Sponsored by MILLBROOK
Tel: +44 (0) 1525 408408
01 Jul 19. Rheinmetall and BAE Systems have today launched a new, independent UK-based joint venture (JV) for military vehicle design, manufacture and support – known as Rheinmetall BAE Systems Land (RBSL). Headquartered in Telford in the West Midlands, the JV will sustain around 450 jobs across the UK and is well positioned for future growth. RBSL intends to play a major role in manufacturing the Boxer 8×8 for the British Army’s Mechanised Infantry Vehicle (MIV) programme and other strategic combat vehicle programmes, while also providing support to the British Army’s in-service bridging and armoured vehicle fleets.
Defence Secretary Penny Mordaunt said: “This announcement is a clear vote of confidence in the UK’s defence industry as a world-leader in designing, supplying and supporting military vehicles. This exciting venture clearly demonstrates how Defence sits at the heart of the prosperity agenda. Its benefits will be felt in the West Midlands and across the UK defence supply chain, creating jobs, boosting exports and guaranteeing our technical skills base into the future.”
RBSL will draw on Rheinmetall’s broader military vehicle technologies combined with the additional capabilities and systems brought to the Joint Venture by BAE Systems’ Land UK business, such as Trojan, Terrier, Warrior, military bridging and the AS90 self-propelled artillery system. RBSL will have the potential to create hundreds of additional UK jobs, both in Telford and the wider supply chain.
Peter Hardisty, formerly of Rheinmetall UK, has been appointed as Managing Director of the new company. He said: “RBSL is a new business drawing on the significant strengths and expertise of both BAE Systems Land UK and Rheinmetall. Our employees in Telford, Bristol, and Washington (UK) have a valuable skill set and extensive experience in combat vehicle engineering. With new orders, we shall be able to sustain these capabilities and expand over the coming years, seeking new opportunities in the UK and overseas.”
The new management team that will lead RBSL into the future also includes Carrie White as Finance Director and Phil Simon as Operations Director, both of whom join from BAE Systems.
Regulatory approval for the joint venture was granted on 13 June 2019.
28 June 19. Forging ahead: Rheinmetall spearheads ongoing consolidation in the military vehicle sector. The high-tech Rheinmetall Group continues to pursue a strategy of industrial consolidation. Now that the competition authorities have given the project the go-ahead, a military vehicle joint venture between Rheinmetall and BAE Systems in the United Kingdom is poised for final implementation.
Moreover, a buyback of shares held by MAN Truck & Bus SE in the joint venture company Rheinmetall MAN Military Vehicles GmbH (RMMV) is set to further strengthen Rheinmetall in the wheeled armoured vehicles realm, one of the Group’s mainstays. The planned partial buyback of stock held by MAN Truck & Bus SE in the joint venture Rheinmetall MAN Military Vehicles GmbH (RMMV) increases the share of the present Tactical Vehicles business unit to 100%. The two partners will continue to cooperate in the field of military trucks through their joint venture Rheinmetall MAN Military Vehicles, in which Rheinmetall holds a 51% stake. The joint venture recently won major orders from Australia and the German Bundeswehr. As co-owners of RMMV, Rheinmetall and MAN agree that the tactical wheeled vehicle business will grow more robustly under exclusive Rheinmetall management, i.e. outside the RMMV framework. The Tactical Vehicles business unit is synonymous with products such as the Boxer and Fuchs/Fox wheeled armoured vehicles and the Survivor R tactical law enforcement vehicle. Rheinmetall was recently selected to supply Her Majesty’s Armed Forces with a large number of 8×8 Boxer armoured vehicles. Last year in Australia, Rheinmetall won a roughly €2.1bn order for the Boxer, one of the largest single contracts in the Group’s history. The share buyback is due to take place during the second half of 2019, taking retroactive legal effect on 1 January 2019.
Joint Venture with BAE Systems in Great Britain
In January 2019 Rheinmetall and BAE Systems announced that they would be setting up a UK-based joint venture to facilitate cooperation in the land systems field. Rheinmetall thus welcomes the recently published announcement of the British procurement authority CMA approving the creation of a military vehicle joint venture between Rheinmetall and BAE Systems. The formal foundation of the joint venture, to be known as Rheinmetall BAE Systems Land, is expected to take place shortly. The company will be located in Telford, England. The new wheeled armoured Mechanised Infantry Vehicle for the British Army, and the pending modernization of the UK’s fleet of Challenger 2 main battle tanks, are two important projects which the new company will be vying for.
Rheinmetall’s Vehicle Systems division
The Vehicle Systems division of Rheinmetall AG was formed on 1 January 2016. With annual sales last year of €1.6bn, it is one of the world’s foremost suppliers of military vehicles. The division is the Düsseldorf-based Group’s centre of excellence for military vehicles ranging from unprotected and protected trucks to heavy armoured fighting vehicles. Serving markets around the globe, the Vehicle Systems division is responsible for Rheinmetall’s complete spectrum of military trucks, including the TG and HX logistic vehicles; tracked and wheeled tactical vehicles like the Fuchs/Fox, Boxer*, Puma* and Lynx; and turret solutions for armoured fighting vehicles – all from a single source.
* jointly produced with other contractors
BATTLESPACE Comment: This announcement undoubtedly consolidates and secures Rheinmetall AG’s position as the leading force for military vehicles in the world. This development may spur consolidation from other companies to strengthen their world positions. Certainly as discussed last week, the strength of the German armoured vehicle industry has skewed Germany’s lead in the Future European Tank project to the detriment of Nexter in France. It is likely that once Brexit is fixed that the Rheinmetall BAE Systems Land organisation will join the European project.
27 June 19. Russia presents new T-15 variant. Rostec subsidiary Uralvagonzavod (UVZ) presented a new variant of the T-15 heavy infantry fighting vehicle (IFV) at the Army 2019 defence exhibition held in Kubinka, close to Moscow, on 25-30 June. This version uses a modified variant of the Kinzhal 57 mm turret developed by TsNII Burevestnik that was shown in 2018. The 2019 Kinzhal turret appears to be a cropped version of the one shown in 2018, with a much smaller side profile, which may be indicative of modifications made to the ammunition stowage and feed systems. The turret also appears to be mounted somewhat higher off the top of the hull than the 2018 Kinzhal, which may be indicative of modifications to allow greater weapon elevation. (Source: IHS Jane’s)
27 June 19. South Korea completes development of 120mm self-propelled mortar system. South Korea has completed development of a 120mm self-propelled mortar system that has been integrated into an M113 tracked armoured personnel carrier (APC). The country’s Defence Acquisition Programme Administration (DAPA) announced in a 27 June statement that the self-propelled system, development of which began in March 2014, has successfully met all the requirements set by the South Korean military following final tests and evaluations.
Developed for the Republic of Korea Army (RoKA) by several South Korean companies, including Hanwha Defense and S&T Dynamics, for KRW 41.3bn (USD35.7m), the integrated mortar system, which can rotate 360°, is stated to have a strike range 2.3 times that of the ageing M30 107 mm rifled mortar it is expected to replace.
The DAPA also revealed that new weapon is equipped with an automated fire control and reloading system. South Korea is also using an M113 variant as a command vehicle for the new system.
The development of this self-propelled mortar system is expected to greatly improve the capabilities of RoKA mechanised troops, a DAPA official was quoted in the statement as saying, adding that Seoul would “actively support” the export of the system to countries interested in acquiring it. (Source: IHS Jane’s)
27 June 19. Rheinmetall Mission Master unmanned ground vehicle shows what it can do at Ammunition Capability Demonstration in South Africa. Several weeks ago, delegations from 53 countries gathered at the Overberg Test Range outside Arniston in South Africa to attend one of the world’s biggest live-fire demonstrations: Ammunition Capability Demonstration 2019 (ACD2019). A wide range of weapons and ammunition were on display, one of which in particular attracted the participants’ attention: a new, weaponized unmanned ground vehicle (UGV) unveiled by Rheinmetall.
Armed with the Rheinmetall Fieldranger Multi weapon station equipped with 70mm rocket launchers from Thales, the newly developed Rheinmetall Mission Master – Protection fired a salvo of 14 rockets, delivering 60 kg of explosives in 1.6 seconds, quite a feat in the land domain. “We are probably the first to use an air-to-ground system in a ground-to-ground role, definitely the first to do it from an UGV”, said Alain Tremblay, Rheinmetall Canada’s vice-president for business development.
After a month of conducting tests and live-fire trials in South Africa with the Mission Master –Protection’s new payload, Rheinmetall was able to field a perfectly mounted and stabilized weapon system at the demo. This achievement was made possible in part by involving an important partner. “Thales demonstrated a very high level of professionalism. Our technical collaboration helped us take a major step forward”, declared Mr Tremblay. With the qualification process complete, the combination of the Fieldranger Multi and the 70mm rocket launcher meets the full array military standards and is now ready to be installed on other types of platforms and armoured vehicles. The Mission Master – Protection can also be mounted with 50mm weapon systems, .50 cal. machine guns and 40mm grenade launchers.
The demonstration carried out at the Overberg Test Range used a remotely controlled system operating in a fully digitised scenario, with fire controlled via the Rheinmetall Argus soldier system – quite possible a world first. Rheinmetall and Thales both stressed the need for a man-in-the-loop configuration, meaning that the operator has full control of the weapon system, from target acquisition through to final fire authorization.
A growing trend for weaponized UGVs
Just as armed unmanned aircraft systems (UAS) have had a revolutionary impact in air warfare, all indications suggest that the number of armed UGVs will continue to grow quickly in ground operations. With field tests taking place around the world, including the deployment in Syria of Russia’s URAN-9 weaponized UGV in May 2018, numerous nations have come to appreciate the potential of armed UGVs. As demonstrated at ACD2019 with the Mission Master-Protection, a weaponized UGV opens up a wide range of new possibilities. While minimizing the risk to friendly forces, it substantially boosts the combat power of dismounted troops by providing close fire support. It can also conduct autonomous high-risk military tasks in today’s complex battlespace.
A versatile and agile platform for multi-mission profiles
Building on a robust base platform, the Mission Master supports troops during dangerous missions, including in difficult terrain and hostile weather conditions. Using a variety of modular, easy-to-install payloads, it not only provides protection on the battlefield, but can also conduct a multitude of other tasks, including logistic transport, surveillance, rescue, fire suppression, CBRN detection as well as serving as a radio relay station.
One of these new payloads was displayed at ACD2019, to the delight of the 800 visitors. Rheinmetall unveiled its Mission Master-Rescue, a new variant capable of autonomously evacuating casualties over long distances. Fitted with two basket stretchers with sliding elements, the rescue UGV also features head and foot immobilizers, oxygen masks and bottles, a defibrillator, and a hot/cold box – a suite of equipment that would be impossible to carry on foot.
Rheinmetall’s development team will continue to work to perfect the Mission Master in 2019. Field trials of the new system will take place throughout the year in Germany, the Netherlands, the UK and the US
25 Jun 19. Russian MoD to receive BTR-82AT APCs. The Russian Ministry of Defence (MoD) is set to receive the first BTR-82AT armoured personnel carriers (APCs) this year, a military source told Jane’s on the first day of the Army 2019 defence exhibition being held in Kubinka near Moscow between 25–30 June. In early April Defence Minister Sergei Shoigu revealed the MoD’s intention to procure the upgraded APCs. “Starting in 2019, all BTR-82As will receive an upgraded fire-control system with a thermal imager and additional ballistic protection,” Shoigu said at an MoD board meeting. Military-Industrial Company (VPK) general director Alexander Krasovitskiy told Jane’s at Army 2019 on 25 June that the BTR-82AT had already completed trials. (Source: IHS Jane’s)
25 Jun 19. Finnish Defence Forces receive first Protolab 6×6. Protected Multi-Purpose Vehicle (PMPV). Protolab Oy is pleased to announce the delivery of the first Protolab 6×6 Protected Multi-Purpose Vehicles (PMPV) to the Finnish Defence Forces (FDF). Protolab is delivering four PMPVs to the FDF under a contract signed in 2018. The vehicles are being put through operational testing by the FDF as part of a wider modernisation programme to upgrade and enhance its armoured vehicle fleet. The Protolab PMPV is exceptionally manoeuvrable and agile and can perform a range of mission roles including patrol, passenger and cargo transport, and command post. Amphibious and MEDIVAC variants are also available. The Protolab PMPV is a first of its kind 6×6 armoured personnel carrier developed to meet the mobility, protection and communication requirements of Special Operations Forces and paramilitary security forces.
The PMPV is designed from the ground up with integrated high level mine protection and ballistic protection according to customer-specified blast protection levels of STANAG 4569. The vehicle can be equipped with various customer required weapon systems.
The vehicle can carry two crew and ten fully-equipped troops, or a cargo payload of up to 10,000kg. Narrower than standard fighting vehicles, the vehicle’s 2.55m width makes it suitable for urban operations, with advanced mobility both on and off-road. Powered by a Cummins 6.7l multifuel engine and meeting Euro 3 emission levels, the vehicle meets EU truck road regulations qualifying it for registration as a N3G class truck (off-road).
These design features make it an ideal fit for the challenges being faced by modern armies.
“We designed the Protolab PMPV 6×6 to meet the requirements of today’s soldier and today’s asymmetric battlefield,” Juha Moisio, Business Development Director, Protolab Oy commented. “With a design approach based around the use of COTS parts with a small proportion of custom-made components, the Protolab PMPV is a cost-effective solution for the range of tasks faced by special operations, security and crisis management forces in the field.
“We are pleased to see the vehicle progressing well through field trials with the FDF and are getting positive feedback from the customer. We are confident that the Protolab PMPV will become the vehicle of choice for customers looking to replace their existing 6×6 vehicle fleets with a modern, protected and flexible solution.”
21 Jun 19. After delay, US Army clears Joint Light Tactical Vehicle for full-rate production. The U.S. Army has approved the Oshkosh-built Joint Light Tactical Vehicle’s transition to full-rate production after a roughly six-month delay, according to a June 21 announcement.
Full-rate production for the JLTV was pushed from an original schedule of December 2018 out to May this year due to a number of changes to the Humvee replacement.
The Army decided to make a series of alterations as the result of soldier feedback, including a larger back window and the addition of a muffler. The approach was designed to minimize the cost and quantity of the vehicles that would need to be retrofitted, the vehicle’s program office told Defense News at the time.
The decision to delay the full-rate production did not stop the service from beginning to field 300 of the new vehicles to the Army’s 1st Brigade, 3rd Infantry Division at Fort Stewart, Georgia, making it the first unit equipped with the vehicle in April 2019.
“We are also grateful for soldier feedback on new features and enhancements,” Jeffrey White, the Army acquisition chief’s principal deputy said in the Army announcement. “The Soldiers of the 1st ABCT, 3rd Infantry Division provided valuable input on enhancements such as increased situational awareness, reduction of system noise, a troop seat kit, and a companion JLTV trailer. Their assessments helped bring us all to a successful Full-Rate Production decision.”
Oshkosh beat out Humvee-maker AM General and Lockheed Martin in 2015 to build the replacement for the Humvee for both the Army and the Marine Corps. The low-rate initial production, or LRIP, contract was worth $6.7bn, and the entire program is estimated to be worth $30bn through 2024.
“Important insights from manufacturing and rigorous developmental and operational test during LRIP contributed to shaping the vehicle’s current configuration,” George Mansfield, vice president and general manager of joint programs for Oshkosh Defense, said in a statement sent to Defense News.
“The program remains on schedule and on budget, and ensures our troops have the protection, connection, and extreme off-road mobility they need today for current and future battlefields. The JLTV is the only light tactical vehicle being fielded today that can maneuver within combat formations,” he said.
At the time of the LRIP award, a total of 49,100 JLTVs were planned for the Army, not including what the Marine Corps is planning to buy as well as a small number for the Air Force and Navy.
The service cut its procurement of the JLTV in its fiscal 2020 budget request by 863 vehicles. The Army procured 3,393 vehicles in FY19 in LRIP but only plans to buy 2,530 vehicles in FY20. The Army originally planned in its FY19 request to buy 3,035 vehicles in FY20.
It is unclear if more cuts will come for the JLTV. Army Secretary Mark Esper said at the time the FY20 budget rolled out that the vehicle was designed and procured in “the context of Afghanistan and Iraq,” and hence was just not as relevant anymore when applied to the fresh National Defense Strategy now guiding Army investment.
“We are certainly cutting the total number” of JLTV procurement, Esper said. “I know that much. But whether it settles out, finals out right here, today, I can’t tell you. In five years, I could maybe have a different number for you.”
While the JLTV was designed for the counterinsurgency fight — a light vehicle with the protection to endure the blast of an improvised explosive device much like mine-resistant, ambush-protected vehicles — Oshkosh has used the JLTV’s highly configurable design to increase firepower options on board a JLTV and to protect it from missile and rocket attacks.
Over the past three years, it integrated remote weapon systems, a lightweight 30mm cannon paired with a 7.62mm coaxial machine gun, a Javelin integration kit, several .50-caliber machine guns, and a lightweight automatic chain gun, among other weapon systems.
The IMI Iron Fist Active Protection System and Rafael’s Trophy Light APS have both been integrated onto JLTVs for evaluation.
And the Boeing Maneuver Short-Range Air Defense launcher, which was not selected by the Army for its interim SHORAD solution, was also integrated onto the JLTV to include an M3P .50-caliber machine gun, M299 launcher with four Longbow Hellfire missiles, a sensor suite, and a communications suite with the Thales VRC-111.
Now that the Army has approved full-rate production for the JLTV, it is anticipated Foreign Military Sales prospects could begin more rapid materialization. Slovenia has already placed an order for a small number of JLTVs, and it’s likely the United Kingdom as well as Lithuania will be future customers. (Source: Defense News)
————————————————————————-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.