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28 Nov 19. Microsoft demos tactical vehicle to strengthen US Navy capabilities. Microsoft has demonstrated an SUV with new technological capabilities to help the US Navy in designing innovative solutions for vessels. The SUV, called Microsoft Tactical Vehicle, features sensors, onboard computing, and augmented and virtual reality for advanced mission planning to support the future navy and personnel. The Microsoft Tactical Vehicle was demonstrated at the Naval Surface Warfare Center (NSWC) Dahlgren Innovation Day earlier this month.

The Dahlgren Innovation Day briefers focused on how the Cloud, artificial intelligence (AI), machine learning (ML), and cognitive services can impact the battlespace. Experts from Microsoft discussed their technologies, including DevOps, AI, ML, as well as Azure and computing at the tactical edge. NSWCDD Activity Command Information officer Glenn Jones said: “The navy and Microsoft briefs and demonstrations at Dahlgren Innovation Day enabled NSWC scientists and engineers to see and understand new technologies and tools available for engineering systems to meet mission requirements.”

Bolz pointed out that Azure Hybrid is capable of providing innovation anywhere. The ability to use Azure Stack with integrated systems, along with Azure Arc connecting any data centre in any Cloud to any Edge device, provides the ability to organise and govern across environments.

Microsoft’s executives have demonstrated the capabilities of Azure Hybrid and Azure Stack to navy scientists and engineers. They have yet to demonstrate how Intelligent Edge can be used to organise and enable data mining on any captured formats for extracting pertinent data.

NSWC Dahlgren Division Information Technology Hyper Convergence – Hybrid Cloud Team program manager Laura Martin said: “We were briefed on simple image recognition all the way to complex scenarios where multi-modal inputs led to actionable results from complex data sets.”

Microsoft has recently secured the $10bn contract to provide Cloud services to the US Department of Defense (DoD).

The company beat Amazon to secure the Joint Enterprise Defense Infrastructure (JEDI) Cloud contract to migrate Pentagon’s computing infrastructure and data to the Cloud. (Source: naval-technology.com)

28 Nov 19. General Dynamics installs new GPS on US military vehicles in Germany. General Dynamics Mission Systems has installed a new GPS source onto US vehicles in Germany, which will allow US Armed Forces to operate even when GPS signals are degraded or denied. The company began the installation of the Mounted Assured Positioning, Navigation and Timing Data (PNT) System (MAPS) Gen 1 in September on selected Stryker armoured fighting vehicles. The system could later be installed on thousands of vehicles across Europe.

General Dynamics Mission Systems, a business unit of American defence and aerospace company General Dynamics, is the current provider to the US Army’s MAPS Program of Record.

The company claimed that the modular vehicle-mounted MAPS Gen 1 system will monitor GPS signals for validity and send the data to military devices even when GPS signals are degraded or denied.

In the absence of reliable data, systems dependent on GPS fail to operate properly, affecting operational capability and soldier safety.

General Dynamics Mission Systems said that MAPS Gen 1 is scalable and upgradable, providing additional features and capabilities to troops.

The US Army can purchase the system through the Common Hardware Systems (CHS-5) contract for indefinite-delivery, indefinite-quantity acquisitions.

General Dynamics Mission Systems PNT products vice-president and director Robert Horton said: “The MAPS GEN 1 Assured PNT system that is being fielded today closes a capability gap for the US Army in major areas of responsibility around the world.

“GPS Source employees are excited to deliver such an important capability and to contribute to the safety of America’s soldiers.”

The US Army’s project manager for positioning, navigation, and timing (PM PNT) leads the initiative as the acquisition developer responsible for developing, modernising and integrating optimal and affordable PNT capabilities to promote action in army operations.

The PM PNT develops interoperable, reliable products in collaboration with other army and joint service partners to promote real-time secure PNT services for combat and combat support field missions. (Source: army-technology.com)

28 Nov 19. Iveco Defence Vehicles signs contract to deliver an initial 918 medium multirole protected vehicles “12kN” to the Dutch Armed Forces. Following the award announced in September 2019, Iveco Defence Vehicles has signed a contract with the Dutch Ministry of Defence to initially provide 918 medium multirole protected vehicles denominated “12kN”. The signing ceremony was held on November 28, 2019 at the NIDV exhibition in Rotterdam, The Netherlands in the presence of Vice Admiral Arie Jan de Waard, Director of the Defence Material Organization (DMO).

28 Nov 19. MLS files patent for Falcon V-Hull Blast Protection system. Mobile Land Systems (MLS) has filed a patent in the UAE and Saudi Arabia for the design of the Falcon V-Hull Blast Protection system. The company has collaborated with survivability experts and its UAE and Saudi-based engineering teams to design the Falcon V-Hull for integration into its range of mine-protected vehicles.

The company claimed that the Falcon V-Hull provides high levels of protection against improvised explosive devices (IEDs) and landmines and is designed to meet the full range of STANAG 4569 Levels.

MLS client services senior vice-president Tom Yeoman said: “With an increased proliferation of improvised explosive devices, blast protection has become more important than ever.

“While MLS and most military land systems manufacturers adhere to the standards set out by STANAG 4569, we have engineered the Falcon V-Hull to provide an unprecedented level of protection to the soldiers who trust their lives with our vehicles.”

MLS conducted the first trials of its Viper MRAP (mine-resistant ambush protected) vehicle during the UAE Summer Trials in 2018 and launched the product at IDEX in February.

The Viper MRAP is the only vehicle that has been designed and developed in the UAE and Saudi Arabia.

Yeoman said: “While other contenders rely on technology that is or was controlled by overseas companies and governments, the MLS Viper is completely designed by MLS’s teams supported by global experts.”

The low-profile MLS Viper MRAP includes a powerful drivetrain, large internal volume, a modular designed interior, advanced suspension systems, air-conditioning, and CBRN capability, all without restriction from BAFA or ITAR.

The Viper uses advanced materials from major factories in the world.

The design of the Viper MRAP supports a range of end-user requirements, including armoured personnel carrier (APC), command and control, reconnaissance, ambulance and IFV.

MLS is expanding its infrastructure in Saudi Arabia to manufacture its wide range of vehicles in 2020. MLS opened a 35,000m² production complex in the UAE in 2015 to develop the local industry, and launched an integration and support facility in Saudi Arabia in 2016 to support its vehicles used by the Saudi Armed Forces. (Source: army-technology.com)

26 Nov 19. Thailand to Evaluate Milrem Robotics’ THeMIS RCV. The Defence Technology Institute of Thailand (DTI) will be evaluating Milrem Robotics’ THeMIS robotics combat vehicle (RCV) next year to determine its suitability for the country’s armed forces.

The THeMIS RCV exhibited last week during the Asian Defense & Security Exhibition in Bangkok will undergo tests in cooperation with the Royal Thai Army. The tests are designed to evaluate the vehicles’ capabilities in the harsh terrain and climate conditions where local armed forces operate.

DTI will be looking at how the THeMIS RCV is able to assist Armed Forces as a supply transport, but also as an unmanned remotely operated weapon platform. The latter will be done in cooperation with Electro Optic Systems (EOS) with whom a development project is underway. The final product, named D-Iron, features the THeMIS RCV with the R400S-MK2 remote weapon station (RWS) by EOS.

The system was presented to the Deputy Prime Minister and Deputy Minister of Defence of Thailand as well as other VIPs from ASEAN during the exhibition in Bangkok.

“We are very pleased to collaborate with Milrem Robotics and Electro Optic Systems (EOS) with the THeMIS RCV and the R400-MK2 30mm M230LF Remote Weapon Station, to enhance the capabilities of the Royal Thai Armed Forces with effective unmanned systems. We will be conducting tests with various users in 2020 for other applications besides the weaponized Robotic Combat Vehicle,” said ACM Preecha Pradabmook, Director General of DTI.

“It’s a great honor for us to collaborate with DTI and Royal Thai Army during this evaluation. The THeMIS has proven itself as a most capable RCV for very harsh conditions and environments. Milrem Robotics is determined to provide the Royal Thai Army the new capabilities that robotic warfare systems will bring to the battlefield,” said Kuldar Väärsi, CEO of Milrem Robotics.

The THeMIS is the first fully modular hybrid robotics combat vehicle in the world that can be equipped with various payloads like large and small caliber weapons and utilized as an ISR platform, supply transport and an EOD system.

The vehicle can carry a maximum payload of 1200 kg and move at a speed of 25km/h. It can be equipped with an autonomy kit that allows independent point-to-point navigation and following a motorized convoy or a dismounted unit. (Source: ASD Network)

27 Nov 19. For over a decade, the U.S. Army has used one source — Oshkosh Defense — to build its Family of Medium Tactical Vehicles, choosing to sole source to the company beyond its initial five year contract rather than reopen competition.

Defense company Navistar is challenging the Army’s choice to forgo competition and filed a lawsuit with the U.S. Court of Federal Claims in early August.

Nov. 26 was to be the day a judge would decide whether the U.S. Army violated the law by continuing to order vehicles from Oshkosh outside of the scope of the contract while avoiding competition.

And while a bench trial happened, the judge hearing the case did not make a decision. It is unclear what’s next or when a ruling could happen.

Navistar decided to sue the Army after it was getting nowhere in its quest to get the Army to produce documents — through a protest filed with the Government Accountability Office — that would show the service’s reasoning to continue to order more vehicles from Oshkosh without competition and without proper legal justification.

The company contended that the Army did not justify and improperly awarded its most recent sole source FMTV procurement to Oshkosh, and failed to provide proper notice to possible competitors in accordance with federal acquisition regulations and the Competition in Contracting Act (CICA), according to an extensive review of court documents by Defense News.

In addition, the Army also ignored a stop work order, which automatically went into effect when a GAO protest was filed.

Navistar filed two complaints: One that claims the Army violated the law when it continued to buy Oshkosh vehicles outside of the scope of its contract without holding a competition and another that claims the Army illegally continued to work on production of those vehicles despite a required stop work order that must go into affect once a protest is filed with the GAO.

Since 2009, the Army has spent over $6bn on FMTVs from Oshkosh. FMTVs are used for a wide variety of missions to include transporting capabilities that extend from cargo to missile defense radars.

Navistar contends the Army had ample time to compete for follow-on FMTV orders, and the pool was deep with companies ready to provide vehicles that met the service’s requirement, but the Army never did.

A long saga

The saga goes much further back than just the 2019 GAO protest and lawsuit.

Navistar successfully protested the Army’s initial award to Oshkosh back in August 26, 2009. As a result, the Army reviewed its decision, reaffirmed its selection of Oshkosh and awarded it a contract with a performance period of less than five years, set to expire at the end of 2013.

The request for proposals ahead of the original contract award estimated 23,341 vehicles to be delivered over a five-year period. Following that, it was Navistar’s belief that the Army would reopen the competition to deliver more FMTVs.

Through a series of justification and approvals — five of them — the Army continued to extend the contract through August 25, 2019, arguing each time that it did not have the time to conduct a new competition to meet the service’s needs.

In its latest J&A in September 2016, the Army justified it needed another 1,744 FMTVs at an estimated cost of $575m for total contract duration of 10 years.

The Army argued that it needed to sole source FMTVs to Oshkosh because it didn’t have 24 months that it would take to conduct a full competition to meet urgent requirements, while it acknowledged there were other companies to include Navistar that could build FMTVs.

The service also justified the sole source award due to its plans to stop procuring the current version of the FMTV as it prepared to take delivery of a new FMTV variant, which was also competitively awarded to Oshkosh in 2018.

Navistar chose not to compete for the new variant, according to court documents.

The order in 2016 was to fulfill the Army’s remaining needs between the end of the current variant and the future variant expected to be delivered in fiscal year 2020.

Navistar again protested with the GAO the 2016 sole source award to Oshkosh for more FMTVs and ended up dropping the protest when it settled with the Army to supply some vehicles to Iraq.

Without a J&A or any other documents justifying another order of vehicles, the Army, on June 28, 2019, announced what it described as the award of a $320m contract modification for domestic purposes and for foreign military sales for the countries of Argentina, Djibouti, Iraq, Lebanon and Romania. The order was for an estimated 1,916 vehicles and extended the performance period of the contract out to 2021, 12 years past the original contract award.

The announcement, according to Navistar, never disclosed that the Army had actually already ordered roughly 1,000 vehicles in excess of what was justified in the 2016 J&A.

Navistar again filed a protest with the GAO over the orders made without a new J&A, but withdrew its protest in favor of filing a lawsuit in the U.S. Court of Federal Claims when the GAO refused to require the Army to produce relevant documentation justifying the additional FMTVs.

It wasn’t until the company filed its complaint in federal court, that it was informed by the Department of Justice that the Army had never stopped work to produce the FMTVs ordered in 2019, Navistar reveals in court documents.

Beyond the scope

When the Army announced a new sole source procurement for FMTVs to Oshkosh in June, it caught Navistar by surprise because the service hadn’t issued a J&A, which had been its practice after the original contract period of performance had ended, and is also required by law, the company argues in the court documents.

The June announcement came on the heels of the five J&As that had included an extra 4,875 vehicles and $1.4bn more to Oshkosh outside of the scope of the original 2009 contract and procured without competition, Navistar notes.

Navistar also learned that the Army, months prior to June 28, had already placed tens of millions of dollars in sole source orders for hundreds of FMTVs beyond the scope of the 2016 J&A.

Navistar argued a new J&A to cover the 2019 orders was needed because the previous J&As only provided enough authority to solve the Army’s claimed immediate needs and were very specific in number and delivery time frame and laid out what trucks were needed by which units and where.

The company contended that the original contract and subsequent J&As didn’t and shouldn’t provide the Army with “a blank check” to continue buying more vehicles without justifying competition. And it argues that the Army, three years beyond 2016, had ample time to prepare to compete for remaining FMTV orders.

A contract or a blank check?

While the Army’s arguments are sealed under a protective order and not available for public review, Oshkosh argued in a response to Navistar’s complaint, that the original 2009 contract was a “requirements” contract considered valid through August 25, 2019, for any orders placed. The J&As were essentially just amendments to the original contract.

Navistar disagreed and argued that each subsequent J&A should be considered the binding contract and that previous contracts are expired.

“CICA does not contain an exception to competition simply because a contract extension involves a requirements contract. To conclude otherwise would gut CICA’s requirements,” Navistar added.

Oshkosh argued that the Army was required to fulfill all of its needs for the FMTV A1P2 through the Oshkosh contract in whatever quantity became necessary until the contract expires. The company also argued that the contract ceiling value had not been exceeded even with the 2019 orders.

Oshkosh also argued that Navistar misinterpreted the difference between the ordering period under a contract and the delivery period. The company claims the contract covers the ordering period and not the delivery period, which can extend beyond.

Navistar argued that the September 2016 J&A timeline covers the entirety of the contract to include delivery of the vehicles.

Oshkosh also contends that the Army alerted all offerors in the original competition that except for monthly and annual limits there is no minimum quantity and no maximum of vehicles that the Army can order.

And Oshkosh stated that the number of vehicles laid out in the Army’s contract and subsequent J&As were just “estimates” and not a ceiling for orders. Additionally, any maximum ceiling just means a company isn’t obligated to honor any orders placed above that level.

For Navistar, Oshkosh’s interpretation goes against the core of the Competition in Contracting Act.

“These J&As do not contain any rationale that would enable the Army to procure an indefinite quantity of Oshkosh vehicles for years into the future – they only provide enough authority to solve the Army’s claimed immediate problem of requiring vehicles quickly before a competition can be performed,” Navistar argues.

The amendment

Deviating from its normal course, the Army retroactively revised or amended the September 2016 J&A in early June instead of issuing a new J&A, scratching out original numbers and costs and replacing them with new numbers and new cost estimates.

The amendment was made at the request of the Army’s director of policy only after orders earlier in 2019 were discovered to have gone beyond the scope of the 2016 J&A.

According to CICA, agencies are not allowed to avoid competition requirements by using the device of a contract modification.

The Army did not notify potential offerors of the amendment and claimed, according to Navistar in its response to the court, that the only reason for the amendment was to alert Army leadership of the change.

“There is no requirement for the Army to amend a J&A as a method of notifying its own leadership about procurement actions,” Navistar notes.

Additionally, Oshkosh argued in its response to Navistar, that the director of policy’s request in an email to amend the J&A because orders had fallen out of the scope, was just “the author’s view.”

Navistar writes, “The Army’s attempt to authorize its prior illegal actions along with the Army’s official position at the time the amendment was executed (that its sole source actions were “beyond the scope” of its earlier J&As) are damning indicators that the Army failed to justify its 2019 sole source contract action and that it knew its actions were wrong.”

Army didn’t hit pause

It’s commonly known in defense acquisition that when a GAO protest is filed, work must stop on any contract award at issue until the GAO renders a decision roughly 90 days later.

But the Army didn’t stop Oshkosh from ordering parts and beginning work to build vehicles wrapped up in the Navistar protest filed July 8.

The service doesn’t dispute this fact, according to court documents.

Navistar was not made aware the Army had continued to execute the disputed sole source orders until it filed its lawsuit at the court. Once alerted by a DOJ attorney that the Army had not stopped working, the company issued a separate complaint addressing the Army’s failure to stop working on the contract in accordance with the law.

The Navistar complaint states the Army continued to work in secret and did not alert the GAO or Navistar that it was proceeding with the performance of the protested contract. The Army didn’t take any action to override the requirement to stop working on roughly 1,365 vehicles covered under the protest.

The Army did stop work on 75 vehicles destined for Iraq and Djibouti, but that did not happen for days after the protest was filed with the GAO.

The service “inexplicably”, according to Navistar’s response to the Army’s sealed arguments, believed in “good faith” that the only vehicles in dispute were the 75 vehicles that were bound for Iraq and Djibouti.

Navistar states that the administrative record “contains no explanation, documentation or reasoning” as to why the Army failed to stop work.

“The Army cannot claim ignorance of its legal obligations (as it appears to be doing) in order to avoid the consequences of its statutory violations,” Navistar argues in its response.

The service’s argument, according to Navistar’s response, focuses on a July 12 phone call it had with Navistar’s defense counsel where it claims that the focus of the call was on Iraq and Djibouti requirements, but includes nothing related to it in the administrative record provided to the court.

Navistar lays out that the stop work order for the 75 vehicles came at 10:15 a.m. on July 12 before the 10:30 a.m. call with Navistar’s counsel.

The call was scheduled at the request of the Army’s counsel and Navistar’s lawyers were advised to come prepared to address the number of FMTV vehicles that it could produce on an expedited basis and the schedule under which it could deliver.

According to a declaration submitted to the court, Navistar’s lawyers said the Army’s counsel offered to try to resolve the protest by giving Navistar contracts to provide vehicles for Iraq and Djibouti.

Navistar said it would not agree to a resolution unless the Army agreed to have Navistar provide a more substantial volume of both domestic and foreign military sales vehicles.

The Army’s lawyers said they couldn’t agree with that and indicated they would have to proceed with the protest.

And while Iraq and Djibouti were discussed, “the Army could not have reasonably come away from that telephone conference with such a belief,” that the protest only covered those 75 vehicles, according to Navistar’s response.

To Navistar, it was clear from the beginning that its protest covered all orders in 2019 made beyond the scope of the 2016 J&A. (Source: Defense News)

26 Nov 19. Russian military completes testing of advanced ground platforms. The Russian military is completing testing of advanced ground platforms, including the upgraded T-90M main battle tank (MBT), Gibka-S very short-range air defence (VSHORAD) system, and Kungas unmanned ground vehicle (UGV), ground forces commander Colonel General Oleg Salyukov told the Red Star military newspaper on 25 November.

“State trials of the T-90M, which will be followed by series deliveries, are planned to be completed soon … State trials of the Adjutant multi-purpose aerial target and the Gibka-S VSHORAD system incorporating an AD [air defence] platoon commander reconnaissance and control vehicle and a man-portable air defence system squad combat vehicle are in the final stages,” Col Gen Salyukov reported. (Source: IHS Jane’s)

27 Nov 19. Kazakhstan Paramount Engineering (KPE), a joint venture between the global aerospace and technology business Paramount Group and Kazakhstan Engineering, has successfully delivered a series of “Arlan” 4×4 mine-protected armoured wheeled vehicles (AWVs) to Kazakhstan’s Ministry of Defense and Special Services Division. The Kazakhstan-produced Arlan, the winterized variant of Paramount’s iconic “Marauder”, is a land system designed to operate in extreme environments to meet the extensive mission requirements undertaken by Kazakhstan’s armed forces, such as long-range border patrol or quick reaction force operations. Kazakhstan Paramount Engineering began production of the Arlan in-country in November of 2015, with the vehicle unveiled at the ‘KADEX 2016’ Defence Expo. The armoured vehicles are characterised by their unique, clean-sheet design, high ballistic protection and adaptability to the harsh conditions of Kazakhstan and the wider region. These features include pre-ignition engine heating, an outstanding temperature control system that can carry personnel safely and comfortably (winterized for temperatures as low as – 50 degrees Celsius and summer temperatures of up to 50 degrees Celsius).

Arlan features include a modular design and double-skin monocoque, V-shaped hull structure, capable of withstanding the debris and dissipating energy of explosions while offering increased protection against mine blasts. The vehicle provides STANAG 4569 level 3 ballistic protection against small arms ammunition and STANAG 4569 levels 3a and 3b blast protection against mine explosions, while withstanding mine blasts of 10kg TNT beneath its hull, 10kg TNT beneath any wheel and a 50kg TNT side blast explosion to protect against roadside bombs and IEDs. The vehicle is further equipped with radiation, chemical and biological protection (RCB) which can address the challenges of radiation dust spread, gas and/or biological attacks, along with filter–ventilation equipment able to purify the air inside the cabin for several hours.

Despite its advanced protection and the ability to handle up to a 4,500kg payload, the Arlan offers unrivaled versatility in the field, reaching speeds of up to 120km per hour, while traveling up to a distance of 700km. The vehicle can ford at 1.2m while able to climb grades of 60% and side slopes of 35%.

The Arlan Armoured Vehicles are locally manufactured at the 15,000m2  KPE armoured vehicle factory, one of the largest and most modern armoured vehicle factories in the region, with the KPE design teams proficient in customising the armoured carriers as required by customers in the region.

Kazakhstan Paramount Engineering looks to further bolster the Eurasian nation’s industrial capacity development in future by expanding into new aerial, land and maritime production lines.

Ivor Ichikowitz, Group Chairman of Paramount Group said: “The strong growth of Kazakhstan Paramount Engineering, driven through indigenous manufacturing solutions, has been an important success story. The portable manufacturing model that we have pioneered around the world has enhanced indigenous capability, high-skills training and local expertise. The delivery of yet another significant batch of armoured vehicles to the customer is testament to the commitment, hard work and skills set of the KPE team. We look forward to playing a long-term role with our partners in Kazakhstan in enhancing local capabilities, fueling next-generation employment opportunities and economic growth in the process”.

26 Nov 19. Portuguese Army expands its expeditionary capability. The Portuguese Army’s Rapid Reaction Brigade is receiving 139 VAMTAC ST5 4×4 light armoured tactical vehicles from URO Vehículos Especiales (UROVESA) to meet the “Viaturas Táticas Ligeiras Blindadas” (VTLB) requirement.

The order was placed in July 2018 and an initial ten vehicles in the troop carrier variant were received in October. Fifty vehicles in total are scheduled for delivery in 2019, with the remaining 89 to be incorporated in 2020 and progressively replace High Mobility Multipurpose Wheeled Vehicles (HMMWVs), Major Ricardo Camilo of the Army High-Staff, told Jane’s.

According to Maj Camilo, the fleet, purchased through NATO Support and Procurement Agency (NSPA), cost EUR60.8m and comprises 107 troop carriers, 12 special operations vehicles (three of which are fitted with a satellite communications [satcom] suite for a command role), 7 command post vehicles with satcom system, and 13 ambulances in three variants for the Commandos Battalion, 1st and 2nd Paratrooper Infantry Battalion, Special Operations Force, and Medical Battalion.

The command post, special operations, and ambulance versions are still being designed, Maj Camilo said. A two-year spares package, training, and camouflage nets from Saab Barracuda also are part of the contract. The integrated logistics support will be later contracted.

The troop carrier for Portugal is powered by a 245hp Cummins ISB 6.7 diesel engine, which is coupled to Allison Transmission S2100 6+1-speed automatic gearbox, and a four-wheel independent suspension. It has an EID PRC-525 software-defined radio with CDS-525 detachable console; MilDef Group’s rugged tablet with GPS antenna for Critical Software’s EyeCommand battle management system; air conditioning system; manual fire extinguishing system; 335/80 R20 Continental MPT81 tires with run-flat inserts and control tire inflation system; four fuel canisters; electric-powered recovery winch; removable wire cutter; and combat identification panels. (Source: IHS Jane’s)

26 Nov 19. India pays Russia $1.2bn in technology transfer fees for T-90S tanks. India has awarded a $3.12bn contract for local production of 464 T-90S main battle tanks after paying a technology transfer fee to Russia. The contract was signed with little fanfare earlier this month. The deal stipulates that Russian original equipment manufacturer UralVagonZavod and arms export agency Rosoboronexport will be paid $1.2bn for technology transfer, while India’s state-owned Ordnance Factory Board will be paid $1.92bn for local production of 464 T-90S tanks, according to an Indian Ministry of Defence official. India will pay the Russian defense companies in roubles, Russia’s currency. The MoD official described the price tag of the technology transfer as too high, noting that domestic production of the tanks will increase to 80 percent from the current level of 40 percent. A senior OFB executive said complete localization of T-90S tanks in India is impossible, as a large number of parts must continue to be imported. The parts that will be locally produced include panoramic night sights, thermal imaging fire-control systems and explosive reactive armor, he added. However, the engines and transmission system that makes up 45 percent of the cost of a T-90S tank will come from Russia.

Another MoD official said Russian defense companies will have to undertake full production and localization guarantees. In addition, both OFB and the two Russian firms will be penalized by the MoD should the project hit production delays or cost overruns.

OFB and UralVagonZavod are expected to manufacture 120 T-90S tanks per year and complete the project within four years.

Rosoboronexport executives in India declined to comment on the deal.

The T-90S tanks are to be manufactured at OFB’s Heavy Factory in Avadi, southern India, but more than a dozen ordnance factories will carry out assembly of subsystems imported from multiple Russian defense companies.

A senior Indian Army official said greater localization of the tank does not significantly help because life cycle support is not included. Because of this, the official argued, the service ends up paying three times more than the original cost of the tank.

The Army currently operates 1,100 T-90S tanks, of which 300 were directly procured from Russia. (Source: Defense News)

26 Nov 19. Details emerge of new Chinese armoured breaching vehicle. Details have emerged about a new Chinese amphibious vehicle described as an armoured breaching vehicle in a 23 November video released by state-owned broadcaster China Central Television-13 (CCTV-13).

From the video it appears that the vehicle is based on the Type 05 family of amphibious vehicles used by the People’s Liberation Army Navy Marine Corps (PLANMC) to conduct both amphibious landings and conventional warfare.

Some elements of the Type 05 design have been carried over to the new engineering vehicle, including a front-mounted engine, with the drive sprockets located at the front of the hull. The front sprocket position is standard for infantry fighting vehicles as it allows the rear of the vehicle to be reserved for personnel and equipment. However, it can lead to increased track wear and greater risk of shedding a track as there is more tension on the top of the track, rather than the bottom as is the case with rear sprocket arrangements.

The rear of the platform shows two water jets, one either side of a lane marking system, which indicates that the vehicle is amphibious. However, it does not appear to carry the frontal bow blade, nor the flat board at the rear of the vehicle that elevates the nose of the ZBD-05 amphibious infantry fighting vehicle, for example, to improve its hydrodynamic characteristics. That said, the front of the vehicle carries the distinctive long nose of the ZBD-05 that enables it to achieve high speeds at sea.

The breaching vehicle is fitted with track-width mine clearing ploughs, each of which has two elements that appear to be hinged, and will likely enable the ploughs to be folded out to clear a wider path. The tines are relatively shallow, which indicates that the system is primarily intended to clear surface or shallow mines. (Source: IHS Jane’s)

26 Nov 19. Nexter at MILIPOL. At MILIPOL, Nexter showed a range of solutions from armoured vehicles to artillery systems and also strategic sub-assemblies, such as weapon systems and ammunition or robots and embedded electronic systems.  One of the highlights was TITUS Homeland Security that has been used to protect COP 21 and is actively used by the RAID French police intervention unit. A live version of TITUS 6×6 armoured vehicle was present on the stand, in its Homeland version.

Also the NERVA robots, that are already being used by several security forces, were of interest. Its unique mobile platform makes these robots well-suited for reconnaissance and opening up of potentially dangerous areas (IED or CBRN threats) easy to deploy, launchable and with a high-speed capability, it corresponds with the speed of operations. NERVA can be reconfigured on the field within a few seconds, with no special tools (wheels/tracks, payload, batteries), it therefore is able to provide the best capabilities in varied contexts of intervention. It can be deployed and used by mounted or dismounted personnel, using a control station with advanced ergonomic capabilities. It also forms a natural extension for operational vehicles. (Source: ESD Spotlight)

26 Nov 19. Ford’s Special Solutions Shown in Bangkok. FORD Global Fleet Sales has revealed its latest military, security and armoured vehicles at DEFENSE & SECURITY 2019, that took place in Bangkok, Thailand, last week. One of the highlights was the FORD Everest Light Utility Vehicle, a heavy duty off-road SUV customised with protective vehicle components including an optional bull bar and window protection. An upgraded brake and suspension package improves safety and handling and reduces maintenance costs and downtime.

Another vehicle of interest was the FORD Ranger Light Tactical Vehicle, a heavy duty pick-up developed for military use. FORD Global Fleet Sales stated that it offers customised military applications to suit customers’ exact needs. This includes a bull bar, enhanced handling suspension pack-age and in-vehicle gun rack.

Especially suited for VIP or secret opera-tions is the FORD Everest Armored Vehicle, an off-road SUV armoured for discreet protection. Everest Armor offers an upgraded brake and suspension package to enhance performance and safety. Opaque armor and roof armor range from B4 (NIJ IIIa) to B6 (NIJ III). Transparent areas are standard EN1063, level BR4 to BR6. The floor provides protection against two DM51 or DM61 hand grenades. Tire retention system enables driving with punctured tires. (Source: ESD Spotlight)

25 Nov 19. Polaris Off Road, the world leader in powersports and off-road innovation, today announced United We Ride – a partnership and fundraising effort with the Diesel Brothers that honors our nation’s military, police and fire departments. The program is highlighted by a Diesel Brothers’ customized series of recently launched Polaris machines. Each machine has been custom-made to honor a specific branch of American “first responders” – the RZR PRO XP Ultimate for policemen and policewomen, the RANGER CREW XP 1000 for firemen and firewomen, and the GENERAL XP 4 1000 for members of the U.S. military.

The program is powered by a national voting process where consumers vote for their favorite build, and voting totals determine the donation amount from Polaris to each of the program’s three charity beneficiaries – $25,000 to first place, $15,000 to second and $10,000 to third place. By casting their vote, consumers are automatically entered for the chance to win an all-new RANGER CREW XP 1000 with Ride Command, RZR PRO XP Ultimate or a GENERAL XP 4 1000 DELUXE.

“We are forever grateful for the commitment and sacrifice made by members of our military and first responders, and we are proud to continue our 15-year tradition of providing vehicles for their duties and their well-deserved free time,” said Kyle Duea, vice president of Off-Road Vehicle Marketing, Polaris. “Partnering with the Diesel Brothers to customize our machines and drive awareness of these charities is merely one way we can show our appreciation, while honoring their daily efforts to protect us, our communities and our freedom.”

The United We Ride program will be donating to the following charities:

  • Concerns of Police Survivors (C.O.P.S.) – Provides resources to support the families and co-workers of officers killed in the line of duty as they cope with the tragic loss and work to rebuild their lives.
  • The Gary Sinise First Responders Foundation – Provides critical funding for emergency relief, training, and essential equipment to ensure our heroic firefighters have the resources they need.
  • Your Grateful Nation – Provides support, guidance and resources to transition special operations veterans into their next successful career.

“The whole Diesel Brothers’ family has a deep respect for those who selflessly protect, serve and care for this great country,” said Dave Sparks, Diesel Sellerz. “That’s why we jumped at the opportunity to work with our most valued industry partners at Polaris to build the unique UTVs intended to honor the hard-working men and women of the U.S. military, law enforcement, and first responders. This is just a small token of our gratitude for their hard work and dedicated service.”

Customers are encouraged to vote for United We Ride at Polaris.com/UnitedWeRide until December 22. For the last 15 years, Polaris’ Commercial, Government and Defense team has proudly partnered with military and public safety organizations across the country to design and upfit Polaris vehicles for professional use. More information on Polaris’ military vehicles, turn-key law enforcement and fire-fighting vehicles, and grant assistance programs can be found on Polaris.com/Gov.

22 Nov 19. PT Pindad partners Paramount on defence production. Indonesia’s PT Pindad has signed an agreement with South African defence company Paramount Group to explore opportunities for collaboration on military platforms. The accord was signed at the Defense and Security (D&S) 2019 exhibition in Bangkok, which concluded on 21 November.

PT Pindad said the memorandum of understanding (MOU) will look at the prospect of joint production programmes between the two companies. The Indonesian company added that the agreement could support co-operation on the Harimau medium tank, which PT Pindad is developing with Turkey’s FNSS Savunma Sistemleri.

Another platform identified by PT Pindad for possible collaboration was the X18 fire support vessel – more commonly referred to in Indonesia as the ‘tank boat’ – which the company developed in collaboration with Indonesian shipbuilder PT Lundin.

The MOU between PT Pindad and Paramount Group will “explore the potential for joint production and contracts”, said the Indonesian company, suggesting that such deals would support sales to South Africa or additional markets.

In support of the Harimau, PT Pindad also signed at D&S 2019 a letter of intent (LOI) with Belgian company John Cockerill Defense to facilitate the supply of 18 Cockerill 3105 turrets for integration onto the tank. This is believed to be related to the production of initial batches of the Harimau for the Indonesian Army.

Jane’s previously reported that PT Pindad signed an agreement with the Indonesian Ministry of Defence in April to support the production of an initial batch of the tank, although a formal contract has not yet been finalised.

During the D&S 2019 show, PT Pindad also signed a “strategic partnership” agreement with the Malaysian Ministry of Defence (MoD). PT Pindad said the accord supports “export sales of defence and security products” to Malaysia. (Source: IHS Jane’s)

25 Nov 19. Lithuania signs agreement to purchase 200 JLTVs from US. The Defence Materiel Agency under the Ministry of National Defence of Lithuania and the US Department of Defense have signed a letter of offer and acceptance for the procurement of 200 Joint Light Tactical Vehicles (JLTVs).

The new vehicles are expected to strengthen the capabilities of the Lithuanian Armed Forces, provide greater mobility, personnel protection and combat power. Lithuania will buy the JLTVs from the US Government.

Lithuania Minister of National Defence Raimundas Karoblis said: “The combat support JLTV acquisition project, which is implemented in cooperation with the United States Government, is one of the key elements in modernising and strengthening the Lithuanian Armed Forces and marks a qualitative leap in providing the armed forces with cutting-edge, combat-capable equipment.”

The all-terrain vehicles will be manufactured for the Lithuanian Armed Forces by US enterprise Oshkosh Defence.

The new JLTVs, featuring turrets and 12.7mm M2 QCB machine-guns, will be provided to battalions of the Mechanised Infantry Brigade Iron Wolf and the Motorised Infantry Brigade Griffin as part of a strategy to strengthen the national rapid response forces.

The first all-terrain JLTVs are expected to be delivered to Lithuania in late 2021.

The Lithuanian Ministry of National Defence will allocate €145m for the purchase of JLTVs, equipment and weaponry complements, spare parts, personnel training, and sustainment in 2020-24.

According to the Defence Materiel Council of the Ministry of National Defence, the US-manufactured JLTVs met the price-performance ratio in 2017.

The vehicles will strengthen the car fleet of the corresponding type of the Lithuanian Armed Forces.

The JLTVs form a key part of the Lithuanian Armed Forces modernisation programme, which also includes procurement of the Vilkas / Boxer infantry fighting vehicles and the PZH 2000 self-propelled artillery systems.

US Embassy in Vilnius Chargé d’Affaires Marcus Micheli said: “This project crowns the long-standing partnership on strengthening the technical support in Lithuania’s combat readiness.

“We will continue the cooperation in order to ensure the success of these new opportunities in the decades to come.” (Source: army-technology.com)

22 Nov 19. Decision awaited on Philippine light tanks. The Philippines has still not made a decision on what platforms it will choose for its extant light tank procurement, although contenders believe it is likely to occur by Q1 of 2020 because of budgetary deadlines. In the meantime, several contenders were out in force at Defense & Security 2019 in Bangkok, including Excalibur Army and PT Pindad.

The Philippine project is divided into two components: a tracked and a wheeled light tank both fitted with a 105mm weapon. Shephard understands that contenders for the former include the Hanwha K21-105 from South Korea, the General Dynamics European Land Systems ASCOD 2 (a 120mm-armed version is pictured above) and the PT Pindad Harimau/FNSS Kaplan medium tank.

Meanwhile, there is also a trio of platforms vying for the 8×8 wheeled requirement: Excalibur Army from the Czech Republic with the Pandur II, Iveco with the Centauro II and Otokar in Turkey with the Arma.

Others were invited to respond to an RfI issued by the Philippine Army’s relevant Technical Working Group, but the Maxdefense Philippines blogsite reports that the above six have been shortlisted for the government-to-government deal.

The army realised its need for vehicles with heavier guns after the dust had settled on the battle for Marawi in the southern Philippines, where troops struggled to eject Islamic insurgents from the urban terrain. The army believes a mix of wheeled and tracked vehicles will give the optimal balance of mobility.

According to Philippine procurement laws, a selected piece of equipment must be in service with the source country’s armed forces as well as at least two foreign militaries. According to the above list, PT Pindad’s Harimau would not qualify and nor would Hanwha’s offering given that the IFV version of the K21 is used only by the Republic of Korea Army.

Meanwhile, in terms of 8×8 wheeled platforms, the Pandur II is used by three militaries and soon by Indonesia, while the Centauro has been procured by four nations. The Arma, on the other hand, is used only by Bahrain. This regulation could thus prove pivotal in choosing the eventual winner.

Another issue relates to politics and sanctions. Of all these offerings in both the tracked and wheeled categories, only two turrets are available, either from John Cockerill Defence (formerly CMI Defence) or OTO Melara. The former is on offer for the K21-105, Harimau/Kaplan and Arma, and the Italian Hitfact MkII 105mm turret on the remaining three vehicles.

However, Belgium is known to have imposed tight controls on the export of military equipment to the Philippines because of concerns over human rights abuses. Although a Belgian government official earlier told Shephard that no sanctions existed for the Philippines, the Southeast Asian country is known to be experiencing serious difficulties in obtaining equipment from other Belgian companies.

Shephard believes these above factors may limit the available platforms to just three for the Philippines: the ASCOD 2, Pandur II and Centauro II.

Shephard spoke to Excalibur Army at the Bangkok show, with the Czech concern holding a licence to produce the Pandur II. Jakub Cmuchalek, territory sales director, said his company is cooperating with General Dynamics and that the tender is being led by Elbit Systems. The Israeli company has enjoyed tremendous sales successes in the Philippines, including the refurbishment of numerous M113s with new weapon and digital systems, which must provide some kind of advantage.

A further benefit could be obtained by Manila if the two platforms from the Elbit Systems-led teaming arrangement are selected to equip the army’s Mechanized Infantry Division. That would mean the entire light tank acquisition could be more easily managed.

Shephard understands that the Elbit Systems offer includes 30 vehicles: 18 tracked vehicles, 10 wheeled vehicles and two tracked support vehicles (command and recovery). While the Philippines originally said it wanted 44 vehicles for this Horizon 2 project, its budget of PHP9.484bn ($190m) is certainly insufficient.

The Philippine Army is also procuring a single 105mm tank gunnery simulator, although this seems somewhat premature given that the actual vehicle has not been selected yet. The army is seeking a full-motion simulator for PHP36.2m ($720,000), but it is rather odd that the simulator has been separated from the light tank procurement. Bids were due on 29 August.

Cmuchalek said Excalibur Army had enjoyed other recent sales successes in Southeast Asia as well, including engineering vehicles for Vietnam and a significant number of M3 amphibious bridging systems for Indonesia.

Indonesia’s MoD also signed a $82m agreement with PT Pindad in April to procure Pandur II vehicles fitted with an Ares 30mm unmanned turret (a licenced Elbit UT30 MK2), but PT Pindad is yet to finalise a separate contract with Excalibur Army for local production.

Cmuchalek was unable to disclose how many vehicles this project entails, but Shephard previously reported it was for 22 vehicles. (Source: Shephard)

22 Nov 19. Oshkosh Defense seeks TerraMax growth. Oshkosh Defense is targeting an increasing range of applications for its TerraMax Unmanned Ground Vehicle (UGV) autonomous technology, with the company seeing uses for TerraMax and related offerings beyond logistics and in more strategic capabilities, the company has told Jane’s. The company began developing the TerraMax UGV in the early 2000s, creating a modular kit that can essentially transform any tactical wheeled vehicle into a UGV. The system enables a single operator to supervise multiple vehicles at once with beyond line of sight situational awareness, with the vehicles capable of functioning autonomously. It has been integrated onto a range of platforms, including the US Marines Corps’ Medium Tactical Vehicle Replacement (MTVR), the US Army’s Family of Medium Tactical Vehicles (FMTV), the MRAP All-Terrain Vehicle (M-ATV) and the Family of Heavy Tactical Vehicles (FHTV). The aim is for TerraMax – and new systems spun off from TerraMax – to function as a scalable kit that “can plug and play on any one of our vehicle systems”, said Pat Williams, vice president and general manager of US Army and Marine Corps Programs at the company. He explained that the goal is to create a multimodal autonomous capability where users could choose to control the vehicle remotely, allow it to operate fully autonomously, or operate it manually depending on their needs. TerraMax was initially aimed primarily at logistics operations, Williams said, removing the need to deploy personnel into harm’s way. It has also been used in route clearance, with M-ATVs pushing a mine roller.

What we’re seeing now is the functionality being transferred to other roles beyond logistics,” Williams said. For example, he pointed to the US Army’s Robotic Combat Vehicle – Light (RCVL) competition for which Oshkosh is one of the competitors as well as the medium (RCV-M) version of the vehicle. (Source: IHS Jane’s)

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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.

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