21 Jan 21. UK Defence Review Delayed Until End Of March. Sources close to BATTLESPACE state that the much-awaited UK Defence Review will happen in late March. More clarity over various armoured vehicle projects are appearing with the IAB having met in December to consider various proposals. In spite of a late run by KMW with a Leopard 2 A8 proposal the Challenger 2 LEP appears to have won through. WCSP is believed to be another matter with the current contract proposal put by LMUK rejected for lack of clarity. MRVP(P) Stage 1 is still waiting in thew wings with no contract for Oshkosh. This is believed to be awaiting clarity on UK content. Ajax, although still suffering turret problems, is believed to eb a goer although numbers are not specified. This is believed to eb because of the nature of the contract negotiated by GDELSUK. One refreshing feature which has arisen in these discissions is the new UK Requirement for UK content and job creation as part of any submission. Long awaited but much welcome to several SMEs! In another move we understand that the Ben Wallace has overruled the purchase of 16 advanced CH-47 Chinooks from Boeing.
21 Jan 21. Registration Opens for Future Armoured Vehicles Central & Eastern Europe 2021. SMi Group are delighted to announce that the Future Armoured Vehicles Central & Eastern Europe conference will return to take place as a virtual conference on 17th – 18th May 2021.
As Central and Eastern Europe’s most focused armoured vehicles meeting, attendees will hear presentations from senior military representatives from the CEE region, including the Czech Republic, Austria, Poland, Lithuania, Estonia, Croatia and Slovenia, as they outline their current armoured vehicle capability requirements, moderniaion and procurement programmes.
Not only this, but delegates will also have the opportunity to hear strategies on harnessing interoperability amongst CEE nations, hear insights on the latest products and technologies from OEMs and technical experts, and network virtually with leading representatives from military and industry.
Key highlights will include:
- Hear invaluable keynote briefings from senior military officers in national modernisation programmes
- Learn about the regional focuses for adopting and integrating new capabilities
- Listen and engage with high level panel discussions from senior officers
- Network virtually with those shaping and influencing armoured vehicle programmes
Key speakers will include:
- Lieutenant General Gabor Borondi, Deputy Chief of Defence, Hungarian Defence Forces Command
- Brigadier General László Sticz, Head of Forces Planning Directorate, Hungarian Defence Forces Command
- Major General Norbert Huber, Director Armament and Procurement, Austrian Ministry of Defence
- Major General Ivo Strecha, Director Force Development Division, Czech Ministry of Defence
- Brigadier General Frank Pieper, Chief Digital Officer for Land Forces, German Army
- Colonel Mindaugas Petkevicius, Commander Mechanized Infantry Brigade “Iron Wolf”, Lithuanian Army
Learn more about Future Armoured Vehicles Central & Eastern Europe at: http://www.futurearmouredvehicles.com/armadapr1. (Source: Armada)
19 Jan 21. German Industry Cooperating with Central and Eastern Europe. In recent years a number of countries in Central and Eastern Europe (CEE) have launched comprehensive modernisation efforts for their armed forces. Many projects, the goal of which is to enhance the operational and combat capabilities of the forces, enabling them to operate on the modern battlefield, are implemented with significant assistance from the German defence industry. The German Government and numerous defence companies play a role as suppliers of modern weapon systems and as partners for the local industry.
Hungary Invests in German Combat Vehicles
In early September, Rheinmetall announced that Hungary had awarded the German company an order to supply 218 LYNX KF41 Infantry Fighting Vehicles (IFV) armed with a manned 30mm LANCE turret. The contract, which was signed in Budapest, encompasses the delivery of IFVs, nine BUFFALO armoured recovery vehicles, related products and services, such as simulators, training and instruction, plus an initial supply of spare parts as well as maintenance support. It has an estimated value of more than €2Bn.
Hungary, as the first NATO and EU member state, will procure 218 LYNX KF41 IFVs. Deliveries of the first batch of 46 vehicles, manufactured in Germany, should conclude in 2023. The second batch of 172 LYNX vehi- cles will be built in Hungary by a Hungarian-German joint venture. (Photo: Rheinmetall Defence)
Rheinmetall expects further orders resulting from this contract, as the fleet of Hungarian IFVs will have a lifespan of several decades. As a result, the user nation will have to establish an efficient and proven supply chain for spare parts and services offered by Rheinmetall and its international industry partners.
In the first phase of the procurement programme, Hungary will take delivery of 46 LYNX IFVs and 9 BUFFALO armoured recovery vehicles, all built in Germany. Delivery of this batch of vehicles is expected to conclude in 2023.
Subsequently, the second phase of the project will see a 172 additional LYNX vehicles being built in Hungary. In August 2020 the Hungarian Government and Rheinmetall agreed to set up a joint venture company in Hungary. The new venture will be responsible for setting up the local production of LYNX vehicles, their testing, delivery and future maintenance.
Under the terms of the agreement reached with the Hungarian government, Rheinmetall will hold a majority stake and take the lead in the joint venture company. Hungary agreed to make significant investments in the project, leading to the construction of the new production facility. As a consequence, the local defence industry will gain new capabilities for production, testing and maintenance of modern combat vehicles. The planned involvement of the Hungarian defence companies in the procurement project will see a significant part of the contract’s value being re-invested in the local economy.
“We greatly appreciate the Hungarian Government’s trust in us which this order implies”, commented Armin Papperger, Chairman of the executive board of Rheinmetall AG. “Rheinmetall is very proud to be able to make an important contribution to the sustained expansion of Hungary’s defence technology capabilities in cooperation with local industry.
Over the next couple of years, the Hungarian Army will significantly enhance its operational capabilities through the acquisition of 44 new LEOPARD 2A7+ MBTs and 24 new 155mm PzH 2000 self-propelled howitzers as well as a dozen LEOPARD 2A4HU from KMW’s stocks. (Photo: Hungarian MoD)
We look forward to working together with our Hungarian friends and partners and will do everything in our power to assure the long-term success of this venture”, he added.
Procurement of LYNX KF41 IFVs is another step in the process of technical modernisation of the Hungarian armed forces, all of which is significantly related to the acquisition of German-designed armoured combat vehicles. In December 2018, the Hungarian Ministry of Defence (MoD) signed a contract with Krauss-Maffei Wegmann (KMW) for delivery of 44 new LEOPARD 2A7+ MBTs and 24 new 155mm PzH 2000 self-propelled howitzers as well as a dozen LEOPARD 2A4HU from KMW’s stocks for training purposes. Deliveries of LEOPARD 2A4HU started in summer 2020.
Czech IFV Procurement
Another major procurement programme in which the German defence industry intends to play a significant role, is the planned acquisition of 210 tracked IFVs for the Czech Army.
Rheinmetall Defence, which has been a major player in the Czech Republic’s defence market for many years, is one of the front-runners in the tender for the future contract.
The project, which has an estimated value of CZK53Bn (€2Bn), will lead to gradual phasing out of currently operated, obsolete BVP-2 combat vehicles, introduced into service in Soviet times.
The German company has invested a significant amount of time and resources in establishing stable and flourishing cooperation with local partners. With the anticipated finalisation of the Czech Republic’s new IFV project, which is expected to lead to the selection of Rheinmetall’s LYNX KF41 as the most favourable platform, the company envisions further investments in the Czech defence industry and an increasing involvement of local partners in the production and maintenance of the vehicle.
Rheinmetall’s LYNX KF41 tracked IFV features a high degree of modularity.
The vehicle includes a number of tested and combat-proven technologies, which significantly enhance its mobility, lethality, survivability and adaptability, making it an appropriate platform to operate in diverse combat environments.
The vehicle can be fitted with various mission kits and survivability packages; its propulsion system features an 850 kW (1140hp) Liebherr engine and a proven Renk transmission. With a weight of approximately 44 tonnes, the power-to-weight ratio is 26 hp/t.
In the combat configuration, the vehicle is fitted with the LANCE 2.0 turret integrated with the new WOTAN 35 electrically driven cannon firing the company’s 35x228mm ammunition family. Furthermore, the LANCE 2.0 can be fitted with a variety of sub-systems, such as Rafael’s SPIKE LR2 ATGMs, non-line of sight strike loitering munitions, UAVs or an electronic warfare package, installed on mission pods to the left and right of the turret, giving it a more a specialist capability.
Aside from the IFV, the offer submitted by Rheinmetall in the scope of the Czech tender also relates to significant benefits for the local defence industry, which would play a major role in production, testing, delivery and maintenance of the future weapon system.
LEOPARD 2A4HU MBTs, delivery of which has already begun, will serve for training Hungarian crews and maintenance personnel, preparing them to operate new LEOPARD 2A7+ MBTs as soon as they arrive in Hungary. (Photo: Hungarian MoD)
Rheinmetall identifies a number of opportunities resulting from further investing in cooperation with local partners. The expected selection of LYNX KF41 will allow the German company to significantly enhance its presence in the country and establish a stable partnership with local manufacturers and sub-contractors for decades to come. It is expected that the selection of the LYNX KF41 vehicle for the new Czech IFV and further investment of Rheinmetall in the local defence industry would allow the creation and maintenance of as many as 1000 local jobs.
Promising Industrial Cooperation
Rheinmetall competes with two other companies which also made an offer in response to the Czech IFV RfP, namely General Dynamics European Land Systems with the ASCOD 2, and BAE Systems with the CV90. A fourth company, which initially had shown its interest in the Czech programme, Projekt System & Management GmbH (PSM), a JV of Krauss-Maffei Wegmann and Rheinmetall Landsysteme, eventually decided not to bid.
The German manufacturer remains committed to reaching the final procurement agreement with the Czech MoD, despite the fact that the whole tender procedure has been significantly delayed as a result of the COVID-19 pandemic.
In mid-March, in response to the coronavirus pandemic and expected economic crisis, the Czech Republic’s Prime Minister, Andrej Babiš, announced that the authorities had revised planned investments in the country’s defence and military capabilities and that a number of programmes, which were to change the posture of the Czech armed forces for decades, faced suspension or even cancellation. Among the projects, the fate of which was to be determined in due course, was the IFV procurement.
Rheinmetall Defence is a contender for the delivery of 210 modern tracked IFVs for the Czech Army. The company has invested significant amount of time and resources in establishing a stable, flourishing cooperation with local partners, which will result in setting up a local production line for future LYNX KF41 IFVs. (Photo: Rheinmetall Defence)
However, despite temporary impediments and a very likely delay of the procurement programme, it remains certain that the planned acquisition of a series of new IFVs for the Czech land forces, although temporarily postponed, will eventually reach its conclusion.
Ex-German LEOPARD 2 MBT Modernisation in Poland
In late 2015 the Polish MoD signed a contract for the modernisation of a batch of 128 LEOPARD 2A4 MBTs acquired in the 2010s from German Army stocks, designated 2PL in Poland. Under the terms of the agreement, a number of Polish defence companies, such as the Polish Armaments Group (Polska Grupa Zbrojeniowa, PGZ) and its subsidiaries ZM Bumar-Labedy, WZM (Wojskowe Zakłady Mechaniczne), PCO, Zakłady Mechaniczne Tarnów, ROSOMAK, and OBRUM were supposed to participate in the project.
The contract’s original value was set at PLN2.4Bn (€520M). In 2018 the agreement was amended, and an annex regarding the modernisation of an additional 14 LEOPARD 2A4s, from the batch acquired from Germany in 2014-2015, were made part of the modernisation plan. As a result, the total cost of the project increased by PLN 300M (€65M).
Shortly after the original contract was signed, a consortium of Polish defence companies started negotiations with Rheinmetall Landsysteme for the companies’ participation in the project. Finally, an agreement was reached under which the German manufacturer would be responsible for working out a precise modernisation plan and implementing all required modifications on a number of prototype LEOPARD 2PL vehicles.
Rheinmetall also agreed to help the Polish defence industry to develop the required expertise, which would be crucial to undertake full rate modernisation of MBTs in the coming years.
The first prototype LEOPARD 2PL vehicles were handed over in 2018. Initially, they were delivered to ZM Bumar-Labedy. Following their delivery, which was spread over a few months, they were subject to a series of company and field tests. The goal was to confirm that all required modifications were implemented and that the modernised vehicles featured the required operational capability.
Under the ongoing modernisation programme, in which Rheinmetall Landsysteme plays a significant role, Poland will upgrade 142 ex-German LEOPARD 2A4 MBTs to the 2PL standard. Deliveries of
all modernised vehicles should conclude by 31 July 2023. (Photo: 18th Mechanised Division, Polish MoD)
However, during the testing period a number of irregularities and technical issues were identified. Furthermore, the Polish MoD and the Army decided to add new features to the MBTs, which had not been part of the original project and which required additional, time-consuming, technical work.
As a result, the Armament Inspectorate of the Polish MoD reported at the beginning of 2020 that the deadlines for the delivery of upgraded MBTs would not be met. Current estimates predict that the full fleet of 142 modernised LEOPARD 2PL vehicles will be delivered to the Army by 31 July 2023 (with 43 vehicles in 2020).
On 24 December 2019, the Armament Inspectorate signed an amendment to the original agreement, covering additional work and services as part of LEOPARD 2PL modernisation. Therefore, PLN569M (€124M) had to be added to the programme’s budget, bringing the total cost of LEOPARD 2PL modernisation to PLN3.2Bn (€700M).
“The tests of the LEOPARD 2PL prototype have not yet been concluded due to a number of areas which still need to be confirmed in terms of their compliance with several dozen requirements laid out in the Technical Specification“, Major Krzysztof Platek, a spokesperson for the Armament Inspectorate, stated in February 2020.
Overall, the LEOPARD 2PL modernisation programme covers the implementation of a number of new onboard systems and equipment, such as new/upgraded observation and aiming sights for the commander and gunner, improved ballistic protection of the turret, a new electronic system for turret traverse and cannon elevation, installation of a more effective fire suppression system, new command and control system, an additional APU generator, additional cargo carrying equipment and an upgraded evacuation/towing system adjusted to the greater weight of the vehicle, a new fire control system, new ammunition (DM63 antitank and DM11 multipurpose) and a day/night reverse camera for the driver.
Gradual Implementation of LEOPARD 2PL MBTs
During the MSPO 2020 exhibition in Kielce, held from 8 to 10 September, the Polish Army presented a modernised LEOPARD 2PL MBT. The vehicle belonged to the Orbat of the 10th Armoured Cavalry Brigade in Świętoszów, which is the first unit in the Polish Army to operate these modernised vehicles. The brigade had taken delivery of its modernised MBTs at the end of May 2020, months later than previously planned.
The Polish Army has already taken delivery of a number of modernised LEOPARD 2PL MBTs. These vehicles were supplied in small batches to several units of the Polish Army and currently serve training and testing purposes. (Photo: 18th Mechanised Division, Polish MoD)
Shortly after the MSPO 2020 exhibition, the Polish MoD confirmed that a batch of another three LEOPARD 2PL MBT was delivered to the 1st Warsaw Armoured Brigade in Wesoła, near Warsaw. The unit is subordinate to the 18th Mechanised Division in Siedlce.
The newly delivered vehicles were tested during a series of exercises conducted by elements of the 1st Warsaw Armoured Brigade and other combat units of the 18th Mechanised Division, such as 19th Lublin Mechanised Brigade in Lublin and 21st Podhale Rifles Brigade in Rzeszów and an independent 25th Air Cavalry
Brigade in Tomaszów Mazowiecki.
Today, the Polish Army has probably taken delivery of at least nine modernised LEOPARD 2PL MBTs, with six vehicles handed over to the 10th Armoured Cavalry Brigade, subordinate to the 11th Armoured Cavalry Division in Żagań. These are used for training tank crews and maintenance personnel. (Source: ESD)
17 Jan 21. Main Ground Combat System – The Combined Project Team. In the Letter of Intent signed by Germany and France in June 2018, Germany was designated as the lead nation for the Main Ground Combat System (MGCS) cooperation project. This project’s objective is to replace the LEOPARD 2 and LECLERC Main Battle Tanks currently in service, in the mid-2030s.
Using innovative cutting-edge technologies, the aim is to provide a state-of-the-art solution that will guarantee the assertiveness and superiority of duel-capable land combat systems in any direct engagement with all potential adversaries and in the most demanding operational environments well into the second half of this century.
Projects based on international cooperation agreements are usually characterised by special, unique framework conditions. The corresponding need for coordination with multinational partners as well as the processes of international procurement organisations must be adequately taken into account through the choice of an individual project essay and appropriate procedural provisions. The individual procedural provisions for the project were approved at State Secretary level in August 2019.
Framework Conditions and Commissioning
The MGCS project was approved in May 2017 as a top-down measure planning portfolio for the development of technology and system demonstrators. It is currently in the Part 1 analysis phase and was determined to be a Category A project in February 2019. Tasks that – according to the procedural regulation for the identification and coverage of requirements in the Bundeswehr – are part of the responsibility of an Integrated Project Team in the Bundeswehr Planning Office will be carried out by the German part of the bi-national MGCS Combined Project Team (CPT), according to the MGCS Framework Agreement and the Implementation Agreement 1 (both of April 2020) governing the individualised procedural regulations.
This joint Franco-German project team, which is responsible for the management of the project on the official side, has been set up at the Federal Office of Bundeswehr Equipment, Information Technology and In-Service Support (German abbreviation: BAAINBw) in Koblenz. There are currently 18 German and ten French posts, as a result of the German lead role, and it started work on 1 September 2020.
As a first step, the MGCS CPT is to take over the task of preparing the Common Operational Requirements Document (CORD, in English with German cover sheet), in the function of the national document “Capability Gap and Functional Requirement” and thus ensure the seamless transition of the project in the analysis phase from Part 1 to Part 2. In addition, the preparation of national German and French documents is to be supported on the way to CORD, which is scheduled for 2023. Project management for MGCS lies with the Head of Department K5.6, who – due to the German lead in the project – is also the head of the MGCS CPT.
The MGCS project, in which the tasks at hand are distributed across various working and coordination levels, has a high strategic importance in the field of duel-capable land combat systems at both national and international level. Therefore, the entire spectrum of tasks in the MGCS project is divided between the ministerial technical supervision, the management of the MGCS CPT and the project management of the national German share at BAAINBw K5.6.
The current and near-term focal points of the work are as follows:
- Supervision of the system architecture definition study, Part 1, which will run until the end of 2021, in which the system concepts that have been developed nationally in advance are to be refined by industry (a consortium formed by Rheinmetall, Krauss-Maffei Wegmann and Nexter) and integrated as a common concept, thus providing a starting point for the architecture definition.
- Development of performance specifications for contracts on the continuation of the system architecture definition study until 2025.
- Elaboration of contents and preparation of corresponding performance specifications of the bi-national research & technology efforts, which – structured in main technology demonstrators – are to make innovative technologies for the system-of-systems approach of the MGCS technologically ready for use by 2025.
- Development of content and preparation of corresponding performance specifications for the overall system demonstrator phase, planned from 2025, at the end of which decisions on the implementation of the MGCS programme are to be made in 2028.
Structure and Distribution of Tasks
In order to perform the CPT’s tasks, three pillars are subordinate to the Programme Director (also Head of BAAINBw Department K5.6). The Programme Manager & Deputy Director (French) is responsible for the “Administration & Management” pillar. The Head of Engineering (German) leads the pillar “Technology & System Integration”. He is supported by the Deputy Head of Engineering & Coordinator System Integration (French). The Head of Operations (German) leads the Military Support Pillar. He is supported by the Deputy Head of Operations (French).
Administration & Management
The Administration & Management pillar supports the Programme Director in his overall responsibility to ensure that the time, finance and quality frameworks of the MGCS project are met. Risk management involves coordinating all activities related to contracts, finances, legal aspects and safety standards. Possible risks are to be identified in a timely manner and appropriate countermeasures are to be planned. Project control deals with all aspects of internal procedures, processes and cost management. Control measures are to be planned in such a way that the project milestones as well as the corresponding upstream and downstream project steps are carried out in accordance with the project plan. This includes the corresponding national and bi-national reporting.
Within the framework of quality management, compliance with national and international standards and regulations is to be ensured. For this purpose, a project-specific quality management system must be developed and continuously updated. The programme planning department implements the specifications of the programme management and is responsible in particular for drawing up and implementing the MGCS project plan. In addition, corresponding documents are to be prepared and the administrative tasks associated with programme planning are to be carried out for the regular course of the programme.
Within the framework of interface management, all German and French interfaces in the MGCS project are coordinated. The focus is on processes, but content must also be considered. This includes coordination with external actors as well as the development and implementation of a project communication plan.
Technology and Systems Integration
The Technology and Systems Integration pillar provides the Programme Director with the technological content to be contractually delivered by industry, as part of the system architecture definition study, of the research & technology structured into main technology demonstrators, and as part of the overall system demonstrator phase. The setting up and accompanying of research & technology measures is divided into the categories Command, Control, Communication, Computer and Intelligence (C4I), Mobility, Effectiveness, Survivability/Protection and Surveillance, Detection, Recognition, Identification (SDRI).
Technology management brings together the technological expertise on individual topics and accompanies the technology development through the main technology demonstrator phase. This is essentially done by defining and implementing research & technology projects. The goal is to have all the necessary, especially innovative technologies technologically ready for use, that is, with Technology Readiness Level 6 (prototype in operational environment), at the beginning of the overall system demonstrator phase.
During the overall system demonstrator phase, technology management must then ensure that the individual technologies can be fitted into the overall concept.
The Military Support pillar is responsible for evaluating and implementing objectives and planning for the Programme Director. The aim is to establish a bi-national position in all military matters of the CPT. This is done with a focus on the areas of CORD, Concept of Operations) and Threat Analysis. To this end, the positions and specifications of the German and French armies as future users/operators of the MGCS are to be defined and taken into account.
For the CORD work area, the development of a capability situation/capability profile and continuous conceptual MGCS capability analysis are to be carried out by accompanying the capability development in the MGCS project as well as integrating the evaluation of the results of future developments in Germany, France and other partner nations within and outside the MGCS project. The development of the bi-national CORD document will be based on conceptually derived capability gaps and the formulation of functional requirements as well as requirements in the project elements.
In the CONOPS working area, bi-national documents on operational principles as well as further required conceptual basic MGCS documents are to be created. In addition, work is to be done on higher-level conceptual documents and MGCS contributions to national service regulations and other documents for command and control, deployment and training of the German and French armoured forces. This includes the development and continuous updating of operational scenarios.
A threat analysis relevant to the MGCS capability situation is to be developed and to be continuously updated by evaluating and implementing findings from Germany, France and other partner nations on potential adversaries and their equipment. In addition, evaluation and implementation of findings from German and French mission evaluation as well as from exercises, investigation, studies and comparable projects from both countries are to be taken advantage of for the programme.
In the demonstrator phase, the BAAINBw also assumes the role of the contracting authority for both participating nations. In this function, the BAAINBw is the competent organisation for contract drafting and legal issues.
The structure, scope and performance of tasks of the MGCS CPT correspond to bi-nationally agreed specifications. An adaptation of the individualised procedural provisions in the course of the project – for example, due to the integration of further partner nations into the project, as an implementation of lessons learned in the project work, or as a reaction to innovative technological findings – is, however, possible at any time with the approval of the State Secretary and will then be carried out in accordance with the original provisions. (Source: ESD)
20 Jan 21. Defcon Tech partners with Rheinmetall to support LAND 400 Phase 3. Canberra-based Defcon Technologies Group has been selected to supply, integrate and support the latest generation of INVISIO combat hearing protection technology to Rheinmetall Defence Australia as part of the Lynx IFV Intercom System in its bid for Army’s LAND 400 Phase 3 Infantry Fighting Vehicle Program.
Defcon Technologies is an established Defence supplier/contractor specialising in tactical communications and related technologies for defence, law enforcement and government security. It has been providing combat hearing protection and related capability to the ADF for nearly 20 years. Rheinmetall will deliver three Lynx vehicles to compete in Risk Mitigation Activity 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.
Nick Stokes, Defcon’s managing director, said, “Operationally, the Lynx is likely quieter than the vehicle it will replace, so continuous engine and road noise will not present the same challenges to hearing and communicating as in the past. However, impulse noise from large-caliber weapons has replaced continuous noise as the main threat to soldiers’ hearing and is harder to mitigate.
“The degraded aural situational awareness (ASA) that exists in the confines of all combat vehicles adds more complexity to what is already a hazardous acoustic environment and creates multiple challenges for mounted infantry who need to hear, communicate and function under stressful combat conditions.”
Stokes went further: “We look forward to strengthening our relationship with RDA by supporting Team Lynx as they establish their Systems Integration Lab. In the longer term, we look forward to providing our mounted infantry with the enhanced hearing protection, audio communications and aural situational awareness capabilities that our dismounted combatants have enjoyed via LAND 125 Phase 3B Survivability – Combat Hearing Protection since 2016.”
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 signing of the Hungarian Armed Forces as the first Lynx customer also means Australian SMEs will see future potential export opportunities for Australia.
Defcon Technologies is an established Defence supplier and contractor specialising in tactical C3I and related technologies for defence, law enforcement and government Security.
The Lynx KF41 will include the capability to support a crew of 12 (three crew, up to nine troops), have a max road speed of 70km/h, a road range of more than 500 kilometres, with an armament consisting of the Lance 2.0 30-35mm autocannon, a 7.62mm coaxial machine gun and a variety of additional close in weapons systems. (Source: Defence Connect)
20 Jan 21. Jackal 1 moves towards hybrid electric drive installation. The UK’s Supacat completed physical modifications to a Jackal 1 4×4 surveillance and reconnaissance vehicle (SRV) in mid-December 2020, and is ready for Magtec to integrate its hybrid electric drive (HED) system.
Jackal 1 4×4 SRVs are powered by a six-cylinder Cummins diesel engine developing 185 hp, coupled to an Allison 2500 five-speed automatic transmission and a two-speed transfer case. This gives a maximum road speed of up to 120 km/h, and a range of up to 800 km.
For the HED application, the six-cylinder engine has been replaced by a four-cylinder Cummins diesel engine coupled to a generator that provides power to a bank of batteries located in the rear cargo area, which in turn provides power to the four wheels.
Magtec was selected in August 2020 by NP Aerospace, the lead contractor for the Protected Mobility Engineering & Technical Support (PMETS) contract. The company was assessed by NP Aerospace and the UK Ministry of Defence (MoD) as able to offer a high Technology Readiness Level (TRL) HED application for the Jackal 1 with low developmental and programme risk.
When integration is completed, the vehicle will undergo a series of trials at the Millbrook Proving Ground (MPG) in the first quarter of 2021, with these trials expected to be completed in mid-2021.
Steve Austen, engineering director at Supacat parent SC Group, told Janes, (Source: Jane’s)
19 Jan 21. Lebanese military to receive 100 armored vehicles from UK to secure borders. A shipment of 100 armored patrol vehicles sailed from the U.K. on Tuesday as a donation from the British government to the Lebanese Armed Forces to secure the northern and eastern borders.
The Land Rover RWMIK — or Revised Weapons Mounted Installation Kit — vehicle package is worth £1.5m (U.S. $2m) and “will further reinforce the stability on the Lebanese border with Syria and help the LAF to counter efforts by terrorists and smugglers to cross into the country,” according to the news release issued by the U.K. Embassy in Lebanon.
The U.K. previously supported Lebanon’s military by deploying four land border regiments, constructing more than 75 border towers, providing 350 Land Rovers, and training more than 11,000 LAF personnel to counter extremists and smugglers seeking to infiltrating Lebanon from Syria, which has been a problem for years.
“I am delighted that the U.K. has been able to help with this donation. These vehicles will make a real difference to the work of the land border regiments, whose efforts make life safer for all communities in Lebanon,” said Martin Longden, Britain’s special envoy to Syria. “It’s a great practical example of the friendship and collaboration between the armed forces of our two countries, and the U.K.’s genuine commitment to a strong and stable Lebanon.”
Lebanese expert and retired security forces brigadier Naji Mlaeb stressed the necessity of such vehicles to support the country’s border security mission.
“These vehicles will facilitate the transportation of armed forces in the rugged terrain of the borders, whether northern or eastern ones, where most roads between the towers are not even paved but are dirt roads opened by the Lebanese Army to move between towers,” Mlaeb told Defense News.
“As the borders with Syria are very long, there is an impossibility to monitor them through personnel or even mines to prevent sneaking or smuggling. That’s why the Land Rover RWMIK will facilitate the four regiments’ mission in border security.” (Source: Defense News)
07 Jan 21. International Armoured Vehicles Conference. January 26-February 11, 2021, Online Event, Your Computer
The World’s Premier Platform for the Armoured Vehicles Community – Now Online.
The largest dedicated conference of its type, it annually brings together defence and industry leaders, with a military cohort comprising force and operational commanders, acquisition officials, requirement-setters, capability development experts and S&T architects. For the first time in 2021, the conference will be hosted online, with new dedicated sessions on amphibious vehicle capability and C4i that speak to critical priorities for the UK, US and its partners across NATO.
IAVs has endured as the essential annual event for the armour community by consistently delivering world-class speakers from both the end-user community and industry partner communities, and by staying ahead of the curve with the technologies and concepts discussed over the duration of the event.
Why you should attend IAVs online
International Armoured Vehicles conference has a track record for bringing together an exceptional faculty of military and industry speakers, and for 2021 we have every confidence that the online version of the event will continue to deliver an outstanding level of content.
- It is the largest, online and international gathering of armoured mobility experts to develop and share your organisation’s capability, knowledge and project management expertise within the largest group of targeted prospective partners, anywhere in the world
- Engage with your customers and supply chains online , in order to solve common challenges and to bring forward modernisation and development agendas
- Explore the future threat environment with the community’s thought leaders, policy makers and innovators and support the community’s ability to defeat the enemy by demonstrating your armoured capability
- General Sir Adrian Bradshaw, KCB, OBE, DSACEUR (Mar 2014 – Mar 2017), Conference Chairman
- Lieutenant General (Retd.) Ben Hodges, Commanding General, US Army Europe (2014-2017) & Pershing Chair CEPA, Moderator – Mobility Day
2021 Speakers and Panelists
- General Tim Radford CB DSO OBE, Deputy Supreme Allied Commander Europe, NATO SHAPE
- Lieutenant General Chris L Tickell CBE, Deputy Chief of the General Staff, British Army
- Lieutenant General Martin H. Wijnen, Commander, Royal Netherlands Army
- Lieutenant General Sir Edward Smyth-Osbourne KCVO CBE, Commander, Headquarters Allied Rapid Reaction Corps
- Lieutenant General Eric M. Smith, Commanding General, Marine Corps Combat Development Command; Deputy Commandant for Combat Development and Integration, United States Marine Corps
- Lieutenant General John Kolasheski, Commanding General, V Corps, US Army Forces Command
- Lieutenant General Ivan Jones CB, Commander Field Army, British Army
- Major General Karl Engelbrektson, Commander, Swedish Army
- Major General Patrick J. Donahoe, Commanding General, U.S. Army Maneuver Center of Excellence
- Major General Pierre Gérard, Commander, Belgian Land Component
- Major General Attila Takacs, Commander, Hungarian Ground Forces
- Major General Erik Peterson, Director, Force Development, Office of the Deputy Chief of Staff, G-8, US Army
- Major General Jez Bennett, Director Capability, British Army
- Major General Peter A Gallagher, Director, Network Cross-Functional Team, US Army Futures Command
- Brigadier General Richard Coffman, Director, Next Generation Combat Vehicle, U.S. Army Futures Command
- Brigadier Jon Swift, Head Ground Manoeuvre Capability, Army Headquarters
- Brigadier Anna-Lee Reilly, Head Vehicle Support Team, Defence Equipment & Support, UK MoD
- Brigadier General Dorin Toma, Acting Commander of the Operational Component and Deputy Chief of Staff, Romanian Land Forces
- Colonel Rainer Peltoniemi, Inspector of Infantry, Finnish Army
- Colonel Valentin Skroza, G-3 Armored Mechanized Brigade, Republic of Croatia Ministry of Defence
- Colonel Syd Hills, Director, Stryker Warfighter’s Forum, I Corps, U.S. Army
- Colonel Masuko, Programme Officer, ATLA, Japanese Ministry of Defence
- Colonel Klaus Nebe, Deputy Chief of Staff Support, NATO Joint Support and Enabling Command
- Colonel Antonio Llorens Perez, Logistics Command (MALE)/Acquisitions Directorate (DIAD), Spanish Armed Forces
- Colonel Simon Ridgeway, Assistant Head Plans, Ground Manoeuvre Capability, Army HQ
- Mr Michael Sprang, Project Manager, Joint Program Office Joint Light Tactical Vehicles, PEO Combat Support and Combat Service Support, US Army
- Ted Maciuba, Deputy Director of Robotics Requirements, Maneuver Capability Development Integration Directorate, U.S. Army Futures Command
- Lieutenant Colonel Chris Orlowski, Product Manager, Robotic Combat Vehicles, PEO Ground Combat Systems, US Army
- Lieutenant Colonel Francois Laroche, Director Land Requirements, Armoured Vehicle Programmes, Canadian Army
- Lieutenant Colonel (GS) Armin Dirks, Planning Division II, Land Systems Roadmap Group, German Ministry of Defence
- Major Cory Wallace, Robotic Combat Vehicle Lead, NGCV CFT, U.S. Army Futures Command
- Major Tom Scott, SO2 RM (Land), Future Capability Group, DE&S, UK MoD
- Dr William Suttie, Land Platforms Group, DSTL
- Tom Newbery, Platform Survivability Group, DSTL
- Dr. Yazid Ahmad, Director Mechanical & Aerospace Technology Division (STRIDE), Malaysian MoD
- Andrew Davis, Global Technology Advisor, US Army Research, Development and Engineering Command
- Nanda Van Der Stap, Scientist Innovator, Intelligent Imaging, TNO (Source: ASD Network)
15 Jan 21. Nexter and Texelis are notified of SERVAL’s first series production tranches. Nexter and Texelis, as part of the temporary grouping of companies (GME) light-VBMR (véhicule blindé multi-rôles) SERVAL, were notified on December 23, 2020 by the French Delegation for Armaments (DGA) of the first production tranches of the SERVAL contract, i.e. 364 vehicles. This notification provides for the delivery in 2022 of the first 12 production vehicles in the first half of the year, followed by a further 96 in the second half.
The SERVAL is a 15-ton multi-role armoured vehicle which integrates various equipment common to other SCORPION vehicles, especially the electronic core, a turret remotely operated from the passenger compartment, threat sensors and the SCORPION Combat Information System (SICS), which enables it to be integrated into the SCORPION systems network. Based on a modular architecture, Nexter and Texelis have developed three main versions of this weapon system (patrol, intelligence and reconnaissance, and communications relay), themselves available in numerous variants. Designed to operate in combat zones, the SERVAL combines flexibility, strategic mobility and payload carrying capacity. It is the indispensable complement to the heavy multi-role armoured vehicle GRIFFON (EBMR) and the armored reconnaissance and combat vehicle JAGUAR (EBRC) that will equip the land task force’s armoured middle segment. In addition, as part of a procedure launched by the gendarmerie to renew its fleet of armored vehicles, the GME offers a system based on the Serval that integrates a motorized protection solution capable of operating in mainland France and overseas.
Despite the difficulties caused by the health crisis, Nexter and Texelis have managed, on a very tight schedule, to develop a highly protected and particularly mobile combat vehicle.
While waiting for the first deliveries, SERVAL’s qualification process is continuing with around ten prototypes currently undergoing qualification tests. Nexter and Texelis welcome this notification and testify to the involvement of the GME SERVAL teams, who work tirelessly to ensure the satisfaction of end users.
18 Jan 21. UK eyes Franco-German MGCS future tank programme. The UK Ministry of Defence (MOD) has signed up as an observer to the Franco-German Main Ground Combat System (MGCS) programme, as it weighs up options for a post-Challenger 2 tank capability.
The UK’s interest in the programme, first reported by Defense News, is in early stages with few details about the nature of the UK’s observer status made public.
Under the programme, Germany and France through industry partners Nexter Systems, Krauss-Maffei Wegmann and Rheinmetall are looking to develop a replacement vehicle for both the Leopard 2 and Leclerc Main Battle Tanks (MBTs).
The British Army is currently seeking to upgrade its own MBT capability through the Challenger 2 Life Extension Programme led by Rheinmetall BAE Systems Land (RBSL). Under current plans, Challenger 2’s upgrade will ensure the tanks service up until 2040.
In a statement, a spokesperson for the MOD told Army Technology: “The UK is a world leader in tank design and proud to be involved with international partners via the European Main Ground Combat System programme.”
The future MGCS tank is projected to begin production in around 2035, aiming to declare full operational capability in the same year the UK’s upgraded Challenger 2 fleet could face potential retirement.
The MOD spokesperson added: “The British Army’s Challenger 2 upgrade will extend our Main Battle Tank capability up to 2040.”
In its story, Defense News reported that the MOD was also looking at other future tank programmes. Elsewhere in the EU, last year, the Italian Ministry of Defence began early work on a joint programme with Spain and Poland to develop a new tank.
In evidence given to Parliament’s Defence Select Committee last year, KNDS – the holding company of the merged Krauss-Maffei Wegmann and Nexter Systems – said it offered the UK a ‘long-term strategic route map for UK industry-leading to MGCS.’
Elsewhere in the same evidence, the company promoted the Leopard 2 as ‘a state of the art yet, non-developmental and low-risk alternative’ to the Challenger 2 Life Extension Programme as a ‘gap filler’ until MGCS is in production.
At the time, KNDS wrote: “We bring a broad range of immediate solutions (Boxer T40, Leopard 2) capabilities, technologies to support medium-term programmes (artillery and ammunition) and our appetite to invest in the UK, IP, research and development will lead to a sustainable UK industrial footprint making KNDS the natural partner for the UK and future programmes like MGCS.”
In 2018, the MGCS consortium showed a precursor to the future vehicle at Eurosatory showcasing a Leopard 2 hull fitted with the lighter turret of the Leclerc MBT. A key attribute of the vehicle was its lower weight, allowing it to traverse lower load bridges.
The UK’s Challenger 2 upgrade is still on hold pending the publication of the Integrated Review of defence, security and foreign policy. A decision on whether to proceed with the programme was due last December, however little has been revealed since the government decided to postpone publication of the review.
The review had been expected to be published in mid-February, however, this was recently cast into doubt by Prime Minister Boris Johnson.
In written evidence to the Defence Select Committee, the MOD signalled its preference for a Challenger 2 upgrade over purchasing off-the-shelf tanks such as Leopard 2 saying the upgraded Challengers would have the same level of lethality but offer better survivability and similar levels of mobility.
The MOD wrote: “The Challenger 2 Life Extension Project will be the first significant upgrade since it entered service in 1998; once in service, it will be comparable – and in certain areas superior – to the latest version of Leopard 2 and Abrams.” (Source: army-technology.com)
19 Jan 21. The MSVS trucks complete their first year in the Canadian Army. On December 4, 2019, the 1,587th and last Medium Support Vehicle System (MSVS) truck was completed on the production lines in Marolles-en-Hurepoix. It was then shipped to Canada for final integration. On February 13th, 2020, Mack Defense handed it to the Canadian Army’s officials in Saint Nicolas, Quebec, thus concluding a three-year industrial adventure which had started in France. The MSVS trucks’ first year of service has been extremely busy already, with deployments both in Canada and in foreign operations.
The Medium Support Vehicle System (MSVS) program was designed to provide Canada with a fleet of mid-sized, multi-purpose logistics vehicles to replace their aging Medium Logistics Vehicle Wheeled (MLVW) fleets, which had been in service since the 1980s. It also included the acquisition of Armored Protection Systems and trailers. These new trucks and their equipment had to be able to provide a complete transport capacity (particularly in terms of loading/unloading of loads or on-board equipment) in theaters of operation, both on national territory and abroad.
Under Phase 4 of the MSVS program, which included the provision of Standard Military Pattern (SMP) trucks, including their trailers and crane systems, armored cabins and protective equipment, and vehicle support, Arquus Engineering and Manufacturing teams led parts of the militarization for all five variants of the 1,587-trucks program. This complete militarization aimed at ensuring the vehicle met the true capabilities of a truck designed for military use.
Arquus has a solid and long experience in the design and production of logistic and tactical military carriers, both specifically designed for the military and commercially designed but transformed for military use. In France alone, this partnership with the Army continues today with the GBC8KT, GBC180, TRM10000, TRM 2000, VLRA, or Sherpa Medium trucks. In total, more than 10,000 trucks that are now used daily in the French Army alone are Arquus-made.
This expertise has recently led to the launch of a brand new logistics and tactical range, the Armis family, consisting of three 4×4, 6×6 and 8×8 vehicles perfectly adapted to the needs of modern armed forces, designed by Arquus and built by the company and its French partners.
This experience enabled Arquus to take charge of the studies and design of militarized enhancements and transformations for the vehicles designed for the Canadian Army. These activities ensured the definition of a coherent global architecture adapted to the specific requirements of the Canadian Army in support of their mission profile and anticipated global deployments.
The militarization activities were carried out at two Arquus sites, in close cooperation with other Volvo Group businesses, Renault Trucks, Mack Defense and Prevost, and under the supervision of the French defense procurement agency, the Délégation Générale de l’Armement (DGA), the program’s agent.
As part of the MSVS Program, the rolling chassis arrived from two Renault Trucks plants, Bourg-en-Bresse (bare chassis) and Blainville (cab) and were delivered to Marolles-en-Hurepoix, where a production line was purposely set up to advance assembly by adding specific enhancements such as cold weather start kits, Crane and supporting Hydraulic System installations among key activities.
A total of five variants were supported:
The LHS (Load Handling System): an MSVS truck version designed to embark, transport and deliver containers with a payload of up to 9.5t. It represents 47% of the whole fleet.
The TCV (Troop Carrying Cargo): the “standard” cargo version of the MSVS, which makes about 38% of the fleet. It is equipped with a rear platform, side rails, a tailgate, folding seats and a tarpaulin. Versatile, it can embark 24 soldiers or equipment.
The MHC (Material Handling Crane), 3% of the fleet, is a specialized version, similar to the “basic” version. On its open rear deck, it is equipped with hydraulic systems and a crane to handle loads.
The Mobile Repair Team vehicle (MRT), which represents 10% of the fleet, is an MHC truck specially modified to embark a workshop-configured shelter.
The Gun Tractor (GT), an MHC truck also modified to handle towed artillery pieces. It makes about 2% of the total fleet.
TheIn parallel, the Arquus site in Limoges, which specializes in the manufacturing of Arquus new vehicles, assembled and prepared for shipment to Canada the trimming kits for the 161 Armoured Protection Systems (APS), which were being final assembled in Canada. Limoges, also due to its extensive expertise in final assemblies of vehicles, also contributed in supporting Marolles in final assemblies of the MSVS fleet in order to meet program timelines and milestones.
311 MSVS were delivered by Arquus in 2018, and 1276 in 2019 (i.e. an average of about 4 trucks per day, and more than 6 vehicles per day during peak production activities), illustrating the company’s ability to produce efficiently a large number of vehicles in a constrained timeframe and to adapt to different rates on different configurations. Arquus has also been able to design and very quickly develop a complex production line, capable of managing different configurations.
In total, for Arquus, several dozen operators have been involved in the MSVS program, in the Design Office, project management, production, integration and finishing, both in Marolles and in Limoges.
Arquus’ handling of this part of the program illustrates the company’s capabilities in the design and production of military tactical and logistic carriers, as well as program processing in partnership with a large number of players. The program also demonstrated Arquus’ good management of a complex industrial scheme involving a large number of players (Renault Trucks, Prevost, the DGA, the Canadian customer) as well as constant communication between Arquus’ Marolles and Limoges sites. More generally, the MSVS program demonstrated the Volvo Group’s ability to pool the many complementary skills of the companies that meet customer requirements and expectations. The Canadian Army is very satisfied with the capabilities and quality of the MSVS trucks. All trucks have been deployed throughout Canada and have already been used in support of both domestic (Flood and humanitarian) and International (NATO) operations.
19 Jan 21. DARPA Project Drives Simulation Technology for Off-Road Unmanned Vehicles. RACER-Sim to focus on new computer models to advance autonomy capabilities. DARPA’s Robotic Autonomy in Complex Environments with Resiliency – Simulation (RACER-Sim) project is seeking innovations in technologies that bridge the gap from simulation to the real world and significantly reduce the cost of off-road autonomy development. DARPA invites proposals for promising solutions that support these goals.
While the past decade has seen increased use of simulation in developing field robotics, the military off-road environment is especially challenging and complex. Computers need to re-create three-dimensional surfaces, compliant soils and vegetation, and hundreds of obstacle classes. Software also needs to take into account lower fidelity or limited mapping data, unique platform-surface interactions, continuous motion planning, and no defined road networks or driving rules. In addition, modeling high speed off-road performance of sensors/modalities, sensor-to-terrain representations, autonomous platforms, and autonomous control remains a software and processing challenge.
“Because these challenges haven’t been effectively met, the practical use of current virtual models to advance off-road field robotics capabilities is limited and doesn’t yet allow a demonstrable simulation-to-real world capability, said Dr. Stuart Young, RACER program manager. “The large reality gap of current software models and complexities of their use discourage developers and prevent them from leveraging the full benefits of simulation.”
Over a four-year timeline, RACER-Sim will investigate technologies that are applicable to the off-road environment in the areas of algorithm development, simulation element technologies, and simulator content generation. (Source: ASD Network/DARPA)