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26 Feb 20. PQ on Ajax.
Asked by Mr Kevan Jones (North Durham)
Asked on: 12 February 2020
Ministry of Defence
Household Cavalry: Armoured Fighting Vehicles
To ask the Secretary of State for Defence, pursuant to the Answer of 23 January 2020 to Question 5354 on Household Cavalry: Armoured Fighting Vehicles, what the cost to the public purse is of that delay.
Answered by: Jeremy Quin
Answered on: 25 February 2020
There is no cost to the public purse as a result of the delay to the Household Cavalry receiving AJAX.
BATTLESPACE Comment: The NAO report is believed to have stated ‘technical issues,’ as the cause for this delay. It does not cover whether this is the ‘turret wobble,’ or the chassis problems caused by weight issues reported by sources close to BATTLESPACE? Any liability for GDUK is not stated.
27 Feb 20. Rheinmetall partners with DST, CSIRO, QUT and RMIT to develop new sovereign automated military vehicle capability. Rheinmetall is pleased to announce the launch of its first Australian research and technology program. Under the Autonomous Combat Warrior (ACW) program, Rheinmetall’s Australian, German and Canadian development teams will work alongside research teams from Defence Science and Technology (DST) group, the Commonwealth Scientific and Industrial Research Organisation (CSIRO), Queensland University of Technology (QUT) and the Royal Melbourne Institute of Technology (RMIT). The aim is to develop advanced sovereign robotics and automated vehicle technologies. This will create a local automated military vehicle capability.
Rheinmetall Defence Australia Managing Director Gary Stewart said the program would lead the Australian development of next generation automated combat vehicle technologies for integration into the family of Rheinmetall vehicle platforms. “ACW’s goal is to fundamentally change the way in which land vehicles support military operations by transforming a vehicle from tool to teammate to provide currently unachievable levels of soldier protection, support and tactical advantage,” Mr Stewart said. “This will see the Australian development of the next generation of land vehicle systems warfighting capability, with an emphasis on developing trusted automated systems which provide human-machine teaming and optional crewed control.”
The program will focus on the automation of driving capabilities. Rheinmetall only develops systems that are strictly compliant with the rules of engagement of its customers. Rheinmetall does not develop, manufacture or market fully autonomous weapon systems. Rather, Rheinmetall is convinced that humans must retain the power of decision and therefore rejects fully autonomous weapon systems that deprive humans of the power to decide whether or not to use weapons against other humans.
Rheinmetall’s contribution to the program will take place across its Australian, Canadian and German businesses with the focus of research to take place at the company’s Melbourne operations and its new Military Vehicle Centre of Excellence in Redbank, Queensland which is due for completion in the second half of 2020.
Rheinmetall Defence Australia is working with the DST Group under a 5-year strategic R&D alliance agreement to work collaboratively to advance automated vehicle systems. The agreement builds on Rheinmetall’s longstanding relationship with DST in the area of simulation and augmented reality. The partnership also includes R&D around novel concepts and technologies that support the new Boxer 8×8 Combat Reconnaissance Vehicle capability Rheinmetall is delivering to the Australian Defence Force under the $5.2bn Land 400 Phase 2 program.
Rheinmetall Canada has developed Mission Master vehicles that incorporate an eight-wheel drive, skid-steer, electric, unmanned platform operated in either robotic, semi or full autonomous driving modes. These vehicles can be fitted with various payload modules including cargo, protection, medical and surveillance variants.
Rheinmetall Landsysteme Germany has over twenty years of experience in the automation of vehicles. Its system safety and system architecture competencies derive from more than ten research projects, and relevant technologies such as drive-by-wire have been developed to a uniquely high level of maturity. This underscores Rheinmetall’s status as a leader in automation technologies.
The Autonomous driving vehicle capability, or “A-kit”, currently integrated into the Mission Master provides the base software architecture for all future stages of the ACW research program and provides the autonomous capabilities including robotic vehicle control (robotic control or semi-autonomous); “follow me” control (semi-autonomous); simultaneous localisation and mapping); autonomous waypoint navigation (semi or full autonomous); and GPS allowed/denied navigation (semi or full autonomous).
Rheinmetall is also upgrading two Wiesel 2 digital vehicles with drive-by-wire architecture and the Rheinmetall Canada autonomous driving A-Kit package. These vehicles, when upgraded with Australian advanced autonomous applied research under the ACW Program, will be used to demonstrate the vehicle-agnostic and integrated payload capabilities of Rheinmetall’s Advanced A-Kit.
ACW’s research and development objectives are to:
- Develop game-changing autonomous technologies in Australia;
- Leverage Rheinmetall global research and development efforts and existing vehicle platforms and technologies, to fast track the development of autonomous technologies;
- Develop a platform agnostic Autonomous Kit (A-kit), suited for integration into a variety of road and off-road military vehicles;
- Partner with the Australian research community and local industry with deep technical expertise to solve complex development problems;
- Generate a strong return on investment to the Commonwealth, in the form of employment and sovereign robotics capability; and
- Work with Army to support its evaluation and strategy development for the use of autonomous vehicles.
26 Feb 20. Iveco Defence Vehicles to deliver an additional 26 amphibious platforms to the U.S. Marine Corps in partnership with BAE Systems. According to the contract for the new generation of Amphibious Combat Vehicles (ACV) awarded in 2018, CNH Industrial subsidiary Iveco Defence Vehicles is providing its 8×8 amphibious armored platform design, core components and services.
In the frame of the contract recently awarded by the U.S. Marine Corps to the company, BAE Systems, along with teammate Iveco Defence Vehicles, will deliver an additional 26 Amphibious Combat Vehicles (ACV) under the Low-Rate Initial Production (LRIP) phase of the program. This award brings the total vehicle orders for the ACV to 116, and moves the program closer to full-rate production. The ACV is an advanced 8×8 open ocean-capable vehicle that is equipped with a new six-cylinder, 700hp engine, which provides a significant power increase over the legacy fleet currently in service. The vehicle delivers best-in-class mobility in all terrain and has a suspended interior seat structure for 13 embarked Marines, blast-mitigating positions for a crew of three, and improved survivability and force protection over currently fielded systems. Current low-rate production is focused on the ACV-P variant. Further special variants will be added under full rate production within the ACV Family of Vehicles program. Iveco Defence Vehicles and BAE Systems previously received the Lot 1, Lot 2 and Lot 3 awards. The companies and the U.S. Marine Corps have been making significant strides to reach full-rate production, including the successful completion of Logistics Demonstration as a critical enabler for the program to move into Initial Operational Test and Evaluation (IOT&E) with trained U.S. Marine maintainers. This and other major milestones such as operator training and additional testing will take place before full-rate production.
24 Feb 20. UMEX 2020: Milrem showcases updated THeMIS UGV. Estonian manufacturer Milrem Robotics is highlighting its fifth-generation Tracked Hybrid Modular Infantry System (THeMIS) unmanned ground vehicle (UGV) at UMEX 2020 being held in Abu Dhabi on 23–25 February.
The UGV has been specially designed for use in hot climates and has undergone extensive use in the French-led operation `Barkhane’, which began in 2019 and during which the system traversed distances of more than 1,000 km in challenging terrain – including sand and rocky surfaces – and operated in temperatures exceeding 50˚C.
“Just a few years ago we tested the prototype of our unmanned vehicle for durability in hot conditions,” stated Kuldar Väärsi, chief executive officer of Milrem Robotics. “Today we are presenting a mature and robust product that has proven itself in extreme hot climates.”
Gert Hankewitz, export director at Milrem Robotics, told Jane’s that the improvements to optimise the UGV for hot climate operations included larger radiators with improved airflow and heat dissipation. “We’ve also improved the efficiency of the vehicle so to generate less heat,” said Hankewitz.
THeMIS is a tracked, hybrid system designed to be able to carry a range of payloads for a variety of functions. Milrem Robotics has partnered with over a dozen defence manufacturers to integrate a variety of payloads, including remote weapon stations (RWSs), tethered unmanned aircraft systems (UASs), electro-optical/infrared (EO/IR) sensors, counter-improvised explosive device (C-IED) systems, and missiles.
The UGV is also being offered by Thailand’s Defence Technology Institute (DTI) and integrated with Australian manufacturer EOS’s R400S-Mk2 Direct Drive-Heavy Duty (D-HD) RWS, with the complete system called the D-Iron UGV.
THeMIS is one of the first UGVs to be used operationally and has already been delivered to France, the Netherlands, Norway, the United Kingdom and the United States. Extensive testing has been carried out worldwide, with live firing conducted with five different weapon systems including the JAVELIN anti-tank missile system. (Source: Jane’s)
26 Feb 20. OMFV: Army Seeks Industry Advice On Bradley Replacement. Having rebooted the Optionally Manned Fighting Vehicle program, the Army is now is asking industry input on how to achieve nine goals, from survivability to mobility to streamlined logistics.
Two months ago, the Army cancelled its original solicitation to replace the M2 Bradley troop carrier after no company could meet the strict requirements. This afternoon, the Army officially asked for industry input on how to achieve nine broadly-defined “characteristics” for the future Optionally Manned Fighting Vehicle.
“Feedback may be submitted in any form (concepts, information papers, technical papers, sketches, etc.),” says the announcement on SAM.gov. “The Army would like to obtain this initial feedback prior to 06 March 2020.”
This call for suggestions on how to move forward comes just weeks after the Army issued a surprisingly apologetic survey asking industry what they did wrong the first time around. It’s part of a newly humble approach in which the Army doesn’t prescribe formal requirements up-front but instead lays out broad objectives and asks industry how best to achieve them.
The chief of Army Futures Command, Gen. Mike Murray, gave reporters a preview of the nine characteristics three weeks ago, but the list announced today is much more detailed – though still leaving plenty of room for companies to brainstorm solutions.
Our annotated highlights from the announcement – the emphasis is in the original:
Background: The OMFV, as part of an Armored Brigade Combat Team (ABCT), will replace the Bradley to provide the capabilities required to defeat a future near-peer competitor’s force. The Army is seeking a transformational increase in warfighting capability, not simply another incremental improvement over the current Bradley Fighting Vehicle.
Concept of employment: As part of an ABCT, the OMFV will not fight alone, but rather as part of a section, platoon, and company of mechanized infantry….
“Near-peer competitor” is Pentagon jargon for “China or Russia” – chiefly Russia in this case, since the plains of Eastern Europe are a far more likely arena for armored warfare than Pacific islands. That the Army wants “transformational” improvements, not “incremental” ones, shows there’s still some real ambition in the vision for this vehicle. At the same time, the OMFV will still fight “as part of an ABCT,” meaning the existing Armored Brigade Combat Team organization — not as part of some all-new organization with all-new equipment, as was once envisioned for the cancelled Future Combat Systems.
Iron Fist-Light Active Protection System installed on a US Army M2 Bradley Infantry Fighting Vehicle. (Rada photo)
Survivability. The OMFV must protect the crew and Soldiers from emerging threats and CBRN environments. The OMFV should reduce likelihood of detection by minimizing thermal, visual, and acoustic signatures.
In other words, the vehicle needs to give the crew a chance of survival against cutting-edge anti-tank missiles, precision-guided artillery, attack drones and other such “emerging threats,” as chemical, biological, radiological, and nuclear contamination (CBRN). That does not mean the vehicle itself has to survive intact. The way this is worded, if a hit totals the OMFV but the soldiers inside can walk away, the Army will count that as a win. (The JLTV 4×4 truck takes this same approach to roadside bombs).
So the OMFV doesn’t necessarily have to have heavy armor protecting the entire vehicle. It could have a heavily armored crew compartment, light armor elsewhere, and an Active Protection System to intercept incoming threats. (The Russian T-14 Armata uses this combination). It also should avoid being spotted in the first place by eye, ear, or thermal sensor, which might favor designs with hybrid-electric motors that can switch from hot, noisy diesels to a battery-driven stealth mode.
Mobility. The OMFV must have mobility that can keep pace with the Abrams in a combined arms fight through rural and urban terrain.
That’s the M1 Abrams main battle tank, which the existing M2 Bradley and M109 Paladin howitzer were also designed to keep up with. This is another aspect of that “concept of employment” that calls for the OMFV to slot into existing formations and work closely with existing vehicles. Note also the reference to “rural and urban terrain,” which will come up again: Traditionally the Army has avoided city fighting, but as urban sprawl covers ever more of the planet, technology and tactics have to adapt to brutal close-quarters combat.
Growth. The OMFV must possess the growth margins and open architecture required for rapid upgrades and insertion of future technologies such as mission command systems, protection systems, and sensors.
This characteristic is really where you get the potential for “transformational” improvements. The M2 Bradley was originally introduced in 1980 and, after 40 years of upgrades, it has very little margin left to handle additional weight or – even more important nowadays – power-hungry electronics. The Bradley’s lack of room to grow has driven the Army to try replacing it three times already: the original OMFV requirements cancelled this year; the Ground Combat Vehicle cancelled in 2014; and the Future Combat Systems cancelled in 2009. Hopefully, fourth time’s the charm.
Lethality. The OMFV-equipped platoons must defeat future near-peer soldiers, infantry fighting vehicles, helicopters, small unmanned aerial systems, and tanks as part of a Combined Arms Team in rural and urban terrain.
This is a more ambitious hit list than the Bradley, which sports machineguns for killing infantry, a 25 mm autocannon to destroy light armored vehicles, and the obsolescent TOW missile for taking on heavy tanks. The Pentagon is increasingly worried about small drones, which ISIS terrorists have used as flying IEDs and Russian artillery has used as spotters for barrages. With Russia and China developing increasingly sophisticated anti-aircraft systems, there’s also a concern that US fighters may not be able to keep enemy attack helicopters at bay, forcing ground forces to handle that threat themselves. These aerial targets require more sophisticated tracking systems, and drones may be best dealt with by electronic jamming or lasers rather than bullets.
Weight. The OMFV must traverse 80% of Main Supply Routes (MSRs), national highways, and bridges in pacing threat countries, and reduce the cost of logistics and maintenance. Designs must allow for future growth in components and component weights without overall growth of vehicle weight through modularity and innovation.
Weight is the issue that has bedeviled Bradley replacements for two decades. The FCS vehicles, optimized for air transport, were too light to carry adequate armor; GCV was too heavy; and the original OMFV couldn’t meet its air transport requirements and its protection requirements at the same time. With most bridges in Eastern Europe unable to safely take weights over 50 tons, too much heavy armor can cripple your mobility.
There are two big factors that make a vehicle hard to keep supplied and in working order. One is weight – heavier vehicles burn more fuel – and the other is complexity. High-tech is usually high-maintenance. The US military is hopeful that AI-driven predictive maintenance can detect and head off impending breakdowns, and that 3D printing can produce at least some spare parts on demand without a long supply line.
The original OMFV requirement very specifically called for two of the vehicles to fit on a single Air Force C-17 jet transport, which proved undoable with the weight of armor desired. This time, the Army isn’t specifying any particular aircraft. In practice, armored vehicles are almost always shipped by sea and, where possible, stockpiled on allied soil well before a crisis erupts. On land, since tracked vehicles aren’t designed to drive hundreds of miles by road, they’re usually deployed to the battle zone by train or tractor-trailer, both of which have their own weight limits.
This is the objective that gave the OMFV its name: Optionally Manned Fighting Vehicle. Now, since it’s a Bradley replacement, the OMFV is supposed to be a troop carrier – specifically, the heavily armed and armored kind known as an Infantry Fighting Vehicle – so by definition it needs to carry people. But the Army is intensely interested in having the option to run it by remote control, or maybe even autonomously, to (for example) scout out especially dangerous areas or carry casualties back to an aid post without pulling healthy soldiers out of the fighting line.
STE is the Army’s total overhaul of its training simulators, drawing on commercial gaming technology to develop an array of virtual and augmented reality systems using a common database of real-world terrain. Instead of having to use a simulator in a warehouse somewhere, the Army wants troops to be able to run virtual scenarios on the same vehicles they’ll actually fight with. All these characteristics are intertwined – and after its past troubles, the Army is acutely aware that maximizing one, such as protection, may compromise another, such as transportability. That’s another thing the service wants feedback on, the announcement says: “The Army is interested in industry partners’ ability to meet the desired characteristics and what trades” – that is, trade-offs – “may be necessary.” (Source: Breaking Defense.com)
BATTLESPACE Comment: At the recent IAV Conference in London, a senior NATO General suggested that the way forward for future fighting vehicles would be to sacrifice protection for mobility which would leave crews vulnerable to overmatched IEDs. BATTLESPACE suggested in 2009 that the way forward for OMFV and other new AFVs for the 21st Century would be a total rethink on current technologies and to look at better use of advanced composites, new engines, transmissions and suspension units with lighter but more powerful canons and missiles.
25 Feb 20. Poland’s Leopard 2PL delayed. The modernisation of Polish Leopard 2A4 main battle tanks (MBTs) has been delayed, Polska Grupa Zbrojeniowa (PGZ) and the Polish Armament Inspectorate (AI) have told Jane’s.
The prototype of future Polish Leopard 2PL MBTs delivered by project leader PGZ and Rheinmetall Landsysteme was still being tested at the end of February. “Trials of the Leopard 2PL prototype are still under way,” Krzysztof Płatek, an AI spokesman, told Jane’s on 21 February. “They are expected to be completed in mid-March. Some requirements still have to be confirmed.”
PGZ officially confirmed the delay, telling Jane’s on 20 February, “The final phase of the prototype trials is under way [and] the final configuration should be approved by the contracting authority in March. (Source: News Now/Jane’s)
25 Feb 20. Will unmanned ground vehicles replace tanks? The march of autonomy continues in the defence industry, with unmanned ground vehicles in development for armed forces around the globe. Harry Lye asks whether this could spell the end of the era of the manned tank.
Tanks have dominated battlefields for the past hundred years since being introduced in the First World War to devastating effect. Now, with autonomous vehicles seeing a flurry of development in the military arena, the tank as we know it may be on its way to become a thing of the past.
The merits of these new unmanned ground vehicles (UGVs) are their size and affordability with the added benefit of survivability, a cocktail that militaries across the world are keen to get hold of as they face threats from increasingly unconventional foes. From Russia to Estonia, the UK and US, the potential of UGVs as both force enablers and combat vehicles is being explored with a range of systems turning the heads of commanders, among them Milrem’s TheMIS UGV, Russia’s Uran-9, BAE Systems’ robotic technology demonstrator and Textron’s robotic combat vehicle.
Coming in different sizes and configurations, these vehicles fulfil different missions and different roles; they point to a future of augmenting ground forces with unmanned systems that is seemingly just across the horizon. But will they ever be able to replace the manned vehicles that came before them?
One country interested heavily in the potential of unmanned ground vehicles is the US, with programmes underway to develop robotic combat vehicles (RCVs) and an optionally manned vehicle to replace its ageing Bradley infantry fighting vehicle.
In early January, one of these programmes took another step closer to reality with the award of contracts to build early prototypes of robotic combat vehicles, covering two variants in different weight categories. The contracts were awarded for Textron’s robotic combat vehicle, the Ripsaw M5 unveiled at last year’s AUSA 2019 conference, and to Qinetiq for a system similar to Milrem’s TheMIS.
Under the terms the contractors will build four vehicles a piece, which will undergo a company level experiment as soon as 2021. Announcing the contracts, US Army Ground Vehicle Systems Centre Director Jeffrey Langhout said: “The progress that our engineers, scientists, project managers and leaders around Team Warren and the Army Modernization Enterprise have made in moving the RCV closer to reality is truly a heartening success story for army modernisation.
“That we can get this far already is a testament to the dedication and passion of the army to giving our soldiers the best capabilities possible. This is a great day for our army, as we make another important step in learning how we can employ robotic vehicles into our future formations.”
The potential for unmanned vehicles to change the face of combat operations is huge, giving personnel more firepower while also helping to keep them out of harm’s way. As the Next Generation Combat Vehicles Cross Functional Team Director General Ross Coffman explained: “Robots have the potential to revolutionise the way we conduct ground combat operations. Whether that’s giving increased fire power to a dismounted patrol, breaching an enemy fighting position, or providing CBRNE reconnaissance, we envision these vehicles providing commanders more time and space for decisions and reducing risk to soldiers.”
Estonia and defence contractor Milrem have been at the forefront of developing and deploying UGVs for some time, a star of the effort being the TheMIS. The small unmanned ground vehicle, which is similar to vehicles developed by Qinetiq in the UK and General Dynamics elsewhere, has already been deployed on peacekeeping operations in Mali and tested with a range of ordnance.
Milrem’s vehicle was seen at a number of stands at last year’s DSEI event, sporting a number of different remote weapons stations carrying Brimstone missiles, Stingers and conventional machine guns. It made its operational debut in October supporting Estonian peacekeepers.
Discussing the deployment and the benefits of integrating UGVs into ground forces, Estonian Army Lieutenant Madis Pärnpuu said: “Deploying an unmanned vehicle will allow units to increase their combat power, as it reduces the physical load to soldiers and allows additional supplies to be included in an operation such as heavy weaponry, additional water and ammunition that could not be transported without the vehicle.”
Although it is not a tank, the system’s ability to carry high-firepower missiles allows it to compete with larger manned systems while maintaining a small footprint for a ground force or dismounted patrol.
In Russia, the country’s armed forces have long had an interest in fielding a UGV, with the most notable example being the Uran-9 built by Kalashnikov. Russian forces in Syria have already deployed the vehicle during the civil war and another variant of the vehicle, a minesweeper known as the Uran-6, was also tested in Syria.
Russia is using the information gathered during Syrian to develop a handbook for the use of UGVs in operations.
Hurdles to overcome
Although a number of militaries and defence contractors are busy developing them, unmanned tanks won’t be on the cards anytime in the near future, according to Royal United Services Institute land warfare research analyst Nick Reynolds.
“I am sceptical about the future tank being unmanned any time soon,” Reynolds told us. “UGVs may be controlled remotely or they may be autonomous. If they are controlled remotely, they are reliant upon data links, which present a vector for attack – they may be hacked, or the signal may be disrupted. Alternatively, UGVs may be autonomous, but this presents its own problems – the technology must be mature enough for the vehicle to be useful.”
Reynolds also explained that the versatility of a modern main battle tank (MBT) is something a UGV would struggle to compete with. A MBT can operate independently for a long period of time, and with the right crew can swap between a number of roles from scouting to holding ground or attacking a heavily defended position. According to Reynolds, this is a high bar for an automated UGV to match.
“Humans are still far better than their robotic counterparts at performing even the most basic functions, such as navigating around obstacles, determining suitable off-road routes through rough terrain, and interpreting the surrounding environment,” he said. “Most UGVs intended for combat roles are still quite a way off from being practical.”
Commenting on the earlier mentioned projects, Reynolds explained that while impressive, they are long ways off achieving the level of automation needed; they are useful, but not quite there yet. By his estimate, the technology needed to achieve anything beyond the current crop of supervised autonomy is at least a decade away.
As technology stands at the moment, it appears more likely that we will see a teaming of manned and unmanned systems, rather than UGVs usurping MBTs on the battlefield. Many tanks now employ remote weapons systems controlled by a human crew from inside the hull; this set-up could be adapted to control a UGV remotely from the safety of a manned vehicle.
Russia’s testing of UGVs in Syria, Reynold says, may mean the country is a step above the rest in their development
“Despite reported technical issues and limitations indicating that the Russian technology is not yet mature, this gives them an advantage in understanding how to employ UGVs effectively through having gained a large body of evidence and practical experience over several years,” he says. “So Russia may be developing a better understanding than other countries of what roles and capabilities can most usefully be fulfilled given the strengths and weaknesses of UGVs.”
For the time being it seems safe to assume that, while the development of UGVs is seeing increased attention, the vehicles are still a long way from replacing the tank. (Source: army-technology.com)
21 Feb 20. Romania orders Iveco tactical trucks. The Romanian Ministry of Defence (MoD) on 31 December 2019 awarded Iveco Defence Vehicles a seven-year frame-type contract to supply 2,902 tactical trucks. According to a company statement, an initial delivery order for 942 trucks is in place and these are to be delivered over four years beginning in 2020.
The company confirmed the vehicles are from Iveco’s tactical range, and these are produced by the company’s Astra subsidiary at a dedicated facility in Piacenza, Italy. Iveco acquired specialist heavy truck manufacturer Astra Veicoli Industriali SpA in 1986, and while the Astra brand is retained for domestic production, for export applications the Iveco brand and product designations are used.
According to Jane’s Land Warfare Platforms: Logistics, Support & Unmanned, Iveco’s tactical range trucks are based around a purpose-designed C-section 8mm thick ladder frame chassis constructed from high-yield strength 530N/m 2 steel. All are fitted with a military-specific flat-panelled glass-reinforced plastic cab, and are available in a configuration transportable by C-130 aircraft. The majority of tactical range driveline components are taken from Iveco’s Trakker range of heavy-duty commercial trucks, but these are significantly militarised due to requirements such as MIL-STD-461C for electromagnetic capability, a standard 750mm fording depth (1.2m with minimal further modifications), a climatic operational range of -32 to 49°C, and a central tyre inflation system (CTIS).
The tactical range is divided into two sub-ranges: tactical (SM) and logistic (SMH). The only significant visual difference between SM and SMH trucks is standard tyre size and the use of twin wheels/tyres on the rear axles of SMH models. Logistic models, because of their higher payload ratings, usually have higher load-rated axles and suspension. (Source: Jane’s)
24 Feb 20. Russian off roaders: BMD-4M family aims for highly mobile firepower. Key Points:
- The BMD-4M enables the VDV to perform roles that are not open to other airborne forces
- The design of the vehicle family is suited to off-road travel, which indicates it is intended to be deployed in any location to maximise surprise
The motto of the Russian airborne forces (Vozdushno-desantnye voyska – VDV) states ‘Net zadach nevypolnimykh’, or ‘There are no impossible tasks’. This partly encapsulates the nature of the VDV; for example no other formation in the world requires its personnel to parachute from an aircraft inside of an armoured vehicle.
Perhaps more importantly, the VDV is part of its own command and falls under the purview of the Air Assault Forces, rather than that of the ground forces, according to Catherine Harris and Frederick Kagan in their 2018 paper ‘Russia’s Military Posture: Ground Forces Order of Battle’. (Source: Jane’s)
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