and tracked APC. The broader LAND 400 project will deliver enhanced levels of survivability to the Joint Land Force, including sensors, weapons and information systems that will be networked to strategic intelligence platforms. (Source: Defence Connect)
03 Apr 19. US Army moves forward with Robotic Combat Vehicle and Bradley replacement. RCV experiment in fiscal year 2020. The US Army is moving ahead with two initiatives under its Next-Generation Combat Vehicle (NGCV) umbrella with its upcoming Robotic Combat Vehicle (RCV) experiments and soliciting bids for a M2 Bradley Fighting Vehicle replacement. Pinned as the service’s number two modernisation priority, the NGCV initiative will develop multiple manned and unmanned vehicles including the RCV, an Optionally Manned Fighting Vehicle (OMFV) to replace the Bradley, the Armored Multi-Purpose Vehicle, Mobile Protected Firepower, and a next-generation main battle tank (MBT). Brigadier General Ross Coffman, director of NGCV modernisation, told reporters on 27 March about plans to move ahead with the RCV, and trade-offs the service had to make when finalising OMFV requirements.
For the RCV, Brig Gen Coffman laid out the “crawl, walk, run” approach the service is using for ongoing virtual experiments that will “inform the final requirements” for three experiments. Industry is also involved and expected to participate in a ‘robot rodeo’ later this year.
“Because we are nested with industry, we are doing a robot rodeo this summer where we are asking industry to bring all of their robots that they currently have so we can identify … what is in the realm of the possible,” Brig Gen Coffman explained during the 2019 AUSA Global Force Symposium & Exposition held in Huntsville, Alabama from 26 to 28 March. He added that the service is interested in mobility and autonomy, as well as different payloads that can be integrated onto different vehicle options for a light, medium, and heavy RCV.
The service will also conduct its first RCV experiment in fiscal year 2020 (FY 2020) at the platoon level. For this event, the service is building four robots “like” the M113 armored personnel carriers that will then be controlled by two surrogate vehicles, each with four soldiers in the back – one solider driving the vehicle, two soldiers controlling one robot, and one solider controlling the robot payload. (Source: IHS Jane’s)
03 Apr 19. Denmark receives first production standard Piranha 5 and Eagle 5 vehicles. The Royal Danish Army received its first production standard Piranha 5 and Eagle 5 armoured vehicles on 27 March, the Danish Ministry of Defence and General Dynamics European Land Systems (GDELS) have announced.
The official handover marked the beginning of deliveries of 309 production standard Piranha 5s ordered under a USD650m contract in December 2015. The Piranha 5 underwent a series of trials conducted by the Defence Acquisition and Logistics Organisation (DALO), after initial deliveries were made in 2018.
Danish Defence Minister Claus Hjort Frederiksen stated, “Our soldiers need modern equipment that meets the demands of the future battlefield … With these vehicles I am confident that we can stand up in the future.”
Deliveries of the Piranha 5 are expected to be completed by 2023 in six variants: command, armoured personnel carrier (APC), ambulance, recovery, engineering, and mortar platform. There will be at least 15 of the latter, carrying Austrian company ESL Advanced Information Technology’s (ESLAIT’s) 120mm Advanced Automated Autonomous Mortar System (A3MS) selected in 2016. (Source: IHS Jane’s)
02 Apr 19. USMC Eyeing Modular, Interoperable Robotic Systems. The Marine Corps is investing and experimenting with new ground robotic technology that service officials believe will help keep troops out of danger while enhancing their situational awareness. At the Marine Corps Warfighting Laboratory, officials are grappling with an evolving threat environment that requires the development of cutting-edge capabilities to keep pace with adversaries, said Jeff Tomczak, the lab’s deputy director for science and technology.
One area of focus is the infantry squad. The service wants to give Marines robotic systems that enhance their capabilities on the ground.
“I see things changing so rapidly in the robotics world,” Tomczak said during an interview. “There are requirements that are being built that are going to expand the use of robotics systems across the whole spectrum of robotic systems — air, ground, surface.”
However, the service doesn’t want to pursue technology that will become a liability for Marines, he noted.
“You want a battle buddy and you want something that is as good or better than what you have in regard to either a person next to you or a piece of equipment next to you,” he said. “What we don’t want to do is just add another tool in the tool kit that they don’t use.”
The lab plans to invest in fully autonomous systems, he noted.
“There’s more goodness than badness with autonomy,” Tomczak said. “Some people will say, ‘Hey, you can’t go everywhere with … a fully autonomous system.’ We know that.
We know you can’t. But we are going to continue to expand the envelope on where we can go and what we can do.”
The Marine Corps doesn’t have plans to remove humans from the loop, Tomczak noted. But with the help of artificial intelligence and machine learning “we’re starting to see where the cognitive burden on the squad member is starting to go down because it’s less about driving the system … [and it’s more] about employing an asset, a warfighting, enabling asset” at the right time and place, he said.
When it comes to ground robots, modularity is important, Tomczak said. The warfighting lab is currently working on a ground system known as the expeditionary modular autonomous vehicle, or EMAV. The tracked platform has a flat top that can carry more than 7,000 pounds. The service can outfit it with different types of sensors, communications equipment or weapons, he said. It is also able to transport causalities.
Historically, when a member of a squad is injured it could take upwards of two to four Marines to carry that one individual back to safety, he noted. However, with the EMAV, the system can autonomously transport a wounded Marine to a battalion aid station. The service currently has two EMAVS. It expects to acquire two more in the near future, and could potentially obtain 10 additional systems down the road, he added. The Marine Corps recently tested the platforms during a limited operational assessment focused on urban warfare at a military training facility in Muscatatuck, Indiana.
“We had a company of Marines up there that were using two of the systems … in its modular capacity to move supplies [and] move gear,” Tomczak said. The system was also outfitted with sensors and weapons, he added.
The warfighting lab plans to use four EMAVs during another urban environment experiment in August at the Muscatatuck facility, Tomczak said.
“It has everything that we need for our experimentation,” he said. “Because it’s so far out in the country, we can test a lot of different things that we’re not typically allowed to … assess here on base at Quantico or here in close proximity to D.C. or other cities and homes.”
The service plans to use the EMAVs in congested, complex terrain, he said. The platforms will enter buildings that will require the systems to navigate around debris that may be blocking their path.
“[We will be] looking at buildings, roads, … underground subways and obviously underground tunnels,” he said. “When you go down into those tunnels, … you find yourself stepping over either old steam pipes or steam pipes that are active that have damage to them and are blowing steam out, creating … [a] hot and humid environment.”
In a subterranean environment, a ground system may only be able to go so far because of the terrain or because of degraded communications, Tomczak said. To address the issue, the service plans to employ a ground system that is connected to an unmanned aerial vehicle via a tether. That will allow for the tether to act like a line on a fishing reel that continues to be released as the UAV goes further into the tunnel, he noted.
Such technology is currently at a low readiness level, he said. “But we know we could do these things,” he added.
The Marine Corps is also interested in interoperability for unmanned ground vehicles, Tomczak said. The warfighting lab — working alongside the Army — has developed a tactical robotic controller, or TRC, that allows an operator to employ multiple robots with one system.
“We have recognized for a good many years that it’s necessary” to have that capability, he said. Otherwise, “your squad leader is literally going to have … 10 different controllers in his pocket for each type of system out there.”
While the current version of the TRC is unlikely to become an official program of record, it will inform future efforts, he noted. Additionally, the Marine Corps and Army are creating a set of standards that will require industry to develop robots that can be controlled by the TRC, he said.
There is great utility in collaborating on efforts with other Defense Department organizations, Tomczak said.
“We can’t do everything” within the Marine Corps Warfighting Lab, he said. “We work with some of the big elephants in the S&T arena often and as much as possible.”
For example, MCWL is closely following developments with the Defense Advanced Research Projects Agency’s Squad X program, Tomczak said. The effort, which has been in the works for years, is meant to provide dismounted troops with better situational awareness using a slew of robotic systems that can sense their environment and relay information back to soldiers and Marines.
“We’ve been tracking Squad X for many years,” he said. “We’ve had operational units that have played a role in Squad X and are helping to develop the capabilities.”
As the technology matures within the program, the lab can cherry pick certain systems and transition them into Marine Corps experiments, he noted. However, that has not happened yet, he added.
The Marine Corps is also investing in robots for its explosive ordnance disposal community. Last year, the service inked a $10m deal for a fleet of “backpackable” small unmanned ground vehicles known as the ultra-light robot. That award follows two previous contracts worth more than $24m.
The platforms — also known as FirstLook systems — are built by FLIR Unmanned Ground Systems, which recently changed its name from Endeavor Robotics after it was acquired by FLIR Systems.
The ultra-light robots were purchased using a Marine Corps Forces Special Operations Command explosive ordnance disposal urgent universal needs statement. The systems allow Marines to extend their situational awareness, said Ronald L. Diefenbach, project officer for the EOD unmanned ground vehicles team at Marine Corps Systems Command’s program manager engineer systems division.
“Let’s say we have some EOD operators out there and they need to look over a wall,” he said. “They don’t want to expose themselves. They can simply take this robot, throw it over that wall, … throw it on top of a roof … and they can get eyes on where they’re going.”
The service plans to purchase 122 systems. Fielding was slated to begin in March and be completed by April, he said.
Marines have previously experimented with the ultra-light robots and taken advantage of being able to throw the systems whenever they needed to collect reconnaissance on a certain area, he said.
The service is also investing in the EOD mini-robot, which is also built by FLIR, Diefenbach said.
“It is going to be our most numerous robot that we’re going to have in the operating forces very shortly,” he said. The service has fielded a number of the systems since 2009.
The Marine Corps made the decision to invest in even more mini-robots after it pulled out of the Navy’s advance explosive ordnance disposal robotic system program.
“The Marine Corps withdrew from participating in that program and put the money into buying upgrades and new systems for the EOD mini-robot program,” he said.
The service plans to purchase 142 new EOD mini-robots and upgrade 122 for a total of 264 platforms, Diefenbach noted.
The system has been upgraded with improved communications, a common controller and a meshing capability that allows it to connect with other systems such as the ultra-light robots, he said. That will allow the platforms to be used in conjunction to extend the range of both systems.
If “we need to operate in an underground environment … you can start pushing the EOD mini-robot in there,” Diefenbach said. “Once we lose contact with that, we can use the
FirstLook robot to mesh with the EOD mini-robot because you’re using the same radio system and they can push in and give us extended range.”
That is particularly beneficial for explosive ordnance disposal technicians because it gives them more distance in case of an explosion, he said.
There have been technical issues with the EOD mini-robot, Diefenbach said. Those include problems with the laptop control unit that causes screen distortions, as well as issues with the system’s inertial drive capability which allows a user to move the robot by moving a tablet left, right, forward or backward.
Tom Frost, FLIR Unmanned Ground Systems’ vice president and general manager, said the company has already found fixes for both issues as the robots have gone into new equipment testing.
“In that testing we did identify one way to improve the video and we’re implementing that now,” he said. “We also identified a way to improve our inertial drive capability so we’re implementing that fix as well.”
FLIR is currently rolling out those fixes, he added. (Source: glstrade.com/National Defense)
01 Apr 19. Liebherr ships first mobile and recovery cranes to the Bundeswehr – driver and crane cabs feature Rheinmetall force protection technology. This February, right on time, Liebherr-Werk Ehingen GmbH delivered the first of 71 protected mobile and recovery cranes to the Bundeswehr under a major procurement contract. In June 2017 the Federal Office for Bundeswehr Equipment, Information Technology and In-Service Support, or BAAINBw, awarded Liebherr the order, which is worth around €150m. The contract encompasses 33 G-LTM protected armoured crane vehicles and 38 mobile cranes. The designers placed special emphasis on survivability: all of the vehicles are equipped with protected driver and crane cabs from Rheinmetall. Delivery of the remaining vehicles is scheduled to take place by 2021.
G-BKF recovery crane vehicle
Broadly based on the company’s four-axle mobile crane chassis, Liebherr’s G-BKF is a protected recovery crane vehicle. Highly manoeuvrable, it performs extremely well even in the toughest terrain. Two recovery winches and a wheel lift mounted on the rear of the vehicle make the G-BKF the perfect system for recovering and towing a wide variety of vehicles, including (for example) the German Army’s new generation of Protected Command and Functional Vehicles (GFF), the Protected Mobility Logistic Support Vehicle (GTF), MULTI FSA swap body trucks as well as a variety of legacy wheeled vehicles – with no need for the crew to leave the safety of the protected driver or crane cabs. The G-BKF can be equipped for recovering vehicles as well as for lifting heavy loads, making it a flexible and economical choice. Sporting a 20.9-metre-long telescopic boom, the G-BKF handles loads weighing up to 20 tonnes quickly and with great precision.
G-LTM protected mobile crane
Similar in design to the standard civilian model, the G-LTM ordered by Germany’s Bundeswehr is a four-axle mobile crane with a protected driver’s cab and protected crane cab. Incorporating the latest chassis and engine technology, it performs superbly in all types of terrain. A six-cylinder, 330 kW Liebherr diesel engine with maximum torque of 2,335 Nm gives the G-LTM the power it needs to get the job done. The Bundeswehr order includes 17 vehicles with a counterweight of 8.4 tonnes, referring to these as “Heavy Mobile Crane Vehicles”; featuring a counterweight of 22.5 tonnes, the remaining 21 vehicles are known as “Super Heavy Mobile Cranes”.
Exacting specifications for crew protection
During the tendering process, BAAINBw focused squarely on the need to protect the crew. In order to meet these stringent criteria, Liebherr-Werk Ehingen GmbH worked together with Rheinmetall, Europe’s foremost maker of army systems, placing it in charge of the protected driver’s cab and protected crane cab. The Rheinmetall-made driver’s cab protects the crew from ballistic fire as well as from landmines and improvised explosive devices, while a filtration system keeps the occupants safe from nuclear, bacteriological and chemical agents. The upper cab, likewise produced by Rheinmetall, protects the crane operator from ballistic threats during crane operations. In both the G-LTM and G-BKF, the cabs are identical. The G-BKF recovery crane vehicle from Liebherr is able to recover and tow a wide variety of different vehicles.
01 Apr 19. US Army Robot Rodeo. The US Army is planning told a “robot rodeo” this summer with industry to assess the marketspace for its Robotic Combat Vehicle program ahead of first experiments in 2020. Brig. Gen. Ross Coffman, director of the Next-Generation Combat Vehicle Cross-Functional Team, said the “rodeo” is part of a series of efforts to inform requirements for RCV Phase 1, which also includes virtual experiments with a robotic test platform and ongoing meetings with industry partners. “We’re asking industry to bring their robots that they currently have, so we can identify what’s in the realm of the possible,” Coffman said. The Phase 1 RCV experiment begins in the second quarter of FY ’20 and consist of four robotic vehicles controlled by two control vehicles. Phase 2 will happen in FY ’21 to test robots in company-level operations, while Phase 3 starts in FY ’23 with purpose-built prototype robots. (Source: Defense Daily)
29 Mar 19. US Army’s request for proposals to build next-gen combat vehicle prototypes drops. The Army issued a request for proposals to competitively build next-generation combat vehicle prototypes March 29. The RFP opens up competition for industry to provide Optionally Manned Fighting Vehicle prototype designs. From that pool, the Army will choose — in the second quarter of fiscal year 2020 — up to two teams to build 14 prototypes.
The OMFV is intended to replace the Bradley Fighting Vehicle starting in 2026 and is designed to better operate in future environments that would allow soldiers to maneuver to a position of advantage and “to engage in close combat and deliver decisive lethality during the execution of combined arms maneuver,” an Army statement reads.
Some of the threshold requirements for OMFV are a 30mm cannon and a second generation Forward-Looking Infrared (FLIR) system. Objective requirements are a 50mm cannon and a third-generation FLIR.
“The OMFV must exceed current capabilities while overmatching similar threat class systems,” Brig. Gen. Ross Coffman, the director for the Next Generation Combat Vehicles (NGCV) Cross Functional Team (CFT), said in the statement. “It must be optimized for dense urban areas while also defeating pacing threats on rural terrain.”
The NGCV CFT is part of a new four-star command, Army Futures Command, that is designed to modernize the force. NGCV is the second highest modernization priority for the Army just behind Long-Range Precision Fires (LRPF).
After working with industry through countless engagements and testing several draft RFPs with ambitious requirements, Coffman believes the Army has both the threshold requirements for the vehicle as well as the right objective requirements as the service heads toward the release of the final RFP.
“We put out a very aggressive draft RFP,” Coffman told reporters March 27 at the Association of the U.S. Army’s Global Force Symposium, because the CFT knew it was not obtainable in its entirety.
The draft RFP was meant to stretch goals and objectives and to inspire feedback to ultimately write requirements that are attainable, Coffman explained. The Army’s current approach to enter into a rapid prototyping effort truncates what could be a two or three year technology maturation and risk reduction phase, Maj. Gen. Brian Cummings, the program executive officer for Ground Combat Systems, noted in the statement.
“It is about being able to prototype and field required capabilities on an accelerated schedule to get capability into soldiers’ hands quickly,” he said.
The Army’s acquisition chief Dr. Bruce Jette approved a rapid prototyping approach for the OMFV in September 2018, which requires a prototype to be demonstrated in an operational environment within five years, according to the statement.
The prototypes will go through “rigorous” operational testing and soldier assessments. The Army plans to downselect to one vehicle for low-rate initial production following the assessments and testing.
Several companies have come forward either with clear plans of what they would like to offer or have declared they will participate in the competition.
German company Rheinmetall announced last fall that it would team up with Raytheon to provide its new Lynx combat vehicle. It’s also possible its Puma vehicle, which is co-manufactured with German defense firm KMW, could be submitted. BAE Systems showed what it could do with a CV90 vehicle at the Association of the U.S. Army’s annual show in the fall and General Dynamics European Land Systems turned heads at AUSA with a Griffin III technology demonstrator equipped with a 50mm cannon. (Source: Defense News Early Bird/Defense News)
01 Apr 19. Abrams Replacement. The Army has set 2023 as its target date to determine a path for replacing its Abrams tanks. Brig. Gen. Ross Coffman, director of the Next-Generation Combat Vehicle Cross-Functional Team, said this week the Army has two concurrent studies right now to evaluate Abrams replacement options, adding the eventual option may not even be a tank. “In the future a decision will be made for an Abrams replacement. This is about decisive lethality that has to fight in really, really bad places. Is it a tank? I don’t know. But it will be decisive and lethal,” Coffman said at the AUSA Global Force Symposium. The Army Science Board and the Ground Vehicle Systems Center, formerly TARDEC, are each running one of the studies. (Source: Defense Daily)
29 Mar 19. Nigerian Air Force receives Paramount Marauders. The Nigerian Air Force has acquired Paramount Group’s Marauder MRAP. Source: Paramount Group. The Nigerian Air Force (NAF) has received an undisclosed number of Marauder mine-resistant ambush-protected (MRAP) vehicles from South Africa’s Paramount Group. The acquisition was confirmed by the South African company on 28 March, confirming earlier social media postings of photos of the vehicle.
Each NAF vehicle is equipped with a King Abdullah II Design and Development Bureau (KADDB) Snake Head protected weapons station, fitted with a 7.62 mm machine gun. The Snake Head features a significant amount of armoured glass in its design to enable improved visibility by personnel compared with a more traditional turret or remotely operated weapons station, while enabling a weapon to be operated from a protected position.
The Marauder can carry a crew of two and eight dismounts. The vehicle has a blast protection of STANAG 4569 levels 3A and 3B standards, which can be increased to Level 4 standards with add-on kits. The vehicle is of a monocoque hull construction using a flatter angled V-hull and can withstand a side-blast equivalent of up to 50 kg of explosives. The vehicle has a single-piece 90 mm bullet-resistant windscreen together with two bullet-resistant side windows left and right. The vehicle also has two side doors for the crew and a door at the rear for the dismounts.
The announcement comes as the NAF is in the process of training its own force protection and special forces components. On 15 March the NAF announced that it had graduated the first class of Nigerian-trained special forces personnel. (Source: IHS Jane’s)
28 Mar 19. Romanian Piranha 5 programme faces delays. The first eight Piranha 5s were delivered to Romania during the third quarter of 2018. Romania’s Piranha 5 programme is already facing potential delays as General Dynamics European Land Systems-Mowag (GDELS-Mowag) has yet to deliver the first batch of 30 vehicles, Defence Minister Gabriel Leş said on Facebook on 22 March. In his post the minister stated, “According to contractual provisions, the first 36 products should have been delivered within 12 months of the signing of the resulting contract. However, there is a delay and we are still in the 60-day [grace] period in which the company could deliver.” Leş told the Agerpres news agency on 6 March, “Sometime in the middle of January, the first 36 functional vehicles had to be delivered, and in the last acceptance tests, the turret did not pass these tests.” The first eight Piranha 5s were delivered to Romania during the third quarter of 2018, but there were reports at the time that the Elbit turrets had not been delivered on time and that the vehicles would be paraded without them. Leş added that if the 60-day grace period is exceeded without the completion of deliveries to a satisfactory standard, the contract signed between GDELS-Mowag and Romania had a penalty clause built into it. (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.