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11 Sep 19. RBSL’s Challenger 2 LEP contender comes out in the open. The Rheinmetall BAE Systems Land (RBSL) proposal for the Challenger 2 Main Battle Tank (MBT) Life Extension Programme (LEP) made its public debut at DSEI 2019, held in London from 10-13 September.
The proposed upgrade includes a new-build turret with a fully digital electronic architecture, a Thales Orion panoramic day and night sight for the commander, and a Thales DGNS T3 day and night sight for the gunner. The turret architecture would also permit an active protection system or counter-improvised explosive device (IED) electronic warfare system to be fitted in future if the user were to require it. The vehicle has additionally been fitted with day and night driving cameras and its toe plate appears to have been modified.
BATTLESPACE Comment: Sources close to BATTLESPACE suggest that the vehicle on display at DSEI was chosen in July above the offer from BAESystems. This was kept under wraps during the process to form the new RBSL JV. The MoD is believed to be moving towards Main Gate next year for 60 Challenger 2 vehicles plus a training fleet, equipped with a smooth bore 120mm Rheinmetall L55 with APS and an added armour package. The total required is believed to be 223 vehicles.
12 Sep 19. FFG presents Boxer Armoured Recovery Module. Flensburger Fahrzeugbau Gesellschaft (FFG) presented its Armoured Recovery Module (ARM) for the Boxer multi-purpose armoured vehicle at the DSEI 2019 exhibition in London.
Christoph Jehn, a project manager for FFG, explained to Jane’s that the module was developed as a private venture from 2017 in co-operation with Krauss-Maffei Wegmann (KMW). The company had noticed Boxer users struggling to recover stranded vehicles, Jehn added.
The module is designed to enable the recovery of stricken Boxers and other armoured fighting vehicles and can also be used to remove or install a Boxer mission module onto a drive module. This is what potential customers would expect the mission module to be capable of, Jehn ventured. (Source: IHS Jane’s)
12 Sep 19. MIV get’ go ahead. The UK MoD announced at DSEI that the Rheinmetall Boxer will gain Main Gate Acceptance on October 17th for a December 3rd contract for 504 vehicles.
12 Sep 19. ABSV emerges from the shadows. After years of debate about a Armored Battlefield Support Vehicle (ABSV), it looks like ABSV has quietly been given the go-ahead for a buy of 180 vehicles using the same spec of the WCSP Warrior. ABSV would be a follow-on variant from the other WCSP vehicles now under trials at Bovingdon. Lockheed had a model of ABSV on its stand whilst GDLSUK had an Ajax variant with a Pearson Engineering/GD Bridgelayer. Sources suggest that the MoD hasn’t yet decided to compete the order. The most likely route seems to be to use exiting Warrior hulls upgraded to WCSP spec with no turret. However BATTLESPACE understands that the MoD is still looking at the possibility of a new hull designed for Warrior by BAE Systems along the lines of the Scimitar upgrade with an enlarged engine bay for a new powerpack. BAESystems is Design Authority for Warrior.
12 Sep 19. Ajax commands and controls. General Dynamics Land Systems UK (Stand S9-200) is displaying two members of its Ajax family of tracked combat vehicles, the longterm replacement for the Alvis Scorpion family of Combat Vehicle Reconnaissance (Tracked), which have been in service with the British Army for 40 years. Under the £4.5bn contract, GDLS UK will deliver a total of 589 in six variants, with planned initial operating capability in 2020. Being shown at DSEI is the baseline Ajax reconnaissance vehicle fitted with a two-person turret developed by Lockheed Martin UK under contract to GDLS. This is armed with a CTAI 40mm Case Telescoped Armament System provided as government furnished equipment, and a 7.62mm coaxial machine gun (MG).
Variants are the Atlas recovery vehicle, the Athena command and control vehicle, the Argus engineer reconnaissance vehicle, and the Apollo equipment support vehicle.
Carew Wilks, vice president and general manager of GDLS UK, said: ‘‘The transition of Ajax into service with the British Army is a significant milestone for the Ajax programme. The provision of highly intuitive training assets, alongside vehicle deliveries, will allow the British Army to get to grips with this world-leading capability and enable them to use this fully digital family of vehicles effectively as part of Strike.
“Through its advanced open and secure electronic architecture, Ajax will remain at Ajax commands and controls the forefront of technology and survivability.”
First production vehicles are coming from the General Dynamics European Land Systems − Santa Barbara Sistemas (GDELS-SBS) facility in Trubia, Spain but progressive integration after the first about 100 vehicles will be undertaken at the GDLS facility in Bryn Brithdir, Wales. All hulls are coming from GDELS-SBS.
Under the current contract, production will continue until the end of 2024. Export marketing is under way and GDLS UK has already bid for the Australian Land 400 Phase 3 requirement, which is a replacement for its upgraded fleet of M113AS4 series APCs and variants. A down select to two contractors is expected in the near future.
Also being shown is the Ares armoured personnel carrier (APC) fitted with a Kongsberg Protector remote weapon station armed with a stabilised .50 M2 HB MG. By early September 2019, six production Ares APCs had been delivered to the British Army and in parallel, eight production and seven prototype vehicles are being used for trials, mainly at the Armoured Trials and Development Unit (ATDU) at Bovington and cold weather trials in Sweden. (Source: IHS Jane’s)
BATTLESPACE Comment: Sources close to BATTLESPACE suggest that the UK MoD is looking at the GD Ascod offering for Australia which is seen as favourite over the Rheinmetall Lynx. This vehicle has a longer wheelbase than Ajax and would have an IFV role should WCSP fail in trials.
11 Sep 19. BAE Systems Showcases Generic Vehicle Architecture in the All-Terrain BvS10. BAE Systems is showcasing for the first time a version of the BvS10 all-terrain support vehicle at DSEI 2019, which will significantly streamline information load and increase situational awareness for crews. The versatile, tough BvS10 is fitted with a Generic Vehicle Architecture (GVA) equivalent system to increase the vehicle’s current operational capability and ensure critical upgrades quickly get to the battlefield. GVA is a NATO standard for operating systems in military vehicles employed by the UK Ministry of Defence and allied forces.
Standardizing multiple user interfaces to create an integrated system-of-systems in the BvS10 will shorten crew training times, increase crew agility by making it easier to change duties and vehicles, and ultimately increase combat efficiency. The GVA’s design architecture supports interoperability across vehicle fleets and allows for a rapid and cost effective technology refresh, while greatly reducing system lifecycle cost.
This technology upgrade brings the vehicle up to the standard required by potential future users in European markets and demonstrates that the flexibility of the GVA’s mission systems allows it to be tailored to meet specific customer requirements and create effective integration into the host vehicle. Fitted with several cameras, as well as monitors front and back, this BvS10 now demonstrates the extended situational awareness and increased communication capacity for the crew while they remain under cover in the protected armored vehicle.
“Using a GVA approach to operate in a single information environment can protect crews from information overload and encourage them to work better together,” said Peter Nygren, head of Business Development at BAE Systems Hägglunds in Sweden. “As we look to the future of extreme mobility vehicles like the BvS10, it is clear that optimized, tailored mission systems will be a critical differentiator for many militaries.”
The vehicle on display at DSEI incorporates the convenience of GVA equivalency with the unrivalled mobility and crew protection of the BvS10. A highly versatile vehicle, the BvS10 can operate in the toughest environments and terrains from mountains and rocks to snow and swamps. It can withstand extreme temperatures and has an amphibious capability.
The BvS10 provides superior performance for operating in challenging terrain. It’s designed with significant flexibility to accommodate changing mission requirements – from delivering personnel or cargo in combat to disaster relief scenarios – and is prepared for advanced battle management and command and control solutions.
In February 2019, Austria became the fifth operator of the BvS10, joining France, the Netherlands, Sweden and the United Kingdom. There is significant interest from many countries in Europe and globally in acquiring this flexible and adaptable vehicle. The BvS10s are part of the BAE Systems Hägglunds BV family of all-terrain vehicles, of which over 12,000 have been sold. (Source: BUSINESS WIRE)
11 Sep 19. UK’s Warrior fleet upgrade about 18 months away from kickoff. Negotiations are underway on a production contract to update the British Army’s fleet of Warrior infantry fighting vehicles, according to the Ministry of Defence official running the program.
“We are now talking about how we go forward on production,” Marcus Bruton, the MoD’s Warrior upgrade director said during an interview at the DSEI show Sept. 10.
Bruton said the two sides were probably 18 months away from a contract allowing Lockheed Martin and its supply chain to start upgrading the Warrior.
The effort to progress the long running Warrior capability sustainment development program into the manufacturing phase has come on the back of Lockheed Martin successfully achieving 20 battlefield mission assessments – a key milestone in the reliability growth test program now underway.
The MoD said in March it would open manufacturing contract negotiations once it was satisfied with progress on reliability trials.
In late August Lockheed Martin achieved that milestone. The company said that in cooperation with the British Army Armoured Trials and Development Unit, it had fired thousands of rounds from the new CTAI developed 40 mm cannon, driven more than 5,000 kms, and achieved the battlefield mission assessments with flying colors.
Lockheed Martin Warrior program Director Lee Fellows said he is expecting a deal towards the back end of next year. The company is keen to get the production contract signed and sealed but “we need to get it right, so it will take as long as it needs to,” he added. “Getting it done at pace and quality equally important.”
Quantities, the mix of variants and affordability are among the items due to be discussed.
Discussions on how to overcome issues of design authority ownership is also part of the build up to a production contract, said the officials. BAE holds the design authority on the existing legacy Warrior, but Lockheed Martin holds the approval for the extensive upgrade — particularly the new turret.
“The expectation is there will be a collaboration with BAE. We are talking with them already, that’s part of the negotiations,” said Fellows.
Neither executive will comment on what sort of upgrade numbers the British Army is looking at. Roughly 740 vehicles were delivered to the British Army starting 1988 but a number were lost in Iraq and Afghanistan. A number of vehicles have been earmarked for battlefield support duties that don’t require a new turret.
At one time the number of hulls to be updated was in the region of 380, but suppliers at a company briefing in March said that as the British Army downsized and budgets became more challenging the figure slipped to around 265 or lower.
The Lockheed Martin executive said that the next 18 months or so will bring further reliability growth trials, but that the major risks have been removed and testing had not unearthed any significant problems.
The update is considered one of the Army’s top priorities alongside other vehicle programs, including the Challenger 2 tank upgrade and procurement of the Boxer mechanized infantry vehicle from German company Artec.
Lockheed Martin was awarded a development deal to upgrade Warrior vehicles back in 2011, but the program has been dogged with problems slowing down progress towards a production deal by several years.
The update program includes a new turret fitted with the CTAI cannon, electronic architecture, a modular protection systems and other enhancements.
It’s a much needed update. The current vehicle’s inability to fire on the move is just one of a number of shortcomings deemed to make the Warrior obsolete by current battlefield standards. (Source: Defense News)
23 Aug 19. Oshkosh Defense and Flyer Defense Receive Task Assignment to Develop Infantry Squad Vehicle (ISV). Oshkosh Defense, LLC, an Oshkosh Corporation (NYSE: OSK) company, announced today that the U.S. Army has awarded Oshkosh Defense along with teammate, Flyer Defense LLC, a Task Assignment award under an existing Project Agreement with the National Advanced Mobility Consortium (NAMC) to develop the new Infantry Squad Vehicle (ISV).
The ISV is a lightweight expeditionary all-terrain vehicle that can carry up to nine troops and associated combat equipment.
Under the award, Oshkosh and Flyer will deliver two prototype ISVs in support of government testing and evaluation.
“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,” said George Mansfield, Vice President and General Manager of Joint Programs at Oshkosh Defense. “The ISV platform will also significantly lighten the load for infantry troops, who regularly each carry over 100 pounds of gear on foot,” continued Mansfield.
Flyer Defense is most prominently known for the highly successful GMV 1.1 deployed around the world by U.S. Special Operations Forces as well as the U.S. Army A-GMV, which is fielded as the interim ISV solution. Flyer Defense is the design authority and leads the build team for the two prototype ISVs which will be submitted to the government for testing. If selected, Oshkosh Defense will be responsible for manufacturing the production phase vehicles. “The Oshkosh and Flyer team brings together an abundance of tactical wheeled vehicle design and manufacturing expertise and we’re very confident in our team’s ISV offering,” concluded Mansfield.
The ISV production contract award is expected to take place in the Spring of 2020. In total, the U.S. Army plans to procure 651 vehicles and associated hardware and services between fiscal years 2020 and 2024.
About Flyer Defense
Flyer Defense LLC was formed in 2000 to provide mission specialized, lightweight, off-road wheeled tactical vehicles capable of internal transport in rotary and tilt wing aircraft.
Flyer provides purpose-built vehicles and logistics support for U.S. Army, special operations forces, and global allies. Always prioritizing the users and their missions, Flyer vehicles increase ground tactical mobility, allow rapid deployment into contested areas, and enable infantry squads to move quickly over extended distances and difficult terrain.
The Flyer family of successfully tested and certified vehicles are interoperable and interchangeable, allowing rapid vehicle customization for immediate operational and/or combat relevance configuration.
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.