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19 Apr 19. Challenger 2 upgrade. The Daily Star, The Sun and Daily Mirror have covered the story in yesterday’s Times which claims the number of UK operational tanks is set to fall.
An MOD spokesperson said: We are committed to significantly upgrading our Challenger 2 tanks, ensuring we have the best weaponry and armour. These upgrades will provide the British Army with lethal warfighting capabilities out to 2040. The investment in the Challenger 2 upgrade is part of our £18.4bn land equipment programme. No final decision on the number of tanks to be upgraded has been made. (Source: U.K. MoD)
The times said that defence chiefs have expressed anger that Britain is to mothball a third of its tanks, leaving it with fewer than Serbia, Cambodia or Burma.
The military is planning to revamp only 148 of its 227 Challenger 2 tanks because of cost constraints, The Times has learnt. That would send the armed forces down to 56th in the global league table of number of tanks available.
The remainder of the Challenger 2s, which entered service between 1998 and 2002, are expected to be used for parts. It is possible that some could be patched up for deployment in an emergency.
The army has had £31bn stripped from its budget since 2010, according to a senior defence insider.
At present Britain’s 227 tanks earn it a ranking of 48th, below Ethiopia, with 461, Romania, 418, and Spain, 327. Russia tops the table, with 12,950 tanks, followed by the US, with 6,333. Fifteen nations have more than 1,300 tanks.
The table is compiled from data collated by the International Institute for Strategic Studies, a British research organisation. A Ministry of Defence analysis predicts Britain that will fall to 56th place this year.
In 1990 Britain had almost 800 tanks. They are accurate, can move across difficult terrain quickly and their champions say that the effect of their imposing physical presence on the enemy cannot easily be matched. Critics complain that the tank’s weight and size limit its mobility.
The senior defence source said: “The army has fallen behind the navy and RAF in terms of not getting what they need. They have had a major raid on their budget.”
Limiting the tank upgrade could damage the army’s modernisation plan, set to be completed by 2025, they said. “Nothing can deliver what a tank can deliver on the battlefield. You have no quicker message you can send to an adversary than 60 tonnes of armour.”
Slipping down the tank rankings would be demoralising, they said.
Nicholas Drummond, an independent defence consultant, said that there would be “a severe loss in capability” and the reduced tank fleet would lack “critical mass”.
An MoD spokesman said: “We are committed to significantly upgrading our Challenger 2 tanks, ensuring we have the best weaponry and armour. No final decision on the number of tanks to be upgraded has been made.” (Source: The Times)
BATTLESPACE Comment: The news that Challenger 2 LEP numbers are to be decreased comes as no surprise to seasoned BATTLESPACE readers. However this is a good news as it slays the demon that C2 LEP will be cancelled all together. In other news BATTLESPACE understands that the Oshkosh MRV(P) JLTV Requirements is cruising to an IAB decisions slowly but surely but again with smaller numbers.
15 Apr 19. Bahraini military operating M-ATV vehicles. The Bahrain Defence Force (BDF) has revealed it has been operating Oshkosh M-ATV light armoured vehicles in Yemen. The BDF, which was not previously known to operate the M-ATV, released a promotional English-language video on 14 April that highlighted its achievements, including its contribution to the Saudi-led coalition fighting Yemen’s Houthi rebels since 2015.
The footage used to illustrate the BDF’s involvement in Yemen showed a convoy of more than 20 M-ATVs – some of them flying Bahraini flags – moving along a road in a desert area. At least two, including one with a Bahraini flag, were fitted with bar armour kits and Dynamit Nobel Defence FeWaS/Rafael Samson remotely operated weapon stations, a combination also used by the United Arab Emirates’ (UAE’s) forces in Yemen, while others had manually operated weapon stations. (Source: IHS Jane’s)
15 Apr 19. New consignment of US Humvees arrives in Ukraine. Ukraine’s Ministry of Defence announced on 13 April that it has received 35 Humvee vehicles gifted by the United States, saying 20 will be used by combat units, and 15 for medical purposes.
“Recently, the level of military-technical assistance has increased significantly. This applies to all of our partners, first of all the United States,” Defence Minister Stepan Poltorak said during a visit to the 58th Independent Motor Rifle Brigade in Konotop in northern Ukraine. The US has recently provided military assistance to the eastern European country valued at more than USD 400m, he added.
The first Humvees sent to Ukraine were delivered in 2015 and went to the 95th Independent Airmobile Brigade deployed in eastern Ukraine and to the Security Service of Ukraine. (Source: IHS Jane’s)
15 Apr 19. Successful Boxer trials. The DE&S Mechanised Infantry Vehicle (MIV) delivery team has worked alongside colleagues in Government and industry to complete a successful electromagnetic trial with Boxer. The team worked with the Defence Science and Technology Laboratory (Dstl), Joint Forces Command, the Battlefield and Tactical Communications and Information Systems team, as well as industry partners – the Artec consortium, Rheinmetall and KMW. The three-week trials covering aspects of electronic counter measures, electromagnetic compatibility and communications were carried out at Dstl Porton Down. The ‘de-risking’ work will ease integration of future electronic counter measures and Morpheus capabilities on the platform for when it enters service with the British Army as the cornerstone of the new Strike Capability. The MIV delivery team were delighted with the results of the trial, which were made possible by the loan of a Boxer vehicle from the Royal Netherland Army. SO1 MIV, Lieutenant Colonel Hugh O’Neil Roe, said: “The trials had come at a critical time in the programme and will prove invaluable as the project progresses. It has been great to see DE&S and Dstl working so closely with our industry partners.” (Source: U.K. MoD desider)
11 Apr 19. Haulotte unveils HUTP vehicle. Haulotte showcased its Haulotte HUTP family of vehicles for the first time at the SOFINS exhibition, held at Camp de Souge, south of Bordeaux, on 2–4 April. French company Haulotte debuted its Haulotte Ultra-light Tactical Platform-Reconnaissance (HUTP) family of vehicles at the Special Operations Forces Innovation Network Seminar (SOFINS) exhibition, held at Camp de Souge, south of Bordeaux, on 2-4 April.
Christophe Dwernicki, vice-president for military business development at Haulotte, said the HUTP is designed to fill a capability gap between tactical/special operations vehicles such as the Polaris MZR series and larger platforms such as the Polaris Dagor.
Haulotte intends to offer a better balance between all-up weight and payload than larger vehicles by offering the HUTP, which is air transportable in smaller aircraft.
At SOFINS, Haulotte showcased the HUTP-Reconnaissance (HUTP-R), intended to be the first of three HUTP variants. The others are the HUTP-Logistic (HUTP-L) and the HUTP Xtra-Logistic (HUTP-XL), Dwernicki explained.
The HUTP-R has an all-up weight of 2,800 kg with a payload of 1,200 kg. It has a four-wheel drive design with room for four passengers and is equipped with an overhead weapon station for a .50 calibre heavy machine gun and a pintle mount for a light machine gun operated by the front passenger seated on the right-hand side of the driver. The HUTP-R features a roll-over protection system, and its floor has STANAG Level 1 armour. Its maximum speed is 150 km/h, its endurance 1,300 km, and it is able to climb slopes with a 60% incline, according to Haulotte’s official specifications. The vehicle’s compactness enables up to three to be loaded onto a Lockheed Martin C-130J-30 Super Hercules transport aircraft.
The HUTP-L is similar in size and all-up weight to the HUTP-R but has an increased payload of 1,400kg. It only has room for two people but features a large rear platform that can be used for transporting cargo. (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.