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13 Sep 19. JLTV for UK moves up a gear. Mike Ivy, Vice President, Global Integrated Product Support at Oshkosh Defense, gave the Editor an upbeat brief on the JLTV prospects in the UK following news that the project had successfully gone through IAB.
“We are currently looking at shared integration work in the US and the UK to bring the vehicle to the specification required by UK homologation and RF emission regulations. At the same time, we are looking for a Service partner in the UK, In the US we have responded to the recent trials by adding a larger rear window and forward facing driver’s camera. We are looking forward to starting trails in the UK soon.”
“Is JLTV now fielded in the US?” The Editor asked.
“800 vehicles have been fielded with the USMC out of a total of 16,000 vehicles with the 1st Brigade 3rd Infantry at Fort Sherwood, Georgia. The US Army requirement is for 49,100 vehicles.”
“Apart from the UK what are the export prospects?”
“We have FMS requests for 500 vehicles for Lithuania and 38 for Slovenia and considerable interest in the Middle East in particular.
We are also looking at an ambulance version based on the L-ATV.
Oshkosh showcased for the first time the L-ATV Ambulance at AUSA Global Force Symposium in Huntsville, AL, from March 26-28, 2019. The new L-ATV Ambulance enables Army medics and Marine corpsmen to keep up with the powerful Joint Light Tactical Vehicle (JLTV) while also offering protection for medical personnel and wounded warriors as they move to, through and away from combat.
“The L-ATV Ambulance is the next generation of ambulance vehicles, designed specifically to protect wounded Warfighters without sacrificing the speed and mobility needed to keep up with JLTVs on the battlefield. In addition to its ability to protect and maneuver with the JLTV in combat operations, the L-ATV Ambulance has the flexibility and payload capacity medics require to transport life-saving equipment, allowing them to safely and efficiently perform their operations on the move.” Mike Ivy said.
With the L-ATV Ambulance’s powerful drivetrain and TAK-4i® intelligent independent suspension system, the vehicle can travel off-road at JLTV speeds while the vastly improved ride quality enables medics and corpsmen to render medical aid while transporting the wounded to combat support hospitals. The L-ATV Ambulance’s rear cab area can hold 4 litters or up to 8 seated patients or a combination of the two. There is also ample storage for any combination of high-use combat medical equipment.
16 Sep 19. Defence Minister, Linda Reynolds and Defence Industry Minister, Melissa Price have officially confirmed the two downselect contenders for the Army’s multi-billion LAND 400 Phase 3 program.
Defence Connect can tonight confirm the selection of Hanwha Defense Australia and Rheinmetall Defence Australia as the two successful downselection contenders in the Army’s multi-billion dollar investment to replace Army’s current fleet of mobility and reconnaissance vehicles.
The LAND 400 Phase 3 Program will replace the M113 Armoured Personnel Carriers providing the Army with an advanced, world-class Infantry Fighting Vehicle capability, both options will provide the Australian Army with a range of capabilities, namely:
- Hanwha Defense Systems AS21 Redback: The AS21 will include the capability to integrate active protection systems into an evolved turret system, the Redback will, like its BAE competitor, be capable of hosting a crew of 11 (three crew, eight troops), a top road speed of 70km/h, cross country speed of 40km/h, an operational range of 500 kilometres, with an armament consisting of a 40mm autocannon and a single 7.62mm coaxial machine gun.
- Rheinmetall Lynx KF-41: The Lynx KF41 will include the capability to support a crew of 12 (three crew, up to nine troops), have a max road speed of 70km/h, a road range of more than 500 kilometres, with an armament consisting of the Lance 2.0 30-35mm autocannon, a 7.62mm coaxial machine gun and a variety of additional close-in weapons systems.
Defence Minister, Linda Reynolds said, “These advanced vehicles will provide new levels of protection, firepower, mobility and enhanced communications. This project will deliver Australia a brand-new, cutting edge capability. But we will also ensure we are well placed to work together with industry, to grow and develop the capability over the course of its life.”
Minister Reynolds added, “When fully delivered the LAND 400 Program will allow Army to successfully sustain mounted close combat operations against emerging and future threats, as part of an integrated Australian Defence Force. I thank all tenderers for their significant effort and the resources invested in supporting Phase 3 of this project.”
Defence Industry Minister, Melissa Price welcomed the announcement and stressed the importance of Australian Industry Content in the multi-billion recapitalisation program, saying the program provides an exciting opportunity for Australian industry to contribute to building and maintaining these new Infantry Fighting Vehicles.
“Just as with the Phase 2 Combat Reconnaissance Vehicles, Australian industry involvement and Australian workers are vital to this project. Phase 3 is another important opportunity for Australian industry to deliver leading-edge technology for our Australian Defence Force,” Minister Price explained.
Further to this, Minister Price explained, “During the testing-phase Defence will work with the shortlisted tenderers to ensure small and medium enterprises across Australia have the opportunity to showcase their capabilities. The two companies have been assessed as offering vehicles that are best able to meet the requirements of the Army while providing value for money for Defence.”
“However, if at any stage of this process there is a need, Defence can invite other tenderers to participate in the shortlist – to make sure we deliver the capability we need to the Army and the best value for the Australian taxpayer,” she added finally.
LAND 400 Phase 3 is a $10-15bn Army program which will recapitalise Army’s Vietnam-era M113 Armoured Personnel Carrier (APC) force, with a combination of a tracked Infantry Fighting Vehicle (IFV) and tracked APC.
The Risk Mitigation Activity will commence later this year. Following its completion, Defence will undertake a final detailed evaluation of the shortlisted tenders. A decision on the preferred tenderer to supply the Phase 3 capability will be presented to Government for consideration in 2022.
BATTLESPACE Comment: The selection of Hanwa is the sign of a growing trend for the selection of Asian solutions for APCs against the incumbents, hence the MoU agreement announced between ST Engineering and Rheinmetall. BAE’s CV90 was the loser in this contest, which may mean the closure of the line with Haaglunds concentrating on upgrades for the existing fleet? Good news for Rheinmetall which is already well established in Australia flowing its Boxer win.
13 Sep 19. Ricardo presents Ford Ranger General Service Vehicle at DSEI. Based on Europe’s best-selling pickup, the Ford Ranger is a general purpose specification utility vehicle conceived and converted by Ricardo at Shoreham Technical Centre, UK. The robust and dependable all-wheel-drive Ranger is available with a range of powertrain options including Ford’s powerful and refined 213 PS 2.0-litre EcoBlue Bi-turbo diesel powertrain producing 500 Nm of torque for greater loadhauling capability mated to an advanced new 10-speed automatic transmission for easy, economical driving. Backed up by a global parts and service network.
Available with both two- and four-door cabins, the rugged vehicle is available with a wide range of standard and bespoke adaptations for government and peacekeeping roles.
Nick Fox of Ricardo told the Editor that the MoD is already using Ford Rangers leased through the White Fleet for general uses around the barracks and ranges ‘within the wire.’ The ruggedised version shown at DSEI is aimed at the Royal Marines and Parachute Regiment lightweight vehicle requirements to replace the Pinzgauer fleet.
Special options Protection:
- Rollover protection system
- Ring mounted weapon system
- Armoured underfloor, ballistic & glass solutions
- Heavy duty/light weight front and rear bumpers
- Skid plates for radiator, powertrain, fuel tank
- Rock sliders
- Improved wading/fording protection
- NATO IRR paint/camouflage
- 4-point seat harness Electrical:
- Battery isolator switches
- 24v comms power solutions
- Comms kitting and antenna equipment
- EMC radio frequency interference reduction
- Blackout, IR lighting, NVG compatible instrument and warning lamps
- Trailer connection
Tie Downs, Towing and Recovery:
- Tie down/recovery shackle solutions
- Heavy duty bumper with winch
- NATO tow hook
- Heavy duty wheel rims and all terrain tyres
- Ride height increase
- Uprated springs/damper/brakes
- Smart stowage solutions trays/weapon mounts/ netting
- Personal weapon storage
- Pioneer kit
- Boiling vessel
- Diesel fired cabin heater
- Rubberised floor coating
Ricardo plc is a global, world-class, multi-industry consultancy for engineering, technology, project innovation and strategy and have been delivering projects to the Defence market for over 30 years. Projects include clean-sheet design & development of the F350 weapons platform, Foxhound LPPV and Land Rover WIMIK.
13 Sep 19. New Land Rover Wolf seats. David Parkman of Tek Military Seating told BATTLESPACE that the MoD had now obtained funds to solve the Land Rover Wolf rear seating problems which occurred due to EU Laws on seating. The current Wolf rear seating side-by-side configuration is unlawful and thus soldiers cannot sit on the move in the back. Asa number of Land Rover Wolfs have a Bowman fit, this has meant that soldiers cannot operate on the move and have to stop to transmit. The Tek solution proposed to the MoD will allow the operator to sit on a newly designed seat whilst on the move. This may also prompt the MoD to relook at the ROPS solution proposed by Tek for the troop carrying variants of Wolf. Ford and Ricardo showed a militarised Ford Ranger at DSEI which points to the fact that the MoD is looking at alternatives to the Wolf, which can no longer operate outside the wire in war scenarios. The MoD is reported to be leasing Ford rangers through the White Fleet deal and may look at extending this. Given spares issues we have discussed at length in BATTLESPACE following the demise of Defender, the wish to retain the Wolf fleet through to 2030 looks like a desire rather than reality. In other developments the MoD is also believed to be looking at a new lightweight vehicle to replace the Pinzgauers operated by airborne and troops and the Royal Marines.
13 Sep 19. Aselsan and Patria team up to export weaponized armored vehicles. Turkey electronics company Aselsan will team with Patria of Finland to pitch weaponized armored vehicles to customers in South America, the Middle East and Asia.
The two companies signed a memorandum of agreement during the DSEI exhibit in London this week, agreeing to integrate Aselsan’s family of remote control weapon systems with Patria’s six-wheel and eight-wheel drive armored vehicles for export.
“We’ve come together with Patria for different programs and projects for different corners of the world in the past, and we came together again to better reach to the customer with a complete solution,” said Osman Devrim Fidanci, vice president of business development and marketing at Aselsan. The two companies will share in both sales and marketing of the integrated systems.
Aselsan displayed at DSEI for the first time one its newest offering within the family of remote control weapon systems that could fall within the memorandum of agreement: the NEFER-L stabilized weapon station, which can incorporate either a 25mm or 30mm automatic cannon as the main gun, a 7.62mm machine gun as a coaxial weapon, and an independent electro-optic suite.
Also on display was the Patria six-wheel drive vehicle, a successor to the Pasi armored personnel carrier and complement of the Patria eight-wheel drive armored modular vehicle, or AMV.
The multipurpose transport vehicle has a chassis structure based on the same components as the AMV, but with one less axle. The vehicle can be equipped not only with weapon systems, but also various ballistic and mine-protection levels and self-protection systems.
The two companies did not disclose the primary territory for sales included in the memorandum, but Fidanci said South America, the Gulf and Asia were among the target regions.
“We will have a demonstration and hope to get them in the field very soon,” he said of the integrated systems. “The customer will experience this in terms of performance quality metrics. This will be field proven and test driven by the end user.”
Aselsan has exported weapons stations to more than 16 different countries. Beyond that family of offerings, the company announced in August that it landed its first export customer — confirming only that it was a country in Asia — for the recently launched Gokdeniz close-in weapons system. Also this summer, Aselsan won a contract to provide Goz-Mobil thermal cameras to support the Polish Border Guard. It’s the second contract the company received to support the state security agency tasked with patrolling the Polish border. (Source: Defense News)
10 Sep 19. Milrem Robotics Introduces the New Generation Multi-Purpose Unmanned Ground Vehicle. Milrem Robotics, the leading European manufacturer of unmanned ground vehicles (UGV) and developer of robotic warfare solutions, introduces the fifth generation THeMIS UGV at DSEI 2019 in London designed to assist warfighters and enhance combat effectiveness.
“In 2015 we exhibited the first THeMIS concept here at DSEI in London. Now, four years later, after extensive testing with industry partners and NATO forces in very demanding environments we are proud to be back here and present a mature and robust product that will greatly enhance warfighting capabilities,” stated Kuldar Väärsi, CEO of Milrem Robotics.
The fifth generation THeMIS incorporates all the knowledge gained during tests held in the US, Europe, the Middle East and deployment in Mali in the French lead Operation Barkhane. The fifth generation THeMIS follows NATO STANAG standards in the vehicle’s architecture, safety, air transportability, power offload and other aspects.
“Our engineers have taken into account the feedback from different armed forces and carried it into the design creating a really robust and reliable tool to support dismounted troops,” Väärsi added.
The THeMIS is a multipurpose tracked vehicle that can be equipped with other warfighting technology such as weapon systems, tethered drones, IED detection devices and much more. It has become the industry standard UGV sought out for various payload integration projects. Together with partners like Kongsberg, FN Herstal, MBDA, ST Engineering etc a dozen different systems have already been integrated. Live firing tests have been conducted with five different weapon systems, including an anti-tank missile launcher.
In addition, Milrem Robotics is working on enhancing the vehicle with autonomous functions including point-to-point navigation, obstacle detection and avoidance. Autonomous functions development is focused on mobility alone, not on weapon systems deployment.
The first fifth generation THeMIS vehicles have already been delivered to the Netherlands and Norway as logistic platforms intended to carry gear and supplies with an option to be integrated with additional warfighting equipment. (Source: BUSINESS WIRE)
13 Sep 19. Third life for Pars. FNSS Savunma Sistemleri’s Pars III (8×8) in the infantry fighting vehicle (IFV) role is being shown for the first time at DSEI on Stand N6-240, where it is fitted with the latest Saber one-person turret armed with a stabilised Northrop Grumman, Armament Systems 25mm dual-feed cannon and 7.62mm coaxial machine gun.
The earlier Pars II is in service with Malaysia in a range of configurations, most of which are fully amphibious, propelled in the water by two waterjets.
A total of 257 Pars II are being supplied to Malaysia, with the first deliveries already made. Some of these are fitted with the latest Saber turret.
The launch customer for the latest Pars III (8×8) is Oman, which has ordered 172 vehicles in numerous configurations. The first deliveries, some fitted with the Saber turret, have been completed.
In May, the Presidency of Defence Industries of Turkey placed orders for Pars III to meet a requirement for a Special Purpose Tactical Wheeled Armoured Vehicle (SPTWAV). Most of these are for the Turkish Land Forces Command (TLFC), with a small number for the General Command of Gendarmerie.
The SPTWAV contract covers 8×8 and 6×6 versions of the Pars III. All feature an anti-lock braking system, central tyre inflation and run-flat inserts, air-conditioning system, self-recovery winch and a hydropneumatic suspension system.
The company is also in production of Pars 4×4 and Kaplan 10 for the TLFC; these are fitted with the FNSS Savunma Sistemleri-developed Anti-Tank Remote Controlled Turret, which has two Russian Kornet-E and two locally developed Roketsan OMTAS anti-tank guided weapons, plus a 7.62mm coaxial machine gun. (Source: IHS Jane’s)
12 Sep 19. Armored reconnaissance vehicle prototypes to be evaluated by the USMC by the end of 2020. The Corps plans to have a replacement for one of its oldest combat vehicles, the light armored vehicle, or LAV, by the end of the next decade. And, by the end of 2020, the Corps says it will evaluate two armored reconnaissance vehicle, or ARV, prototypes — the replacement vehicle for the LAV, according to a news release.
The Office of Naval Research said it awarded two contracts in 2019 to General Dynamics and SAIC to design and build “full-scale technology-demonstration vehicles,” according to the news release.
The General Dynamics ARV will incorporate advanced technologies that are available today, while the SAIC vehicle will be an “at-the-edge” prototype using the most advanced technologies that aren’t quite “mature” today, the release said.
“The future ARV will provide transformational sensor, communications and combat capabilities to collect and communicate information, while integrating robotics and artificial intelligence technologies in manned-unmanned teams,” the Office of Naval Research, or ONR, said in a news release.
“ARV will enable a crew to sense the operating environment using advanced on-board sensors and unmanned systems in order to detect, recognize and identify threats at extended ranges,” ONR said.
The LAV has been providing all-weather armored reconnaissance for the Corps since the early 1980s. Throughout that history, it has gone through a series of upgrades to boost its survivability and combat power for the modern battlefield. In 2017, turrets on some of the LAVs were upgraded to fire automated tube-launched, optically-tracked, wire-guided, or TOW, missiles. And in February the Corps put out a request for information for an organic precision fires system that could use loitering munitions or swarming missiles. The Corps said it was looking for a fires system that could push beyond the 81mm mortar at ranges of 7,000 meters to 100 km.
Those munitions could include both kinetic or electronic warfare attributes. The Corps has been using its LAV vehicle to boost ship security during transits of tight waterways and choke points like the Strait of Hormuz in the Persian Gulf. The LAV’s M242 Bushmaster 25mm chain gun could be used to counter small boat threats approaching a U.S. Navy warship. Marine Corps Times reached out to SAIC and General Dynamics regarding their prototype vehicles and has yet to receive a response. (Source: Defense News Early Bird/Marine Times)
11 Sep 19. Patria AMV chosen to be tested in Japan. Patria’s armoured modular vehicle AMVXP has been chosen to a one-year field testing in Japan after a competitive bidding. The Japanese Ministry of Defence will buy two vehicles from Patria for the tests. Two other companies have been selected to deliver their vehicles to the tests. The final selection is to be expected after the trials.
“This is good news as it is a sign of the high quality and appreciation of Patria vehicles. In case Patria vehicles will be selected to Japan, we are ready for technology transfer project and to set up an assembly line there,” says Petri Jokinen, VP, Sales and Marketing of Patria’s Land business unit.
11 Sep 19. Dstl award £3.2m contract to shape UK’s future combat vehicle fleet. Today the Defence Science and Technology Laboratory Chief Executive announced investment of £3.2m in a new research project to explore the latest vehicle technologies to boost the performance of UK Future Ground Combat Vehicles. The project, led by QinetiQ will focus on innovative solutions for ground vehicle mobility exploiting the potential provided by electric drive systems.
The aim of this project is to assess which of the latest technologies can help to boost our future ground combat vehicles and how those technologies would integrate with current systems. This enables UK Defence to invest into the right technology in a focused and assured way, reducing risk and saving potentially millions of pounds.
Gary Aitkenhead, Dstl Chief Executive said, ““Technology changes the way we do things in every aspect of our daily lives. This is never truer than adapting the way we work, even on the battlefield. We are working in partnership with QinetiQ to deliver a three-year programme, which will move from concept studies to prototype testing in a real-world environment. This project will help ensure we have the best ground fleet ever.”
In particular, the project will investigate advanced running gear solutions for wheeled manned and autonomous vehicles to close the gap between the mobility of wheeled and tracked vehicles. The running gear will integrate with QinetiQ’s world-leading, in-wheel electric hub drive technology and the two combined will deliver significant benefits in armoured vehicle design. The solutions will enable platforms with significant increases in operational and tactical mobility along with survivability and fuel efficiency benefits.
Steve Wadey, CEO, QinetiQ, said, “QinetiQ has supported UK Defence for decades – channelling the expertise of our engineers, scientists and many employees who have, themselves, served on the front line. This knowledge has enabled us to develop solutions, such as our electric hub drive technology, which can truly change the way we operate on the battlefield and enable the use of power demanding payloads, bringing added benefits to capability and the wider mission.”
In addition, the studies will explore controls for active suspension – looking at electric and hydraulic options; advanced tyre technologies – benefits for vehicle design; terrain scanning and sensing – use of optical and light detection and ranging (LiDAR) with other sensor systems, such as, RADAR with an integrated control system; using advanced data processing/fusion techniques coupled with the application of novel materials.
The collaborative partnership is led by defence and technology company, QinetiQ, and brings together a wealth of industry and academic experience, including Cranfield University, Formula 1 motorsports engineers – Williams Advanced Engineering, military vehicle suspension specialists – Horstman Defence Systems, vehicle development and safety consultants – MIRA, control systems experts – Contract Innovation and innovation and simulation leaders – Catalyst Corporation.
The first phase of the programme, one year in duration, will focus on studies, concepts and modelling; followed by a second, two-year phase of prototyping and testing on a mobile test rig , validating the benefits in a practical environment.
11 Sep 19. US Army to partner with Mettle Ops for increased soldier survivability. The US Army has awarded a $20m three-year contract to Mettle Ops to support efforts to increase soldier survivability.
The Department of Defense (DoD) Ordnance Technology Consortium (DOTC) other transaction agreement (OTA) contract was awarded by the US Army Combat Capability Development Center Ground Vehicle Systems Center (CCDC GVSC).
The contract will run until 2021 and will focus on providing soldiers with advanced equipment to enhance their protection in combat environments.
Mettle Ops will provide programme management, design, modelling, simulations, and analysis. The company will also handle the documentation aspect of the process for the agreement.
Mettle Ops founder Katie Bigelow said: “Through innovation, we are increasing soldier survivability. Focused efforts on safety provide soldiers with equipment that better protects them, meaning more soldiers come home with less long-term health problems.”
CCDC GVSC and Mettle will work to jointly develop prototypes of advanced survivability and protection technologies for tracked and wheeled ground vehicles.
The virtual and physical prototypes will particularly cater to Abrams Main Battle Tank, Bradley Fighting Vehicle, and Armoured Multi-Purpose Vehicle.
The technologies will also cover the US Army’s Joint Light Tactical Vehicle and the Next Generation Combat Vehicle.
For CCDC GVSC, the contract is part of its continuous pursuit of advanced technologies to increase survivability for current and future ground vehicle systems. Mettle Ops is a provider of programme management and engineering services. In 2017, the company won a contract from CCDC GVSC to jointly work to provide increased survivability for soldiers. (Source: army-technology.com)
11 Sep 19. BAE Systems delivers CV90 Mjölner mortar system to Sweden. The 16th variant in the family of combat proven CV90 vehicles. Credit: BAE Systems. BAE Systems has delivered the Mjölner vehicle mounted mortar system to the Swedish Defence Materiel Administration (FMV) for the Swedish Army’s CV90 combat vehicles. Developed and produced by BAE Systems Hägglunds, Mjölner is a turret solution that will bring indirect fire capability to the fleet of CV90s.
BAE Systems and the Swedish Army will present a full-scale CV90 Mjölner variant at DSEI 2019 conference in London, UK, this week.
The company stated that the first four vehicles fitted with the mortar system will be transferred to the Swedish Army this month.
Indirect fire delivered by the CV90 Mjölner’s mortar system will support mechanised battalions. The capability can be adapted for different vehicle platforms.
BAE Systems Hägglunds general manager Tommy Gustafsson-Rask said: “Mjölner is a step-change solution on the battlefield, a turret system that is easy to train, simple to use, and highly effective.
“Having the latest variant of the versatile CV90 on display at DSEI, with the support of our FMV customer, is proof of BAE Systems’ ability to deliver new technology milestones to a demanding programme schedule.”
The solution features two smoothbore 120mm gun barrels mounted on the vehicle. The mechanical loading system is designed to rapidly reload the gun barrels in all combat situations.
Mjölner offers a full 60° frontal engagement arch and its elevating range of 45° to 83° enables operates to engage targets over a wide range of distances.
FMV Land Systems director brigadier general Mikael Frisell said: “We are very pleased with the progress of the CV90 programme to date, and we are meeting the key milestones for fielding on time, quality and budget.
“This new variant is a powerful addition to our fleet of CV90s and also helps us prepare our brigades for the future by increasing the vehicles’ lifespan in support of army capabilities.”
BAE Systems Hägglunds is under contract to deliver 40 mortar systems for the Swedish Army’s CV90 vehicles under the Mjölner programme.
The programme began in December 2016 and saw the delivery of the first four test vehicles to the FMV earlier this year to conduct validation and training. The four CV90 test vehicles are now certified to join the service. The company is expected to make final delivery of the remaining vehicles under the programme next year. (Source: army-technology.com)
10 Sep 19. The Land Systems arm of ST Engineering and Rheinmetall signed a Memorandum of Understanding (MOU) to pursue business opportunities for development and sales of defence products, systems and solutions.
ST Engineering and Rheinmetall will collaborate to explore areas of cooperation involving complementary capabilities in design, development, production, global marketing, sales and support of defence systems and solutions related to protection systems and combat vehicles.
Under the area of combat vehicle, the partnership will explore opportunities in the armoured tracked vehicle market, which includes marketing, development, manufacturing, assembly; and Integrated Logistic Support activities such as training and aftersales.
Dr. Lee Shiang Long President, Land Systems arm of ST Engineering, said, “This partnership speaks volumes of industry collaborations that leverage the strengths of both partners to bring about new opportunities in the development of products and expansion of market reach.”
“This is a very significant collaboration that will bring together complementary capabilities and technologies to strengthen the defence industrial base in Singapore, and to jointly expand our presence in important markets worldwide.” said Mr Gordon Hargreave, Member of the Executive Management Board of Rheinmetall.
09 Sep 19. Modernised Leopard 2PL makes European debut. Polish manufacturer ZM Bumar-Labedy, a member of the PGZ holding, displayed the first production model of its modernised Leopard 2PL MBT at MSPO, with several modifications of the 2A4 variant.
According to the designer, upgrades to the 2PL standard vehicle include: implementation of more efficient sights, such as third generation camera systems, additional ballistic protection modules on the turret, installation of a digital stabilisation system, modernised fire extinguishing and suppression systems and a new auxiliary power unit.
A new turret-located storage compartment for the crew is also part of the upgrade package, alongside modernisation of the main gun system, adapted for the use of new types of ammunition (DM63 antitank and DM11 multipurpose) fire and new day-night driver cameras. The vehicle also features a new fire control system. Under contracts signed in 2018 and 2015 the full fleet of the Polish Army’s 142 Leopard 2A4 MBTs will be modernised to the 2PL standard in the coming years. The project is conducted by a consortium of PGZ and ZM Bumar Labedy, also partnered with Rheinmetall. At the end of 2018 a number of prototype Leopard 2PL vehicles were delivered to Poland for trials for evaluation to explore if the upgrades implemented by Rheinmetall met Polish requirements.
The final batch of modernised Leopard 2PL MTBs is expected to be delivered to Poland in 2021.
However, it is unclear if that target will eventually be met, as the programme has already faced a delay of more than six months, due to a number of technical issues identified during the trial period.
The issues are associated with the breakdown of a number of platform subsystems and other equipment, some of which were not included in the upgrade programme and therefore did not subsequently undergo proper overhaul and maintenance.
The Polish MoD also introduced additional modernisation goals to the programme, post contract signature, forcing industry to reconfigure the whole project.
The modernised Leopard 2PLs are expected to be at the core of the Polish Army’s MBT fleet until a new generation tank is procured under the Wilk programme. Implementation of the new platform, designed and manufactured either by local industry independently or in partnership with foreign companies, will allow for the gradual phase out of the currently operated legacy tanks, the T-72 and PT-91. (Source: Shephard)
06 Sep 19. Forging Ahead with Amphibious Combat Vehicles. The US Marine Corps is pursuing a new family of amphibious combat vehicles with multiple variants that can carry troops from sea to shore.
The ACV program is intended to replace the 40-year-old amphibious assault vehicle. The previous $3bn replacement effort, deemed the expeditionary fighting vehicle, was canceled in 2011 because of the system’s poor reliability and cost growth, according to the Congressional Research Service.
In 2015, BAE Systems and SAIC were awarded contracts to build 16 prototypes each for two-year testing. Engineering and manufacturing assessments kicked off in 2017. BAE and its partner Iveco Defence Vehicles — an Italian military vehicle manufacturer — won a downselect in June 2018 and was awarded a $198m contract for a personnel variant. The contract included producing 30 systems for low-rate initial production.
BAE’s vehicle is an 8×8 platform with a 690-horsepower engine that can traverse 325 miles on land before refueling, according to the company. The system can reach ground speeds of more than 65 miles per hour and carry 13 Marines and a crew of three.
The ACV is based on Iveco’s Superav 8×8 amphibious armored vehicle, which was unveiled in 2009 and can be transported by a C-17, according to Iveco. The vehicle has two propellers and can mount up to a 40 mm cannon.
One of the main concerns regarding the amphibious assault vehicle was its lack of survivability, said John Swift, director of amphibious programs at BAE. The ACV’s level of protection is equal to or greater than that of a mine-resistant, ambush protected vehicle, making it three times more survivable than the amphibious assault vehicle, he said. A 2011 request for information stated that the vehicle should be able to protect against threats such as direct and indirect fire, mines and improvised explosive devices.
“Ultimately, the balance between what was best value between survivability, performance and reliability and cost ultimately earned BAE the selection,” Swift said.
Col. Kirk Mullins, the Marine Corps ACV product manager, said the platform is in the early stages of low-rate initial production. BAE is continuing to build the first 30 vehicles of LRIP Lot 1 and the service has taken delivery of the first system at Aberdeen Proving Ground, Maryland, he said in an interview. Initial operational test and evaluation is slated for April and a full-rate production decision is scheduled for the third quarter of fiscal year 2020.
An operational assessment was conducted from January through March of 2018, which helped inform a Milestone C decision in June that year, he noted.
“Once we completed the operational assessment, we wanted to get as much feedback from the Marines as possible,” he said. Users provided “a very detailed assessment of their experiences operating the vehicles in areas where improvements could be made.”
Swift said the assessment led to “very minor changes” in the system’s design.
“When it was all said and done, there really were no improvements made to the vehicle,” he said. There were only minor engineering change proposals.
One modification the Marine Corps wanted was an increase in situational awareness, Swift noted. To meet this requirement, BAE upgraded the design with a 360-degree camera suite, he said. Previously the vehicles had 180-degree cameras.
“There is no greater requirement than that,” Swift said. BAE’s platform has the size, weight and power to accommodate future capabilities, he noted.
The service’s original plan was to pursue the vehicle in different increments, where ACV Increment 1.1 would rely on ship-to-shore connectors. Increment 1.2 would be tracked and fully amphibious.
However, the service decided to combine the programs into one ACV family of vehicles after determining that the systems were able to fulfill the requirements for both variants, Mullins noted. Assistant Secretary of the Navy for Research, Development and Acquisition James Geurts signed an acquisition decision memorandum in June to combine them into one.
Increment 1.1 performed and exceeded the performance requirements in key areas that were the desired performance of the 1.2, Mullins said. “In essence, 1.1 gave us the 1.2 performance requirements, and so there was really no need to continue on with using the vernacular of 1.1, 1.2.”
Combining the increments into one program is expected to save money, Geurts said in April.
“That brings gear to the fleet faster,” he said in testimony to the Senate Armed Services subcommittee on seapower. “It is much more cost effective, and now we can focus some of that [research-and-development funding] on what is past 1.2, not just redoing the R&D just for the sake of redoing it.”
In President Donald Trump’s fiscal year 2020 budget request, the Marine Corps asked for $318m in base funding to procure 56 ACVs for the first increment.
As part of the family of vehicles, the service is seeking multiple variants. These include personnel; command-and-control; and recovery vehicles. Additionally, the Marine Corps decided to pursue a gunned variant that will have a 30 mm cannon to increase lethality.
The current acquisition objective is to obtain 1,122 total vehicles, Mullins said.
“So far, the feedback we’ve gotten from the Marines that operate this vehicle has been extremely positive,” he noted.
However, the decision to have a single family of vehicles will likely have ramifications on Capitol Hill, the Congressional Research Service said in a June 2019 report titled, “Marine Corps Amphibious Combat Vehicle: Background and Issues for Congress.”
With the consolidation of the program, “there will likely be a number of programmatic changes and potential ramifications for the ACV and ACV 2.0 programs,” the report stated. CRS encouraged the service to explore questions such as: “What is the revised timeline for the replacement of AAVs and will this result in cost savings from not having to upgrade and maintain AAVs longer than previously intended?”
But Mullins said consolidating the increments into one has been a positive step.
It likely accelerated the timeline of multiple variants and “allowed us to pursue those solutions faster than doing it in a … 1.1, 1.2 approach,” he said. “It hasn’t had a negative impact on the schedule. It hasn’t had a negative impact on the program. … In many ways it makes it a more efficient program to execute.”
BAE is currently delivering the personnel variant, Mullins said. A critical design review was recently conducted for the command-and-control vehicle and three production representative platforms will be taken into testing in 2021.
In June, BAE was awarded a $67m contract modification to develop the command-and-control and 30 mm medium caliber cannon variants, according to a news release.
BAE is developing the systems in Stafford, Virginia; San Jose, California; Sterling Heights, Michigan; Aiken, South Carolina; and York, Pennsylvania, according to the company.
Swift said BAE had already invested internal funding into a command-and-control variant about three years ago.
“We completed that just before the contract award,” he said. “So it’s very mature. And then we actually went through and … validated our preliminary design review with the Marine Corps.”
For the gun variant, the 30 mm cannon will be chosen by BAE, Mullins said. The Marine Corps is in the process of finalizing performance specifications and an industry day was slated for August to reach out to interested companies. BAE has already made headway on the system by integrating a turret on one of its own prototypes to get early feedback, he noted.
“There’s a high degree of confidence both on BAE’s side and the government side that integrating a 30 mm system is very manageable,” Mullins said.
Swift said when the vehicle was conceived eight years ago, it was specifically designed for turret integration. The platform can carry over 6,000 pounds of payload without affecting its mobility on land or in the water, he said.
The service hopes to conduct a critical design review for that variant around the fourth quarter of fiscal year 2020. If the review is successful, the Marine Corps will look to procure production representative test vehicles, Mullins noted.
Swift said BAE wants to ensure that it picks a turret that is not too heavy for the vehicle because that will affect performance.
Mullins said he is confident Marines will have a weapon system that isn’t overweight.
“When BAE designed this vehicle to begin with, they built gross margin into the platform in order to accommodate additional capabilities,” he said.
The company also demonstrated an ACV equipped with a 40 mm cannon “in an effort to start fully vetting out the integration aspects of their vehicle” using its own internal research-and-development dollars, Mullins noted. The test occurred at an event held by Northrop Grumman in Arizona.
However, the government is not planning on pursuing a 40 mm cannon at this time, he added.
For the recovery variant, the service plans to begin creating the design “in earnest” in fiscal year 2022, he said. (Source: National Defense)
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11 Sep 19. US Navy sponsors next-generation reconnaissance vehicle research. The US Navy’s Office of Naval Research (ONR) is sponsoring research on the development of the next-generation armoured reconnaissance vehicle (ARV), which will replace the Marine Corps’ current light armoured vehicle (LAV).
The existing LAV supports light armoured reconnaissance battalions that carry out all-weather, sustained-reconnaissance, counter-reconnaissance and security missions.
The Marine Corps plans to replace the current LAV, which has been in service since the early 1980s, at the end of the next decade.
ONR’s ARV science and technology effort is part of the Department of the Navy’s Future Naval Capabilities (FNC) programme.
The FNC programme, which was initiated by the Department of the Navy in 2002, intends to discover, assess and fast-track the useful new technologies into acquisition programmes of record upon completion of the research.
The future ARV will offer transformational sensor, communications and combat capabilities for collecting and communicating information. It will integrate robotics and artificial intelligence technologies in manned and unmanned teams.
The ARV will allow a crew to utilise advanced onboard sensors and unmanned systems for identifying and recognising threats at extended ranges.
ONR awarded several contracts in 2018 for full-system concept/trade studies and for individual advanced technology research efforts.
In 2019, ONR awarded contracts to defence firms General Dynamics Land Systems and SAIC for the design, fabrication, and testing of full-scale technology-demonstration vehicles.
The vehicle, to be designed by General Dynamics Land Systems, will feature advanced technologies available at present or in the near future around a notional unit price point.
SAIC’s vehicle will incorporate advanced technologies that might not be fully mature currently but could be equipped into the ARV as new capabilities when threats and missions take place.
Both the technology demonstrator platforms are expected to be ready for government assessment near the end of 2020. ONR is also investing in component technology development to improve the armoured reconnaissance mission of the future. (Source: naval-technology.com)
13 Sep 19. Serbian company Yugoimport (Stand N4-220) is showing just a part of its wide range of vehicles and weapon systems in model form that have been developed to meet the operational requirements of the Serbian armed forces, but are now being offered on the export market. Two wheeled armoured fighting vehicles (AFV) are currently being offered, the Miloch (4×4) and the Lazar (8×8), which have both been produced in production quantities. Miloch is typically fitted with a locally developed remote weapon station (RWS), armed with a 12.7mm machine gun.
The larger Lazar has also been deployed in Serbia fitted with a 12.7mm RWS, while another version is fitted with a Russian turret armed with a 30mm 2A42 cannon and 7.62mm coaxial machine gun.
Yugoimport’s best-selling artillery system is the Nora B-52 (8×8) fitted with a turret at the rear, armed with a 155mm/52 calibre ordnance integrated onto a Kamaz (8×8) platform fitted with a central tyre-inflation system. The turret carries 12 rounds of 155mm ammunition and 12 propellant charges, with a similar number being held in reserve. Maximum range depends of the projectile/ charge combination, but is typically 42km.
On display in model form is its latest 267mm/122mm multiple rocket launcher system based on a Kamaz (8×8) platform, which has been developed using internal research and development funding.
On the rear is a power-operated turntable, which can be fitted with two pods each of 24x122mm unguided surface-to- surface rockets, or two pods each of six 267mm unguided rockets. When carrying two pods of 122mm rockets, an additional two pods of 122mm rockets can be carried at the rear for rapid loading using the onboard crane. (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.