Sponsored by MILLBROOK
Tel: +44 (0) 1525 408408
02 May 19. Nurol Makina showcases new developments. Nurol Makina has presented the first production standard NMS vehicle and announced two new designs based on existing ones at the 14th International Defence Industry Fair (IDEF 2019) being held in Istanbul between 30 April and 3 May. The company announced at the event that it will soon be commencing serial production of its NMS family of wheeled armoured vehicles after completion of qualification trials. Emre Akin, Nurol’s strategic planning and market development director, told Jane’s that an additional order for the NMS 4×4 was expected to follow very shortly after IDEF. The company has also developed a new ambulance version of its Ejder Yalçin wheeled protected mobility platform, which was due to be presented for the first time but began user trials at the last minute. (Source: IHS Jane’s)
02 May 19. ARQUUS launches the VT4 Standard 2 production lines. On December 7th, 2018, the DGA notified the second tier of the VT4 program to ARQUUS. This tier comprises 1,200 new Standard 2 vehicles. Production and delivery of the Standard 2 started at the beginning of the year. ARQUUS is aiming at delivering 800 Standard 2 VT4 vehicles in 2019.
To meet this objective, the ARQUUS plant in Saint-Nazaire has reworked its VT4 production line in order to add new work posts. The experience of the VT4 Standard 1 has also allowed reviewing the procedures to guarantee optimal efficiency and the highest possible level of quality.
The VT4 Standard 2 integrates 350 new references, and offers several new evolutions compared to Standard 1: integration of modern communication and positioning systems, extra racks, towing equipment, and blackout lights. The VT4 Standard 2 is also designed to be air-transportable, in order to grant it extra tactical capabilities. The VT4 is a 4×4, non-armored, light and versatile vehicle, designed for command post and liaison missions. It can accommodate 5 soldiers or 4 FELIN system-equipped operators. With its payload of up to 900kg, it is designed for homeland operations (Sentinelle, training, liaison), and for foreign operations in low-threat regions. The services package, provided by ARQUUS, is totally integrated, innovative, with a firm commitment on technical operational readiness (90%) on the whole fleet.
3,700 ARQUUS VT4s will equip the Army by 2025, replacing the P4 vehicle. In 2018, the first 500 Standard 1 VT4s have been delivered to the French Army.
02 May 19. Estonia deploys THeMIS UGV to Mali. Milrem Robotics Tracked Hybrid Modular Infantry System (THeMIS) unmanned ground vehicle (UGV) has been deployed with Estonian soldiers serving in Mali, Gert Hankewitz, the company’s export director, told Jane’s at the 2019 Xponential show being held in Chicago from 29 April to 2 May.
“Our newest generation of the THeMIS UGV will be deployed in Mali with Estonian soldiers for approximately 5 months,” he said. “It will support dismounted troops by carrying their gear and enhancing situational awareness as its primary function. Knowledge gained during the mission will be used for further R&D [research and development].”
The situational awareness role will be performed by the Threod Systems’ KX4-LE Titan unmanned quadcopter, which can reach a height of 80 m when tethered to the THeMIS and carry an electro-optical sensor payload weighing up to 4 kg so that it can relay geo-referenced surveillance imagery. The tether is used to supply power to increase the quadcopter’s endurance. (Source: IHS Jane’s)
01 May 19. BMC presents T1 Altay technology demonstrator. An example of the Altay MBT reflecting its final production standard was displayed at IDF.
- The vehicle featured an APS, extensive side armour and bar armour to the rear
A technology demonstrator that reflects the final production standard of the T1 Altay main battle tank (MBT) has been presented by BMC, the company selected to manufacture the vehicle, at Turkey’s IDEF exhibition, held from 30 April to 3 May.
Although the demonstrator represents the final standard of the vehicle that will ultimately be produced, Mustafa Sarişin, systems engineering manager for BMC’s tracked division, noted that the design is still in development.
The vehicle was shown at IDEF on the trailer of a BMC TWV tank transporter, with changes over the Altay prototype finalised by original designer Otokar, which included the installation of an Akkor active protection system (APS) from Aselsan. The Akkor APS includes hard- and soft-kill effectors designed specifically to counter the guided missiles used by peer and asymmetric threats. Sarişin explained that the system is still in the developmental phase and that once the Akkor’s development is complete the Altay will be one step closer to production.
Additionally, the sides of the Altay at IDEF were fitted with an extensive armour system developed by Roketsan specifically for the vehicle. (Source: IHS Jane’s)
01 May 19. INKAS introduces right-hand drive Sentry APC. INKAS has introduced a right-hand drive version of its Sentry armoured personnel carrier (APC), the company announced on 26 April.
The Sentry APC is capable of accommodating eight to ten personnel. The weight distribution of both the left-hand-drive and right-hand-drive versions are specifically engineered to advance manoeuvrability and off-road performance while maintaining dual protective layers offering both ballistic and blast protection. The APC offers modular hook-ups for various external technologies such as air filtration systems, fire source detection and advanced optics.
The APC is armoured up to CEN 1063 BR7 ballistic standards, protecting it from 7.62×51 armour piercing ammunition as well as blasts from underneath even in extreme climate conditions and harsh terrains.
The vehicle features perimeter gunports, roof-mounted turret and an 18,000lb electric winch. It also has advanced door lock mechanisms, a wide field of view from the driver cabin and an electronic night vision system. Further enhancements are optional, but include removable front-mounted plow for obstacle clearance, external view cameras providing 360 degree field of view, sirens/PA systems, warning devices, crowd control features, emergency lights and custom armouring options.
The INKAS Sentry APC can be customised for various tactical missions including SAR and medical evacuation, personnel and private transportation, C2 operations and surveillance. (Source: Shephard)
30 Apr 19. For this exercise, robots are always watching Royal Marines. In the southwest of England sits Tregantle Beach. Overlooked by a stone fort built in the 1850s, the beach is a thin sliver of sand at high tide, and a wide swath of gentle beach during low tide. This month, the Royal Marines practiced a landing on Tregantle, their approach overseen by robots in the sea, on the land, and in the air.
As the United Kingdom retools its military for the realities of the mid-21st century, it’s looking to augment human power with robotic aid. We saw this most recently with the reintroduction of the Black Hornet, a palm-sized aerial scout that the UK retired in 2017, only to reintroduce to the force in 2019. And we can see it in the military exercise on Tregantle Beach.
The scale of the exercise itself was modest: a company from the 40 Commando unit, along with 1 Assault Group Royal Marines. Under the cover of darkness and the watchful sensors of a drone overhead, the marines brought their landing craft to the shore. Scouting ahead in the water were what appeared to be light boats, adapted to run without an onboard operator. On the hills above the beach, observing the advance below, were autonomous vehicles made by QinetiQ. Roughly the size of a car, the modular Titan platform sported a turret features missiles and a machine gun.
Exercises like Commando Warrior are at least as much about gathering data as they are implementing training. The data collected by the surveillance robots was relayed to the relevant human teams, appearing in digestible actionable intelligence on hand-held tablets. It was also relayed to the Commando headquarters, and humans not actively in the exercise were on hand at Tregantle to watch how the robots handled the challenge.
While not explicitly stated in the Royal Marines’ presentation of the exercise, the presence of the Titan robots on the hills suggests one of two possible future scenarios for war. The first, and less likely one, is that before humans land on a beach, the robots would be covertly deployed, and then set up to provide protection. The other, likelier possibility is that the Titans represented the robots of the defender, a hazard and threat to plan around, avoid, or defeat. We’ve already seen other nations train robots in formations with infantry, or rather, train infantry in formation with robots. As countries steadfastly plan for the future, the existence of autonomous weapons on the other side is not anything anyone wants to encounter unprepared. (Source: C4ISR & Networks)
30 Apr 19. Jaguar Land Rover to build next generation of Defender in Slovakia. Decision to move further project away from UK unrelated to Brexit. Jaguar Land Rover will make the next generation of the Land Rover Defender at its Slovakia plant, the latest project the carmaker has shifted away from the UK. The decision was not related to Brexit, but because the vehicle will share many of the same elements with the Land Rover Discovery that is already made at the site and the need to fill its new £1bn plant on the outskirts of Nitra. The site, which opened last year, has a capacity of 150,000 vehicles, although the paint shop has been built to accommodate 300,000 vehicles, a sign the company intends to expand the facility in future. The company’s UK production last year fell 15 per cent to 449,304, putting it fractionally ahead of Nissan as Britain’s largest car builder. JLR, which has recorded losses for the last three quarters, is in the process of shedding 5,000 management jobs as part of a £2.5bn cost reduction programme. The latest choice to shift work away from the UK comes after the company chose to locate production of the Land Rover Discovery, a large sport utility vehicle, at the Slovakian site, instead of in Britain.
Two of JLR’s fastest-growing vehicles, the Jaguar E Pace and the electric Jaguar I Pace, are also made by Magna, a contract manufacturer in Austria. The company, which previously warned that a hard Brexit would imperil its UK operations and possibly cause it to close one of its three British factories, said it plans “significant investment” at its Solihull site to support the production of the next generation of Range Rover vehicles. The engines for the new vehicle will be made at JLR’s engine plant at Wolverhampton. A spokesman said the car is “designed and engineered in the UK” and that the manufacturing decision “reinforces both the company’s British roots and the diversified, globalised nature of its manufacturing strategy”. Production of the previous Defender ceased in 2016 because it could no longer meet current safety or emissions standards, requiring a complete redesign of the vehicle that was first produced in 1948.
The car was originally sold as a Land Rover, but relabelled the Land Rover Defender in 1990 because of the brand’s expanding range. It is estimated that four out of five of the 2m Land Rovers ever built are still in operation. The new model will be revealed at the Frankfurt Motor Show later this year, and is due to go on sale in 2020, a year later than had originally been planned. While the vehicle faced limited rivals, with the exception of Jeep Wrangler, it will re-enter a market increasingly dominated by pick-up trucks, which have largely stepped into the gap left in the market. Sales of pick-ups doubled since 2010, according to Jato Dynamics. (Source: FT.com)
30 Apr 19. The Dutch armed forces select Rheinmetall to modernize their Bergepanzer 3 Büffel armoured recovery vehicles, making them a match for today’s operational requirements. Rheinmetall is to modernize the Dutch military’s fleet of Bergepanzer 3 Büffel (‘buffalo’) armoured recovery vehicles. A contract to this effect was signed on 18 April 2019 at Soesterberg, a military base near Utrecht. In a first phase, four vehicles will undergo a combat performance upgrade. The order is worth a double-digit million-euro figure. In a second phase, a further 21 vehicles are to undergo corresponding modernization. This option, also worth a figure in the double-digit euro range, already features in the contract.
Starting immediately, Rheinmetall will completely overhaul the Royal Netherlands Army’s Bergepanzer 3 Büffel ARVs, bringing them up to the latest technological and tactical standard. This will extend the service life of these tried-and-tested combat support vehicles – developed by Rheinmetall on the basis of the Leopard 2 chassis – through to the year 2040. The Dutch armed forces will take delivery of the first vehicles at the beginning of 2021.
Modernization work will take place at Rheinmetall locations in Germany as well as in Ede in the Netherlands. It will include a complete overhaul of the individual armoured recovery vehicles and a new digital operating concept; the installation of advanced visualization technology; mission packages featuring ballistic and mine protection; and new battlefield recovery equipment together as well as a universal transport platform. Also included in the contract are technical documentation, training and other services.
This service life extension will give the Dutch armed forces a reconfigured state-of-the-art ARV with significant growth potential. New force protection features both on and in the vehicle will keep the crew extremely safe from modern battlefield threats. Cutting-edge visualization systems, digital operating elements and command systems will support the crew while carrying out their tasks. Furthermore, new battlefield recovery equipment will boost the vehicle’s tactical effectiveness. It will be transferred to the rear section of the vehicle. This will let the crew hook up to a damaged Royal Dutch Army vehicle such as the Bushmaster, Boxer, CV 90 infantry fighting vehicle, PzH 2000 self-propelled howitzer, Leguan bridge-laying tank, Kodiak combat engineering vehicle or the Leopard 2 main battle tank without having to leave the safety of the fighting compartment, before towing it from the battlefield at high speed in forward gear. In addition, the modified version of the Bergepanzer 3 Büffel ARV will feature a flexible-use universal transport platform mounted on the rear section of the vehicle. To cite just one example, this can be used for carrying equipment for recovering other vehicles. The new equipment has already demonstrated its effectiveness during deployed operations.
This contract confirms the emergence of a new standard for modern armoured recovery vehicles. As recently as December 2018, the Bundeswehr contracted with Rheinmetall to modernize its fleet of Bergepanzer 3 vehicles, ensuring they remain a match for current and future operational scenarios. Similar mission configurations are in service with the armed forces of NATO member Canada as well as Sweden.
Already underway, the service life extension of the Royal Netherlands Army’s armoured recovery vehicles underscores once again Rheinmetall’s comprehensive expertise when it comes to the globe-spanning Leopard 2 family. This expertise extends from maintenance and modernization programmes to advanced armament concepts, and from the production and technical knowledge of the system’s original equipment manufacturer right through to comprehensive technical and logistic support for entire vehicle fleets – including service support during deployed operations. The portfolio of the Düsseldorf-based high-tech group for mobility and security also includes training and simulation solutions for Leopard 2 crews.
25 Apr 19. Russia deploys new forward air control vehicle to Syria. Russia has deployed a BOMAN (BOyevaya Mashina AviaNavodchika) forward air control vehicle to Syria, the Izvestia newspaper reported on 24 April citing well-informed military sources. According to the report, the BOMAN sent to Syria is a developmental model and its deployment will be used to inform the production-standard vehicle for the Russian ground forces. It said the system is designed to detect targets and direct fixed- and rotary-wing aircraft to carry out accurate strikes. It consists of a Tigr 4×4 light armoured vehicle equipped with a powerful radio station as well as a laser designator/range finder and thermal camera.
It is also integrated into the intelligence and communications system known as Strelets, which “allows online transfer of data that is plotted on an electronic map displayed on tablets,” according to Izvestia. (Source: IHS Jane’s)
29 Apr 19. FNSS develops PARS III 8×8 engineering vehicle for Royal Army of Oman. FNSS has developed the PARS III 8×8 engineering vehicle for the Royal Army of Oman, with plans to deliver it after completing qualification tests within the first half of this year.
The armoured vehicle has been developed by FNSS as its first 8×8 engineering vehicle and clears surface laid mines and threats found within the path of the full width of the vehicle. By clearing roads, tracks and rough terrain, the vehicle produces a clear route for the infantry and follow-on vehicles. The PARS III 8×8 Engineering Vehicle has equipment and hardware mounted and dismounted from its chassis and is capable of fulfilling a range of missions. It can execute various missions in a bid to enhance the mobility and operational capabilities of friendly forces and units. The vehicle is capable of removing obstacles or barriers, clearing paths, and maintaining roads used in combat. It clears paths through minefields to ensure the continued movement of friendly units.
FNSS CEO and general manager Nail Kurt said: “These vehicles require extensive engineering work beforehand, and you need to analyse in advance the different scenarios of use of the vehicle, down to the finest details.
“In the PARS III 8×8 engineering vehicle, we went a step further in these challenges and came up with a design that allows different equipment and hardware to be readily mounted and dismounted.”
Under a contract signed with the Royal Army of Oman, FNSS will be responsible for the design, development, production and delivery of a total of 172 vehicles in 13 different configurations.
Additionally, the company will provide integrated logistics support (ILS) services throughout the guarantee period.
FNSS will deliver 145 of PARS III 8×8 vehicles in eight different configurations and the remaining 27 PARS III 6×6 vehicles in five different configurations. The total number of PARS III 8×8 engineering vehicles will be six. (Source: army-technology.com)
29 Apr 19. Royal Marines use autonomous vehicles in Commando Warrior exercise. British Royal Marines have used autonomous vehicles for the first time during tactical action as part of Exercise Commando Warrior. Alpha Company of 40 Commando participated in the exercise that was carried out at Tregantle Beach in Cornwall. 1 Assault Group Royal Marines (1AGRM) also took part in the exercise. The drill was designed to link unmanned systems to provide commanders with relevant information that would aid tactical decision-making.
During the exercise, an unmanned boat, fitted with cameras and sensors, supported the marines while they were advancing towards the beach. The boat cruised along the coastline in search of potential enemy forces both on land and at sea. In addition, a small unmanned air system scanned the area for any signs of danger. A further two unmanned ground vehicles were present to provide overwatch and fire support if necessary.
Moreover, the information gathered during the drill was sent to a separate command and control facility at the 3 Commando Brigade headquarters.
With able assistance from the autonomous vehicles, the Royal Marines performed a series of tasks. The activities included raiding the beach, climbing the cliffs, taking out hostile forces patrolling and abseiling back to the shore.
It is part of the Autonomous Advance Force and is said to be the first step on how autonomy can be leveraged to yield benefits to Royal Marines and support the UK’s future commando force.
UK Royal Marine corporal Scott Shaw said: “This is very early steps in the capacity of the Future Commando Force and reinventing ourselves back to the original definition of what Commandos are.
“It is about reinventing the force with new technology that’s available.”
Teams responsible for the unmanned vehicles analysed how the equipment performed in a live action situation. The autonomous vehicles technology was designed and produced by QinetiQ. A handheld tablet was made available to the marines on the ground to receive information so that they can make tactical decisions. (Source: naval-technology.com)
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.