30 Dec 20. On the 30th December 2020 at Guidoni Palace, headquarters of the General Secretariat of Defence and of the National Armaments Directorate, the Land Armaments Director Lieutenant General Paolo Giovannini and the Commercial Director of the Iveco – Oto Melara Consortium (CIO) Dr. Eng. Giovanni Luisi, signed a contract for 86 Centauro II armoured vehicles, plus 10 additional units in option, integrated logistic support and equipment.
The contract, marking the follow-up of the initial supply of 10 units (purchased with the contract signed in July 2018) on a total need of the Italian Army of 150 units, ensures a long-term stability thus strengthening the strategic know-how for the land sector of the national industry of Defence and guaranteeing the production continuity. Besides the excellent technical and human resources of the two partner companies, Iveco Defence Vehicles and Leonardo, the program leverages predominantly on a national supply chain thanks to the proven capabilities of the national Defence industry.
The Centauro II marks a major step forward compared to the previous Centauro I, in terms of power, observation capability, mobility, ergonomics, firing range, communication and maximum crew protection.
Equipped with a new power pack delivering over 700hp and with H-drive architecture, a hallmark of the 8×8 Centauro range, Centauro II features an entirely digital system and a new generation turret mounting with a 120mm gun and Command and Control Communication systems making Centauro the most innovative vehicle in service with the Italian Army.
The result is a new concept of wheeled armoured vehicle capable of operating in any scenario: from national security missions, to peace-keeping and support operations including all interventions involving the Italian Armed Forces.
28 Dec 20. Indian Army to procure 118 Arjun Mk-1A tanks. The Indian Army has initiated the process to procure 118 Arjun Mk-1A Main Battle Tanks (MBT) for nearly Rs89.57bn ($1.22bn).
The Indian Army has initiated the process to procure 118 Arjun Mk-1A Main Battle Tanks (MBT) for nearly Rs89.57bn ($1.22bn).
The Deputy Chief of Army Staff will soon forward the file for procurement to the Integrated Defence Staff (IDS) to put up the case, The Hindu reported quoting sources familiar with the development.
The case is expected to be placed before the Defence Procurement Board (DPB) and the Defence Acquisition Council (DAC) next month, the report further added.
The Arjun Mk-1A features 14 major upgrades over the earlier Mk1 variant. Limited user validation trials were conducted to test all the upgrades.
Additionally, the Defence Research and Development Organisation (DRDO) has established an Arjun hub in Jaisalmer to provide spare parts and associated support services.
The DRDO is also working to set up an obsolescence management of Arjun tanks for replacing antiquated electronics on existing vehicles. The move will also address indigenisation of assemblies and sub-assemblies.
Notably, the Indian Army inducted two regiments of Arjun Mk1 tanks between 2005 and 2010.
After DAC approves the case, the Indian Army will proceed to place the order with the Heavy Vehicles Factory (HVF), Avadi.
Subsequently, HVF will manufacture five tanks, which will undergo General Service Quality Requirement (GSQR) evaluation. If the Arjun Mk-1A variant secures the Bulk Production Clearance (BPC), the general production of the tanks will begin.
Recently, the DRDO handed over the Border Surveillance System (BOSS), an all-weather electronic surveillance system, to the Indian Army. (Source: army-technology.com)
29 Dec 20. New in 2021: The final year for Marine tankers. The year 2021 will go down as the year that the Marine Corps ditched its tank Marines.
Though the official decision came down in March 2020 from Maine Corps Commandant Gen. David Berger, and the tanks rolled away on train cars from 1st Tank Battalion, 2nd Tank Battalion, and 4th Tank Battalion this past summer, the tankers themselves are still in uniform and their units remain at least for a few more months.
The first to go was A Company, 4th Tank Battalion, in July when the unit cased its colors. Then C Company deactivated in August.
So, following the announcement, an estimated 800 Marines in a tank-related military occupational specialty were given the option to swap jobs or, if they had 15 years retire early. Then, in December, the Corps posted an official administrative message that allowed enlisted and officer tank MOS holders to end their contracts one year early.
Shortly after the C Company deactivation, 39 of its approximately 80 members transferred from the Marine Corps Reserve to the Idaho Army National Guard, most to continue on in tank jobs.
War games from 2018 and 2019 helped Berger and top Marine leaders pull the trigger on ditching tanks and other major force redesign efforts. Those include reducing the size of the Corps by 12,000 Marines in the next decade, increasing training, reducing conventional artillery in favor of rocket systems and pushing funding to more advanced weapons systems.
Former Marine tank mechanic and 2nd Tank Battalion member Sgt. James Webb also held billets as a driver, rigger and vehicle commander with deployments to Greece, Kuwait and Jordan, he said in a statement.
Begging in October, he started on-the-job training at the Camp Lejeune, North Carolina, headquarters building, running the Marine Mart.
He offered advice to fellow former tankers, and any Marine looking for a change.
“Don’t base your whole Marine Corps experience on your MOS, on your one duty station, or on one enlistment,” Webb said. “Don’t give up. There are so many MOSs that people don’t know about. Do research and find the one that clicks for you.”
The 2nd Tank Battalion is undergoing steps for formal deactivation, which is scheduled for sometime in mid-2021, 2nd Marine Division spokesman 1st Lt. Dan Linfante told Marine Corps Times.
The 1st Tank Battalion is planning its deactivation ceremony for summer 2021, officials with 1st Marine Division said in October.
Fourth Tank Battalion is expected to also be fully deactivated by the end of fiscal year 2021, which concludes at the end of September.
Third Tank Battalion was deactivated in the early 1990s following the Persian Gulf War. (Source: Defense News)
23 Dec 20. General Dynamics awarded $4.6bn U.S. Army contract for latest configuration of Abrams Main Battle Tanks. M1A2 SEPv3 configuration features innovative advancements. General Dynamics Land Systems, a business unit of General Dynamics (NYSE:GD), announced today that it was awarded a $4.6bn fixed-price-incentive contract to produce M1A2 SEPv3 Abrams main battle tanks for the U.S. Army.
Work locations and funding will be determined with each order, with an estimated completion date of June 17, 2028. The first delivery order is valued at an estimated $406m.
“We are pleased to continue our support to the Army on the modernization of the Abrams main battle tank,” said Don Kotchman, Vice President and General Manager of General Dynamics Land Systems U.S.
The state-of-the-art M1A2 SEPv3 configuration features technological advancements in communications, fire control and lethality, reliability, sustainment and fuel efficiency, plus upgraded armor. Additionally, the SEPv3 Abrams is designed to seamlessly accept future upgrades.
The SEPv3 configuration further modernizes the tank that has set the global standard for four decades. The Abrams main battle tank is built to confront and destroy enemy forces using unrivaled firepower, maneuverability and shock effect. With its manually loaded, 120mm M256 smoothbore cannon, the Abrams can overmatch against armored vehicles, personnel and even low-flying aircraft. General Dynamics Land Systems is collaborating with the Army to ensure it continues to have the strongest and most technologically advanced tank fleet in the world.
General Dynamics Land Systems provides innovative design, engineering, technology, production and full life-cycle support for land combat vehicles around the globe. The company’s extensive experience, customer-first focus and seasoned supply chain network provide unmatched capabilities to the U.S. military and its allies.
General Dynamics is a global aerospace and defense company that offers a broad portfolio of products and services in business aviation; combat vehicles, weapons systems and munitions; IT services; C4ISR solutions; and shipbuilding and ship repair. General Dynamics employs more than 100,000 people worldwide and generated $39.4bn in revenue in 2019. More information about General Dynamics Land Systems is available at www.gdls.com. More information about General Dynamics is available at www.gd.com. (Source: PR Newswire)
23 Dec 20. Nexter, Thales et Arquus succeed in presenting the 128 GRIFFONs planned for 2020. On December 18, 2020, Nexter, Thales and Arquus, as part of the temporary grouping of companies (GME) EBMR (Engins Blindés Multi-Rôles), presented the 128th GRIFFON planned for 2020 to the French Delegation for Armaments (DGA). Under the terms of the SCORPION program, and despite an unprecedented health crisis that profoundly affected production, the three manufacturers were able to take the challenge and meet their contractual objectives.
After this step, the last GRIFFONs will have to be submitted to the verification operations carried out by the DGA’s quality department. The vehicles will then be transported to the Canjuers site where the Army will proceed to take them into account; it is then that the DGA will formally receive them. To date, 90 GRIFFON have completed this route, adding to the 92 GRIFFON delivered in 2019. From January 2021, the last vehicles that left the production line in December will join them in the regiments, catching up very early in 2021 with the delay due to the health crisis.
From March 2020, Covid-19 has indeed strongly disrupted the industrial organization of the program. The site of Roanne, where the GRIFFON and JAGUAR are assembled, was forced to suspend its activity from March 20 to 30 in order to allow the installation of a structure adapted to the resumption of the activity under maximum safety conditions. Since then, two teams have been working on the lines in shifts of eight consecutive hours (2×8) to ensure that the lines are operational during these 16-hour days. Closely linked to their government contacts and after consulting their suppliers, the members of the GME quickly reviewed the initial schedule: the 2020 objectives were maintained for GRIFFON; the first deliveries of JAGUAR were postponed to April 2021; and this, while preserving the amount of deliveries at the end of 2021.
The year 2020 was marked by the passage of several major milestones for the GME. In September, the DGA notified the third conditional tranche of the EBMR contract, enabling the second batch of vehicles (271 GRIFFON and 42 JAGUAR by 2023) to go into production. In November, the GRIFFON command post vehicle (EPC) was qualified. Thus, among the 128 GRIFFONs of 2020, 35 examples of this new variant were presented to the administration, an additional difficulty that the EPC teams overcame. Finally, the new-generation T1 remotely operated turret that will arm the GRIFFONs was also qualified by the DGA.
Nexter, Arquus and Thales would like to pay tribute to the exceptional commitment of their teams. Their sense of duty and creativity have enabled them to meet the expectations of the French Army and its combatants as best they could, while greatly limiting the impact of the health crisis.
23 Dec 20. XTEK, Milrem Robotics sign MOU. The defence technologies firm has agreed to support the growth of Milrem Robotics’ footprint in Australia and New Zealand. XTEK Limited has signed a Memorandum of Understanding (MOU) with Milrem Robotics, becoming the firm’s Unmanned Ground Vehicle (UGV) representative in Australian and New Zealand.
As part of the agreement, XTEK is expected to leverage its established networks and experience in unmanned systems, and its maintenance capabilities and facility in Canberra to boost Milrem’s presence in the region.
“We are delighted to have confirmed this agreement with Milrem Robotics – a global leader in UGV design,” Philippe Odouard, XTEK’s managing director, said.
“This agreement will support our focus on actionable intelligence and innovative solutions in the field, to protect the frontline protectors.”
Odouard continued: “In addition, the maintenance and support services are a pleasing addition to our broader value-added services, with the capabilities already in place to support Milrem Robotics’ UGVs through our established logistics support services.
“We look forward to working with Milrem Robotics going forward and further developing the relationship.”
Milrem has also stated its intent to appoint XTEK to act as its UGV maintenance service provider in Australia and New Zealand, subject to respective representation and service agreements to be negotiated and concluded.
XTEK’s established maintenance facilities include a Logistics Engineering Business Unit based in Canberra, which provides maintenance support, and software development and engineering design services.
XTEK added that it plans to leverage its Adelaide Manufacturing Centre and XTclave technology for novel ballistic protection design and other engineering and manufacturing services for Milrem Robotics’ UGVs.
The firm stated it would explore opportunities with local industry and research partners in Australia and New Zealand to support the delivery of its offering.
The signing of the MOU with Milrem Robotics comes just days after Xtek announced that its US subsidiary, HighCom Armor Solutions, secured approval for permanent export licences for ballistic product sales to Mexico City.
Current orders are worth a total of US$2.1m, and will be used for federal, state, and local municipal personal protection deployment.
This follows the approval of a warehousing distribution agreement (WDA) with Performance Materials by the US State Department office of Directorate of Defense Trade Controls.
The WDA is projected to value armour products distribution over the next 10 years up to US$50m. (Source: Defence Connect)
22 Dec 20. Unimog celebrates its 70th anniversary. 27 October 2020 marked exactly 70 years since Daimler AG took over production of the Unimog. Since then, well over 380,000 units of the Mercedes-Benz Unimog have been sold to date, and large volumes of these vehicles are still being procured for front-line action, even after 70 years.
22 Dec 20. Hyundai Rotem to produce third batch of K2 MBTs for RoKA. South Korean company Hyundai Rotem announced on 22 December that it has been awarded a KRW533bn (USD481.4m) contract by the Defense Acquisition Program Administration (DAPA) for the production of a third batch of K2 Black Panther main battle tanks (MBTs) for the Republic of Korea Army (RoKA).
The company provided no details about the number of MBTs set to be built but sources told Janes that the third batch is expected to comprise a total of 54 K2s, with the new tanks set to feature a locally developed engine and a German-made transmission system, like those made under the second batch.
The company said delivery of the MBTs is set to be completed by 2023.
In 2015 Hyundai Rotem completed delivery of the 100 K2s ordered in 2010 as part of the first production batch and is expected to complete in 2021 delivery of the 106 K2s ordered in 2014 as part of the second batch.
According to Janes Land Warfare Platforms: Armoured Fighting Vehicles, the K2, which is operated by a crew of three, is 10.8m long and 3.6m wide. The tank, development of which was completed in 2007, has a combat weight of 56 tonnes and, when fitted with the German-produced engine and transmission system, a maximum road speed of 70 km/h. It is equipped with an in-arm suspension system that allows its ground clearance to be adjusted. (Source: Jane’s)