Sponsored by TEK Military Seating Limited
11 Jul 21. End Of The Road For The Land Rover Wolf? As it reaches its 25th anniversary of service to the Crown, is the end of the road in sight for the trusty Land Rover Wolf TUL / TUM, asks Bob Morrison. Ordered on 18th January 1996, and entering service in bulk from July of that year, the Land Rover Truck Utility Medium Higher Specification or TUM HS and its shorter wheelbase Truck Utility Light Higher Specification or TUL HS sibling, collectively nicknamed the Wolf as that was the manufacturer’s codename for the upgraded model produced for the UK Armed Forces and the Dutch Marines, has served well beyond its original planned 15-year life. The type does though, like all of its breed, still have a lot of life left in it and holds it second-hand value well, so it should be no surprise that other countries’ armies are interested in it as Britain’s fast-shrinking armed forces have less and less need for its services.
A British Army Defender 110 Wolf deployed on Operation CABRIT in Estonia, May 2019 [©Bob Morrison]
What did come as a bit of a surprise was the revelation that the UK Ministry of Defence’s Defence Equipment Sales Authority (DESA) had quietly signed a Framework Agreement with the International Disposal Solutions (IDS) wing of ARMSCOR, the arms procurement agency of the South African Department of Defence, which creates “the opportunity for DESA to increase its reach in Africa and the commercial sales sector”. On the 24-page brochure of equipment which IDS is currently offering to other African nations are:-
- Land Rover TUM (Truck Utility Medium) and TUL (Truck Utility Light)
- Land Rover Snatch 2 VIXEN Plus
- Land Rover Revised Weapons Mounted Installation Kit (plus) or RWMIK+
Other equipment listed as available includes the Husky 4×4 Tactical Support Vehicle (TSV), which it was presumed would be replaced in UK service by the broadly similar Joint Light Tactical Vehicle that was also intended to replace some armoured and softskin Land Rovers, though the long-overdue order for JLTV has yet to be placed. The Combat Reconnaissance Vehicle (Tracked) which is due to finally be replaced by the delayed and problem-plagued AJAX family, which should have reached Initial Operating Capability by the end of last month but is still undergoing fault trials to identify major problems despite billions already having been spent on it, is also on the list. So too are the FN Minimi L110A2 5.56mm light machine gun, which allowed infantry sections to lay down their own close range suppressive fire, the RAF Puma helicopter, which has just celebrated its 50th birthday, and the MAN Support Vehicle Cargo Light 6 Tonne.
MAN SVCL 6 Tonne 4×4 disembarking MV Eddystone in Antwerp Docks at the start of Exercise DEFENDER-Europe, February 2020 [© Bob Morrison]
Looking at the long list of vehicles and equipment potentially being sold off to African nations before replacements have entered service, one has to wonder if possibly the UK MoD beancounters might this time be throwing the bath, the bathwater and the baby all out at the same time. It is fashionable at the moment to talk about drones taking the place of soldiers on the battlefield, when it has yet to be proved that territory can effectively be held without boots physically being put upon the ground, and it should not be forgotten than when rather than if these boots are deployed they will need proven vehicles and helicopters to get them there.
The Land Rover Wolf may be a bit long in the tooth, but as there is no sign yet of UK MoD ordering suitable replacements, and as the gratefully received recent donation of 100 R-WMIK+ Land Rovers to Lebanon underscores, there is still life in the old girl yet. (Source: www.joint-forcescom)
09 Jul 21. BAE wins $600m US Army AMPV sustainment contract. The contract will see the addition of new capabilities and technologies on AMPVs throughout their lifetime. BAE Systems has secured a five-year sustainment and technical support contract from the US Army for the armoured multi-purpose vehicle (AMPV) programme.
The AMPV Army programme is aimed at replacing the Vietnam War-era M113s with new vehicles to meet a wide range of missions on the battlefield. It comes in five variants.
Under the latest $600m sustainment contract, BAE will add new capabilities and technologies on AMPVs throughout their lifetime.
BAE Systems AMPV programme director Bill Sheehy said: “The AMPV family of vehicles will bring an unmatched capability to the battlefield and has demonstrated outstanding survivability and force protection as well as flexibility and growth for the future.
“This contract award will not only support production, but it will also allow for future upgrades through the development and integration of new capability sets onto existing variants.”
Currently, the AMPV programme is in low-rate production and BAE Systems has delivered at least one vehicle of each of the five variants.
Among the five variants of the AMPV, the first vehicle to leave the BAE Systems production line for delivery is a Mission Command variant delivered in 2019. This vehicle facilitates digital mission command.
The general-purpose vehicle is designed to conduct resupply, maintenance and alternate casualty evacuation during battles while the mortar carrier will provide heavy mortar fire support to the ABCT during offensive operations. (Source: army-technology.com)
09 Jul 21. MDT Armor Corp Awarded $9m to David ULAVs for Israeli Defense Forces. MDT Armor Corp., Auburn, Alabama, was awarded a $9,982,848 contract for procurement of the MDT-DAV “David” Urban Light Armored Vehicles (ULAVs) with manufacturer furnished spare. The Israeli Defense Forces have actually used MDT vehicles external link for a couple of years. Work will be performed in Auburn, Alabama, with an estimated completion date of Oct. 31, 2022. Foreign Military Sales (Israel) funds in the amount of $9,982,848 were obligated at the time of the award. U.S. Army Contracting Command, Detroit Arsenal, Michigan, is the contracting activity.
The MDT David Light Armored Vehicle is a cost-effective, survivable, light protected all-terrain vehicle that seats four, six or eight crewmembers. The David has been in service in combat conditions for over 10 years. Hundreds have been fielded, with daily combat activity. The David has come under terror attacks ranging from rocks and stones to assault weapons and improvised devices. It has proven itself, saving lives of numerous operators, time and time again. Its armored capsule is mounted on a commercial Toyota® Land Cruiser®, Hilux® or LandRover® Defender® pickup truck
The IDF’s version is built on top of a Land Rover Defender chassis, and a 122 bhp, 2.5L turbocharged diesel engine. Much shorter, lighter, and narrower than an up-armored Hummer in order to negotiate narrow urban streets and alleys, the 3.7 ton David external link nonetheless carries 4-6 soldiers in full battle gear, with head room and gun ports in all 4 directions. Large rear doors and a tall cabin, meanwhile, allow fast exits. Their sides and roof are designed to resist small arms fire at point blank range.
The Davids will replace the Jeep Ranger-derived Soufa (“Storm”) vehicles external link currently in service with the IDF, and will be complemented at the higher end by RAFAEL’s Wolf (“Ze’ev”) vehicles external link based on a Ford F550 truck with significant additional armoring and shaping. The DAV’s rear door is designed for fast dismounts away from the direction of incoming fire. As a final feature, the vehicles’ production in the USA allows Israel to use US military assistance funds rather than hard currency to finance their acquisition.
06 Jul 21. T-14 Armata to enter series production in 2022. Russia’s T-14 Armata main battle tank (MBT) is to enter series production in 2022, Industry and Trade Minister Denis Manturov told the TASS news agency on 5 July. Manturov added that he expected the MBT’s state trials to be completed in 2022. There are conflicting reports about the Armata programme. Manturov had previously told the Rossiya-1 (Russia One) TV channel in April 2020 that serial deliveries of the T-14 would commence in 2021.
Defence Minister Sergei Shoigu told TASS in March that only “an experimental-industrial” batch of T-14 Armatas, T-15 infantry fighting vehicles, and T-16 armoured recovery vehicles would be delivered in 2022, as opposed to series production vehicles.
TASS reported in 2018 that Prime Minister Yuri Borisov asked journalists, “Why flood the armed forces with the Armata or Boomerangs [Russia’s new 8×8 armoured fighting vehicle]?” The Izvestia newspaper reported in 2019 that T-16s would be delivered ahead of that year’s Victory Day Parade in Moscow, but this did not transpire.
Borisov added that the T-14 and Boomerang are expensive compared to existing armoured fighting vehicles, and some Russian sources have indicated that the Armata may cost three times more that an upgraded T-72.
However, Uralvagonzavod (UVZ) general director and chief designer Andrey Terlikov told TASS in February that the T-14 Armata would come down in price during its third production run. The Russian Ministry of Defence (MoD) and UVZ “will agree on a price that will suit both parties”, he said. (Source: Jane’s)
07 Jul 21. Hyundai Rotem delivers two MPUGVs for RoKA trials. Hyundai Rotem announced on 7 July that it has handed over to South Korea’s Defense Acquisition Program Administration (DAPA) two multipurpose unmanned ground vehicles (MPUGVs) based on the HR-Sherpa prototype for use in six-months-long evaluation trials with the Republic of Korea Army (RoKA). The company said in a statement that the move, which marks the RoKA’s first introduction of unmanned ground vehicles, comes after it won a contract in November 2020 to supply the 6×6 platforms – along with associated training and support – under an accelerated acquisition scheme aimed at introducing new capabilities to the military.
The vehicles, which the company described as being more capable than the HR-Sherpa, can be used in a variety of roles, including in close combat and surveillance and reconnaissance missions, as well as for ammunition and expendables resupply and casualty evacuation.
Equipped with day-and-night cameras that provide real-time images to the operator, the MPUGVs come with various modes for unmanned driving, including leader-follower, remote driving, and autonomous driving along a pre-designated route, noted the company.
The battery-powered vehicles, which weigh less than two tonnes, have also been equipped with a remote weapon station (RWS) and feature a loading box in the back capable of carrying more than 200 kg of cargo or of transporting patients in case of an emergency. Each of the wheels, which feature airless tyres, is equipped with an in-wheel electric motor that powers each of them independently. (Source: Jane’s)
06 Jul 21. History made as WFEL commences production of first Boxer Armoured Military Vehicles. In another historic event for the UK Defence industry, WFEL has commenced production of Boxer Mechanised Infantry Vehicles for the British Army at its new manufacturing plant in the North West of England. It is a number of years since any new armoured vehicles have been manufactured in the UK.
The fabrication of vehicle sub-assemblies has been taking place over the last few weeks at WFEL’s new production facility at Stockport. As part of the extensive Technology Transfer Programme between KMW and WFEL, UK welding personnel have undertaken secondments of up to a year at parent company KMW’s Boxer manufacturing site in Hamburg, Germany. Here, staff worked on the production of Boxer vehicles for KMW’s existing customers and are now fully qualified to undertake the complex work required to produce fabricated Drive Module hulls for the UK Boxer variants.
Minister for Defence Procurement, Jeremy Quin, said: “Today marks a significant milestone for the Boxer programme, as these modernised modular vehicles become one step closer to being delivered to the British Army.
“Supporting 120 jobs in Stockport, vital knowledge and industry expertise will be central to building armoured hulls and assembling the finished Boxer vehicles required for future Army capabilities.”
WFEL has been selected as the KMW UK footprint for the Boxer MIV Program and will employ high levels of UK content, creating and protecting sovereign engineering and manufacturing skills, ensuring that the vehicles remain supported through their operational life.
As well as manufacturing the armoured hulls for the British Army’s new vehicles, WFEL will be responsible for the Assembly, Integration and Testing (AIT) of a total of 225 Boxer MIV vehicles under the £2.3 bn contract signed between UK MoD and ARTEC in November 2019.
WFEL has recently announced a number of sub-contract awards as part of the supply chain roll out programme for its Boxer Programme, including agreements with Horstman, David Brown Santasalo and BCW Engineering.
WFEL continues its recruitment campaign for the Boxer Programme, offering long-term employment opportunities in a variety of roles across the new manufacturing site in Stockport.
On 25th May, UK Defence Minister, Jeremy Quin, officially opened WFEL’s new Boxer vehicle production facility, saying, “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.”
06 Jul 21. Four robotic vehicles compete for Turkish military contract. Four unmanned ground vehicles are competing to enter service with Turkey’s military under the force’s medium-class UGV project.
Turkey’s largest defense company, Aselsan, is participating in the competition with its Aslan UGV, while Havelsan is pitching its Barkan; Best Group is offering its Fedai; and Elektroland Defence is proposing its Hancer. All four UGVs are fitted with Aselsan’s SARP remote-controlled weapon system.
According to a statement released by Turkey’s top defense procurement official, Ismail Demir, the indigenously produced UGVs have reached the final phase of the competition. The finalists carried out firing tests with their 7.62mm guns, and the contest is scheduled to conclude next month.
“We are determined to show our experience and success in unmanned systems in the air vehicles as well in the naval and land vehicles. Our prototype racing activities, which we started within the framework of our Medium Class 1st Level Unmanned Ground Vehicle Project, carry on.” Demir tweeted June 27.
Demir described five categories on which the UGVs will be evaluated: general inspection, mobility, autonomy, firing and performance. No further details were provided due to confidentiality.
More than one platform may secure a contract under the military project, an industry official who attended the competition for a few days told Defense News on condition of anonymity. Turkey’s defense procurement agency, the Presidency of Defence Industries, will ink a deal for the procurement of UGVs with each winner as well as support mass production, the source added.
Havelsan first unveiled the Barkan in February to further the company’s “digital troop” concept, which aims for quicker, more effective battlefield technology. The UGV is equipped with a remote-controlled weapon system, electro-optical sensors and data link systems. It weighs about 500 kilograms and can communicate with UAVs that fly below the clouds.
Best Group’s Fedai (which translates to “Bodyguard” in English) was designed under the supervision of the Turkish military. Fedai weighs 400 kilograms and has a towing capacity of 400 kilograms. Its palette width is 500mm, and it can reach a maximum speed of 10 kph. It also has an operational range of 1,000 meters within the line of sight of its operator and can operate up to 300 meters beyond the line of sight. It has a two-axis gyro-aided stabilized gun system that can carry a 7.62mm gun.
Hancer (which translates to “Dagger” in English) was developed by Electroland Defence over the course of five months. It has a payload capacity of 500 kilograms and can operate for 6 hours after 3 hours of charging. The UGV can be controlled within 1,500 meters of its operator. Hancer’s moving pallet system provides an advantage in rough terrain, and it’s able to handle a vertical grade of 60 percent, a side-slope grade of 30 percent, and ditches that are 60 centimeters across. It can be equipped either with a 7.62mm remote weapon system or 40mm grenade launchers.
Aselsan did not provide specifications for its Aslan offering (which translates to “Lion” in English), but the system is similar to its competitors, as they are in the same class of unmanned ground vehicles. Aselsan has also developed the Kaplan family of UGVs, which the Turkish military uses to neutralize explosive threats, and the company used the technology as a basis for the Aslan system. Aslan can be controlled and transmit data via satellite. For its part, the Kaplan can be fitted with a 7.62mm remote weapon system. (Source: Defense News)
05 Jul 21. Pinzgauer upgrade. Sources suggest that the Pinzgauer refurbishment will go ahead with 540 not 740 vehicles from a total of 1400 being upgraded for use by 16th Air Assault Brigade. Sources suggest that the MoD has issued a PQQ to recompete the Land Rover Wolf, Pinzgauer and trailer PDS contract currently run by BAE Systems with Hobson Industries as a partner.
05 Jul 21. Ajax update. Sources close to BATTLESPACE suggest that Millbrook and the MoD cannot find where the harmonics are coming from and the fire control computer switches itself off when the vehicle vibrates as it cannot engage. One factor to consider with regard to weight issue on the turret ring is that the recce/optics package weighs 7 tonnes. A number of observers suggest that it is not if but when Ajax is cancelled. Sources alos confirm our story last week that all Trials at Millbrook have been terminated until a safe way through can be found to test the vehicle.
05 Jul 21. SOR to Develop Autonomous Vehicle for Defence with DST. Strategic Elements Ltd (ASX:SOR) is pleased to report that subsidiary ‘Stealth Technologies’ will design and deliver an autonomous drone carrying vehicle that automates detection and sensing of chemical, biological, radiological and nuclear agents. The Company will collaborate with Defence Science Technology Group (DSTG), part of the Australian Department of Defence, and the University of Western Australia to build the solution and conduct a live demonstration to Army. The Western Australian Defence Science Centre has agreed to part fund the collaborative work.
The autonomous vehicle will carry drones and sensors into a target environment keeping humans at a safe distance. The autonomous drone will enable rapid traversing of the target area using sensors to map and/or monitor the location of chemical, biological, radiological and nuclear (CBRN) sources.
- The collaboration will result in a live demonstration of the Autonomous CBRN Vehicle to Defence (both DSTG and Army) and investigate advanced manufacturing capabilities and facilities for production in Western Australia.
- Other outcomes include the potential to leverage the autonomous capability to other Australian Defence Force problems – for example other Resupply, Intelligence, Surveillance, and Reconnaissance use cases.
Managing Director Charles Murphy said “The Autonomous CBRN Vehicle has the ability to mitigate certain risks that our Australian Defence personnel face in CBRN environments whilst increasing the efficiency and accuracy of CBRN detection and sensing. I am proud of our Stealth team, the AxV Autonomous Platform is gaining significant credibility and trust amongst some very serious players looking for autonomous solutions. We see significant commercial opportunities to build its value across multiple sectors such as security, defence, mining and logistics”.
Stealth Autonomous Technology
The Company’s AxV autonomous vehicle platform is currently deployed in perimeter security applications through the Stealth ASV (Autonomous Security Vehicle). The CBRN collaboration will leverage existing IP, and collaborative work conducted with organisations such as Honeywell, WA Department of Justice, UWA, CSIRO and Planck AeroSystems.
CBRN Defence refers to the various procedures and equipment used to protect, detect, and decontaminate chemical, biological, radiological, and nuclear agents, which can cause mass destruction. CBRN incidents can occur accidentally, intentionally, or naturally. Amid the COVID-19 crisis, the global market for CBRN Defence estimated at US$16.2bn in the year 2020, is projected to reach a revised size of US$21.9bn by 2027.
Defence Science Technology Group
DSTG is part of the Australian Department of Defence dedicated to providing science and technology support to safeguard Australia and its national interests. The Company previously announced a scoping study to integrate DSTG developed CBRN search algorithms with a Stealth autonomous drone carrying vehicle. The collaboration will carry out the integration of these algorithms with Stealth’s technology.
DSTG will provide personnel, existing DSTG developed CBRN search algorithms and access to ongoing search algorithm development and implementation support. Critically, DSTG will also provide access to facilities and equipment and assistance with arranging access to Defence test sites.
Western Australian Defence Science Centre
In recognition of the potential for the Western Australian defence industry the Western Australian Defence Science Centre (DSC) has agreed to provide $150,000 in funding towards developing the autonomous solution and investigating potential manufacturing opportunities in Western Australia.
The award of the Collaborative Research Grant funding supports the strategic goals of the State Government’s Western Australian Defence and Defence Industries Strategic Plan, which aims to grow the local defence industry and create jobs.
Expertise & Commitments
The DSTG team is led by Dr Robert Hunjet, Research Leader of Land Division’s Protection and Networked Autonomy Major Science and Technology Capability. Dr Hunjet also serves as the Deputy Theme Lead for Trusted Autonomous Systems within the Federal Government’s $730M Next Generation Technology Fund.
The UWA team is led by Professor Thomas Bräunl (ex-BMW and Daimler-Chrysler/Mercedes-Benz) developed autonomous BMW X5, SAE racing car and shuttle bus, public-use EV charging network (Perth) and EV conversions. Professor Bräunl has been actively collaborating with the Stealth team over many years.
DSTG, UWA and the WA Defence Science Centre has committed to provide $350,000 of cash and in-kind services to the collaboration and Stealth Technologies will invest approx. $350,000. Under the funding agreement Stealth Technologies retains 100% of the IP and associated commercialisation rights for CBRN and other defence force related applications.
- The collaboration will deliver an Autonomous CBRN Vehicle that can navigate itself through an environment using Stealth Autodrive Hardware (autonomous technologies) and Stealth OS Software (sensor fusion, computer vision, AI & Neural Networks).
- Hatch doors in the vehicle will enable Stealth customised drone(s) carried on board to autonomously launch, carry out CBRN detection and sensing missions (using DSTG algorithms and sensors) and land back onboard the autonomous vehicle. Data will be communicated back to the mission control centre.
- A live demonstration of the Autonomous CBRN Vehicle will be carried out to DSTG and Army.
- The collaboration will also investigate advanced manufacturing capabilities and facilities for production in Western Australia.
- Other outcomes include potential to leverage the autonomous capability to other Australian Defence Force problems – for example other Resupply, Intelligence, Surveillance, and Reconnaissance use cases.
Initial concept design of the autonomous vehicle and drone launch and land system is expected to be completed in Q3, 2021.
The collaboration is an important potential pathway to faster adoption of the Stealth Autonomous CBRN Vehicle technology by Defence.
Strategic Elements Background
Investors in SOR potentially pay no tax on capital gains from selling their SOR shares as the Company operates under a Federal Government program setup to encourage investment into innovation. Strategic Elements operates as a ‘venture builder’ where it generates high risk-high reward ventures and projects from combining teams of leading scientists or innovators in the technology or resources sectors. More information www.strategicelements.com.au This announcement was authorised for release by Strategic Elements’ Board of Directors. (Source: PR Newswire)
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