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04 Jul 19. France’s first Griffon VBMR accepted from Nexter. French Defence Minister Florence Parly accepted the first Griffon 6×6 multirole armoured vehicle (Véhicule Blindé Multi-Rôles: VBMR) on behalf of the French Army on 4 July in a ceremony at the Satory plant of Nexter, the vehicle’s manufacturer. France has placed a total order of 1,872 Griffons under the Synergie du Contact Renforcée par la Polyvalence et l’infovalorisation (SCORPION) programme, which was launched in 2014, and is France’s plan to modernise the French Army’s ageing vehicle fleet. The Griffon is the largest vehicle order in the programme, with the other main vehicle ordered being the Jaguar 6×6 reconnaissance vehicle. The Griffon is to replace the French Army’s 2,661-strong Véhicule de l’avant blindé (VAB) fleet, which has been in service since 1978. (Source: IHS Jane’s)
05 Jul 19. Plan Beersheba, LAND 400 and a third way. The Australian Army’s joint LAND 400 program provides the opportunity to reshape and reorganise the combat formation of the Army to better support the combat capability of the Army, with a focus on developing a highly mobile, hardened and networked land forces, explains Jeremy Carpenter.
In 2018, Australian academic Ben Coleman published Project LAND 400: Defining the Army, which grappled with some of the key issues involved in the Australian Army’s LAND 400 Project to replace its existing fleet of armoured fighting vehicles (AFVs) at a projected cost of $14-20bn.
In his report, Coleman recognises that LAND 400 is not just about replacing the Army’s ageing Australian light armoured vehicles (ASLAVs) and M113 armoured personnel carriers (APCs), with AFVs more suitable for current and projected threat environments but will in fact define how the Australian Army is structured and will fight over the next three decades. Beyond the staggering financial costs involved in selecting, manufacturing and sustaining a projected force of up to 700 AFVs, it is critical for the Australian Army to reconsider how effectively the proposed LAND 400 buy fits with the original flexible intent of Plan Beersheba.
Plan Beersheba was launched in 2011 with the objective of reorganising the Australian Army’s three dissimilar brigades (mechanised, motorised and light infantry) into three similar combined-arms multi-role combat brigades (MCBs) compromised of two standard infantry battalions (SIBs), an armoured cavalry regiment (ACR) with organic armoured, cavalry and mounted combat lift capabilities, along with the usual supporting elements of artillery, signals, combat engineers and combat service support units.
This reorganisation was based on both an analysis of combined arms warfare throughout the 20th century and the Australian Army’s experience of practising combined arms warfare in both low and high-intensity combat operations. This allows for a 36-month ready-readying-reset cycle in which one brigade in constantly ready for operations, another readying to replace it, and the third in reset after its ready cycle.
Cognisant of recent experience in low-intensity combat in Afghanistan and Iraq, it has been widely recognised that even in lower-threat environments, insurgent and terrorist actors have available to them weaponry that poses a serious threat to forces that lack protected mobility.
The bottom line, Australian forces deployed with armour protected vehicles stand a better chance of minimising casualties across all conflict scenarios, whilst better-armed and protected AFVs and tanks operating in concert will increase the protection, firepower and mobility of MCBs engaged in offensive operations. LAND 400 was initiated in order to provide this capability, with four phases covering: 1) project definition, 2) acquisition of combat reconnaissance vehicles (CRV), 3) acquisition of infantry fighting vehicles (IFV), and 4) support and training.
However, as Coleman points out, the Australian Army is more likely to be called upon for lower-intensity regional scenarios such as peacekeeping or stabilisation operations requiring a higher degree of strategic deployability and flexibility rather than high-intensity coalition warfare scenarios. This is where the 2017 changes to Plan Beersheba present significant challenges to developing a force structure that will be flexible, deployable and effective for the majority of likely deployment scenarios, whilst still maintaining a credible Army capability to engage in high-intensity warfare if called upon to do so.
These changes saw the original Plan Beersheba force structure of two standard infantry battalions, supported by an APC squadron in the ACR and a protected mobility vehicle platoon in the combat service support battalion restructured into two dissimilar infantry battalions, one mechanised and one motorised, with the ACR restructured with one armoured and two reconnaissance squadrons.
Although this restructure would lessen training demands and streamline command and control of mechanised and motorised battlegroups, this presents problems for the strategic and operational flexibility of the MCBs standing ready battle group (RBG) formed around one of its infantry battalions, if it is called upon to conduct either low or high-intensity combat operations.
If the RBG was the brigade’s mechanised battalion and is called upon to for low-intensity scenarios, its strategic and operational deployability may constrain its ability to do so, due to the heavy weight of projected LAND 400 AFVs, both for their strategic deployment and tactical mobility in areas lacking the transport infrastructure to support their weight. Conversely, if the RBG was the brigade’s motorised battalion, and deployment into a major combat operation was required, its capacity to execute such operations would be limited by their reduced conventional warfighting capability.
This could also impact upon attempts to develop a standardised concept of operations (CONOPS) for the ground combat element (GCE) of the ADF’s amphibious ready group (ARG), which would notionally be the RBG. This reorganisation also fails to clarify how these two dissimilar and specialised infantry battalions will be used in conjunction with the Army’s aviation assets for airmobile and air assault operations.
The flexibility originally aspired to under Plan Beersheba is therefore compromised by this restructure, yet it is not too late to consider an alternative force structure. One that would provide the MRBs with greater strategic and operational flexibility for low-intensity scenarios whilst still maintaining a higher-end mechanised capability for decisive shock action in major combat operations.
This would also be more consistent with the first iteration of Plan Bersheeba. This is still possible as the RFT to acquire up to 450 infantry fighting vehicles (IFVs) under LAND 400 Phase 3 has only recently seen four bids from European, American and South Korean contenders confirmed, meaning Army still has time to consider an alternative force structure that provides significant combat weight whilst increasing its strategic and operational flexibility.
This restructure would be made possible by standardising both MCB infantry battalions, each equipped with a complement of PMVs crewed by the Royal Australian Corps of Transport (RACT) and by raising organic mechanised infantry elements within the ACR. This would provide the infantry battalions with organic protected mobility, enabling flexibility to be deployed as motorised and/or airmobile infantry as well as allowing for greater strategic and operational deployability. This would be complemented by a restructure of the brigade ACRs along the lines of the Norwegian Army’s Telemark Battalion. This battalion is structured around one armoured squadron, one cavalry squadron, two mechanised infantry companies and a staff and support squadron.
As Australian ACR structured along these lines would employ the Boxer CRVs acquired under LAND 400 Phase 2 in a reinforced reconnaissance squadron, whilst requiring a significantly lower number of IFVs spread across two mechanised squadrons than the 450 IFVs currently envisioned under Phase 3. As a mechanised infantry unit with significant organic firepower courtesy of its IFVs, the manoeuvre support teams (MST) found in regular infantry platoons wouldn’t be required, which would serve to offset somewhat the increased number of infantry required across the MCBs under this restructure. Fourteen IFVs should be sufficient per mechanised squadron, with 28 per ACR and 84 across the three MCBs.
Taking into account the additional number of IFVs required for training, attrition and maintenance cycles, alongside potential mortar, logistics and amphibious variants, around 200 IFVs could provide this capability under the proposed restructure. This is less than half the number envisioned under Phase 3, projected to cost $10-15 billion.
Defence and Army would be wise to consider the opportunity costs that would be afforded by the smaller Phase 3 acquisition proposed under this restructure. One which provides Army with a much greater level of strategic and operational flexibility, whilst still retaining a credible capability for decisive shock action in high-intensity combat operations. (Source: Defence Connect)
25 June 19.
Asked by Mr Mark Francois
(Rayleigh and Wickford)
Asked on: 25 June 2019
Ministry of Defence
Warrior Armoured Vehicle
To ask the Secretary of State for Defence, whether she has plans to cancel the Warrior Capability Upgrade Programme; and if she will make a statement.
Answered by: Stuart Andrew
Answered on: 01 July 2019
The capability the Warrior Capability Sustainment Programme will deliver constitutes a crucial part of the Army’s planned modernised Armoured Infantry Brigade. There are no plans to cancel it.
03 Jul 19. Russia unveils Barnaul-T complex elements. NPP Rubin, a division of the ROSEL Concern, has unveiled the MP-D and MRU-D air-droppable amphibious command-and-control (C2) vehicles, which form part of the Barnaul-T air automated air defence C2 system. The vehicles are intended for Russia’s Airborne Forces (VDV), and are based on the BTR-MDM ‘Rakushka’ armoured personnel carrier (APC) chassis. They were revealed at the Army 2019 defence and security exhibition, held in Kubinka, outside of Moscow, in June. The MRU-D is referred to as the “intelligence and control module”, and it is provided with a radar said to be capable of detecting targets at a maximum range of 40 km, and capable of simultaneously tracking up to 100 different targets, with an automatic refresh rate of 1–12 seconds, according to a factsheet displayed with the vehicle. (Source: IHS Jane’s)
03 Jul 19. Lithuania receives first Boxer armoured vehicles. Lithuania received its first two Boxer infantry fighting vehicles (IFVs) on 25 June, its Ministry of Defence (MoD) announced on its website on 1 July. Following a year of trials in training areas and testing centres in Germany and the Netherlands, production of the vehicles, designated as Vilkas (‘Wolf’) by Lithuania, has begun, the ministry added. Krauss-Maffei Wegmann-Rheinmetall joint venture ARTEC is producing the IFVs according to the requirements of the Lithuanian Armed Forces, with Orbital ATK Armament Systems’ MK44 30 mm cannons and Spike Long-Range (LR) anti-tank missiles installed in Rafael Advanced Defense Systems Samson Mk II remote weapon stations, plus other specialised equipment and electronics. The MoD said 15 Vilkas would be delivered to Lithuania in 2019 and all 89 vehicles would be delivered by the end of 2021. Lithuania signed a EUR385.6m (USD435.4m) contract with ARTEC and the Organisation for Joint Armament Cooperation (OCCAR) in 2016 for 89 Vilkas IFVs. The vehicles will replace M113s in the Lithuanian Army’s Iron Wolf Mechanised Infantry Brigade’s Grand Duke Algirdas and Grand Duchess Birute Uhlan battalions starting this year. The Lithuanian MoD told Jane’s on 3 July that the units would train on the IFVs in 2019-20. Drivers have already been training on two Boxer driver training versions (DTVs) since 2017. (Source: IHS Jane’s)
03 Jul 19. UK tank upgrade decision delayed. A production decision on the Challenger 2 Life Extension Project (LEP) has been delayed by the UK Ministry of Defence (MoD) for two years to allow further work to study whether to incorporate a new gun, sensors, and turret into the British Army’s main battle tank (MBT). Ministry sources told Jane’s on 2 July that “approval has been given for the Challenger 2 Life Extension Programme to undertake additional assessment phase work”. It had been intended that the ministry sign off the production decision for the Challenger 2 LEP earlier this year, but the scope of the project has now been expanded from just addressing obsolescence issues to look at “lethality and survivability”.(Source: News Now/IHS Jane’s)
02 Jul 19. BAE Systems’ AMPV deliveries are “on schedule.” BAE Systems and the US Army are currently in the AMPV LRIP phase. New quality control measures may be hampering BAE Systems’ ability to deliver M109A7 self-propelled howitzers to the US Army in a timely fashion, but the service said similar problems are not occurring with the low-rate initial production (LRIP) of the Armored Multi-Purpose Vehicle (AMPV).
Ashley John, the public affairs director for the army’s Program Executive Office for Ground Combat Systems, recently told Jane’s that the AMPV programme “has not experienced quality control issues in LRIP” and the company is on track to deliver more vehicles than initially planned.
“The AMPV program is currently poised to deliver over 450 vehicles during (LRIP) against an initial plan of 289 vehicles,” John wrote in a 25 June email. “These additional vehicles will begin fielding to Europe and (Continental United States) units in the timeframes directed by army leadership. At this time, all vehicles are on schedule.”
AMPV is slated to replace the army’s M113 family of vehicles with five configurations – general purpose, mission command, mortar carrier, medical evacuation, and medical treatment vehicles – that will move through a production line at BAE Systems’ York, Pennsylvania facility at the same time.
The company is also using this facility to manufacture an array of other combat vehicles including the army’s new howitzer and the US Marine Corps’ (USMC’s) Amphibious Combat Vehicle. Over the past couple of years, quality control issues have cropped up at the York facility, and in 2017 welding problems on the howitzer line resulted in a six-month delivery halt. While the army and company both told Jane’s that these past howitzer welding problems have largely been solved, these fixes are currently causing howitzer delivery delays. (Source: IHS Jane’s)
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 Jun 19. Leonardo DRS to Integrate On-Board Vehicle Power Systems on THAAD Vehicles. Leonardo DRS, Inc. announced today that it has been selected by the U.S. Army to demonstrate its On-Board Vehicle Power (OBVP) technology on Terminal High Altitude Area Defense (THAAD) missile battery command and control, and launcher vehicles. The system improvements will give air defense operators immediate access to electrical power directly from a vehicle’s power train.
Under the contract, the Leonardo DRS Land Electronics business will integrate OBVP systems into THAAD Family of Medium Tactical Vehicles that will serve as demonstrators for the U.S. Missile Defense Agency and Army.
The technology is designed to meet the DoD’s growing power needs. The OBVP systems are integrated within the vehicle’s transmission to generate up to 55kW of usable electrical power while on the move or up to 120kW of usable electrical power while stationary. This integrated power system enables the Mission Equipment Package payload without taking up valuable space like Auxiliary Power Units, Tunnel / Skid mounted Generators or tow-behind generators. The Leonardo DRS OBVP system has proven it can increase battlefield agility, reduce deployment logistics costs, and improve mission readiness with no impact on vehicle functionality.
“This proven system is designed to provide our customers with a solution to address the growing electrical power gap affecting all military ground vehicle platforms,” said Bill Guyan, vice president and general manager of DRS Land Electronics. “Leonardo DRS and our partner, Allison Transmission, have been long-time believers in OBVP technology. We look forward to delivering this technology to the Army to give warfighters numerous power options in the field where the power gap will only increase,” Guyan said.
A 2016 U.S. Army Tank Automotive Research, Development and Engineering Center (TARDEC) Vehicle to Grid (V2G) study reported a 23% fuel savings over Tactical Quiet Generators when employing OBVP technology for grid power.
Initially developed in 2008, Leonardo DRS OBVP systems have successfully performed in various technical demonstrations and evaluations to include the Army Expeditionary Warfare Experiment, Network Integration Evaluation and the U.S. Marine Corps Limited User Test. Leonardo DRS OBVP technology maturity is ready to address mission-assured power requirements.
Leonardo DRS, partnered with Allison Transmission, will jointly provide existing OBVP systems based on the Allison 3200 SP transmission and will develop an OBVP system for the Allison 4500 SP transmission. Both systems will support the THAAD vehicles used for command and control and missile launchers.
01 Jul 19. BAE and Rheinmetall launch combat vehicle JV. One of Europe’s largest military vehicle groups aims to capitalise on investment. The venture hopes to win work to upgrade the Challenger tank. BAE Systems and German partner Rheinmetall launched a combat vehicles joint venture on Monday with the aim of capitalising on what the industry hopes will be a period of much-needed investment in the sector. The joint venture, called Rheinmetall BAE Systems Land, will be one of Europe’s largest military vehicle groups. Under the terms of the agreement, first announced in January, BAE has sold a 55 per cent stake to its German counterpart for £28.6m, a move it said would preserve some 450 jobs as well as vital engineering capabilities in Britain. Speaking at the venture’s launch at its headquarters in Telford in the West Midlands, Penny Mordaunt, Britain’s defence secretary, said it was a “clear vote of confidence in the UK’s defence industry as a world-leader in designing, supplying and supporting military vehicles”. The combined company will initially design and manufacture vehicles primarily for the UK, including the new Military Infantry Vehicle (MIV) Boxer for the British Army and hope to be successful in a competition to upgrade the Challenger tank.
BAE and Rheinmetall were originally competing against each other for the Challenger upgrade contract. Peter Hardisty, formerly of Rheinmetall UK who has taken over as managing director of the new company, said it was “by no means a shoo-in” to win the contract. Under its proposal, most of the work would be done in the UK but the upgraded tank would have a German smoothbore cannon, he said. A range of programmes to update Britain’s combat armoured capability are under way after years of under-investment. Ms Mordaunt last month said the UK had fallen behind its allies in key armoured combat vehicle capabilities. “The future may look very different in years to come, but meantime, while armour is relevant it must be capable, and we must be competitive. We have not been,” said Ms Mourdaunt. “Challenger 2 has been in service without a major upgrade since 1998. During this time the US, Germany and Denmark have completed two major upgrades, whilst Russia has fielded five new variants with a sixth pending,” she said. “Warrior [the Army’s infantry fighting vehicle] is even more obsolete, and is 20 years older than those operated by our key allies,” Ms Mordaunt added. “There has been next to no drive from the Army to invest in anything not related to Afghanistan,” said Francis Tusa, editor of monthly newsletter Defence Analysis. “Neither the MoD nor the services put any money into the armoured vehicle sector . . . The land sector was regarded more as a commercial sector where you can just go and buy kit,” he added. (Source: FT.com)
27 June 19. Russia eager to prove recent conflicts improved its robots. When it comes to selling a second generation of war robots, it helps for them to have combat experience. At Russia’s Army 2019 Exposition, where the nation showcases its latest in military hardware, designs ranged from hand-tossed drones to high-flying ISR platforms to optionally manned armored vehicles. On display, too, are claims of machines that saw action in Syria and have been refitted based on lessons learned.
“Kalashnikov is having a field day,” said Samuel Bendett, an adviser at the Center for Naval Analyses, referring to the Russian defense company that inherited the brand name of the famous assault rifle. At the Army 2019 expo, Kalashnikov introduced the Lancet short-duration loitering munition (Kalashnikov introduced another suicide drone earlier this year.) In addition, the company announced it will work with the Ministry of Defense to develop an entire lineup of unmanned ground vehicles based on the existing Soratnik UGV.
“It was announced earlier that Soratnik was tested in conditions ‘approximating’ those of Syria,” said Bendett, “and we should not discount the possibility that it was actually in Syria. It will be interesting to see what UGV lineup Kalashnikov will come up with, given great interest from the MOD toward unmanned military systems.”
Also on display was the Uran-9, an armed combat robot that reportedly saw action in Syria (and encountered its own share of troubles), before being adopted by the Russian military earlier this year.
“Uran-9 ‘supposedly’ was fixed after its 2018 Syrian debacle — its manufacturer claimed earlier that all issues stemming from that test were ‘solved,’” said Bendett. “There have been official announcements that it will be accepted into service. Apparently, following its Syrian debut, it now features a more lethal weapons pack. In reality, the only way to prove if such issues were solved is to see it in actual combat — so we’ll watch for that, if it happens.”
Another way to get new robotic war machines is to convert crewed vehicles into optionally crewed ones. That’s the case with the Paladin UGV, built on the body of the BMP-3 armored personnel carrier and outfitted with cannons and machine guns.
“Official announcements point that it can be remotely piloted or work in an autonomous role, and there are seats for a full crew if that becomes necessary,” said Bendett. The autonomous mode for now suggests waypoint navigation, which is a common autonomous feature of drones. It will be interesting to see what role remote driving plays in the platform’s existing fire support, line breaking, and personnel transportation roles. And, as with any autonomous vehicle built to carry people, if the occupants inside will be comfortable without an onboard human driver.
On the opposite end of the spectrum, Russia’s Eniks is displaying the Veer quadcopter. Eniks already makes the Eleron-3 and Eleron-7 fixed-wing drones. The Veer quadcopter will fall into the same roles quadcopters are assuming in regular and irregular militaries across the globe, providing a nimble and simple overhead scout. Veer, in particular, is sold as designed for urban ISR and warfare, drawing from the experience of the Russian military in Syria.
“Russian military districts are now starting to use quadcopters in their CONOPS,” said Bendett, a Fellow in Russia Studies at the American Foreign Policy Council, “so this practice is going to grow.”
In the field of discrete fixed-wing drones, Army 2019 showcased an owl-shaped dronestraight out of the uncanny valley. While the new model looks at a glance more like a living bird than last year’s cartoonish, styrofoam-bodied predecessor, neither are particularly convincing if observed for more than a second. Still, that second may be enough, if opposing forces aren’t actively looking for robots that vaguely resemble owls.
Animal-shaped machines aside, the overarching theme of Army 2019 is how Russia’s recent conflicts factor into planning for future war.
“Many unmanned systems present reflect Russian military experience in Syria, where a number models like Uran-6 were tested,” said Bendett. “Such technology development also indicates MOD’s growing interest in unmanned tech as the next phase of war. General Gerasimov indicated last year that Syria represented the ‘contours of future war’ where unmanned and robotic systems were used extensively.” (Source: C4ISR magazine)
30 June 19. Russian VDV trials Mars A-800 UGV. Russia’s Airborne Forces (VDV) are testing the Mars A-800 logistics unmanned ground vehicle (UGV), a source from the military service told Jane’s at the Army 2019 defence exhibition held in Kubinka near Moscow from 25-30 June.
“The Mars A-800 utility tracked robot is now passing through the trials being conducted by the VDV,” said the source. “The platform has already passed through some tests conducted at a range of the Ryazan Airborne Troops School.”
The Mars A-800 has been developed by the Ryasan-based Design Bureau Aurora. The UGV is designed to provide battlefield support to an airborne motor rifle squad and can transport up to six fully equipped soldiers.
The Mars A-800 weighs 950 kg and can carry a 500 kg payload. The UGV can attain a maximum speed of up to 35 km/h and can cross water obstacles at 5km/h. It can be operated at temperatures between -40°C and +40°C and is controlled by a single operator via radio channel. (Source: IHS Jane’s)
02 Jul 19. New Zealand gives approval for acquisition of new military vehicles. The New Zealand Government has approved two projects to procure high-mobility utility light vehicles and protected vehicle mediums to replace the existing vehicles that have reached the end of their life. The cabinet decision marks the beginning of the first phase of the Protected Mobility project, which is intended to replace the New Zealand Defence Force’s operational Pinzgauer and Unimog vehicles.
New Zealand Defence Minister Ron Mark said: “Vehicles that protect our people when they move around in hostile environments are vital. Our current fleet of vehicles have reached the end of their life and it’s time to replace them.”
The defence ministry is contemplating the procurement of the Polaris MRZR for the Light Vehicles.
Polaris MRZR, which is produced by Polaris Industries, is a militarised version of the side-by-side all-terrain vehicle.
The vehicle has the capability to carry up to four troops and cargo. Additionally, it can be airlifted by aircraft and helicopters.
Mark noted that the MRZR is expected to replace existing quad bikes and other small vehicles.
The procurement of these vehicles aims to provide greater mobility, safety and versatility to the country’s rapidly deployable mobile forces.
Under the second project, the ministry will seek to buy up to 43 protected vehicle mediums to provide the Army with similar levels of capability and protection delivered by the Bushmaster vehicles to the Special Forces.
Mark added: “For this project, defence is working with the Australian Defence Force and related suppliers to examine whether further cooperation on this class of vehicle is the best way forward for New Zealand. I will bring a firm proposal to cabinet next year.”
The defence ministry is looking for vehicles that can perform operational tasks such as troop transport, command and communications, and casualty evacuation.
The government has set aside NZD18.6m ($12.49m) for the procurement of high-mobility utility light vehicles.
The funding will also be used to conduct trials and risk reduction work to support future procurements under the Protected Mobility project.
Mark further stated that the objective of these trials is to test the vehicle performance and see if the vehicles support the country’s Network Enabled Army programme. The Protected Mobility project, which aims to improve the New Zealand Defence Force’s land mobility capability, will be carried out in three phases. (Source: army-technology.com)
01 Jul 19. Rheinmetall, BAE consummate armored-vehicles joint venture. Germany’s Rheinmetall and Britain’s BAE Systems on Monday launched their U.K.-based military vehicles joint venture, after British authorities approved the deal in mid-June, the companies announced. The new outfit is named RBSL, short for Rheinmetall BAE Systems Land, and it’s based in Telford, West Midlands. Peter Hardisty, formerly of Rheinmetall UK, is the company’s managing director.
The joint venture sets out to “play a major role” in manufacturing the Boxer multirole fighting vehicle for the British Mechanised Infantry Vehicle program, according to a Rheinmetall statement. Official also have an eye on “other strategic combat vehicle programs” in addition to maintenance contracts for the British Army’s bridging- and armored-vehicle fleets, according to the company.
“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,” Defence Secretary Penny Mordaunt was quoted as saying in the statement. “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.”
Some might think it was anything but.
That’s because the news also means Britain has lost its only big-name, armored-vehicle company in a joint venture where BAE is the junior partner. As a result, the country no longer has a domestically controlled mainstream vehicle supplier — although some would argue BAE forfeited that role a while ago.
The British company retains significant armored-vehicle design and build activities in the United States and Sweden.
General Dynamics UK, Lockheed Martin UK and Rheinmetall now have significant investments in Britain’s armored-vehicle sector, with British involvement primarily led by specialist designers and builders like Supacat and Jankel and a still-vibrant sector supply chain.
It’s a far cry from 2004 when BAE acquired key domestic manufacturer Alvis, trumping an acquisition bid from General Dynamics with a last-minute offer of £355m (U.S. $451m) that was largely seen as a strategic move. At the time, most of the British Army’s armored vehicle fleet was designed and supplied by Alvis.
But that’s dramatically changed. General Dynamics has recently started supplying its Ajax family of tracked reconnaissance vehicles to the Army in what is the biggest deal in the sector in three decades. Final assembly and testing takes place at company facilities in South Wales.
Lockheed Martin is leading the program to update the Warrior infantry fighting vehicle as well as supply turrets for the Ajax program from a factory in southern England.
Rheinmetall is a partner in the Artec consortium selected without competition to supply Britain with the eight-wheel drive Boxer vehicle. The vehicle was nominated as the preferred option last year but a final production deal between RBSL and the Ministry of Defence has yet to be announced.
Rheinmetall and BAE have also been vying to supply a major upgrade of the Challenger 2 main battle tank for the British Army.
Mordaunt recently labeled the Challenger as “obsolete” due to the ministry’s failure to keep pace with technological advances in the sector.
In a speech to the Royal United Services Institute think tank last month, she said Britain had fallen behind it’s allies and rivals due to underinvestment in the armored vehicle sector.
A decision on the Challenger update program is expected shortly.
However, recent signals from the MoD suggest the Army may have got its wish to fall into line with other NATO members and go for the German company’s solution of a new turret and 120mm smoothbore gun to replace the rifled weapon currently fitted to the Challenger 2.
BAE’s weapons and ammunition activities in the U.K. are excluded from the deal, as is the CTAI joint venture with Nexter to build a new 40mm cannon. (Source: glstrade.com/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.