04 Feb 21. Boxer MIV, watching and waiting? BATTLESPACE has been contacted by a number of SMEs expressing concern regarding lack of RfQs being issued by RBSL for Boxer. It was clear from the brief by Stefan Lischka, Managing Director. ARTEC GmbH at IAV that one of the problems causing the delays was the fact that the final design had not been signed off by the British Army. What is becoming clear is that the British Army has requested added armour and a more powerful engine which will mean work for David Brown on a new gearbox and Horstman for suspension upgrades. However, one point of concern expressed to the Editor by one SME was the risk factor involved in bidding and the inclusion of a clause reputedly to have been agreed by the MoD, it’s in the warranty section 9.8
(8)The Supplier shall indemnify the Customer from any direct financial loss or damage suffered or incurred by the Customer arising as a result of a systematic or latent defect.
The supplier said that they may ‘no bid’ which would leave the field open for the existing supply chain of mainly German suppliers, further eroding the UK supplier base. In other news as we await the IR from the MoD sources suggest that F-35 numbers will be cut but that Ajax, will survive intact and more artillery procured. One suggestion doing the rounds is a cut in the number of Battalions and loss of cap badges.
02 Feb 21. Jankel achieves Final Design Review (FDR) milestone with pickup variant of their armoured Toyota LC200. Jankel, a world-leader in the design and manufacture of high-specification defence, security and NGO protection systems, has achieved an important Final Design Review (FDR) milestone with a twin-cab pickup variant of their Hot Formed Armoured Toyota LC200. The vehicle has been designed for an undisclosed customer. With the Toyota LC200 due to go out of production in 2021, Jankel are highlighting this conversion as an example of how they can adapt any vehicle to meet customer needs and fill specific capability gaps in the specialist protected vehicle market. With that in mind, the pickup design has the potential to become an after-market modification carried out on in-service LC200’s.
Partnering with Australian Expedition Vehicles (AEV), Jankel has integrated AEV’s existing and proven pickup design with the also proven and certified, Jankel armoured LC200 base platform. Bringing together the strengths of both designs into one offering has resulted in the armoured variant maintaining its protection level whilst gaining from an additional 650mm in wheelbase. This combined with a heavy duty rear axle upgrade delivers a significant increase in Gross Vehicle Mass (GVM-5800kg) and payload (up to 1500kg depending on specification), whilst retaining the existing protected crew-cab dimensions and space. The technique of lengthening the chassis and incorporating the modular and adaptable flatbed pickup pod is easily adapted to other commonly armoured light vehicles.
In addition to the increased payload and the usable flat 1900mm x 1700mm load bed space, the vehicle can be configured to deliver a number of automotive and user-orientated tactical capability enhancements such as: run-flats; improved brakes; tuned suspension; fire suppression system; door deadbolts; escape hatch; gun ports; weapons mounts; tactical lighting and a PA/siren. The lightweight flat-bed can be delivered with a canopy or a hard-top and includes folding/removable sides and integrated modular storage bins. Following FDR, Jankel will be undertaking validation tests to include elements of PAS 301 and expects the new vehicle to be in production by July 2021.
Andrew Jankel, Chairman at Jankel Group said: “We’ve developed this new pickup variant of our Hot Formed Armoured LC200 as a result of receiving an order from an existing customer. As a first of its kind I can immediately see other users of armoured fleets becoming interested in similar conversions that add capability and flexibility, not available on the LC200 base platform”. He added: “Once again, our strategy to partner with OEM’s and specialist defence suppliers to deliver bespoke capability has resulted in the exact product our customer needs, driving mission success”.
02 Feb 21. Rheinmetall welcomes Marand Precision Engineering to Team Lynx. Rheinmetall Defence Australia (RDA) has formally partnered with Melbourne-based Marand Precision Engineering to deliver the Lynx KF41 infantry fighting vehicle in Australia should it be selected by the Commonwealth of Australia for the LAND 400 Phase 3 program.
The Lynx is a next generation tracked, digitised and highly protected IFV built to meet the stringent military requirements of the $18.1-$27.1bn LAND 400 Phase 3 program.
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.
Marand has operations in Melbourne and Geelong and supplies sophisticated engineering solutions to the defence, aerospace, rail, mining and energy sectors. It designs and manufactures complex innovative solutions for its customer base including Lockheed Martin, Boeing, BAE Systems, BHP and Rio Tinto.
Marand CEO Rohan Stocker said, “We look forward to our strategic partnership with Rheinmetall and TEAM LYNX.”
Rheinmetall has delivered three Lynx vehicles to compete in the test and evaluation trials as part of the Risk Mitigation Activity (RMA) to be conducted around Australia over a 12 month time frame.
“Marand has decades of experience across a variety of industries, where our manufacturing expertise, business systems and scale truly set us apart from our competitors. We look forward to expanding our presence in Australia’s Defence industry and working alongside Rheinmetall to build the Lynx in Australia,” Stocker added.
The extensive testing regime, considered world leading, will put vehicles through a range of trials including lethality, mobility and blast tests.
If selected by the Commonwealth, the Lynx fleet will be manufactured in Australia by a nation-wide network of companies.
Rheinmetall Defence Australia managing director Gary Stewart said Marand was an outstanding Australian company with a reputation globally in major Defence projects.
“We believe Lynx is the best vehicle in its class and sets a new standard in protection and the lethality needed to survive and defeat any adversary,” Stewart said.
“Marand is a proven partner with a global presence in Defence and its design, development and manufacturing work will be critical to the successful delivery of our vehicles to the Australian customer.”
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.
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.
01 Feb 21. The Supacat Light Role Vehicle Live Demonstration.
Event location: Live Broadcast
Event start date: 18-02-2021
Event end date: 18-02-2021
We are pleased to announce that the Supacat team will be broadcasting **LIVE** on Thursday 18th February 2021.
The Supacat team will be bringing you a series of virtual shows throughout the day demonstrating our continuous development and investment within the Supacat vehicle fleet, which are meeting the environmental and technological demands of the defence sector today and in the future.
You can sign up to all three live shows, where you can virtually experience live-action demonstrations, discover more about our latest technology innovation, and explore the latest capabilities for Land Forces and Commercial Applications.
10:30 – The Light Role Vehicle (LRV)
The LRV is the next iteration in the Supacat fleet.
Discover more about its unrivalled performance in terrain access, and how its light weight provides a niche tactical vehicle to support any demanding mission.
There will be an opportunity for you to ask questions; we will do our upmost to answer as many questions as possible at the end of the vehicle demonstration. Those questions we do answer will receive a response within 48 hours.
The Supacat team will be adhering to all COVID regulations during the live broadcast. All pre-filming complied with strict regulations.
We look forward to welcoming you to our first live event.
28 Jan 21. DARPA Puts Robotic Software Through Paces in SubT Challenge. The Defense Advanced Research Projects Agency is working to broaden its pool of innovators as it approaches the final leg of its Subterranean Challenge.
The agency is using the challenge to help military and civilian first responders overcome issues associated with operating underground, including constrained passageways and limited situational awareness. It is hosting challenges for both physical platforms as well as software and algorithms through virtual events.
Sixteen teams competed in the virtual cave circuit in November. During the event, competitors used their technology to traverse through eight simulated caves, which were designed by Angela Maio, virtual competition lead for DARPA’s SubT Challenge, using information from real man-made caves, she said during the competition.
The competing teams submitted their software before it kicked off with the expectation that their systems could autonomously map, navigate the caves, find artifacts and coordinate with multi-robot teams all while operating in degraded communications environments in the virtual realm, Maio said.
During the virtual exercises, the agency is able to test teams who coordinate their robots to autonomously perform, she said. “They have to communicate with each other, find out how to explore the environment and really take on these cave challenges.”
Teams’ scores were calculated by completing tasks such as collecting the largest number of artifacts in the shortest amount of time and properly reporting an item’s location.
“The takeaway message for the virtual competition is it really is opening the doors to who and where some of the technology development can occur,” said Tim Chung, program manager for DARPA’s SubT challenge.
The items were scattered throughout the cave simulation at different levels, some in higher positions and others at ground level, Chung said during a press briefing following the event.
Software designed by Coordinated Robotics, a California-based team, won the challenge and a $250,000 prize.
DARPA is interested in a variety of underground environments, not just naturally occurring caves, Chung said. The challenge also includes urban underground and tunnel circuits.
The agency is interested in human-built tunnel environments such as mines, as well as underground urban settings, Chung said.
“Coupled with the cave scenario, which are for naturally occurring cave networks, all [of this is] culminating in technology development that will allow for us to be able to address all three of these subdomains and do so in a way that isn’t always tuning or tweaking, but rather more holistically addressing the diverse challenges in these environments,” he said.
DARPA held its subterranean tunnel circuit in August 2019. An urban circuit took place in early 2020. The final event, which will be a culmination of all three terrains, will take place in late 2021, according to the agency.
The final “systems” competition, which will include hardware designs, has a first-place prize of $2m. The final virtual competition for software has prizes of up to $1.5m. (Source: glstrade.com/National Defense)
02 Feb 21. Mack Defense M917A3 Heavy Dump Truck Ready for the Harsh Cold. Mack Defense and Phillips & Temro Industries (PTI) have partnered to prepare the U.S. Army M917A3 Heavy Dump Trucks (HDT) for harsh cold temperatures with an engine heating solution that allows the trucks to start and operate more efficiently and effectively in extreme cold weather.
“Mack Defense is proud to be part of this effort to give the M917A3 the ability to operate in extremely cold environments,” said Kenneth Robinson, Mack Defense project engineer. “Together with PTI, we produced a solution for harsh cold weather starts that our U.S Army can rely on.”
When activated, the PTI engine heating system circulates warm coolant throughout the engine to provide even heat distribution. Thermostatically controlled heat distribution ensures fast starts for critical applications needed by the U.S. Army. Warming the coolant also reduces fuel consumption, emissions and engine wear, all critical factors. When equipped with the PTI system, the M917A3 HDT is designed to start in extreme temperatures as cold as -40°F and provides optimized cold start performance.
“PTI’s products come from a strong history of innovation stemming from work in some of the coldest climates on earth,” said David Marohnic, heavy-duty heating systems engineer for Phillips & Temro Industries.
29 Jan 21. Meet the new hybrid tank competing for serial production in Turkey. A Turkish-Qatari armored vehicles manufacturer has unveiled a hybrid tank that combines the hull of a German Leopard 2A4 with a Turkish-made turret in an effort to win a serial production contract.
The tank was displayed by BMC on Jan. 23 to a high-profile delegation including Turkish Defense Minister Hulusi Akar and top military brass.
A BMC official said the company hopes to win a serial production/upgrade contract from the Turkish government for the hybrid tank. He added that serial production would involve more than 300 Leopard tanks receiving the hybrid upgrade.
“If the military command decides to order mass production, we will start the work immediately,” he said.
BMC hopes the hybrid model will become combat-proven after entering the Turkish military’s inventory. “That will pave the way for similar upgrades on hundreds of Leopards in different parts of the world,” the company official said. “Export potential is bigger than the Turkish contract.”
The hybrid Leopard is equipped with Turkish-made active protection, fire control and laser warning systems. It combines the chassis of the iconic German tank with the turret of the locally developed Altay, which includes a 120mm smoothbore gun.
A source with knowledge of the hybrid program told Defense News the contract is estimated to be worth “several hundreds of millions of dollars.”
The tank will not be a substitute to the multibillion-dollar Altay program. Under that effort, Turkey plans to build 1,000 units of the new-generation main battle tank. BMC won the serial production contract for the Altay, but the program has struggling over the past few years as Turkey continues its search for an imported power pack (engine and transmission system). Most recently BMC started negotiations with South Korea’s Hyundai-Rotem for a power pack for the Altay after talks failed with German suppliers, among a number of other companies. (Source: Defense News)
01 Feb 21. Type 15 lightweight tank enters service with PLA’s Xinjiang Military Command. Chinese state-owned television revealed on 30 January that the China North Industries Group Corporation (NORINCO) Type 15 (also known as ZTQ-15) lightweight battle tank has formally entered service with the Xinjiang Military Command of the People’s Liberation Army Ground Force (PLAGF).
In its ‘Military Report’ programme China Central Television (CCTV) noted that an undisclosed number of Type 15s was recently delivered to a PLAGF regiment in Xinjiang, making it “the first lightweight tank to join the military command”.
It said the Type 15s deployed to the district have been fitted with new “plateau” engines and oxygen-production equipment to enable the vehicles and their crews to operate more efficiently at altitudes of more than 4,300m above sea level.
No details were provided about the number of Type 15s on order for the command but CCTV showed at least 10 examples being transported to a training ground in Xinjiang.
Also shown was a medical evacuation variant of the ZBL-09 8×8 armoured fighting vehicle being handed over to the command.
CCTV said that the new vehicles are expected to “greatly enhance the combat capabilities” of troops operating in the region.
Designed to operate in mountainous areas and over terrain that requires a low track pressure, the Type 15, which according to the Ministry of National Defense (MND) officially entered PLA service in late 2018, is also known to be fielded by the Tibet Military Command, which is responsible for deterring and confronting India on the Tibetan Plateau, and the 75th Group Army, which is responsible for guarding China’s ‘southern gate’. (Source: Jane’s)