23 Sep 20. BATTLESPACE gives evidence to the Defence Committee’s inquiry into Progress in delivering the British Army’s armoured vehicle capability. Thank you for submitting written evidence to the Defence Committee’s inquiry into Progress in delivering the British Army’s armoured vehicle capability. The Committee agreed your written evidence yesterday for publication and it should be available on the Defence Committee’s website shortly: https://committees.parliament.uk/work/460/progress-in-delivering-the-british-armys-armoured-vehicle-capability/publications/ (See: Features)
25 Sep 20. The UK is nearing selection of the future all terrain vehicles (FATV). The speculation is favouring buying 120 armoured BAE Systems Hägglunds BvS10 Beowulf. A loan of a vehicle from the Swedish FMV is also expected in Q1 2021.
This is the UK’s part of the joint European project – The development and acquirement of new generation all-terrain vehicles. On the 25th of February 2019, Germany, the Netherlands, Finland, the UK, Norway and Sweden announced the beginning of a new joint military project during a meeting in the German city of Bonn. A photo posted on twitter by a Swedish officer present at the meeting shows the discussions revolved around the development and acquirement of a new generation of all-terrain vehicles that should be the successor of current models such as the Bvs10 model or the Bronco 3. The project is however only at its initial phase and little additional information has been made available to the general public (Gain, 2019). One thing is certain, there is a common need for military cooperation and joint acquisitions of military material in Europe. Nonetheless, while the EU is increasing its initiatives regarding European defence, this project will be developed outside EU and NATO mechanisms. On the other hand, it is not surprising to see that countries like France, the Netherlands, Sweden and the United Kingdom are present at that meeting. These countries all have the Bvs10 vehicles within their vehicle fleets, and they might be looking to seize good opportunities to find a substitute to these vehicles. In the continuity of the Bvs10, the new generation all-terrain vehicle should be highly adaptable to varying environments ranging from mountains, arctic landscapes, jungles, and deserts. Moreover, the vehicles should be modular in order to be adaptable for the different uses required by the countries involved in the project.
Another aspect of the project is that it will not be executed within either an EU or a NATO framework. Such an initiative is definitely not the first of its kind, and it is a common thing for European countries to work on a multinational basis outside of the EU and NATO. Projects such as CAMO and SCAF illustrate this trend. In this case, one reason might lie in the fact that many of the countries involved are neither NATO nor EU members at the same time. Only Germany, the Netherlands and the United Kingdom are members of both organizations. However, in the case of the UK, the different options regarding defence policies have not yet been premised for a post-Brexit scenario. On the other hand, neither Sweden nor Finland are NATO members and their defence policies are oriented towards neutrality, while Norway is only a NATO member. This might partially explain why these countries feel a need to work together within a multilateral framework. Moreover, it could also be argued that countries prefer to cooperate with other nations with which they already have a history of corporation. While some might regret that these initiatives are outside of EU monitored mechanisms, it should rather be seen as a good compromise for the EU and European countries. By not buying foreign ‘off the shelf’ equipment, these countries would not only improve European defence industries but also their strategic autonomy, thus reinforcing both the EU and European members within NATO.
(Credit to Somchai Kongkamsri, pexels.com/photo/shoot-army-machine-gun-armed-35825/)
Multilateral ventures are of great interest as they provide substantial benefits to partnering countries. They enable countries to share know-how and decrease costs related to R&D, while also providing economies of scale (Delcker, 2017). At the same time, it increases interoperability between their different national forces. However, recent defense industrial projects have shown that cooperating on the development of new weapons and equipment is not an easy task. Indeed, certain issues related to exportation, manufacturing, and weapon usage; if not clearly defined at the beginning of the process, can undermine the benefits provided by joint ventures and can even create political tensions amongst partners (Wintour, 2019). This was for instance the case when Germany blocked the export of Meteor missiles manufactured by MDBA to Saudi Arabia, which included German-made components. This led to great frustration for France and the UK, Germany’s major partners in this venture, which could not guarantee the execution of a contract estimated at 1 billion dollars. The German embargo was mainly enforced for national political reasons following the Khasshoggi affair, and due to Berlin’s reluctance to transfer arms to any party involved in the Yemen war. Restrictions on exports imposed by one partner is the most common reason for tension between partners as an embargo can deteriorate the credibility of a countries defence industry. Moreover, it can also affect the defence industry’s dynamism as the different partners and manufactures involved in the development of equipment or weapon are at stake.
Technical specifications are another issue that needs to be determined at the beginning of the process. A good example was the Airbus A400m project were each country demanded that the plane should be equipped with several technical specifications for their own national imperatives. This, in return, increased the costs and delayed the production of the Airbus A400m significantly. These issues can push some countries to downsize their orders or even to withdraw from the project – as in the case with Italy – thus only increasing the unit cost of the plane (Macalister & Willan, 2001). As we have seen, defense cooperation can provide substantial benefits but also creates the necessity for countries to discuss future issues regarding technical specifications, restrictions on exports in order to avoid cost overruns, and more importantly keeping the credibility of their Defense industries vis-à-vis potential buyers. One thing is sure, the current six countries involved in this project will have to find ways to develop efficient mechanisms that will enable them to avoid political issues, as well as sustaining exports. The European Defence industry is incrementally confronted with new competitors coming from countries like Brazil, South Korea, Israel and others whom are now able to provide sophisticated valuable military equipment to countries all around the world. While this ‘venture’ is still a work in progress, it would be interesting to see how these countries implement new processes that could improve European Defence. (Source: Finabel)
The United States has a similar project for which Bvs10 has been submitted.
24 Sep 20. Lukasiewicz-PIAP unveils Hunter UGV. Warsaw-based Łukasiewicz Research Network-Industrial Research Institute for Automation and Measurements PIAP (Łukasiewicz-PIAP) has revealed a prototype of the Hunter unmanned ground vehicle (UGV). The 3.5-tonne multirole UGV is designed to conduct patrols and reconnaissance, and provide support to troops in hazardous areas.
Hunter’s 4×4 chassis measures 4.7m long and 2.2m wide and features two steering axles – each integrated with an electric motor – with a 3-link Panhard suspension. This arrangement enables it to attain a maximum road speed of 50 km/h, and traverse cross-country terrain and obstacles.
It is equipped with a 110kW generator that provides power to its motors and provides on-board power generation for equipment that requires 600V DC, 400V AC or 24V DC supply.
A GPS receiver, two lidars, four hull-mounted high-definition (HD) navigation cameras, and a suite of five additional HD cameras – including a remotely operated pan, tilt, zoom (PTZ) camera – are distributed around the vehicle and its robotic arm.
This set of sensors enables Hunter to perform autonomous or semi-autonomous navigation, with the company stating that the UGV can plan and execute a patrol route while recognising and avoiding major obstacles using user-preset GPS waypoints. The vehicle can also be remotely controlled, with the operator equipped with a steering wheel and pedal console that has been designed for intuitive control.
The UGV can also be equipped with a range of support equipment, including a hydraulic arm and cargo crates. It can also be fitted with ground-penetrating radar to support army engineering units. (Source: Jane’s)
24 Sep 20. SCORPION: notification of the 2020 order from JAGUAR and GRIFFON. Nexter, Arquus and Thales, members of the temporary grouping of companies EBMR (Engins Blindés Multi-Rôles), were notified on 15 September by the French defense procurement agency (DGA) of the second production phase of the contract to build the GRIFFON and JAGUAR engines for the SCORPION program. The DGA thus confirms the delivery of 42 JAGUAR and 271 GRIFFON engines for the years 2022 and 2023, as scheduled in the 2019-2025 military programming law. Among the new features, this tranche includes the delivery of the first GRIFFON Artillery Observation Vehicles (VOA) and GRIFFON Sanitary (SAN), which will join the Troop Transport Vehicle (TTV) and Command Post Vehicle (CPV) versions.
These new deliveries will contribute to the Army’s ramp-up of the SCORPION program. The arrival of this new equipment, with the highest levels of protection and mobility, will provide users with new operational capabilities. Collaborative combat, for example, consists in connecting all the SCORPION program’s info-enhanced vehicles in real time. The firing start detectors, telemetry tools and the many sensors integrated on the GRIFFON and JAGUAR communicate together to contribute to the decision making of the vehicle commander. The JAGUAR’s highly integrated and digitized turret and its innovative weapons, such as the CTA40 40 mm telescopic gun, the MMP medium-range missile and the Hornet remotely-operated turrets, considerably broaden their field of action. In short, these latest-generation vehicles benefit from the latest technologies and innovations in the land-based field.
The notification of this order comes in the third quarter of a year 2020 marked by the health crisis. Despite the events and constraints, the three companies have met their commitments, with 51 GRIFFON already delivered this year, joining the 92 GRIFFON delivered in 2019. Nexter, Arquus and Thales have made the necessary investments in the development and industrial qualification of the vehicles, and in parallel are continuing to recruit, notably engineers specialized in digital technologies.
As Stéphane Mayer points out, on behalf of the three companies, Arquus, Thales and Nexter (of which he is CEO), “the program partners are very satisfied that this order, which is included in the last military programming law, is being strictly respected. We are fully engaged to meet our commitments to the French Ministry of Defence by developing, delivering and supporting the high-performance equipment that is expected”.
By placing this order, the DGA also guarantees the continuity of production for many of the program’s suppliers. The production of the GRIFFON and JAGUAR will generate nearly 2,000 highly qualified jobs each year, spread over 5 employment pools, for 3 years. Thus, the defense industry confirms its driving role in the economic recovery and contributes to the sustainability of industrial activity in France.
Nexter, the leading French land defense company and third European player in the ammunition sector is part of the KNDS Group. The scope of its business includes as well the supply of weapon systems and ammunition for air and naval forces. Nexter also provides systems and protection solutions in the field of homeland security. The group continues to apply its international development policy with 69% of the order intake in 2019 intended for the export market. In France, Nexter is fully committed to meeting the objectives of the SCORPION program, through the upgrade of the Leclerc tank and the development of the VBMR Griffon and EBRC Jaguar vehicles within the temporary business venture between Nexter, Thales and Arquus, as well as the Lightweight VBMR. Nexter’s 2019 turnover amounted to €1.1bn, of
24 Sep 20. Spanish Ministry of Defence and Tess-Defence SA sign contract for the manufacture of 8×8 ‘Dragon’ Vehicles.
Spanish Ministry of Defence and Tess-Defence SA sign contract for the manufacture of 8×8 “Dragon” Vehicles.
- The VCR 8×8 will serve to renew the current fleet of BMR and VEC of the Army and will be manufactured in different configurations.
- Job creation is expected to reach almost 9,000 jobs.
The Spanish Minister of Defence, Margarita Robles, presided this morning over the signing of the supply contract for the manufacture of 348 8X8 “Dragon” wheeled combat vehicles (VCRs), with a duration of ten years. On behalf of the Ministry of Defence, the contract was signed by the Deputy Purchasing Manager of the General Directorate of Armament and Material, and by Tess-Defence SA, its General Director, Mr. Luis Mayo.
The event was attended by the Secretary of State for Defence, Esperanza Casteleiro, the Chief of the Defence Staff, Francisco Javier Varela, and representatives of the four companies that form Tess-Defence SA: Sapa Operaciones SL, Indra Sistemas SA, Escribano Mechanical & Engineering SL, and Santa Bárbara Sistemas SA.
With this signature, it is intended to reach the objective of 70% participation of the national industry in the development and production phase of the VCR 8X8 and the Design Authority of the vehicle will be managed and maintained, ensuring in the future the execution of the support to its life cycle. This project is born with a clear export vocation that will allow to position internationally the Spanish Defence Industry in a highly competitive market.
The acquisition program of the armoured vehicle on wheels will serve to renew the current fleet of BMR and VEC of the Spanish Army. It will provide Spanish soldiers with greater security and protection in their missions, improving their capabilities to operate in high, medium or low complexity scenarios.
This development, which is entirely Spanish, grants Spanish industry technological sovereignty over a system of a strategic nature that represents a priority factor in the Defence sector with a view to its projection, both internally and externally, promoting the development of its own technological industries.
The beneficial effects will fall mainly on the regions of Asturias, Madrid, the Basque Country and Andalusia, since this is where the factories of the industries involved are located. However, its potential as an economic driver will generate an expansion of economic activity with a direct impact on the creation of qualified employment in Spain (approximately 8,750 jobs between direct, indirect and induced during the expected duration of the contract). (Source: Armada)
23 Sep 20. Milrem Robotics unveils Type-X RCV with CPWS II turret. Estonia’s Milrem Robotics has integrated the John Cockerill Defence Cockerill Protected Weapons Station Generation II (CPWS II) to its in-development Type-X robotic combat vehicle (RCV), the company announced on 15 June.
“CPWS II is a remotely controlled and unmanned turret that suits robotic vehicles very well,” Kuldar Väärsi, Milrem Robotics’ CEO, told Janes .
“Also, turrets with low weight and height, but still high firepower are preferred,” Väärsi added. “Type-X is an extreme mobility platform and the turret should be capable of supporting that.”
The CPWS II is a remotely operated, low profile, lightweight turret with a configurable hatch opening enabling the crew to adjust the hatch position to suit mission requirements. The hatch provides flexibility to the level of protection required in addition to rapid reloading from the outside as well as maintenance. It can be configured in four different positions: fully closed, elevated, open, and removed.
Primary armament includes the Northrop Grumman Innovation Systems 25 mm M242, Nexter Systems 25 mm 25 M 811, or the Rheinmetall Air Defence 25 mm KBA. These are dual-feed armaments, which can handle two ammunition natures.
At the heavier end of the scale is the Northrop Grumman Innovation Systems 30 mm M230 LF low-recoil weapon. Other larger-calibre alternative weapons include the Russian 30 mm 2A72 or the 30 mm ZTM-1 for Ukrainian dual-feed weapons. Ammunition supply depends on the type of weapon but is typically up to 150 rounds of 25mm ready-use ammunition in two magazines. (Source: Jane’s)
23 Sep 20. Pakistan confirms plans to induct Chinese-made VT4 main battle tank. Pakistan has confirmed that it plans to induct into service the China North Industries Corporation (Norinco) VT4 main battle tank (MBT).
In a 22 September statement Inter-Services Public Relations (ISPR), the media wing of the Pakistani military, said that the third-generation tank “will be employed in [an] offensive role by strike formations [of the Pakistan Army] after induction”. No details were provided as to when the tank will be officially inducted or how many units have been (or will be) ordered.
ISPR, which referred to the VT4 as “potent war fighting machine” integrating “advanced armour protection, manoeuvrability, fire power capabilities and state-of-the-art technology”, pointed out that the capabilities of the tank had been put on display during a demonstration held that same day at the field firing ranges near the city of Jhelum in Pakistan’s Punjab Province.
A video released by ISPR shows the tank driving through obstacles and firing its 125 mm smoothbore gun and 12.7 mm machine gun in an event attended by senior members of the Pakistan Army (PA), including Chief of Army Staff General Qamar Javed Bajwa.
ISPR noted that Gen Bajwa “expressed satisfaction over [the] demonstrated performance of [the] tank VT4, another addition to [the] inventory of [the] Armoured Corps after [the] recent induction of [the] indigenously produced Al-Khalid-1 Tank”. (Source: Jane’s)
22 Sep 20. aunav has launched aunav. NEO, an explosive disposal robot with an adaptable geometry system. aunav has launched aunav.NEO, an explosive disposal robot with an adaptable geometry system. The robot is designed to defuse improvised explosives and ammunition in tight spaces such as aircraft, bus, subway aisles, or underground tunnels.
aunav.NEO can also be used by the security and armed forces to neutralise chemical, biological, radiological and nuclear (CBRN) threats.
The variable geometry system enables the robot to adjust its width during a mission to operate in different scenarios.
The device is also equipped with self-stabilisation technology that allows aunav.NEO to remain in a horizontal position in relation to the ground while moving through stairs, ramps and uneven terrain.
aunav general director Pablo Vázquez said: “The engineering involved in this project is added to 17 years of experience in the field of robotics for explosives deactivation and gives us the edge and the knowledge to incorporate unique technologies in the sector. We can therefore truly say that because of its versatility, the aunav.NEO fuses several robots into one.
“Maintaining the characteristically robust reliability of all our products, the aunav.NEO is also the lightest robot in our catalogue and incorporates state-of-the-art technology.
“The objective of aunav is to provide security and armed forces with cutting-edge solutions so that they can safely approach high-risk situations with the maximum guarantee of success.”
Manufactured at the aunav facilities in Huesca, Spain, aunav.NEO is a demountable robot and can be re-assembled by two people.
The arms, flippers and batteries of the system can be detached, allowing the operator to transport aunav.NEO in a wide range of vehicles.
Additionally, aunav.NEO allows the easy incorporation and exchange of different accessories to suit varying mission requirements. (Source: army-technology.com)
22 Sep 20. The Ministry of the Armed Forces Orders 313 Armored Vehicles from French Industry. Florence Parly, Minister of the Armed Forces, welcomes the order by the General Directorate of Armaments (DGA) for 271 Griffon armored vehicles and 42 Jaguar armored vehicles, awarded on September 15, 2020 to Nexter, Arquus and Thales as part of the SCORPION program. The 2019-2025 Military Programming Law (LPM) provides for both an increase in the numbers of the SCORPION program and an acceleration of deliveries. The target in 2030 was thus raised to 1,872 Griffon and 300 Jaguar vehicles, half of which (respectively 936 and 150) will be delivered by 2025. In addition to schools and training centers, 5 regiments will have begun to receive the Griffon by the end of 2020, and 9 regiments at the end of 2021.
The arrival of the first Griffons allows the Army to truly enter the SCORPION era, with a platform that benefits from significant advances in terms of protection, mobility and the ability to gradually integrate the info-enhanced collaborative combat (intelligence sharing, acceleration of the decision-making loop). The objective therefore remains to be able to deploy an initial Griffon combined arms battle group on foreign operation by the end of 2021.
This order contributes to irrigate the entire French Industrial and Technological Defense Base (BITD) for ground equipment. The three prime contractors will in fact pass on the orders to their subcontractors and suppliers within a few days. It is estimated that the Griffon and Jaguar programs support nearly 2,000 direct, highly qualified jobs.
After an initial order in 2017 for 319 Griffons and 20 Jaguars, the DGA today awarded to the companies Nexter Systems, Arquus and Thales, a second phase vehicle production contract, as part of the SCORPION program, which is intended to modernize the combat capabilities of the French Army. The 271 Griffons and 42 Jaguars ordered on September 15, 2020 will be delivered to the forces between 2022 and 2023.
The Griffon is a Multi-Role Armored Vehicle (VBMR) intended to replace Front-line Armored Vehicles (VAB). Weighing around 25 tonnes, it is equipped with a 6-wheel drive and a remotely operated cupola. It comes in several versions: troop transport, command post, artillery observation and medical evacuation.
Weighing around 25 tonnes, Jaguar is an Armored Reconnaissance and Combat Vehicle (EBRC) with 6-wheel drive. It is intended to replace the AMX10RC and Sagaie wheeled light tanks, as well as the VAB variant armed with HOT anti-tank missiles. It will be equipped with the 40 mm telescoped ammunition gun produced in Franco-British cooperation, the medium range missile (MMP) and a remotely operated cupola.
In addition to Nexter Systems, Thales and Arquus, the program also involves Safran for the optronics and armament of the Jaguar, CTA International for its 40 mm gun and MBDA for its MMPs. The SCORPION program renews the capabilities of contact combat around two armored vehicles Griffon and Jaguar and a single Information and Communication System (SICS) which allows the networking of all players in land combat. It also integrates the acquisition of light multi-role armored vehicles Serval, the modernization of the Leclerc tank and the acquisition of modern combat training systems using simulation and virtual reality. (Unofficial translation by Defense-Aerospace.com) (Source: defense-aerospace.com/French Armed Forces Ministry)
22 Sep 20. PLAGF’s 75th Group Army receives additional Type 15 lightweight tanks. The 75th Group Army of the People’s Liberation Army Ground Force (PLAGF) has received additional units of the Type 15 (also known as ZTQ-15) lightweight battle tank.
In an announcement made on 20 September via its WeChat account, the PLA’s Southern Theatre Command, under which the 75th Group Army operates, showed images of several Type 15s being inducted into service with a brigade during a ceremony held at an undisclosed location.
The command did not reveal the name of the brigade, but unconfirmed reports claim that the tanks were handed over to the 32nd Mountain Combined Arms Brigade. In August 2018 media reports emerged stating that the tank was also being operated by the 75th Group Army’s 123rd Heavy Combined Arms Brigade.
Designed to operate in mountainous areas and over terrain that requires a low track pressure, the Type 15, which according to the Ministry of National Defense (MND) officially entered PLA service in late 2018, is also in service with units in the Tibet Military District.
The Type 15, which is armed with a 105 mm gun, is protected against hand-held anti-tank weapons. The gun is thought to be capable of firing an armour-piercing, fin-stabilised, discarding sabot (APFSDS) round that is probably capable of penetrating 500 mm of armour from typical combat ranges.
According to Chinese media reports, the tank is equipped with a 1,000 hp engine and has a crew of four, although there is speculation that an autoloader for its main gun may dispense with one crew member. (Source: Jane’s)
21 Sep 20. Laying the groundwork: US Army unveils rough plan to formalize robotic combat vehicles effort. The U.S. Army is preparing to enter into programs of record for light- and medium-class robotic combat vehicles in a few years, with plans to award separate contracts for a lead systems integrator for each program, according to the service’s robotic combat vehicles product manager.
The service wants to field a light, medium and heavy robotic combat vehicle, and it is experimenting with technology and how the vehicles might fit into future formations through the Army’s Next-Generation Combat Vehicle modernization office. Developing NGCV capability is the second-highest priority for the Army.
The plan is to make a decision to move the Army’s RCV-Light out of technical maturation and into the engineering and manufacturing development phase in the second quarter of fiscal 2023. The service would do the same with the RCV-Medium program in FY24, Lt. Col. Chris Orlowski said Sept. 10 during a conference hosted by the Association for Unmanned Vehicle Systems International.
Orlowski noted that the potential RCV-Heavy program of record would fall behind the start of the medium and light programs by “a pretty significant margin.”
At the same conference during a separate keynote presentation, Bruce Jette, the Army’s acquisition chief, said decisions were made that “put pieces in place that will establish a formal program for robotic systems with the [program manager], not just following the tech base but in fact being the centerpiece for building light and medium systems inside of an architecture that fits within the entire operational vehicle architecture. In fact, it will leap over into the aircraft as well. It will be everything from driving to operations of the vehicle to visual sensing to probably a broader array of technical capabilities that you may not have even thought possible.”
The Army plans to award a contract to a lead systems integrator that will combine the RCV’s control station, network, platform, software and payloads, Orlowski said.
Anticipated government-furnished equipment for the programs would include autonomy software, radios, war-fighter machine interface software, aided target recognition software and lethality payloads “minus the turret,” according to Orlowski.
Other potential government-furnished equipment could be a tethered drone; assured position, navigation and timing technology; hostile fire detection; and other vehicle protection systems, he said.
As the Army ventures into developing robotic vehicles that don’t just do the dull, dirty and dangerous work, “the biggest thing is going to be software development, improving autonomous and automation software,” he added.
“Teleoperation is nice; it works OK if you’ve got the right radios and the right environments, but long term, when those environments become tested, I think teleoperation will be less viable and we will have to really push the automation and autonomy on these platforms. But also, that being said, there is always going to have to be some soldier interaction with the platforms. How do we improve that interaction for the soldiers, reducing that cognitive burden?” he said.
“I know everybody likes cool, big, awesome robots, but it’s really a software thing that is going to make these things go, so anything that is kind of tied to software I think is a critical technology in my view,” he added.
The Army’s rough acquisition strategy for the robots calls for a first unit to receive RCV-Light vehicles in FY28 and a first unit to receive RCV-Medium in FY30, according to a slide from Orlowski’s conference presentation.
The Army recently wrapped up its first phase of experimentation with RCV-Heavy surrogates fashioned out of M113 armored personnel carriers at Camp Red Devil on Fort Carson, Colorado, which added complexity to an ongoing evaluation of the government-developed platforms.
The Army also awarded contracts to a Textron and Howe & Howe team to build an RCV-Medium prototype, and to a QinetiQ North America and Pratt & Miller team to build the lighter version late last year and early this year. Those are being built now.
Orlowski stressed those prototypes are being built “primarily to support future planned experimentation” in FY22 and FY24 and “in support of defining and informing requirements for the RCV program of record.” He added there is no plan to transition any of those systems into any type of limited fielding.
“They are not designed for that. They are designed for a campaign of learning,” he said.
Now that the first major experiment is done, the Army plans to build up to a company-level operation in the first quarter of FY22 at Fort Hood, Texas, with four RCV-Medium and four RCV-Light prototypes.
While the experimentation at Fort Carson with RCV-Heavy was focused on cavalry operations where the robots served more in a scout mission and proved they could be effective in a reconnaissance and security role, the experiment in FY22 will move the robots into more of an attack-and-defend role.
While the Army has to officially complete a critical technology assessment from the Fort Carson experimentation, Orlowski said the autonomy software “needs to improve.”
The experimentation in FY22 will focus on improvements and the Army will work with industry partners to “improve that tether,” he said. “It needs to be robust in contested environments, which we haven’t fully explored yet.”
The service will also need to look at some alternate communications pathways between the control vehicle and the robots. Aided target recognition needs more maturity, Orlowski explained, “especially on the move to support the platforms.”
Anything that reduces the soldier interaction with the platforms will also be incorporated, “and there are other things that soldiers asked for, which when we are ready to release we will. [The ideas from the feedback] were pretty perceptive,” he said.
“So how critical that becomes, we will see.” (Source: Defense News)
21 Sep 20. US Army gives green light to shape vehicle electrification requirements. Army Futures Command has given the green light to the Maneuver Capabilities Development and Integration Directorate to move forward on developing a plan to equip tactical and combat vehicles with electric power, according to a Sept. 21 statement.
The directorate will begin drafting a requirements document for Tactical and Combat Vehicle Electrification (TaCVE) and will host an industry day Oct. 20 to share its electrification initiatives with industry.
CALSTART, an organization that focuses on clean technology transportation, and the Ground Vehicles Systems Center will cohost the event.
The electrification effort aims to decrease the Army’s reliance on fossil fuels. “The requirement also aims to increase operational reach across all maneuver formations through electric propulsion, which offers a variety of operational and tactical benefits,” a statement from the directorate read.
“These include the potential to double operational duration, implement silent mobility, increase silent watch, and potentially reduce the Army’s logistical burden by nearly half when fully implemented,” it stated.
The Army launched an earnest effort into electrifying the brigade earlier this spring.
Lt. Gen. Eric Wesley, then-director of the Futures and Concepts Center within AFC, told Defense News at the time that the effort is easier said than done and doesn’t just just focus on simply powering a vehicle electrically. Instead, it would attempt to work out how an entire enterprise that would support those electric vehicle fleets and other capabilities could work.
“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.”
Army officials know 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.”
Wesley was preparing a proposal for the head of Futures Command on how the service might accomplish such an endeavor that could change the paradigm of the logistics and sustainment tails as well as enhance force mobility.
The proposal was intended to make a business case for the Army electrifying the formation, discuss the technical feasibility and describe a transition process.
The MCDID requirements development process gives the overall effort traction to move out quickly. (Source: Defense News)
21 Sep 20. Arquus launches its new ARMIS 6×6 during the Arquus Day in Satory. To keep in touch, to present the work done over the past few months and demonstrate the capabilities of its latest vehicles, Arquus organized a full demonstration day dedicated to its products and services on September 17, 2020 on the Satory test tracks: the Arquus Day. The Arquus Day was an opportunity to give a concrete presentation of the vehicles and developments unveiled during the Arquus e-xpo, a virtual exhibition put online during the summer of 2020, and in particular the flagship of its brand new logistics and tactical range: the ARMIS 6×6.
Presented for the very first time, the ARMIS 6×6 is the worthy heir of the ARQUUS logistics and tactical carriers that serve daily within the armies, from the VLRA to the GBC180. Built on a specifically military base and incorporating time-tested civilian technologies, it offers very high performance levels, both in terms of payload and off-road mobility. Developed with ARQUUS’ expertise and the support of the Volvo Group, the ARMIS 6×6 benefits from the feedback of current generations of army carriers.
With its upgraded and hardened chassis, the ARMIS 6×6 is at ease off-roading and crossing even the most difficult terrain. It is equipped with an 11L engine with 460 horsepower (euro 5) which allows it to clear 50% ramps. Close to the Jaguar EBRC engine, this engine provides it with great agility and enables it to accompany the latest generation of combat vehicles on the battlefield. Its gearbox, equipped with the Ultra-Low Crawler option, enables it to stop safely on slopes. Brake assist also helps to save the main brakes on steep slopes. Presented in a dynamic demonstration on the Satory test track during Arquus Day, the ARMIS 6×6 proved its very high mobility and discretion.
Rustic and enduring, the ARMIS 6×6 is fully adapted to the operational constraints of the armed forces. Mobile and rugged, it is suitable for long deployments, complex missions and harsh environments with reduced maintenance requirements. Versatile, the ARMIS 6×6 is able to fulfill a wide range of logistical and tactical missions for the benefit of armies. Its multifunction platform is capable of transporting personnel in a secure and ergonomic way, cargo, systems or 10 or 15-foot shelters. Modular, it can support numerous versions and configurations, ensuring efficiency, ease of use and tactical freedom for the commander in the field.
The ARMIS 6×6 was presented at the Arquus Day in an unprotected version. It also has a version with a STANAG 4569-compliant ballistic, mine and IED-protected cabin. Its architecture with a remote cabin gives it the highest level of protection (both mines and IEDs as well as ballistic threats), a protection which can be upgraded depending on the mission at hand. The ARMIS 6×6 has a common cabin with the 8×8 (sheet metal or armored) to facilitate vehicle handling and maintenance.
The ARMIS 6×6 can be upgraded over time to adapt to the mission profile and the theater of operations, as well as to the evolution of threats encountered. The ARMIS 6×6 is air-transportable and rail-transportable.
The ARMIS 6×6 cabin can accommodate up to three 95th percentile seats. It is configured to Army standards, with weapon mounts or covers, accommodation for communication systems as well as for backpacks, water packs and other equipment. The cabin is equipped with screens to manage remote-controlled weapon systems (RCWS) and Battlefield Management Systems (BMS).
The ARMIS 6×6 can accommodate a large variety of weaponry, from manual circulars to Arquus’ Hornet range of RCWS, already selected by the French Army to equip the new combat vehicles of the Scorpion program. The ARMIS 6×6 can be integrated into the Scorpion bubble and is designed to accommodate the latest-generation communication and information systems.