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06 Dec 19. Switzerland to buy Eagle V 6×6. General Dynamics European Land Systems-Mowag (GDELS-Mowag) announced on 5 December that it has signed a contract with the Swiss army on 18 November for the delivery of 100 protected Eagle V 6×6 reconnaissance vehicles. The company says that the Eagle 6×6 was selected after an international competition conducted by the Swiss federal office for defence procurement. This first order of the Eagle 6×6 is a milestone for the latest development of the vehicle family. The 100 Eagle V 6×6 vehicles will be the vehicle platform for the country’s new tactical reconnaissance system TASYS. It will be used to gather intelligence for the Swiss Armed Forces including support of civil authorities. It consists of an Eagle V 6×6 carrier vehicle, a multi-sensor system mounted on a telescopic mast, and a data processing system. For self-protection, the highly-mobile Eagle V 6×6 TASYS is armoured and equipped with a remotely controlled weapon station.
The vehicle offers sufficient payload reserves to allow for future improvements, such as the integration of additional sensors. The Eagle V 6×6 TASYS starts production in 2020 and will be fielded between 2023 and 2025.
Besides the Swiss Army the Eagle V 4×4 is also extensively used by both Denmark and Germany. The further development of the Eagle V 4×4 into the Eagle V 6×6 was inspired by operational experience according to the company. The need was identified for a vehicle with increased useful volume, more payload, very compact exterior dimensions, as well as constant high mobility and maximised protection.
‘We are very proud that the Swiss Army is the first customer to introduce the Eagle V 6×6,’ said Oliver Dürr, vice president wheeled vehicles and managing director of GDELS-Mowag. (Source: Google/Shephard)
05 Dec 19. The U.S. District Court for the District of Columbia has unsealed a 6-year-old complaint filed by a former Navistar Defense employee accusing the company of fraudulent, inflated pricing for the thousands of mine-resistant, ambush-protected vehicles it sold to the U.S. Marine Corps.
The whistleblower and former contract director at Navistar, Duquoin Burgess, claims the company violated the False Claims Act by forging invoices, catalog prices and other information used in negotiations to sell MRAP vehicles to the Marine Corps.
Burgess is seeking at least $1.28bn in damages, which roughly equates to the amount of money the former employee believes the company reaped from lying about its prices to the government.
The complaint, originally filed in 2013, was required to remain sealed until the U.S. government completed its investigation into the claims. The government intervened in the case Dec. 3 with its own filing, which is sealed.
Burgess, who asked for a jury trial, is represented by the Washington, D.C.-based law firm Sanford Heisler Sharp. The government will work with the firm in prosecuting the case.
According to Burgess’ attorney Vince McKnight, the case is unusual because even the company’s top executives, to include its president, allegedly knew about the fraudulent activity.
The forged and fraudulent pricing records were used to secure both the initial contract award and further orders from 2007 to 2012, according to the complaint filed by Burgess’ attorneys, which was reviewed by Defense News.
The company allegedly either forged sales history where there was no sales history or it nearly doubled commercial prices for a variety of critical MRAP parts like the chassis, the engine and the suspension system.
The complaint claims the company took advantage of the very critical need to rapidly procure MRAPs to protect soldiers against improvised explosive devices in Iraq and Afghanistan by inflating its prices for the vehicles.
While Navistar will file a response to the complaint in the coming months, the company told Defense News in a statement that “we do not believe [Burgess]’s unsealed complaint is well founded in fact or law. The company intends to defend itself as necessary and appropriate.”
“There is nothing more important than the safety of those serving our country, and we take tremendous pride in the vehicles we manufacture,” the company added. “We value our long-standing partnership with the military and are proud to provide safe, reliable military vehicles of superior quality.
“Beyond that, we will not comment on the pending litigation.”
Over the course of the MRAP contract’s five-year life cycle, the government paid Navistar approximately $9bn for its MaxxPro MRAPs, according to the complaint, but a conservative estimate alleges that roughly $1.28bn of that was based on fraud. According to the complaint, the government could be entitled to up to three times the actual damages suffered if the judge finds the Navistar guilty of fraudulent conduct — a total of $3.84bn.
Navistar and the government held contracting sessions in March 2008 to work out the terms of the contract, with top company executives present, including its then-president, Archie Massicotte.
According to the complaint, Navistar tried to convince the government the MRAP was a commercial item to avoid having to provide certified cost or pricing data. The government found that it should not be considered a commercial item, so the company applied for a waiver to avoid producing the data.
The waiver, the company argued, was warranted because it didn’t have to initially produce cost data from suppliers due to competition, and because it was a manufacturer accustomed to operating in the commercial industry where it’s not customary to request such data from suppliers. Navistar argued that the MRAP deliveries would be delayed if the company had to chase after that information, noting that it attested to the accuracy of the cost data it presented in negotiations.
The government granted the waiver in 2008.
Burgess, upon joining Navistar in 2009, consistently refused to sign the certifications of the cost and pricing data for MRAPs required by the waiver, but his supervisor, the complaint states, told him that he could easily be replaced if he didn’t sign them.
Burgess was not alone in his concerns, according to the complaint. Linda DiToro, Burgess’s predecessor, also refused to sign the certifications. She was only with Navistar for a year before quitting.
When DiToro refused to sign certifications for MRAPs without first receiving underlying facts as to how Navistar arrived at its cost and pricing data, Massicotte himself “reacted negatively” and even excluded her from social events, including an end-of-the year party at his residence for the entire office staff, the complaint recounts.
DiToro left in 2009 and has been employed by Boeing for more than 10 years. Burgess left the company after only a few years and went on to work on contracting issues for Boeing and BAE Systems.
Michael Lyons, who served as a government contracts manager at Navistar, also raised concerns via email and in face-to-face meetings that he believed invoices were forged to the highest levels within the company.
Burgess was Lyons’ direct supervisor, and the former recommended an investigation into the claims. Instead, Burgess was told to fire Lyons “for insubordination and creation of a hostile work environment,” the complaint notes.
But since Navistar feared Lyons’ firing might turn him into a whistleblower, he was kept on, according to the court documents.
In the complaint it is alleged that Navistar specifically made misrepresentations of the price of its 7400 chassis used in the MRAP vehicles.
Navistar is accused of bumping the price to $250,000 a piece compared to a $125,000 price tag for other customers.
Because the chassis is a commercial item, Navistar was exempt from having to show certified cost and pricing data to the Marine Corps.
Burgess noticed, during the course of his job, that Navistar was charging $125,000 for the chassis to other customers, including another branch of the U.S. military and foreign countries. He brought the discrepancy to Navistar’s manager of financing for the MRAP contract, where it was confirmed the prices were different, but he received no explanation as to why. The government ordered 9,000 MRAPs with the 7400 chassis and suffered approximately $1.25bn in damages from the chassis price difference alone, the complaint alleges.
Navistar, according to the complaint, was charging the Marine Corps between $27,000 and $34,000 per engine when sold with the MRAP.
Meanwhile, Navistar charged other non-government customers roughly $17,000 per unit.
The government, therefore, suffered roughly $36m in damages related to engine pricing, the complaint calculates. To represent the cost data, the company forged sales histories of the engine, the complaint states.
Navistar gave the government copies of invoices for sales of trucks incorporating the same engine. The invoices purported to show the sale of a fleet of medium-duty trucks to an Illinois-based landscaping company.
Lyons specifically noticed the price of the engine seemed inflated and asked for copies of invoices and other documentation to support the price and received the invoice to the landscaping company. Lyons contacted the company and learned that it had purchased only one truck and no spare parts. Lyons realized, according to the complaint, that the invoices were forgeries.
When Lyons brought the issue to his supervisors, they indicated the invoices had been prepared under the direction of senior company leadership and was “angrily ordered” to stop looking into the issue or risk his job, the complaint states.
When the Marine Corps decided in 2009 that it needed modifications to MRAPs sent to Afghanistan due to the more difficult terrain encountered there, it required the companies providing the vehicles to redesign the platforms with improved suspension systems to better handle tough, uneven terrain. Older vehicles would be retrofitted, while all new deliveries would have the new capability.
Navistar outfitted 3,898 vehicles with improved suspension system, or ISS, upgrades, the complaint notes.
According to the complaint, Navistar was concerned it would now have to produce cost data on the chassis and engine when negotiating pricing for the ISS upgrade.
Navistar employees including Burgess were directed to ensure the government would not get access to the data, the complaint states, because there was a fear the government would retroactively seek a rebate on MRAPs already sold to the Marine Corps.
Contract negotiations for the upgrades took place in 2010. And again, Navistar’s executive leadership team was at the table and proposed a $143,294 per unit price for the kits, which was then negotiated down to $142,602 per unit.
Navistar allegedly decided to convince the government the ISS kit was a commercial item to avoid providing cost data again. Burgess argued at the time that the kit didn’t meet the criteria, the complaint recounts.
Navistar showed purported sales histories, catalog listing and vendor quotes to try to convince the government the price was fair, according to the complaint, but the documents were either “forged or utterly misleading.”
For example, one sale history for a transfer case shaft to Deutsch’s Truck and Diesel Repair turned out to be a forgery — the company hadn’t sold the part to Deutsch’s.
And in another case, Navistar presented the government with other vendor quotes, including one price of $103,904 for front and rear axles. The complaint alleges that in reality the quote to that company was actually $58,480 per set.
Overall, due to the inflation of the ISS kits, Navistar overcharged the government $30,455 per kit, according to the complaint. The complaint calculates that total damages here amount to roughly $118.7m. (Source: Defense News)
05 Dec 19. Portugal seeks to modernise its Leopard 2A6 MBTs. The Portuguese Army is to carry out a mid-life update project for its Krauss-Maffei Wegmann (KMW) Leopard 2A6 main battle tanks (MBTs) to extend the fleets’ life and modernise several subsystems, a source at the Army High-Staff’s Forces Planning Division told Jane’s.
The plan, in line with the country’s Military Programming Law 2019–2030, is to carry out a EUR46.027m upgrade from 2026 to 2030, comprising EUR2m in 2026, EUR4m in 2027, EUR12.027m in 2028, EUR12.5m in 2029, and EUR15.5m in 2030. The source said the project encompasses installing a driver’s passive thermal imaging camera suite to improve front and rear-view during manoeuvres; air conditioning unit to cool electronics in the turret and improve crew endurance; auxiliary power unit (APU) to deal with the increased power demand and deliver continuous power supply; new fire extinguishing system in the driver and combat compartments; ultracaps in the electrical suite to mitigate harmful electrical discharges; and an electric gun, turret control, and drive system with digital stabilisation. (Source: Jane’s)
05 Dec 19. Doron Precision Systems reveals JLTV trainer. Doron Precision Systems has developed a Joint Light Tactical Vehicle (JLTV) driver training simulator and revealed it at the 2019 Interservice/Industry Training, Simulation and Education Conference (I/ITSEC) in Orlando in December. Michael Stricek, Doron senior vice-president, told Jane’s that the simulator, which is mounted on a three degrees of freedom (3-DoF) motion platform, is based on the technology used in Doron’s existing driver training simulators such as the 660Truck, 39 of which it has recently supplied to the US Army Reserve. The simulator uses the same basic proprietary software, with the addition of the JLTV vehicle dynamics and behaviour model that Doron has developed. (Source: Jane’s)
04 Dec 19. United States Joins Suit against Navistar Defense LLC Alleging False Claims under Marine Corps Contract. The U.S. Department of Justice (DOJ) has announced that the United States has intervened in a whistleblower suit filed in the United States District Court for the District of Columbia against Navistar Defense LLC. Navistar Defense manufactured armored vehicles for the United States military and is a subsidiary of Navistar International LLC, headquartered in Melrose Park, Illinois. The suit alleges that Navistar Defense violated the False Claims Act by submitting fraudulent invoices to support inflated prices for commercial parts under its contract to supply Mine Resistant Ambush Protected (MRAP) vehicles. In 2007, the United States Marine Corps awarded Navistar Defense a contract to build several hundred MRAP vehicles to replace the Humvee, which proved to be vulnerable to roadside explosive devices. Navistar Defense ultimately provided nearly 4,000 MRAPs under the contract. In 2009, as the focus of the war effort transitioned from the paved roads and flat terrain of the Iraqi deserts to Afghanistan’s rocky terrain, the Marine Corps sought to upgrade its MRAP vehicles with a modified Independent Suspension System (ISS). During the course of negotiations for the ISS, the Marine Corps asked Navistar Defense to provide evidence of prior commercial sales of the various parts that made up the ISS to ensure that the prices paid were fair and reasonable. The lawsuit alleges that Navistar Defense knowingly submitted fraudulent invoices that falsely purported to show prior, comparable commercial sales to conceal the inflated prices it was charging the Marine Corps. In reality, the lawsuit alleges, those sales never occurred. The lawsuit was originally filed under the qui tam or whistleblower provisions of the False Claims Act by Duquoin Burgess, a former government contracts manager for Navistar Defense. Under the acts, a private party, known as a relator, can file an action on behalf of the United States and receive a portion of the recovery. The act permits the United States to intervene in and take over the action, as it has done here. If a defendant is found liable for violating the act, the United States may recover three times the amount of its losses plus applicable penalties. The case is captioned United States ex rel. Burgess v. Navistar Defense, LLC (D.D.C). The claims alleged in the lawsuit are allegations only, and there has been no determination of liability. (Source: glstrade.com)
04 Dec 19. FLIR Wins U.S. Army Heavyweight Robot Contract Worth Up to $109m. FLIR Systems, Inc. (NASDAQ: FLIR) announced that its Kobra™ robot has been chosen for the United States (U.S.) Army’s Common Robotic System-Heavy (CRS-H) program. The five-year production contract to build upwards of 350 unmanned ground vehicles (UGVs) is worth up to $109m.
The CRS-H program will give the Army a ‘program of record’ to build and sustain a fleet of large UGVs for years to come. The CRS-H platform calls for a robot weighing up to 700 pounds. Army Explosive Ordnance Disposal (EOD) units will use the system to perform a range of missions, such as disarming vehicle-borne improvised explosive devices (VBIEDs), unexploded ordnance, or related heavy-duty tasks. A variety of sensors and payloads also can be added to the UGV to support other missions.
“We are pleased to be selected for the U.S. Army’s CRS-H program and deliver lifesaving robotic technology to our soldiers,” said Jim Cannon, president and CEO at FLIR. “This award exemplifies why we acquired Endeavor Robotics earlier this year — to capture strategic programs of record that enable us to integrate advanced solutions for the warfighter, give us the fuel to grow our business, and strengthen our position as a leader in unmanned systems.”
Over several months and two rounds of testing, the Army compared the FLIR Kobra with other vendor systems. Entrants were evaluated on robot reliability, maneuverability, and usability, among other factors before Kobra was selected as the winner. Previously, in 2017 the Army chose FLIR’s legacy business, Endeavor Robotics, as its medium-sized UGV provider through the Man Transportable Robotic System Increment II (MTRS Inc II) contract. FLIR is delivering its Centaur™ UGV under this on-going program.
“Our CRS-H platform will give soldiers a powerful, extremely mobile, yet highly transportable UGV, ready to deploy at a moment’s notice to keep them out of harm’s way,” said David Ray, president of the Government and Defense Business Unit at FLIR. “This win is a testament to our employees who’ve designed such an advanced, multi-mission UGV. We look forward to working with the Army to get this robot into the field and deployed with our warfighters.”
FLIR Kobra delivers unmatched strength, power, and payload support in an easy-to-operate robot package. Kobra has a lift capacity of 330 lbs. (150 kg.) and can stretch up to eleven-and-a-half feet to access hard-to-reach places. Ready for indoor and outdoor use, Kobra maintains mobility on tough terrain and can overcome obstacles such as jersey barriers.
The award covers a five-year production period with shipments beginning in the second quarter of 2020.
04 Dec 19. Nexter VBCI with CT40 out of Qatar race? Sources close to BATTLESPACE suggest that due to certain conflicts of interest the Nexter VBCI with a CT40 turret, which was slated as the choice vehicle, has been excluded from the Qatar trials. This would leave GD and Patria with the Lockheed Martin UK turret solution back in the race. The choice of weapon system is not stated but Rheinmetall’s turret offer is also believed to have been excluded. This would have been the first export order for 490 VBCI and CT40 worth €1.5bn.
03 Dec 19. German court annuls de facto armoured vehicles export ban to Saudi Arabia. A German court on Tuesday annulled a de facto export ban that had prevented arms manufacturer Rheinmetall from exporting armoured vehicles to Saudi Arabia, saying German authorities had not followed correct procedures. In November last year, Germany imposed a ban on future arms sales to Saudi Arabia and temporarily halted deliveries of previously approved kit after Saudi journalist Jamal Khashoggi was murdered in Riyadh’s diplomatic mission in Istanbul.
But the court ruled that authorities had failed to follow proper procedures in revoking a previously issued licence allowing the sale of 110 vehicles to Saudi Arabia, 10 of which had already been sent by the end of last October. A legal source said the company in question was Rheinmetall.
The court said the manner in which the export licence had been revoked indicated that authorities were trying to avoid being forced to pay compensation. (Source: Reuters)
02 Dec 19. UK opts to keep it real for IEDD training. Last month the UK MoD issued its latest contract for the procurement of second-hand vehicles to be used for Improvised Explosive Device Disposal (IEDD) training, which takes place around the Felix Training Area (FTA) Kineton and locations around Bicester.
Issued on a three-yearly basis with an option on an extension year, these contracts provide up to 50 vehicles a month depending on the training requirements. Typically, these vehicles will be at the end of their useful life and clean of any lubricants or fuel.
The MoD contract notice stated that on a typical IEDD training day 15-20 vehicles will be moved around FTA Kineton and ‘rotated through various scenarios’ until they can no longer be used, ahead of disposal.
Additionally, the MoD notice states that the vehicles need to be ‘in visually serviceable condition’ and to include ‘all doors, windows, boot bonnet and internal fittings’. Also, the vehicles must be capable of being moved around on four wheels and include ignition keys.
The training is provided by the DEMS Training Regiment of the British Army. The £420,000 contract ($543,000) for the training vehicles would commence on 3 March 2020 and run through to 2 March 2024.
It is interesting to note that in an era of increasing use of simulation and VR for training purposes in order to replicate situations that UK EOD operators might face there appears to be no alternative to real-life training.
Other areas where the British Army could look to utilise simulated training environments include armoured vehicle training, which in other services has allowed trainee and experienced drivers to learn or maintain key skills without risking the potential damage of tracks or transmissions. (Source: Shephard)
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.