07 May 21. British Army to possess most lethal tank in Europe. The British Army will receive a fleet of 148 Challenger 3 main battle tanks as part of an £800m contract with Rheinmetall BAE Systems Land (RBSL), the Defence Secretary has announced today.
Based in Telford, the contract will create 200 jobs at Rheinmetall BAE Systems Land (RBSL), including 130 engineers and 70 technicians, with a further 450 jobs to be established throughout the wider supply chain across the West Midlands, Glasgow, Newcastle upon Tyne and the Isle of Wight.
The new tank will carry additional high velocity ammunition able to travel at faster speeds with an increased range. Ammunition will also be programmed digitally from a new turret with a 120 millimetre smoothbore gun. This cutting-edge tank will also feature an upgraded engine with a new cooling system and suspension to improve accuracy when firing in transit.
A new automatic target detection and tracking system will be used to identify threats, whilst new thermal long-range cameras will be fitted as part of a day/night image system.
Defence Secretary, Ben Wallace said, “This represents a huge shift in the modernisation of our land forces through the increased lethality of Challenger 3. This pioneering new technology allows us to deliver immense warfighting capabilities in battlespaces filled with a range of enemy threats. The £800m investment will also create hundreds of highly-skilled jobs across the country ensuring our soldiers benefit from the very best of British engineering.”
Deputy Chief of the General Staff, Lieutenant General Chris Tickell CBE said, “The announcement of the Integrated Review has provided us with a huge amount of opportunity and left the Army in a good place. The integration of Challenger 3 is key to ensure our success and integration in the land domain, ensuring that we meet our international commitments and continue to protect the nation.”
As part of the Army’s commitments to adapt to meet future threats, Challenger 3 will be fully digitalised integrating information from all domains whilst being able to travel up to 60mph. The Challenger 3 tank is being developed to replace the current Challenger 2 tank which has been in service since 1998. Full Operating Capability for the tank is planned for 2030, with initial operating capability expected by 2027.
Director Land Equipment for DE&S, Major General Darren Crook said, “This is a significant step forward for Defence and UK industry as we continue to develop and modernise our fleet of land vehicles and I am looking forward to working closely with our industry partners to deliver the very best capabilities we can for the British Army.
As outlined in the recent Defence Command Paper, the British Army will be more deployable and better protected in the face of our adversaries. The announcement of Challenger 3 reaffirms our commitment to invest £3bn into Army equipment over the next decade, delivering a modernised, adaptable and expeditionary fighting force.” (Source: https://www.gov.uk/)
07 May 21. Rheinmetall BAE Systems Land (RBSL) has been awarded the UK MOD contract to upgrade 148 British Army Challenger 3 Main Battle Tanks.
Against the backdrop of the COVID-19 pandemic this contract award, worth £800m (incl. VAT), marks a significant boost for UK prosperity and economic recovery.
The programme will make significant enhancements to the vehicle and provide the British Army with a world-class capability, made in the UK.
The upgraded vehicle, to be called Challenger 3, will be a network-enabled, digital Main Battle Tank with state-of-the-art lethality, upgraded survivability, plus world-class surveillance and target acquisition capabilities.
450 jobs will be created and sustained within the UK supply chain, and a further 200 jobs will be created and sustained within RBSL, including 130 engineers and 70 technicians. RBSL will also provide work and training opportunities to 60 apprentices over the next five years.
The work will be led out of RBSL’s Telford manufacturing facility with engineering support from Heavy Armour specialists based at Telford and other RBSL sites in Washington (North East) and Bristol. The programme will commence in 2021, with an expected in-service date of 2027.
RBSL will work with suppliers across the UK, further contributing to levelling-up of regional economies. The programme has also prompted a £20m inward investment to RBSL’s Telford facility, ensuring world-class manufacturing equipment and training for employees and apprentices.
The Challenger 3 contract will facilitate the UK staying at the forefront of Armoured Fighting Vehicle development and provides the UK with the opportunity to explore new technologies for integration in future capabilities.
The programme protects the UK’s national skill base in both defence and engineering sectors, and could enable exports worldwide.
John Abunassar, RBSL Board Chairman, said:, “What a moment for RBSL, for our Armed Forces, and for UK prosperity. We are delighted to make this announcement and solidify the return of armoured vehicle engineering to the UK. This announcement comes after years of hard work and collaboration with our customer, especially in the recent extraordinary circumstances brought about by COVID-19. The British Army will receive a world-class capability. RBSL, Vickers Defence Systems at the time, handed over the first Challenger 2s to the British Army over 25 years ago, and it is a great deal of pride for our engineers to take this next step together too.”
07 May 21. Continuity and change: Rheinmetall presents the HX3, a new generation of tactical trucks. Rheinmetall has just unveiled the HX3, the latest generation of its globally tried-and-tested HX family of heavy-duty trucks. Completely redesigned, this future-proof military truck addresses contemporary military and automotive megatrends by drawing on innovative new technologies. Among other things, users can expect better protection, improved mobility, enhanced driving comfort as well as a digital interface architecture for greater operational flexibility and future performance upgrades. At the same time, the valued core strengths of the HX2 and the family concept are retained.
Like its predecessors, the vehicles of the new HX3 generation are military-off-the -shelf (MOTS) products, uncompromisingly designed for military use under the most gruelling operating conditions – a unique selling point in the sector. In addition to the robust chassis and powerful engine, a new active rear axle suspension is available as an option, which significantly improves the vehicle’s performance both on and off road.
More than ever before, the new HX3 generation embodies a platform concept designed for logistic operations and tactical scenarios alike. Thus, the HX3 will basically be available in 4×4, 6×6, 8×8 and 10×10 versions – and characterised by even greater variant and system diversity. New systems such as the fully Automated Load Handling System (ALHS) and Universal Torsion-Resistant Subframe (UTRS) will further facilitate its classic logistics role. Yet the HX3 is also better able than ever to serve as a systems carrier for complex weapon and radar systems. These include truck-based artillery systems, for example, which are likely to gain importance in coming years. In combination with the newly developed Artillery Truck Interface (ATI), the HX 10×10 could be utilised in future as the standard basis for various artillery solutions or similar systems.
Owing to its completely redesigned cab, the HX3 delivers even greater ease of operation and crew protection. Various assistance systems assure enhanced safety in everyday operations, whether for soldiers deployed in the field or in civilian settings. Coupled with assistance systems such as the Emergency Brake Assist (EBA), Adaptive Cruise Control (ACC) and Lane Departure Warning (LDW), a totally new electronic and electric architecture guarantees the vehicle’s future viability – particularly with regard to autonomous driving. Thanks to standardised interfaces, it will also be possible to integrate technologies that become available in future, such as truck platooning and other automated applications.
As an option, HX3 trucks can be equipped with an armoured cab, whose protection level can be modularly augmented. Furthermore, in addition to conventional camouflage, the new generation of vehicles feature a digital stealth mode: if necessary, all data transmission and receiver functions can be switched off to reduce the vehicle’s digital signature. As an active self-defence measure, the reinforced roof offers space for weapon stations with heavy weaponry. As a further option, additional active and passive protection systems are available, including Rheinmetall’s ROSY Rapid Obscuring System and the very short-range ADS Active Defence System.
Due to a systematically applied identical components concept and extensive functional commonality between different models, administering and operating the fleet of vehicles becomes simpler and more efficient. Strict adherence to a policy of component and functional unity facilitates maintenance, logistics and training, while a global service network guarantees fast resupply and support throughout a long service life. Moreover, with over 15,000 vehicles in operation worldwide, a high degree of compatibility with previous HX generations only reinforces this. The global presence of RMMV vehicles brings major advantages when it comes to interoperability and logistics, especially during multinational operations. Among others, the circle of international HX user nations now includes Germany, Great Britain, Australia, New Zealand and Austria. Norway and Sweden have also placed substantial truck orders with Rheinmetall.
07 May 21. Marder infantry fighting vehicle turns 50 – tried-and-tested warhorse of Germany’s mechanized infantry. The Marder infantry fighting vehicle celebrates its 50th anniversary today: it was a half a century ago, on 7 May 1971, that the German Army took formal deliver of the first serially produced vehicles. This took place at simultaneous ceremonies in Kassel and Kiel – the corporate seats of the legendary IFV’s original manufacturers, Thyssen-Henschel and Krupp MaK. Both companies have belonged to Rheinmetall since 1999 and 2001, respectively. At the time of its inception, the prime mission of the new IFV was to defend the national territory in Central Europe: teamed with the Leopard 1 main battle tank, the Marder was supposed to play a pivotal role in the mobile operations of the Bundeswehr. But fate had different plans in store for the vehicle. During the Cold War, the Marder infantry fighting vehicle’s role was confined to the major exercises held by West Germany and its NATO partners to demonstrate in no uncertain terms their readiness to defend themselves. In the meantime, the Leopard 1 has long since vanished from the Bundeswehr inventory. The same is true of other systems of that bygone era, among them the Luchs armoured reconnaissance vehicle, the Starfighter F-104 fighter-bomber, and the BO 105 and Bell UH-1D helicopters. The Marder, on the other hand, went on to prove its mettle in foreign deployments, including in Kosovo and Afghanistan. As part of the Quick Reaction Force, it has engaged in firefights in around Kunduz and Mazar-e Sharif. The vehicle continues to serve the German military to this day. Nor is Germany the only Marder user nation: the vehicle also features in the armies of Chile, Indonesia and Jordan.
Rheinmetall has accumulated vast experience and expertise in the Marder domain. On behalf of the Bundeswehr, in recent years the company has carried out various measures aimed at boosting the combat performance and extending the service life of part of Germany’s Marder fleet.
This includes the installation of air conditioning in the fighting compartment; new vision equipment for the driver, gunner and commander; integration of the MELLS multirole lightweight guided missile system; and a new drivetrain. Thanks to measures currently underway to extend its service life, the Marder is likely to remain operational until the end of the decade.
Battle-tested and extremely reliable, the Marder is destined to remain an important asset of Germany’s mechanized infantry forces for some time to come, even now that the branch is on the verge of epochal change: on 18 March 2021, the Chief of Staff of the German Army confirmed the battle-worthiness of “System Panzergrenadier”.
In essence, System Panzergrenadier consists of an upgraded version of the Puma infantry fighting vehicle, supplied by PSM GmbH, a joint venture of Rheinmetall and Krauss-Maffei Wegmann, and the VJTF2023 version of the Future Soldier – Expanded System (IdZ-ES), a state-of-the-art soldier system developed by Rheinmetall. Its mission is to increase the firepower and combat effectiveness of the VJTF 2023, which will be led by Germany. By fielding System Panzergrenadier, the formation will be equipped for the first time with a digitized vehicle platform – the Puma IFV upgraded to VJTF status – plus a soldier system featuring digital radio technology. Close-meshed networking of the soldiers’ sensors and effectors with those of the infantry fighting vehicle minimizes the time between target detection and target engagement. This melding of capabilities into one total system enables effective tactical interaction between the troops and their infantry fighting vehicle, in turn enhancing the combat effectiveness of mechanized infantry formations.
06 May 21. US Army looks for nontraditional business to tackle robotic vehicle sustainment. The U.S. Army is tapping nontraditional businesses to tackle the challenge of future robotic combat vehicle sustainment, according to a statement from the Army Applications Laboratory.
The AAL is establishing a cohort of innovators “who can develop hardware and software components around sensors and sensor data to gather, fuse and interpret RCV sustainment requirements and operational capabilities in order to deliver actionable information to decision makers,” the May 6 statement noted.
The Army has a history of not planning for or thinking much about sustainment during the development phase of programs, instead attempting to solve how to manage systems after they are fielded. The service, as it modernizes, is trying to take entire life cycles into account from the beginning. Savings in both cost and time could result from planning sustainment strategies alongside development.
The Army Applications Lab, which is part of Army Futures Command, serves as an interface with businesses that may not have much experience in the defense world but have technology with useful military applications.
“AAL’s Cohort Program is similar to an accelerator, similar to a hackathon, similar to traditional acquisitions, but none of those things by itself. It brings together businesses that don’t usually work with the [Department of Defense] and focuses them on solving a specific Army problem,” the statement read. “They work side by side with soldiers and with a community of Army experts and stakeholders on a shared learning journey.”
The Cohort Program launched several efforts over the past year. The Army began its Field Artillery Autonomous Resupply cohort in January 2020 to improve the currently cumbersome, taxing and sometimes risky munitions resupply system for field artillery units operating M109 Paladin howitzers.
And last month, the Army picked five small businesses to build prototypes intended to help increase the rate of fire of self-propelled howitzers as well as in future systems. The SPARTN Fire Faster will feed into an overall effort to increase the rate of fire and smooth out the process of loading artillery pieces.
SPARTN stands for Small Business Innovation Research-based Special Program Awards for Required Technology Needs, which is the contracting mechanism used to launch the program.
More recently, the AAL launched its Power Transfer Cohort to develop ways to power electric vehicles in austere, remote locations. The Army chose six companies to come up with plans, which the companies will present to the service this month.
The Army knows robotic combat vehicles will play an important role in the ecosystem of ground operations, and it is developing light, medium and heavy RCVs to fight alongside optionally manned or manned combat vehicles in the formation.
The AAL plans to host a webinar for interested companies on May 25. Companies will be able to submit proposals from June 3 through June 23. (Source: Defense News)
06 May 21. GM Defense’s new president Steve duMont eyes more ISV orders. Speaking to Army Technology as GM Defense opened its new Infantry Squad Vehicle (ISV) production facility in Concord, North Carolina, the company’s new president Steve duMont said he wanted to sell the vehicle to new customers and discussed future opportunities for the business, including the Joint Light Tactical Vehicle (JLTV) recompete.
duMont’s commented as, on Tuesday, GM Defense opened its new 75,000-square-foot production facility expected to build 2,065 ISVs for the US Army. The facility went from an empty shell to producing vehicles in just 90 days.
Commenting on the new facility duMont, who joins GM Defense from Raytheon Intelligence & Space, said: “I am really impressed with everything that I’ve seen… I mean literally, a 90-day turn to take an open empty facility and turn it into a world-class production facility, that capability doesn’t exist in the world that I come from, the defence world that I come from.”
The facility is designed to support the full-rate production of the ISV that will equip US Army Infantry Brigade Combat Teams. GM Defense told Army Technology that the plant could produce seven or eight vehicles a week.
Currently, the company is building vehicles at a rate of two-and-a-half units a week due to the size of the current army task order.
Commenting on the choice of location, GM Defense engineering group manager Joe Moraschinelli told Army Technology: “Once we won the contract, we realised we didn’t have a site to do this at so the obvious choice for us was the site in Concord, which is close to Hendrick [Motorsports] – one of our strategic partners – and also close to the military, Fort Bragg, location. It made sense for us financially to come to this location.
“It took about just over 90 days to put the site up we did have a shell of a building with zero infrastructure, four walls and a concrete floor that was it; no piping, no heat, no air, nothing. So, in 90 Some days we were producing vehicles out of a location that basically had nothing in it.”
The Concord plant has already produced six production ISVs, adding to the 27 vehicles the company had already assembled at its Milford, Michigan, facility. Hendrick Motorsports provides the chrome-moly steel exoskeleton of the vehicle frame used on the ISV.
Mark Dickens, GM Defense architectural chief engineer, added that the facility was built ‘with expansion in mind’ and that if the company needed to build more vehicles at a low rate using a different configuration that could be added in.
Moraschinelli said that the company had several ways it could increase production rates, including expanding the size of the production line, adding more shifts, or increasing the number of people who work on the vehicle.
ISV expansion and the JLTV recompete
The executives said the need to expand at some point was ‘anticipated’ when the company established the facility, and duMont expressed his intention to expand orders of the ISV.
“I want to I want to sell this vehicle to our US DoD [Department of Defense] customers and to allied land forces around the planet and build as many of them as we can, but also use this opportunity as a springboard to go find the next great challenge that our defence customers have and go solve that with the amazing capabilities that I’ve witnessed in my two and a half weeks with the company,” duMont said.
The company has so far been contracted for the production of the first 649 vehicles. The company has also built a one-off all-electric concept ISV that is being demonstrated to the US Army.
The ISV is based on the commercially available Chevrolet Colorado ZR2 midsize truck and uses 90 per cent commercially available components. duMont said that ISV was just the ‘tip of the iceberg’ for GM Defense.
Commenting on the upcoming recompete of the US Army’s JLTV programme, duMont said: “The JLTV programme is very important to us. It’s a recompete of the JLTV contract that was awarded several years ago and there are 30,000 Plus vehicles to go and our defence customer is looking for opportunities to take cost out of their acquisition, to develop and deliver better a better product with higher reliability and better quality.
“I can’t think of a better company on the planet to do that and the one that I just joined. So JLTV is an important programme for us.”
Oshkosh Defense is currently manufacturing the JLTV.
Interest in OMFV
Looking towards opportunities to expand outside of the tactical wheeled vehicle market, duMont said GM Defense had ‘applicable technologies’ in the autonomous or robotic vehicle space.
On OMFV, duMont said: “The optionally manned fighting vehicle, that’s not a tactical wheeled vehicle, it’s a combat vehicle and it has tracks instead of tires, but I really feel the technology that we’re demonstrating in our delivery of the infantry squad vehicle in an amazingly quick period of time, we’ll be able to do something similar as we look at programmes like OMFV for the US Army.”
The deadline for proposals for the OMFV competition’s digital design phase has already passed; however, duMont said he saw potential roles in the programme for GM Defense as a teammate or potential supplier of underlying technologies. (Source: army-technology.com)
06 May 21. Historic First Delivery for UK Boxer MIV Programme. Another historic moment in the UK MoD’s Boxer Programme has taken place, with the very first delivery of machined component parts for the Mechanised Infantry Vehicles being delivered to WFEL’s Stockport manufacturing facility.
WFEL’s Boxer Warehouse and Quality teams received this first delivery from Lancashire-based BCW Manufacturing Group, who have been selected as a nominated sub-contractor from an initial group of over 20 qualifying companies. BCW have demonstrated compliance with the strict Quality and Engineering capability criteria required as part of WFEL’s world-class Supplier Approval Procedures. This process included a First Article Inspection which was completed satisfactorily prior to delivery.
WFEL’s Managing Director, Ian Anderton, commented, “I am extremely pleased with the roll-out of our UK supply chain for the Boxer vehicles for our British Army customer. This £2.3bn programme is delivering economic benefits not just for WFEL but for many other companies around the UK, particularly in the North of England. This first delivery from BCW is another historic moment as we ramp up to begin the first-ever production of these Mechanised Infantry Vehicles in the UK.”
Nick Eary, Business Development Director, ANSUKA Group (BCW’s parent company) added, “We are both delighted and proud to be part of the team contributing to the delivery of the new Boxer vehicles for the British Army. We have already built a strong relationship with WFEL’s Procurement Team, who know we can be relied on for this and potential future deliveries of specialist parts. It was particularly pleasing to be able to deliver the goods two weeks ahead of the requested delivery date.”
05 May 21. Faster, Tougher, Smarter: Army’s Future Armored Force. Adding robot scouts and replacing vintage vehicles – the M113, the M2 Bradley, and potentially even the M1 Abrams – will make heavy brigades much more mobile, lethal, and aware of threats, Maj. Gen. Richard Ross Coffman says.
The tanks, they are a-changin’. the Army’s deadline to submit concepts for a new Optionally Manned Fighting Vehicle that will replace the Reagan-era M2 Bradley is just 11 days away, April 16. The service is already buying a replacement for the even older M113, a tracked workhorse that fought in Vietnam. And it’s experimenting with remote-controlled Robotic Combat Vehicles and even exploring unmanned options to replace the massive M1 Abrams main battle tank.
But how does all this new technology translate into better tactics and more options for commanders? To get a glimpse of that future armored force, I sat down for an exclusive interview with the armor modernization director at Army Futures Command, Maj. Gen. Richard Ross Coffman.
The essential takeaways:
- Robotic scouts and better sensors will spot threats earlier and let the manned force advance more boldly.
- Automotive improvements and replacing the slowest vehicle, the Vietnam-vintage M113, will get the whole force moving faster over rough terrain.
- New weapons and protections will let it kill the enemy from longer range and survive bigger hits in return.
Speed, Sensors, & Survivability
“All of these systems are specifically designed to increase situational awareness and understanding of the commander so they can make decisions faster,” Coffman told me. “They’re going to move faster because they’re going to give information to commanders more rapidly and reduce the risk” of stumbling into an ambush during a rapid advance.
Reagan-era vehicles, let alone Vietnam-vintage ones, just don’t have the electrical wiring to support a lot of cutting-edge communications and sensors. But nowadays even civilian vehicles have cameras all around to automatically warn of danger, and modern war machines are built the same way, to detect much more serious threats than a car crash. What’s more, the military sensors are being networked, so the commander can see what every vehicle in their formation sees, dramatically expanding their view of the battlefield.
Now add to that network some relatively expendable robots — both land and air – that you can send to scout ahead of your human forces. That makes it possible to move much faster.
What limits the pace of an armored advance isn’t the physical speed of the vehicles or even the difficulty of the terrain: It’s the risk of ambush. The more uncertain you are of the enemy’s location, the more time you spend checking potential ambush spots. For an armored force, that can be a particularly laborious process, especially if you have to stop and dismount foot troops to investigate buildings, swamps, dense woods, or other areas tracked vehicles can’t enter. Conversely, the better you know where the enemy is and – just as crucial – isn’t, the more rapidly you can advance.
“The aerial and ground unmanned vehicles will allow us to move much faster,” Coffman told me, “[because] if you know where the enemy is located, you can move very rapidly. If you don’t know, then you must conduct reconnaissance… so you’re not just blindly walking into an enemy ambush.”
Of course, reconnaissance, sensors, and networks are never perfect, and sometimes even the smartest soldier gets ambushed. For those occasions, you really want to have a vehicle tough enough to keep you alive when it takes a hit.
What’s more, the tougher your vehicle, the more risks you can take, which – again – allows you to move faster. (In fact, the original purpose of the tank was to restore mobility to the Western Front by advancing through machinegun fire, flattening barbed wire, and crossing trenches). While the Robotic Combat Vehicles are lightly armored and relatively expendable, the new manned combat vehicles will be much more survivable than their predecessors.
That’s especially true against underbody blasts from roadside bombs and land mines, threats that can slow vehicle movement to a painstaking crawl. The M113 “aluminum coffin” was so vulnerable to mines in Vietnam that troops routinely rode on the roof instead of inside, while the M2 Bradley and M1 Abrams were designed for a defensive war against invading Russians, a war in which the minefields would be laid by NATO, not the enemy. By contrast, modern machines like the M113 replacement, the tracked Armored Multi-Purpose Vehicle (AMPV), and the Humvee successor, the 4×4 Joint Light Tactical Vehicle (JLTV), are specifically designed to absorb and dissipate blasts from below.
AMPV is based on the Bradley design – it looks like a Bradley with no turret – but its larger, stronger hull incorporates lessons painfully learned since 9/11.
“AMPV is more survivable than a Bradley,” Coffman told me. “What you’re seeing is the benefit of over a decade of combat operations in the Middle East. The EFPs [Explosively Formed Penetrators] that our enemy used against us, the large- double stacked, triple stacked mines that we saw the enemy use, now we’ve accounted for those in our designs.”
AMPV, OMFV, MBT?
Good armor and situational awareness are the biggest contributors to battlefield mobility, but simple speed matters, especially cross-country. This is another of the advantages the new AMPV has over the venerable M113.
“Our M113s were really the slowest vehicles that we had on the battlefield…Even on flat roads they just couldn’t keep up with the M1 tank,” Coffman said. “AMPV will be able to absolutely maintain pace with the Abrams.”
Now, AMPV isn’t intended to advance alongside the M1 Abrams and M2 Bradley in the first wave of an assault. It’s a second-line vehicle, well-armored but lightly armed, meant to follow close behind the frontline force, replacing a wide range of M113 variants. The five AMPV models include an armored ambulance, a mobile surgery, a mobile command post, a mortar carrier for close-in fire support, and a general-purpose hauler of troops and supplies.
“By increasing the mobility, survivability, and capability of our workhorse, which is the AMPV, we’re increasing the pace that the whole team can move,” Coffman told me.
It’s also easier to keep AMPV moving, since it’s far less prone to breakdowns and far easier to maintain than the geriatric M113.
“Maintaining a 60-year-old fleet of vehicles is very expensive and the supply chain is very hard to maintain,” he said. “AMPV parts will be readily available, and it will have common parts with the PIM “and the existing Bradleys.”
(PIM is Paladin Integrated Management, the latest upgrade to the M109 howitzer, which entered service in Vietnam but has been almost totally rebuilt. An even more advanced Extended Range Cannon Artillery version is now in prototype).
If AMPV is so great, why not just make a heavily-automated, heavily-armed version with a turret and use that to replace the existing Bradley Infantry Fighting Vehicle? “Someone could absolutely propose that” as their Optionally Manned Fighting Vehicle concept, Coffman told me. But OMFV could be something much more innovative and even strange.
For example, tthe Army’s desired “characteristics” for OMFV – they’re not yet formal “requirements” – say a platoon of vehicles should carry 30 fully equipped infantry as passengers. But it carefully doesn’t say how many vehicles are in a platoon, so you could conceivably have a single huge one carrying 30 passengers or 30 mini-machines carrying one apiece. “It could be a jet ski or a yacht,” Coffman said.
The one non-negotiable demand: OMFV must carry infantry through enemy fire to their assault point more safely and effectively than ever before. That includes better armor and mobility, as well as improved sensors and weapons, since the best way to ensure your own survival is to kill the enemy first.
“The situational awareness that we’ll see will be exponentially better than what you have on a Bradley today,” Coffman said. If you combine that with longer-ranged weapons, he said, “we will be able to identify the enemy before they can identify us and destroy the enemy beyond the capabilities of our adversary.”
Now, the OMFV is being designed to outfight comparable vehicles: the middle-weight, moderately well-armed and armored troop carriers known as Infantry Fighting Vehicles. It’s not being built to take on main battle tanks. That role remains that of the massively armored M1 Abrams main battle tank (MBT) – at least for now.
However, the Army is studying a potential future vehicle or vehicles to replace the Abrams, Coffman said. There’s no official name, although “Decisive Lethality Platform” and “Optionally Manned Tank” have come up in previous reporting. Even more so than OMFV, the Army is looking at a wide range of possibilities, including unmanned and optionally manned vehicles.
“Everything is on the table at this point,” Coffman said. “We’re exploring technologies, we’re exploring options for what comes after the SEP v3,” the latest upgrade of the much-upgraded Abrams.
There have been advancements with main battle tank technologies that we are very, very excited about,” he told me. Those include AI-aided target recognition, low-recoil cannon, automatic loaders, active protection against anti-tank weapons, and signature management to make a tank harder to detect on infrared or by its radio-frequency emissions. “There’s just a whole bunch of things that are interesting and fun to think about,” Coffman said, “[for] how we can better wage war as we close with and destroy our future adversaries.” (Source: Breaking Defense.com)
04 May 21. USMC weighing ARV bids for prototyping competition. Industry bids for the US Marine Corps’ (USMC’s) Advanced Reconnaissance Vehicle (ARV) prototyping competition were due on 3 May and at least two companies said they are vying for contracts.
Both General Dynamics Land Systems (GDLS) and Textron Systems announced that they had responded to the service’s request for prototype proposals: a document only available to National Advanced Mobility Consortium members.
In a 2020 draft publicly released, the service said it intends to award up to four contracts for this upcoming prototyping phase that will end with an evaluation.
“The ARV prototype vehicle (PV) is envisioned as a next-generation platform with a combination of capabilities that will enable light armoured reconnaissance (LAR) battalions to function as a battlefield manager,” the US Army wrote on behalf of the USMC effort last year. “This will require multiple and resilient means to process information and communicate,” it added.
The prototypes will need to have an “open system architecture” and strike the right balance between the demands to “sense, shoot, move, communicate and remain transportable” as part of the naval expeditionary force.
“The ARV PV will provide a balanced set of performance, payload, and protection attributes with sufficient size, weight, and power (SWaP) to accommodate future growth and the development of other platform variants,” the notice added.
David Phillips, Textron Systems’ senior vice-president for land systems, provided reporters with some additional ARV requirement details during a 3 May call. He noted that the USMC wants the prototypes to weigh less than 18.5 tons, there are likely to be different variants, and that four vehicle should fit onto each ship-to-shore connector.
“The vehicle not only has to have outstanding land mobility, it has to swim in the ocean, it has to depart from connectors, and it has to transition through the surf zone,” Phillips explained. (Source: Jane’s)
04 May 21. IDF orders Z-Mag off-roader. Israel Aerospace Industries’ (IAI’s) Elta group is preparing for large-scale production of the new Z-Mag all-terrain vehicle at its Land Division in Beersheba after the Israeli Ministry of Defense announced an initial order of nine vehicles on 22 April. IAI and the ministry’s Production and Procurement Directorate said the contract includes an option to purchase 21 additional vehicles for the Israel Defense Forces (IDF). “Following an assessment period, the IDF will consider buying more vehicles in the coming years,” IAI said.
Yoav Turgeman, vice-president of IAI and CEO of Elta, told Janes the Z-Mag and the Zibar, another member of the Z family, have been developed to become the new standard 4×4s for the IDF, with hundreds of units expected to eventually be equipped with the vehicles.
In expectation of these orders, IAI-Elta has invested ILS100m (USD30.8m) toward the new production line.
Turgeman said the Z-Mag can be fitted with either a V8 petrol engine that produces 500 Nm torque or a diesel engine, can carry 14 passengers, and has “extraordinary” all-terrain capabilities. “It has a rack of almost a meter, it can take on side angles of up to 65˚, and climb a 100% ascent. One of its unique features is its ability to take on a payload as heavy as the vehicle itself: 2.5 tonnes.” This means it can also be fitted with an armour package if needed. (Source: Jane’s)
04 May 21. Textron Unveils New Advanced Reconnaissance Vehicle Prototype. Textron Systems announced on May 4 its new prototype vehicle — dubbed Cottonmouth — for the Marine Corps’ Advanced Reconnaissance Vehicle program. The Advanced Reconnaissance Vehicle, or ARV, is intended to replace the service’s legacy Light Armored Vehicle-25, which is built by General Dynamics Land Systems and has been in use since the 1980s.
“As we understand it, the intent here is that the Marines want to replace their current fleet of … over 600 LAV-25s currently in service with up to 500 Advanced Reconnaissance Vehicles, said David Phillips, Textron’s senior vice president for land systems.
The Marine Corps released a request for prototype proposals for the vehicle on March 30 with a May 3 due date, Phillips said on May 3 during a briefing with reporters about the company’s platform. Information from the call with members of the media was embargoed until the official May 4 announcement.
For the prototype, the Marines are asking companies for a vehicle that includes a tethered unmanned aircraft system with auto-launch and retrieval, an open architecture approach that allows them to integrate various capabilities including battle management systems and communications suites, Phillips said. The vehicle should also weigh less than 18.5 tons, and be small enough to fit four on a ship-to-shore connector for transportation.
Textron has invested more than $6m building its seven-seat prototype vehicle for the program, Phillips told reporters.
“We sent that prototype system out to the National Automotive Test Center and collected over 700 miles of mobility data,” Phillips said. “We proved out that the Marines’ requirement was a valid requirement with a prototype system that de-risks our ability to not only perform to all of the Marines’ top-level requirements that they’ve defined, but to do so in the timeframe that they’re asking for in this prototype phase.”
The Cottonmouth prototype has an open system architecture that will streamline integration of existing government sensors, he said.
The company has a Cottonmouth systems integration lab in Hunt Valley, Maryland, to test the various sensor suites in a virtual environment prior to physically integrating them into the vehicle, Phillips noted. “That will help us quickly work through all of these sensor suites that the government is going to make available to us.”
The prototype was also designed to give it the ability to swim.
“It incorporates dual mechanically driven water jets to provide simultaneous land and water propulsion,” Phillips said. “We’ve already incorporated an amphibious cooling system … to ensure the requirements are met, which is a seaworthiness in up to two to three feet of waves and allowing rapid transitions between land and water modes.”
(Source: Defense News Early Bird/https://www.nationaldefensemagazine.org/)
04 May 21. Here’s who just became GM Defense’s new president. GM Defense has hired Steve duMont, who has had a long career in the defense industry, most recently leading global growth for Raytheon’s intelligence and space business sector, as its new president.
At Raytheon, duMont held other leadership positions over 13 years and also worked at BAE Systems and Boeing. GM’s new president served as an aviation officer and attack helicopter pilot in the U.S. Army.
He replaces former president David Albritton, who went to Amazon in November 2020, after a nationwide search.
Three weeks into the new job, duMont celebrated the official opening of GM Defense’s new 75,000 square-foot production facility in Concord, North Carolina, where it will manufacture the U.S. Army’s Infantry Squad Vehicle (ISV), the company’s first big win to provide a vehicle to the U.S. military.
The ISV will be a light, all-terrain troop carrier to rapidly inject troops into the fight. The vehicle is based on its 2020 Chevrolet Colorado ZR2 truck architecture and features 90 percent commercial off-the-shelf parts.
“When I looked at this opportunity and, really, the ability to do something very important for our warfighter, it kind of became a no-brainer for me,” duMont told Defense News in a May 4 interview.
GM Defense is a fresh company in the sector, beginning in 2017, but builds off an enormously accomplished history of a major commercial vehicle supplier with defense roots dating back to World War II.
ISV was a “tremendous win” for GM Defense, duMont said, and GM’s focus on “the future of mobility, specifically focused on battery electric power, autonomy and unmanned, manned and unmanned collaboration and connected vehicles,” drew him to the job.
GM plans to invest $27bn over the next five years in those areas, duMont said, and “when I looked at the opportunity to take that investment and bring it into the defense environment and be able to bring value to our warfighters and do it at commercial speed and commercial scale, that, I think, is what really excited me.”
While at Raytheon, duMont worked closely with the Raytheon-Rheinmetall North America team on its first bid for the U.S. Army’s Bradley Infantry Fighting Vehicle replacement, the Optionally Manned Fighting Vehicle program. Ultimately, the team’s physical bid sample didn’t make it in time to be tagged in for the competition.
The Army was left with just one physical bid sample from General Dynamics Land Systems. Instead of proceeding with just one player, the Army decided to take a new approach and launched a fresh competition. A team of Rheinmetall, Raytheon, Textron and L3 are competing to design an OMFV as part of the new effort.
In OMFV, duMont sees a great potential for GM Defense to participate, but the company did not submit its own bid to compete for an initial design phase.
The OMFV program needs companies like GM Defense to “bring new and innovative technologies to solve the toughest problems of our warfighters,” duMont said. He added that while GM is capable of going in as a prime, “we are, as an organization, probably at this point more focused on a teaming approach and that is where I think we can deliver the most value to the U.S. Army on that program.”
GM Defense also has its eye on the U.S. Army’s plan to re-compete for the Joint Light Tactical Vehicle program, of which Oshkosh Defense is currently the prime.
JLTV was the first program duMont mentioned specifically in his interview with Defense News. “What we want to do is bring in the same value that we brought into ISV, which is the ability to take GM’s world-class processes to design, develop and manufacture world-class vehicles and be able to scale the production capabilities,” he said.
GM Defense was able to build its first ISV in 120 days following contract signing and built its Concord plant in 90 days — during the coronavirus pandemic — where it will rapidly build over 2,000 of the vehicles. The plant features some of the latest manufacturing tools including a digital operating system that uses Bluetooth-enabled tools.
The company also rapidly converted one of its own ISV vehicles to entirely battery electric powered variant in a number of weeks and had it available for VIP guests to drive at its Concord facility opening May 4.
That battery electric powered ISV using a battery system based on the Chevy Bolt will head to Fort Bragg, North Carolina, next week so soldiers can try it out, duMont noted.
The U.S. Army is working toward finding alternative power for its combat vehicles and OMFV could be a candidate for hybrid power, for instance.
For OMFV, its requirement for silent watch would mean a “very intensive battery system,” duMont said, and GM can give the Army innovative options as it ventures down the battery powered electric vehicle path.
The U.S. Army is also aiming to acquire an electric light reconnaissance vehicle and GM Defense is “very interested in working collaboratively with the Army” on that effort. The demonstration at Fort Benning will help the company highlight how it could contribute to that program, duMont noted.
Another area of focus for GM Defense in the near term is applying its parent company’s investment in autonomy to defense capability, according to duMont, as there is no doubt the technology will play a major role on future battlefields. (Source: Defense News Early Bird/Defense News)
05 May 21. USMC’s AAV fleet still sidelined as fixes continue, service leaders say. The United States Marine Corps (USMC) is working on material fixes and upgrades to its Amphibious Assault Vehicle (AAV) fleet. Since the accident of July 2020 that killed nine military members, the service has not resumed waterborne operations with the AAVs, service leaders told lawmakers during a 3 May hearing.
Members of the House Armed Services Committee met virtually to hear from USMC and US Navy (USN) leaders about ongoing steps to improve AAV training and readiness to prevent another accident.
“It was preventable in so many ways, but we failed,” USMC Assistant Commandant General Gary Thomas told lawmakers.
“Let me be clear, the AVV platoon should have received vehicles in a higher state of material readiness than they did,” he added.
Major General Gregg Olson, staff director of the USMC, noted that the AAVs were delivered to the 15th Marine Expeditionary Unit (MEU) in “horrible condition”. Mechanics prepared them for land operations and later made them “waterborne capable” but subsequent inspections found that there were “watertight integrity” issues.
“Some 54% of the vehicles that were inspected had failures in the watertight integrity of their plenum doors … 18% had cargo hatches that were leaking in excess of what they should have been, and fully 50% had inoperable emergency escape lighting systems,” Maj Gen Olson told lawmakers. These water problems, combined with lack of training and communication, contributed to the deadly event. (Source: Jane’s)
04 May 21. Elbit Systems of America and Textron Systems team on Advanced Reconnaissance Vehicle prototype for USMC. As the United States Marine Corps (USMC) Systems Command works toward the next phase of replacing the legacy Light Armored Vehicle with a modern, robust Advanced Reconnaissance Vehicle (ARV), Elbit Systems of America has teamed with Textron Systems to produce a solution that provides Marines with transformational capabilities, including enhanced situational understanding technologies.
Elbit Systems of America’s IronVision will provide the 360° Situational Awareness vision suite for the Cottonmouth prototype ARV
The USMC has identified characteristics their new ARV must include as the core-manned next-generation system for light armored reconnaissance battalions. In response, Textron Systems has partnered with Elbit Systems of America and others to create the Cottonmouth prototype ARV.
“Elbit Systems of America is excited to be teamed with Textron Systems as a key partner for building the Advanced Reconnaissance Vehicle for the United States Marine Corps,” said Ridge Sower, Vice President of Ground Combat and Precision Targeting at Elbit Systems of America. “Our ARV concept will provide a key and critical capability to the USMC and include advanced technologies that will make it relevant both today and for decades to come. Our 360-degree multi-domain situational awareness suite will provide significant increases in the lethality and survivability of Marines.”
Building off the success of Elbit Systems of America’s IronVision and gimbaled sight solutions, the company will provide the 360° Situational Awareness vision suite for the Cottonmouth prototype ARV. The system will bring together video images from outside the ARV, overlay terrain and obstacle information, along with navigation and battlespace symbology, and present a single image of the ARV’s surroundings to all crew members within the vehicle. This comprehensive and intuitive view of their surroundings, available both on crew workstations and the IronVision Helmet Mounted Display, gives the crew the ability to “see-through” the armor of the Cottonmouth, empowering them with unparalleled situational understanding while under armor. The successful ARV prototype will ultimately replace the USMC’s Light Armored Vehicle that’s been in use since the 1980s. (Source: PR Newswire)
04 May 21. US Army Awards Oshkosh Defense Contract Extension to Continue Producing and Modernizing FHTV Fleet. The U.S. Army Contracting Command announced that it has awarded Oshkosh Defense, a wholly owned subsidiary of Oshkosh Corporation (NYSE: OSK), a three-year extension to the FHTV IV contract and initial delivery orders valued at $146.8m.
Under the extension, Oshkosh will provide new and recapitalized Heavy Expanded Mobility Tactical Trucks (HEMTT), Palletized Load System (PLS) trucks and trailers, and Heavy Equipment Transporters (HET). The initial delivery orders call for a total of 353 new and recapitalized vehicles.
“For decades we’ve worked closely with the U.S. Army to modernize the FHTV fleet, and we are honored that they’ve called on us to continue to provide our Soldiers with these mission critical vehicles,” said Pat Williams, Vice President and General Manager of U.S. Army and Marine Corps Programs for Oshkosh Defense. “We look forward to working with the U.S. Army to further modernize the FHTV fleet in support of current and future missions.”
A key aspect of the FHTV’s design is its capacity to support a multitude of roles. The FHTV’s flexible architecture also accommodates additional capabilities such as Condition Based Maintenance (CBM), Advanced Driver Assistance Systems (ADAS), autonomy, on-board power, and other proven technologies.
Oshkosh Defense was initially awarded the FHTV IV contract in 2015. Since the start of FHTV production, the company has produced over 35,800 HEMTTs, 8,500 PLS vehicles, and 4,600 HETs while also recapitalizing over 14,000 HEMTTs, 3,500 PLS vehicles, and 1,000 HETs. (Source: ASD Network)
04 May 21. GM Defense: New President, New Factory, New Electric Truck The fledgling defense wing of the giant civilian automaker rolled out an all-electric ve.rsion of its Infantry Squad Vehicle, eying an Army competition for a stealthy electric scout.
Tuesday was a big day for GM Defense, the tiny defense subsidiary of auto giant General Motors. The company:
- announced a new president, former Army helicopter test pilot Steve DuMont, who spent 13 years at high-tech powerhouse Raytheon;
- officially opened its new factory in Concord, N.C., where it’ll build hundreds of air-droppable Infantry Squad Vehicles for the US Army;
- and unveiled an electric variant of the ISV, using the battery from the Chevy Bolt – leveraging its parent company’s $27bn, five-year investment plan in electric vehicles.
“That vehicle is out driving around right now,” DuMont told me in an interview. “[We built it] in a pretty short period of time, on our own investment…We’ll bring it to Fort Benning next week and let some of the warfighters evaluate it.”
The electrified ISV is a company-funded concept car, not a formal prototype, but it’s tangible proof of GM Defense’s capability to build the Army’s proposed Electric Light Reconnaissance Vehicle. The Army has been leery of the logistical complications of adding all-electric vehicles to its current diesel fleet; after all, there are no charging stations on the battlefield. But electric drive’s ability to move near-silently while powering extensive electronics is particularly attractive for scout units. And since the Electric Light Reconnaissance Vehicle would serve in light infantry brigades alongside Infantry Squad Vehicles, an ISV-derived ELRV would simplify logistics and training, putting GM Defense in a strong position.
That’s an impressive feat for a tiny operation. The new Concord factory, for instance, will have just 20 employees when fully staffed, building 14 vehicles a month – a minuscule sliver of GM’s global operation. But they’ll be drawing on mama GM’s deep bench of engineering talent and its massive supply base. The ISV itself is derived from the civilian Chevy Colorado ZR2 and is built from 90 percent commercial parts.
GM Defense also aims to leverage GM’s investment in self-driving, network-connected vehicles. That’s technology which blurs the line between one of the military’s most old-school industrial-age components, trucks, and its cutting-edge information technology, AI and robotics.
“It’s more than trucks,” DuMont told me. “The real value, and frankly why I’m here, and why I left a very high-tech job for this job…. there is tremendous focus and investment within GM on technology that is very relevant to some of the warfighter’s biggest challenges.”
DuMont knows high-tech. He flew Apache gunships for the Army, including in the Balkans as part of the ill-fated Task Force Hawk. He served as an instructor pilot and a test pilot before joining the defense industry in 2001, just in time for an epic military build-up. At Raytheon, he worked on air and missile defense, space and intelligence systems.
Now he’s building ground vehicles – but expect to see some sophisticated ones, he hinted. While he couldn’t discuss details, DuMont did tell me this: “If you look across GM’s vehicles, you can see almost every vehicle now comes at least with an option to have autonomous drive features, and so one of the things I’m really excited about is the advanced sensors and the capabilities that… we could then translate into enabling autonomous drive for military vehicles as well.” (Source: Breaking Defense.com)
04 May 21. Major players bid for chance to build US Marine Corps’ next recon vehicle. U.S. Marines drive to a checkpoint during Cold Response 14, a multinational exercise in northern Norway. Several major industry players have bid for a chance to build the U.S. Marine Corps’ next reconnaissance vehicle as the service embarks on a prototyping effort to replace its aging fleet of lightly armored vehicles.
Incumbent General Dynamics Land Systems — which is the manufacturer of the Light Armored Vehicle-25 currently in service — announced it submitted an advanced reconnaissance vehicle, or ARV, prototype proposal by the Marine Corps’ May 3 deadline.
Textron is competing with a prototype it already built and drove nearly 750 miles, dubbed “Cottonmouth.”
BAE Systems would not confirm whether it plans to participate, but several sources connected to the competition told Defense News they believe the company submitted a bid. BAE already manufactures the Marine Corps’ Amphibious Combat Vehicle.
SAIC, which received an earlier contract to develop technology for the ARV from the Office of Naval Research in 2019, confirmed to Defense News that it would not compete in this next prototyping phase.
The Marine Corps wanted proposals for the research and development of an ARV prototype vehicle as part of its pursuit to acquire its replacement of roughly 600 1980s-era Light Armored Vehicle-25s in order to enable light-armored reconnaissance battalions to function as a battlefield manager, according to a solicitation posted on the federal contracting website beta.sam.gov. The vehicles will need to operate both on land and amphibiously.
“This will require multiple and resilient means to process information and communicate,” the solicitation stated, meaning the vehicle must be equipped with a resilient and robust communication sensors suite.
“The ARV PV will be a modern combat vehicle platform, with an open system architecture, and it will be capable of fighting for information dominance,” the posting noted. “It will balance competing capability demands to sense, shoot, move, communicate and remain transportable, as part of the Naval expeditionary force.”
The vehicle should be able to accommodate future technology and capability as well as be designed with future variatns in mind, the solicitation stated.
The Marine Corps plans to make up to three awards for ARV prototypes. Vendors selected will deliver a prototype for testing and evaluation.
The Marines would then choose up to two to continue into a competitive engineering and manufacturing development phase around fiscal 2024.
The Marine Corps “may pursue” a production effort upon successful completion of the prototype project, according to the solicitation, which could be worth an estimated $1.8bn to $6.8bn over five years. The plan is to build roughly 500 of the vehicles.
David Philips, Textron’s senior vice president of land systems, said its prototype Cottonmouth was purpose-built to meet the ARV’s current and future evolving requirements. He added that, as far as he knows, the company is the only one in the running with a prototype that is already built.
So far, the company has invested about $6m to develop, build and test the prototype, Philips said.
Textron submitted its Cottonmouth prototype as its offering to the Marine Corps’ Advanced Reconnaissance Vehicle competition. (Courtesy of Textron)
“The Marines are asking for a naval sensor node, and we see that as a next-generation scout vehicle requiring multidomain [intelligence, surveillance and reconnaissance] capability,” Philips said.
The service desires an open-architecture approach, he added, to integrate any payload it wants, such as an organic, tethered unmanned aircraft system with automated launch and retrieval capability. He also said the Corps wants to keep the vehicles under 18.5 tons so it serves as an agile ship-to-shore connector.
“The vehicle not only has to have outstanding land mobility; it has to swim in the ocean, it has to depart from connectors and it has to transition through the surf zone,” Philips said. The prototype, he noted, “incorporates dual, mechanically driven water jets to provide simultaneous land and water propulsion. We’ve already incorporated an amphibious cooling system and automated trim veins to ensure the requirements are met, which is a seaworthiness in up to 2-3 feet of waves, and allowing rapid transitions between land and water modes.”
Textron recently won another clean-sheet design effort to build medium Robotic Combat Vehicle prototypes for the U.S. Army, which will undergo evaluation ahead of a possible program of record. Philips claims the company already showed its ability to rapidly integrate systems onto the platform, including a government-furnished robotic kernel, a 30mm turret, smoke obscuration systems, unmanned aerial systems and other sensors.
The company partnered with Howe & Howe as well as FLIR Systems to develop its Ripsaw robot. Philips also said Textron has partnered with “some of the best in industry” for the ARV, including Elbit Systems of America, which is providing its next-generation situational awareness sensors.
In a May 3 statement, Phil Skuta, the director of business development for the Marine Corps and Navy at General Dynamics Land Systems, said, the company “has aligned with the Marine Corps’ 10-year transformation initiative, a key portion of which seeks to build a 21st-century reconnaissance capability that is highly mobile on land and in the water.”
The capability GDLS would build will be able to control robotics in the air and on the ground as well as meet the mission through onboard, networked sensors, he added.
“Our collaborative industry team is focused on early integration of transformative technologies — advanced electronic architecture, artificial intelligence, autonomy and robotics — required to deliver this capability,” Don Kotchman, vice president and general manager for U.S. operations, said in the statement. “We have ensured the growth margins and modular open architecture necessary to rapidly incorporate new technology.”
04 May 21. WFEL and KMW commission David Brown Santasalo to assemble power packs for UK BOXER MIV programme. WFEL and Krauss-Maffei Wegmann (KMW) are delighted to announce their agreement with one of the world’s leading power transmission companies, Huddersfield-based David Brown Santasalo (DBS), for the supply of Powerpack blocks for the UK BOXER Mechanised Infantry Vehicles. On behalf of WFEL and KMW, David Brown Santasalo will assemble around 250 Powerpack blocks (transmission, engine and cooling systems), beginning delivery in Autumn 2022 and covering a 10-year period of supply.
As part of KMW’s extensive UK Boxer Technology Transfer Programme, this particular contract will sustain and create at least 20 jobs in the North of England at David Brown Santasalo and its wider supply chain, whilst further contributing to the UK’s sovereign industrial defence capabilities. DBS is internationally recognised as one of the most innovative suppliers of bespoke land and marine power transmission systems. The £30m order will ensure that the fully assembled and tested Powerpack units are delivered to WFEL’s new, dedicated, state-of-the-art BOXER MIV production facility in Stockport, where they will be integrated into the BOXER vehicles.
Steve Watson, DBS Global Defence Director and Managing Director UK said, “Through the development of this key partnership with KMW and WFEL, we are delighted to continue to contribute to the UK economy and our local community through job retention and creation of new roles. We relish the opportunity to continue to strengthen our local team.”
The Boxer vehicles are being provided to the UK MoD as part of the £2.3bn contract placed with the ARTEC consortium in November 2019.
Ian Anderton, WFEL Managing Director, commented, “As we head closer towards the first ever manufacture of BOXER vehicles here in the UK, we are delighted to welcome DBS to our UK supply chain, a company which has undergone rigorous supplier selection criteria, as part of our wider programme of manufacturing readiness for this vital new capability for the British Army’s Strike Brigade.”
The David Brown Santasalo contract is one of the first tranche of UK supply chain contracts to be awarded for the BOXER MIV programme and will help support economic growth and level-up regional economic opportunity. The MIV programme aims to support and enhance the UK supply chain, including SMEs. It will also ensure that the UK retains the skills and expertise to support the BOXER vehicles throughout their operational life.
BATTLESPACE Comment: WFEL told BATTLESPACE that the 250 gearboxes mentioned in the Release are the WFEL vehicles only.
04 May 21. Sweden signs $200m contract with BAE Systems to buy 127 BvS10 armored vehicles. Swedish military procurement agency has signed a $200m contract with BAE Systems for 127 BvS10 Viking (local name Bandvagn 410) tracked armored amphibious vehicles. Deliveries of the 127 vehicles are planned to begin in 2022 and complete in 2024. The vehicle can traverse rocks, mountains, snow, swamps, and Arctic environments, and its amphibious capability allows it to seamlessly transition to swimming. The BvS10’s flexible and modular design accommodates changing mission requirements, including advanced battle management.
Sweden already operates the BvS10 as well as its predecessor Bv206, and adding more BvS10s to the fleet will increase the Army’s ability to carry out its mission.
“The investment from Sweden provides the Swedish Army with more of these extremely mobile, capable and robust vehicles. This continued investment in the BvS10 is an important step toward further opportunities in Sweden and internationally for the BvS10 and its Beowulf unarmored variant,” said Tommy Gustafsson-Rask, managing director of BAE Systems Hägglunds. “This also demonstrates the strong and trusted relationship between BAE Systems and the Swedish customer to deliver the capabilities the Swedish military needs.”
The Swedish BvS10s feature enhanced crew ergonomics, greater internal volume, and advanced protection, building on BAE Systems’ legacy Bv206 vehicles, of which more than 10,000 have been sold to more than 40 countries. The BvS10 has been deployed for missions to Afghanistan, Central Africa, the Balkans, and the Middle East.
“We see an increased interest from many countries for extreme mobility capabilities, such as those seen on our BvS10 and Beowulf platforms. We are especially looking forward to the joint four-nations collaborative all-terrain procurement involving Germany, the Netherlands, Sweden, and the United Kingdom,” added Gustafsson-Rask. Today Austria, France, the Netherlands, Sweden, and the United Kingdom are operators of the BvS10. (Source: News Now/https://defence-blog.com/)