15 Apr 21. OMFV: Army gets BAE, GD Designs For Bradley Replacement. BAE’s press release features a shadowy silhouette of a previously unseen vehicle. Could this be BAE’s proposal for the Optionally Manned Fighting Vehicle?
BAE Systems, maker of the Army’s mainstay M2 Bradley armored troop transport, has formally submitted a proposal to replace it, the company announced today. General Dynamics, maker of the M1 Abrams tank, has also submitted an OMFV concept to the Army, the compact said.
GD’s release offers no details or imagery of their design. But featured on BAE’s press release is a shadowy silhouette of a turreted, tracked armored vehicle. It bears some family resemblance to the Bradley and its modernized offshoot, the Armored Multi-Purpose Vehicle (AMPV), but it is distinctly different from either.
Is this image of BAE’s proposed Bradley replacement? The company declined to confirm that or deny it.
The Army is currently soliciting “concepts” for a future Optionally Manned Fighting Vehicle, not complete designs. The aperture is wide open for weird ideas, the service has made clear. Industry could propose an AMPV hull with a new gun turret, said Brig. Gen. Richard Ross Coffman, the army’s armor modernization director, in a recent interview. Or, he said, a company could offer something widely unconventional, like a single mega-vehicle carrying 30 passengers or 30 mini-vehicles carrying one passenger apiece.
By comparison to these out-there ideas, the vehicle silhouetted on the BAE release looks fairly conventional – it could conceivably even be a modified, turreted AMPV. But, of course, we have no idea what kind of high-tech systems may be inside. One of the Army’s few hard-and-fast mandates for OMFV is that it must be able to operate in some missions by remote control, and even when fully manned, it should require only two crew (a driver and a gunner/commander), as opposed to the Bradley’s three (driver, gunner, and commander). Those characteristics will require an unprecedented degree of automation for a US Army combat vehicle.
While BAE is keeping quiet about its design, the company did announce last fall that it was partnering with the US branch of Israeli armsmaker Elbit “to develop and integrate advanced operational capabilities for combat vehicles.” The release boasts that Elbit is a “world leader” in advanced turret design — including fully unmanned turrets of the kind that OMFV would probably require.
Elbit has also been extensively involved in the Israeli military’s Carmel project to develop advanced armored vehicles with sophisticated sensors feeding a cockpit that looks more like a jet fighter’s than a tank’s.
BAE’s press release today was studiously bland, but it does specifically call out Elbit as a crucial partner, the only one identified by name. “BAE Systems is ready to answer the Army’s call for an advanced armored vehicle to support mechanized infantry operations through the Optionally Manned Fighting Vehicle (OMFV) program, and has submitted its design proposal to the Army,” the release runs. ”We are designing a combat system that will meet, with ample growth and adaptability, our Soldiers’ needs for lethality, mobility, and survivability on future battlefields. To do this we are teaming with innovators like Elbit Systems of America to provide the Army with the most capable next generation capability: the OMFV.”
Who’re BAE’s competitors? So far, we’re sure of one: Rheinmetall, maker of the German army’s Puma, is entering its Lynx AFV. The German firm is partnered with America’s Raytheon, L3Harris, and Allison Transmission. (Source: Breaking Defense.com)
15 Apr 21. Galvion delivers first Silent Watch Battery Packs (SWBP) for use in Canada’s LRSS LAV 6.0 Program. Galvion announced the first delivery of our Symbasys Swatpack™ modular battery systems to General Dynamic Land Systems-Canada for use in the Light Armoured Vehicle (LAV) Reconnaissance Surveillance System (LRSS). The LRSS LAV 6.0 will replace the Coyote LAV vehicle providing the Canadian Army with state-of-the art technology for advanced target detection, recognition and identification.
Galvion’s Silent Watch battery solution consists of ten (10) Li-Ion Swatpack™ 160Ah/4KWh battery modules in a custom-designed ballistic enclosure which is mounted on the LAV 6.0. The 40Kwh system will provide the power to run the mounted surveillance system including cameras, thermal imagers, laser range finders, and other on-board electronic equipment. The robust bespoke solution can power these demanding electronics over extended periods of time, in all conditions, with no thermal or aural signature, preserving the batteries for engine starting.
“Our experience integrating Li-Ion batteries into military applications, and our long-standing partnership with Kokam, a world leader in lithium-ion cell manufacturing, were key in successfully engineering the optimum balance of technology, performance and safety required to meet all of the operational needs for this program,” said Peter Rafferty, Galvion’s V.P. of Platform Power. “Many years of development and a rigorous qualification program carried out over the past two years culminate in Galvion being able to deliver a unique set of capabilities for the LRSS LAV 6.0 program.”
Galvion looks forward to delivering the balance SWBP systems to GDLS Canada and is proud to be a part of this ground-breaking program for the Canadian Army.
14 Apr 21. Local Motors begins first-ever autonomous vehicle project at MCAS Miramar. The 90-day project is the first to autonomously transport packages around a US military base. Local Motors, a leader in the development, manufacturing, and deployment of autonomous shuttles, recently began the first-ever project moving packages around Marine Corps Air Station (MCAS) Miramar using an autonomous electric shuttle, Olli.
The project is in collaboration with US Ignite, an accelerator of smart communities, and NavalX SoCal Tech Bridge as a part of the 5G Living Lab at MCAS Miramar. Funded through the Office of Naval Research and Naval Information Warfare Center (NIWC) Pacific, this $4m initiative supports multiple pilot projects aimed at improving military base operations through technology innovation.
MCAS Miramar personnel will be directly engaged in shuttle operations to gain autonomous vehicle experience and evaluate the benefits of autonomous technology in potential base and deployment applications. Data from the Olli shuttles will be transferred via 5G network and analyzed beyond the duration of the 90-day pilot program.
“MCAS Miramar’s deployment of the Olli demonstrates the dual-use opportunity of autonomous electric vehicles on installations to transport both people and goods. It highlights the importance of early engagement with companies and how fostering a collaborative effort provides efficient dual-use technologies,” said Lieutenant Colonel Brandon Newell, NavalX SoCal Tech Bridge Director.
Local Motors CEO Jay Rogers said, “Local Motors is proud to develop and deploy made-in-America vehicles, and it is an honor to serve our military. Our Direct Digital Manufacturing (“DDM”) clock-speed allows us to accelerate collaboration, deployment, and testing of dual-use technologies. The results of this project will be critical to improving base operations and future on and off-base deployments.”
US Ignite is supporting the launch and project management of this pilot. “It’s critical to be able to field test new technologies and evaluate them under real-world conditions,” said Eric Werner, Director of Autonomous Vehicle Programs at US Ignite. “As the military continues to upgrade and optimize base operations, pilot programs like this one will provide crucial insights on technology performance and the potential for automated vehicles to improve services for base personnel. We are pleased to be working with Local Motors on this project, and to be forging ahead with such an innovative program at MCAS Miramar.” (Source: PR Newswire)
14 Apr 21. L3Harris Technologies and American Rheinmetall Vehicles Team to Pursue US Army’s New Fighting Vehicle. L3Harris Technologies and German integrated technology group Rheinmetall’s subsidiary American Rheinmetall Vehicles have signed a teaming agreement to jointly develop the U.S. Army’s new Optionally Manned Fighting Vehicle (OMFV), which will replace the Bradley Infantry Fighting Vehicle.
The agreement combines L3Harris’ open system design and equipment manufacturing leadership with the maturity and modularity of American Rheinmetall Vehicles’ Lynx next-generation fighting vehicle for an OMFV offering that is low-risk and easily upgradable.
American Rheinmetall Vehicles, the prime contractor, selected L3Harris to provide vehicle mission systems, cybersecurity and its modular open systems approach (MOSA) for the Lynx. L3Harris’ MOSA can enable cross-platform and cross-domain commonality of parts and subsystems to allow for easy and affordable upgrades.
“We have a long history providing similar support to multiple platforms using our MOSA approach for mission systems and electronic warfare,” said James Gear, Vice President, L3Harris Domestic Business Development. “We look forward to working with American Rheinmetall Vehicles to further expand into the ground defense vehicle market.”
“We are excited to have L3Harris join our growing team to support the U.S. Army’s OMFV program,” said Mathew Warnick, Managing Director for American Rheinmetall Vehicles. “Their experience in open architecture, communications, and cybersecurity bring tremendous capability to the American Rheinmetall Vehicles team as we prepare our digitally engineered OMFV to provide our Soldiers overmatch now and for the future.”
The design approach is grounded in the reuse of technologies and lessons from the family of L3Harris programs and engagements around the Army’s modular open aviation and ground endeavors.
13 Apr 21. Big changes coming to Army Stryker brigades. While many of the Army’s vehicles are expected to be replaced in the near term, upgraded versions of the existing Stryker, an infantry carrier vehicle, are expected to keep the armored eight-wheelers as the central infantry carriers until 2040 or beyond.
To keep the centerpiece of mounted infantry in the fight, Col. Damien Mason, director of the Army Capability Manager Stryker Brigade Combat Team, has a running list of new technologies to insert into the platform.
Some of those have been launched or are being installed, others need new solutions to fill a growing gap of capabilities as SBCTs prepare for a potential ground fight with peer competitors like China or Russia.
Speaking at the annual Maneuver Capabilities Development and Integration Directorate out of the Maneuver Center of Excellence at Fort Benning, Georgia, on April 7, Mason laid out both the changes to the formation and gear that SBCT soldiers will see in the near and long-term future.
For soldiers, some of the bigger changes will come in the setup of the formation.
The Army plans to add an electronic warfare platoon, a cyberspace electromagnetic activities cell, drones, additive manufacturing and drone maintenance platoons, an additional platoon to each cavalry squadron, two more artillery guns per battery, a third engineer company, robotic combat vehicle operators and an attached Mobile Short-Range Air Defense from the division level.
Those are some of the organizational changes being pursued right now, Mason said, to address the SBCT limits, which include:
♦ Limited ability to conduct electronic warfare, electronic attack, EW support and EW protection as well as cyberspace electromagnetic activities.
♦ Insufficient direct fire capabilities against pacing threats such as armored forces.
♦ Limited personnel and tech to control airspace at the lowest echelon from threats such as small drones.
♦ Multiple maintenance and support limitations for running an SBCT in resource-intense large-scale combat operations.
♦ Inability to simultaneously engage with both indirect and aerial fire on a target or threat.
To meet the current and future needs, Mason’s team showed attendees efforts that include addressing tactical radio shortfalls for mission command, Stryker upgrades, force redesigns that will alter the makeup of the SBCT, testing of new weapons and improvements to existing weapons.
The SBCT of the near future will have soldiers working inside and outside of the vehicle using the Army’s Integrated Visual Augmentation System, or IVAS. The “mixed reality” goggle allows soldiers to use sensors and software for everything from navigation to targeting and share their view and data with anyone in the network.
That will mean Stryker crew members can see what the dismounted soldier sees as they leave the vehicle and enter the battle. The vision is expected to work both ways, synching up the crew with infantry soldiers to better coordinate attacks and responses to threats.
At the same time, developers want the Stryker crew to see other platforms as well, such as small aerial drones and unmanned ground vehicles equipped with sensors, cameras and weapons.
The primary goal of changing the formation is to give the existing number of vehicles and soldiers greater capabilities without having to add more people or manned vehicles to the mix, Mason said.
As far as weapons testing goes, the Army is working on an upgraded Anti-Tank Guided Missile. Last October Stryker soldiers with the 8th Squadron, 1st Cavalry Regiment, 2nd Infantry Division, tested the new missile with its Modified Improved Target Acquisition System, or MTAS, in field conditions against an opposing force at Yakima Training Center, Washington.
The upgrade will allow each Stryker in the formation to “act as a sensor by transmitting situational reports and images” to the platoon, company and brigade, according to an Army statement.
The MITAS also works with a laser range finder for better accuracy, an upgraded missile launcher and better view with image enhancement and a high-definition color camera.
In testing, soldiers were able to capture images of targets more than 9 kilometers away and signal crewmembers to the location of the target through the network.
Testing continues for the Medium Caliber Weapon System, MCWS, a 30mm cannon upgrade for the Stryker. As does Common Remotely Operated Weapon System–Javelin, or CROWS-J.
The formation may also add some additional punch if testing on the 155mm wheeled howitzer proves successful, Mason noted.
That is an effort to give SBCTs a mobile howitzer platform for artillery support in place of towed howitzer systems. A shoot-off of competing platforms was underway early this month at Yuma Proving Ground, Arizona.
(Source: Defense News Early Bird/Army Times)
13 Apr 21. Decision to abandon Warrior tank costs 150 jobs. More than 150 engineering jobs are being lost after the government’s defence review and the decision to cut the upgrade of the army’s Warrior tank.
The job cuts are at the largest facility operated by Lockheed Martin, the US arms company, in the UK.
The cuts account for about one in six of the workforce at Ampthill in Bedfordshire and there are fears for hundreds more in the Warrior supply chain.
Lockheed, one of America’s largest defence and aerospace companies and the contractor that in the US is building the fighter jets for Britain’s new aircraft carriers, announced a “workforce reduction of up to 158 employees at its Ampthill armoured vehicles business”.
It continued: “This announcement comes as a direct result of the recent UK government integrated review and defence command paper, which declared that the Warrior capability sustainment programme, a major programme for the site, would be terminated and no longer proceed to a manufacturing contract.
“The announcement follows a detailed review of the workforce and workload at Ampthill and will affect both direct and indirect employees.”
Plans to upgrade the Warrior had been in train for some time but at the defence review ministers said the infantry fighting vehicle would be retired.
The Warrior is being replaced by an acceleration of the Boxer armoured vehicle programme, which is being developed by a consortium of Rheinmetall of Germany and BAE Systems, and is due to be mainly built at Telford in Shropshire and Stockport.
The defence review decided to concentrate the army’s heavy brigade forces on the Boxer, as well as the Ajax specialist vehicle built by General Dynamics of the US — on which Lockheed Martin Ampthill is a subcontractor — and a downsized fleet of Challenger tanks originally built by BAE Systems’ forerunner Vickers and being upgraded by Rheinmetall.
The Warrior was originally built by the defence division of GKN, which subsequently became part of what is now BAE Systems. It first went into service in 1984 and has seen action in the Gulf, the Balkans and Afghanistan. (Source: The Times)
BATTLESPACE Comment: As the Times rightly says, this announcement is the first of many following the cancellation of WCSP. Ajax, although assembled by GDELS in Wales relies mainly on a European supply chian whilst it is believed that Boxer will be based on exiting suppliers in Europe, mainly in Germany. Through years of neglect and poor MoD decisions, the UK has lost its APC capability, which should be of concerns to politicians when war breaks out and UORs and urnet supplies are required.
08 Apr 21. Hanwha Defense readies improved MPUGV prototype for RoKA trials. South Korea defence company Hanwha Defense’s Multi-Purpose Unmanned Ground Vehicle (MPUGV) is set to be evaluated by the Republic of Korea Army (RoKA) in the second half of this year.
The RoKA has notified the Defense Acquisition Program Administration (DAPA) of its intention to put the ”intelligent multipurpose UGV”, which is currently being developed by the company, through further testing. An improved prototype of the MPUGV is expected to be unveiled in July.
It is understood that the service will further assess parameters such as mission performance, operation, ease of operation, and tactical operability. The vehicle had previously been trialled by the RoKA’s specialised unmanned systems unit – Dronebot Warrior – and demonstrated its various capabilities, including tele-operation, obstacle avoidance, autonomous navigation, unmanned aerial vehicle (UAV) communication, gun fire detection, and gunnery.
The prototype MPUGV will be a two tonne-class vehicle, which is designed to support infantry units and undertake various duties such as transporting supplies and ammunition, search and reconnaissance, casualty evacuation, and close combat support.
The updated design will be based on a six-wheeled platform that will offers increased speed and range on a single battery charge over its previous UGVs. According to DAPA’s specifications, the vehicle will be capable of travelling at road and cross-country speeds of up to 40 km/h and 20 km/h respectively.
It will also be expected to offer more than twice the payload capacity of the existing vehicle, which can carry up to 200 kg of stores and equipment. (Source: Jane’s)
12 Apr 21. Iveco Defence Vehicles celebrates the opening of the new Romanian plant. After the groundbreaking ceremony held in August 2020 in Petresti (DB), Romania, the new production plant has rapidly been built and the production ramp-up has already started in February thanks to a solid industrial partnership. The inauguration took place on April 9th. In December 2019, Iveco Defence Vehicles signed an order with the Romanian Ministry of National Defence as part of a framework agreement, which includes the delivery of more than 2,900 high mobility trucks. Some months later, in August 2020, the groundbreaking ceremony
was held in the Romanian automotive district Petresti (Dambovita), Romania. The pandemic has been a challenge to the entire supply chain in Europe but the company’s commitment to the Romanian Ministry of National Defence is solid: construction works have been rapidly completed and the new assembly line dedicated to the National Armed Forces is now
ready to be operative. President of the Senate Anca Dana Dragu, President of the Chamber of Deputies Ludovic Orban Minister of Energy Virgil-Daniel Popescu, General Secretary of the Ministry of National Defence
Georgeta Gavrila and His Excellency the Ambassador of Italy Marco Giungi were present at the opening ceremony.
Claudio Catalano, Iveco Defence Vehicles’ CEO, who was attending the ceremony as well, stated: “Our collaboration with Romania, which dates back to 2015, is today fully strengthened: this inauguration reveals how our strong commitment continues, including important local investments
According to the contract, series production of the vehicles is expected to begin in short with an estimated productive capacity of up to 440 units per year, counting also on the production support of Iveco Defence Vehicles’ Italian plants.