12 Feb 21. UK donates 100 vehicles to stop terrorists crossing into Lebanon. The British Army gave 100 Armoured Patrol Vehicles to the Lebanese Armed Forces to help prevent militants crossing its border from Syria. The UK has donated 100 Armoured Patrol Vehicles to the Lebanese Armed Forces (LAF) to tackle the threat from terrorism on its border with Syria, which is frequently used by violent extremists and smugglers.
The Revised Weapons Mounted Installation Kit (RWMIK) Land Rovers, which are capable of tackling the rugged Syrian border terrain and can be mounted with heavy weapons, have been given to the LAF’s Land Border Regiments (LBRs) that patrol the area. This allows them to keep closer watch over their borders and stop extremists trying to enter Lebanon, who could otherwise then attempt to travel on to Europe.
The Lebanese border is also used by international arms and drugs smugglers, with the illicit substances and arms then transited through the country and onto other parts of the world.
Supporting the LAF and promoting security and stability in the region during a time of economic crisis is also crucial to reinforcing the LAF’s ability to defend the state of Lebanon from a range of threats.
Minister for the Armed Forces James Heappey said, “This fantastic border project marks the next chapter of the longstanding relationship between the British Armed Forces and our Lebanese counterparts. The donation of these vehicles demonstrates the UK’s commitment to security and stability in the region. A stable border between Lebanon and Syria is firmly in the UK’s national interest. We share a common enemy in Daesh. The UK will continue to work closely with our partners in the region to stamp out the threat posed by terrorist groups.”
The RWMIKs are being taken out of service by the British Military this year after a long and successful period on UK operations around the globe, including in Iraq and Afghanistan. Following a request from General Aoun, the Commander in Chief of the LAF, to help bolster border security, the vehicles left the UK on 18 January and arrived safely in Lebanon on 31 January. The total value of the vehicles is £1.5m.
A small specialist team from 16 Air Assault Brigade deployed to meet the vehicles on arrival in Beirut and have delivered an initial round of vehicle training to the LAF. This training will continue in the spring to ensure the LAF can get the very best tactical and operational effect from them. The Conflict Security and Stability fund is also providing £300,000 for spare parts for the vehicles.
Minister for the Middle East and North Africa James Cleverly said, “Keeping Lebanon’s land border secure is key in our shared fight against Daesh in the Middle East. On my recent trip to Lebanon, I saw for myself the excellent work the UK and Lebanese Army is doing together, to keep Lebanon stable and secure at a time of turmoil in the country. These patrol vehicles, donated by the UK, will help strengthen the border with Syria against weapons smugglers and terrorist groups, and ultimately protect both of our countries’ national security.”
The donation builds on significant support already provided to Lebanon by the UK, including the construction of 79 border towers, provision of 350 vehicles, and training over 23,000 LAF personnel. Following the devastating Beirut explosion in August 2020, the UK also provided £27m in humanitarian assistance and deployed HMS Enterprise to assist at the port – the first foreign ship to arrive in support of the Lebanese people.
In recent years Lebanon has become an increasingly important counter-terrorism partner for the UK. The UK’s support to the LAF – who drove Daesh out of Lebanese territory in 2017- is an important part of the UK’s contribution to Counter-Daesh efforts in Iraq and Syria.
UK Armed Forces continue to take the fight to Daesh in the region by supporting Operation Shader alongside our allies. On 24 January, RAF Typhoons launched an airstrike on a Daesh cell in northern Iraq. Four Paveway IV guided bombs struck their targets accurately and the strike was assessed to have been a success in eliminating the terrorist threat. (Source: https://www.gov.uk/)
08 Feb 21. US Army Must Get New Fighting Vehicle Right. The Army just before the holiday season released its request for proposals for the optionally manned fighting vehicle.
Along with the RFP, the two senior leaders in charge of the program spelled out a new acquisition strategy to defense reporters. One that “will ultimately result in the design, development, delivery and capability of the optionally manned fighting vehicle and… replace the Bradley Fighting Vehicle,” said Brig. Gen. Glenn Dean III, program executive officer for ground combat systems.
We all hope so.
The Army has a few of these never-ending programs. Replacing the Kiowa Warrior scout helicopter began in 1982. Its latest name is the Future Attack Reconnaissance Aircraft and is still years away from being fielded.
As for the Bradley replacement, its origins began as part of the Future Combat Systems suite of combat vehicles, which kicked off in 1999 and was subsequently canceled a decade later in 2009.
Then it was the ground combat vehicle program’s Infantry Fighting Vehicle. That lasted four years.
As anyone in the weapons business knows, every failed program reemerges with a different name. Who remembers the Future Fighting Vehicle? Then there was a next-generation combat vehicle. That version never really made it off the Army PowerPoints, but the name has lasted as a catch-all for all the new fighting vehicles. Then came the optionally manned fighting vehicle. The Army’s first attempt to develop it is a long, convoluted story that ended a year ago. To its credit, it didn’t rename the program for this second attempt.
But the Army is going to have to get it right this time.
First of all, it’s running out of names. The Army will have to rely on its next-generation AI supercomputers to come up with a new moniker if this new iteration doesn’t make it to fielding.
But more seriously, if the Army fails this time to field a Bradley replacement — and a Kiowa replacement as well — it might be time to do something truly radical, such as take away acquisition authorities from the Army and let an independent entity take a crack at it. That probably sounds insane, but each one of those named programs represents billions of dollars wasted.
The pressure is on Army Futures Command, which was created to get these programs right. Failure on these two programs should call into question its very existence.
The real losers here are the taxpayers and the soldiers who will not go to war equipped with the best technology American ingenuity has to offer them.
But the good news is — and we can only hope it’s good news — is that Dean and Brig. Gen. Ross Coffman, Army Futures Command’s director of the next-generation combat vehicle cross-functional team, have some new acquisition ideas.
First and foremost, they have done away with the word “requirements” and replaced it with “characteristics of need.”
Twenty years ago, the FBI replaced the perfectly serviceable word “suspects” with “persons of interest.” And two decades later, the public is still trying to figure out the difference.
The two generals have a better explanation for their new jargon. The idea is to be purposefully “nebulous” on what they want to see in the fighting vehicle. They don‘t want to take a contractor out of the running because their offering can only travel 190 miles on a tank of gas instead of some hard line-in-the-sand requirement to go 200 miles.
They don’t at this stage want to get bogged down in writing documents and seeing proposals that spell out standard features that are already included in about every military vehicle being produced today.
They are also doing their market research in the RFP stage instead of prior to writing their requirements. They are asking respondents to list some of the innovative ideas they have in the first round of proposals.
And the Army also wants to cast a wider net. It has — at least in the early stages of the program — done away with classified sections of the RFP so any company can respond, foreign or domestic, security clearances or not. It doesn’t want any barriers to entry.
Foreign competitors would eventually have to partner with a U.S. company or create a U.S.-based subsidiary with all the necessary firewalls. And the vehicle would be built in the United States, the generals noted.
The program is eschewing the popular other transaction authority trend that asks for competitors to develop working prototypes. It is jumping on the digital design bandwagon instead.
The program will take what it learned from the market research, digital designs and soldier feedback to refine the “characteristics of need” until they resemble something like “requirements.”
“We are not going to put a nail in a single requirement until we have to,” Coffman said.
They all seem to be good, innovative ideas which everyone hopes will result in the best industry has to offer. The Army simply has to get it right this time for the sake of the soldiers who are ultimately asked to go into combat with the vehicles. (Source: glstrade.com/National Defense)
08 Feb 21. Oshkosh Hits 10,000 JLTVs. Building 10,000 Joint Light Tactical Vehicles in five years – at less than the original projected price – improves Oshkosh’s odds to win a re-competition for the program next year.
It’s 10,000 Joint Light Tactical Vehicles down for Oshkosh, another 50,000-plus to go – or at least, that’s what the company hopes. But the Army’s changing plans have put the program under pressure in two ways: The service might buy fewer, and it might buy them from someone other than Oshkosh.
That’s a big reason why Oshkosh is making a big deal of the news that’s now produced 10,000 JLTVs in just five years, below the government’s original cost estimate.
Back in 2015, when Oshkosh beat out Humvee maker AM General and aerospace titan Lockheed Martin for the JLTV contract, the Army was planning to buy 50,000 of them, plus another 5,500 for the Marines – a number the Marines later raised to 9,091. That would replace some – not all – of the services’ vast fleet of Humvees, which even in uparmored versions proved dangerously vulnerable to roadside bombs. (The Pentagon urgently fielded MRAP trucks — Mine-Resistant Armor-Protected – as a stopgap in Iraq, but the heavily armored vehicles proved unequal to much off-road operation, limiting their tactical mobility).
But as the Pentagon refocused from counterinsurgency in Afghanistan and Iraq to deterring high-intensity warfare with Russia and China, Mark Espper, and Ryan McCarthy both publicly questioned whether the military needed to buy that many 4×4 trucks. Long-range missiles, manned and unmanned aircraft, and armored fighting vehicles all seemed higher priorities for the Army – and Joint Chiefs Chairman Gen. Mark Milley, an Army officer himself, warned the Army budget would suffer fiscal “bloodletting” to fund air- and seapower.
Of course, Esper, McCarthy and other Trump political appointees are all now gone. So is, in all likelihood, the ambitious and expensive shipbuilding program the Trump administration pushed in its final months. That doesn’t mean the Army will avoid a budgetary bloodbath of some sort. That’s a threat facing every Army program. But there’s another threat specific to Oshkosh’s role on the JLTV. The Army owns the intellectual property required to build the vehicle – what’s called the Technical Data Package – and plans to hold an open competition to see if any other company can build the same machine more affordably than Oshkosh.
However, that competition won’t occur until 2022. Oshkosh’s original Army contract – for up to 16,901 vehicles – was supposed to last that long.
Because Oshkosh is building vehicles for less than the Army had originally budgeted, the Army ended up ordering the maximum 16,901 vehicles two years early, in fall 2020, and had to award a new $911m order to keep the line humming through 2022.
Oshkosh’s track record of building the JLTV on time and under budget is its biggest advantage going into next years’ recompete. It’ll be tough for other companies to replicate Oshkosh’s JLTV workforce, infrastructure and supply chain, let alone convince the government they can improve on them.
“Oshkosh Defense has over a decade of proprietary experience in designing, building, and delivering the world’s most capable light tactical vehicle,” Oshkosh VP George Mansfield said in a statement. “Since the program was awarded to Oshkosh Defense in August 2015, the company has built a robust, dependable supply chain; optimized its manufacturing process and maximized efficiencies; and provided JLTVs at a contractual price substantially lower than the Government cost estimate. Today we’re celebrating building our 10,000th JLTV. We’re confident in our ability to continue to deliver unmatched protection and off-road mobility at an affordable cost for many years to come.” (Source: Breaking Defense.com)
09 Feb 21. US Army begins ‘light tank’ soldier assessment without BAE Systems’ prototype. US Army soldiers are in the midst of a five-month assessment of two different ‘light tank’ prototypes – one version by BAE Systems and the other by General Dynamics Land Systems (GDLS) – but the former company has yet to deliver any of its vehicles, according to industry and the service.
The army kicked off its Mobile Protected Firepower (MPF) soldier vehicle assessment (SVA) on 4 January and it is anticipated to continue through to June, Ashley John, director for public and congressional affairs for the Program Executive Office for Ground Combat Systems, told Janes on 27 January. Under the larger programme, both BAE Systems and GDLS are under contract to deliver 12 MPF prototypes to the army and soldiers are slated to test out four vehicles of each variant. However, this testing phase began with vehicles from only one company – GDLS.
“We have received 12 prototypes in total, and four ballistic hull and turrets,” John said. “We will continue to receive the remaining prototypes throughout fiscal year 2021.”
Although John did not disclose which company produced the delivered prototypes, a GDLS spokesperson confirmed that the company delivered its 12th and final prototype to the army at the end of December 2020. GDLS’s delivery completion means BAE Systems has delivered only two ballistic hulls to the service. (Source: Defense News Early Bird/Jane’s)
09 Feb 21. Arquus delivers the 2,000th VT4 to the French Army. On December 16, 2020, Arquus delivered the 2000th VT4 to the French defense procurement agency, the DGA. This major milestone in the program validates the measures implemented by Arquus and the DGA to ensure the continuity of production for the forces despite the health crisis that marked the year 2020. A little more than two years after the first vehicles were handed over to the 12th Régiment de Cuirassiers, nearly half of the VT4s planned under the program have been made available to the forces. These first two years of service also confirm the resilience of the organization put in place by Arquus to support the vehicles, with an uptime of more than 95% at all times, in line with commitments.
The VT4 is now present in units throughout France, both in mainland France and in French overseas departments and territories, from French Guyana to the Pacific. With its high performance and its versatility, the VT4 proves its qualities every day in all terrains and situations. A total of 4,380 VT4s are scheduled to equip the armed forces, including 3,980 for the French Army. 2,380 vehicles are still to be produced at the Arquus site in Saint-Nazaire.
The VT4s have recently undergone their first external operation with a deployment in Lebanon as part of Operation Friendship. Within the Groupement Terrestre Ventoux, VT4s have contributed to missions in support of the population, including liaison and transportation of personnel and equipment.
At the beginning of the crisis and in compliance with health regulations, dedicated Arquus teams remained on the Saint-Nazaire site to complete the finalization work and hand over the vehicles to the forces. These teams notably enabled two batches of 100 vehicles each to be presented at the height of the crisis, at the end of March 2020, to the DGA’s quality department. Twenty of these vehicles were urgently delivered to the RMED (Régiment Médical, Medical Regiment) in La Valbonne as part of the deployment of a field hospital in Alsace. Deliveries of VT4s were therefore able to continue normally throughout 2020.
In December, Arquus was able to deliver the 10th batch of 100 vehicles to the DGA for 2020, for a total of 1,001 VT4s delivered over the year, in line with commitments. These vehicles were delivered to the armed forces by the DGA. They were immediately put to use during the missions carried out by the Army on national territory during Operation Resilience.
The VT4 is a light, versatile, non-armored 4×4 command and liaison vehicle designed to carry five soldiers or four FELIN-equipped operators. It is intended for internal operations (Sentinel, training), or for external operations in stabilized conflict zones.
The VT4 production line unites the efforts of 46 people at the Saint-Nazaire site, both on the line itself and in preparation. With the involvement of the design, support and logistics teams, the VT4 program represents a total of 150 jobs for Arquus in the Saint-Nazaire and Versailles employment areas.
This industrial performance also relies on the 96 Arquus suppliers involved in this program, including many French companies. Arquus implemented comprehensive measures from the very beginning of the crisis, in conjunction with its partners and the DGA, to secure supplies and ensure the continuity of its logistics flows. The VT4 program also involves the company’s entire support network, present throughout France.
One of the major new features of the VT4 program is its support system, which is fully integrated and innovative, with a firm commitment of 95% uptime across the entire fleet. This commitment has been met at all times during these first two years of VT4 service. To ensure this availability, Arquus has a unique network of dealerships and service points in France.
With more than 310 points in France alone, this network is as close as possible to the forces, with one point less than 50km from the location of each regiment, including overseas. It provides technical visits to the armies’ VT4 fleets, with guaranteed assistance 24 hours a day, 7 days a week. This territorial network and unique proximity allow for optimal responsiveness in the service of the forces.
Within the framework of VT4 support, Arquus is able to quickly mobilize teams to intervene in the shortest possible time, directly on user sites. This system has already proven its ability to support the French Army by enabling several thousand technical actions and numerous configuration changes, guaranteeing the security of the forces, the availability of equipment and the optimization of the vehicles’ potential.
09 Feb 21. Oshkosh Defense, LLC, an Oshkosh Corporation (NYSE: OSK) company, announced today that the company recently produced the 10,000th Joint Light Tactical Vehicle (JLTV). This significant milestone represents over a decade of proprietary experience in designing, building, and delivering the world’s most capable light tactical vehicle. Since the program was awarded to Oshkosh Defense in August 2015, the company has built a robust, dependable supply chain; optimized its manufacturing process and maximized efficiencies; and provided JLTVs at a contractual price substantially lower than the Government cost estimate.
“This milestone is a true testament to the pride and dedication that our team members have in the JLTV program which has become a central piece of the U.S. military’s ground force,” said George Mansfield, Vice President and General Manager of Joint Programs for Oshkosh Defense. “Producing the 10,000th JLTV in under five years is further evidence of our ability to meet the demands of our domestic and international customers by providing the world’s most capable light tactical vehicle at a great price. We’re excited to continue working with our military customer to further refine and expand the platform.”
To date, Oshkosh Defense has received orders for 18,126 JLTVs for a total contract value over $6bn. Over 6,500 of those vehicles have been fielded with Warfighters around the globe, including over 30 U.S. and international military installations.
International interest in the Oshkosh Defense JLTV also continues to grow. Oshkosh Defense has received orders or commitments from seven NATO and non-NATO allies including United Kingdom, Belgium, Montenegro, Slovenia, Lithuania, Brazil, and North Macedonia.
05 Feb 21. US Army Giving Robotic Combat Vehicles More Firepower. The Army is bolstering the lethality of its fleet of robots through the integration of new weapon systems and payloads that will allow the platforms to destroy targets, take down rogue drones and jam enemy communications.
The service is currently pursuing a new family of platforms known as the robotic combat vehicle which feature three variants including light, medium and heavy. It is working to equip them with special payloads to give them enhanced capabilities and offer commanders more options on the battlefield.
Last year the Army announced its intention to award other transaction authority agreements to QinetiQ North America and Textron Systems to build four light and four medium prototype RCVs, respectively. Meanwhile, the service has embarked on what it calls a “campaign of learning” as it works to develop the systems with the input of soldiers.
“Gaining their input early in the process informs our entire decision-making process,” Brig. Gen. Ross Coffman, director of Army Futures Command’s next-generation combat vehicle cross-functional team, said in a statement. “The more we can learn now, well in advance of any future building project, will ensure we have the right design, with the right technology that our soldiers and Marines need as a tool to win our nation’s future wars.”
For the robotic combat vehicle, “one of the fundamental purposes is to deliver decisive lethality,” said Maj. Cory Wallace, the team’s robotic combat vehicle action officer.
The term “decisive lethality” refers to a spectrum of capabilities, Wallace said during the National Defense Industrial Association’s Joint Armaments, Robotics and Munitions Digital Experience conference in November. On one end of the spectrum, lethality is delivered by off-board systems.
“What that means is the RCV rapidly develops a common operating picture and then the commander delivers the effects through joint strikes, combined arms fire, a litany of different ways, but in plain speak that decisive lethality is being provided by something other than the robot,” he explained.
The light variant’s fundamental purpose is reconnaissance, so it will primarily lean on its robust sensor package, Wallace said. “The commander identifies the best weapon system to deliver the effects, and then that weapons system — not the robot — delivers decisive lethality,” he said.
On the other side of the spectrum is the RCV heavy.
“That vehicle brings everything it needs to the party,” he said. “The RCV heavy is a robotic tank. So just as an M1A1 — or M1A2 — can deliver decisive lethality via onboard means, so too can the RCV heavy.”
The medium variant which is considered a “bridging solution” between the light and the heavy, is meant to rapidly develop a common operating picture but will have a more robust capability onboard to employ firepower with its organic weapon systems, Wallace said.
For the light variant, its lethality package will have the capability to defeat troops and trucks with one anti-tank guided missile, Wallace said.
However, the service is being open-minded in how it defines the required weaponry.
“We want you all in industry to innovate,” he said. “We’re saying, ‘Hey, I don’t know what this weapon system is, but we need it to defeat troops and trucks. Is it a 50 cal? Is it a Mark 19? Is it a 30×113? We don’t know. We want you all to go back, see where we can get the sweet spot and then come back and tell us.”
The Army needs to “do some soul searching” and determine what that anti-tank guided missile, or ATGM, will look like because it must have commonality with the service’s existing supply chain, Wallace said.
“It’s going to be very, very difficult if the RCV uses one ATGM and the [optionally manned fighting vehicle] and everything else uses another,” he said. “We need to look at how do we define commonality across that spectrum. So really that’s an Army problem, and we’re going to wait for the senior leaders to solve it, to let us know what direction we need to go.”
For the medium variant, that platform will need to defeat systems such as amphibious tracked infantry fighting vehicles, armored reconnaissance vehicles and armored personnel carriers, Wallace said. The variant will have a requirement of two ATGMs, he added.
The heavy will be required to have the same lethality as a tank with the addition of two anti-tank guided missiles as well, he said.
The service is interested in equipping the systems with a commander’s independent weapon station, but the feasibility of doing so will depend on the size, weight and power requirements of each system, Wallace said.
The light variant does not have the SWaP necessary for the capability, so the Army is looking to the medium and heavy platforms, though even that may be a stretch for the medium, he said.
“One thing we’ve learned through our virtual experiments is that commander’s independent weapon station allows for a rapid servicing of targets in an urban environment,” he said. “It’s very difficult to slew a turret and react to a threat in a very congested area, but commander’s independent weapon station allows you to do so.”
However, it’s unclear if the RCV medium will be able to be equipped with the capability because of SWaP constraints, he noted. “It’s going to be very difficult to do.”
The Army also considered equipping the medium variant with a 50 mm weapon but that now seems infeasible given size constraints, Wallace said.
“After our engineers did some homework and we listened to industry — a lot of feedback from industry — the space requirements to accommodate a 50 mm basically turns an RCV medium into an RCV heavy,” he said.
The service now believes 30x173mm ammunition is the best solution, he said.
“The ammo needs to be in the Army’s inventory because … we’re trying to look at second- and third-order effects of what is the logistics impact if we bring in some exquisite solution, like a 39 mm cannon that is only for the RCV,” he said. “That’s going to have some significant disruption to log channels and the more friction you have in log channels creates vulnerabilities.”
As the service looks to the future, both ballistic and non-kinetic solutions will be part of the equation, Wallace said.
“There is the ability to achieve a ballistic end state by affecting a threat with a direct fire weapon system, but I would submit given the hyperactive nature of the battlefield, that when we see effects, there’s also a portion that we’re not talking about that comes out of the end of a gun,” he said. “There’s cyber, there’s [electronic warfare] — not only being able to degrade a threat via a mechanical and chemical means, but being able to degrade a threat with respect to cyber and on the EW spectrum as well.”
Wallace noted that non-kinetic options may sometimes be more advantageous.
“One could argue, yes, you are very lethal if you make a turret off a tank explode and fly off, but you’re even more lethal if you paralyze that formation’s ability to communicate,” he said. “That’s what success looks like, being able to augment the ballistic capabilities with the cyber and the EW spectrum as well.”
Modularity will be a key component for the robotic systems, Wallace noted.
“That is absolutely paramount,” he said. The Army and industry need to look at how to provide enough size, weight and power to enable rapid “plug-and-play” capabilities, he noted.
The Army plans to be flexible with industry. “We’re going to throw addendums into the requirements where we don’t want to just say, ‘Everything is modular. Be able to change every payload in 30 minutes or less,’” Wallace said. For some payloads, the service knows that process could take hours.
“We [will] provide that time and space because we understand four soldiers working with a … flashlight in the middle of the night are not going to be able to pull off a 30 mm turret,” he said. That’s a job that needs to be done at a specialized facility.
The Army is looking for new payloads that can provide a wide range of effects including countering unmanned aerial vehicles or deploying smoke for obscuration, Wallace said.
“There’s a whole bunch of other payloads that we have not even thought about yet,” he said. “We’re definitely open to new approaches.”
However, Wallace noted that integrating new payloads into the robotic systems does pose challenges.
For example, with counter-UAS payloads, the Army knows that new threat data will constantly have to be uploaded into the software that runs the system, he said.
Therefore, “how are we facilitating a rapid reception of new software, new updates coming to these payloads and integrating it into the systems?” he said.
The only payload that will not be modular and will be featured on the base models of the robotic combat vehicles will be a chemical, biological, radiological and nuclear detection system, Wallace said.
“CBRN detection is a valid use case in every single thing the RCV is going to do,” he said.
Wallace noted that legacy systems such as the joint chemical agent detector are being phased out and replaced with some “really cool, gee whiz stuff.”
Robert Kania, division chief for combat robotics and teaming at the Ground Vehicle Systems Center, said his organization is working closely on the robotic combat vehicle effort. The Army has already held a number of soldier operational experiments where users tested the systems.
During the second event, which was held over the summer, soldiers worked to directly tele-operate the vehicles.
“We did very little in the realm of what I would call the more traditional autonomy with routes and sending the robot off on its own. It was almost always controlled through … cameras and through direct control,” he said. “This was the first time we really did a lot of joint maneuvering with multiple assets and weapons.”
Managing the demands of increased bandwidth on Army networks and communication systems has proved challenging, he noted.
“Every time we get a new piece of technology or every time we get a new payload, that adds to the comms burden,” he said. Unfortunately, the network and radios are not keeping up with the service’s demand, he added.
In a more recent soldier operational experiment — which took place at Fort Benning, Georgia, in November — troops used four RCV light surrogates, known as the Project Origin fleet, to test new technologies that could benefit a rifle platoon.
The event reinforced the Army’s idea that RCVs will not operate as a standalone system but will provide new capabilities to an integrated fighting force, Wallace said in a statement.
During the event, soldiers employed a tethered drone, a counter-UAS jammer, a modular smoke obscuration model, a common remotely operated weapon system — which was equipped with an M240 machine gun and a Javelin anti-tank missile — as well as an autonomous drive function.
The service will use feedback gleaned from the event “to shape and inform potential force structures within the Infantry Brigade Combat Team during the ongoing RCV campaign of learning,” Coffman said. “Our knowledge of how we can utilize RCVs and what technologies and capabilities they need to possess continues to expand exponentially based on the inputs from our soldiers.” (Source: Defense News Early Bird/NDIA.org)
09 Feb 21. Mountain Horse Solutions Teams with Two Groups from the United Kingdom to Win United States Air Force Autonomous Target Contract. Mountain Horse Solutions, a U.S. Defense and Mission Critical Equipment Supplier, and two groups from the United Kingdom, tpgroup and Digital Concepts Engineering Ltd (DCE), together have been awarded a nine-month contract to develop and demonstrate fully autonomous targets to the United States Air Force (USAF). The targets are ultimately intended to simulate convoys of multiple vehicle types moving at speed to provide a high level of realism for pilots during targeting and strike training and munition capability assessment missions. Under the agreement, the Mountain Horse Solutions team will develop and build a prototype target which will be demonstrated to the USAF in Spring 2021. The target will be developed using innovative technology including DCE’s Marionette system and tpgroup’s North path planning software. These technologies are commercially proven and are being modified to meet the needs of the USAF, therefore providing a low risk, but a highly capable system for the USAF.
“Our joint team brings incredible expertise, knowledge, and experience in automotive autonomy to the USAF project,” says Bill Allen, President, Mountain Horse Solutions. “Together, we’re introducing game-changing technology that has potential cost-effective benefits in how training realism takes place for combat pilots, ensuring the USAF maintains its surveillance, targeting, and lethality advantage over our adversaries.”
John Shimell, Head of Autonomy, tpgroup explains, “The challenge with this project is that the autonomous targets have to function in a GPS denied environment. Our team has a very innovative way of achieving this and the USAF clearly saw the benefit in our proposal. We’re very excited to demonstrate to the USAF the full capability that our joint team brings.”
Lionel Nierop, Director, Digital Concepts Engineering says, “We have already demonstrated our technology on the UK’s Warrior Armored Vehicle, showing that our Marionette™ ‘toolkit’ can convert any vehicle to autonomous use quickly and cost-effectively. Our team has the capability to provide fleets of military vehicles converted to autonomous use for the USAF to conduct their training.”
The demonstration contract has the potential to be converted into a long-term supply contract, providing autonomous targets to the USAF for up to 10 years.
About Mountain Horse Solutions
Mountain Horse Solutions supplies rapid response customized equipment, systems, and training for infectious disease, security, technology, chemical, biological, radiological, nuclear, and explosive (CBRNE) hazards. We specially design innovative solutions, to meet the individual unique threats, needs, and requirements of the military and first responders. Our team of professionals from around the globe has extensive experience with commercial, DOD, and U.S. Federal Government customers. Mountain Horse Solutions serves organizations, agencies, and contractors worldwide. To find out more, visit www.mtnhorse.com.