Sponsored by Oshkosh
19 Mar 20. The U.S. Army awarded Navistar Defense, LLC (Navistar Defense) foreign military sales contract delivery orders valued at $21.97m for 134 Medium Tactical Vehicles (MTV). The orders are comprised of 4×4 cargo vehicles, 6×6 general transport trucks (GTT), 6×6 GTT vehicles with material handling equipment (MHE), and 6×6 30-ton wreckers, along with spare parts and technical data.
“Navistar Defense is proud to deliver additional Medium Tactical Vehicles to Iraqi security forces,” said Ted Wright, chief executive officer. “Providing vehicles to allied forces is an important part of our strategy to grow our business. Since 2004, we’ve delivered more than 7,000 military vehicles to the Iraqi Ministry of Interior and Ministry of Defense. This versatile and cost-effective platform, which shares commonality with their existing fleet, will support a variety of mission requirements.”
Most of the production will take place at Navistar Defense’s assembly plant located in West Point, Mississippi.
19 Mar 20. Indian Army awaiting responses to RFI for 198 8×8 armoured fighting vehicles. The Indian Army (IA) is preparing to evaluate responses from indigenous and foreign vendors to its request for information (RFI) on the intended procurement of 198 8×8 armoured fighting reconnaissance and support vehicles for deployment along India’s border with Pakistan. The RFI, which was issued in late November 2019 and ends on 1 April 2020, envisages the acquisition of the vehicles under the ‘Buy Indian (IDDM-Indigenously Designed, Developed and Manufactured)’ category of the Ministry of Defence’s (MoD’s) Defence Procurement Procedure-2016 (DPP-2016). This classification entails shortlisting Indian companies as principal potential vendors to execute the tender by entering into collaborative agreements with select foreign original equipment manufacturers (OEMs). (Source: Jane’s)
18 Mar 20. Iraqi armoured division exercises Abrams tanks with BMP-1s for first time. Iraq’s 9th Armoured Division has conducted what was probably its first tactical exercise that combined M1A1 Abrams main battle tanks with BMP-1 infantry fighting vehicles (IFVs), according to the country’s Ministry of Defence (MoD).
M1A1 Abrams tanks and BMP-1 IFVs from the 34th Brigade of the Iraqi Army’s 9th Armoured Division train together. (Iraqi Ministry of Defence)
“I think it’s the first exercise for the command of the 9th Armoured Division where the BMP-1 tracked infantry fighting vehicle participated with the M1 Abrams tanks,” Major General Walid Khalifa al-Tamimi, the division’s commander, said in a video released by the MoD on 15 March.
“Today, an exercise took place for the 34th Armoured Brigade, training on the structure of the brigade, and how to respond to targets,” he added. (Source: Jane’s)
18 Mar 20. Scorpion: France’s collaborative combat platform in action. France has ambitious plans for a connected combat architecture linking manned ground vehicles, UGVs and UAS to increase situational awareness and reshape engagements. Harry Lye got a glimpse of how it will work at International Armoured Vehicles 2020.
The shape of the French armed forces is changing dramatically, with thousands of new and upgraded vehicles set to enter service for before the close of the next decade. Informed by operations in Mali and elsewhere a key new capability in the French Army’s arsenal will be a platform known as Scorpion.
Scorpion is the digital backbone connecting a fleet of vehicles to create what the French Ministry of Defence called a platform for ‘collaborative combat’. It is designed to automatically distribute alerts, targeting information and a host of other data between vehicles, robots and UAVS, with the aim of optimising fire support and safety.
At the International Armoured Vehicles 2020 event in January, the French Army showcased how a Scorpion-enabled vehicle formation would operate, detailing how it will connect a number of different platforms.
Imagine an armoured formation moving through contested territory on a reconnaissance mission. The formation is made up of a mix of vehicles including armoured personnel carriers, main battle tanks and lightly armoured systems. Supporting the formation in the air is a helicopter, providing reconnaissance information for the vehicles.
The helicopter’s sensors detect a number of enemy vehicles awaiting in a treeline ahead, waiting to ambush the reconnaissance formation. Networked by Scorpion, the helicopter provides an early warning and details of the enemy vehicles’ location to the formation.
The group commander orders a Griffon vehicle to go ahead and confirm the presence of the enemy lying in wait. The order is sent by the system that links the vehicles and helicopter.
As the Griffon approaches, one of the enemy vehicles targets the Griffon; this is automatically detected by the vehicle’s laser targeting sensor, giving the crew an immediate warning that they are about to come under enemy fire. The targeting of the Griffon is also transmitted to the rest of the formation and the helicopter, confirming the enemy presence.
In addition to detecting threats and alerting the connected vehicles, the Scorpion also suggest the best course of action to the crew. In this instance, Scorpion alerts the gunner to the threat and suggests deploying a smoke screen and moving the vehicle back. With the press of a button both countermeasures are underway.
An enemy tank opens fire but the Griffon has already moved out of immediate danger, protecting the crew and allowing the networked vehicles’ other sensors to get in full swing.
An enemy tank opens fire but the Griffon has already moved out of immediate danger, protecting the crew and allowing the networked vehicles’ other sensors to get in full swing. Using acoustic sensors the Griffon can detect which direction the tank fired from; this data is shared with the other vehicles that also carry acoustic sensors allowing the system to automatically assess and triangulate the position of the enemy tank. This allows every vehicle in the formation to know the exact location of the threat.
The formation includes a Jaguar reconnaissance and combat vehicle its 40mm cannon, which according to Scorpion’s assessment is the best suited vehicle in the group to neutralise the threat. The Jaguar can now advance on the tank, having the exact location of the enemy vehicle, and neutralise it, allowing the formation to continue its mission. (Source: army-technology.com)
18 Mar 20. Indian MoD concludes price negotiations for 118 Arjun Mk 1A MBTs. India’s Ministry of Defence (MoD) has concluded negotiations with the state-owned Ordnance Factory Board (OFB) to acquire 118 units of the indigenously developed Arjun Mk1A main battle tank (MBT) for the Indian Army (IA) for an estimated INR66bn (USD888.7m). Official sources told Jane’s on 18 March that an “order of intent” will be placed “imminently” by the MoD with the OFB’s Heavy Vehicles Factory (HVF) at Avadi in southern India for this upgraded variant of the Arjun, which features 72 improvements, including 14 major ones, over the Mk 1 model.
The impending order will also feature a two-year engineering and support package that will include maintenance, spares and simulator training for the tank crews.
Deliveries are expected to begin within 30 months of the contract being signed and be completed within four to five years, OFB officials told Jane’s. Once inducted, the upgraded Arjun Mk 1As, which were approved for procurement by the IA in late 2018 following validation trials, will supplement 124 Arjun Mk 1s that joined the service from 2004 onwards.
Engineers at the DRDO’s Chennai-based Combat Vehicles Research and Development Establishment (CVRDE), which designed the Arjun, said the Mk 1A’s enhancements include advanced thermal-imaging sights for night-time fighting, improved navigation systems, a digital control harness and a mine plough. According to Dr P Shiv Kumar, who used to head the CVRDE, the Mk 1A variant – which like the Mk 1 is operated by a four-man crew – is also fitted with a new panoramic sight for the tank commander, a more powerful auxiliary power unit (8.5 kW capacity) and an enhanced communication system capable of real-time data transmission.
The Mk 1A’s hull and turret, he said, have been modified to give the MBT a lower silhouette to make detection more difficult. (Source: Jane’s)
18 Mar 20. Russia’s GAZ-3344-20 Aleut ATV enters service. The GAZ-3344-20 ‘Aleut’ articulated all-terrain vehicle (ATV) from the Zavolzhsky Tracked Tractor Plant (ZZGT) has service entered service with Russia. The first of 123 platforms was delivered to the Russian Ground Troops stationed in the north of the country in May 2019, with deliveries expected to continue throughout 2020. The Aleut was designed as part of a project to develop an intermediate all-terrain carrier, something that could fit between Russia’s DT-10PM, which weighs up to 37 tonnes, and its DT-30PM, which has a gross vehicle weight of 59 tonnes. The resultant GAZ-3344-20 has a total weight of 11.2 tonnes, including 2.5 tonnes of payload, according to ZZGT.
The compartments are built from welded steel and the torsion bar suspension units are incorporated into the hulls to reduce hull-drag when travelling through snow or water. The engine is in the front module to the rear of the crew cab, which can accommodate five personnel including the driver.
The vehicle has a YaMZ-53402-10 diesel engine, which provides 240hp and generates 784Nm of torque in the rpm range of 1,400–1,700. It has a top speed of 60km/h and a range of 800 km. The payload of the front module is 500 kg, while for the rear module it is 2 tonnes, meaning that the rear module can be configured to carry up to 15 additional personnel for a vehicle total of 20. Both modules are heated and the rear module can be reconfigured for mission specific roles.
Both sections of the hull are powered as engine torque is transmitted to both sets of tracks through the drive sprockets at the front of the modules. This ensures that the vehicle will maintain tractive pull even if one section loses contact with the ground. ZZGT added that the vehicle can turn through its articulated joint, which provides a turning circle of 10m. (Source: Jane’s)
17 Mar 20. US Army ventures down path to electrify the brigade. Could the Army make all its vehicles electric in the future? The U.S. Army is seeking to power its brigades using electric and hybrid sources in order to break free of the burden of fuel and disposable batteries that bog down its logistics tail and limit mobility and reach, a general with Army Futures Command has told Defense News.
Lt. Gen. Eric Wesley, the director of the Futures and Concepts Center within the command, said in a recent interview that it’s one thing to power a vehicle electrically, but quite another to work out an entire enterprise that would support fleets of electric vehicles and other capabilities.
“Let’s be clear. We’re behind. We’re late to meet on this thing,” Wesley said. “If you look at all of the analysis, all of the various nations that we work with, they’re all going to electric power with their automotive fleet, and right now, although we do [science and technology] and we’ve got some research and development going on and we can build prototypes, in terms of a transition plan, we are not there.”
For instance, the Army tested a hybrid Chevy Colorado — fitted with a hydrogen fuel cell and electric drive — with several units, but nothing amounted to the effort.
Buying an all-electric Tesla vehicle, Wesley said, is easy, but “the Army has to think about it much bigger. What is the cost of replacing your entire fleet? We know we can’t do that. There’s got to be a steady transition.”
There will likely be a time where vehicles that use fossil fuel and ones that are all-electric share the battlefield. “What is the distribution plan that enables that?” Wesley wondered. “That is much more complex when you look at the implications for an entire enterprise.”
So Wesley’s outfit is preparing a proposal for the head of Army Futures Command that will address how the service might accomplish such a big, but important endeavor that could change the paradigm of the logistics and sustainment tails as well as enhance force mobility.
The proposal will make a business case for the Army electrifying the formation, discuss the technical feasibility and describe how a transition process.
There are three major reasons it’s important the Army embark on this now as opposed to just dabbling with electrification capability, Wesley said. The service knows it must build a fleet more reliant on electric power than fossil fuels. While the Army previously dealt with prototypes and knows it can make electric vehicles, the service must get its arms around the capability “in a much more holistic way,” Wesley stressed, and that will take time to work out.
The entire automotive industry is going electric, Wesley said, so the Army will have to do the same or risk problems with resources and supply chains down the line; if industry no longer builds parts for fossil fuel-reliant vehicles, availability of those parts will diminish and their cost will increase.
The Army also views electrically powered brigades as advantageous when considering how it expects to operate in the future. The service’s emerging doctrine Multi-Domain Operations requires units to operate distributed and independently for longer periods of time in potentially contested environments.
“We have to operate distributed, which means you have to have organic power that is readily available,” Wesley said. “Another aspect of Multi-Domain Operations … when you think about it, a lot of technology is being distributed at lower and lower echelons, and the question is always: ‘How are we going to power these different tools that we use in operations, highly technical tools, that we use to integrate domains? How are you going to power those?’
“Electrification allows you to have access to readily available power to distribute not only for the vehicle but for all those different systems that I have.”
And other benefits abound, he added, including dealing with less parts. The general noted that a Tesla’s moving parts are a few dozen while the number of moving parts in an internal combustion engine can be in the thousands. In the electric vehicle, the parts are also modular and don’t break down due to interaction with each other, but rather individual failures, Wesley said, so that means broken parts can easily be replaced.
In addition, batteries from one vehicle to another would be similar or exactly the same, so parts across the fleet would have more commonality, he said. Electric vehicles are also quiet and have a low heat signature, which means they are less likely to be detected by opposing forces, he added.
While a transition to electrically powered brigades would have a substantial price tag, the cost of one would be much lower than the cost to power the brigade with fossil fuel now, he argued.
The Army is also considering powering its capabilities with other forms of energy such as nuclear power — a technological leap that isn’t far off, according to Wesley.
The Pentagon is investing roughly $400m across the next five years in an attempt to develop prototypes for mobile nuclear power. The idea is to “pelletize” nuclear fuel encased in such a manner “to preclude the escape of radioactivity that allows you to leverage nuclear fission in such a way that it becomes safe,” Wesley explained.
The three-star general said there are at least nine vendors interested in building a prototype that could be built in the next two to three years, which would provide enough power to provide energy to an entire forward-operating base for an extended period of time.
“Imagine a mobile nuclear power capability that can fit on the back of a truck. Now you’re generating your own energy.” (Source: Defense News)
16 Mar 20. New European Main Battle Tank. With consultation of the Main Ground Combat System (MGCS) project in the German Bundestag studies for the new main combat system can now be commissioned. The German MoD intends to carry out the MGCS as a cooperative project with Germany and France as equal partners, each contributing 50% of the financial requirements and work shares, taking into account the relevant national industry. For the 18-month System Architecture Definition Study (SADS) Part 1, the financial requirement per nation (maximum limited) is approximately €75m. The aim is to define, develop and implement a new state-of-the-art main battle tank in order to achieve delivery of the first systems by 2035, when the main battle tank fleets in service (Leopard 2 and Leclerc) will be decommissioned. For the implementation of SADS Part 1, the companies Rheinmetall and Krauss-Maffei Wegmann (KMW) on the German side and Nexter on the French side have agreed to form a working team. This means that a binational contractor structure has been achieved for SADS Part 1.
The MGCS goes well beyond a purely linear continuation of the existing capabilities of the Leopard 2 main battle tank. Germany and France favour a multi-platform concept, for which sophisticated and innovative technologies are required.
The timetable provides for a technology demonstration phase (TDP) until 2024, after harmonization of the multi-platform concepts, to define the system architecture and establish a system management system. Bilateral FT activities serve to prepare necessary future technologies for later integration into the overall system demonstrator and the realization of “technology system demonstrators” (GSDs).
In the period 2024 to 2027, the GSDs will be built in an “overall system demonstrator phase” (GSDP) and the components will be tested for their performance and system compatibility. At the end of this phase, the performance description will serve as a basis for the start of series production. The start of the implementation phase is planned for 2028, probably with the production of verification copies first, which will be tested by the procurement authorities and the troops for compliance with military requirements and suitability for deployment. Following approval, series production will begin. The first production vehicle is scheduled for delivery in 2035. After fielding and training of the crews, operators and tactical leaders, Initial Operating Capability (IOC) is to be achieved in 2040. This would be more than 55 years after the introduction of the Leopard 2 main battle tank and 25 years after delivery of the first Puma infantry fighting vehicle.
Franco-German cooperation is to form the basis for the broadest possible European and NATO cooperation. Germany has taken the lead for the MGCS. However, both nations should benefit equally from the cooperation and receive sufficient intellectual property rights for the intended future use of the results of the work.
The investment in this project will enable the German defence industry to position itself as the world’s leading land system industry in the long term through the development and application of future-oriented land system technologies. The MGCS will maintain and strengthen the national key technology of “protected/armoured vehicles” in line with the German government’s strategy. The MGCS System project has the potential to become the largest European land-based armaments project for the development of a European land combat system in the medium term.
In further implementation agreements, the scope, content and contractual implementation of the services for the launch of joint research and technology (R&T) activities in the fourth quarter of 2020 still have to be agreed with France.
According to the German FMoD, the associated financial requirements from 2020 to 2022 will probably amount to approximately €50m per nation in a first step (IA2) and a further €124.0m in a second step (IA3). For purely national R&T activities (for nation-specific shares and support services), the FMoD also calculates a budget requirement of around €56m for 2020 to 2022.
In order to ensure the delivery of first systems by 2035, the further German funding required for further R&T activities in 2023 to 2027 and the studies with a total system demonstrator (GSDP) are estimated at about €501.5m.
For 2020 to 2027, on the basis of the above annual figures for the implementation agreements, the total current financial requirement is estimated at €746.5m. Together with the share of financing borne by France, the development costs for the MGCS up to the start of implementation (2028) thus amount to €1.5bn. (Source: ESD Spotlight)
16 Mar 20. Can The Army Convince Congress It’s Learned From FCS? The reboot of the Bradley replacement reminded many on the Hill of past procurement disasters like the Future Combat System. Can the Army exorcise the specter of FCS?
“This is the Army’s third attempt at replacing the Bradley,” the grim-faced chairman of defense appropriations, Rep. Pete Visclosky, warned Army officials last week. “We’ve been told, time and again, that this time it is different…. but the first large acquisition program that has come out of the Army Futures Command has fallen flat. You do need to convince this committee today that our continued support of modernization will eventually be a good investment.”
At three hearings in the last two weeks, members of the House bombarded Army leaders with questions about the Optionally Manned Fighting Vehicle, the semi-robotic replacement for the Reagan-era M2 Bradley. The Army cancelled its original competition after every vendor either dropped out or failed to meet requirements, then rebooted OMFV on a new, less rushed schedule that began with humbly seeking industry’s input on what was actually possible.
“We learned early on this program [that] there was confusion over the requirements,” the Army Chief of Staff, Gen. James McConville, told appropriators. With the new approach of listening assiduously to industry, he said, “we think we can save time up front and get the vehicle we need…and have requirements that we know industry can meet.”
That was met with some skepticism. “That sounds great, general, but I wonder why we didn’t start this process, you know, a long time ago,” replied the panel’s ranking Republican, Rep. Ken Calvert. “What happened?”
“I think what happened, Congressman, is we have learned,” said McConville, not quite answering the question. “We are learning with industry. We’re learning with our acquisition folks who are used to doing it the old way, where we spent [10-14 years] developing requirements [and] a system, and then investing a lot of money in it, and finding out at the end we didn’t get what we wanted. So, we are stopping early and we are redefining the way we do the process to encourage innovation.”
So what’s the new schedule? That’s the question Rep. Paul Mitchell asked, without getting a clear answer, in two different House Armed Services Committee hearings, on March 3rd and March 5th.
“No one has answered what the cost and delays will be, in multiple inquiries. Frankly I’ve got a lot of discussion around it,” lamented Mitchell, whose Michigan district is home to many employees of would-be bidders, on the 5th. “We are increasingly asking the private sector, venture capital, to invest in innovation, technology, development of some of these things. People did that to a fair extent and we abruptly cancelled it.”
“How do we keep saying to our industrial base, ‘okay, that was a screwup, your investment’s not lost; we’re [still] going here’?” asked Rep. Donald Norcross, chairman of the House subcommittee on tactical air and land forces, at the same hearing. “For any company to make those sort of investments, it’s a risk, we understand. They knew going in — but it doesn’t help us our case that this is the new way we’re going to do things and bring industry along.”
“If we were to abandon the effort on OMFV, it would be a wasted effort, it would be a wasted expenditure on the part of the company,” replied Bruce Jette, the Army’s civilian acquisition chief. “I know people reflect back to FCS, and say, ‘oh, you cancelled that vehicle program, you cancelled another vehicle program. You’re going and doing it again.’ That’s not our intent. Our intent is to continue with OMFV. The objective that we were pursuing is unchanged,” he said. “It’s the methodology” that has changed.
By contrast, in the past, the Army often doubled down on a flawed approach, trying to make work, rather than admitting it needed to start over. “On some of our prior efforts,” Jette said, “Comanche [for example], we had problems and we kept going along to see if we could fix them, fix them, and, a few billion dollars later, we ended up cancelling.”
But why, asked Norcross, couldn’t we have seen the problems coming on OMFV and rebooted it much earlier, and at much less expense?
“That’s part of our assessment,” Jette said, which isn’t an answer so much as a pledge to find one. But, he promised, he’s spoken extensively to industry, and at least 11 companies have expressed interest in participating in the new, more open process.
“I think the root of this is trust, the trust going forward,” added Gen. John “Mike” Murray, the four-star chief of Army Futures Command. “This was not a quick or easy decision.” (Source: Breaking Defense.com)
16 Mar 20. Polish Army to buy 4×4 vehicles. The Polish Army is to replace its outdated all-terrain vehicles with 485 Nissan Navara pickup trucks, Defence Minister Mariusz Błaszczak has announced. Poland’s Inspectorate for Armed Forces Support has selected the Nisan Navara pickup to replace the outdated domestically produced Honker all-terrain tactical vehicle developed in the 1980s to replace the Soviet-built UAZ-469 in the Polish Armed Forces, Błaszczak tweeted on 13 March. Under the PLN98.6m (USD24.8m) contract, 485 Nissan Navara pickup trucks will be delivered starting in 2020. There is an option for an additional 150 vehicles. The vehicles will be delivered by Glomex MS Poland (leader), teamed with Glomex MS Czechia. (Source: Jane’s)
16 Mar 20. Rheinmetall BAE Systems Land (RBSL) has selected SSAFA, the Armed Forces charity as their main charity partner from 2020. SSAFA is the UK’s oldest national tri-service military charity, supporting regulars and reserves in the Armed Forces and their families and has been supporting the Armed Forces for more than 130 years. Every member of the military community is entitled to lifelong support from SSAFA, no matter how long they have served.
Funds and awareness raised from the partnership with RBSL will help SSAFA continue the vital work it carries out supporting the entire Armed Forces community, past and present.
The partnership is set to raise funds for the charity with a series of activities spread across the year. The team at RBSL will be joining SSAFA in celebrating Armed Forces Week in June, as well as taking part in a variety of challenge events and volunteering opportunities, all for a good cause.
RBSL is a new joint-venture business dedicated to military vehicle design, manufacture, and support. RBSL has a proud heritage of working with the Armed Forces, having designed and delivered almost all of the British Army’s armoured vehicle fleets as well as providing in-service support.
RBSL was launched as a new joint venture company by BAE Systems and German defence firm, Rheinmetall, in July 2019. RBSL has used this opportunity to launch a Community Investment strategy for the new business, selecting a new partner to support with fundraising, sponsorship, and employee volunteering.
Sir Andrew Gregory, CEO of SSAFA, the Armed Forces charity said: “SSAFA, the Armed Forces charity is most grateful to RBSL for their generous support of our vital work. This partnership will enable us to make a difference to all members of the Forces community this year, when in need.”
Peter Hardisty, Managing Director of RBSL said: “Many of our employees, including myself, are veterans of the Armed Forces, so SAAFA’s mission and values are close to our hearts. We are very familiar with the positive impact of SSAFA’s work, so it is a great source of pride to announce this partnership.”
16 Mar 20. Autonomous delivery of vital supplies to the front-line with improved efficiency and reduced risk to life moves another step closer to reality as the Defence Science and Technology Laboratory (Dstl) announces the purchase of five totally new autonomous land vehicle systems.
Two contracts collectively worth £5m have been awarded to HORIBA MIRA and QinetiQ to produce a number of unmanned ground vehicles (UGVs) and enabling autonomous systems as part of advancing Ministry of Defence (MOD) Transformation Fund commitments for the British Army.
Project Theseus, the development and operational field experimentation of autonomous logistic resupply systems, was announced by Secretary of State (SofS) for Defence, following the progress made by the Innovative Autonomous ‘Last Mile’ Challenge led by Dstl.
The contracts form part of early de-risking work to increase the MOD’s understanding of the capabilities and limitations of these systems in areas such as mobility, vulnerabilities and safety; enabling the Army to take the project to the next stage, pending a further significant competition for Project Theseus to be launched by DE&S later this year.
Dstl’s Autonomy Lead, Peter Stockel said: “These contracts are a demonstration of the continued commitment to progressing autonomous systems as innovative approaches for developing future Land force logistic capability. Under the Autonomous Last Mile Challenge, we have conducted a number of in-depth trials both in the UK and with our partners in the US. These UGV systems will be used to undertake a series of technical evaluations and user utility assessments with the British Army and other users to rapidly advance MOD’s understanding under the ‘Prototype Warfare’ agenda.”
Brigadier Darrell Amison, Head of Capability for Combat Service Support said: “Robotic and Autonomous Systems will provide commanders with more options to support a Land force operating at greater reach, dispersal and higher tempo. We look forward to ongoing collaboration with Dstl, wider Defence, and our strategic and commercial partners as we drive forward this ground-breaking and exciting project.”
Summer 2020 will see the arrival of three all-terrain VIKING 6×6 Unmanned Ground Vehicles, supplied by HORIBA MIRA, which are capable of carrying up to 750kg of supplies to frontline troops using advanced AI-based autonomy with GPS-denied navigation. Two TITAN Unmanned Ground Systems will then arrive through autumn 2020; comprising a tracked system based around a modular mission system software architecture. Experimentation and testing of these differing systems will inform further understanding of the capabilities that these autonomous systems can provide and implications for their integration with the wider defence logistics system.
The vehicles will be used by Dstl to conduct scientific and user trials in collaboration with the Combat Service Support Training and Development Unit (CSS TDU) based in Aldershot, and other British Army units. The work will seek to increase understanding of system potential and limitations to reduce the risks specific to acquisition of the Joint Tactical Autonomous Resupply and Replenishment (JTARR) capability, but will also develop deeper knowledge for the Army’s future employment of more advanced autonomous system capabilities.
Robert Mohacsi, Senior Commercial Manager for Defence Systems at HORIBA MIRA, said: “Autonomous systems present the British Army with game changing capabilities, redefining how we will conduct future operations. Building on more than a decade of experience in deploying autonomous technology into military applications, HORIBA MIRA has applied an agile and fast track approach that will enable the army to field this equipment and meet its critical objectives. We are immensely proud that VIKING, with its market leading capability, has been selected to support this critical programme.”
Speaking on award of the contract, Mike Stewart, Director for Research Experimentation and Innovation for QinetiQ said:
“Working to the principles of “Prototype Warfare”, as adopted by the British Army, the Joint Tactical Autonomous Resupply and Replenishment (JTARR) risk-reduction contract is a prime example of how QinetiQ is taking an agile approach to delivering solutions into the hands of the military for evaluation whilst continuing spiralled capability development.”
16 Mar 20. HORIBA MIRA Wins £2.3m Government Contract to Supply Autonomous UGVs for Landmark Trials. In continuing to lead the charge on autonomous defence technology, HORIBA MIRA has secured a major £2.3m contract to supply VIKING – the first autonomous Unmanned Ground Vehicle (UGV) of its kind – to the Defence Science and Technology Laboratory (Dstl). The award of this contract is a demonstration of HORIBA MIRA’s unique technology in this field and its ability to help customers meet complex and demanding challenges. The funding has been awarded as part of the Joint Tactical Autonomous Resupply and Replenishment (JTARR) Risk Reduction project in support of the Theseus transformation funded project. As part of the work, Dstl will conduct trials and experimentation on behalf of the UK Ministry of Defence (MOD) and, working with the British Army, look at ways to deliver vital supplies autonomously, reducing risk to front-line soldiers. The work will also help develop deeper knowledge for the Army’s future wider employment of more autonomous systems. Project Theseus, announced by the Secretary of State for Defence, follows on from the Dstl Defence and Security Accelerator (DASA) Autonomous Last Mile Resupply (ALMRS) project and will drive development and operational field experimentation of autonomous logistic resupply systems. The contract will see HORIBA MIRA supply three of its pioneering VIKING autonomous UGVs over the next six months, with delivery expected in Summer 2020.
Developed by HORIBA MIRA and demonstrated in the UK and US under the ALMRS programme, VIKING is a 6×6 UGV, capable of carrying up to 750kg of supplies over long distances using advanced AI-based autonomy and GPS-denied navigation. It has been chosen for its high mobility performance, parallel hybrid powertrain and state of the art autonomy. VIKING is a multirole platform and can fulfil a number of specialist roles in addition to resupply such as soldier support, ISTAR, combat and IED detection.
The JTARR Risk Reduction vehicles will be used by Dstl to conduct scientific experimentation and user trials in collaboration with the Combat Service Support Trials and Development Unit (CSS TDU) based in Aldershot. Recognising the benefits of experimenting with HORIBA MIRA’s cutting-edge autonomous systems, VIKING will provide UK MOD with valuable insights into the use of UGVs to further inform and strengthen the upcoming JTARR and Theseus programmes.
Andy Maloney, Chief Engineer for Defence and Unmanned Solutions at HORIBA MIRA, said: “As the first autonomous UGV of its kind, our innovative VIKING platform could revolutionise how critical supplies are delivered to front-line soldiers, especially in combat scenarios, where it could dramatically reduce the risk to life. We’re delighted Dstl has recognised VIKING’s game-changing capabilities and has awarded us this major contract. This is a testament to HORIBA MIRA’s agile approach to solving complex problems in a time compressed environment.”
About Oshkosh Defense
Oshkosh Defense is a leading provider of tactical wheeled vehicles and life cycle sustainment services. For decades Oshkosh has been mobilizing military and security forces around the globe by offering a full portfolio of heavy, medium, light and highly protected military vehicles to support our customers’ missions. In addition, Oshkosh offers advanced technologies and vehicle components such as TAK-4® independent suspension systems, TerraMax™ unmanned ground vehicle solutions, Command Zone™ integrated control and diagnostics system, and ProPulse® diesel electric and on-board vehicle power solutions, to provide our customers with a technical edge as they fulfill their missions. Every Oshkosh vehicle is backed by a team of defense industry experts and complete range of sustainment and training services to optimize fleet readiness and performance. Oshkosh Defense, LLC is an Oshkosh Corporation company [NYSE: OSK].
To learn more about Oshkosh Defense, please visit us at www.oshkoshdefense.com.