28 May 21. Hanwha and LEAP to reinforce Redback life cycle with groundbreaking upgrade. Hanwha Defense Australia and LEAP Australia are set to boost the Redback IFV life cycle via Hanwha’s PTC Windchill product life cycle management software with LEAP Australia’s technology support.
Data is key to keep large fleets of IFVs operational in top condition for decades. With support from LEAP, Hanwha’s integrated the PTC Windchill product life cycle management (PLM) software can progressively create a digital twin for each vehicle in the fleet, with a digital data-based version precisely matching with the physical vehicle asset.
Hanwha Defense Australia’s managing director, Richard Cho, believes the new offering Is the ‘holy grail’ of breakthroughs. To date, complete, accurate and easy to understand vehicle data has proven to be difficult to achieve in a real-world situation.
“Having a digital twin that effectively mirrors every vehicle in a large complex fleet has been the ‘holy grail’ for engineers, maintainers and logisticians for quite a while,” Cho said.
“What the digital twin delivers in the real world is more efficient maintenance and support with less down time, and greater reliability and availability across the entire fleet. This saves money while increasing the battle readiness of military vehicles.
“I am proud that our partnership between Hanwha and LEAP Australia has been able to make that breakthrough.”
Maintainance personnel can benefit from critical information to predict what each IFV in the fleet will require ahead of time, with accessible, accurate data that provides an analysis of emerging wear patterns or component failures.
LEAP Australia’s PTC business manager, Paul O’Shaughnessy, said that joining forces with Hanwha has been a rewarding project.
“To apply the Windchill PLM software using a combination of the efficient out-of-the-box functionality and the highly configurable role and task-based apps to help Hanwha create a single and unified digital picture for the IFV program,” he said.
“The amount of useful information available to enhance fleet maintenance via the digital twin is invaluable to the defence industry.
“This PLM solution also simplifies configuration management and lays a solid foundation for any future vehicle upgrade programs.”
The Commonwealth is currently considering acquiring up to 450 Redback units for the Australian Defence Force in Phase 3 of the $27bn project, Project LAND 400. If the Redback is selected for LAND 400 Phase 3, Hanwha’s PLM solution will be updating the new IFV fleet’s data securely in the cloud. (Source: Defence Connect)
26 May 21. IAG reveals details of new Rila 8×8. International Armored Group (IAG) has detailed its Rila 8×8 family of vehicles that was launched at this year’s International Defence Exhibition (IDEX). The vehicle presented at IDEX 2021, which was held in Abu Dhabi in February, was configured as an infantry fighting vehicle (IFV), although it represents the first of a series of vehicles that will be released over the coming year, an IAG representative told Janes.
The design has been in development for some time and the prototype vehicle has completed a series of company tests and trials, including 1,000 km of off-road travel in desert conditions.
The Rila utilises a chassis design with the engine in the front centre of the hull, the driver and commander between the first and second axles. The forward engine configuration, now largely standard for 8×8s, provides additional protection for the driver and commander, and enables the rear of the vehicle to be used for multiple purposes. In the IFV configuration the vehicle can accommodate a driver, commander, gunner, and eight dismounts in the rear compartment. The vehicle is 7.6 m long, 2.45 m wide, and 2.6 m high. Its combat weight is 28 tonnes, although a gross vehicle weight of 32 tonnes is possible, with a maximum permissible load of nine tonnes per axle, according to IAG. (Source: Jane’s)
26 May 21. Boxer CRVs put to the test. Army has tested the capabilities of its Boxer CRV fleet as part of Exercise Diamond Walk.
The Australian Army’s Rheinmetall-built Boxer combat reconnaissance vehicles (CRV) have been deployed by the 7th Brigade as part of Exercise Diamond Walk at the Shoalwater Bay Training Area in Queensland.
The new platforms, delivered as part of the Commonwealth government’s $5.2bn LAND 400 Phase 2, will be tested over the coming weeks, with the exercise to conclude on 11 June.
According to Trooper Harrison Dietrich, a gunner on the Boxer, the CRV’s crews have adapted well to the new capability.
“We have just conducted a battle run with the hatches down, which has been a first for the troop,” he said.
“It was a case of walking through the complexities of a hatch-down environment. It’s also been about adapting and trying to work out the best way to employ the Boxer.”
Lieutenant Riley Brassil noted key differences between the Boxer and its predecessor, the Australian Light Armoured Vehicle.
“The crews have shown great initiative and technical mastery in the way they have adapted to the new vehicle platform, which is unlike anything they have worked with before,” LT Brassil said.
“In a vehicle that has so many sensors and digital systems, you find that you have so much more to work with and your mind is stretched between a few different lines of effort.
“However, if you can pull that all together and work with the crew as a whole, the Boxer is extremely effective at doing its job.”
Officer Commanding A Squadron 2nd/14th Light Horse Regiment (Queensland Mounted Infantry) [2/14LHR (QMI)] Major Daniel Solomon said the Boxer’s field testing followed extensive theory-based training.
“This is our first opportunity for this training year to take the Boxer into the field as part of the Boxer’s introduction into the Army,” MAJ Solomon said.
“Exercise Diamond Walk has been an opportunity for us to go back to the basics, and the couple of weeks we have been out here has seen us achieve dry and live-fire individual crew certification, and up to troop certification live-fire.”
According to MAJ Solomon, the Boxer has proven its capability since entering service with the Army.
“So far, people have been quite impressed by the performance of the Boxers,” he said.
“We have constantly pushed the boundaries of the Boxer, trying to push it further and further, and so far, it’s responding very well.” (Source: Defence Connect)
07 May 21. High-level Military Mobility Symposium discussed way ahead. More than 350 participants from Member States, EU institutions, industry, academia and think tanks joined the high-level online symposium on ‘Military Mobility – Transforming Ambition into Reality’, co-organised by the Portuguese Presidency of the Council of the European Union and EDA. After 2018, it was the second European conference specifically devoted to Military Mobility. In his opening remarks, EDA Chief Executive Ji?í Šedivý recalled the impressive progress made on this important topic over the past three years, especially as regard the implementation of the EU Action Plan on Military Mobility (launched in March 2018) whose main action points – stretching from transport infrastructure and regulatory issues to cross-border movement permissions and diplomatic clearances – are either already completed or at the verge of completion. EDA is also contributing to this common effort with two major programmes successfully underway: one aimed at harmonising military requirement related to customs and one that aims to optimise cross-border movement permission procedures in Europe.
“Still, there is more to be done in transforming this ambition into reality. The challenges that lay ahead of us are the full implementation of these achievements in our day-to-day practice and addressing the way forward to the next stage of an Enhanced Military Mobility”, Mr Šedivý said. Referring to the new impetus that last year’s first Coordinated Annual Review on Defence (CARD) has given to the topic, by making Enhanced Military Mobility one of the six ‘focus areas’ identified for future European cooperation, the EDA Chief Executive called for “sustaining this political momentum” and using the potential this focus area has “to form clusters of projects and activities in capability development and research and technologies”. Military Mobility has also been taken up under a Dutch-led PESCO (Permanent Structured Cooperation) project, as well as (more indirectly) under a German-led ‘Network of Logistic Hubs in Europe and Support to Operations’ (Loghubs) project. EDA has supporting roles in both PESCO projects and “will continue its efforts and contribute its part to this important joint endeavour”, Mr Šedivý said. He also praised Military Mobility is a “flagship project of EU-NATO cooperation” and a “prime example of effective interactions between the EU and NATO”.
In his speech, Mircea Geoana, NATO’s Deputy Secretary General, stressed the need for cooperation and symbiosis between NATO and the EU, and said the cooperation on Military Mobility, a crucial aspect of European and transatlantic defence, was testimony to that. NATO welcomes the EU’s decision, announced the same day at the EU Foreign Affairs/Defence Council, to allow the participation of the US, Canada and Norway in the Dutch-led PESCO Military Mobility project because “non-EU allies make an essential contribution to the defence and security of Europe”, he said. Military Mobility is essential to move troops across the Atlantic and across Europe, making it a crucial element of deterrence, he added. Therefore, NATO appreciates the fact that Military Mobility has become a flagship project of EU/NATO cooperation, based on Joint Declarations of 2016 and 2018. ”Our respective efforts must be mutually reinforcing and benefit all EU and NATO members alike”, Mr Geoana said.
High-level debate among Ministers
Conference participants then witnessed an interesting high-level panel debate featuring four acting Defence Ministers: Portugal’s João Gomes Cravinho, the Netherland’s Ank Bijleveld, Germany’s Annegret Kramp-Karrenbauer, and Slovenia’s Matej Tonin.
João Gomes Cravinho (Portugal) emphasised the wider strategic importance of Military Mobility, not also for the EU but also for NATO and the wider transatlantic relationship. If we are successful in this project, it will make a major contribution to Europe’s transatlantic relations and to the EU/NATO relationship, he said. The strategic relevance of Military Mobility is not to be underestimated, its importance and implications go beyond just military considerations. “We see a lot of technical work going on (between EU and NATO), but the result of this technical work will be a political result because, at the end of the day, it is a political project. I hope that Military Mobility will open the door to deeper cooperation between the EU and NATO in a wider range of areas. I hope that in 2035, we can look back and say: the Military Mobility project was the pioneer project” for this enhanced EU/NATO cooperation, the Portuguese Minister said.
Ank Bijleveld (Netherlands) said it was a “big day” for Military Mobility given that the Council had given its green light to the participation of the US, Canada and Norway in the related (Dutch-led) PESCO project. Those three countries “will provide much added value to the project with their expertise and know-how” and it will also “give a boost to increase EU/NATO cooperation”, the Minister stated. “Cooperation between the EU and NATO in this matter is crucial. We look forward to working with all relevant actors: the European External Action Service, the European Commission, the EU Military Staff, the European Defence Agency, NATO and others to further bring forward Military Mobility” which, at the end of the day, will have to be “simple, secure and digital”, she stressed.
Annegret Kramp-Karrenbauer (Germany) also welcomed the participation of the US, Canada, and Norway in the PESCO project, saying it “adds great value to our efforts” in the Military Mobility domain which, she felt, had been “ignored” for too long. A lot of work remains to be done as Military Mobility is “one of the most complex issues we are dealing with”. The German Minister also praised Military Mobility as a “prime example of better EU-NATO alignment” and enhanced cooperation. “Later this year, NATO’s new Multinational Joint Support and Enabling Command (JSEC), based in Ulm/Germany, will be fully operational. This reflects the key role Germany plays as the centrally-located mobility hub for Alliance logistic”. The Minister also announced Germany’s intention to pursue a “new project” with the Netherlands: the two Ministries of Defence are currently preparing the establishment of a “Dutch-German office for coordination and alignment of Military Mobility”. “We hope other countries will join this innovation incubator once it is established”, Mrs Kramp-Karrenbauer said.
Slovenian Defence Minister Matej Tonin, whose country will take over the rotating EU Presidency in the second half of this year, said that one of his priorities would be to bring forward EU-NATO cooperation. “As Military mobility represents a project which is key for EU and NATO, it is important that the dialogue between the EU and NATO in field of military mobility, as in many other areas, continues”, he stated. Furthermore, during the upcoming EU Presidency, Slovenia intends to bring forward the collective work on the CARD’s ‘Enhanced Military Mobility’ focus area. “I believe that combining different projects and initiatives into single focus area will improve coordination and facilitate implementation of new capabilities and procedures in the field. Rest assured that Slovenia is supporting it and looking forward to participating in this focus area”, the Minister stressed. Mr Tonin also welcomed today’s Council decision on the participation of Canada, the US and Norway in the PESCO project: “We strongly believe that non-EU Member States and other partner countries should also have the opportunity to participate as their forces and capabilities can potentially be an integral part of our joint defence efforts when necessary”.
US welcomes PESCO decision
Gregory Kausner, acting Deputy Under Secretary of Defense for Acquisition and Sustainment in the US Department of Defence, said the US welcomed the decision on third-country participation in the Military Mobility PESCO project. “This decision demonstrates the EU’s commitment to transatlantic security and enhances cooperation and interoperability. We see our participation in this PESCO project as the next step in closer cooperation between NATO, the EU and the United States”, he said.
EEAS: Military Mobility also part of work on EU Strategic Compass
Pawel Herczynski, Managing Director at the European External Action Service (EEAS), said Military Mobility would also be part of the wider (ongoing) work on the EU’s Strategic Compass. “We are currently in the brain-storming phase among EU Member States on what goals and objectives Member States want to set in the field of security and defence, including on Military Mobility”, he said. “We look forward to concrete and actionable ideas which can guide our work in the years to come” with a view to operationalising the Military Mobility measures taken so far. One thing is sure, Mr Herczynski stressed: “the relevance of Military Mobility will only grow”. (Source: EDA)
25 May 21. Supacat prepares HMT Jackal and Coyote for Operation Newcombe
deployment to Mali with Light Dragoons. Supacat has prepared the HMT Jackal and Coyote vehicles, which are deployed to Mali with the Light Dragoons, under a multi-million pound UK MoD Land Task.
As OEM and design authority for the high mobility platforms, part of the UK Armed Forces’ core fleet, Supacat collaborated with Exsel Design & Integration Limited (Exsel) to bring equipment for Armour and Electronic Counter Measures (ECM) protection up to the latest Theatre Ready Standard. Exsel supplied a new Vehicle Installation Kit for integrating the ECM equipment in a £1.7m contract placed by Supacat.
Supacat and Exsel worked closely with the United Kingdom’s Ministry of Defence, the Light Dragoons and 1st Combat Support Battalion and Royal Electrical & Mechanical Engineers to complete the programme to bring the Jackal 2A and Coyotes up to full operational capability for deployment. The Light Dragoons are providing a long-range reconnaissance capability to Operation Newcombe in a reinforcement of the UK’s commitment to the United Nations Multidimensional Integrated Stabilization Mission in Mali (MINUSMA) peacekeeping mission to combat terrorism in Central Africa.
Phil Applegarth, Director of Supacat, said, “The Light Dragoons’ decision to operate HMTs in Mali testifies to the value and trust they place in the vehicles and there has been a strong team collaboration to ensure they are equipped with the very best for this mission”.
25 May 21. UK Defence Minister opens New Boxer Armoured Vehicle Production Facility. UK Minister for Defence Procurement, Jeremy Quin, has visited WFEL to formally open the new Boxer Armoured Vehicle Production Facility, in advance of first-stage production commencement. This new facility in Stockport will play a significant role in the manufacture of the Boxer, the British Army’s latest armoured vehicle.
During his visit, the Minister saw first-hand the newly built production line and met with WFEL personnel who will be working directly on the state-of-the art vehicles. He also met with WFEL Apprentices and heard about the latest developments in the roll-out of the UK supply chain for the Boxer programme.
Speaking at the event, Minister Quin said: “Our Boxer programme is playing a significant role in boosting prosperity, supporting skills, protecting over 1,000 jobs across the North West, North East, West Midlands, central Scotland, Wales and throughout the UK wider supply chain. This new production line is creating 120 new jobs at WFEL, further cementing our investment in UK innovation and expertise.”
The Minister also had the opportunity to see a live demonstration of the latest Boxer variant – the Boxer Bridge-layer – which incorporates bridge sections manufactured by WFEL personnel in Stockport.
Ian Anderton, WFEL’s Managing Director, commented, “We were honoured that the UK Defence Minister was able to visit us, to see the progress already made in this significant, new, armoured vehicle programme for the British Army. In spite of the restrictions caused by the COVID pandemic, our teams have succeeded in keeping us on schedule and we are now poised to begin production. We look forward to delivering the first vehicles to the Army in due course”.
A number of significant supply chain contract awards for the UK Boxer Programme have recently been announced by WFEL, including agreements with Horstman and David Brown Santasalo.
WFEL continues its recruitment campaign for the Boxer Programme, offering long-term employment opportunities in a variety of roles across the new manufacturing site.
The UK decided to re-join the Boxer programme in 2018 and since then has committed £2.3bn to deliver over 500 vehicles to the British Army. They will be made up of four variants: Infantry Carrier, Specialist Carrier, Command Vehicle and Ambulance.
22 May 21. US Army wraps up industry demo for future electric light recon vehicle. The Army has wrapped up an industry demonstration of a variety of possible Electric Light Reconnaissance Vehicles (eLRV), but the future of the program remains uncertain due to the absence of funding.
The Maneuver Capabilities Development and Integration Directorate’s (MCDID) Maneuver Requirements Division (MRD) in conjunction with the Army’s product lead for Ground Mobility Vehicles (PL GMV) held a demonstration event for industry with electric vehicles that could perform the reconnaissance mission at Fort Benning, Georgia, last week, according to a May 21 service statement.
Ten vendors brought electric vehicles so the Army could test the off-road capability, define goals and inform possible solutions with feedback from soldiers who would operate such vehicles, the statement noted.
The Army analyzed two pure electric demonstrators and several internal combustion engine demonstrators “that exhibit current military integrated cab structures and architectures for potential eLRV program pursuit,” MCDID told Defense News in a separate statement.
The Army will take the feedback to inform what could be a future prototyping program. The service will take data collected from the demonstration and elsewhere to help define characteristics and a prepare a draft request for prototype proposals the service anticipates releasing this summer, the May 21 statement added.
The Army’s requirements leaders would like to better understand how recharging such systems would work on the battlefield and in austere conditions.
General Motors Defense said earlier this month it had provided one of its Infantry Squad Vehicles outfitted with electric power to the demonstration and Polaris is said to have included a vehicle for the demonstration as well.
The Army decided to look into a possible program due to the need for a light reconnaissance vehicle for Infantry Brigade Combat Teams. The motivation for an all-electric vehicle is rooted in the benefits electric capability brings both tactically and operationally including increased duration.
“Through nontraditional powertrain electrification, the eLRV would provide enhanced mobility, automotive performance, on-demand silent operation, lethality, protection, mission load capacity, and onboard power for a six-Soldier Scout Squad with their associated equipment to conduct combinations of mounted and dismounted Reconnaissance and Surveillance (R&S) missions for the IBCT for extended durations without the need for resupply,” leaders from the MCDID told Defense News.
The Army, according to officials, sees the new vehicles as the “perfect platform” to serve as the first electrified ground vehicle in the Army fleet. A prototype could inform how to electrify multiple platforms across the fleet.
While the vehicle is a possible prototype “for a fully electric, range extended electric or hybrid-electric tactical vehicle,” Army officials told Defense News, there is no funding for such a program yet.
Should funding become available for the program, the Army plans to pursue a similar effort as it did to procure its infantry squad vehicle.
The Army approved on May 3 an Abbreviated Capabilities Development Document for potential prototypes with baseline achievable requirements to include range also called silent mobility, duration on station also called silent watch, and exportable power.
Should the program receive funding, the PL GMV office would launch a prototyping effort with the first phase set to begin in fiscal 2022. This would consist of commercial off-the-shelf or non-developmental vehicles to be provided to an operational infantry brigade combat team unit to test. The Army would share costs with industry during this phase, the service said.
The Army would choose up to four contractors providing two prototypes each. Contractors that pass through a critical design review-type event will move on to the second phase in FY23.
“It is expected that the second phase vehicles would be fully integrated and should accurately represent the eLRV in an operational environment,” the statement noted.
Following the effort, the Army would determine its final requirements approved at the Army Requirements Oversight Council level and decide on an acquisition strategy. (Source: Defense News)
19 May 21. Trials are now underway of the three contenders for the Czech Army BVP-2 Infantry Fighting Vehicle replacement programme. The project to acquire 210 new infantry fighting vehicles is crucial not only for the rearmament of the [Czech] 7th Mechanized Brigade, but also for fulfilling our commitment to the Allies. Tests of functional samples are being carried out in Vyškov and Libava until the beginning of June, with vehicles being tested by selected soldiers of the 72nd Mechanized Battalion from P?áslavice. Inspections of the three vehicles participating in the tender will now focus primarily on the sustainability of combat operations.
A challenging six-week test of ASCOD, CV90 and Lynx vehicles will test almost thirty specified requirements; ballistic and mine protection, protection against IEDs (improvised explosive devices), active protection and vehicle mobility have already been tested.
“At the airport in P?erov and at the VVP B?ezina facility, the speed of movement was primarily measured on various surfaces, for example, the maximum speed of vehicles was also recorded,” notes Colonel Ctirad Gazda, head of the BVP acquisition and acquisition department. “We are now in the middle of testing BVP functional samples. We still have a number of tests ahead of us, but we already know the dynamics of vehicles and other parameters, including today’s inspection of the sustainability of combat activities, which included the evacuation of wounded”, adding that compatibility with systems introduced in the Czech Army has already been examined.
Full Field Kit Testing: On Saturday, May 15, future users, members of the 72nd Mechanized Battalion, tried to get in and out of the vehicles in the so-called full field kit, handling the wounded, the possibility of storing ammunition, but also, for example, movement through the escape openings.
“The new vehicles, whatever those tested, will reliably bring the fighters where they are needed and will be able to fully conduct combat operations. We need modern technology”, said one of the members of the 72nd Mechanized Battalion. Sergeant Martin V. Ten, like the others, acknowledges the capabilities of the new technology. The shift in the order over decades is known and only with modern technology can one keep pace not only with the times, but also with the allies. (Source: joint-forces.com)