Sponsored by TEK Military Seating Limited
01 June 21. TEK Military Seating Gryphus Production well underway. Delivery of the fleet of over 2000 new Scania trucks for the Royal Netherlands Armed Forces started during 2020 as part of the DVOW programme, with ProTEK again being selected as the seat of choice, this time with our certified Roll Over Protection Structures (ROPS) units which offer greatly improved occupant safety for troops whilst in transit. Each occupant cell features NATO standard ergonomic seats, with four-point harness seat belts to Def Stan 25-9 and secure weapon holders, with both roll over and tree strike protection.
ProTEK seating has been selected for several new vehicle builds of the DVOW programme which started some 5 years ago, with more to come over the next few years. ProTEK seats offer unrivalled modularity and robustness, which are certified to the highest safety and protection standard. TEK’s ability of offer cost effective products along with through life support has made ProTEK the brand of choice by many customers and users.
02 June 21. New British tanks costing £3.5bn cannot be driven safely over 20mph, reveals leaked report. Trials of the vehicle had to be suspended from November 2020 to March of this year, after troops suffered swollen joints and tinnitus.
A new fleet of tanks bought by the Army for £3.5bn cannot be driven safely over 20mph, a leaked report has revealed.
Military chiefs have been warned that the new Ajax armoured fighting vehicles pose safety risks to soldiers if they are driven at more than half their fastest speed.
It comes after trials of the vehicles had to be suspended from November 2020 to March of this year, after it was found troops had suffered swollen joints and tinnitus while being inside the vehicles.
In a Government report seen by The Telegraph it states that safety limitations on the tanks include “speed restrictions of 20mph” as well as “limiting time in the platform to 1hr 30mins before crew change”.
The report warns that due to the speed restrictions, which are understood to be caused by design flaws that have resulted in excessive vibrations that prevent cannons being fired on the move, the Household Cavalry regiment “cannot conduct effective collective training on the platform”.
Meanwhile, it states that due to safety limitations the current design means “the vehicle cannot reverse over an obstacle more than 20cm high”.
The report, which is due to be published next month but is understood to have been seen by the Ministry of Defence (MoD), adds: “The review team were told there is a real risk exposing the Field Army to the platforms in their current condition will undermine their confidence in Ajax.”
All soldiers who currently operate inside the tank must now have an ear test and wear noise-cancelling headsets, however it is understood that problems with vibration and noise levels were reported as early as 2017.
One defence source claimed that the army is “so embarrassed about having to admit it’s failed, they won’t do it”.
The MoD said it is committed to the Ajax programme, which will form a key component in the Army’s modernised warfighting division, with current plans for Initial Operating for its scheduled deployment this summer.
However, only 14 of the turretless Ares variant, which are manufactured by General Dynamics, the American aerospace and defence company, have so far been delivered.
The programme to deliver a new family of armoured fighting vehicles was decided in 2010, with 589 different variants of the vehicle ordered in 2014.
The vision was for the tanks to replace the Combat Vehicle Reconnaissance (Tracked) armoured fighting vehicles, but it has been plagued by problems ever since and is four years behind schedule to be deployed.
Francis Tusa, editor of Defence Analysis, said: “The Army and the MoD have got to realise that they have got a problem on their hands. Throwing money at this is what they’ve done for the last four years, and they have not solved any of the problems. At the moment, Ajax is the poster child for failed procurement.”
Tobias Ellwood, chairman of the Commons Defence Select Committee, added that the MoD’s “land warfare procurement has been appalling and Ajax is the icing on the cake”.
He told The Telegraph: “It is the programme that everybody anticipated to be cut in the Integrated Defence Review, given the cost overruns and constant redesign, resulting in a tank so heavy it can’t be airlifted by any RAF transport without taking chunks of it off. At 43 tonnes it’s heavier than any tank in the Second World War.”
An MoD Spokesperson confirmed “some training on the Ajax family of vehicles was paused as a precautionary measure”.
They said: “This is a normal measure for the demonstration phase of projects; an investigation, incorporating trials, is being carried out jointly with the manufacturer. It is inappropriate for us to comment further at this time.
“The health and safety of our personnel is of the utmost importance and we are committed to providing a safe working environment.” (Source: Daily Telegraph)
03 June 21. British Army’s new Ajax tanks make crew ill and can’t fire shells on the move. A £5.5bn programme to deliver 589 light tanks to the army appears to be “unachievable”, a leaked government report discloses.
The project is facing “major issues” that limit the amount of time the crew can spend in the vehicle, the paper says.
The document, by the Infrastructure and Projects Authority, which reports to the Cabinet Office, says that the problems with the Ajax vehicle do not seem to be manageable or resolvable within the agreed costs and timescale.
As it stands, the crew testing the vehicle is operating under “stringent limitations of use”, which means that members’ time inside is limited to 90 minutes and the tanks cannot exceed 20mph.
The report, published internally in April, says that there is a “real risk” that members of the Household Cavalry involved in the trials could have their confidence in Ajax “undermined”.
The army chose the light tank in 2010. A contract signed four years later required the first vehicles to be delivered in 2017 but the programme hit delays.
The vehicles have cost £3.2bn so far despite only 14 being delivered — all without a turret and of odd sizes.
Troops have suffered hearing damage and become ill after testing them.
Design flaws in the tanks, made by General Dynamics in Merthyr Tydfil, south Wales, mean that excessive vibration has prevented cannon being fired on the move. Noise-cancelling headsets are being tested but there are fears the issue might never be solved.
To the report said: “Successful delivery of the programme to time, cost and quality appears to be unachievable. There are major issues which, at this stage, do not appear to be manageable or resolvable within the current business case.”
The report added the prospect was raised of greater costs and further delays. In a speech at the Royal United Services Institute think tank yesterday, General Sir Mark Carleton-Smith, the head of the army, said that Ajax was part of army plans to modernise. Francis Tusa, a defence expert who circulated details of the damning report, said: “You’ve just had the chief of the general staff saying Ajax is central for its modernisation programme and a report five weeks ago said in its current form it is undeliverable. It could be another five to six years before you have a fully operationally vehicle. I’ve not seen a report as damning as this.”
Tobias Ellwood, chairman of the defence select committee, said that the vehicle’s weight had ballooned to 42 tonnes after many redesigns. It was now “heavier than any tank during the Second World War”, he said.
The army said that it did not comment on leaked reports.
A Ministry of Defence official said that it was committed to the programme, which would “form a key component in the army’s modernised warfighting division”, and that the plan now was for “initial operating capability” to be scheduled for this summer. (Source: The Times)
03 June 21. British Army pauses trials of £3.47bn fleet of armoured fighting vehicles over speed and safety concerns. The vehicles have design issues which reportedly include them being unable to travel safely faster than 20mph.
Trials of a new £3.47bn fleet of army tanks have been paused over speed and safety concerns, the Ministry of Defence has confirmed.
The armoured fighting vehicles have design issues which reportedly include them being unable to travel safely faster than 20mph – and they are supposed to be able to go up to 40mph.
Other problems with the new Ajax armoured range include an inability to fire cannons on the move, according to The Daily Telegraph.
Citing a government report, the newspaper said the speed restrictions had been caused by excessive vibrations in the tanks, adding that crews were limited to 90 minutes inside them at a time.
The report, due to be published next month, also says the tanks cannot reverse over obstacles more than 20cm high.
It also claims that personnel must wear noise-cancelling headphones when operating the tanks and have to undergo ear tests afterwards.
The Household Cavalry Regiment “cannot conduct effective collective training” in them, the report adds. (Source: Adrian Graves/Sky News)
02 Jun 21. S. Korea’s Hanwha pitches K9 howitzer for British mobile fires program. Hanwha Defense is teaming up with U.K. suppliers to compete for the Mobile Fires Platform program, a British effort to acquire new self-propelled howitzers to replace the AS90, the South Korean company announced Wednesday.
“Hanwha Defense has begun formal discussions with UK partners to arrange for a ‘Made in the UK’ variant of its K9 Self-Propelled Howitzer,” the company said in a news release. “The K9 is operationally proven and will be put forward by Hanwha Defense for the UK’s Mobile Fires Platform programme to equip the British Army with a world-leading artillery capability.”
Hanwha Defense plans to offer the newest variant of the K9 self-propelled howitzer fitted with a fully automated ammunition loading system, a key requirement for the MFP program.
The MFP program seeks to acquire 116 self-propelled howitzers. A request for proposals is scheduled to be issued in 2022, and Britain plans to award a final contract in 2025.
The South Korean sales effort in the U.K. comes as the two nations draw closer on weapons cooperation. The British Royal Navy’s aircraft carrier Queen Elizabeth is scheduled to visit South Korea as part of its deployment to the Indo-Pacific region later this year. The new carrier is scheduled to host a high-level meeting of officials, industry leaders and military chiefs‚ known as the Pacific Future Forum, when the warship visits South Korea in late August.
The two sides have also done business together before, most notably when South Korea built four large oilers for the Royal Fleet Auxiliary, the logistics arm of the Navy.
But the K9 is one of several contenders to replace the British Army’s aging AS90 howitzer, which has been around for about 30 years. Rheinmetall, with a howitzer variant of the eight-wheel drive Boxer armored personnel carrier, and BAE Systems, with the Archer truck-mounted system, are among the companies that have expressed interest in meeting the requirement for a wheeled or tracked weapon.
Some have considered an updated version of the AS90, but that appears to be an unpopular option.
Britain announced as part of its recently published integrated defense and security review that the government is setting aside £800m (U.S. $1bn) to rebuild its artillery capability, which has fallen behind the fire power of rival nations like Russia.
However, with the program expected to run until the end of the decade, its been the target of those seeking quicker acquisition.
Parliamentary Defence Committee Chair Tobias Ellwood recently wrote to the Defence Ministry voicing concern about the “apparent lack of urgency in closing the current capability gap.”
What is Hanwha offering?
“The proposed UK (K9) version will be fitted with advanced technologies, such as an unmanned turret, mine protection kits and composite rubber tracks,” the South Korean land systems manufacturer said. “Furthermore, an automated resupply capability will be introduced using Hanwha’s robotic K10 ammunition resupply vehicle.”
Tests and evaluations for the upgraded version, dubbed K9A2, are in full swing, with the aim of increasing the artillery’s key capabilities, such as the maximum rate of fire and automatic ammunition loading functions, according to the release.
“The U.K. is the first international market to which the newest K9A2 is being offered,” Jeff Sung, a spokesman for Hanwha Defense, told Defense News. “If successful, the U.K. industry would have more opportunities to be involved in the K9 upgrade programs in other countries.”
Talks are already underway with U.K. industry partners, including Lockheed Martin UK, Pearson Engineering and Horstman, the spokesman said, adding that Canada’s Soucy Defense, which manufactures composite rubber track systems, is one of the global suppliers involved in Hanwha’s MFP campaign.
Securing a place on Hanwha’s lineup would be a key target for Lockheed Martin UK as it looks to recover from the recent loss of the Warrior infantry fighting vehicle update program. The British Army canceled a deal with the company as part of its integrated defense and security review released in March, leading tot he loss of 158 jobs at its turret design and manufacture center of excellence in Ampthill, southern England.
Hanwha underscored its effort to boost the U.K. defense industry, pledging the maximum value of the British Army’s K9s will be made in the U.K. and promising to transfer related technology and know-how to U.K. partners. The company also said it will introduce specialist training and new skills for the long-term development, manufacture, maintenance and support of the British Army’s K9 howitzer, should it hire the firm.
The 155mm/52-caliber K9 Thunder was built by the Agency for Defense Development and Hanwha Defense in 1998. About 2,400 units of the K9 and K10 family vehicles are in service globally. The K9 platform and its core technology have been exported to several countries including Turkey, Poland, India, Finland, Norway and Estonia. Australia also selected the K9 in September 2020 as the preferred solution for its Land 8116 Phase 1 program to locally produce 30 AS9 self-propelled howitzers along with 15 AS10 armored ammunition resupply vehicles, with a final contract set for early 2022.
Designed to provide effective and deep fire support across theaters, the K9 is capable of firing three rounds in under 15 seconds in a burst, or six to eight rounds per minute during sustained firing. Equipped with an unmanned automated turret, the K9A2 will be capable of firing nine to 10 rounds per minute. (Source: Defense News Early Bird/Defense News)
02 Jun 21. Hanwha Defense in discussions with UK suppliers for Mobile Fires Platform programme. Hanwha Defense has begun formal discussions with UK partners to arrange for a ‘Made in the UK’ variant of its K9 Self-Propelled Howitzer. The K9 is operationally proven and will be put forward by HanwhaDefense for the UK’s Mobile Fires Platform programme to equipthe British Army with a world-leading artillery capability.
The K9 is currently in service with the ROK and armies around the world, including India, Norway, Finland and Estonia. In September 2020 the Australian Army selected the K9 as its preferred solution for the Protected Mobile Fires platform in its LAND 8116 programme, with a final contract due to be awarded in early 2022.
A leading defense contractor in South Korea, Hanwha Defense intends to replicate the successful industry participation model used in India and Australia so that maximum value possible of the British Army’s K9s will be made in the UK. The company is also committed to transferring related technology and know-how to the UK and will be enabling its UK partners to access a global market in excess of 600 vehicles.
Talks are already underway with Lockheed Martin UK, Pearson Engineering, Horstman Defence Systems and Soucy Defense, along with other UK defence industry partners. As part of the MFP programme, Hanwha Defense will contribute across the UK to introduce specialist training and new skills for the long-term development, manufacture, maintenance and support of the British Army’s advanced version of K9.
Tests and evaluations for the newest version of K9, dubbed the K9A2, are already in full swing to increase the artillery’s key capabilities, including the maximum rate of fire and automatic ammunition loading functions. The K9A2 development has been led by Hanwha Defense and the state-funded Agency for Defense
The proposed UK version will be fitted with advanced technologies, such as an unmanned turret, mine protection kits and composite rubber tracks. Furthermore, an automated resupply capability will be introduced using Hanwha’s robotic K10Ammunition Resupply Vehicle.
“Building on the developing relationship between the UK and South Korea we are delighted to invite the UK to join the K9 global family,” said Mr. Oh Kyea-hwan, vice president of Hanwha Defense International, who is responsible for sales and marketing of the UK project. “By working together with nations around the world Hanwha is able to offer a cost effective and modular approach. Ultimately this makes us all more resilient and allows us to integrate more easily when it matters most.”
“We are looking forward to engaging with the UK Mobile Fires Platform team to explore how we can bring the maximum amount of industrial benefit to the UK,” Mr. Oh added. “The K9 is an innovator in the self-propelled howitzer market and we see great things ahead for an amalgamation of UK industrial expertise and South Korean technology.”
An RFP for MFP is due to be released in 2022. Hanwha Defense will be revealing its team for this programme at DSEI and other shows between now and then.
BATTLESPACE Comment: Clearly Hanwha sees the UK as a key market for expansion and opportunities. After Mobile Fires, clearly the one of the next opportunities will be the eventual Warrior replacement vehicle which no doubt will mirror the shoot out between Hanwha with REDBACK and Rheinmetall with LYNX for LAND 400 Phase 3 in Australia. The results will be watched with interest. Whatever the British Army says now, Boxer fits the peacetime vehicle requirements but a Warrior replacement will be required to keep up with Challenger 3 in a war scenario. Hanwha is partnered with Oshkosh with REDBACK for the US OMFV Bradley Replacement.
02 June 21. ANCA Engineering joins Team Redback. The Australian firm has been tapped to support Hanwha Defense Australia’s LAND 400 bid.
Melbourne-based ANCA Engineering Solutions (an ANCA Group subsidiary) has been tasked with delivering suspension systems for Hanwha Defense Australia’s Redback infantry fighting vehicle (IFV) — proposed for selection for the Commonwealth government’s $18bn to $27bn LAND 400 Phase 3 project.
If Hanwha’s bid is successful, ANCA is expected to manufacture the suspension systems by leveraging technology developed by Hanwha’s Korea-based partner Mottrol.
The in-arm system developed by the firm would be designed without torsion bars, providing more space for blast mitigation systems.
“We are very pleased to have a tremendous Australian company like ANCA Engineering Solutions involved with Team Redback,” Richard Cho, managing director of Hanwha Defense Australia, said.
“The ANCA Engineering Solutions and Mottrol partnership is a great example of what Hanwha is seeking to achieve in the Australian market.
“It’s our AIC strategy in action; joining Australian and Korean companies together to facilitate technology transfer, to grow and pursue new opportunities together, to create jobs and to enhance self-reliance in both nations.”
As part of the agreement, ANCA is also expected to leverage its core machine building expertise, designing and developing bespoke support and test equipment for use throughout the Redback’s life of type.
“ANCA is extremely happy to be working with Hanwha in Australia as part of Team Redback,” said Dr Christopher Hegarty, CEO of ANCA Group, said.
“We have a long and very successful history of being a world leader in manufacturing CNC machines, including many years of exporting to South Korea, and now through our agreement with Mottrol we will be supplying directly into one of the world’s best armoured vehicle programs, using our own machines, from right here in Melbourne.” (Source: Defence Connect)
01 June 21. Production Delays Expected for JLTV Program. The production run for the Joint Light Tactical Vehicle will likely be extended if proposed fiscal cuts come to pass, according to the Army’s director of the budget. The nearly $300m in funding cuts to the JLTV program in the Biden administration’s 2022 budget request mean the production of vehicles will likely be delayed, said Maj. Gen. Paul Chamberlain at a media roundtable June 1. The proposal calls for $575m in procurement money for the platform, down from about $884m enacted in the previous fiscal year, according to budget documents. Chamberlain said the decision was made to slash funding to the program to protect higher modernization priorities for the Army including: long-range precision fires, next-generation combat vehicles, future vertical lift, the network, air-and-missile defense and soldier lethality.
“Most of the reductions and investments are tied to programs where the funding is being used to ensure that we maintain the funding for our 31-plus [priority programs] for modernization efforts,” he said. “There was the decision to take a little bit of risk here in JLTV, knowing full well that we can continue buying the program into the future.”
Chamberlain declined to say if some of the money saved by cutting back on JLTV purchases would be reinvested in the next-generation combat vehicle initiative specifically.
Even with production delays, Chamberlain said the recompete for the program mandated by Congress is still on track. Oshkosh Defense currently manufactures the vehicle but sold its data rights to the Army in 2016.
Chamberlain said the Army will be interested to see what comes out of the competition.
“The advantage we have going into the recompete is we own the data rights to the vehicle,” he said. “So, it’s going to be [based on] who can produce the required vehicle at a given cost.”
Last year, the Army’s program manager said the service would award a contract in the fourth quarter of fiscal year 2022. GM Defense, which recently reentered the military vehicle market, has announced it is engaged in the recompete process.
The JLTV recompete could be worth up to $12.3bn for 30,000 vehicles and 10,000 trailers over a decade. The Army plans to upgrade the vehicle with capabilities including improved signature management, better seating and a new engine.
The JLTV is not the only program to take a funding hit in the 2022 budget request. Seven programs were eliminated altogether and another 37 were delayed to save the Army about $1.65bn. (Source: Defense News Early Bird/NDIA.org)
02 June 21. Rheinmetall delivers the first 25 Boxer 8×8 Combat Reconnaissance Vehicles to the Australian Army. Rheinmetall is pleased to announce the delivery of the first 25 Boxer 8×8 Combat Reconnaissance Vehicles (CRV) to the Australian Army under the $5.2bn LAND 400 Phase 2 Mounted Combat Reconnaissance Capability project.
Minister for Defence, Hon. Peter Dutton MP visited Rheinmetall Defence Australia’s Military Vehicle Centre of Excellence (MILVEHCOE) in Redbank, Queensland, to review the Boxer vehicles.
Rheinmetall will deliver a total of 211 Boxer 8×8 Vehicles in different versions, 131 will be the CRV variant. They will replace the Army’s Australian Light Armoured Vehicles (ASLAV) under LAND 400 Phase 2. Delivery of the first 25 vehicles enables Army to continue towards Initial Operating Capability on schedule as Rheinmetall moves into the next phase of the LAND 400 Phase 2 program.
Rheinmetall Defence Australia Managing Director Gary Stewart said Boxer’s levels of survivability and mobility was proving a game changer for Australia’s armoured cavalry.
“Boxer is now enabling the capabilities that allow Army to fight, survive and win on the modern, complex battlefields of today and tomorrow,” Mr Stewart said.
“And Rheinmetall is simultaneously delivering early combat vehicle capability to the Australian Defence Force while creating a sovereign industrial capability in combat vehicle design and manufacture.”
Mr Stewart said delivery of these initial vehicles was only possible by taking advantage of the current production lines in Germany, and using this approach as part of technology transfer activities to ensure Australian workers and suppliers become familiar with manufacturing techniques for highly complex military vehicles.
Rheinmetall Defence Australia has over 30 Australians currently living and working in Germany, working at Rheinmetall sites and learning from German colleagues. This is fostering close co-operation and a genuine partnership to realise the capability for the Australian Army.
“Australian engineers, project managers, welders, technicians, trainers and more are living and working with their colleagues in Germany to build a deep understanding of Rheinmetall products and, crucially, acquire the skills and certifications to transfer this expertise and intellectual property to Australia,” Mr Stewart said.
“This kick-starts the knowledge base for a sovereign Australian capability and is complemented with our engagement with the Australian TAFE sector and universities to ensure we build enduring pathways from our education institutions into the military vehicle manufacturing industry, enabling graduates to understand what we do today so they are ready to tackle the challenges of tomorrow.”
The MILVEHCOE is the focal point of the Boxer Australian Industry Capability (AIC) program. It is where Rheinmetall will undertake Australian design, manufacture, testing, training and support of the Boxer vehicles and training systems. The MILVEHCOE provides a sovereign facility where Defence, industry and research organisations can innovate and collaborate on the Australian Boxer and other defence programs.
Development, production and integration work is well underway within the MILVEHCOE as plant and equipment is installed and commissioned across the main production facility. This work is a key component of knowledge transfer activities for full rate Boxer production in Australia. This is scheduled to commence in Australia after commissioning of the MILVEHCOE Boxer production line is complete.
This approach to Australian Industry Capability has allowed Rheinmetall to accelerate involvement of Australian companies into the first 25 vehicles. This has resulted in Rheinmetall awarding contracts to more than 20 companies to supply products and services, and ensuring that Australian SMEs are building and supplying components onto every Australian Boxer vehicle.
The Boxer – versatile and battle-tested
The Boxer is a heavily protected 8×8 wheeled armoured vehicle. Its modular architecture enables a variety of variants unmatched by any other vehicle system. This multifaceted diversity underlies the Boxer’s rapid growth. Already today, new variants and upgrades are being planned. To date, some 1,200 vehicles in more than 20 different configurations are under contract by four NATO nations: Germany, the Netherlands, Lithuania and the UK. Moreover, Australia – a close partner of NATO – has ordered a total of 211 Boxer vehicle in several different versions, the first of which have now been delivered.
01 June 21. Allison Transmission Introduces Next-Generation Hydraulic Fracturing Transmission. Allison Transmission FracTran™ will drive productivity and deliver sustainability for fracturing fleets.
Allison Transmission, a leading designer and manufacturer of conventional and electrified propulsion solutions and the largest global manufacturer of medium- and heavy-duty fully automatic transmissions for commercial and defense vehicles, today announced the launch of the Allison FracTran, a revolutionary hydraulic fracturing transmission.
Purpose built based on the specific performance requirements of the customer, the FracTran is an all-new Oil Field SeriesTM transmission, designed to meet the unique and continually evolving demands of the hydraulic fracturing industry. This next-generation solution is a result of extensive voice of customer insights as well as an analysis of duty cycle information from decades of Allison products operating in this application. This significant front-end effort ensures FracTran will provide differentiated value, meet the evolving needs of Allison’s customers, and deliver the Allison Brand Promise of providing the most reliable and valued propulsion solutions in the world.
“As hydraulic fracturing fleets and operators move toward higher horsepower, smaller spreads to reduce their environmental footprint, and seek shorter times to reach depth in search of improved sustainability, efficiency and profitability, Allison is innovating with them to remain a desired partner of choice for the energy market,” said John Coll, Senior Vice President of Global Marketing, Sales, and Service at Allison Transmission. “Allison is committed to our energy customers and has invested significant resources to bring them the product they demanded, FracTran.”
Based on current market demand, FracTran will be launched with a rating of 3,300 horsepower and 10,000 lb.-ft. of input torque. However, FracTran is capable of up to 3,500 horsepower with no hardware modifications required. This robust hydraulic fracturing transmission will deliver unparalleled performance in high pressure duty cycles in the harshest of operating environments. Key benefits and specifications of the FracTran include high reliability with a service life up to 25,000 hours, an overhaul that provides a second life without hard parts replacement resulting in low total cost of ownership, and eight ranges available with multiple gear ratio options to meet the unique performance demands of our customers. In addition, the FracTran offers filter and fluid life prognostics, a transmission-mounted control module, torsional measuring diagnostics, and an on-rig telematics gateway.
Allison’s commitment to quality and customer support extends beyond the purpose built FracTran hardware. FracTran will be backed by Allison’s Authorized Service Network of more than 1,400 Allison Authorized Dealers and Distributors. Each location is outfitted with specialized tools and equipment, and teams of trained and certified technicians that will ensure FracTran delivers optimized total cost of ownership by minimizing nonproductive time.
Allison hosted an event at its global headquarters in Indianapolis today to kick off its FracTran road show. Over the next several months, the company will visit dozens of cities in North America to showcase FracTran to our valued customers and industry partners, in preparation for start of production in 2023. (Source: BUSINESS WIRE)
01 June 21. Boxer: Army Prototype Production Begins In Germany. The next-generation armoured fighting vehicle is due to be delivered in 2022 and be ready for service the following year. Production on the Boxer, the British Army’s next-generation armoured fighting vehicle, has started in Germany. Welding work has begun in the country, with the vehicles due to be delivered in 2022 and be ready for service the following year. The United Kingdom re-joined the Boxer programme in 2018. Since then, the country has committed £2.8bn to the delivery of more than 500 Boxer vehicles to the Army.
The Boxer is an 8×8 armoured vehicle, of which there are four variants:
- An infantry carrier
- A specialist carrier
- A command vehicle
- An ambulance
Most of the Boxer fleet will be built in the UK by main contractors Rheinmetall BAE Systems Land (RBSL) and WFEL, supporting around 1,000 jobs.
The first prototypes will be developed at Rheinmetal’s plant in Kassel, Germany where the first series vehicles will be produced.
Workers at the German plant will share technical knowledge, particularly their specialist welding expertise, with British colleagues at RBSL.
It is hoped the Boxer will able to be deployed around the world to deliver soldiers around the battlefield, travelling long distances quickly, while under enemy fire and in the most challenging environments.
Its design is modular, meaning that the vehicle base platform can be reconfigured with different modules to adapt it to best fill different roles.
The Government this year unveiled its plan for the future of the British Army’s vehicles as part of March’s Integrated Review and Defence Command Paper.
While the number of overall soldiers will fall by 4,000 this decade, the service’s future fleet will be centred around upgraded Challenger 2s, known as the ‘Challenger 3’, Ajax armoured vehicles and the Boxer personnel carriers.
The Boxer will replace the capability offered by the Warrior, which has had long-planned upgrades cancelled and the vehicle now set for retirement. (Source: Pen & Sword/https://www.forces.net/news)
01 June 21. Ajax Fighting Vehicle Trials Paused As ‘Precautionary Measure.’ The Ministry of Defence has stated that training on the Ajax variants has since recommenced.
The British Army is carrying out a joint investigation with the manufacturer of the Ajax vehicles after trials were “paused as a precautionary measure”.
The new vehicles, formerly known as the Scout SV (Specialist Vehicle), are being developed as part of a £4.5bn deal with General Dynamics.
However, the Ministry of Defence’s “expected cost to completion at approval” for the programme in 2019 was just under £5.5bn.
In response to reports that noise and vibrations had impacted trials, the Ministry of Defence (MOD) said: “Some training on the Ajax family of vehicles was paused as a precautionary measure.
“This is a normal measure for the demonstration phase of projects; an investigation, incorporating trials, is being carried out jointly with the manufacturer.
“It is inappropriate for us to comment further at this time.
“The health and safety of our personnel is of the utmost importance and we are committed to providing a safe working environment.”
The MOD added that additional checks to the platform are a “normal measure for the demonstration phase of projects”, and that training on the Ajax variants has since recommenced.
Plans remain for the vehicles to be given initial operating capability in the coming months.
Six variants of the vehicle had been due to enter service in 2020.
Ajax will be a fully digitised, tracked, medium-weight core of the British Army’s deployable intelligence, surveillance, target acquisition and recognition (ISTAR) capability.
The contract with General Dynamics was agreed to ensure 589 Ajax vehicles are delivered to the British Army across six variants.
A seventh variant, Overwatch, has since been announced.
To date, 14 Ajax vehicles have been delivered to the MOD, including the Ares variant, which is designed for reconnaissance and troop-carrying.
The first vehicles were delivered from Merthyr Tydfil, South Wales in February 2019, with deliveries continuing until 2025.
The Ajax programme aims to form a key component in the Army’s modernised warfighting division, with current plans for Initial Operating Capability scheduled for this summer.
The future of the British Army’s tanks and land vehicles was set out in the Integrated Review and Defence Command Paper, published in March.
Defence Secretary Ben Wallace said Third Division will “remain the heart” of the UK’s warfighting capability, leading NATO with two modernised heavy brigades.
This will be built around “a modern armoured nucleus” of vehicles, including the Ajax armoured reconnaissance vehicles. (Source: Pen & Sword/https://www.forces.net/news)
01 Jun 21. Land Forces 2021: Cyborg Dynamics Engineering unveils ATGM-equipped Warfighter UGV concept. Australian firm Cyborg Dynamics has taken the opportunity at the Land Forces 2021 exhibition being held in Brisbane from 1 to 3 June to unveil a new anti-tank guided missile (ATGM)-equipped concept demonstrator of its tracked Warfighter unmanned ground vehicle (UGV), tentatively called the Warfighter Spike UGV.
The Warfighter UGV is based on BIA5’s tracked OzBot All Terrain Robot (ATR) chassis. Specifications of the ATR platform was not disclosed but Cyborg Dynamics CEO Stephen Bornstein earlier told Janes that the Warfighter UGV can support a payload weight of up to 330 kg and is equipped with a hybrid-electric drive system that enables it to operate for periods of up to 72 hours, although its endurance can be extended by fitting additional fuel tanks.
The UGV is designed to carry a wide range of mission systems and payloads to address specific operational requirements, with the baseline vehicle fitted with the EOS Defence R150 lightweight stabilised remote weapon station (RWS), which can accommodate a 5.56 mm/7.62 mm light machine gun or 12.7 mm heavy machine gun. EOS Defence is also exploring additional heavy weapons options for this RWS.
The new ATGM concept demonstrator being showcased at Land Forces 2021 features a two-cell missile launcher carrying Rafael Advanced Defense Systems’ Spike LR2 ATGMs, which are guided by an uncooled IR seeker and a high-definition (HD) LED day sensor – with communication supported by a fibre-optic bi-directional datalink with the launch control unit – out to ranges of 5.5km. (Source: Jane’s)
01 Jun 21. Hanwha Defense Australia, Elphinstone sign teaming agreement for Redback hull production. The firms have signed a teaming agreement for the manufacture of vehicle hulls for the Redback infantry fighting vehicle. The Redback, designed by South Korea headquartered Hanwha Defense, is under consideration by the Commonwealth under an ongoing tender process for Project LAND 400 Phase 3, which is an $18bn to $27bn project tasked to acquire up to 450 infantry fighting vehicles for the Australian Defence Force.
As part of the teaming agreement, Elphinstone will bring over 45 years of experience in advanced equipment manufacturing for the global mining industry to the partnership. The family-owned business based in Burnie, Tasmania, will focus on hull structure fabrication and machining for the Redback vehicles.
Elphinstone’s reputable manufacturing track record in advanced manufacturing for the global underground, surface mining and rail industries made the Aussie SME a stand-out contender to win the teaming agreement with Hanwha.
According to Richard Cho, managing director of Hanwha Defense Australia, the “on-time delivery of top-quality equipment” are significant cultural similarities between the two entities. The teaming agreement between Elphinstone and Hanwha is also open to opportunities that will allow the Aussie SME to participate in other Hanwha Defense programs in Australia and overseas, which can potentially include opportunities outside the Defence sector.
“Hanwha will help expand Australia’s defence industry base through our involvement with Elphinstone, and we will also introduce them to other parts of the broader Hanwha Group which may also benefit from Elphinstone’s proven manufacturing capabilities,” Cho said.
Elphinstone has been exporting heavy vehicles to remote locations across the globe for over 40 years and working with Hanwha through the teaming agreement can position the local company to expand business beyond Australia and the Defence sector.
Kelly Elphinstone, executive director of the Elphinstone Group, is optimistic about the future opportunities agreement with Hanwha: “Australia’s growing defence industry sector represents an opportunity to further diversify and strengthen our manufacturing business.
“Our significant heavy vehicle design and manufacturing expertise lends itself perfectly to these Commonwealth Land programs and we are excited to have secured this opportunity with Hanwha.
“I am a firm believer that manufacturing remains viable in Australia.”
The production of the large, armoured steel structures for the Redback vehicles will require significant investment in new specialist plant and equipment.
The work to be completed by Elphinstone for the Redback program, along with other projects under this teaming agreement, is expected to create substantial long-term employment opportunities in the local region. (Source: Defence Connect)
01 June 21. Marshall Aerospace and Defence Group (MADG) has announced plans to extend its footprint in Canada by opening a dedicated Land Systems production facility in the province of New Brunswick.
The move is part of the company’s ambitious plans to grow both its Land and Air businesses in North America and will leave it well placed to bid and partner on a number of the Canadian government’s upcoming programmes.
Marshall has been operating in Canada for the past 15 years and has built a strong reputation through its involvement in the delivery of a number of important Canadian programs across both the Land and Air sectors including MSVS and PAV.
The business currently employs around 75 people across its two locations in Ottawa and Abbotsford and will look to more than double that number when it opens the New Brunswick facility next year.
MADG CEO Gary Moynehan explains: “This is clearly a very significant step for both our ambitious plans for North America and the establishment of Marshall Canada as a credible player in the Canadian Defence sector.
“The Canadian government is committed to investing heavily in its armed forces over the next decade and as a result there are a number of large programmes in which we believe Marshall can play an important role, the most immediate being LVM, the replacement of the Canadian Army’s fleet of light and heavy vehicles logistic vehicles, trailers and containers.
“Canadian defence procurement policy is weighted heavily in favour of those bids that offer strong Canadian content and we know that to maximise the opportunity in the market we have to extend our physical footprint in Canada beyond Ottawa and Abbotsford by establishing in-country Land Systems manufacturing capability.
“Whilst we haven’t yet signed a lease on the new facility we have narrowed our search to the province of New Brunswick as we believe it offers a number of advantages both in terms of its geography, the employment market and, importantly, proximity to our end user as the home of the largest army base in the country.”
The company expects to be in a position to confirm the exact location of its new Canadian manufacturing facility later this year with a view to be up and running by the end of 2022.
27 May 21. Navistar to pay $50m to settle complaint accusing it of fraudulent pricing. Navistar Defense has agreed to pay the U.S. government $50m to settle a complaint filed by a former Navistar Defense employee accusing the company of fraudulent, inflated pricing for the thousands of mine-resistant, ambush-protected vehicles it sold to the U.S. Marine Corps from 2007 to 2012, according to a statement from the whistleblower’s legal team.
The U.S. District Court for the District of Columbia unsealed a 6-year-old complaint in December 2019 filed by Duquoin Burgess, a former contract director at Navistar. The complaint claimed the company violated the False Claims Act by forging invoices, catalog prices and other information used in negotiations to sell MRAP vehicles to the Marines.
Burgess sought at least $1.28bn in damages, which roughly equates to the amount of money the former employee believed the company reaped from lying about its prices to the government.
The complaint, filed in 2013, was required to remain sealed until the U.S. government completed its investigation into the claims.
Burgess, who asked for a jury trial, was represented by the law firm Sanford Heisler Sharp. Burgess is set to receive $11.6m of the settlement funds, according to the settlement agreement reviewed by Defense News.
His attorney Vince McKnight told Defense News in 2019 that the case is unusual because even the company’s top executives, including its president, allegedly knew about the fraudulent activity.
“This settlement delivers a strong message that the Government requires contractors to be truthful and honest in contract negotiations,” McKnight said in the May 27 statement. “Not only was there a significant monetary settlement, but the Government introduced a novel and exciting settlement term requiring it to have unfettered access to unprivileged company documents related to the allegations.”
The alleged forged and fraudulent pricing records were used to secure both the initial contract award and further orders from 2007 to 2012, according to the complaint filed by Burgess’ attorneys.
The company allegedly either forged sales history where there was no sales history or it nearly doubled commercial prices for a variety of critical MRAP parts like the chassis, the engine and the suspension system.
The complaint claims the company took advantage of the very critical need to rapidly procure MRAPs to protect soldiers against improvised explosive devices in Iraq and Afghanistan by inflating its prices for the vehicles.
Over the course of the MRAP contract’s five-year life cycle, the government paid Navistar approximately $9bn for its MaxxPro MRAPs, according to the complaint, but a conservative estimate alleges that roughly $1.28bn of that was based on fraud. According to the complaint, the government could be entitled to up to three times the actual damages suffered if the judge finds the Navistar guilty of fraudulent conduct — a total of $3.84bn.
According to the settlement agreement, “Navistar expressly denies the allegations” brought forward in the civil action and complaint and the agreement “is not an admission of any wrongdoing or liability by Navistar.”
Likewise, the agreement “is not a concession” by the U.S. government or Burgess that “claims are not well founded,” the document noted. (Source: Defense News Early Bird/Defense News)
31 May 21. Successful Demo Tour in Latvia and increased interest in the programme. As part of the joint 6×6 vehicle development programme, a demo tour was held in Latvia in May, where the Patria 6×6 vehicle was presented live to the Latvian Armed Forces and Minister of Defence. At the event, the Latvian Armed Forces tested the mobility, features, and capability of the vehicle under conditions that correspond to actual operations and usage of the vehicle. More than a hundred persons of the Latvian Armed Forces got chance test the vehicle, as well as test the vehicle’s loading capacity for special purposes. Also, the representatives of the Finnish Ministry of Defence and the Finnish Defence Forces attended the event. The demo tour culminated in the Industry Day, with the Latvian companies’ industrial network, which has an essential role in the vehicle programme. Security of supply, including local industry participation, is a natural part of Patria’s business model to enable a cost-effective supply chain which benefits all involved parties.
“The Patria 6×6 vehicle received excellent feedback and we are pleased to have been able to present the vehicle concretely and prove our speech and promises of all its top features to be true. The vehicle has been proven to be very suitable for this joint programme and we are proud to be involved in it”, says Jussi Järvinen, President of Patria’s Land business unit.
The joint vehicle development program has aroused interest in other countries as well. “The program is open to other countries with the mutual consent of the participating countries. In general, this common vehicle system will improve the mobility, cost-effectiveness, interoperability, and security of supply of armies in the participating countries”, confirms Järvinen.
Finland and Latvia have agreed on a joint collaborative development programme to improve the mobility of the army to which Patria 6×6 was chosen as a vehicle platform. The aim of this joint programme has been to develop a common armored wheeled vehicle system, including various versions and support system.
Currently, the programme is in the Research and Development (R&D) phase, which means engineering and development work, so that the basic vehicle platform, versions and the total system, including the support system, are to be developed further according to the specific needs of participating countries. At this phase, the vehicle has also been successfully tested with many different capability tests, including challenging winter conditions in Lapland, Latvian environment, and the overall usability of the vehicle.
TEK Military Seating Limited
TEK Military Seating Limited is a UK based designer and manufacturer of ProTEK military vehicle seating which offer the highest standards of safety and protection. The ProTEK brand is well respected across the globe for its robust construction, innovative design, built in modularity and cost effectiveness. Our superior products are supported by our experienced team who endeavor to offer unrivalled service to our customers from enquiry, through design and acceptance, to through life support.
From its inception ProTEK seats have been designed around a family of innovative seat frames onto which tested and certified modules can be fitted to create a bespoke solution for the user. These include Blast protection to Stanag 4569 standards, vibration reduction, head and body protection, seat risers and turntables, fore & aft adjustment, and seat back rake along with viable seat dimensions without the need for additional tooling costs.
Contact: David Parkman