26 Nov 20. Rheinmetall and Czechoslovak Group a.s. sign MoU for production and technological support in the field of military vehicles. Rheinmetall and Czechoslovak Group a.s. have signed a Memorandum of Understanding in the field of tactical military vehicles. The signing took place at Hrad?any Castle in the presence of the President of the Czech Republic, Miloš Zeman.
Under this new strategic partnership, both companies want to enable the transfer of defence technology between Germany and the Czech Republic in order to implement projects in the Visegrad states as well as other countries. A key Czech industrial and business partner of Rheinmetall, CSG will act as a partner in Rheinmetall projects, together with dozens of other Czech defence companies in its supply chain.
A joint venture is to be established in the industrial zone of the truck producer Tatra, based in Kop?ivnice, Moravian-Silesian region. The newly founded company, which will be a joint venture of CSG and Rheinmetall Landsysteme, will have the prestigious, internationally known Tatra brand in its name.
Rheinmetall chose the CSG Group as its main industrial partner in the Czech Republic after a thorough analysis of Czech industry, taking into account its experience, capabilities and active production of special land systems tech¬nology. CSG will be able to cooperate with the Rheinmetall Group quickly and effectively. It has a proven ability to transfer production from foreign suppliers, including the ability to develop new vehicle variants and obtain export projects.
CSG welcomes strategic cooperation with Rheinmetall, Germany’s leading defence contractor. The joint venture means that the excellent relations between the Czech Republic and Germany will expand into an industry of strategic importance. A new strategic company will be created in the Moravian-Silesian Region, which will not be a simple assembly plant, but also a developer and manufacturer of modern defence technologies. As a result, the Czech defence industry will expand its capabilities in the field of tracked ground vehicle systems. New skilled jobs will be created by the joint venture and in the downstream supply chain in Czech industry.
“We look forward to working together with Rheinmetall and firmly believe that our cooperation marks a milestone in the modernization of the armed forces and domestic industry of the Czech Republic,” said Michal Strnad, Czechoslovak Group´s owner. “There is potential for Czechoslovak Group to become Rhein¬metall’s partner for the Czech Republic and beyond for replacing and modernizing combat systems.”
“The cooperation with Czechoslovak Group is a key relationship for Rheinmetall,” said Armin Papperger, CEO of Rheinmetall. “This opportunity will allow us to incorporate Czechoslovak Group into our existing global supply chain for our broad spectrum of defence products.”
Rheinmetall develops, manufactures and successfully delivers modern defence technologies worldwide with German quality and an excellent price-performance ratio. The Czech defence industry and the people who work in it possess excellent skills. Czech industry is therefore a natural partner for Rheinmetall. This partnership does not depend on domestic projects and contracts alone. It has long-term potential. Rheinmetall has important orders from all over the world. Its production capacities are at a high level of utilization, which is why it needs high-quality Czech suppliers.
Rheinmetall needs a partner in the Czech Republic that is a strong private industrial holding company, with a proven ability to develop and manufacture defence technology products, as well as the ability to operate internationally. CSG’s role in the domestic defence industry is unique thanks to its existing partnerships with leading foreign defence industry corporations as well as its sophisticated Czech supply chain, which is composed of private companies and state-owned enterprises. CSG is thus able to ensure that the share of domestic Czech production in modern land systems exceeds 60 percent. Rheinmetall and CSG are ready to invest in the joint venture in order to create production capacities as well as to develop new technologies.
The first task of the joint venture will be to transfer the production of land technology groups and subgroups in projects which Rheinmetall is currently working on. The project can work and be mutually beneficial even without domestic orders. On the other hand, domestic orders are an important impetus for the development of the project as well as for export projects within the V4 countries and other markets.
Cooperation of CSG and Rheinmetall in the form of a joint venture represents a real transfer of production and know-how with high added value and great multiplier effects for the entire Czech economy within the framework of development and production with high added value. This is not a virtual percentage of the Czech share of defence contracts, but a project that will actually be seen and which will be long term and stable.
About CZECHOSLOVAK GROUP
CZECHOSLOVAK GROUP (CSG) is a holding company developing the tradition of Czechoslovak industry. It supports the development of traditional Czech and Slovak companies engaged in defence and civil industry and trade. In 2019, CSG´s companies generated sales of more than EUR 28.5bn and had more than 8200 employees. The main branches of CSG are mechanical engineering, automotive, railway, aerospace and defence industries. CSG’s products are present at all continents thanks to the company’s strong pro-export orientation.
About RHEINMETALL: Global technology leader in security and mobility
A publicly traded enterprise, Rheinmetall AG is dedicated to the twin modern imperatives of security and mobility. Headquartered in Düsseldorf, Germany, the Group has some 30,000 employees worldwide. Annual sales last year exceeded €6bn.
The Group’s Defence arm covers a wide range of capabilities for modern ground forces: reconnais-sance, command and control, tactical mobility, kinetics and force protection. Rheinmetall is one of the world’s leading makers of logistic and tactical vehicles. Around the globe, the name Rheinmetall is synonymous with robust military trucks and cutting-edge wheeled and tracked combat vehicles.
One of Rheinmetall’s special strengths is its ability to serve as a prime contractor, supplying standalone solutions as well as comprehensive systems of systems. The Group cooperates closely with other companies in Germany and abroad.
Rheinmetall has figured prominently in the Czech automotive industry for many years. The Group operates three plants in the ÚstÍ nad Labem region, employing around 1,200 people in total. These plants primarily produce pistons for petrol- and diesel-powered engines as well as components for reducing harmful emissions and other engine parts.
23 Nov 20. SCORPION: GRIFFON command post is qualified. On 13 November 2020, the French Delegation for Armaments (DGA) qualified the command post vehicle (EPC) variant of the GRIFFON vehicle. At the same time, the first examples are being submitted for acceptance by the DGA’s quality department at the Roanne site. Therefore, the three first GRIFFON EPC have been delivered to the Army technical section (STAT) which will continue the operational evaluation of this equipment with its rapid deployment within the regiments in sight. The GME (temporary grouping of companies) EBMR (Engins Blindés Multi-Rôles) comprised of Nexter, Arquus and Thales is fully mobilized on the production of the first 20 series GRIFFON EPCs to be presented to verification operations by the end of 2020. Ultimately, the SCORPION program calls for the acquisition of 333 units of this variant, half of which will be delivered by 2025. As a reminder, the SCORPION program aims to modernize the Army’s combat capabilities and in particular to improve command through new information resources.
The GRIFFON EPC can accommodate a pilot and a gunner front, and five soldiers in the rear of the vehicle. From an external point of view, the silhouette of the EPC does not differ from the VTT Félin variant (troop transport vehicle). Only the armament changes, with the integration on the roof of a new-generation T2 remotely operated turret armed with a 7.62mm caliber. Inside, on the other hand, the GRIFFON EPC is fully equipped to accommodate a command post: communication means, large screens, a board and a printer. This variant is designed to accommodate latest-generation electronic equipment for collaborative combat: the vetronics common to the SCORPION platforms, the CONTACT joint radio, the SCORPION Combat Information System (SICS), the ANTARES optronic system offering the crew a 360° vision of the environment, as well as a gunfire location detector (or SLA, for Acoustic Localization System). In addition, the air-conditioning system adapts to all environments to guarantee crew’s comfort and the proper functioning of onboard electronics.
Thanks to its level of protection and mobility, the EPC variant of the GRIFFON enables a command post to be deployed quickly at the heart of operations. The force commander can thus conduct an engagement or monitor the progress of a regimental or brigade-level action. The arrival of the GRIFFON EPC is complementary to the GRIFFON VTT Félin, with the goal of projecting a joint battle group (GTIA) into a foreign theatre of operations by 2021.
Stéphane Mayer is delighted, on behalf of the GME formed by the three companies Arquus, Thales and Nexter (of which he is Chairman and CEO), that this new milestone has been reached on time: “this qualification marks a new stage in the modernization of the French Army’s equipment”.
26 Nov 20. Rheinmetall to Supply German Bundeswehr With 342 Roll-off Tipper Vehicles. Rheinmetall has begun serial delivery of 342 roll-off tipper vehicles to BwFuhrparkService GmbH (BwFPS), the state-owned enterprise in charge of the Bundeswehr’s fleet of non-tactical vehicles. The first 69 logistic vehicles were transferred, to be followed by up to eight more trucks per week. By supplying these hook lift-equipped TGS 8×4 trucks, Rheinmetall is making another important contribution to bolstering the Bundeswehr’s operational readiness. The order, issued at the end of 2019, is worth a figure in the two-digit euro million range, making it the largest single order for commercial (“white fleet”) trucks in company history. Delivery is expected to be complete by the middle of next year. Rheinmetall and its truck specialist Rheinmetall MAN Military Vehicles (RMMV) have thus emerged as major suppliers of commercial trucks to the Bundeswehr, augmenting the Group’s long-established role as a source of state-of-the-art combat vehicles.
Now in serial production, these vehicles will give the Bundeswehr the ability to quickly transport a massive amount of materiel using its own trucks when Germany takes over the Very High Readiness Joint Task Force (VJTF) in 2023, NATO’s sharp end. Delivery of the TGS trucks will thus significantly expand the Bundeswehr’s logistic capabilities when it comes to the rapid handling of materiel. The vehicles will be stationed all over Germany, primarily with logistics units.
The order deepens an already well-established partnership, one which recently earned RMMV a supplier reliability award from BwFPS. Led by Rheinmetall, the joint venture occupied first place in the truck and special vehicles category for joint projects last year. Besides on-time delivery, clear communication with the customer in current projects played a decisive role in maintaining the company’s top ranking. Germany’s Federal Ministry of Defence holds a 75.1% stake in BwFPS, with the remaining 24.9% held by Deutsche Bahn, a German railway company. (Source: ASD Network)
25 Nov 20. Textron Systems readies all-electric Ripsaw M5 UGV. Textron Systems has developed an all-electric version of the Ripsaw M5 unmanned ground vehicle (UGV). Delivery of the platform for experimentation and trials will take place in 2021.
The Textron Systems-led team, selected by the US Army in January 2020, are to provide four Robotic Combat Vehicles – Medium (RCV-M) with the Ripsaw M5 offering. In addition to the baseline hybrid electric drive (HED) platform, the team will also be delivering an all-electric version called the Ripsaw M5-E.
The US Army Combat Capabilities Development Command Armaments Center (CCDC, also known as DEVCOM) will receive an M5-E in a flat-deck configuration to support weapons integration testing. Deliveries will start in the second quarter of 2021.
The Ripsaw M5 platform is designed and built by Textron Systems’ subsidiary Howe and Howe Inc, drawing from the latter’s experience in UGV and specialty vehicle development. Despite Howe and Howe’s knowledge, there are common issues associated with HED and electric drive (ED) development. One concern is ensuring there is sufficient battery capacity to power the electric motors.
A Textron spokesperson told Janes that the company’s experience “has allowed us to continually refine our [ED] systems and incorporate these lessons learned into the M5-E, which is designed to provide an all-electric test bed for our customer”.
Future challenges for the HED/ED include electric efficiency and charge rates. Textron believes this will be mitigated by improved technology.
“Our current solution leverages increased fuel efficiency and is enabled by agile logistics, ensuring adequate fuel is available,” the spokesperson explained. (Source: Jane’s)
19 Nov 20. Let Your Robots Off The Leash – Or Lose: AI Experts. In DARPA-Army experiments, soldiers tried to micromanage their drones and ground robots, slowing their reaction times and restricting their tactics. Can AIs earn troops’ trust?
AI is hard… and robots are dumb.” That was how one participant summed up a panel of artificial intelligence experts hosted by Army Futures Command. But AI is also essential to victory in future wars, the experts agree. The biggest stumbling black now may be having humans micromanage them.
How do you resolve this paradox? That’s what the Army and DARPA are trying to find out. The physical Robotic Combat Vehicles the Army is using in a series of field experiments are largely remote-controlled. Each RCV has a human gunner and a human driver; they’re just not sitting inside the vehicle. But in virtual wargames, the Army is putting real soldiers in charge of simulated robots that can operate much more autonomously – if the humans let them.
A DARPA-Army program called SESU (System-of-Systems Enhanced Small Unit) is simulating a future company-sized unit – 200 to 300 soldiers – reinforced by hordes of highly autonomous drones and ground robots, explained the panelist. (Reporters were allowed to cover the Army Futures Command conference if we didn’t name individual participants).
“The whole concept of the program is these swarms will become fire and forget,” the SESU expert said. “Given a mission they’ll be able to self-organize, recognize the environment, recognize threats, recognize targets, and deal with them.” AI can’t manage this in the messy real world yet, and current Pentagon policy wouldn’t allow it anyway, but AI can do it in the radically simplified environment of a simulation, which DARPA and the Army used to try out future tactics.
“[When] we gave the capabilities to the AI to control [virtual] swarms of robots and unmanned vehicles,” he said, “what we found, as we ran the simulations, was that the humans constantly want to interrupt them.”
One impact of human micromanagement is obvious. It slows things down. It’s true for humans as well — a human soldier who has to ask his superiors for orders will react more slowly than one empowered to take the initiative. It’s an even bigger brake on an AI, whose electronic thought processes can cycle far faster than a human’s neurochemical brain. An AI that has to get human approval to shoot will be beaten to the draw by an AI that doesn’t.
If you have to transmit an image of the target, let the human look at it, and wait for the human to hit the “fire” button, “that is an eternity at machine speed,” he said. “If we slow the AI to human speed…we’re going to lose.”
The second problem is the network. It must work all the time. If your robot can’t do X without human permission, and it can’t get human permission because it and the human can’t communicate, your robot can’t do X at all.
You also need a robust connection, because the computer can’t just text: “Win war? Reply Y/N.” It has to send the human enough data to make an informed decision, which for use of lethal weapons requires sending at least one clear picture of the target and, in many cases, video. But transmitting video takes the kind of high-bandwidth, long-range wireless connection that’s hard to keep unbroken and stable when you’re on Zoom at home, let alone on the battlefield where the enemy is jamming your signals, hacking your network, and bombing any transmitter they can trace.
The third problem is the most insidious. If humans are constantly telling the AI what to do, it’ll only do things humans can think of doing. But in simulated conflicts from chess to go to Starcraft, AI consistently surprises human opponents with tactics no human ever imagined. Most of the time, the crazy tactics don’t actually work, but if you let a “reinforcement learning” AI do trial and error over thousands or millions of games – too many for a human to watch, let alone play – then it will eventually stumble onto brilliant moves.
(This is how an AI outsmarts a human, by the way: It’s a lot stupider, but it’s also a lot faster, so it can throw out a lot more stupid ideas and still produce some shockingly good ones).
“You probably don’t want to expect it to behave just like a human,” said an Army researcher whose team has run hundreds of thousands of virtual fights. “That’s probably one of the main takeaways from these simulated battles.”
“It’s very interesting,” agreed a senior Army scientist, “to watch how the AI discovers, on its own,… some very tricky and interesting tactics. [Often you say], ‘oh whoa, that’s pretty smart, how did it figure out that one?’”
DARPA and the Intelligence Community are working on hard on “explainable AI:” one that not only crunches data, performs mysterious math, and outputs a conclusion but actually explains why it came to that conclusion in terms a human can understand.
Unfortunately, machine learning operates by running complex calculations of statistical correlations in enormous datasets and most people can’t begin to follow the math. Even the AI scientists who wrote the original equations can’t manually check every calculation a computer makes. If you require your AI to only use logic that humans can understand, it’s a bit like asking a police dog to track suspects by only following scents a human can smell, or asking Michelangelo to paint exclusively in black and white for the benefit of the colorblind.
“There’s been an over-emphasis on explainability,” one private-sector scientist said. “That would be a huge, huge limit on AI.”
Modern machine learning AI relies on the fact that, in any large set of data, there will emerge clusters of data points that correspond to things in the real world.
But it’s difficult to trust a new machine. One of the older panelists recounted how, after getting their first digital calculator in the 1970s, they double-checked everything on a slide rule for months. That was time-consuming, but at least it was physically possible. By contrast, there’s no way a human double-checker can keep up with calculations constantly being made by an AI.
So maybe you don’t try. We already rely every day on automated processes we don’t understand, although we certainly don’t let them decide when to take a human life.
“There are very sophisticated computations that are happening in my smart phone when it takes pictures,” the senior Army scientist said. “There are some very sophisticated computations in the engine of my car as it decides how much fuel to inject in each cylinder at each moment. I do not want to participate in those decisions. I should not participate in those decisions. I must not be allowed to participate in those decisions.”
“There is an unfortunate tendency for the humans to try to micromanage AI,” the scientist continued. “Everybody will have to get used to the fact that AI exists. It’s around us. It’s with us, and it thinks and acts differently than we do.”
“Decisionmakers need to understand,” agreed the expert on the SOSU experiments, “that an AI, at some point, will have to be let go.”
A few years after that elder panelist came to terms with his new calculator, George Lucas made the original Star Wars. In its climatic scene, pilot Luke Skywalker hears the disembodied voice of his mentor in his head telling him to “let go,” trust his instincts, and use the Force. So Luke turns off his targeting computer and makes the million-to-one shot by eye. If the AI experts have it right, future warriors may have to turn off their instincts and trust the computer. (Source: Breaking Defense.com)
24 Nov 20. Rheinmetall Landsysteme awards RBSL £860m subcontract for UK MOD’s Mechanised Infantry Vehicle programme – More than 260 Boxer vehicles to be produced in Telford. In a Group-internal transaction, Rheinmetall Landsysteme has awarded Rheinmetall BAE Systems Land (RBSL) a subcontract to manufacture more than 260 Boxer vehicles for the UK MOD’s Mechanised Infantry Vehicle (MIV) programme. The Command and Special Carrier variants will be produced at RBSL’s facility in Telford, Shropshire.
The subcontract, worth about £860m (€960m), marks a significant milestone for the programme, following the £2.3bn MIV contract awarded to ARTEC, the Rheinmetall and KMW consortium in December 2019.
The contract will create and sustain over 200 skilled jobs in and around Telford, with the complete programme creating and sustaining more than 1,000 jobs nationally. The award of this contract will allow RBSL to provide work and training opportunities to more than 60 apprentices over the next five years, which is anticipated to be replicated across the UK supply chain.
The MIV programme aims to source 60%, by value, of the contract from within the UK. In order to achieve this, RBSL is part of the MIV Joint Procurement Team, which has engaged with suppliers in England, Wales, Scotland and Northern Ireland. The team has issued over 250 requests for quotations, and RBSL has completed numerous detailed supplier audits.
By working with a vibrant UK supply chain, the MIV programme will help support economic growth and level-up regional economic opportunity. The MIV programme aims to support and enhance the UK supply chain, including SMEs. It will also ensure that the UK has, in country, the skills and expertise to support the vehicles throughout their operational life.
Millions of pounds of investment will be made across British industry in training and capital equipment, increasing productivity throughout the supply chain. RBSL alone is making a £20m investment in its Telford site to improve infrastructure, provide state-of-the-art manufacturing facilities, and deliver some of the highest standards of training for specialist capabilities, such as welding.
Defence Minister Jeremy Quin said, “Investment in Defence is an investment into British industry and this Boxer contract will create and sustain thousands of skilled jobs throughout the country over its lifetime. Defence contracts like this at RBSL in Telford will modernise and upgrade our Armed Forces whilst helping the nation build back better from the Covid-19 pandemic.”
Dr Marco Nöding, RBSL Managing Director, who replaced Peter Hardisty, said, “RBSL’s subcontract is a great step forward after months of hard work. Working with Rheinmetall and other partners, RBSL is bringing new skills and technologies into the business and the UK supply chain.”
Dr Marco Noeding: “I feel proud that RBSL has the opportunity to support British industry by working with UK-based suppliers – especially given the extraordinary circumstances the UK faces as a result of COVID-19. The next step for us is to formalise our community of suppliers and ensure the British Army receives their new vehicles manufactured to the highest standards.”
The MIV programme
In November 2019, ARTEC, a joint venture between two German companies – Rheinmetall and Krauss-Maffei Wegmann – signed the £2.3bn contract to deliver 500+ Boxer vehicles to the British Army.
The vehicles will be manufactured in the UK, with production subcontracted equally between Rheinmetall BAE Systems Land (RBSL) and WFEL. The companies will undertake fabrication of the armoured vehicle structures together with assembly, integration and test of the complete vehicles at their respective facilities in Telford and Stockport.
The MIV contract will sustain jobs at RBSL and WFEL sites across the UK, as well as a vibrant national supply chain. The plan is to source more than 60%, by value, of the contract from within the UK, protecting the UK’s sovereign engineering and manufacturing skills and ensuring that the vehicles remain supported through their 30-year operational life.
24 Nov 20. Rheinmetall Defence Australia announces LAND 400 Phase 3 industry partnership. Rheinmetall Defence Australia (RDA) has announced a partnership with Queensland Gaskets to support the company’s KF41 Lynx tender for the $18bn LAND 400 Phase 3 program, joining a growing team of Australian SMEs to deliver three LYNX KF41 infantry fighting vehicles to the Australian Defence Force for Risk Mitigation Activity (RMA) trials over the next 12 months.
The Australian Army needs a new IFV for close combat – to close in and defeat an enemy in the most dangerous and lethal environments for Australian soldiers, supporting this endeavour, Queensland Gaskets has been selected as a partner to supply componentry and an assembly of parts to manufacture the new Lynx, a next-generation IFV that is designed to deliver Australian troops in combat with world leading protection.
Queensland Gaskets managing director Carl Quarterman said, “Our collaboration with Rheinmetall has provided a great opportunity to showcase the breadth of our manufacturing capabilities – from consultation and gasket cutting to part assembly and everything in between.”
The opportunity to utilise local, skilled and high-quality manufacturers was a core consideration for Rheinmetall when engaging Queensland Gaskets to join Team Lynx.
“We are an Australian company with a global supply network built over our 67-year history in industry. This means we have the skills and capability to deliver into complex, high quality, large-scale projects,” Quarterman said.
Rheinmetall will deliver three Lynx vehicles to compete in RMA trials conducted in Australia from November 2020. The extensive testing regime, considered world leading, will put vehicles through a range of trials including lethality, mobility and blast tests.
If successful, the Lynx fleet will be manufactured in Queensland at Rheinmetall’s new Military Vehicle Centre of Excellence at Redbank south-west of Brisbane. The recent signing of the Hungarian Armed Forces as the first Lynx customer also means Australian SMEs will see future potential export opportunities for Australia.
Queensland Gaskets is a solutions-based expert. After an initial consultation, the team worked with Rheinmetall engineers to create the specialised part that matched the project’s requirements within two months.
“Specific premium-grade materials including metal, foam and rubber were sourced through our network of suppliers. Components were cut by the team on our CNC router and water jet cutter, followed by the hand assembly of parts at our factory in Brisbane,” Mr Quarterman said.
The value-adding end-to-end process that Queensland Gaskets takes ensures that the parts it manufactures meet the high standards required to ensure the protection of Australian soldiers in combat. This helps place Rheinmetall in a strong position to win the tender for this national defence project by engagement with local industry.
Lynx has been selected by the Hungarian Armed Forces for the delivery of more than 200 vehicles in the first launch order for the vehicle globally. Rheinmetall Defence Australia will export turrets to the value of $150m manufactured by Australians – and will soon announce further export orders into the Hungarian program, including orders for Australian SMEs.
Rheinmetall is also delivering 211 8×8 Boxer combat reconnaissance vehicles (CRV) to the Australian Army after the vehicle was selected by the Commonwealth after 12 months of RMA trials by Australian Defence Force personnel in 2016-17.
The company is establishing a local industrial capability in Australia for the design, development and manufacture of military vehicles that creates high technology enduring jobs for hundreds of Australians by localising design and manufacturing expertise in electro-optics, weapon systems, fire control and sensor systems, turret manufacturing, variant design and manufacture, integration, armour systems, simulation, training and fleet sustainment.
LAND 400 Phase 3 is a multibillion-dollar Army program, which will recapitalise Army’s Vietnam-era M113 armoured personnel carrier (APC) force, with a combination of a tracked IFV and tracked APC. (Source: Defence Connect)
20 Nov 20. Australian Army conducts beach trials with Boxer vehicles. The Australian Army has completed a series of beach trials with the new Boxer Combat Reconnaissance Vehicles (CRVs) during amphibious operations.
The Australian Army has completed a series of beach trials with the new Boxer Combat Reconnaissance Vehicles (CRVs) during amphibious operations.
During Exercise Sea Wader 2020, a trained vehicle crew from the 2nd / 14th Light Horse Regiment (2/14LHR) deployed to Cowley Beach Training Area joined the Amphibious Task Group to operate the vehicle.
According to the Australian Department of Defence, the Boxer CRV outperformed expectations.
2/14LHR commanding officer squadron major Ed Keating said: “The vehicle provides a real fighting capability that’s not only going to be the most capable cavalry vehicle in the world, but set the conditions for further modernisation projects.
“From what we’ve seen, I’m confident the Boxer CRV can be deployed just about anywhere in the world. The way it was able to manoeuvre on the beach was impressive.”
In trials, the vehicle was able to drive through the shore without support despite attempts by the crew to bog the LRV in loose sand.
Keating added: “It’s got a lot of power and made short work of the beach, and it wasn’t even being used to its maximum capability. It’s an extremely impressive and capable vehicle.”
The Boxer CRV can be deployed anywhere to undertake combat missions, as well as humanitarian and disaster-relief operations.
Currently, the crew is training with the vehicle to use as a deployable capability.
The Exercise Sea Wader was designed to hone the Australian Army’s skills for humanitarian aid and disaster-relief tasks.
Personnel also undertook training in amphibious combat operations.
The Australian Army is slated to induct 211 Boxer 8×8 CRVs under the government’s LAND 400 Phase 2 programme to replace older units. (Source: army-technology.com)
24 Nov 20. Rheinmetall unveils its new Mission Master – Armed Reconnaissance system. Enhanced situational awareness and frontline fire support. Rheinmetall’s game-changing Mission Master Autonomous – Unmanned Ground Vehicle (A-UGV) family has just gained a new member: the Mission Master – Armed Reconnaissance. Equipped with intelligence-gathering technology and a Rheinmetall Fieldranger remote-controlled weapon station (RCWS), the new Armed Reconnaissance module is designed to collect tactical intelligence in the area of operations while providing frontline fire support whenever necessary.
Crewless recon missions maximize troop security
Autonomous robotic vehicles offer countless advantages, including in a reconnaissance context. The Mission Master – Armed Reconnaissance is designed to execute high-risk scouting missions and deliver a real-time common operating picture without putting soldiers in danger. Since an enormous volume of data is gathered during missions of this type, Rheinmetall’s new A-UGV is equipped with resilient, highly reliable systems. Its payload consists of long-range EO/IR sensors, a surveillance radar, a 360° full ring camera, a laser rangefinder and a laser designator to identify potential threats. To further enhance the line of sight for the sensors while keeping a concealed posture, the reconnaissance payload is installed on a 3.5-metre expandable mast with a tilting mechanism. This convenient feature allows for increased and safe transportability on any platform, even a CH-53 or CH-47 Chinook.
The Armed Reconnaissance module also features radio-agnostic architecture, which means it can accommodate any type of radio that customers may need. The bidirectional communication system permits clear exchanges with HQ and other A-UGVs, giving commanders greater situational awareness. When engaging enemy forces, the Rheinmetall Fieldranger Light 7.62 mm RCWS will provide much more firepower than the usual man-carried section weapon. Engagement of targets is remote-controlled, never autonomous.
Safe operation at all times
As with the other modules of the Mission Master family, the Armed Reconnaissance owes its autonomous functions to the Rheinmetall PATH autonomous kit (A-kit). Proven, agnostic, trusted and highly autonomous, PATH is designed to enable military vehicles to operate in unmanned mode, freeing up soldiers for other duties and keeping them out of immediate danger. The A-kit provides a wide range of teleoperation options for the Mission Master, including a tablet, smartwatch, soldier system, and single-hand controller. These devices enable full access to advanced PATH features such as follow-me, convoy and autonomous navigation modes. Each control mode incorporates multiple layers of protection to ensure that the vehicle operates safely at all times. Moreover, Rheinmetall is committed to keeping a man in the loop in all kinetic operations, assuring that a human decides when to open fire, never a machine.
A comprehensive Mission Master family
The new Armed Reconnaissance module is the latest addition to the modular Mission Master family, widely acclaimed for its all-terrain manoeuvrability and ability to keep troops safe when deployed in harm’s way. The Cargo module can carry over half a ton of supplies, relieving the burden on troops keeping them fresh. The Fire Support modules boost the combat power of dismounted units, while the Rescue module autonomously evacuates casualties and carries specialized equipment for medical interventions in the field. In addition, every single module is equipped with a Blue Force tracking system that is fully compatible with NATO standards.
Like all members of the Mission Master family, the Armed Reconnaissance version is already networked to the Argus soldier system and Rheinmetall Command and Control Software, which can be installed in any user’s battle management system.
Power of the Wolf Pack
The addition of the Armed Reconnaissance to the Mission Master suite turns Rheinmetall’s groundbreaking Wolf Pack concept into a reality. The Wolf Pack consists of multiple Mission Master vehicles efficiently operating as a team in order to accomplish missions of all types, including zone surveillance, reconnaissance, target position transfer and slew-to-cue. All units communicate with each other and use artificial intelligence to maintain the total situational awareness necessary for carrying out their missions.
A genuine force multiplier, the entire Wolf Pack can be managed by a single operator from anywhere using the LTE network, SATCOM, or military cloud. It is an intuitive concept that enables one operator – rather than multiple uncoordinated operators – to focus on the overall mission rather than managing all the tasks of each A-UGV. As Rheinmetall continues to develop new modules for the Mission Master family, the Wolf Pack’s range of capabilities will only increase, significantly improving the military’s ability to achieve overmatch against increasingly capable enemies.