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13 June 19. UK Competition and Markets Authority approves Rheinmetall and BAE Systems Military Vehicle Joint Venture. Rheinmetall welcomes the announcement today by the UK Competition and Markets Authority (CMA) to approve the proposed military vehicle joint venture between Rheinmetall and BAE Systems. Once formally established in the coming weeks, the new company will sustain at least 450 UK jobs and be able to better serve our customers’ future interests, including manufacture of the British Army’s new Mechanised Infantry Vehicle and the upgrade of the Challenger 2 main battle tank fleet. Rheinmetall and BAE System will make further announcements about the new joint venture in the coming weeks.
13 June 19. French Army begins receiving VT4 Standard 2 4×4 vehicles. Arquus (formerly Renault Trucks Defense) in April delivered the first of 1,200 VT4 4×4 light tactical vehicles in Standard 2 configuration to French armed forces. The VT4 contract, officially known as VLTP-NP (Véhicules Légers Tactiques Polyvalents Non Protégés), was awarded to then-Renault Trucks Defense in December 2016.
The first prototype VT4s in Standard 1 configuration were delivered for testing in September 2017. The first four production examples were delivered to the French Army’s 8th Matériel Regiment (8e Régiment du Matériel) at the beginning of October 2018, with the last of the 500 Standard 1 VT4s ordered delivered in December.
Arquus is producing about 5 Standard 2 VT4s per day, and this year hopes to deliver about 800 of the 1,200 vehicles that were ordered in September 2018. (Source: IHS Jane’s)
12 June 19. Inbra Terrestre to complete development of Gladiador II protected 4×4. Inbra Terrestre, which is part of Brazil’s Inbra group, is finalising development of its Gladiador II 4×4 multi-purpose armoured vehicle to meet Brazilian Army and local homeland security forces requirements. Development of the reconnaissance configuration began in January 2015, the company told Jane’s. Inbra Terrestre plans to conduct in-house testing and durability evaluations later this year. The platform has a monocoque hull, and the company is installing an ABS brake system and a 13-inch LCD digital dashboard offering GPS-based mapping and video reproduction. Inbra Terrestre hopes to test the vehicle at the Army Evaluation Centre after the development phase is complete. (Source: IHS Jane’s)
11 June 19. Boxer Support Partnership holds first meeting. The NATO Support and Procurement Agency’s (NSPA’s) Support Partnership for the Boxer 8×8 multi-role armoured vehicle held its first committee meeting recently. Originally established in 2013 under the Land Combat Vehicle Support Partnership before being made a standalone Support Partnership in 2018, the Boxer partnership provides its member nations with logistics support. It ranges from the initial concept phase to in-service support, and eventually even the retirement of the system. It also provides a legal framework for aiding multinational cooperation.
Currently there are more than 500 Boxer vehicles being used by the three member nations of the Support Partnership – Germany, the Netherlands and Lithuania. Another 2,000 vehicles are expected to be added to that number as the three nations look to expand their fleets and new nations join the programme.
The NSPA, in addition to providing in-service support to the German and Dutch Boxer fleets since 2013, also manages and maintains the central direct exchange and national stocks, as well as performing brokerage activities for the user nations.
The Boxer Support Partnership Committee meeting was attended by the three member nations, along with Australia and the UK – which have the Boxer CRV and Boxer vehicles on order respectively – as observer nations. The next meeting is planned in September 2019. (Source: Shephard)
11 June 19. Singapore’s next-generation Hunter armoured fighting vehicle breaks cover. Army’s new Hunter armoured fighting vehicle seen performing a high-speed manoeuvre during a mobility demonstration. The Singapore Armed Forces (SAF) has revealed fresh details of its latest Hunter tracked armoured fighting vehicle (AFV), its first armoured combat platform equipped with an anti-tank guided missile (ATGM) capability. The new vehicle was commissioned into service during the Singapore Army armour formation’s 50th anniversary parade on 11 June.
The 29.5 tonne Hunter AFV – earlier known as the Next-Generation Armoured Fighting Vehicle (NGAFV) prior to its commissioning – will replace the army’s upgraded but ageing M113A2 Ultra armoured personnel carriers (APCs) which entered service from the 1970s and will operate alongside the in-service Bionix II infantry fighting vehicles (IFVs). The new vehicle has been under development by Singapore’s Defence Science and Technology Agency (DSTA) in partnership with ST Engineering Land Systems since 2006.
“The [Hunter] AFV represents the predatory spirit to sense, track, and pursue its prey,” said Chief Armour Officer Brigadier General Yew Chee Leung during a media briefing on 7 June, revealing that the platform family will include five variants: namely combat, command, bridge, engineer, and recovery.
“The Hunter works collectively as a pack to hunt in a networked fashion,” Brig Gen Yew added. “It is also the protector and provider for the tribe, so we believe that these characteristics bode well with [its ability] to manoeuvre and overcome any potential aggressors to secure a swift and decisive victory.”
According to the latest specifications supplied by the Ministry of Defence (MINDEF), the baseline Hunter AFV is 6.9m long, 3.4m wide, and has an overall height of 3.4 m. It is operated by a crew of three comprising a driver seated on the front left, while the gunner and vehicle commander are seated side-by-side immediately behind the powerpack. Up to eight fully equipped dismounts can be transported in the rear troop compartment. (Source: IHS Jane’s)
11 June 19. Hunter Armoured Fighting Vehicle Commissioned at Armour’s 50th Anniversary Parade. Minister for Defence Dr Ng Eng Hen officiated at the Armour Formation’s 50th anniversary parade at Sungei Gedong Camp this evening. As part of the parade, Dr Ng also commissioned the Singapore Army’s newest addition to its armoured forces – the Hunter Armoured Fighting Vehicle (AFV).
Speaking at the parade, Dr Ng hailed the commissioning of the Hunter as a centrepiece of the Singapore Army’s transformation into the Next-Generation Army. The Hunter AFVs are tougher and more capable than the Ultra M113s they replace, enabling the Singapore Army to be a stronger, faster, smarter and more lethal advanced fighting force. Dr Ng said, “The Hunter replaces the Ultra M113 but represents a significant step-up in all areas – better firepower, mobility and protection. The Hunter fleet will require less manpower to operate, but with increased potency through the use of advanced technology.”
Dr Ng also said that the Hunter is the Singapore Army’s first fully digitalised platform with its suite of C4 (Command, Control, Communications and Computers) systems that will enhance the Army’s networked warfighting capabilities and increase its operational effectiveness. He said, “The Hunter is the Singapore Army’s first fully digitalised platform with C4 systems, which enables it to fight alongside other platforms in the SAF’s orbat.
These network synergies allow the Hunter to sense more accurately and quicker, to strike fast with deadly precision across all terrains.” The design and development of the Hunter locally also attest to the professionalism and maturity of Singapore’s Defence Technology Community and defence industry. “The Hunter is born locally, through the collaboration between Army, the Defence Science and Technology Agency (DSTA) and ST Engineering. The Hunter will be bred locally too, as the core capability of Armour, replacing the Ultra M113 that many Armour soldiers use”, said Dr Ng.
This year marks the Armour Formation’s golden jubilee, celebrating five decades of Armour’s stellar contribution to the Singapore Armed Forces (SAF). Addressing the soldiers on parade, Dr Ng reiterated the central role of Armour to the SAF. He said, “As with the first batch of Armour Pioneers in 1969, the men and women of the Armour Formation have shown their steel and grit in developing these advanced capabilities today. True to the Armour Spirit, they are bold to overcome any adversity. The Armour Formation, as always, will be the SAF’s sharp end of the spear to achieve a “Swift and Decisive” victory.”
Also present at the parade were Chief of Defence Force Lieutenant-General Melvyn Ong, Chief of Army Major-General Goh Si Hou, Chief Executive of DSTA Mr Tan Peng Yam, senior officials from the Ministry of Defence and the SAF, as well as the first batch of Armour Pioneers and the early batches of Armour National Servicemen from the Merdeka Generation. (Source: defense-aerospace.com/Singapore Ministry of Defence)
11 June 19. Fact Sheet: Hunter Armoured Fighting Vehicle. The Hunter Armoured Fighting Vehicle (AFV) was jointly developed by the Defence Science and Technology Agency (DSTA) in collaboration with the Singapore Army and ST Engineering. The Hunter is the Singapore Army’s first fully digitalised platform and is designed to provide armoured forces with enhanced capabilities to operate more effectively and efficiently in various phases of military operations. It will replace the Army’s fleet of Ultra M113 AFVs, which has been in service since the 1970s.
Key Features of the Hunter AFV
— Enhanced Lethality:
The Hunter is equipped with a Remote-Controlled Weapon Station (RCWS) with the following armaments:
* 30mm Cannon with armour piercing and high explosive ammunition
* Anti-Tank Guided Missile (ATGM) for selected variants
* 7.62mm Coaxial Machine Gun (CMG)
* 76mm Smoke Grenade Launcher
— Integrated Combat Cockpit.
The Hunter is the Singapore Army’s first AFV to be equipped with an integrated combat cockpit, allowing the vehicle commander and gunner to operate the Hunter using a common set of controls. The Hunter is also equipped with an automatic target detection and tracking system, enhancing the crew’s ability to more quickly and effectively detect and engage targets. In addition, the vehicle commander is equipped with an independent commander’s sight, which allows him to concurrently search for other targets whilst the gunner is engaging a target.
— Enhanced Mobility.
With increased speed and operating range, the Hunter is capable of travelling longer distances. In addition, the Hunter is equipped with a drive-by-wire capability, which allows the vehicle commander to take over the driving functions from the driver when required.
— Enhanced Survivability.
An all-round surveillance system mounted on the vehicle’s exterior provides the crew with a 360-degree field of vision whilst in the vehicle. This allows the crew to operate closed-hatched in a protected environment within the vehicle. The Hunter is also equipped with a Laser Warning System (LWS) which provides early warning to the crew when they are being targeted by aggressors.
— Enhanced Command, Control, Communications and Computer (C4).
The Hunter is equipped with a suite of C4 systems, strengthening the Army’s networked warfighting capabilities. The Army Tactical Engagement and Information System (ARTEMIS) is the next-generation tactical command and control system that allows the crew to operate the vehicle in a digitalised environment.
* Digitalised Mission Planning.
With ARTEMIS, the Hunter is capable of digitalised mission planning from the Platoon to Battalion level, enabling more efficient wireless information exchange between the various military formations and vehicles.
* Networked Warfighting Capabilities.
The Hunter’s connectivity is enhanced by low latency network radios and wide area communication networks for faster data transfer and further reach. The RCWS is integrated with ARTEMIS to enable the crew to quickly identify and share target information with adjacent forces.
* Smart Vehicle Management.
As a fully-digitalised platform, the Hunter is equipped with vehicle health status monitoring through the HUMS (Health and Utilisation Monitoring System). Leveraging data analytics, the algorithms will enable predictive maintenance, increasing the efficiency of vehicle maintenance and management.
— Inbuilt Safety Features. The Hunter has several inbuilt safety features:
* Audio and visual alerts to prompt the crew about vehicle anomalies, potential system failures, as well as hazards during movement and when stationary.
* Emergency stop features include the E-Brake, E-Horn, and Turret E-stop.
* Safety distance markers embedded on the driving camera displays.
* Both the vehicle commander and section commander have access to the reverse view cameras. They can quickly switch camera views on their display terminals to assist and direct the driver when reversing.
* Voice and video recording to monitor crew procedures for training feedback and forensics. (Source: defense-aerospace.com/Singapore Ministry of Defence)
10 June 19. China marketing 8×8 and 4×4 ATVs. China Jing AN Import & Export Corp is now offering for export two all-terrain vehicles (ATVs) that can be armed or offered in a normal troop transport role, according to Wang Zhiyuan, project manager for the company.
The largest of these is the CS/VP4 8×8 that, when being used in the troop transport role, can carry five dismounts and the driver. A rollover protection system (ROPS) is fitted as standard and can include a tarpaulin cover if required. The CS/VP4 host a variety of machine guns (MGs), automatic grenade launchers (AGLs), and anti-tank guided weapons (ATGWs), depending on user requirements.
The MG and AGL could be mounted to the right of the driver to cover the frontal arc or mounted on top of the ROPS to provide suppressive fire through a full 360°.
Another alternative would be to install a China North Industries Corporation (Norinco) Red Arrow 8/9 series ATGW on a pintle mount above the ROPS, or the older Norinco Red Arrow 73 series ATGW on a launch rail on the rear load area and firing forwards.
The CS/VP4 features skid steering, enabling it to pivot turn. China AN Import & Export Corporation said its unloaded weight is 1.75 tonnes, payload is 1.10 tonnes, and it can tow a trailer or weapon weighing up to 1.5 tonnes. According to the company, maximum road speed is 60km/h and maximum operating range is up to 400km. It is fully amphibious, being propelled in the water by its wheels. Standard equipment includes a front-mounted winch with a capacity of 2,500kN – this can be used for self-recovery operations or to recover other vehicles. (Source: IHS Jane’s)
10 June 19. Mack Defense celebrated the official handover of the first five Mack® Granite® model-based M917A3 heavy dump trucks (HDT) to the U.S. Army during a ceremony at the Mack Customer Center.
Leadership from Mack Defense presented the keys to officials with the U.S. Army in front of attendees, including several representatives of local and state-elected officials. Beginning in July, the trucks will enter up to 40 weeks of rigorous durability testing at the U.S. Army’s Aberdeen Test Center in Maryland.
“The Mack Defense M917A3 HDT embodies Mack’s core values of durability, reliability and application excellence, and we’re confident these vehicles will exceed the U.S. Army’s rigorous testing requirements,” said David Hartzell, president of Mack Defense. “We are proud of our efforts and collaboration with the U.S. Army to deliver a truck that will serve the men and women of our armed forces for years to come.”
The U.S. Army first solicited bids for the M917 HDT program in 2017, seeking to develop the next generation of HDTs with increased occupant protection levels, higher payload and improved mobility. Mack Defense was awarded the contract in May 2018 and will produce armor-capable or armored HDTs with deliveries through May 2025.
The Mack Defense M917A3 HDT is based on the civilian Mack Granite model, one of the top-selling construction trucks in North America. To meet the demanding needs of the U.S. Army, Mack Defense engineers added heavier-duty rear axles, all-wheel drive and increased suspension ride height.
The new trucks will help increase the U.S. Army’s operational effectiveness and readiness, while supporting mobility, counter mobility, survivability and sustainment operations for the Joint Force.
10 June 19. Major combat vehicle player won’t play in US Army’s optionally manned fighting vehicle race. BAE Systems has decided it won’t participate in the U.S. Army’s competition to acquire an Optionally Manned Fighting Vehicle, which will ultimately replace the company’s Bradley fighting vehicle in the service’s inventory.
“After careful consideration we have decided not to move forward with OMFV,” Jim Miller, senior business development director for combat vehicles at BAE told Defense News in an exclusive June 7 interview.
“I really want to be clear that we are not making a statement about the viability of the OMFV program or the veracity of the requirements or any of that stuff; this is just a business decision we’ve made,” Miller said.
The Army issued a request for proposals to competitively build OMFV prototypes, a major effort within its Next-Generation Combat Vehicle portfolio, in March, and there was every expectation that BAE would submit an offering.
BAE told Defense News in October at the Association of the U.S. Army’s annual conference that its CV90 Mark IV was a good jumping off point to develop and build the Army’s Bradley replacement.
The Army decided last year that it would cut back on upgrade plans for the Bradley vehicle in order to free up funding to move forward quickly with the OMFV plans.
The OMFV is intended to replace the Bradley 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,” according to an Army statement.
But the Army’s fighting vehicle incumbent doesn’t want in on OMFV because, according to Miller, there are a lot of irons in the fire for the company as it looks to fulfill current demand and to delve deeper in future development.
“We are really excited about everything that is going on with the Army and Marine Corps,” Miller said. “They are both doing great modernization programs. It’s a really exciting time for all of industry and particularly for us.”
BAE is in the middle of five major modernization efforts, which are all in production at some level, Miller said, and the company is committed to continuing with the Bradley A4 upgrades.
Two of those major efforts also fall within the NGCV portfolio: Mobile Protected Firepower (MPF) and Armored Multi-Purpose Vehicle (AMPV).
BAE is one of two companies selected to competitively provide MPF prototypes — a new armored, tracked vehicle to enhance infantry units’ firepower.
And it’s building the AMPV for the service as well, delivering the first prototypes to the Army in December 2016.
BAE is also in low-rate production for the M109A7 Self-Propelled Howitzer and companion M992A3 ammunition carrier vehicles under the Paladin Integrated Management (PIM) program. The company was also chosen last year to build the Marine Corps’ new Amphibious Combat Vehicle (ACV).
“We have had a lot of success and despite all of that success, we still need to be careful about which pursuits we go after and there are so many emerging opportunities right now, we have to pick and choose,” Miller said.
OMFV is “certainly in our wheelhouse,” Miller said. “We’ve got systems and products that would fit that opportunity, I think, and could be very successful, but we’ve just made a business decision.”
BAE is looking deeper into the future at objective modernization capability 10 times more effective than what the service now has. The Army’s modernization goals aim to reach that level of capability.
“We want to go after that objective 10X capability and we want to start focusing on that, and in our mind that is around autonomy and robotics,” Miller noted. “There is a whole series of advanced technologies that are pretty exciting.”
For instance, BAE is involved in the Extended Range Cannon Artillery (ERCA) program — which aims to extend the range of a cannon out to as much as 70 km — by working to install a longer barrel on its M109A7 Paladin.
BAE recently brought a robotic vehicle to a trade show to foster conversation regarding what the service plans to do for its Robotic Combat Vehicle (RCV) program, which aims to develop robotic vehicles in the light-, medium- and heavy-weight classes to aid forces on the battlefield in a variety of ways.
“Our expertise is around the Army’s heavy brigades,” Miller said, “so our robotics will be RCV-Medium and RCV-Heavy.”
But BAE is looking at a wide range of possibilities, not just in full-up vehicles but in “cutting edge technologies” and the company has even set up a lab embedded at the innovative entrepreneur’s hub Capital Factory in Austin, Texas, which is also home to part of Army Futures Command.
When looking at the wide variety of efforts both in prototyping and research and development within the NGCV portfolio, Miller said, “Each one of these opportunities, we will do the same kind of business analysis,” adding, “we see ourselves as being a key part of the Army’s future in combat vehicles and we are going to remain engaged in all of them.” (Source: Defense News)
10 June 19. Russian Army trains with Typhoon-K. The Russian Army has carried out an exercise using the new Typhoon-K mine-resistant ambush protected vehicle for the first time. The exercise, which involved more than 500 troops and up to 50 pieces of hardware, saw a motorised rifle brigade of the 41st combined arms army of the Central Military District, destroy a mock enemy in the foothills of the Western Sayan with the support of army aviation. During the exercise, the Orlan-10 unmanned aerial vehicle was used to conduct ISR in the mountainous area and reveal a convoy of military equipment of the mock enemy. The motorised infantry targeted and destroyed the convoy, while army aviation Mi-8 helicopters provided fire support from the air. (Source: Shephard)
07 June 19. Belgian companies develop new amphibious propulsion kit for M113 APCs. Belgium’s Flanders Technical Supply (FTS) and Syllab International have teamed to propose a new amphibious navigation package for BAE Systems’ M113A2 tracked armoured personnel carrier (APC).
The development of the vehicle, called the M113 Amphibious Combat Vehicle (ACV), is scheduled to be completed around August, the company told Jane’s. The type will be available for production in 2020, it added.
A kit would enable M113A2s to be converted to amphibious-capable APCs with minor modification work, or FTS can supply M113A2+ vehicles pre-fitted with the kit. The company said it has 200 M113A2+ vehicles in stock. The amphibious kit includes a bow attachment, a roof-mounted protection panel for the cooling system, two roof-mounted air intake fans, two side-mounted sea stabilisers, a stern stabilising package, modified driver’s and commander’s cupolas, and two side-mounted water jets near the back of the vehicle. (Source: IHS Jane’s)
07 June 19. Russian MoD to receive upgraded T-80s and T-90s in 2019. The Russian Ministry of Defence (MoD) is set to receive upgraded T-80 and T-90 main battle tanks (MBTs) before the end of the year, Defence Minister Sergei Shoigu said on 4 June. The armed forces will receive more than 400 new and upgraded armoured platforms this year, according to Shoigu. “Among the vehicles to be delivered to the military are T-72B3M [T-72B3 mod 2016], T-80BVM, and T-90M MBTs,” he said, adding that the T-72B3Ms would be fitted with Russian-made sighting and observation systems. The military will also receive refurbished BMP-1AM Basurmanin infantry fighting vehicles (IFVs) this year and the T-15 Armata heavy IFV will be modernised. (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.