22 Oct 20. Mack Defense is partnering with Jankel, a world-leader in the design and manufacture of high-specification defense protection systems, to provide the seating solution for the M917A3 Heavy Dump Truck (HDT).
“Mack Defense relies on partners with proven competency in the development, production and delivery of high-performance survivability solutions,” said David Hartzell, president of Mack Defense. “Jankel has proven itself a leader in delivering these solutions, and we’re proud to partner with them on the M917A3 HDT program.”
The Jankel MK3.5 Blast Mitigating Floor Mounted Crew Seat is utilized in both the driver and commander positions in the HDT armored cab. The seat features advanced weight adjust, height adjust, fore-aft adjust systems, as well as a reset system to counter secondary, or slam-down, acceleration forces.
“Jankel is extremely proud to team up with Mack Defense to provide the protective seating for their M917A3 HDT.” said Cody Baker, CEO of U.S.-based Jankel Tactical Systems, part of the global Jankel group of companies. “We pride ourselves in producing the world’s best blast-mitigating seats for military applications, and we are delighted to be part of a program that will be delivering enhanced survivability and capability for the U.S. Army for many years to come.”
The Mack Defense M917A3 HDT is based on the commercially available Mack Granite model, one of the top-selling vocational trucks in North America. The M917A3 is currently taking part in rigorous durability testing at the U.S. Army’s Aberdeen Proving Ground in Maryland. The M917A3 will help increase the U.S. Army’s operational effectiveness and readiness, while supporting mobility, survivability and sustainment operations for the Joint Force.
21 Oct 20. BAE Systems, Elbit Systems of America team to shape the future of Army combat vehicles. BAE Systems and Elbit Systems of America have teamed up to develop and integrate advanced operational capabilities for combat vehicles. The arrangement is focused on validating and integrating new technologies on combat vehicle systems to deliver advanced warfighting capabilities. BAE Systems is an industry leader in the design, integration, production, and support of innovative combat vehicles. Elbit Systems of America is a world leader in the design and integration of advanced turret solutions. This teaming arrangement will explore crew automation, vehicle protection systems, and other defensive and offensive systems for integration into turrets of various cannon calibers and supporting weapon systems for combat vehicles.
“BAE Systems and Elbit Systems of America are investing in transformational combat vehicle technologies and turret solutions that will greatly enhance the lethality and survivability of next-generation combat vehicles for the U.S. and international militaries,” said Jim Miller, director of business development at BAE Systems. “Our relationship demonstrates a commitment to provide our customers with solutions for future battlefields based on our collective combat vehicle expertise.”
BAE Systems and Elbit Systems of America will leverage their comprehensive experience for the evaluation, demonstration, and validation of multiple mission payloads and capabilities for the next generation of combat systems.
“The Elbit Systems of America team is excited to partner with BAE Systems and for the opportunities that come with that relationship,” said Ridge Sower, vice president of ground combat and precision targeting at Elbit Systems of America. “Our broad portfolio of mission-enhancing solutions and technologies, coupled with BAE Systems’ proven track record for providing highly effective combat systems, will greatly benefit warfighters as they face new challenges and needs.”
20 Oct 20. OMFV: Rheinmetall, Textron & Raytheon Offer Lynx For Bradley Replacement – Again. These companies teamed up for the Army’s first, stillborn attempt to build a new armored troop carrier in 2019. This time they’re offering “a new variant.”
German armsmaker Rheinmetall is getting the band back together for a second shot at the US Army’s Bradley replacement program, the Optionally Manned Fighting Vehicle. The Dusseldorf-based firm and its US partners, Textron and Raytheon, are apparently undeterred by last year’s disaster when the Army first disqualified their vehicle, then cancelled the OMFV program and started over.
Given the Army’s two decades of failed attempts to replace the Reagan-era M2 Bradley Infantry Fighting Vehicle, there’s no guarantee they will actually buy anything this time around, either. But if the service does choose Lynx as its Optionally Manned Fighting Vehicle – worth an estimated $46bn over the life of the program, from R&D to retirement — it will be a huge boost for the German vehicle, an all-new design that has featured prominently in trade shows and international competitions but so far only won one contract, a Hungarian order for 218 machines for about $2.4bn US.
A press release this morning says that Rheinmetall and partners will offer “a new variant” of the tracked Lynx KF41 troop carrier, manufactured in the United States, although they offered no details of how it would be different. At the 2018 Association of the US Army conference, Army officers publicly worried the Lynx was both too heavy and too unproven, concerns which Rheinmetall and Raytheon rebuffed.
But what ultimately scuttled Lynx last time was not any issue with the vehicle’s performance. Instead, it was Rheinmetall’s inability – never satisfactorily explained – to deliver the prototype vehicle to Aberdeen Proving Ground in Maryland by the Army’s deadline of Oct. 1, 2019, and Army Futures Command’s refusal to extend that deadline.
Being built under rapid prototype authority, the Lower Tier Air and Missile Defense Sensor radar has a 360-degree capability to sense threats from all directions.
In fact, only one other company, General Dynamics, even tried to deliver a vehicle. But while GD made the deadline, the Army disqualified them for not meeting the technical requirements. Then the service admitted those requirements were unrealistic and unrealizable, cancelled the competition, and rebooted the OMFV program, this time with a longer timeline and less ambitious objectives – although it’s still asking for the vehicle to be “Optionally Manned,” with extensive automation to augment or, in some scenarios, replace the human crew.
“I think it’s a very interesting team with strong credentials to develop a vehicle that meets the Army’s needs,” said one industry source unaffiliated with Rheinmetall and its partners. “But I still think the Army is wasting money putting the ‘O’ in OMFV. They should be focused on teaming a new manned fighting vehicle with less expensive autonomous vehicles.”
“Rheinmetall has a very good base vehicle,” another industry source told me. “The Army looked long and hard at it when they were doing the initial assessment of potential platforms in 2017 and 2018, but backed off because of ‘overseas supply chain issues.’ Textron, however, is not well thought of for quality or innovation in manufacturing. I guess if they were given a ‘design to build’ product, they may do OK, [but] transferring drawings and Americanizing the supply chain is a real challenge.”
“We are very excited to be working with Textron and Raytheon as we pursue the OMFV program,” said Matthew Warnick, managing director at Rheinmetall’s US subsidiary. “Textron provides manufacturing capabilities and expertise, along with lessons learned from their RCV-M [Robotic Combat Vehicle – Medium] work, while Raytheon provides tremendous capabilities in multiple domains, including onboard content and lethality. These two partners coupled with our truly next generational Lynx provide us with an extremely strong and compelling position to begin the OMFV program and tailor our offering to US Army requirements.”
The rebooted OMFV competition is a second chance for Rheinmetall & partners. Counting the initial attempt at OMFV, the Ground Combat Vehicle cancelled in 2014, and the Future Combat Systems cancelled in 2009, it’s a fourth chance for the Army. With an already skeptical Congress wrestling with the costs of COVID and potential Pentagon cuts, the burden will be on both the contractors and the Army to prove this time will work. (Source: Breaking Defense.com)
20 Oct 20. Oshkosh outlines four pillars of European success. Belgium has contracted Oshkosh Defense to supply 322 JLTVs. Oshkosh Defense regional vice president international programmes John Lazar told Army Technology that the vehicle’s reliability, protection, mobility and interoperability was the driver of its success in Europe.
The Belgian contract sees the country join the US, UK, Lithuania, Slovenia and Montenegro in pledging its intent to purchase the Joint Light Tactical Vehicle or JLTV, and Lazar says other NATO-allied countries have shown interest in acquiring the vehicle.
Commenting on the appeal of the vehicle, Lazar told Army Technology: “I think four major reasons are the drivers of success for the JLTV in Europe. First of all, it is a proven reliable platform. The JLTV has gone through over 161,000 kilometres of RAMD testing.
“I don’t know of any other vehicle that’s done that type of extensive testing. When we got through that extensive [US Department of Defense] DoD testing, the vehicle was assessed at 16,000 miles between mission hardware failure, which is two times the original US government requirements of 8, a000 miles between hardware mission failure.”
Lazar added that many customers would be ‘hard-pressed’ to find a similar on-the-market vehicle that could achieve the same levels of reliability.
On the protection front, Lazar said the vehicle offered operators “protection scalable to the MRAP [Mine-Resistant Ambush Protected] levels of protection”.
JLTV uses a monocoque capsule design – meaning that the chassis is integral with the body of the vehicle – which has integrated ‘subframes’ to protect the crew capsule. The vehicle also features b-kit armour for blast and ballistic protection.
On the mobility front, Lazar said: “The JLTV has unsurpassed mobility. We have TAK-4i independent suspension on the vehicle – which is double wishbone, fully independent.
“That type of suspension provides over 508 millimetres of wheel travel, and because it’s highly mobile, it can manoeuvre with combat forces, which is unseen with its peers in Europe.”
As of September 2018, Oshkosh had produced over 8,800 JLTVs for the US Department of Defence (DoD) with Lazar adding that the vehicle offered “incredible economies of scale.” along with the promise of interoperability through the vehicles widespread uptake.
Lazar added: “This offers great value for money when you’re making so many trucks. And it’s going to give the Belgian and British servicemen and women what they need – the ability to leverage the maintenance and supply activities of their closest allies and friends. When deployed, it is just incredible what the JLTV has to offer.”
He added: “We don’t know anybody else who is producing – and has not finished producing – over 8,800 trucks to this date; when you do that you can offer value for money.”
So far Oshkosh has received pledges of intent to purchase the JLTV from the US, UK, Lithuania, Slovenia, and Montenegro and, most recently, Belgium. Army Technology understands that the company has also seen interest in the vehicle from several other NATO and allied countries both in Europe and other parts of the world.
Lazar added that the company was ‘very excited’ about the opportunities for JLTV.
Negotiations on the sale of the vehicle to the UK are still ongoing. Lazar told Army Technology that the “that the quantity of the vehicle, [and] the subsequent delivery schedule” is part of the ongoing discussions between the UK Ministry of Defence (MOD) and DoD.
In June, Oshkosh signed a demonstration phase contract with the DoD to investigate the ‘integration’ of UK equipment onto the vehicles as part of the proposed foreign military sales to Britain.
Lazar added that Oshkosh is an ‘integrator’ saying that the company integrates indigenous capabilities onto its vehicle, adding: “So right now we’re looking at ways to integrate bits of your [the UK’s] kit onto our truck to make sure that the end-user gets the vehicle they need and make them successful.”
While the production of foreign military sales vehicles is handled in the US, Lazar added that Oshkosh was ‘always looking for indigenous defence industry partners’ to ensure that the company ‘integrate on the truck exactly what our customer needs to fill their capability gaps’.
Payload, electronics and C4ISR
Outside of the realms of protection, mobility, reliability, and interoperability Lazar added that the vehicles payload, electronics and C4ISR systems added to the vehicle’s offering.
JLTV uses an open, scalable, Command, Control, Communications, Computers, Intelligence, Surveillance, and Reconnaissance (C4ISR) architecture which can be tailored for customers’ needs.
Lazar said this C4ISR offering was bolstered by the vehicle featuring a ‘620-amp alternator with a split bus power distribution’ system that could ensure the supply of clean power to C4ISR equipment and EW [Electronic Warfare] capabilities.
Lazar added: “Our utility JLTV can carry over 2000 kilograms of payload, or general-purpose JLTV can carry over 1500 kilograms of payload. That’s a huge capability to integrate the type of stuff our customers need properly.”
Manoeuvring with combat forces
Digging deeper into the vehicles selling points, Lazar touted the vehicle’s ability to ‘manoeuvre with combat forces’ as part of its offering.
Lazar explained: “When you see certain countries that don’t have tracked armoured forces, they have a highly mobile vehicle that can keep up with combat forces and an unlimited ability to integrate new weapon systems and platforms onto the vehicle.”
Lazar said that the vehicle offered countries that don’t have tracked armoured forces “a highly mobile vehicle that can keep up with combat forces and an unlimited ability to integrate new weapon systems and platforms onto the vehicle.”
He added: “Of course, there is a difference between tracked and wheeled vehicles in their capability and mobility. The JLTV can keep up with the combat forces in varied weather conditions. Those 161,000 kilometres, RAMD [Reliability, Availability, Maintainability, Durability] testing was done over multiple terrains and multiple environmental conditions, in snow, all as well as Martian terrain, as well as just regular roads and forests.
“We noticed that there are some countries buying the vehicle that have made strategic decisions not to purchase tanks, but they have purchased 8×8 vehicles as well as JLTV. I think that says a lot about their intent on how they plan to use it.”
So far, the US Army has over 100 different kits for the JLTV, and the company has also integrated anti-tank capabilities onto the vehicle for some of its customers.
Lazar added: “The versatility of the vehicle to conquer multiple terrains is just unbelievable. We’ve held dynamic demonstrations in several different countries, including several of them in the UK. We’ve held them [as you say] on the continent from places as far north as the Scandinavian countries to the Baltic countries.
“Of course, we’ve demonstrated it in Western Europe, as well as the Balkans. So, the vehicle performs very well, and we are always very excited when we’re allowed by our allied and coalition partners to do these dynamic demonstrations on their test sites because it shows the vehicle’s capabilities.” (Source: army-technology.com)
19 Oct 20. France’s Griffon engineering prototype breaks cover. Images of a pre-production prototype Véhicule Blindé Multi-Rôle (Multirole Armoured Vehicle, VBMR) Griffon Génie (Engineering) variant were unveiled in a tweet by the Ecole du Génie, the French Army’s specialist engineering training school in Angers, France, on 15 October.
The photographs were also shared on Facebook by the 6e Régiment du Génie (6th Engineering Regiment), also based in Angers.
The Griffon Génie prototype was officially presented to the staff, trainees, and cadets of the school by members of the Séction Technique de L’Armée de Terre (Army Technical Section, STAT).
The vehicle displayed has a similar outward appearance to the troop carrier version, with a few notable additions, including a towing winch fitted to the front of the engine bay and a trailer towing hook at the rear of the chassis. Like the Véhicule de l’Avant Blindé (VAB) Génie it is intended to replace, the Griffon Génie is designed to be fitted with six specific-to-role kits, including urban area support, mobility support, emergency deployment support, mine clearance and pollution control, counter mobility, and explosive ordnance disposal (EOD).
The Griffon Génie will be fitted with a Hornet remote weapon system and a Metravib Pilar V acoustic shot sensor, as is standard for the Griffon. It will equip combat engineer groups as well as more specialised units such as EOD, engineering combat diver, and operational search and investigation teams.
It is also likely that the Griffon Génie will replace the Aravis mine-resistant, ambush-protected vehicle in service with EOD teams of the 13e Régiment du Génie (13th Engineering Regiment) acquired as an urgent operational requirement in 2009 and subsequently deployed in Afghanistan and Mali. (Source: Jane’s)
20 Oct 20. Rheinmetall and Textron Systems join forces to supply the US Army with a new variant of the Lynx KF41 for the Optionally Manned Fighting Vehicle program.
American Rheinmetall Vehicles, LLC, a subsidiary of Germany-based Rheinmetall Defence, is teaming with Textron Systems in pursuit of the US Army’s Optionally Manned Fighting Vehicle (OMFV) program.
American Rheinmetall Vehicles is forming a US industry team that will consist of numerous leading US defense companies, including Raytheon Technologies, who are coming together as “Team Lynx.” Textron Systems will be a vital member of the team, bringing with it exceptional land systems technology development and production capabilities developed over decades as a major combat platform provider to the US armed forces. American Rheinmetall Vehicles will lead Team Lynx in offering the US Army a next-generation solution for the OMFV program that features a mature, game-changing platform with a purposeful, future-proof modular design that will assure overmatch not just today but for decades to come.
“This teaming agreement brings together two of the world’s leading providers of defense industry solutions in order to offer the US Army an OMFV that’s second to none. Textron Systems brings decades of experience in production with robotic capabilities that further enable our growing Team Lynx to provide a transformational product to the US Army”, said Matt Warnick, Managing Director at American Rheinmetall Vehicles.
“Textron Systems’ Slidell, Louisiana vehicle production facility has supported more than 15 armored vehicle programs of record supporting over 20 countries,” said Senior Vice President Henry Finneral. “We stand ready to support the team and the US Army and deliver a trusted platform for the future.”
The US variant of the Lynx KF41 will redefine the modern battlefield and enable the US Army to satisfy its number two modernization priority, a next-generation combat vehicle with superb protection, mobility, growth, and lethality capabilities that will sustain overmatch for decades. The vehicle’s Modular Open Systems Architecture (MOSA), coupled with substantial growth potential in power, weight and volume, will enable the American Lynx KF41 variant to confront the challenges of the future battlefield like no other.
19 Oct 20. MPF: Light Tank Competitors BAE & GD Head For Soldier Tests. BAE and General Dynamics are vying to build 504 Mobile Protected Firepower vehicles to support light infantry units, especially in places the massive M1 Abrams cannot go.
After 24 years without a light tank in Army service, soldiers will climb aboard brand-new Mobile Protected Firepower prototypes this January.
“It’s not just PowerPoint” anymore, Maj. Gen. Bryan Cummings, the Army’s Program Executive Officer for Ground Combat Systems (PEO-GCS), told me in an interview. “On Jan. 4th, we will have … vehicles arriving at Fort Bragg.”
Army experts have already started safety testing on prototype MPF vehicles, officials told me. Actual combat soldiers will start training on two platoons of prototypes in January – four MPFs from BAE, four from rival General Dynamics – with field tests scheduled to begin in April. A formal Limited User Test will start in August or September, with the Army choosing the winning design in 2022 and the first operational unit of MPF entering active service in 2025.
A General Dynamics spokesperson told me they’ve already delivered five MPF prototypes to the Army, with two more in final checkouts and another five being built for delivery by the end of the year. BAE Systems is also building 12 prototypes, but they declined to say whether they’d delivered vehicles yet or not.
While the Army can’t comment on either contractor while the competition is ongoing, Cummings said, “both are on track to meet the major milestones” – despite the disruptions of COVID-19.
After three months of training, the troops will start what’s being called the Soldier Vehicle Assessment (SVA): four to five months of intensive field testing, including force-on-force wargames. It’s all part of the Army’s new emphasis on getting real soldiers’ feedback on new weapons early and often.
“The soldiers actually get to drive the vehicles around, shoot them, train with them,” BAE business developer James Miller told me. “Their feedback [is] likely to be the most critical factor … in the decision the Army’s going to make about who wins this contract.”
The soldier assessment isn’t just testing out the vehicles, however, Cummings told me: It’s also a test of the Army. Specifically, how can light infantry brigades, which today have few vehicles or mechanics, sustain and operate a 20-plus-ton tank?
The crucial distinction: MPF is not going to the Army’s heavy brigades, which have lots of support troops and specialized equipment to take care of tracked armored vehicles. Instead, 14 MPFs per brigade will go to airborne and other light infantry units, which haven’t had tracked armor since the M551 Sheridan was retired and its replacement cancelled in 1990s.
Now, MPF won’t be as fuel-hungry or maintenance-intensive as the massive M1 Abrams, America’s mainstay main battle tank. Even with add-on armor kits for high-threat deployments, it’ll be less than half as heavy as the M1. That’s because MPF isn’t meant to take on enemy tanks, at least not modern ones. Instead, it’s designed to be light enough to deploy rapidly by air, simple enough to sustain at the end of a long and tenuous supply line, but potent enough to take on enemy light armored vehicles, bunkers, dug-in machineguns, and the like.
That’s a tricky balance to strike. In fact, the Army has never found a light tank it really liked despite decades of trying. Only six M22 Locusts actually fought in World War II, the M41 Walker Bulldog was too heavy for airborne units, the M551 Sheridan was plagued by technical problems throughout its service from Vietnam to Panama, the M8 Armored Gun System and the Future Combat System were both cancelled.
So how do BAE and General Dynamics plan to square this circle?
General Dynamics emphasized lethality in their interview with me. Their Lima tank plant builds the M1 Abrams, and while the MPF is smaller – though the company didn’t divulge details, GD’s version reportedly has a 105mm cannon, compared to the Abrams’ 120mm – it will have the same fire controls and electronics as the latest model of its big brother.
“If you sat in a Mobile Protected Firepower turret, you would think you were sitting in a [M1] SEPV3 turret,” a GD spokesperson told me. “It’s all the same displays, architectures, power distribution, etc.”
GD’s design evolved from their Griffin demonstrators, prominently displayed for several years at AUSA annual meetings. It’s got automotive components derived from the ASCOD/Ajax family widely used in Europe and an 800 horsepower engine. GD didn’t tell me how much their vehicle weighed, but, depending on the armor package installed, the demonstrators ranged from 28 tons to 50 tons. Those figures would give horsepower/weight ratios ranging from 28 hp/ton, better than any model of the Abrams, to 16, which would make MPF much more sluggish.
BAE, by contrast, emphasized their design’s compactness and ease of maintenance – considerations as critical as firepower for a light infantry unit. BAE actually built the M8 AGS cancelled in the ’90s drawdown, and while they’ve thoroughly overhauled that design for MPS with a new engine, new electronics, and underbody blast-proofing against roadside bombs, they’ve tried to preserve its airborne-friendly qualities.
“The old M8 fit inside a C-130; in fact, it was air droppable,” Miller told me. “There’s no requirement for that in the current MPF program, but we decided to stick with that as a design constraint: [Our MPF can] fit inside a C-130; we can do three on a C-17.”
BAE’s engine is less potent than GD’s, with only 550 horsepower. With the base configuration coming in at under 30 tons, that equates to over 18 hp/ton, with heavier armor packages reducing performance from there.
But the big selling point of the engine is ease of access, Miller argued. Engine maintenance on a tank requires a crane and partially disassembling the armor, but a mechanic can slide the BAE MPF’s engine in and out of the chassis with a hand crank. If the MPF breaks down or gets stuck, it can be towed away by a truck, without requiring a special heavy recovery vehicle as an M1 does.
“The infantry brigades are light. They don’t have long logistics tails. They don’t have a ton of mechanics and recovery vehicles,” Miller emphasized. “The vehicle has to be as mobile as them and fit inside their organization.”
The Army estimates the life-cycle cost of MPF, from development to procurement to maintenance and retirement, at $16bn. Whichever vehicle wins the Army contract will have an edge in sales worldwide – including, potentially, to the Marine Corps, which is retiring its M1s as too heavy for modern amphibious warfare. (Source: Breaking Defense.com)
20 Oct 20. Defence Committee Report. Ajax suffers another delay with admitted problems, 7 Ares variants have been delivered to the Army with another 4 awaiting with another 59 going through acceptance with 187 under manufacture; 87 of the variants are a common base platform. However, Mr Chris Bushell, Director General Land, Defence Equipment and Support, confirmed that, in spite of rumours to the contrary that the contract will provide the full performance under the contract with 60% UK content. Sources close to BATTLESPACE suggest that the actual ISD is ‘some way off,’ given the problems encountered which are a stated digitization issues but also considerable vibration issues. However the Speaker confirmed that Ajax has a much easier upgrade path for future enhancements.
Tobias Ellwood asked why Ares had been procured when it was the same as Warrior and that the Ajax was a bigger vehicle than Warrior. Lieutenant General Christopher Tickell CBE, Deputy Chief of the General Staff, confirmed that it was not possible to use Ajax as a Warrior 8 man APC Replacement following studies.
Tobias Ellwood then asked, as BATLESPACE did at the time, why Warrior could not be upgrade to the Ajax ISTAR capability.
General Christopher Tickell said that the current 35 type fleet will be reduced to a 15 type fleet.
At the Defence Committee Armoured Vehicle Panel today, it was confirmed that Ajax has suffered a year’s delay into service and the IOC date will now be June 2021 not July 2020. However the speaker confirmed that Ajax was under contract for the full complement of 589 vehicles(245 are Ajax with turret). Boxer is also under contract for 508 (523 mentioned)vehicles. Air Marshal Richard Knighton CB, Deputy Chief of Defence Staff (Military Capability), Ministry of Defence, said that the Boxer delivery is mandated by the development of the Telford site but that the MoD is looking at other possibilities to up the British Army numbers and export vehicles.
WCSP and CRT LEP will not be confirmed until after the Integrated Defence Review. CVR(T) will be out of service in 2 years and as ABSV is in the early stages no OSD can be confirmed for Bulldog which although 60 years old is cheap to maintain and run. CRT LEP Main Gate for 144 vehicles is expected next year under a tightly regulated sole-source contract with RBSL.
Lee Fellows of Lockheed Martin UK is believed to have been invited to negotiate (ITN) the Warrior contract. Sources say the baseline contract value is circa £900m for Lockheed Martin for all of WCSP, for 285 Warriors upgraded with warranty which is £3.1m apiece. Then on top, Babcock costs for the raw hulls, which are believed to be behind schedule, then the question of the sunk CTAI costs; thus, the Value For Money needs to be considered outside a DE&S methodology. There is a question of Lockheed Martin’s claim for delays on the GFE CT40 canon. Our source suggests that although Lockheed has allowed £100m in cost overruns that the MoD will not be liable for any damages given the £148m development contract for WCSP. Our source did not comment on any damages for GDLS (UK).
General Christopher Tickell CBE, expressed confidence that Warrior would succeed and that 72 Battlefield Mission Tests had been completed. With regard to WCSP delays, the speakers could not confirm that there would be no more delays or costs; these would be subject to negotiations. He could not give the number of Warriors which would be inservice in 2024 only “towards 600,” although the fact that MoD has bought 515 CT40 canons may be a clue.
Mr Chris Bushell, Director General Land, Defence Equipment and Support, confirmed the immature design for the WCSP and Ajax canon and that Lockheed Martin’s assertion that the MoD was partly to blame for the delays.
A number of speakers avoided the questions regarding NATO interoperability of 40mm when the US is going 50mm and most NATO nations have 30mm.
Air Marshal Richard Knighton CB, said that the UK and the French moved to 40mm given the path of the upgrades and he hoped to persuade other nations to use 40mm (Much hope!!). He did not mention that CT40 had been turned down by the US 30 years ago and that it was solely mandated under a joint Franco-UK agreement, also made in France!
As to CRT LEP Jeremy Quinn MP said that it would be considered under the IR including the possibility of another MBT under a full busines case at IAB before the end of 2020.
Mr Jeremy Quinn MP, Minister of State (Minister for Defence Procurement), said that there is an ongoing Land Industrial strategy study ongoing and it will report in due course. The vehicle is the defence Industrial Strategy which will report around the time of the IR.
With regards to affordability t a figure of £19bn was quoted just for current modernisation plans with questions asked as to what is it, and how is it measured; the when is army going to get this kit, was not answered. The feeling form sources is Nothing is safe in the Initial Gate (IG), Warrior looked to be the most vulnerable at £1.3bn.
General Christopher Tickell CBE, said, “Ajax is not about to be cancelled” our source suggests that this is code for “it may be reduced.” CR2 LEP delay is due to the Business case approval subject to IG that no date is declared, subsequent contract award looks to next year RBSL was hoping to get it this year.
A source said that the Army’s desire to have IG for WCSP and CRT LEP was causing difficulties due to the differig maturity of the Programmes.
The discussion whether on Brimstone was suitable for most AFVs and whether they should use ATGW capability was a positive move. There is plenty of good off-the-shelf systems out there as there are RWS to replace GPMG.
In short as our source said, “What a mess, oh my! We need to wait a couple of months for the IG publication. When we will see, it is a matter for the next discussion!”
20 Oct 20. Upgrade of British Armoured Vehicle Capability could add £1bn to UK economy and create thousands of jobs. The upgrade of the British Army’s Warrior armoured infantry fighting vehicles, led by Lockheed Martin UK, could contribute approximately £1 billion to the country’s economy, according to a new report by KPMG. The economic contribution is due to come from activities during the production phase undertaken directly by LMUK and through its UK based supply chain too.
The report, commissioned by Lockheed Martin, looks at the potential benefits of a Warrior Capability Sustainment Programme (WCSP) production contract to the prosperity of the UK, including contributions to the economy, exports, jobs and skills
According to the independent analysis, a production contract for Warrior upgrade for an assumed 275 vehicle upgrades between 2021 and 2029 could deliver*:
- Approx. £1bn Gross Value Added (GVA) to the UK economy
- A high number of jobs, with employment supported varying each year linked to the scale of activity on the contract taking place – from 100 annual Full Time Equivalent (FTE) jobs to almost 2,000 annual FTE jobs through direct and supply chain employment when activity is at its peak
- Highly skilled jobs – GVA per FTE job is more than four times the UK national average (£251,682 compared to £59,802).
The WCSP development programme is now in its final stages of trials and Lockheed Martin UK is in negotiations for a production contract with the Ministry of Defence to deliver the latest in advanced capabilities for up to 275 Warrior vehicles. The Warrior, an essential asset for the British Army, has been deployed in every UK operation since Iraq in 1990. They were originally built in the 1980s.
The upgrade Programme, once awarded, will run from 2021 to 2029 and will be based at the company’s state of the art manufacturing facility at Ampthill in Bedfordshire. The production and integration work of the digitised turrets will be supported by a skilled and highly capable supply chain. Approximately 80 percent of the WCSP solution is manufactured by British companies.
A Warrior upgrade contract will bring huge economic benefits to the country. Not only will this benefit the East of England where the main production of the turrets will be based, but there will be economic impacts felt across many other regions too.
Lee Fellows, Vice President and Managing Director at Lockheed Martin Ampthill said, “Since acquiring the Ampthill site, Lockheed Martin has invested significantly into the facility and our number of employees has grown too. We’ve created an advanced, state-of-the-art manufacturing facility with a modern and high-tech production line. Our vast 20,000m2 centre of excellence is the only one of its kind for turret manufacturing in the UK. Our exponential growth over the years has promoted an investment of around £23m into the Ampthill site – we’ve not only invested in the facility, but we’ve invested in our people too. The economic impacts of the Warrior Capability Sustainment Programme have been significant to the UK economy and a production contract will bring greater prosperity impacts to the UK.”
In addition, Lockheed Martin estimates the medium calibre turret market could be worth an estimated £16bn over the next 10 years. The Lockheed Martin turret manufacturing capability will enable access for the UK into this export market.
*The exact number of vehicles to be upgraded through the WCSP production phase may vary dependent on future government funding. LMUK’s initial pricing estimates are also subject to change. This would affect the overall results of the analysis. The results should therefore be viewed as indicative.
19 Oct 20. Defence Committee to question Minister for Defence procurement on progress delivering Armoured Vehicle capability. On Tuesday 20 October, at 10.30, the Defence Committee held the next evidence session in its inquiry into Armoured Fighting Vehicles (AFVs).
This session saw the Committee question the Minister for Defence Procurement and officials, as it aims to scrutinise the Department’s plans and programmes in this area.
Planned topics for discussion include the current UK AFV capability and future plans, progress with AFV programmes and lessons learned from the last two decades of AFV procurement.
Other areas due to be explored include the retention of heavy armour capabilities within the British Army and industry and a Land Industrial Strategy.
Tuesday 20 October, 10.30:
- Mr Jeremy Quinn MP, Minister of State (Minister for Defence Procurement)
- Air Marshal Richard Knighton CB, Deputy Chief of Defence Staff (Military Capability), Ministry of Defence
- Lieutenant General Christopher Tickell CBE, Deputy Chief of the General Staff, British Army
Mr Chris Bushell, Director General Land, Defence Equipment and Support
Watch the session on Parliament TV