18 Mar 21. Peraton Bolsters Its Unmanned Systems Capabilities with Integration of Peraton Remotec. New Andros™ Spartan EOD Robot Announced.
Peraton is proud to welcome new subsidiary Peraton Remotec, the global leader in mobile robot systems for hazardous duty operations, and to introduce Peraton Remotec’s most advanced platform yet, the Andros™ Spartan Unmanned Ground Vehicle (UGV) System.
Remotec, Inc., now branded as Peraton Remotec, was acquired through the recent purchase of Northrop Grumman’s integrated mission support and IT solutions business.
For more than three decades, military, law enforcement, and other first responders worldwide have relied on Peraton Remotec robots to help assure a safe, successful outcome for their most challenging missions. Peraton Remotec offers the widest range of Unmanned Ground Vehicles and accessories in the market, with a worldwide installed base of over 2,300 vehicles.
“Peraton Remotec’s industry-leading track record in unmanned ground vehicles complements Peraton’s 25 years of experience serving government customers operating in the unmanned surface, underwater and ground domains,” said John Coleman, President, Global Defense & Security sector. “We look forward to building on the synergies to meet future unmanned system needs while continuing to innovate on behalf of our loyal customers in the military, law enforcement and the broader first responder community.”
The successful integration of Peraton Remotec further signifies Peraton’s company-wide commitment to serve customer’s missions of consequence, where failure is not an option.
Peraton Remotec designed Andros Spartan based on the success, reliability and versatility of the Andros™ F6 series of platforms. Andros Spartan incorporates the proven chassis design of the Andros F6 series and adopts the highly dexterous manipulation capabilities of the Andros™ FX. The new arm design allows more lift capacity and greater dexterity by adding a roll joint that provides eight degrees of freedom.
“The Andros Spartan offers new enhanced capabilities to serve a diverse range of mission sets. Spartan is more than an evolution of the Andros F6 series of platforms,” said Walt Werner, Managing Director, Peraton Remotec. “By integrating the best features of each of Peraton Remotec’s families of field-proven EOD robots, Spartan revolutionizes the mid-weight market offering unparalleled functionality to protect our nation and keep danger at a distance.”
Additional new features unique to Andros Spartan include:
- Updated power management system that provides over six hours of vehicle run time
- Updated system electronics
- Ruggedized touchscreen laptop operator control unit with 3-D system graphics
- Advanced manipulator controls
- Improved user interface
The Andros Spartan operating system provides expanded information to the operator while easing user workload through increased interactivity with intelligent payloads. Preset arm positions and the ability to “fly the gripper” make manipulation of objects much easier, faster and more accurate.
Pricing is available and Peraton Remotec is now accepting orders at firstname.lastname@example.org or (865) 269-1244.
About Peraton Remotec
Military, law enforcement, and other first responders worldwide rely on Peraton Remotec robots to help assure a safe, successful outcome for their most challenging missions. With more than 30 years’ experience in keeping danger at a distance, Peraton Remotec is the global leader in mobile robot systems for hazardous duty operations. (Source: PR Newswire)
18 Mar 21. German Army declares “System Panzergrenadier” fit to fight – a milestone for the Puma infantry fighting vehicle and Future Soldier – Expanded System.
Supplied by Rheinmetall and its partner companies, the Bundeswehr’s System Panzergrenadier has reached an important milestone. On 18 March 2021, Lieutenant General Alfons Mais, the Chief of the German Army, declared the system fit to fight. He also recommended equipping NATO’s spearhead formation, the Very High Readiness Joint Task Force (VJTF) 2023, which the Bundeswehr will be furnishing, with the new system. In essence, System Panzergrenadier consists of an upgraded version of the Puma – the infantry fighting vehicle made by the Rheinmetall and Krauss-Maffei Wegmann joint venture PSM GmbH – and the VJTF2023 version of the Future Soldier – Expanded System (IdZ-ES) developed by Rheinmetall. Following extensive development and modification work, System Panzergrenadier underwent a three-week-long tactical evaluation at the Bergen major training area on the Lüneburg Heath in northern Germany in February 2021. It passed the test with flying colours.
System Panzergrenadier will substantially enhance the fighting strength and combat effectiveness of the VJTF 2023. Equipped with System Panzergrenadier, this formation will, for the first time in Germany, bring together a digitized vehicle platform – the enhanced VJTF version of the Puma infantry fighting vehicle – and a soldier system equipped for digital radio communication.
System Panzergrenadier offers two key advantages: first, all soldiers, whether mounted or dismounted, can access the same information; and second, they are able to share this information with greater precision, more quickly and more robustly. The closely knit network of sensors and effectors belonging to the soldiers and their infantry fighting vehicle minimizes the time between target detection and target engagement. This blending of capabilities into a single overarching system enables more effective tactical interaction of the soldiers and their IFV, enhancing in turn the overall combat effectiveness of mechanized infantry units.
A total of forty VJTF-grade Puma infantry fighting vehicles will form part of the VJTF 2023 panoply of equipment. The most advanced version of the Puma to date,
it includes, among other things, integration of standoff-capable effectors like the MELLS multirole lightweight guided missile system; additional sensors such as a new driver vision system; and improved C4I architecture.
The new panoramic and driver vision system heralds the end of the periscope era. For the first time, the entire crew will be able to “see through” the armour, both day and night. The fusion mode combines daylight vision with high-performance thermal imaging, enabling swift detection of concealed targets around the clock. The Puma is the first significant Western combat vehicle to include a system like this as a standard feature.
Now that the Puma IFV has been declared fit to fight, the German Army’s Mechanized Infantry Corps finds itself on the threshold of a new era, with the prospect of the remaining battalions also being equipped with a comparable revamped version of the Puma.
Embodying a systemic approach to reequipping vehicle platforms and soldier systems, System Panzergrenadier forms a sound foundation for conceptualizing and kitting out larger coherent systems of systems. Looking ahead, System Panzergrenadier thus becomes the basis for digitally networked and directed formations. Given the substantial increase in experience and capabilities in the field of IT system integration, this path provides a powerful impetus for future projects. In the consortium cofounded with PSM GmbH, Rheinmetall Electronics GmbH is responsible for the command capabilities workshare, and thus for assuring cross-platform networking of the system of systems.
Furthermore, System Panzergrenadier is stimulating further development beyond the immediate project. The next generation of the IdZ-ES is already in the starting blocks, while the new Puma VJTF infantry fighting vehicle offers an excellent point of departure for expanded capabilities, e.g., in the sensor-to-shooter category.
System Panzergrenadier is a technological trailblazer whose continued development is poised to deliver new capabilities for the German Army’s Division 2027 and Digitized Land-Based Operations system, the D-LBO.
18 Mar 21. Challenger 2 LEP to Be Announced on Monday? Sources close to BATTLESPACE suggest that the Challenger 2 LEP (Challenger 3) will be announced by UK Defence Minister Ben Wallace, on Monday March 22nd when the MOD will formally release that the contract for the upgrade has been placed on RBSL. Today Rheinmetall AG as the 55% shareholder in RBSL, the Rheinmetall/BAE Joint Venture, announced its Results.
Zeit Online reported today, a translated extract from the feature, ‘Rheinmetall wants to significantly expand its tank business’
‘As an example, the manager cited an order worth 750m euros from Great Britain, which he firmly expects and which is due to come shortly. Existing Challenger tanks are to receive a new turret including a 120-millimeter cannon from Rheinmetall.’ https://www.zeit.de/news/2021-03/18/ruestungskonzern-rheinmetall-richtet-sich-neu-aus?utm_referrer=https%3A%2F%2Fwww.google.com%2F (See: BATTLESPACE ALERT Vol.23 ISSUE 16, 18 March 2021, Challenger 2 LEP to Be Announced on Monday?)
18 Mar 21. AUSA Global 2021: Army preps for postponed RCV soldier experiment in 2022. The US Army has pushed back a soldier experiment with two ground robot prototypes until 2022 and is detailing plans to integrate autonomy software into the platforms and test out both variants prior to the event.
Leading up to this year’s virtual Association of the US Army’s (AUSA’s) Global Force conference, Janes spoke with Major General Ross Coffman, the director of the Next-Generation Combat Vehicle Cross-Functional Team, about progress with the robotic combat vehicle – light (RCV-L) and medium (RCV-M), while Alfred Grein, the acting director for Ground Combat Systems, provided additional details during a panel discussion on 16 March.
Although the service had planned to conduct a soldier operational experiment with both variants this year, it moved it back until June–August 2022. The event at Fort Hood, Texas, will still be at the company level with plans to test out 18 vehicles — four RCV-Ls, four RCV-Ms, four surrogate RCV-heavies (RCV-H) that are modified M-1113s, and six modified Bradleys that are called Mission Enabler Technologies-Demonstrators (MET-Ds).
“All of that will be operated simultaneously,” Grein said.
In preparation for the event, QinetiQ North America and Pratt Miller (now acquired by Oshkosh Defense) have delivered four RCV-L prototypes to the service and the army has integrated government-development autonomy software onto these vehicles. In February, the service then conducted functional checks on the vehicles and paired them with the MET-D to begin “full system” manned-unmanned teaming work, Grein said.
The RCV-L is based on a variant of the Expeditionary Modular Autonomous Vehicle (EMAV). This tracked, diesel-electric hybrid vehicle can carry a maximum payload of 7,000 lbs, travel up to 40 mph, and is outfitted with Kongsberg Defence & Aerospace’s Common Remotely Operated Weapon Stations – Javelin (CROWS-J) weapon station. (Source: Google/Jane’s)
17 Mar 21. US Army prepping robotic combat vehicles for big test with soldiers in 2022. The U.S. Army has taken receipt of its light and medium Robotic Combat Vehicle (RCV) prototypes from industry teams and is putting them through the paces this year ahead of a major company-level soldier assessment in 2022.
The service took delivery of the first of four RCV-Light vehicles from a QinetiQ North America and Pratt Miller team — which won the contract to produce the prototypes a year ago — in November 2020 with the other three arriving before the Christmas holiday, Alfred Grein, acting director and deputy executive director of Ground Combat Systems at the Army Combat Capabilities Development Command, said at the Association of the U.S. Army’s Global Force Next virtual symposium on March 16.
The RCV-L is a diesel-electric hybrid with a gross vehicle weight of no more than 8,500 pounds and a maximum payload of no more than 7,000 pounds, boasting a top speed of about 40 miles per hour, according to Grein.
The four prototypes were delivered to the Army’s Ground Vehicle Systems Center where a team began integrating the government-developed Robotic Technology Kernel (RTK) autonomy software onto those platforms, Grein said.
After a functional checkout, the prototypes were sent to Texas A&M University’s Rellis campus where, over the course of February, the team was able to pair them with a Mission Enabling Technology Demonstrator — or MET-D vehicle — to begin the manned-unmanned teaming process, he added.
While the Army is expecting to receive its RCV-Medium prototypes from a Textron, Howe & Howe and FLIR team starting at the end of April through May, the service took early delivery of a partially completed RCV-M in mid-February in order to begin integrating the RTK software.
RCV-M is also a diesel-electric hybrid with a gross vehicle weight of 25,000 pounds. The vehicle is equipped with a remotely operated 30 mm cannon and has a top speed of over 25 miles per hour, according to Grein.
The service already conducted an RCV assessment at Fort Carson, Colorado, in 2020, but it was focused on heavy vehicles and used surrogates, so now it is preparing to conduct another soldier operational experiment at Fort Hood, Texas, from June through August of 2022 with its chosen prototypes for the RCV-L and RCV-M.
This year, both the RCV-L and RCV-M will go through shakedown testing at Camp Grayling, Michigan, from April through September.
“Upon successful shakedown, paired with our MET-D vehicle and the MUM-T network, it will be tested for its ability to control a Company set of RCVs consisting of 18 vehicles” — four RCV-Ls, four RCV-Ms, four RCV-Heavy systems (M113 personnel carrier surrogate) and six MET-D control vehicles, Grein said.
“All of that will be operated simultaneously,” he said.
The entire process will be tested at Camp Grayling before moving down to Fort Hood.
The vehicles‘ next stop will be Army Test and Evaluation Command for safety testing — both individually and combined with MET-D — in November before the big event in 2022. The testing should wrap up in May 2022, Grein said.
The Fort Hood experiment will start with soldier training on the vehicles followed by situational training exercises and then into live-fire training exercises, he added.
“We know that these events are going to definitely help shape the future for Army robotic systems and the requirements in meeting those capability needs that we’ve been asked to do in terms of the application of robotic and autonomous systems,” Grein said.
The Army plans to host yet another experimentation for RCVs in 2024, but will likely make a decision to move its RCV-L out of technical maturation and into the engineering and manufacturing development phase in the second quarter of fiscal 2023. The service would do the same with the RCV-M program in FY24. The Army plans to award separate contracts for a lead systems integrator for each RCV program.
The service has said there is potential for an RCV-H program of record to fall significantly behind the light and medium RCVs. (Source: Defense News)
17 Mar 21. Team Redback completes key capability tests. The Hanwha-led team, bidding for the LAND 400 Phase 3 contract, has completed two key systems integration tests for its Redback IFV. Team Redback, led by Hanwha Defense Australia, has confirmed it has successfully tested the Redback infantry fighting vehicle’s (IFV) Iron Fist active protection system (APS) and SPIKE LR2 missiles, supplied by Elbit Land Systems.
The team — which includes Elbit Land Systems, EOS Defence Systems, Bisalloy Steels, ECLIPS Logistics, Soucy Defense, Milspec Manufacturing and CBG Systems — is proposing the Redback as a replacement for the Australian Army’s Vietnam-era M113 armoured personnel carrier (APC), as part of its bid for the Commonwealth government’s LAND 400 Phase 3 program.
Both tests, conducted in Israel, examined Redback’s offensive and defensive protection systems.
The Iron Fist APS is designed to enable the Redback to detect, classify and defeat a range of threats by leveraging integrated radars and electro-optics via two double barrelled launchers mounted low on the turret.
The SPIKE LR2 is an anti-tank guided missile (ATGM), fired using a two-round SPIKE launcher mounted on the Redback.
“The Redback turret was designed from the very outset to integrate advanced technologies such as Iron Fist and IronVision and anti-tank guided missiles,” Gal Raviv, managing director of Elbit Land Combat Systems, said.
“The turret is designed to easily integrate these advanced systems as you cannot achieve optimum performance for the vehicle and crew with bolt-on systems.”
Raviv added: “This firing is the last in a series of SPIKE LR2 tests from our turret and concludes the successful integration of the SPIKE LR2.
“I am very pleased to say that the turret and missiles functioned perfectly and scored direct hits on all targets.”
Richard Cho, managing director of Hanwha Defense Australia, said the tests demonstrated the combined capabilities of Team Redback.
“I am enormously proud of Team Redback and the significant progress we have made,” Cho said.
“These two significant demonstrations of successful complex systems integration on the Redback give me absolute confidence in the team and our pathway to complete the remaining validation work.”
Last week, Hanwha’s Redback and Rheinmetall Defence Australia’s Lynx were displayed in Canberra ahead of the next phase of the selection process for the LAND 400 program.
The IFVs will soon undergo a risk-mitigation activity, which is expected to include mobility, reliability and blast testing.
Defence is also expected to assess contracts, supply chains and maintenance associated with the vehicles, ahead of the government’s recommendation on the preferred tender, scheduled for 2022. (Source: Defence Connect)
16 Mar 21. Coming soon: A smart combat vehicle. With artificial intelligence and digital design, here’s our vision for the Army’s Bradley replacement. It looks like a fighting vehicle. But it’s a lot more than that. Raytheon Technologies and American Rheinmetall Vehicles are developing an infantry fighting vehicle that can conduct close-combat operations, survive modern threats like anti-tank guided missiles and cyber attacks, and use artificial intelligence to help the crew make split-second decisions. If there’s a crew at all, that is; it can also be operated remotely.
The vehicle, Rheinmetall’s Lynx KF41 Infantry Fighting Vehicle, will be the foundation for the industry team’s proposed design to the U.S. Army for its Optionally Manned Fighting Vehicle, which will replace the aging Bradley fleet.
The team’s design is built on decades of experience in key combat programs and user feedback. It includes a chassis produced by Textron Systems and a next-generation transmission by Allison Transmissions, both made in the U.S.
“The future battlefield calls for a digitally connected fighting vehicle that can outpace the enemy,” said Pat McCormack, a former Bradley master gunner for the Army and now a capability analyst at Raytheon Missiles & Defense, a Raytheon Technologies business.
Bradley fighting vehicles traditionally have a three-soldier crew: a commander, gunner and a driver. The new OMFV will have two soldiers and an AI-powered virtual third crew member to help the humans on board think, decide and act faster.
“We will design a vehicle where artificial intelligence detects, identifies and tracks a target, but leaves the engagement decision to the soldier,” McCormack said.
Modern automation will allow a two-person crew to maneuver across the battlefield and watch for threats. When the system finds a threat, it will classify it and assign it a priority, after which soldiers can decide whether and how to engage. This reduces their cognitive load and number of simultaneous demands. The vehicle will be similar to a sophisticated semi-autonomous car, with computers and algorithms doing lots of analysis but people making the final decisions.
“Artificial intelligence is a big leap forward with any fighting vehicle,” said Brad Barnard, director of OMFV at Raytheon Missiles & Defense. “Not only will AI assume a role, it will increase situational awareness and survivability.”
Digital engineering a combat vehicle
The Lynx team is using digital engineering to build detailed, accurate computer models to ensure new capabilities like aided target recognition, or ATR, are compatible with the vehicle. It allows them to connect multiple points of model data into one database, also called a single source of truth.
“We will virtually build, analyze and refine the Lynx design as we progress,” said Wes Kremer, president of Raytheon Missiles & Defense. “And we’ll ensure digital technology enablers, like AI-enabled aided target recognition, provide soldiers every advantage on the battlefield.”
The team will install ATR or other technologies virtually to iterate and assess impacts on the entire system. This reduces integration efforts and risk before manufacturing physical prototypes or installing hardware.
A computerized testbed allows them to create the vehicle virtually — testing it on different terrains and modeling combat simulations — and then export the digital model to build a physical version.
That’s only the beginning. The team will look to install other automated programs on the OMFV, where artificial intelligence will help spread the workload. As part of the assessment, the team will examine how effectively AI assumes a portion of a crew member’s tasks.
Artificial intelligence is driving a revolution in the way military systems are designed and built, and it will change the way soldiers carry out missions.
“Designing and testing virtually in a digital environment is revolutionizing our rapid learning,” Kremer said. “The results are dramatic; we can give our front-line warfighters advanced capabilities that allow them to face whatever challenges the future fight entails.”
The Army plans to have its Bradley replacement in the field in 2028.
(Source: ASD Network)
16 Mar 21. NP Aerospace Re-Engineers British Army Ridgback and Mastiff Vehicles for Deployment in Mali. NP Aerospace, a global armour manufacturer and vehicle integrator, has re-engineered the Ridgback and Mastiff platforms for an Urgent Capability Requirement (UCR) in Mali, Africa, under the UK Ministry of Defence (MoD) Protected Mobility Engineering & Technical Support (PMETS) Contract.
The off-road mobility upgrade contract, awarded in May 2020, is valued at c. £7m and covers 12 vehicles and associated spares. It has enabled proven, heavy armoured vehicles held within the protected mobility fleet to be used to protect British Army troops in challenging operational terrains. Optimising current platforms has significantly reduced delivery timescales, ensuring our soldiers are safer, faster.
As engineering authority for the protected mobility fleet, NP Aerospace is leading the project with support from companies including HORIBA-MIRA, Horstman, Texelis, Timoney, Tyron and Universal Fabrications. A number of vehicles have already been deployed on operation during COVID-19 restrictions with the first wave delivered in just over 80 working days.
New vehicle systems have been implemented within the Ridgback and Mastiff to increase mobility, enhance safety and introduce new capabilities. These enhancements include state-of-the art, independent suspension systems incorporating Ride Height Control, along with upgraded driveline, steering and braking systems, central tyre inflation systems and increased diameter tyres.
Brigadier Anna-Lee Reilly, Head Vehicle Support Team for Defence Equipment & Support (DE&S), the procurement arm of the UK Ministry of Defence, commented: “Our close relationship with NP Aerospace has been fundamental in our ability to deliver this capability to the Army in unprecedented timelines. From requirement to delivery, we have worked hand-in-hand to develop, trial and ultimately deploy this capability on operations in less than a year. Reviews have been extraordinarily positive, and the added capability has helped ensure that our soldiers are able to conduct their operations in a safer and more effective manner.”
David Petheram, Chief Operating Officer, NP Aerospace, said: “The off-road mobility upgrade is a significant development for the UK MoD. It has potential to extend the life of Ridgback and Mastiff which have saved lives on operation, whilst delivering performance improvements to match other high mobility vehicles. Reduced vehicle vibration has lessened driver and passenger fatigue, providing a better working environment for operational tasks. Mobility improvements have enabled a proven platform to be used in theatres of operation previously unachievable for standard vehicles.
“Whilst the upgrade was driven by a specific Urgent Capability Requirement, we see this development having a much wider impact. By using experienced NP Aerospace staff alongside off the shelf components, NP Aerospace has cut costs significantly and enabled UK MoD to handle new combat environments without the burden of developing a completely new platform.
“The speed at which we and our partners have re-engineered the platforms, with fully functional prototypes delivered in just over 80 working days, has shown that we have the capabilities to meet challenging military requirements even in a global pandemic with supply chain restrictions.”
A total of over 700 Mastiff and Ridgback vehicles have been armoured and integrated by NP Aerospace over the last 15 years for use in various operational theatres.
15 Mar 21. Army AFV’s. 14 years since the last House of Commons Defence Select Committee published a report on Army vehicle procurement strategy from which of the many recommendations, criticisms and important conclusions was:
“This is a sorry story of indecision, constantly changing requirements and delay. We are concerned that the FRES requirement may simply be unachievable without a major technical breakthrough. The tension between the survivability and deployability is particularly acute: satisfying both requirements may prove impossible. It is high time the MoD decided where its priorities lay”
Comes another report from that committee heavily critical of the “deplorable’ state of the UK’s Army’s armoured fighting vehicle (AFV) capability”.
Ahead of IR which is due to be published tomorrow and which as I think we all know is more than likely to make the situation worse rather than better there is little more that I can add save that the notion of scrapping the Army’s fleet of Warrior AFG’s as opposed to moving forward with the planned upgrade programme undertaken by Lockheed Martin UK and that through the long testing phase has now passed all necessary milestones will, I suspect, if the upgrade programme is now to be scrapped as has been widely rumoured in numerous MOD leaks to the press, be concluded by the same Committee in its next report on the subject as likely having been ill-thought through and based on purely on cost as opposed to strategy. Just to imagine that the notion that after decades of proven service and having been deployed in numerous campaigns that a successful tracked vehicle such as Warrior could be replaced by an inferior wheeled vehicle such as Boxer beggar’s belief. NATO Allies beware!
More from me on this subject tomorrow following publication of the first section of the Integrated Review along with wider comment on related defence capability cuts that are rumoured to be about to emerge in the IR save perhaps for my questioning here why it has taken the Committee so long to come to the conclusion that the Army’s AFV capability is in a deplorable state, to question responsibility of government, Army and MOD in such crass decision making, accountability and, if criticism of Army AFV capability is justified, who is going to carry the can. I might add that if this is yet another Defence Select Committee report destined to litter the House of Commons library shelves with no further action or accountability for the mess being taken by Government and the MOD hierarchy, what on earth is the purpose of the Committee? (Source: Howard Wheeldon, FRAeS, Wheeldon Strategic Advisory Ltd.)
14 Mar 21. Defense panel rips into British Army over ‘deplorable’ state of armored vehicles. Britain’s armored fighting vehicle capabilities have been labelled as “deplorable” in a report released by the parliamentary Defence Committee on March 14.
Actually, “deplorable” was one of the kinder terms used by the committee to describe the Army’s reasons for letting its armored vehicle fleet atrophy over the last two decades.
“The recent history of the British Army’s armoured fighting vehicle capability is deplorable,” the committee wrote. “This report reveals a woeful story of bureaucratic procrastination, military indecision, financial mismanagement and general ineptitude, which have continually bedevilled attempts to properly re-equip the British Army over the last two decades.”
Committee chairman Tobias Ellwood said the armored fighting vehicle program has been “plagued with uncertainties, and the decision to invest in fighting vehicles is too often hampered by uncertainties over what the Army wants them for and pitted against the desire to fund other defense priorities. Whilst the defence landscape is certainly shifting, traditional warfare remains a very real and frightening possibility, and one for which we must be fully prepared.”
The committee said heads should role at the Defence Ministry’s procurement arm, the Defence Equipment and Support office, if the problems can’t be resolved.
“Given the large amounts of taxpayer’s money at stake and the importance of such programs for our war fighting capability should deterrence fail, this appalling situation has now become completely unacceptable and must be rapidly reformed, including, if necessary, by senior management changes at DE & S Headquarters,” the committee wrote.
The report comes ahead of the publication of a government defense, security and foreign policy review that is widely expected to axe or at least reduce the size of some key armored vehicle capabilities as part of a wider transformation of the armed forces. The government foresees a pivot from conventional equipment toward greater investment in space, cyber, underwater and unmanned technologies.
The Army is expected to take the brunt of any cuts that come as a result of the review. The service will also likely experience cuts in end strength.
“The Army’s AFV program and capability is now vulnerable when weighed against the desire to fund other priorities such as ‘cyber,’ information warfare and other capabilities,” the report said. The committee added that the failure to provide modern armored fighting vehicles to the Army will pose serious quantitative and qualitive implications on the battlefield.
“Were the British Army to have to fight a peer adversary — a euphemism for Russia — in Eastern Europe in the next few years, whilst our soldiers undoubtedly remain amongst the finest in the world, they would, disgracefully, be forced to go into battle in a combination of obsolescent or even obsolete armoured vehicles, most of them at least 30 years old or more, with poor mechanical reliability, very heavily outgunned by more modern missile and artillery systems and chronically lacking in adequate air defense,” the committee said.
“We are astonished that between 1997 and late 2020 (with the exception of a small number of armoured engineering and Viking protected mobility vehicles) the Department had not delivered a single new armoured vehicle from the core procurement program into operational service with the Army.”
Although not part of the core program, Britain did order thousands of armored vehicles for missions to counter improvised explosive devices, among other duties, during the Afghan and Iraqi campaigns.
The committee’s report focused on four specific armored fighting vehicle programs. Two are under contract to supply new vehicle types, and the other two are for platform updates not currently under contract. Together, the programs are worth billions of pounds.
The two programs not yet under contract — one eying the Lockheed Martin UK’s Warrior infantry fighting vehicle, and the other looking at Rheinmetall BAE Systems Land for a significant improvement package for the Challenger 2 main battle tank — have been the subject of considerable speculation over whether they will survive cuts when the government review drops.
But national media reported March 13 that the Challenger 2 modernization effort will go ahead, albeit with the tank fleet reduced from the current level of 227 to between 150 and 170. Reports also said the long-delayed Warrior update effort, launched in 2011, will not progress to the manufacturing stage, with the planned capability to be completely abandoned.
Meanwhile, deliveries of new Ajax tracked reconnaissance vehicles built by General Dynamics are late but are starting to trickle into the Army’s hands. And Britain has also inked a contract with Rheinmetall BAE Systems Land to supply several hundred Boxer mechanized infantry fighting vehicles. However, the committee said it is “astonished” that the Boxer contract only provides for production of one vehicle a week, (ed: Sources state that this production run was agreed aas part of the MoD Funding profile) and members called for the government’s review to accelerate procurement. (Source: Defense News Early Bird/Defense News)
15 Mar 21. Redback, Lynx put on display ahead of LAND 400 evaluation. The competing IFVs have been displayed in Canberra alongside the M113 as Defence weighs up their capabilities ahead of its decision on the LAND 400 Phase 3 program. Hanwha Defense Australia’s Redback and Rheinmetall Defence Australia’s Lynx were displayed in Canberra on Friday (12 March).
The vehicles are contenders for the Commonwealth government’s LAND 400 Phase 3 program — a multibillion-dollar Army program that will recapitalise Army’s Vietnam-era M113 armoured personnel carrier (APC) force, with a combination of a tracked infantry fighting vehicle (IFV) and tracked APC
The IFVs will soon undergo a risk-mitigation activity, which is expected to include mobility, reliability and blast testing.
Defence is also expected to assess contracts, supply chains and maintenance associated with the vehicles, ahead of the government’s recommendation on the preferred tender, scheduled for 2022.
The competing IFVs were displayed at an event attended by senator Jim Molan and Major General David Coghlan, head armoured vehicle division at the Capability Acquisition and Sustainment Group (CASG).
“The world has changed, the M113 has been in service almost as long as I’ve been alive,” MAJGEN Coghlan said.
“The operational environment today is totally different, far more demanding and far more threatening.”
Three-man vehicle crews evaluating the IFVs are scheduled to commence conversion training in the coming weeks.
“The trial soldiers will be on a steep learning curve going into a fully digitised vehicle and turret, but they are up to it and are looking forward to putting the vehicles through their paces,” MAJGEN Coghlan added.
“Once a fleet of these is in our hands, they’ll operate in ways we haven’t contemplated yet.”
In addition to the three-man crew, the vehicles are capable of carrying six dismounted soldiers protected by armour and firepower.
“The role of the dismount in many ways won’t change, but they’ll be better protected and have much better communication and connectivity,” MAJGEN Coghlan said.
“How dismounts are used will be reflected in the ability of the vehicles to dominate the battlefield.”
Testing crew are also expected to consider the potential for future digital, mechanical and weapon upgrades.
MAJGEN Coghlan said the competing IFVs are purpose-built for the modern battlefield.
“Big equals protection and that in the modern environment equals weight, but increased weight does not mean decreased mobility,” he concluded.
Acting Minister for Defence Marise Payne also welcomed the arrival of the competing IFVs.
“These next-generation infantry fighting vehicles will provide Australian soldiers with higher levels of protection, mobility, firepower and connectivity,” the minister said.
“They will give our troops the best possible opportunity to successfully complete their mission safely.
“This project is part of the Morrison Government’s unprecedented $270bn investment in defence capability over the next decade, which will protect our national and strategic interests for years to come.”
Senator Molan, a former Army Major General, added: “I am proud to be part of a Government that is investing in greater firepower and protection for the Australian Army.” (Source: Defence Connect)
09 Mar 21. Netherlands-based light vehicle manufacturer Defenture is growing and has plans to manufacture three new modular tactical vehicles.
Defenture, the Netherlands based manufacturer of high-end tactical vehicles for both Special Forces and light infantry units, welcomes investment company Azur Investment Group as shareholder. This financial injection enables Defenture to further develop three new modular tactical vehicles.
Defenture develops and produces light tactical vehicles since 2013. Last summer, Defenture handed over the last of 75 VECTOR vehicles to the Korps Commandotroepen (the Dutch Special Forces unit). This vehicle was quickly characterised ‘the new standard.’ Furthermore Defenture recently signed a contract with the Dutch Ministry of Defence for 249 Scorpion diesel quads.
Defenture is ambitious and wants to anticipate on new defence market trends, developments and needs. Henk van der Scheer, CEO Defenture: “We notice a strong need with our customers for unmanned vehicle systems, hybrid technology and emission reduction, topics we as Defenture anticipate on. We also have the ambition to increase our production capacity to at least 300 vehicles and 140 quads annually and to expand production abroad.” Next to that, there is strong focus on further developing three new vehicle types. The modular rolling chassis enables a variety of possible configurations for these vehicles, varying from 3 to 10 tons.
Mostly built from the same components, these vehicle systems focus on standardisation and strongly support familiarisation, thus creating international logistical interoperability and operational co-operation between military units using the vehicles. With Azur Investment Group as new shareholder, Defenture is ready for the future. (Source: joint-forces.com)
11 Mar 21. France’s Arquus unveils Scarabée, a hybrid armored vehicle that moves like a crab. French manufacturer Arquus said its Scarabée armored vehicle has left the development stage and is ready for the global market.
At a March 10 press conference, CEO Emmanuel Levacher described the ride as “no longer just a pretty prototype, but the world’s first truly hybrid armored vehicle.”
Arquus, formerly known as Renault Trucks Defense, supplies 90 percent of the French Army’s wheeled vehicles and is one of the three partners, together with Nexter and Thales, developing the Griffon and Jaguar armored vehicles that are the cornerstone of the French Army’s Scorpion modernization program.
Levacher specified that a number of potential clients “have already expressed interest” in the Scarabée, the company’s “flagship” product developed on its own funds, but did not specify who they were. “What we are seeking are a few ‘ambassador’ clients and hopefully, amongst these, will be the French Army,” he said.
Arquus currently has 60 export clients including the United States Defense Department, which bought 62 Bastion armored personnel carriers, and the Canadian Army, which bought 1,672 Medium Support Vehicle System trucks.
The rear wheels of the Scarabée provide independent steering so that it can not only make very tight U-turns (11m, or 36 feet) but, as the rear axle can be kept parallel to the front one in a turn, it can move simultaneously forward and sideways like a crab.
This unique capability means the vehicle can surge from cover and back again without having to maneuver and can also keep facing the enemy whilst moving sideways, according to the manufacturer.
Christian Jacques, director of innovation at Arquus, said that feedback from their army clients point to “energy, survivability and robotization” as the areas to develop in the future. “Vehicles are having more and more energy-consuming systems put aboard and in parallel it is vital that we reduce our use of fossil energies,” he remarked.
He also revealed that the company is preparing a hybrid version of the Griffon for next year.
Levacher said the company’s ambition was to reach an annual turnover of €1bn ($1.19bn) by 2030, “which is the critical size to enable us to finance our innovation.” The company does not reveal precise turnover data as it is part of the Volvo Group, but Levacher said they were in the region of €600m, or $715.2m. (Source: Defense News Early Bird/Defense News)