11 Jun 20. USMC pressing on with ACV production. The US Marine Corp (USMC) is moving ahead with the next phase of its Amphibious Combat Vehicle (ACV) programme after its Force Design 2030 overhaul ‘affirmed’ the need for the platform on the future battlefield.
In late May, the service awarded BAE Systems Land and Armaments with an USD11m contract for phase two of the design and development for the ACV 30mm gun variant (ACV-30).
“Force Design  affirmed the need for the Amphibious Combat Vehicle [and] the program is continuing on schedule,” Ashley Calingo, a Program Executive Office Land Systems spokesperson, told Janes in a 3 June email.
“BAE [Systems] will be completing initial design work for the ACV-30 and integrating a version of the Kongsberg MCT-30 gun system [Medium Caliber Turret 30 mm] on an ACV for follow-on risk reduction testing,” she explained, noting that phase two work will conclude around the third quarter of fiscal year (FY) 2021.
Under this initial contract, Kongsberg said it will begin delivering test articles in 2021 and could deliver up to 150 MCT-30 turrets.
The ACV-30 is only one of four variants in this fleet and the service has been working on two other configurations.
To kick off the programme, the USMC and BAE Systems focused their efforts around the personnel carrier (ACV-P) variant. (Source: Jane’s)
10 Jun 20. Curtiss-Wright to deliver turret drive system for Boxer program. Curtiss-Wright’s Defense Solutions division has announced it has secured a contract with Rheinmetall Defence Australia to deliver its turret drive stabilisation system in support of the Australian Army’s Project LAND 400 Phase 2 Combat Reconnaissance Vehicle (CRV).
Under the contract, Curtiss-Wright will deliver 133 of its state-of-the-art Turret Drive Servo Systems (TDSS) and associated hand controllers to Rheinmetall.
The delivery incorporates more than 50 per cent Australian industry content (AIC), with Curtiss-Wright working alongside a team of Australian small and medium sized enterprises following initial industry engagement activities in 2018 and 2019. Under the contract, shipments are scheduled to run through Q1 2026.
“We are very proud that Rheinmetall has selected our turret drive stabilisation solution to support the Australian Army’s important Project LAND 400 Phase 2 Program,” said Lynn Bamford, president, defence and power segments.
“This contract marks a significant combat reconnaissance vehicle design win for our cost-effective, scalable Turret Drive Servo System and our commitment to incorporate local industry partners into this program.”
The products covered by the contract were designed at Curtiss-Wright’s Drive Technology facility in Neuhausen am Rheinfall, Switzerland. Under the contract, Curtiss-Wright will manufacture and produce a significant amount of TDSS power circuit boards (PCB) and chassis kits in Australia. With this strong commitment to Australian industry.
Major milestones in support of this agreement have already been achieved, including initial planning visits to Australia, which began in 2018 and continued through Q1 2020, and the first delivery of TDSS sample PCB and chassis kits to Australia.
In the next phase of the Australian supplier partner identification and evaluation process, Curtiss-Wright will assess the parts received and then enter into a memorandum of understanding (MoU) with the selected suppliers in Q2 2020, followed by contract negotiations.
After establishing the contractual baseline set, detailed knowledge transfer will commence, complemented by Curtiss-Wright’s TDSS experts, who will provide on-site support and training directly to the new Australian supplier partners at their own sites. On-site support is scheduled to run through Q4 2020. The go-live plan for series production with the Australian supplier partners is scheduled for Q1 2021.
“Curtiss-Wright believes this agreement will foster and sustain a new partner-network in Australia,” added Bamford. “In turn, we hope a strong partner-network creates an environment supporting new jobs and enables Curtiss-Wright and Rheinmetall to support LAND 400 Phase 2 with significant Australian industrial content.”
The final assembly of the products covered by this agreement will take place at Rheinmetall’s new Military Vehicle Center of Excellence (MILVEHCOE) facility in Queensland. (Source: Defence Connect)
09 Jun 20. Patria to deliver AMV 8×8 system platform vehicle to Saab. Patria has been contracted to deliver a AMV 8×8 System Platform vehicle to Saab for demonstration and marketing purposes.
Once delivered, the latest generation of Saab vehicle electronics and video systems will be tested using the vehicle.
The contract includes vehicle, training and maintenance services.
Under the contract, Saab will equip the vehicle with its latest video and vehicle electronic solutions connected to command, control, communications, computers, and intelligence (C4I) systems.
Saab Vehicle Systems is involved in the supply of rugged military electronics that can operate even in harsh battlefield environments. These systems also lower lifecycle costs.
Patria Land business unit Sales and Business Development vice-president Petri Jokinen said: “This contract is a very positive step forward for us.
“We have a long and productive co-operation history with Saab in several areas like integrating various Saab’s systems on our platforms for marketing and testing purposes as well as successful customer deliveries in our programmes.
“We strongly believe that two hi-tech companies from two high technology countries can together offer unique added value to the customers in modern 8×8 market, now and in the future.”
Patria has delivered more than 1,600 8×8 vehicles to eight countries.
Last month, Patria and the US Army agreed to conduct the feasibility study of Patria Nemo mortar system.
The 120mm Patria Nemo is a turreted, remote-controlled mortar system with direct and indirect fire capability. (Source: army-technology.com)
08 Jun 20. One of the interesting developments in the use of unmanned systems was explained by Captain Tom Quant, Regimental Intelligence Officer and Project Streetfighter Lead, at the Royal Tank Regiment, British Army.
Exploring ways to protect the British Army’s Challenger 2 tanks, the army is looking to use unmanned remote weapon systems which would provide reconnaissance ahead of the main armoured formation and engage small to medium size targets.
According to Capt. Quant, this mannned-unmanned teaming (MUM-T) “would allow the smaller vehicles to detect and acquire and enemy, then send engagement request to tank commander. The commander would then consider the tactical situation and approve or deny the fire mission.”
Speaking during a virtual conference, Future Armoured Vehicle Weapon Systems, organ-ised by SMI over 3-4 June, Capt.Quant said that studies were being conducted regarding “the whole spectrum of warfighting from urban to open warfare.” He added that “in urban environment, there are lots of risks to Challenger 2.”
Elbit System’s IronVision helmet-mounted battlefield situational awareness system is one of the developments that has been tested on a modified Challenger 2 Streetfighter II vari-ent, developed in coordination with the Royal Tank Regiment (RTR).
Capt. Quant said that trails were conducted at the UK’s Copehill Down urban operations facility on Salisbury Plain, during December last year. Streetfighter II is the upgrade to the Challenger 2 tank, featuring anti-tank Brimstone missiles, an enhanced camera suite and Elbit System’s IronVision system. The upgrade, which delivers an urbanised Challenger 2 variant, was developed by the Royal Tank Regiment to meet soldiers’ needs and identifies and fills the capability gap between the British Army’s forces and adversaries in urban combat. The upgrade was developed by the Royal Tank Regiment to meet soldiers’ needs and identifies and fills the capability gap between the British Army’s forces and adversaries in urban combat.
Iron Vision’s zero latency 360 degrees vision gives crewmen better situational awareness in an urban environment than if they were heads-up out of the turret.
The system was tested during a FIBUA (Fighting In Built Up Areas) exercise, which was the first time it had been tested in the field . “All reports said that it significantly enhanced awareness, allowing the crew to detect threats and keep track of supporting infantry.”
It was also of benefit to the supporting infantry operating in tandem with the armour: “Cameras on hull supply live stream video to a screen mounted at rear of CR2,” said Capt. Quant. “During FIBUA, dismounted commanders were able to deliver their Quick Battle Orders to their sections using that attached tablet.” With a localised wifi also being trialled, supporting infantry can use their own personal flip down tablets/screens to access the feed. (Source: Armada)
08 Jun 20. Arquus launches the new ARMIS range. Partner of the armies since 1898, ARQUUS is the first provider of land mobility solutions of the French Army, with more than 25,000 vehicles in service, including 10,000 logistics and tactical trucks. Historical specialist of military transport, the company has built its reputation on the GBC8KT, GBC180, TRM2000, TRM4000 and TRM10000, the VLRA and Sherpa Medium, which have been carrying a large part of the Army’s logistics and systems during the last decades.
These ranges, combat and time-proven on all theaters of operations, now give way to a new generation of logistics and tactical trucks, designed and produced in France: the ARMIS 4×4, ARMIS 6×6 and ARMIS 8×8, forged by Arquus’ centenary experience in military mobility solutions.
Thought specifically for the operational needs of the armies, on foreign lands as well as in domestic missions, these vehicles are fully adapted to the soldiers’ everyday needs. They benefit from decades of research on the design, use and support of tactical and logistics trucks for the military. Proud heirs to the GBC and TRM trucks, they fully integrate the experience of the current generation of Army trucks. That everyday experience side by side with the armies is now brought forward to better serve the soldiers.
Built on fully military drivelines, developped on own equity by Arquus, the ARMIS 4×4, 6×6 and 8×8 are reliable, dependable and robust, fully able to overcome the most demanding terrains and conditions. Mobile and enduring, they are adapted to long operational deployments and complex missions, with reduced maintenance needs.
Versatile, the ARMIS new generation vehicles can fulfill all logistical and tactical missions of the Army, from troop, systems, water tank or mobile workshop transport to vehicle repair and tow truck. Compatible with all the Scorpion equipment, the ARMIS also accommodate new generation communication and information systems, as well as armament such as the Hornet Remote-Controlled Weapon System, selected by the French Army as common equipment for all the vehicles of the Scorpion program. The ARMIS 4×4 and 6×6 are equipped with specific variants of the Griffon and Jaguar vehicles’ engines.
Modular, the ARMIS trucks are available in several configurations, allowing for effectiveness, simplicity of use and tactical flexibility for the commander on the field. Depending on the mission at hand, they can be equipped with non-protected or protected cabins, compliant with STANAG 4569. Evolutionary, they can adapt to the operational needs and the threats met on the battlefield.
The trucks of the new ARMIS range are fitted with recent technologies, adapted to the operational needs and proven in the most demanding situations. These technologies, developed in Arquus’ R&D centers, provide the ARMIS 4×4, 6×6 and 8×8 with optimal mobility on all grounds, limited fuel consumption and very high resistance, which guarantee optimal uptime and low cost of ownership. Thanks to these design choices, the ARMIS trucks are fitted with all necessary capabilities, at the best price.
The ARMIS can be equipped with the automation solutions currently being developed by ARQUUS, such as platooning and automatic convoys. They may be fitted with the Group’s most innovative solutions in the fields of energy optimization and maintenance. These solutions are available for the armies thanks to ARQUUS’ experience in terms of dual technologies and militarization. They simplify the necessary logistics and reduce the maintenance needs.
The new ARMIS range has been developed taking into account the needs of the Army maintenance and logistics operators. At the heart of Arquus’ DNA, the Support operations are based on a constantly rebuilt knowledge of the fleets and a constantly renewed trust relationship with the armies. In order to ensure that proximity, Arquus relies on international logistics capabilities and a unique network of more than 6,000 service points, in metropolitan and overseas France, as well as abroad.
Supporting more than 20,000 vehicles of the armies daily, the Arquus Support teams are ready to take charge of the operational support and the life cycle management of the ARMIS vehicles, guaranteeing a full continuity of service between the fleets.
In order to coordinate these support activities, Arquus has recently set a logistics platform in Garchizy. That modern site, which also hosts the platform for the spare parts and organs of the Griffon and Jaguar (developed with Nexter and Thales) vehicles of the Scorpion program, is now the sole center for all spare parts for the Arquus vehicles currently in service in the Army. In order to help with coordinating the activities, Arquus has set dedicated secure servers which interface the maintenance management systems and simplify the expression and processing of all needs.
All these systems guarantee fast access to all the spares and organs required by the maintenance operators, as well as the highest uptime for the field commander.
The ARMIS vehicles’ performance will be demonstrated during the second semester 2020 at an event presenting ARQUUS’ latest novelties.
05 Jun 20. UK to reassess Ajax programme. UK Ministry of Defence (MoD) procurement chiefs are reassessing the GBP5.3bn (USD6.7bn) Ajax programme after the first batch of production standard armoured fighting vehicles (AFVs) was found not to be ready for delivery. The UK MoD is reassessing the Ajax programme after the first batch of production standard AFVs was found not to be ready for delivery.
Details of the exercise are still being worked out and the MoD’s chief civilian administrator, Stephen Lovegrove, is preparing to issue a formal notification to the UK parliament’s Public Accounts Committee about the reassessment. These notifications are only made when major cost overruns, technical glitches or programme delays are involved.
The revelation of the reassessment was made by Air Marshal Richard Knighton, Deputy Chief of the Defence Staff for Financial and Military Capability, in evidence to the committee on 28 May.
AM Knighton confirmed the Ajax vehicles made by General Dynamics Land Systems-UK (GDLS-UK) were not ready to be accepted by the British Army as planned last year.
“There was a desire to preserve [delivery] dates in order to maintain the focus and the morale of soldiers that would use the capability, but it became clear that elements of it were not going to be ready by the original date,” AM Knighton told the committee. “In due course, when we better understand the details of that, Sir Stephen [Lovegrove] will be writing to the committee with a revised assessment of the programme.”
The problems were identified by the MoD’s Major Projects Portfolio sponsor group, which monitors programme performance, said AM Knighton. He was responding to questioning from the committee on whether procurement project teams have a temptation to deliver equipment before it is ready so they can meet high-profile milestones. (Source: Jane’s)
05 Jun 20. Pentagon Wars II: Army to spend at least $1.5bn just on prototypes for third attempt to replace Bradley Fighting Vehicle. The Army will likely end up spending upwards of $1.57bn to develop a replacement for the Bradley Fighting Vehicle that’s served the U.S. military for nearly four decades, according to a new assessment from the Government Accountability Office — and that’s just for a fleet of prototypes.
As of January 2020, the service had doled out roughly $366.64m in funding as part of a middle-tier acquisition program for the Optionally Manned Fighting Vehicle Increment 1 the service initiated in September 2018, according to the GAO report.
The Army is expected to spend another $1.2bn to procure 14 prototype vehicles apiece from two separate defense contractors, an acquisition that, planned for this past March, fell apart when the service cancelled its solicitation in January in order to “revisit the requirements, acquisition strategy and schedule” prior to prototyping.
The cancellation was reportedly prompted by the fact that the service only received one bid, from General Dynamics Land Systems, for the OMFV prototyping competition, as Army leaders told Defense News at the time.
According to the GAO report, the Army had previously planned on handing out an initial production contract award in late fiscal year 2023 and fielding the initial replacement vehicle by some time in early fiscal year 2026, but those dates are now up in the air due to the January cancellation.
“Officials stated that Army leadership is still committed to moving forward with the program, but they will need to reassess the achievability of their requirements within the desired timeframe,” according to the GAO report.
As Task & Purpose previously reported, the OMFV — part of Army Futures Command’s Next-Generation Combat Vehicle (NGCV) program — is just the latest attempt to replace the Bradley that has spanned nearly two decades.
In 1999, the Army adopted the Future Combat Systems (FSC) Manned Ground Vehicles (MGV) program was initiated as part of a broad effort to make the service’s legacy forces “lighter, more modular, and — most importantly — more deployable,” as the Army put it at the time.
That program was cancelled a decade later in 2009 and immediately replaced with the Ground Combat Vehicle program in 2010, which sought to replace the Bradley with the a Ground Combat Infantry Fighting Vehicle before being cancelled in 2014 amid rising costs and expanding requirements. (Source: Defense News Early Bird/https://taskandpurpose.com/)
08 Jun 20. Op-Ed: LAND 400 the key to future Australian maritime strategy. Historical precedents in evidence of profound change and disruptive effects astound analysts when providing governments’ insights on future planning, the LAND 400 suite of programs to recapitalise and modernise the Australian Army’s armoured units and reshape the way Australia approaches the tactical and strategic realities of a maritime strategy explains Greg Chalik.
The 1984 US Army’s new combat vehicles and the AirLand Battle doctrine were overtaken by 1985 Reagan–Gorbachev summits, 1991 Desert Storm, and 1993’s USSR dissolution.
Armies argue near-certainty about potential future foe is impossible. But, there are two army types: the global majority continentals (Rome, Germanies, USSR, China), and the minority maritimes (Spain, Britain, Japan, US). For the latter, uncertainty was always bounded by the littoral seas.
Australia is uniquely a continental maritime nation, peripheral to the Indo-Pacific archipelagic region, facing a unique security future, her US ally two weeks operational reach in cruising time.
What consumes Australian military planners’ thoughts is not a ‘fog of peace’ because threat in a bounded littoral region is highly predictable. The question is how to avoid a strategic surprise, and how to engage and win a future conflict in the context of the great power contest.
Since the 2000 Defence White Paper, a bipartisan political support exists for ADF’s self-reliance in the Asia-Pacific, but to what end, and with which capabilities?
Australia as a sporting nation understands that in winning a game a team needs running the ball forward, and scoring goals. Conceptually, warfare is similar. Tactical force must be operationally projected to reach objectives that define strategic success. Rugby is a microcosmic model for jointness, agility and speed. For the maritime nations’ armies, the challenge is in the ‘field’ of war complexity, water.
Projection of force is offensive, “the best form of defence”. No state had ever secured sovereignty by defence alone. The Parliament’s Defence Act 1903 recognised lessons of British history in s34(1) (a)(ii), authorising the Defence Force to protect Commonwealth interests if “there would be, or it is likely there would be, a threat in the Australian offshore area to Commonwealth interests (whether those interests are in that area or elsewhere)”.
The act’s authors recognised changes which in 1901 saw a multi-national intervention in China, the trigger for great power emergence. Lest we forget, in 1937, Japan, defeating Russia at a strategic strait, invaded littoral China. In 1942, Singapore surrendered to a strategic littoral campaign.
In ’96-’98 the Australian Army leadership was resisting the Army in the 21st Century and Restructuring the Army seeking new and more of capability resources, meeting DoA & other, expeditionary, contingencies and changing the Defence of Australia Strategy cultural affinity.
In 1999, the ADF’s 5,500 East Timor deployment highlighted the need for transformation. This should not have surprised Australians who had always gone to war by ship because “the seat of purpose is on the land”.
Preempting a likely threat “elsewhere” is “better than the cure” of attritional war the ADF cannot fight using tried and tested NATO mounted combined arms reinvented by Monash.
Operating across the full spectrum of threats and environments of the AOF operating context, necessitates amphibious and expeditionary operations capabilities. Such a force must be capable in projecting for sustained operations against an adaptive enemy in complex littoral terrain, which currently the Army is not, contrary to its own 2011 LAND 400 CONOPS document.
Not being ready when threats are inflicted as strategic surprises, repeated US experience, is what the ADF must avoid as a statutory obligation, by being ready to operate offensively in the littorals.
This can only be achieved by securing a capability advantage that offsets Army’s small size and offers a war-winning edge by exploiting new advanced combat methods and technologies.
In the 21st century, with post-colonial and Cold War eras’ mechanisms gone, and the USA’s capability to assist Australia strategically in question, ADF’s maritime self-reliance capability is needed more urgently than ever.
The Army must recognise that despite the Pacific War, no nation mastered maritime projection of force. The US’ hastily created 1941 capabilities were attritional, sustainable by a great power in the making, and not practised in war since 1954. There is no mounted combined arms combat in the littoral doctrine. There is no lesson in manoeuvre for the ‘featherweight’ ADF.
The failure by the USMC in designing the key STOM doctrine enabler platform, the Expeditionary Fighting Vehicle, illustrates lack of robust littoral warfare doctrinal development that led to unfeasible systems engineering.
The Army should not be deterred by the USMC failure from seeking to achieve the capability for strategic projection of force by adopting a unique domestic design platform tailored for regional operational reach, and one that fits statutory obligations to provide more pre-emptive options to the government. Australia cannot afford to be surprised.
Re-evaluating the operating challenges enables a Littoral Combat Vehicle System solution, which is affordable, manufacturable by a mostly Australian consortium within seven years, appropriate to ADF’s unique requirements, elegantly simple in design, highly efficient in deployment and more effective in littoral tactics than any existing platform, if the USMC error of putting systems engineering ‘cart’ before a developed doctrine ‘horse’, is not repeated.
A doctrine-led approach to force design satisfies the Army’s initiative to enable accelerated warfare, not only digital, but also in littoral tactics, leading professionally in the Australia–US military relationship, and contributing to a greater ANZUS strategic aim.
The key to transformation success is the LAND 400 project that can, with senior military leadership’s “buy-in” for an alternative AFV design approach, replace the M113AS4 variants, ASLAVs, the M1 ABRAMS and towed artillery by innovating BOXER chassis to the needs of all corps in littoral warfare, offering substantial value for money to the government.
Importantly this approach to the government’s maritime strategy offers a clear, shared and credible vision across the ADF that will deliver early successes with minimal resources investment.
The 1990s missed opportunity can be negated by a more capable Australian Army in the 21st Century if professional challenges of change are faced courageously.
To face the future challenges the Army must transform to a more agile and faster self, but this need not be the painful USMC process. There is no need to “reinvent the wheel”, but there is always room for a better agility at higher speed to reach sought destinations.
The $5.2bn LAND 400 Phase 2 program will have Rheinmetall deliver 211 8×8 Boxer combat reconnaissance vehicles (CRV) to the Australian Army.
Under the company’s offering to the Commonwealth, Rheinmetall will build a majority of the vehicles at the company’s specialised Military Vehicle Centre of Excellence (MILVEHCOE) in Queensland.
The first 25 vehicles will be built in Germany as part of the technology transfer process, with the remaining vehicles to be built in Australia. Boxer will replace the ageing ASLAVs that have served with the Australian Army in East Timor, Afghanistan and Iraq.
The Army will accept 133 reconnaissance variants of the Boxer, which will be equipped with Rheinmetall’s cutting-edge Lance 30mm automatic cannon turret system, among a number of other variants.
The Boxer CRV will support Australian industry, sourcing specialised armoured steel from Australian steel companies BlueScope Steel and Bisalloy, with engineering support provided by Melbourne-based Supacat Asia-Pacific.
LAND 400 Phase 3 is a $10-15bn Army program which will recapitalise Army’s Vietnam-era M113 armoured personnel carrier (APC) force, with a combination of a tracked infantry fighting vehicle (IFV) and tracked APC.
The government announced the downselection of two contenders from a field of four, each offering two distinct capabilities:
- Rheinmetal Lynx KF-41: The Lynx KF41 will include the capability to support a crew of 12 (three crew, up to nine troops), have a max road speed of 70km/h, a road range of more than 500 kilometres, with an armament consisting of the Lance 2.0 30-35mm autocannon, a 7.62mm coaxial machine gun and a variety of additional close-in weapons systems.
- Hanwha Defense Systems AS21 Redback: The AS21 will include the capability to integrate active protection systems into an evolved turret system, the Redback will, like its BAE competitor, be capable of hosting a crew of 11 (three crew, eight troops), a top road speed of 70km/h, cross country speed of 40km/h, an operational range of 500 kilometres, with an armament consisting of a 40mm autocannon and a single 7.62mm coaxial machine gun.
Stage One of the tender evaluation process has been completed. On 16 September 2019, the government announced that Hanwha Defense Australia and Rheinmetall Defence Australia had been assessed as offering vehicles that are best able to meet Defence’s requirements and to deliver a value for money solution, and have been invited to proceed to the next stage of the evaluation.
The next stage of the evaluation process is an RMA that will be conducted over a two-year period. It is designed to allow Defence to work with the shortlisted tenderers to clarify, refine and negotiate their offers and to undertake detailed testing and evaluation of the tendered vehicles. (Source: Defence Connect)