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31 Oct 19. Here’s the robotic vehicle that will carry equipment for US troops. The U.S. Army has selected General Dynamics Land Systems’ Multi-Utility Tactical Transport, or MUTT, for its Squad Multipurpose Equipment Transport unmanned ground system program of record.
The initial contract for the eight-wheel drive robotic vehicle totals $162.4m and includes support hardware, user training and technical support. The contract will wrap up at the end of October 2024, according to an Oct. 30 Defense Department announcement.
GDLS will produce 624 systems for the Squad Multipurpose Equipment Transport, or SMET, program under the contract and will begin delivery in the second quarter of fiscal 2021, an Army spokesperson confirmed to Defense News.
Four companies were chosen at the end of 2017 to compete to build the robotic vehicle that will help troops carry equipment on the battlefield.
A team of Applied Research Associates and Polaris Defense; General Dynamics Land Systems; HDT Expeditionary Systems and Howe & Howe were selected to build 20 platforms each that were issued to two infantry brigade combat teams for testing and analysis of utility in the field.
Polaris’ MRZR X was evaluated as well as HDT’s six-wheel drive Global Hunter WOLF, or Wheeled Offload Logistics Follower. Textron-owned Howe & Howe offered its Grizzly unmanned vehicle, which is powered by an electric engine.
HDT’s Global Hunter WOLF was recently picked, along with three other teams to include Textron and QinetiQ North America, to compete to build vehicles for the Robotic Combat Vehicle-Light effort.
The Army selected those teams from an array of companies chosen to participate in a demonstration event in the fall of 2017 at Fort Benning, Georgia. Other companies that participated in that demonstration included American Robot Company; Lockheed Martin; AM General; Robo-Team NA; and QinetiQ North America.
For the SMET program, the Army was looking for a vehicle that can carry about 1,000 pounds worth of soldier equipment. This equates to lightening the load of nine soldiers across an infantry squad. The Army wanted the robots to be able to travel 60 miles over three days and to be able to provide a spare kilowatt hour of power while moving and at least 3 kilowatt hours while stationary. (Source: Defense News)
31 Oct 19. Germany receives first Leopard 2A7V. Germany received its first upgraded Leopard 2A7V tank at Krauss-Maffei Wegmann (KMW) in Munich on 29 October, the company announced in a press release, 40 years after the Bundeswehr received its first Leopard 2 on 25 October 1979.
The tank was handed over to the Bundesamt für Ausrüstung, Informationstechnik und Nutzung der Bundeswehr (BAAINBw), Germany’s Federal Office of Bundeswehr Equipment, Information Technology and In-Service Support. The first Leopard 2A7V user will be Panzerbataillion (Armour Battalion) 203’s third company in Augustdorf.
The Bundestag, the German parliament, approved the EUR760m (USD845m) upgrade of 104 Leopard 2 tanks for the German Army in April 2017.
KMW will retrofit and upgrade 20 Leopard 2A7s, 68 Strv 121s (Leopard 2A4s) repurchased from Sweden, and 16 Leopard 2A6s acquired from Denmark to the Leopard 2A7V standard by 2023. (Source: IHS Jane’s)
30 Oct 19. U.S. Marine Corps Orders More Amphibious Combat Vehicles from BAE Systems. BAE Systems has received a $120m contract from the U.S. Marine Corps for additional Amphibious Combat Vehicles under a third order for Low Rate Initial Production (LRIP). This award is an important next step on the path to full rate production.
This latest contract is for the ACV personnel carrier variant (ACV-P), an eight-wheeled amphibious assault vehicle capable of transporting Marines from open-ocean ship to shore and conducting land operations. Each vehicle embarks 13 Marines in addition to a crew of three.
“This award further validates the Marine Corps’ confidence in the vehicle’s proven capability in meeting their amphibious mission, and represents an important step toward fielding the vehicle in the Fleet Marine Force. The ACV is a highly mobile, survivable and adaptable platform designed for growth to meet future mission role requirements while bringing enhanced combat power to the battlefield,” said John Swift, director of amphibious programs at BAE Systems.
Current low-rate production is focused on the ACV-P variant. More variants will be added under full rate production to include the command and control (ACV-C), 30mm medium caliber turret (ACV-30) and recovery variants (ACV-R) under the ACV Family of Vehicles program. BAE Systems previously received the Lot 1 and Lot 2 awards.
The Marine Corps selected BAE Systems along with teammate Iveco Defence Vehicles for the ACV program in 2018 to replace its legacy fleet of Assault Amphibious Vehicles, which have been in service for decades and were also built by BAE Systems. ACV production and support is taking place at BAE Systems locations in Stafford, Virginia; San Jose, California; Sterling Heights, Michigan; Aiken, South Carolina; and York, Pennsylvania. (Source: BUSINESS WIRE)
29 Oct 19. Denmark receives first Leopard 2A7, orders more CAESAR SPHs. Denmark received its first Leopard 2A7 main battle tank (MBT) on 29 October, a day after it was announced that it would buy four more CAESAR 8×8 wheeled 155 mm self-propelled howitzers (SPHs). Krauss-Maffei Wegmann (KMW) announced in a press release on 29 October that its CEO, Frank Haun, handed the symbolic keys of the Leopard 2A7 to the Danish ambassador to Berlin, Friis Arne Petersen. The company said the Royal Danish Army would receive 44 Leopard 2A7s by 2022. The MBT has improved protection, mobility, firepower, and command and control, according to KMW. (Source: IHS Jane’s)
29 Oct 19. The FAISAL APC is a 4×4 armoured personnel carrier, capable of transporting six troops plus two crew, built in the Bahrain Defence Force in-house workshops, reports Bob Morrison. Intended for use over different terrain types as well as having a high road speed, the FAISAL APC has been designed to allow it to be configured as an Internal Security Vehicle, Command & Control Vehicle, Reconnaissance Vehicle or Armoured Ambulance in addition to its primary role as an Infantry Squad Vehicle.
Armoured to B6 protection level, the FAISAL APC has a V-shaped hull and is designed to protect its occupants from 6kg anti-armour mines in addition to bullets and shrapnel. The COTS (commercial-off-the-shelf) driveline and major systems run underneath the monocoque armoured crew module, which can be craned off for major maintenance. Standard internal configuration is for driver and commander up front with two soldiers directly behind on rearward-facing seats and four more at the rear on inward-facing seats which can be folded up to allow cargo to be transported. There is an armoured crewed weapon station amidships and two top cover roof hatches at the rear. Standard equipment includes four surveillance cameras, a fire suppression system, self-recovery winch and run-flat tyre inserts.
FAISAL is powered by a 300HP (221kW) Cummins diesel engine through a six-speed automatic transmission, giving a top road speed of 110km/hr. Gross Vehicle Weight is 9,000kg and the effective payload is given as being 2,000kg. Cruising range is quoted as being 900km. Dimensionally, the vehicle measures 5714 x 2630 x 320mm high and has a 3300mm wheelbase. Unprepared fording depth is 1120mm, a 400mm step can be climbed and gradients of 60% can be tackled.
According to the BDF Colonel who commands the Army’s own Vehicle Armouring Workshop which built FAISAL, it has now completed full evaluation trials (a video showing the vehicle tackling on-road and off-road conditions with a full crew was screened at BIDEC 2019) and is ready for full production. (Source: joint-forces.com)
29 Oct 19. British Army’s Boxer proposal faces top-level scrutiny. The final approval of a program to purchase more than 500 Boxer wheeled, armored fighting vehicles for the British Army is now being considered by top officials, according to the Ministry of Defence. The business case for buying the German-designed 8×8 vehicle was handed over to the MoD’s high-powered Investment Approvals Committee Oct. 22 at the start of a process that could see the deal sealed as early as next month.
“The main gate [business case] has been submitted and is currently being considered through the approvals process,” a ministry spokesman confirmed to Defense News.
The Investment Approvals Committee is the MoD’s senior organization for considering major acquisition proposals.
Assuming the business case can clear the panel, a final deal will likely have to be approved by the defense minister, the Treasury and others ahead of a public announcement that Artec, a joint venture of Rheinmetall and Krauss Maffei Wegmann, has secured the deal.
The timing of a decision for the British Army to get an initial 508 Boxer vehicles could be derailed by the looming prospect of a British general election in December, as the political war over Brexit takes another bizarre twist.
The deal, when it comes, will likely bring to a close at least a 25-year saga of false starts, as the British have launched several wheeled vehicle programs only to abandon them for various reasons.
Even Boxer is a re-selection.
The British were part of a tri-nation program with Germany and the Netherlands to design and build Boxer vehicles but withdrew from the arrangement in 2003 citing changing requirements.
Artec was nominated March 2018 as preferred supplier with its Boxer platform to meet a British requirement, known as the Mechanised Infantry Vehicle program. The selection sparked controversy when the British opted to acquire the vehicle without a competition, despite high interest from rivals like Nexter of France.
The vehicle will be a key element of two new strike brigades now in the process of being formed by the British Army.
Members of the family of Ajax tracked reconnaissance vehicles, the other crucial component of the new strike formations, are already being delivered to the Army by contractor General Dynamics UK.
The early Boxer deliveries are all scheduled to come off KMW and Rheinmetall production lines in Germany, but as the program gets into its stride increasing amounts of production will be centered on the U.K.
The first British Army Boxer, an infantry-carrier vehicle, is scheduled to be available from the KMW factory in Germany in November 2022.
Rheinmetall’s first production vehicle will be a command variant, set to be complete by February 2023.
By July 2023 the German production lines of the two companies are expected to have delivered 27 vehicles.
Deliveries from the Telford, West Midlands, plant of the recently formed Rheinmetall- BAE Systems joint venture known as RBSL, short for Rheinmetall BAE Systems Land, are set to begin in 2024.
Telford was BAE’s armored-vehicles base in the U.K. before the company threw in its lot with Rheinmetall in mid-2019.
The joint venture does not include BAE’s munitions capabilities in the U.K. or armored-vehicles activities outside of Britain.
The Germans have pledged that 60 percent of the content for Boxers destined for the British Army will be produced locally, with Telford playing a major role. Among other things, RBSL will be responsible for producing the mission modules for the multi-role armored vehicle.
Thales, Rolls-Royce, WFEL and Parker Hannifin are among the principle companies who are part of British production effort. (Source: Defense News)
29 Oct 19. Denmark and Germany receive the latest versions of the LEOPARD 2. Krauss-Maffei Wegmann (KMW) has handed the latest versions of the Leopard 2 over to Denmark and Germany. Frank Haun, Chairman of the Board of KMW, presented the symbolic keys of the first two vehicle systems to the Ambassador of the Kingdom of Denmark, Friis Arne Petersen, and the Parliamentary State Secretary of the Federal Ministry of Defence, Dr. Peter Tauber. Both nations are receiving comparable variants of the Leopard 2 A7 main battel tank. Protection, mobility, firepower and commandability were significantly increased. The main features include an even higher protection level, high-performance power supply, new NBC and air conditioning systems as well as the integration of C4 I systems in order to meet the requirements of modern, networked operation. The modernisation of the driveline and a further optimisation of the weapon stabilisation during travel bolster the vehicles’ agility and combat performance. The Danish army will receive a total of 44 Leopard 2 A7 vehicles by 2022. The German Federal Armed Forces will gain 104 Leopard 2 A7V vehicles by 2023.
28 Oct 19. Bulgaria plans T-72 upgrade. The Bulgarian Ministry of Defence (MoD) is considering investing in an upgrade of its T-72M1 main battle tanks (MBTs) in the near term while continuing rolling overhauls. Bulgarian Defence Minister Krasimir Karakachanov told regional TV channel Kis 13 on 23 October that there is a programme to overhaul all MBTs to restore their combat readiness. He said the second part of the programme foresees the go-ahead of a T-72 upgrade involving the fire-control system. The T-72M1 overhauls are being carried out at the Bulgarian TEREM-Khan Krum plant in Targovishte, a subsidiary of the MoD-controlled TEREM EAD holding company. The Bulgarian Land Forces received 10 T-72M1 MBTs in October after they were overhauled at the plant. (Source: IHS Jane’s)
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