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MILITARY VEHICLE NEWS

02 Dec 20. JLTV: New $911m Order Strengthens Oshkosh’s Hand For Recompete. With 9,500 Joint Light Tactical Vehicles already delivered, the Army was running out of room on its existing contracts, so it just ordered another 2,738 from Oshkosh. That’ll keep production going through a re-competition scheduled for 2022.

The Army’s already shared Oshkosh’s Joint Light Tactical Vehicle design with rival companies, who hope to take over the program when a new competition is held in 2022. But, having announced a new $911m order just yesterday, Oshkosh Defense is confident that it’ll fend off all challengers and keep building JLTVs for years to come, general manager George Mansfield told me this morning.

“This contract really shows how the Joint Program Office feels about Oshkosh,” Mansfield said. “They’re very confident we build a good quality product, [and] we are on time and under budget so far.”

budget that the military was able to buy more vehicles in less time than the original contract anticipated. (And it did so despite cuts to the JLTV budget in recent years). That’s why the Army — which runs JLTV on behalf of all the US armed services and seven foreign customers from Belgium to Brazil — had to issue the new contract this fall.

You see, in 2015, when Oshkosh beat aerospace titan Lockheed Martin and Humvee manufacturer AM General, the Army issued a production contract with a maximum value of $6.7bin and a maximum quantity of 16,901 vehicles. That contract was supposed to last eight years, through 2022. Before it ran out, the Army would hold a new competition, open to all comers, with the winner – perhaps Oshkosh, perhaps a rival – getting a new contract to build JLTVs after 2022.

But Oshkosh kept selling JLTVs more cheaply than the 2015 contract had assumed. That meant the military could buy more vehicles more quickly, even with a reduced budget for JLTV. That meant, in turn, that it ran up against the 2015 contract’s 16,901-vehicle maximum this fall, two years ahead of schedule.

So, to keep production going, the Army issued the new contract: an additional $911m for 2,738 more JLTVs, plus 1,001 trailers and other kit. That brings the total on order to 18,073 JLTVs, of which over half – about 9,500 – have already been delivered.

The Success of JADC2 Depends Upon Relevant and Actionable Data

Parsons is playing a key role in the U.S. Air Force’s Advanced Battle Management System (ABMS), which collects and fuses information in new ways that will enable the Army’s JADC2 vision.

What does a JLTV cost? That’s tricky. Oshkosh doesn’t divulge exact prices. The government’s estimated Average Procurement Unit Cost per JLTV is $395,000 (once adjusted for inflation; it’s $365,000 in 2015 dollars). If you just divide the dollar value of the new contract by the number of vehicles, the average cost per JLTV has fallen below $333,000. But the actual price per JLTV is actually a lot lower than that, because these contracts always include trailers, specialized mission equipment for different JLTV variants, spare parts and support.

The new contract allows the Army to order additional JLTVs through November 2023. That keeps production going through the re-competition, which is scheduled to award a contract in the second half of 2022.

Now, the re-compete is not about picking a new design. Instead, it’s about giving the Army the option to pick a new manufacturer for the existing design. Under the terms of the original 2015 contract, the government bought the Technical Data Package that shows you how to build a JLTV and can give that data to any company it likes. In fact, several potential competitors have not only gotten the data package, they’ve actually leased JLTVs so they can reverse-engineer them.

But while competitors now have the JLTV design, they don’t have Oshkosh’s facilities, workforce or their years of experience actually building it.

“We’ve been manufacturing this vehicle for five years,” Mansfield told me. “We know how it’s designed because we designed it, we know how to manufacture it, we’ve got a strong supply base. So I think we’re in a very good position.” (Source: Breaking Defense.com)

02 Dec 20. Russian military receives Terminator vehicles for testing. The Russian military on Monday received its first batch of Terminator tank support vehicles for testing. The Terminator, previously financially neglected by the Defence Ministry, proved its effectiveness during recent Russian combat operations in Syria.

Russian state television showed Terminators attached to the 90th Tank Division in the Chelyabinsk region of the Urals on Dec. 2. “The uniqueness of this car is its ability to follow three targets at once with all of its weaponry systems,” Col. Andrey Sigarev, the deputy commander of the tank division, told Channel One television.

The Terminator is equipped with the supersonic anti-tank missile system Ataka, which is able to reach targets up to 6 kilometers, two 30mm guns that can be used against infantry forces and helicopters, two grenade launchers, and a Kalashnikov submachine gun. The vehicle can reach a speed of 60 kph and is operated by a crew of five. Its design is based on the T-90 tank.

According to military experts, one Terminator can replace a motorized rifle platoon of 40 soldiers and six armored vehicles.

Russia’s military has received eight Terminator vehicles, which will be tested during military exercises. The vehicles, first shown to the public during the annual military parade in Red Square in 2018, took part in the Russian operation in Syria.

“The Terminator has proved itself a ‘universal soldier’ who can independently fight terrorists armed with small arms, grenade launchers and [anti-tank guided missiles], as well as resist tank platoons equipped with UAVs,” Victor Litovkin, a retired military colonel and senior military analyst for the Russian government’s news agency Tass, told Defense News.

Its battlefield experience “dispelled the doubts of generals about its adoption by the Russian Army and increased its export potential,” Litovkin explained.

In 2010, the Defence Ministry abandoned plans to financially support the Terminator’s development. During that time, the ministry was headed by Anatoliy Serdyukov, who once proposed the purchase of foreign-made weapons to boost military modernization.

The Terminator is designed by UralVagonZavod, the country’s leading tank producer, which, despite its export potential, heavily relies on state support. It also produces rail vehicles but has experienced problems breaking even. However, according to Russian media reports in 2020, the firm made a net profit of $2.6m. It was last on Defense News’ list of the top 100 defense companies in the world in 2018, where it ranked 46th place, having brought in $1.865bn in defense revenue for 2017. (Source: Defense News)

01 Dec 20. Oshkosh Defense Receives $911m JLTV Order From U.S. Army. Oshkosh Defense, LLC, an Oshkosh Corporation (NYSE: OSK) company, announced today the U.S. Army Contracting Command, Detroit Arsenal has placed an order for 2,738 Joint Light Tactical Vehicles (JLTV), 1,001 companion trailers, and associated kits. The Oshkosh Defense JLTVs will be supplied to the U.S. Army, U.S. Navy, U.S. Marine Corps, and U.S. Air Force along with a select group of NATO and non-NATO allies. This is the second largest order of Oshkosh Defense JLTVs, with a contract value of $911m.

The Oshkosh Defense JLTV is designed for the future battlefield with reconfiguration capabilities to meet the demands of the Warfighter’s evolving mission requirements. It offers the world’s only light tactical vehicle with the protection, off road mobility, network capability and firepower options to maneuver with combat formations.

“The men and women of Oshkosh Defense take great pride in what they do,” said George Mansfield, Vice President and General Manager of Joint Programs for Oshkosh Defense. “Designing, building, and delivering the world’s most capable light tactical vehicle, the Oshkosh JLTV, is one of our greatest accomplishments. And we plan to continue building the Oshkosh JLTV for many years to come.”

As part of this order, 59 vehicles will be delivered to NATO and non-NATO allies – including Lithuania, North Macedonia, and Brazil. As the industry-leading tactical vehicle manufacturer, Oshkosh Defense takes great pride in working with both domestic and international customers to give the Warfighter a necessary technological edge at the best price. Oshkosh Defense strives every day to meet or exceed our customers’ ever-changing needs with next-generation defense technologies and advanced mobility systems. (Source: BUSINESS WIRE)

30 Nov 20. South Korea’s K2 tank export plans suffer under transmission failure. South Korea’s arms acquisition agency has decided to equip third batch of K2 Black Panther main battle tanks with a German transmission system, a part of the tank’s power pack that includes a locally developed engine.

The decision is a blow to a 15-yearlong effort to replace the German RENK transmission system with an indigenous one, which local industry expected would pave the way for exporting the tank.

The Defense Acquisition Program Administration, or DAPA, made the decision Nov. 25 during a committee meeting led by Defense Minister Suh Wook, ahead of mass production of 50 more K2 tanks.

“Around 50 units of K2 tanks will be built by 2023 with an investment of 2.83trn won,” the agency said in a statement. (That’s about $2.56bn in U.S. currency.)

The new units will be fitted with a “hybrid powerpack” consisting of the RENK transmission and an engine developed by Doosan Infracore, as the homegrown automatic transmission developed by S&T Dynamics has failed in durability tests, the statement said.

A history of delays

The failure in local transmission development has also caused setbacks for the tank’s deployment in the South Korean Army.

The Black Panther was co-developed by the state-run Agency for Defense Development and Hyundai Rotem, a defense business arm of Hyundai Motor, to replace M48 Patton tanks and earlier models of K1 tanks that have been service since the 1980s. Prototypes were unveiled in 2007.

Mass production of the first 100 units was approved in 2011, with deployment scheduled for the following year, but the effort was delayed over a faulty engine and a lack of progress on a locally produced transmission. The government then decided to use the German-made power pack consisting of the MTU 883 diesel engine and RENK transmission system for the first batch.

The tanks entered service in 2014, and in that same year, local developers announced they succeeded in developing a 1,500-horsepower power pack that could be installed on the second batch of 100 tanks. However, the deployment of the second batch also faced delays, as the S&T Dynamics-made transmission system repeatedly failed to prove its reliability and durability under transmission production standards, which require a system to run without issue for 320 hours. The second batch of K2s were eventually delivered in 2019.

Export potential

The fate of the locally made power pack is a key concern for the tank’s potential foreign customers, including Turkey.

In 2008, Hyundai Rotem signed a $540m contract with Turkey’s Otokar for technological transfer and design assistance of the K2. The technology was incorporated into Turkey’s main battle tank in the making, dubbed Altay. Defense News recently learned that Turkish procurement and military officials have been in talks with Hyundai Rotem to salvage its delayed program.

Poland has also reportedly shown interest in developing its own main battle tank in cooperation with Hyundai Rotem using technology from the Black Panther.

The Black Panther is armed with a 120mm L55 smoothbore gun indigenously developed by Hyundai Wia. It is also equipped with a fire control system capable of acquiring and tracking specific targets up to a range of 9.8 kilometers using a thermographic camera.

The tank can travel at speeds of up to 70 kph on road surfaces and maintain speeds of up to 52 kph in off-road conditions. It can also climb 60-degree slopes and overcome vertical obstacles at up to 1.8 meters in height. (Source: Defense News)

30 Nov 20. Nikola shares drop after GM scales back plans with start-up Truckmaker kills off Badger pick-up project and will have to reimburse customer deposits. Nikola began collecting deposits of up to $5,000 for the Badger pick-up truck in the summer. General Motors has abandoned plans to take a stake in Nikola, under a scaled-back arrangement that sent shares in the hydrogen start-up tumbling. The non-binding agreement announced on Monday between the two companies downgrades the start-up from a technology and manufacturing partner to a customer of the carmaker’s hydrogen fuel cell system. The news prompted Nikola’s shares to fall 21 per cent to $22.17. Under the revised deal, Nikola has killed off plans for its Badger pick-up truck, a vehicle that drove the rise in its share price when they were unveiled over the summer. It means the company will have to reimburse millions of dollars in refundable customer deposits. The group began collecting deposits of up to $5,000 for the vehicle in the summer, and had $6.9m in deposits that were “primarily related to the Badger” at the end of September, according to its most recent results. Recommended Markets Nikola: dude, where’s my Badger? AN HOUR AGO An earlier deal in which GM would have taken a $2bn stake in the business and build Nikola’s pick-up truck on its behalf was torn up after the start-up was accused of an “intricate fraud” by a short-seller. “This went from a game-changer deal for Nikola to a good supply partnership but nothing to write home about,” wrote Daniel Ives, an analyst at Wedbush.

“The signing of GM as a partner is a positive, but ultimately no ownership/equity stake in Nikola and the billions of R&D potentially now off the table is a major negative blow to the Nikola story.” The announcement comes the day before a big lock-up ends on Nikola’s shares, allowing investors to sell out of the company that floated through a reverse merger over the summer. Mark Russell, Nikola’s chief executive, played down the importance of the Badger pick-up truck in an interview with the Financial Times in October. “Heavy trucks remain our core business and we are 100 per cent focused on hitting our development milestones to bring clean hydrogen and battery-electric commercial trucks to market,” Mr Russell said on Monday. Doug Parks, GM’s executive vice-president of global product development, purchasing and supply chain, said: “This supply agreement recognises our leading fuel cell technology expertise and development.”

Nikola and GM first announced a deal in early September where the Detroit carmaker would own a near 11 per cent stake of the company in exchange for manufacturing the Badger truck. However, talks between Nikola and GM over terms of a deal had dragged on since short-seller Hindenburg Research released a report that included alleged misrepresentations by the Arizona-based company and its founder Trevor Milton. The new agreement says the two companies will discuss what scope of services GM will provide to the truckmaker, and Nikola “would pay upfront for the capital investment for the capacity”. Nikola could also potentially become a customer for GM’s Ultium batteries, as well as the Hydrotec fuel cell system. The two companies have until the end of 2021 to agree final terms, under the memorandum of understanding. Nikola expects to begin production of its first electric truck by the end of 2021 through a partnership with CNH’s Iveco brand. (Source: FT.com)

30 Nov 20. Hyundai Rotem readies Multipurpose Unmanned Ground Vehicle for delivery. South Korean defence and engineering prime Hyundai Rotem has been selected as the supplier of Multipurpose Unmanned Ground Vehicles (MUGVs) to the Republic of Korea Armed Forces.

Hyundai Rotem announced on 24 November that it had won a contract from the Defense Acquisition Program Administration (DAPA) to supply two MUGVs within six months under an accelerated acquisition scheme that aims to introduce new capabilities to the military. The company will also provide the associated support for the two vehicles. MUGVs are two-tonne multirole platforms that can be fitted with a range of mission equipment depending on the user’s requirements. The type can be used to perform combat reconnaissance in heavily contested battlefield environments to improve the firepower and survivability of troops.

The vehicle can also be used for supporting roles such as ammunition and expendable resupply, and casualty evacuation.

The MUGV will be derived from Hyundai Rotem’s HR-Sherpa UGV, a 6×6 multirole dual-use platform that is 2.7m in length, 1.7 m in width, and 0.9m in height. It weighs 1.6 tonnes in its baseline configuration, and up to two tonnes when fully loaded. The company will also supply an in-house remote-control weapon system (RCWS) and plans to arm it with a 5.56mm light machine gun.

The battery powered UGV is equipped with airless tyre technology and can turn on its axis. It is also equipped with a water-cooled battery and an integrated heat management system that supports long-distance driving in all-weather operations, and offers a claimed endurance of six hours when cruising at 5km/h. It can also attain road and cross-country speeds of up to 40km/h and 10km/h, respectively. (Source: Jane’s)

26 Nov 20. Using UGVs for decoy and deception: Digital Concepts Engineering. At the British Army’s Army Warfighting Experiment (AWE) 20, British robotics and uncrewed ground vehicle (UGV) developer Digital Concepts Engineering (DCE) impressed army officials with its UGVs equipped with loudspeakers that can be used to confuse the enemy.

At the British Army’s Army Warfighting Experiment (AWE) 20, British robotics and uncrewed ground vehicle (UGV) developer Digital Concepts Engineering (DCE) impressed army officials with its UGVs equipped with loudspeakers that can be used to confuse the enemy.

The company demonstrated how its X2 and X3 UGVs fitted with a tactical public address system could be used by the army to give the illusion of more or bigger vehicles, or disrupt verbal communications in a close-quarters combat scenario.

During the experiment, the company’s X2 and X3 – an upgraded X2 designed to be faster and quieter to meet British Army needs – were fitted with the same Vitavox Outacom Tactical Public Address system fitted to all variants of the army’s new AJAX armoured vehicle. DCE’s partnership with Vitavox began last year, at the launch of AWE 20’s first phase.

Digital Concepts Engineering also demonstrated how UGVs could be used to support a commander’s situational awareness, giving them a better idea of what is outside the doors of an armoured vehicle, improving safety for dismounted personnel.

DCE director Lionel Nierop explained to Army Technology: “We pitched the concept of a UGV enabled with the tactical public address system for several things. One of those was around the fact that you could send the vehicle forwards and communicate with people on the ground, rather than needing to do that with dismounts. So, you can partly bridge the gap between the mounted soldier and the dismounted soldier.

“It could be used very successfully in the info ops and influence ops role inherent with peace support, peace enforcement, public order and COIN [counter-insurgency] type operations.

“At the moment, as soon as dismounts come out of the back of a Warrior, they’ve only got their personal role radio (PRR), it is very difficult for commanders to tell them what’s going on the ground.”

Filling in this gap, DCE sees the UGV as a means to bridge between the commander, dismounts and mounted personnel, with the vehicle allowing a commander to see what troops are seeing, as well as allowing them to communicate with the troops through the robotic vehicle.

Nierop added: “If I’m looking through the UGV’s cameras, or the UGV operator is remotely looking through its cameras and spots a sniper at a window, that threat can be relayed to all.” (Source: army-technology.com)

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