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29 Aug 19. Supacat showcases Light Role Vehicle at DSEi. Users describe vehicle as ‘in a class of its own.’ New engine and chassis upgrade. Supacat, the UK headquartered Special Forces vehicle developer, is showcasing its Light Role Vehicle at DSEi 2019. LRV offers unrivalled performance in terrain access, range and operator comfort. Its low weight and packaging offers a genuine `Fly / Drive` tactical capability utilising current in-service aviation assets for rapid intervention operations, while maintaining excellent payload capacity. Building on Supacat’s experience in building world class high mobility vehicles, the Light Role Vehicle has been designed to deliver exceptional off road performance lowering user fatigue, reducing cognitive burden and enabling the operator to arrive at their objective fit to fight. Supacat’s ongoing design work has upgraded LRV with a new engine and chassis to provide an optimised mix of bespoke and COTS components. This delivers an extended platform life with ease of supportability and standardisation across the LRV variants in order to minimise the through life cost and training burden. The design approach also considers ease of manufacture and maintenance. The Supacat LRV platform is highly modular and offers a range of configuration options to suit a variety of environmental conditions, threat levels and crew requirements. All variants use a common chassis and driveline with customers able to specify modular elements of the vehicle such as open or closed cabs, seating layout, load platform and weapon systems.
LRV also has the unique feature of being convertible between 6×6 and 4×4, offering users the flexibility to reconfigure the vehicle to meet different operational requirements within hours by the addition or removal of a 3rd axle module.
“The feedback from our current specialist customer base has been extremely positive and users describe the vehicles as `in a class of its own`,” said Ben Gaffney, Head of New Programmes, Supacat. “Users love the HMT. The LRV offers the same level of quality and off road capability, in a smaller and more compact vehicle.”
LRV is ITAR free and can be supported via Supacat’s existing globally available spares network. LRV has been developed with a common user interface to its Supacat HMT `Jackal` to maximise inter-operability and minimise training.
DSEi, London 10-13 Sept 2019
Stand No: N9-350
29 Aug 19. Supacat launches latest HMT Extenda variant at DSEi. Supacat, the UK headquartered Special Forces vehicle developer, is showing the most advanced version of its world leading special forces vehicle, the HMT Extenda Mk2, for the first time at DSEi 2019. This latest variant offers a step change in capability and payload capacity with an enhanced suspension system enabling gross vehicle weight to increase to 12,000kg from 10,500kg, and increase crew seating to six from four.
The Extenda is a variant of Supacat’s successful HMT (High Mobility Transporter) platform, which is operated by Special Forces around the world. The Norwegian Armed Forces are the first customer for the upgraded HMT Extenda Mk2.
Supacat has undertaken a rigorous and extensive programme of trials to Verify and Validate the performance of the system. As well as reliability and durability trialling at the Supacat test facility, the vehicle has successfully completed a 12,500km tour of Australia in order to confirm reliability and performance over long distances.
“The innovations to the HMT platform on the latest Extenda deliver increased capability and superior payload and performance. Our user feedback indicates that the vehicle has exceeded expectations, allowing them to do things they’d previously thought not possible”, said Phil Applegarth, Head of Supacat.
The chassis is now STANAG compliant for recovery purposes and a 6.7 litre Cummins diesel engine comes as standard. The blast and ballistic protection option can now be integrated at the factory build stage.
In line with Supacat’s modular design philosophy the latest Extenda provides for a range of configuration options from the factory in addition to the flexibility to re-role the base platform throughout the lifetime of the vehicle with a variety of mission modules and protection levels to meet changing demands. HMT Extenda has the unique capability of being operated as a 4×4 or 6×6 wheel drive vehicle thanks to a removable 3rd axle.
DSEi, London 10-13 Sept 2019
Stand No: N9-350
29 Aug 19. Rheinmetall to exhibit at DSEI 2019. Rheinmetall will be exhibiting at Defence and Security Equipment International (DSEI) 2019, the leading London trade fair which runs between September 10th and 13th.
True to the motto “Force Protection is our Mission”, Rheinmetall will be on hand with a representative selection of products from its extensive portfolio.
The new independent UK-based joint venture for military vehicle design, manufacture and support, Rheinmetall BAE Systems Land (RBSL), will be exhibiting for the first time. The joint venture was founded by Rheinmetall and BAE Systems on July 1st 2019. Headquartered in Telford in the West Midlands, the joint venture 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 tactical vehicle fleets – among them the Modular Bridging System which is RBSL’s proposed solution to the UK MOD’s Project Tyro.
At the Rheinmetall stand at DSEI, a Boxer infantry group variant will be on display. Rheinmetall will also be demonstrating its expertise in tactical combat vehicles upgrade programmes. On show is the Group’s demonstrator for the Challenger 2 Life Extension Project (LEP).
Robotics are already changing the battlefield of the future today. Thanks to its modular design, Rheinmetall’s unmanned Mission Master vehicle can be adapted to a wide range of applications. The Cargo, Rescue and Protection versions will be presented at DSEI.
As a leading supplier for soldier systems, sensors, effectors, networking and C4I systems, Rheinmetall sets extraordinary standards in the digitisation of armed forces. The Düsseldorf-based specialist for security and mobility continues to widen its lead in the soldier system market with solutions like Argus New Generation and Gladius 2.0. At DSEI 2019, Rheinmetall’s Lance medium-calibre turret will be networked with the Gladius soldier system. This is achieved via the cutting-edge TacNet command and control system.
The Group is allocating considerable space to its force protection solutions, which range from hard ballistic inserts for bullet-resistant vests to state-of-the-art standoff active protection systems for armoured vehicles. For the first time in Europe, Rheinmetall is showcasing its Hybrid Protection Module. Combining active and passive protection technology, it can be integrated into vehicles.
Rheinmetall’s comprehensive expertise in the air defence domain is also on show at DSEI 2019, embodied in its innovative Skynex system. The Skynex configuration on display at London features the remotely operated, network-capable Oerlikon Revolver Gun Mk3 bolstered by a Sentinel interceptor drone.
Rheinmetall also numbers among the world’s foremost suppliers in the field of training and simulation, where it makes a crucial contribution to enhancing the operational effectiveness of numerous armed forces and law enforcement agencies. Rheinmetall will also be showcasing its Osiris software for command and staff training and operational research as well as its new “Total Ship Training” system, an integrated simulation-based approach for training entire ships’ crews ashore.
Furthermore, at DSEI 2019 Rheinmetall is presenting its comprehensive expertise in practically every capability category. Among other things, these include the Group’s weapon and ammunition systems that are a match for the latest threats, enabling a swift, scalable response; and innovative, network-capable sensors for applications on land, at sea and in the air. We look forward to seeing you at DSEI 2019 at our stand S7-200.
29 Aug 19. Significant Warrior CSP Milestone Achievement for Lockheed Martin UK. Lockheed Martin successfully completes anchor milestone of 20 Battlefield Mission assessments for its Warrior Capability Sustainment Programme. The Warrior Capability Sustainment Programme (WCSP) has recently completed a significant programme milestone – Lockheed Martin jointly with Armoured Trials and Development Unit (ATDU) crew have covered over 5,000 kilometers and fired thousands of ammunition rounds to achieve 20 Battlefield Mission assessments. Lockheed Martin UK successfully completed 20 Battlefield Mission (BFM) assessments earlier this month, proving the reliability, lethality and game-changing capabilities of WCSP. BFMs are a key element of the enduring Reliability Growth Tests (RGT), which are made up of a combination of Qualification and Verification (Q&V) activities and representative BFMs – by the time the development programme comes to a conclusion the vehicles will have travelled the equivalent distance of a return journey from the North to the South Pole.
Lee Fellows, Warrior Capability Sustainment Programme Director at Lockheed Martin said: “The programme is at an exciting point – we are six months into RGT and continuing to achieve all our milestones and commitments as agreed with our customer. I’m proud to lead a programme that will bring our British warfighting capability into modern times – our armed forces have some of the world’s most skilled and capable soldiers who know how to get the job done and do it well. “Working in collaboration with our Defence Equipment and Support customer, Lockheed Martin plays a key role in helping to modernise the British Army; providing a critical capability which will serve for decades to come”.
WCSP addresses key capability gaps faced by the legacy vehicle. Once in-service, the significantly enhanced capability will change the way the British Army operates, enabling soldiers to carry out tasks in an even safer, and more modern environment. The key upgrade being delivered by Lockheed Martin is the ability to fire-on-the-move with the new CT40 stabilised cannon. The new digital turret will not only upgrade the lethality of the platform, but the enhanced situational awareness will provide soldiers with a full picture of the battlespace. Whist trials are ongoing at Bovington, with the vehicles continuing to undergo Q&V activity and complete more BFMs, Lockheed Martin is set to showcase one of the WCSP demonstration vehicles at DSEi next month.
29 Aug 19. Upgraded Warrior completes 20 battlefield missions. Key Points:
- Six WCSP prototypes have completed the first 20 battlefield missions as part of the UK Ministry of Defence’s (MoD’s) reliability growth tests
- The battlefield missions are designed to demonstrate the upgraded vehicle’s ability to meet the missions required of it by the MoD
Lockheed Martin UK’s Warrior Capability Sustainment Programme (WCSP) prototypes have completed the first 20 battlefield missions as part of the UK Ministry of Defence’s (MoD’s) Reliability Growth Tests, programme director Lee Fellows told Jane’s on 22 August.
The six prototype Warrior infantry fighting vehicles (IFVs) upgraded under the WCSP have been undergoing trials for the past six months, which will continue until mid-2021. “At the end of the trials will be design acceptance, and a contract will be placed when Lockheed Martin and the MoD decide that the time is right,” said Fellows.
He added that the trials vehicles have completed thousands of kilometres of tests, and fired thousands of 40 mm rounds from the vehicle’s main armament and from the 7.62 mm chaingun, all without any safety concerns. The successful completion of 20 battlefield missions marks the first point at which Lockheed Martin and the MoD will meet to review the data gathered during the trials.
“We have a plan, we are performing to that plan, and I am meeting all of the milestones,” said Fellows, adding that the upgraded Warriors are the first vehicles to go through this process in the UK since the Challenger 2 main battle tank and its variants were introduced into service in the early 1990s.
The battlefield missions are designed to demonstrate the upgraded vehicle’s ability to meet the missions that are required of it by the UK’s MoD. There are a total of six sets of battlefield missions that are broadly arranged into groups of 20, added Fellows. (Source: IHS Jane’s)
28 Aug 19. Estonia leads EU project to develop next generation UGV. Estonia signed an agreement with six countries on the development of the Modular Unmanned Ground Systems (MUGS), financed by the European Defence Fund (EDF), the Estonian Centre for Defence Investment (ECDI) announced in a press release on 23 August. The project, led by Estonia and including Belgium, Finland, France, Germany, Latvia, and Spain, aims to develop an unmanned ground vehicle (UGV), command-and-control system, cyber defence, and integrated sensor network. MUGS will initially improve battlefield situational awareness and the efficiency of the manoeuvring and transport capabilities of units, according to the ECDI.
Estonia is leading a seven-nation project to develop MUGS (photo of one being tested by Estonian soldiers in Mali) financed by the European Defence Fund. (Estonian Defence Forces)
The first system prototype is scheduled to be demonstrated in 2021. It will be tested in different environmental conditions conducting combat missions.
The seven MUGS nations plan to request EUR30.6m (USD34m) from the EDF and add their own co-funding. The unmanned ground systems project is an EU Permanent Structured Cooperation (PESCO) initiative confirmed by EU defence ministers in 2018 and must be assessed by independent experts of the European Commission in order to be funded. (Source: IHS Jane’s)
28 Aug 19. Thailand to acquire 120 U.S. armoured vehicles. Thailand’s military plans to acquire 120 American-made armoured vehicles by 2020, with the first batch of 10 arriving next month, a Thai defence ministry source told Reuters on Wednesday.
The United States curbed military aid to Thailand following a 2014 army coup, but ties are improving after disputed elections this year that officially restored civilian rule under a government led by former junta leader Prayuth Chan-ocha.
Army chief General Apirat Kongsompong told reporters that Thailand would receive 70 U.S. made armoured infantry carrier vehicles by the end of the year and 50 more next year, but did not give the value of the deal.
“The first delivery will consist of 10 vehicles and by the end of the year there will be 70 vehicles,” Apirat said.
“There will be 50 vehicles in the next lot.”
He said the armoured vehicles would be deployed at a base in Chachoengsao, south of the capital of Bangkok.
U.S. embassy officials were not immediately available to comment on the army chief’s remarks.
A defence ministry source told Reuters that Thailand paid for 47 vehicles and the U.S. would supply 23 free in this year’s purchase, while 50 more will be bought next year. The U.S. will also help the Thai army in the maintenance of the vehicles.
The source declined to be identified because he was not authorised to speak to the media.
In July, the U.S. State Department said it had approved a government-to-government Foreign Military Sales deal for 60 Stryker armoured vehicles and equipment, at an estimated cost of $175m.
Under junta rule, Thailand bought tanks and infantry fighting vehicles from China to replace old U.S. models, as well as planning to set up a joint centre with China to produce and maintain military gear, as relations cooled between Washington and its oldest ally in Southeast Asia after the 2014 coup.
The United States remains an important ally for Thailand.
Next week, Thailand will host the opening of the first-ever maritime drill between the navies of the United States and the Association of Southeast Asian Nations (ASEAN) and the 11th Indo-Pacific army chief conference on Sept 9. (Source: Reuters)
28 Aug 19. Three teams competing for US Army’s ISV programme. The US Army has selected three teams to develop infantry squad vehicle (ISV) prototypes to transport soldiers and their heavy loads across the battlefield. The service announced on 23 August that it was awarding General Motors Defense, Oshkosh Defense, and Science Applications International Corporation (SAIC) each with USD1m contracts to produce two ISV prototypes. Each team is slated to deliver their offerings to the service in November for continued soldier assessment, testing, and evaluation ahead of a final contract award in March 2020. If all goes as planned, the army will then purchase a total of 651 vehicles by the end of 2024.
For its ISV bid, SAIC has teamed up with Polaris Government and Defense, with a proposal based off the latter’s deployable advanced ground off-road (DAGOR) combat vehicle. DAGOR is a small family of vehicles designed to provide forces with mobility and off-road capabilities. The standard DAGOR vehicle is equipped for small teams, is armed, and provides the space for the team’s personal equipment. Under the plan, SAIC is tasked with systems engineering and integration work. (Source: IHS Jane’s)
28 Aug 19. Mack Defense is partnering with Truck-Lite Co., LLC to provide lighting systems for the M917A3 heavy dump truck (HDT). Truck-Lite is a worldwide leader in heavy-duty lighting, telematics, engine protection, safety and visibility systems.
“To meet the demanding specifications of the U.S. Army, Mack Defense assembled a world class team of suppliers to develop a best-in-class vehicle,” said Jack Terefinko, Mack Defense acquisition program manager. “That includes working with partners like Truck-Lite, which has years of experience in developing military-spec equipment.”
Since 1998, Truck-Lite has produced military-spec lighting that meets or exceeds the military’s strict lighting standards. Mack Defense partnered with Truck-Lite to bring that expertise to the M917A3 HDT program in the form of its blackout drive lights, front and rear composite lights and auxiliary lighting.
“Truck-Lite has supported the U.S. Army for more than 20 years through the development and release of forward and signal lighting that withstands the harsh environments of defense settings,” said Jacques Baudeloque, military sales director for Truck-Lite. “We’re proud to continue our relationships with both Mack Defense and the Army to provide the toughest and best lighting for the M917A3 HDT.”
The U.S. Army awarded Mack Defense a firm-fixed-price $296m contract in May 2018 to produce up to 683 M917A3 HDTs. Based on the commercially-available Granite® dump truck, the Mack Defense M917A3 HDT has been optimized meet the demanding requirements of the U.S. Army with heavier-duty rear axles, all-wheel drive, increased suspension ride height and other rugged features.
28 Aug 19. US funds North Macedonian replacement of Soviet-era armour. The Army of the Republic of North Macedonia (ARNM) will retire most of its Soviet-era armoured vehicles under the US European Recapitalization Incentive Program (ERIP), the Ministry of Defence (MoD) in Skopje told Jane’s on 21 August. The vehicles to be retired are BTR-70/80 wheeled armoured personnel carriers, BMP-2 tracked infantry fighting vehicles (IFVs), and MT-LB tracked carriers. The aim is to improve ARNM interoperability with NATO, and to that end the highest priority for North Macedonia is to equip and modernise its army in accordance with the Long Term Defence Capability Development Plan (LTDCP) 2019-28 adopted by the government on 23 July, the MoD said. (Source: IHS Jane’s)
27 Aug 19. Lithuania’s Joint Light Tactical Vehicle buy clears State Dept. hurdle. Lithuania’s plan to buy the Joint Light Tactical Vehicle from the U.S. has been cleared by the State Department, according to a Defense Security Cooperation Agency notification.
The department notified Congress Aug. 27 that it had approved a possible Foreign Military Sale to Lithuania of 500 JLTVs — the U.S. Army’s humvee replacement — for an estimated cost of $170.8m.
The Lithuanian Ministry of Defence first contacted the U.S. Defense Department regarding a potential acquisition of about 200 Oshkosh Defense-made JLTVs in late 2017.
The purchase, if approved by Congress, would include the vehicles as well M1278A1 Heavy Gun Carriers as well as kits including ones for ballistic armor, explosive protection, shot detection and GPS.
Lithuania would also get the M153 Common Remote Weapon Station, M2 QCB .50 caliber machine guns, and Forward-Looking Infrared (FLIR) systems.
The country has invested a great deal in recent years in its modernization of its defensive capabilities and plans to increase the investments in the coming years as Russia continues to build up its military power in Kaliningrad and its Western Military District while gaining influence with Lithuania’s neighbor Belarus.
The JLTV procurement was recently made possible as the U.S. Army approved the full-rate production of the vehicle in June after a six-month delay. With the approval, it is expected to see exports ramp up.
Slovenia has already placed an order for a small number of JLTVs, and it’s likely the United Kingdom will be a future customer as well. The State Dept. cleared the UK’s possible purchase two years ago for 2,747 vehicles worth up to $1bn.
Lithuania’s Ministry of Defence told Defense News in May that it was hoping to sign a contract with the U.S. for roughly 200 JLTVS by the end of the year. The country has said it intends to consider a follow-on purchase of additional JLTVS — possibly up to 300 more — after the first lot is under contract.(Source: Defense News Early Bird/Defense News)
27 Aug 19. Curtiss-Wright’s Defense Solutions division today announced that it was awarded a contract by Kappa Optronics to provide its video management system (VMS) technology to support the Driver’s Vision Enhancer (DVE) system used on the Norwegian Army’s WiSENT 2 armored recovery vehicle. Under the contract, Curtiss-Wright will provide Kappa Optronics with its Generic Vehicle Architecture (GVA)-ready RVG-SDX 3G-SDI Rugged Video Gateway and GVDU2610 Ground Vehicle Rugged Display. Curtiss-Wright’s VMS solution supports the DVE by processing and displaying video data from the vehicle’s multiple Kappa cameras, providing enhanced driver vision to help increase mission capabilities.
“We are very proud to have been selected by Kappa Optronics to provide our rugged video management solutions for use on the Norwegian Army’s WiSENT 2 recovery vehicle,” said Lynn Bamford, Senior Vice President and General Manager, Defense and Power. “This is our first contract with Kappa Optronics and we are very pleased that our video switch and touchscreen technology will help support this important ground vehicle’s Driver’s Vision Enhancer.”
“A lot of effort has been put into the Driver’s Vision Enhancer system’s fast signal processing and straight forward electrical design,” said Axel Zimmer, Director of Product Management, Kappa. “We have overcome well-known latency problems associated with first generation digital driver vision enhancement systems, and we are proud to have achieved a latency of less than 40ms to ensure safe and ergonomic operation of the vehicle. Our DVE system sets the standard for the industry.”
About the DVE
Kappa Optronics’ DVE supports Full HD or 1MP/LWIR video and shutterless, low latency operation. Excellent daytime visibility is achieved through the use of state–of-the-art CMOS Full HD cameras. In addition, the system’s night vision performance has been significantly improved, compared to traditional solutions, through the use of superior 1 MP LWIR microbolometer technology. The DVE’s LWIR cameras were further enhanced with shutterless functionality to ensure permanent availability and sharp images under all conditions. Additional features include quad display views, picture-in-picture, and blending and overlaying of images, as required, to provide improved navigation and operation. The DVE features Ethernet and CAN bus connectivity, and live images can be distributed to 3rd parties to provide important mission information. The system’s CAN bus interface enables the DVE to be fully integrated into the WiSENT 2’s vehicle architecture.
About the WiSENT 2
The WiSENT 2, developed by Flensburger Fahrzeugbau Gesellschaft (FFG), is one of the world’s most advanced multi-functional vehicle platforms. Due to its modular design, the WiSENT 2 can be converted quickly from an armored recovery vehicle (ARV) to an armored engineer vehicle (AEV) in less than five hours.
About the RVG-SDX Video Switch
The RVG-SDX (Kappa variant of Curtiss-Wright’s standard RVG-MS1) is a rugged, size, weight, power, and cost (SWaP-C) optimized 3G-SDI video switch. It supports 24 inputs and 17 outputs from a wide variety of digital and analog sensor types. Designed for use in the harsh environmental conditions occurring in aerospace and defense applications, the RVG-SDX is the latest member of Curtiss-Wright’s Rugged Video Gateway (RVG) family. Its small size allows it to be incorporated into space-constrained manned and unmanned vehicles of all types.
About the GVDU2610 Ground Vehicle Display Unit
The GVDU2610 is a mission critical rugged display optimized for the ground vehicle market with superior Projected Capacitive (PCAP) multipoint touch screen technology. Multipoint touchscreen technology enables operators to use familiar smartphone interface techniques to annotate, draw, and manipulate screen images. In contrast, traditional resistive touch screens are only able to respond to the touch of a single finger. What’s more, in harsh aerospace and military environments, resistive touch panels typically have lower resistance to shock and shorter lifecycles, when compared to rugged PCAP displays. Additional benefits of PCAP include improved brightness and contrast, a thinner and lighter display head. The new GVDU displays are built GVA/VICTORY-ready, with support for DEF-STAN 00-250 compliant bezel buttons that deliver optimal tactile response in high vibration environments. The display’s bezel buttons are positioned along the sides of the unit and are fully programmable via USB. In addition, to address growing requirements for open standards-based vehicle electronics architectures, the GVDU displays support DEF-STAN 00-82 video over Ethernet (VoE), ensuring that the display will work in any GVA/VICTORY compliant Ethernet system architecture.
Curtiss-Wright is manufacturing the products covered by this agreement at its facilities in Letchworth, UK. The products will be shipped to Kappa Optronics in Gleichen, Germany.
23 Aug 19. Oshkosh, Flyer Will Build Army’s Ultralight Vehicle for Carrying Grunts into Battle. The U.S. Army has tapped Flyer Defense LLC and Oshkosh Defense LLC to develop the service’s Infantry Squad Vehicle, a highly transportable platform for moving grunts into the fight.
Under the $1m prototyping contract, awarded Friday, Flyer Defense will lead the design effort to deliver two Infantry Squad Vehicle (ISV) prototypes to the Army for evaluation, according to a company news release. The service plans to purchase about 650 ISVs as part of a production contract that is expected in 2020, the release states.
The Flyer-designed vehicle will be based off two of the company’s previously fielded vehicles — the U.S. Special Operations Command Ground Mobility Vehicle 1.1 and a version the Army is using as an interim solution, according to the release.
In August 2013, U.S. SOCOM awarded General Dynamics Ordnance and Tactical Systems a contract under the GMV 1.1 program for 1,297 vehicles based on the Flyer 72 advanced light strike vehicle design, according to Flyer Defense’s website.
The Flyer infantry squad vehicle will be capable of carrying a nine-man squad with a payload capacity of 5,000 pounds, according to the release.
“We are extremely pleased to move forward with the next step in our bid for the ISV program,” Flyer CEO Oded Nechushtan said in the release. “We are confident in the vehicle’s operational capabilities and its ability to meet, if not exceed, all of the Army’s requirements.”
If the Flyer-Oshkosh team is selected to build the ISV, Oshkosh Defense will be responsible for manufacturing the production phase vehicles between 2020 and 2024, according to an Oshkosh release on the award.
“The ISV program is critical in providing infantry troops with an agile means to get to and through the battlefield as quickly and capably as possible,” George Mansfield, vice president and general manager of Joint Programs at Oshkosh Defense, said in the release. “The ISV platform will also significantly lighten the load for infantry troops, who regularly each carry over 100 pounds of gear on foot.”
Oshkosh currently makes the Joint Light Tactical Vehicle, a joint program between the Army and the Marine Corps designed to provide greater battlefield performance than the older Humvee. The Marine Corps recently announced it will increase its planned buys of the JLTV to about 15,000, enough to replace its fleet of Humvees.
The Army is currently re-evaluating its original plan to buy 49,000 JLTVs, an effort that could take another year to complete before the service announces how many of its Humvees it plans to replace, Army officials say.
The Army began looking for firms to build the new infantry squad vehicle in September 2018. Maneuver leaders have long emphasized the need to equip light infantry units with a lightweight vehicle — capable of being transported by helicopter — to increase their speed of movement around the battlefield. (Source: Defense News Early Bird/military.com)
27 Aug 19. Latvia Makes Another Attempt to Tactical Vehicle Acquisition. The Latvian Ministry of Defence (MoD) has launched the procedure for the procurement of a series of new high-mobility armoured 4×4 tactical vehicles. This is another attempt of the Baltic State to acquire such platforms, as the initial tender had to be cancelled due to a number of procedural irregularities and legal obstacles.
The head of the Latvian MoD, Artis Pabriks, has recently admitted, that his resort had sent out inquiries to a number of countries, which could participate in the highly awaited procurement of a series of new high-mobility armoured 4×4 tactical vehicles. The minister expects a dozen of replies to be submitted by early September. The next stage of the acquisition programme will most likely focus on evaluation of particular vehicle platforms, which are available on the market.
“Adequate military mobility is vital for enhancing National Armed Force combat capabilities,” stated the Latvian MoD. It is expected that new tactical vehicles will not only enhance operational capabilities of the Latvian Armed Forces, but will also allow finalisation of a number of other strategic procurement programmes, some of which are focused on modernisation of artillery and air-defence weapon systems.
This time, the Latvian MoD intends to take a different approach to the procurement of new tactical vehicles than during the first attempt, which failed to secure the acquisition of a number of Finnish-built Sisu Auto GTP 4×4, which the country declared as the preferred platform.
Authorities in Riga are now determined to push for a government-to-government agreement, which would allow for the procurement of new tactical vehicles, instead of dealing directly with manufacturers.
The initial acquisition programme was launched in 2017. Evaluation of submitted bids, which included testing of proposed platforms, was conducted in two stages. A dozen of manufacturers took part in the first phase of the competition, after which only 6 of them got qualified for the final stage.
However, eventually only four companies decided to submit final bids. These were: Oy Sisu Auto from Finland with its GTP 4×4 (shown here), the U.S. AM General offering the HMMWV 4×4, South African Paramount Group with the Marauder LAV 4×4 and Otokar from Turkey proposing the Cobra 4×4 platform.
Shortly after GTP 4×4 was declared as the preferred platform, two of the bidders, AM General and Paramount Group, decided to protest the outcome of the competition and lodge a complaint. This resulted in the launch of an in-depth investigation, which identified a number of procedural irregularities and legal obstacles in the procurement and evaluation procedure.
Early 2019, the country’s Procurement Monitoring Bureau ordered the MoD to withhold final contract negotiations with Oy Sisu Auto. Shortly after the Procurement Committee of the MoD decided to terminate the whole procurement procedure. (Source: ESD Spotlight)
27 Aug 19. Slovakia Prolongs Procurement of Armoured Vehicles. The Slovak Ministry of Defence (MoD) has so far failed to secure the contract for procurement of 81 Vydra 8×8 wheeled armoured vehicles, which were designed by the local defence industry and Finnish Patria. The planned acquisition has stalled due to a number of difficulties, resulting in harsh criticism of the programme coming from the political opposition.
The Slovak MoD was expected to finalise the procurement of a series of wheeled, armoured 8×8 vehicles in the first half of 2019. The ministry’s decision was expected shortly after conclusion of all tests and trials of a prototype Vydra 8×8, which were to evaluate the platform’s operational capabilities in different terrain and climate conditions. Tests of the vehicle were conducted over the past months on different sites in Slovakia and Finland.
The programme, with a budget of approx. €417m, has been withheld due to harsh criticism from the country’s political opposition. The opposition questions the cost of the acquisition as well as unilateral decision to select the Patria AMV platform for the future wheeled, armoured vehicles of the Slovak Army.
Furthermore, it has already been noted by local media, that the Office for Public Procurement (UVO), which controls the execution of public tenders in Slovakia, and verifies if they are carried out in accordance with the country’s law, monitors the planned acquisition and does not exclude taking appropriate actions if it finds any irregularities in the procurement procedure.
At this moment it seems unlikely that the Slovak MoD will make the decision about procurement of Vydra 8×8 vehicles anytime soon. Due to the general elections, which are to take place in early 2020 and might shift the balance of power in the country’s parliament leading to the creation of a new government.
New authorities might wish to evaluate all procurement programmes launched by the current MoD’s leadership, and might eventually even cancel or re-launch the ones, which it currently objects. Therefore, signing of a contract for Vydra 8×8 at this moment seems pointless from the political point of view.
The planned procurement of new armoured 8×8 vehicles is part of a larger modernisation plan of the Slovak Army, which also includes the acquisition of 424 multirole tactical 4×4 vehicles at a cost of €321m. However, also this programme faces legal and political challenges, mostly due to accusations made by the country’s opposition parties, which suggest that tender requirements had been set in favour of a specific manufacturer. (Source: ESD Spotlight)
23 Aug 19. Poland interested in joining Franco-German Main Ground Combat System programme. Polish Minister of National Defence Mariusz Błaszczak and his German counterpart, Annegret Kramp-Karrenbauer, met in Berlin on 16 August to discuss European projects, military co-operation, and NATO’s Multinational Division North East, among other topics.
Błaszczak said after the meeting, “We talked about the Franco-German tank project, which is at an initial stage. We would like the initiative to be accelerated and notified under PESCO [the EU’s Permanent Structured Cooperation] projects and also reinforced by European Union funding. It would be a good solution for the Polish defence industry.”
He was referring to the Main Ground Combat System (MGCS), which is intended to replace Leopard 2 and Leclerc tanks in about 2035. Germany is interested in acquiring more than 300 vehicles and France up to 250 vehicles. (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.