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[*] posted on 6-3-2018 at 02:40 PM


AMPV? Jeez I'd have been astonished if they picked that. With the premier opposition re-focus of Forces generally (rather than the current COIN) the AMPV will be (re-)built in greater numbers than originally thought, as will the revamped Bradley..............what's the betting they go for a 30 or 35mm main gun?
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[*] posted on 7-3-2018 at 09:56 AM


Yea. But the MPF is meant for the IBCT and they have already standardized on the M109A7 with Bradley chassis and AMPV without having the M2.
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[*] posted on 7-3-2018 at 01:18 PM


So? Taking M8 and revamping it for the Bradley chassis is not a stretch of the imagination................

To be honest, I look at M8 and it screams Bradley chassis to me..............
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[*] posted on 9-3-2018 at 09:06 AM


Team SAIC readies US Army MPF bid offer

Kelvin Wong, Singapore - Jane's International Defence Review

08 March 2018


SAIC and ST Kinetics’ bid with the latter’s 8×8 Terrex 2 armoured vehicle has been shortlisted by US Marine Corps for its ACV1.1 programme. Source: IHS Markit/Kelvin Wong

NOT sure why they've put the TERREX 8x8 in this article, it has nothing to do with the TRACKED MPF..........

An international team led by the Virginia-based Science Applications International Corp (SAIC) is readying its bid sample vehicle for the US Army’s Mobile Protected Firepower (MPF) programme following integration and testing of a prototype vehicle that commenced in the fourth quarter of 2017, officials from the respective companies briefed Jane’s .

SAIC is partnering with Singapore Technologies (ST) Kinetics, the land systems and specialty vehicles arm of ST Engineering Group, as well as Belgium’s CMI Defence. ST Kinetics is providing a bespoke version of its Next Generation Armoured Fighting Vehicle (NGAFV) – which has been ordered by the Singapore Armed Forces (SAF) and is expected to enter service from 2019 – while CMI Defence is supplying its modular Cockerill 3105 turret.

“In April 2018 we will deliver the bid sample vehicle …. we [have done] extensive checks on the turret and fire control system [FCS], integrated it to the chassis, and it has performed wonderfully in terms of meeting all of the mobility requirements,” Jim Scanlon, SAIC senior vice-president and general manager of the Defense Systems Customer Group, told Jane’s .

Team SAIC’s bid sample is based on ST Kinetics’ NGAFV platform, which – according to specifications released by the Singapore Ministry of Defence (MINDEF) – has a fighting weight of 29 tonnes and measures 6.9 m long, 3.28 m wide, and an overall height of 3.2 m in the AFV configuration. Equipped with a highly digitised architecture, the NGAFV has been specifically designed for closed-hatch operations with a suite of high definition daylight and low illumination cameras positioned around the hull providing real-time imagery to the crew for manoeuvring as well as situational awareness.

However, for the US Army’s MPF requirement the company has integrated CMI Defence’s Cockerill 3105 turret, which is armed with a 105 mm calibre high pressure main gun.

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[*] posted on 9-3-2018 at 08:19 PM


New batch of modernised Ukrainian T-84 mbt being prepared

Posted On Thursday, 08 March 2018 15:29

The SE “Malyshev Plant” and the SE "Kharkiv Morozov Machine-Building Design Bureau" are preparing another batch of T-84 tanks for the Armed Forces of Ukraine. Kharkiv enterprises conduct repair and modernization works. For this purpose, the SE “Malyshev Plant” repaired the next batch of T-84 tanks. The combat vehicles underwent checking, restoring or complete replacement of all main nodes and components.


The main battle tank T-84 is in service of the Armed Forces of Ukraine. (source: Ukroboronprom)

After that, the tanks were sent to the SE "Kharkiv Morozov Machine-Building Design Bureau" for modernization: electronic systems replacement, installation of protected digital radio stations; sighting complex T-84 is being modernized. These measures will significantly increase the combat efficiency of T-84 tanks in all weather conditions both during the day and at night, under enemy’s use of active or passive obstacles on the battlefield in the radio, infrared and optical range. As soon as all the works are completed, the batch of T-84 tanks will undergo tests in the presence of the Ministry of Defense representatives.

The T-84 is equipped with a 125-mm autoloader-equipped gun, capable of firing controlled precision anti-tank missiles with a target destruction range of about 5 km. Almost 50-ton T-84 tank can speed up to 70 km / h thanks to a 1200 HP engine. The tank is protected with up-to-date Ukrainian reactive armor and electro-optical countermeasures system.
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[*] posted on 9-3-2018 at 08:49 PM


SAIC continues to test vehicle for US Army Mobile Protected Firepower

Posted On Friday, 09 March 2018 10:11

Science Applications International Corp. (NYSE: SAIC) continues to develop and test the prototype of tracked combat vehicle that is proposed for the U.S. Army’s need as part of the Mobile Protected Firepower (MPF) program. SAIC, together with ST Kinetics of Singapore and CMI Defence from Belgium has developed a new generation of combat vehicle that offers the U.S. Army an innovative solution that provides infantry forces access to combat environments in 21st century operations.


SAIC prototype of tracked combat vehicle based on ST Kinetics’ Next Generation Armored Fighting Vehicle, fitted with CMI Defence’s Cockerill Series 3105 turret armed with one 105mm cannon. (Picture source Twitter account Sydney Freedberg)

Based on ST Kinetics’ Next Generation Armored Fighting Vehicle (NGAFV) chassis and CMI Defence’s Cockerill Series 3105 turret currently in production, SAIC will compete for an Engineering and Manufacturing Development (EMD) contract to build prototypes that incorporate a lightweight combat vehicle design while still providing mobility and lethality for U.S. Army units.

Such a vehicle will enable freedom of movement and action, specifically for restrictive, urban operations but tailorable for full-spectrum combat environments.

In November 2017, it was announced that he U.S. Army issued a Request for Proposal (RFP) for the Engineering and Manufacturing Development phase of its Mobile Protected Firepower (MPF) program. To maximize competition, the U.S. Army anticipates awarding up to two contracts for the EMD phase in early Fiscal Year 2019.

The MPF capability is one of the most critical needs for the Army, particularly for its Infantry Brigade Combat Teams (IBCT) who lack protected, long range, cyber resilient precision direct fire capability for early entry operations. IBCTs require this capability to be employed in austere and unpredictable locations allowing them to avoid the enemy's strengths and rapidly transition to offensive operations and exploit the initiative.

The ST Kinetics’ Next Generation Armored Fighting Vehicle was presented for the first time to the public during the Singapore AirShow in February 2017. The vehicle is powered by a 710 hp MTU 8V-199 TE20 diesel coupled to a Kinetics Drive Solution (KDS) HMX3000, which provides a power-to-weight ratio of 24.5 hp/tone. This enables the vehicle to achieve a maximum stated speed of 70 km/h and operating range of 500 km.

The heart of the Cockerill 3000 Series is a single modular, scalable turret platform that uses open physical and electronic architectures. This single core platform is designed to accept a large variety of systems and subsystems. For example the Cockerill 3000 Series platform will accept a wide range of weapons from 25mm to 105mm. The Cockerill Series 3105 turret is armed with one 105mm NATO-standard high-pressure tank gun with optional Gun Launched Anti-Tank Guided Missiles capabilities.
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[*] posted on 10-3-2018 at 01:58 PM


Malyshev to deliver modernised T-84 MBTs to Ukrainian Army for trials

Reuben F Johnson, Kiev - IHS Jane's Defence Weekly

09 March 2018


The newly upgraded T-84 variant developed by the Malyshev Plant and Kharkiv Morozov Machine Building Design Bureau could provide a much-needed boost to Ukrainian armoured formations. Source: Malyshev

Key Points

- A batch of newly modernised T-84 MBTs are to be delivered to the Ukrainian armed forces for trials
- Assuming the tanks will ultimately be put into series production, they will provide the Ukrainian Army with a much-improved armour capability in the eastern Donbass

Ukrainian State Enterprises (DPs) Malyshev Plant and Kharkiv Morozov Machine Building Design Bureau are preparing to deliver a batch of T-84 main battle tanks (MBTs) for trials by the Ukrainian armed forces.

The T-84 Oplot (‘Fortress’) is a newly modernised version of the T-80 MBT design that was widely produced for the Soviet armed forces in the 1980s. As with numerous defence-industrial facilities originally created during the Soviet era, the manufacturing plant and design offices are co-located in order to streamline the transition between the research and development (R&D) process and series production.

The new tanks have emerged from a full-scale remanufacturing of existing vehicles. In the first phase the tanks underwent a complete overhaul in which all major subassemblies and mechanical components were either repaired or swapped out for new hardware. The vehicles were then transferred to the Morozov design bureau to receive new onboard electrical systems, including a digital communications suite and a new, more capable sight and targeting module.

The design team responsible for the upgrade say it will make this modernised version of the T-84 more capable of operating in all weather conditions as well as at night. Additionally, the tank is now equipped with both passive and active protection systems that are effective against radar-, infrared-, and optically guided weapons.

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[*] posted on 22-3-2018 at 09:06 AM


Update: Singapore denies Leopard 2A7 acquisition, but questions remain over anomalies

Kelvin Wong, Singapore - IHS Jane's Defence Weekly

21 March 2018


Refurbished ex-German Army Leopard 2A4 MBTs, designated Leopard 2SG MBTs in Singapore Army service, now constitute a significant proportion of the service’s offensive punch. Source: IHS Markit/Kelvin Wong

Singapore’s Ministry of Defence (MINDEF) has refuted speculation that the country has acquired the A7 variant of the German-built Krauss-Maffei Wegmann (KMW) Leopard 2 main battle tank (MBT) that stemmed from a recent entry in the Stockholm International Peace Research Institute’s (SIPRI’s) Arms Transfer Database.

According to SIPRI’s data – which the institute says is drawn from a range of sources, including the UN Register of Conventional Arms (ROCA), national reports on arms exports and imports, as well as official defence budget documents and parliamentary records – Singapore has acquired 12 Leopard 2A7 MBTs that were delivered in the 2016–17 timeframe.

The institute also recorded that the Singapore Armed Forces (SAF) received a total of 182 ex-Bundeswehr Leopard 2A4 MBTs in the 2007–12 timeframe, with a number of these used as spares and training. Meanwhile, the UN ROCA database has also shown that Germany reported a transfer of 168 MBTs to Singapore.

However, only 96 Leopard 2A4 MBTs were ever declared to have been ordered by Singapore in a December 2006 announcement by MINDEF. The first batch of six MBTs was transferred in June 2008 and deliveries are understood to have been completed by mid-2010.

“In 2006, the SAF announced the acquisition of the Leopard 2A4 from Germany to replace the SM1 tanks,” MINDEF said a 20 March statement. “Since then, the refurnished Leopard tanks have entered service and no other variants of the Leopard has [sic] been acquired by the SAF.”

However, German government reports on its military equipment exports, reviewed by Jane’s on 21 March, have revealed that seven Leopard 2 MBTs – although of an unspecified variant – had been exported to Singapore in 2016, further casting doubt on the official information released by MINDEF. Moreover, Germany also issued export licences to Singapore worth EUR97 million (USD119 million) for tank ammunition, gun-laying equipment, target range-finding systems and parts for fire-control equipment, onboard weapons-control systems, observation systems, as well as parts for MBTs, armoured vehicles, amphibious vehicles, and trucks.

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[*] posted on 22-3-2018 at 06:30 PM


Israeli-made Merkava IVM Windbreaker one of the most protected tank in the world

Posted On Wednesday, 21 March 2018 14:01

The latest generation of Israeli-made Merkava IV with Rafael Trophy APS (Active Protection System) nicknamed Merkava Mark IVM Windbreaker, is one of the most protected Main Battle Tank (MBT) in the world. Following the series of tests of the Trophy system, the IDF Ground Forces Command declared the Trophy operational in August 2009 and first MBT Merkava 4 equipped with the Trophy APS enters in service with the Israeli Army in 2010.


Latest generation of Israeli-made Mark IVM Windbreaker Main Battle Tank (MBT) at Israeli army military exercise, January 28, 2018 (Picture source Israeli MoD)

On March 1, 2011, stationed near the Gaza border, a Merkava MK IV equipped with the Trophy system foiled a missile attack aimed toward it and became the first operational success of the Trophy active defense system. On July 14, 2014, the Trophy system successfully intercepted a 9M133 Kornet anti-tank missile fired from Gaza at an IDF tank. Since the beginning of the Israeli Operation Protective Edge to July 20, 2014, at least four Israeli tanks of senior commanders were protected by the Trophy system in the Gaza Strip.

The first generation of Merkava IV fitted with the Trophy APS has only one Elta EL/M-2133[1] F/G band fire-control radar with four flat-panel antennas (sensors) mounted on each side at the front of the turret. Sensors include radar with four antennas placed around the vehicle. Trophy provides 360° coverage against anti-tank rockets, anti-tank missiles and tank HEAT (high-explosive anti-tank) rounds. Once Trophy has detected a threat, it is tracked and classified and the optimal intercept point is computed, prior to launching a countermeasure.

According to our analysis about the latest generation of Trophy APS mounted on Merkava IV MBT, there is now four sensors, one on each side at the front of the turret, and two at the rear to increase detection of threats from the back of the tank.

Trophy protects Merkava IV from a wide variety of threats ranging from rockets, ATGMs and platform-fired High-Explosive Anti-Tank (HEAT) rounds. Trophy offers 360° protection in azimuth, as well as extensive elevation coverage, while maintaining a pre-defined safety zone for friendly troops on the ground. The neutralization process is initiated only if the threat is about to hit the vehicle.



The Merkava IV is also equipped with the Amcoram LWS-2 laser warning system, with threat warning display installed at the commander’s station. This links to the Israel Military Industries POMALS (pedestal-operated multi-ammunition launching system) decoy launcher. One launcher is fitted on either side of the tank, which can launch smoke grenades and decoys.

The Merkava Mk 4 uses a modular ballistic protection and is claimed to provide more effective protection against modern threats involving both protection efficiency and coverage area.

The ballistic protection also includes roof protection that provides a capability against overhead attacks. As there is only one roof hatch it is easier to protect the roof with a new passive armour system.

Main armament of the Merkava Mark IVM Windbreaker consists of one 120 mm smoothbore gun, developed by Israel Military Industries (IMI). It can fire various 120 mm munitions, including all standard NATO munitions. It can also fire LAHAT anti-tank guided missiles in the same manner as ordinary projectiles. The LAHAT missile has a range of up to 8,000 m (5.0 mi) when launched from a ground platform, and up to 13,000 m (8.1 mi) when deployed from high elevation. It has effective penetration of up to 800 mm of RHA (Rolled homogeneous) armor steel with its tandem warhead to deal with add-on reactive armor.

Secondary armament consists of a 7.62 mm coaxial machine gun, 7.62 mm machine gun mounted on the right side of the turret roof and an internally mounted 60 mm breech-loaded mortar. The roof-mounted 7.62 mm machine gun can be aimed and fired by the commander from within the turret under complete armour protection and can be traversed through a full 360º. A 12.7mm heavy machine gun is mounted at the front center of the turret and just above the barrel.
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[*] posted on 24-3-2018 at 02:43 PM


Netherlands transfers last Leopard 2s to Finland

Nicholas Fiorenza, London - IHS Jane's Defence Weekly

23 March 2018

The Netherlands will transfer the last of 100 Leopard 2A6 tanks to Finland in 2019, the Dutch Ministry of Defence (MoD) has said on its website.

The ministry reported that it began transferring 20 Leopard 2A6s to Finland on 21 March.

The Netherlands decided in 2011 to phase out main battle tanks, and Finland bought its 100 Leopards 2A6s in 2014.

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[*] posted on 25-3-2018 at 01:18 AM


Quote: Originally posted by bug2  


The first generation of Merkava IV fitted with the Trophy APS has only one Elta EL/M-2133[1] F/G band fire-control radar with four flat-panel antennas (sensors) mounted on each side at the front of the turret. Sensors include radar with four antennas placed around the vehicle.
.


I would like to see the Trophy system in a EW heavy combat scenario analysis when the red force has proper SIGINT. Trophy equipped tanks, with always-on AESA radar blazing through the terrain ... Those vehicles should light up like a Christmas trees in any combat scenario involving peers who have loitering or other BLOS systems for attack.
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[*] posted on 25-3-2018 at 01:19 PM


Good point..............
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[*] posted on 25-3-2018 at 09:21 PM


Quote: Originally posted by Wolftrap  
Quote: Originally posted by bug2  


The first generation of Merkava IV fitted with the Trophy APS has only one Elta EL/M-2133[1] F/G band fire-control radar with four flat-panel antennas (sensors) mounted on each side at the front of the turret. Sensors include radar with four antennas placed around the vehicle.
.


I would like to see the Trophy system in a EW heavy combat scenario analysis when the red force has proper SIGINT. Trophy equipped tanks, with always-on AESA radar blazing through the terrain ... Those vehicles should light up like a Christmas trees in any combat scenario involving peers who have loitering or other BLOS systems for attack.


Very short ranged radars, with low power... A few kilometers at most, I guess the thinking is if you are close enough to detect that radar electronically, you may well be able to see or at least hear it anyway...




In a low speed post-merge manoeuvring fight, with a high off-boresight 4th generation missile and Helmet Mounted Display, the Super Hornet will be a very difficult opponent for any current Russian fighter, even the Su-27/30
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[*] posted on 27-3-2018 at 12:23 AM


Could be a plausible educated guess.

Still, radar emissions usually don’t just “vanish”, especially not when the radar is covering the full spectrum of 360 degrees. Active protection is just now gaining traction and Trophy was more or less developed for the “third Lebanon war” against Hezbollah or less sophisticated adversaries in the neighborhood rather than adversaries with equal or better system.
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[*] posted on 27-3-2018 at 11:59 AM


If it seriously becomes a problem just have light vehicles and/or drones run around with RF emitters matching the signature. Heck, you could give the same system to as many vehicles as possible for their own protection, and be very public about, so that the bad guys don't know exactly who they have detected.

I'm pretty sure that sort of protection is coming anyway, just from what we have seen mounted on JLTV, etc. Throw in a few drones to charge about emitting all sorts of crap and pretty soon no one will have a clue.
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[*] posted on 27-3-2018 at 09:40 PM


Army to Test First Next-Gen Ground Combat Vehicles in 2019


U.S. Army M2 Bradley Fighting Vehicles assigned to Company C, 2nd Battalion, 70th Armored Regiment, 2nd Armored Brigade Combat Team, 1st Infantry Division, based at Fort Riley, Kansas, idle on the fields of Presidenski Range in Trzebian, Poland, during a platoon combined arms live fire exercise (CALFEX) on March 26, 2018. The Army is developing the Next Generation Combat Vehicle to replace Bradley Fighting Vehicles and M1 Abrams tanks. (U.S. Army photo by Spc. Dustin D. Biven)

Military.com 26 Mar 2018 By Matthew Cox

Army maneuver officials on Monday said the service's Next Generation Combat Vehicle will allow it to team manned and unmanned vehicles and create an unbeatable overmatch against enemy armored forces.

Developing the NGCV to replace the fleet of Cold-War era M1 Abrams tanks and Bradley Fighting Vehicles is the Army's second modernization priority under a new strategy to reform acquisition and modernization.

The Army intends to stand up a new Futures Command this summer, which will oversee cross-functional teams that focus on each of the of the service's six modernization priorities: long-range precision fires; next-generation combat vehicle; future vertical lift; a mobile and expeditionary network; air and missile defense capabilities; and soldier lethality.

"The Next Generation Combat Vehicle needs to be revolutionary," Gen Robert Abrams, commander of Forces Command, told an audience at the Association of the United States Army's Global Force Symposium.

"It's got to be 10X better than our current fleet and guarantee our overmatch into the future."

The Army will need such an increase in capability to deal with threats such as Russia's T14 Armata tank and China's efforts at improving composite armor and reactive armor combinations on its ground vehicles, said Col. Ryan Janovic, the G2 for Army Forces Command.

Brig. Gen. David Lesperance, deputy commander of the Army's Maneuver Center of Excellence at Fort Benning, Georgia, and leader of the cross-functional team in the effort, said the NGCV will consist initially of three phases of prototyping and experimentation to refine the program's requirements.

Part of the Army's intent with its new acquisition and modernization strategy is to develop requirements in two to three years rather than the traditional five-to-seven-year process.

The program will seek to develop the robotic combat vehicle and a manned combat vehicle that can be used in an unmanned role based on the commander's needs, Lesperance said.

There will be three phases for the "delivery of capability for experimentation" between 2018 and 2024, he said.

By late fiscal 2019, "we will deliver one manned versus two unmanned combat platforms that will initially go through [Army Test and Evaluation Command] testing, then will go through a six-to-nine month, extended experimentation in an operational unit in Forces Command," Lesperance said.

Army officials will take the results of that effort and use it in the second phase of the program to deliver "a purpose-built robotic combat vehicle and a purpose-built manned fighting vehicle" in 2021 to ATEC and then to operational units at the beginning of second quarter of 2022, he said.

For the third phase, the Army plans to deliver seven manned and 14 unmanned prototypes in late 2023 and into early 2024 "that allow us to look, at a company level, [at] what manned-unmanned teaming could be," Lesperance said.

"Imagine making contact with the enemy with an unmanned robot, and allowing a decision-maker to understand quicker and then make a better decision out of contact. Then move to a position of advantage to deliver decisive lethality in a way that we do not do now in 100 percent manned platforms," he said.

"Each phase of the program in 2020, 2022 and 2024 will ultimately allow us to write the best requirement we can come up with based on experimentation, and the analytics to back it up that ultimately allow us to write the right doctrine, develop the right organizations and then deliver the right capability that will be compliant with how we are going to fight differently in the future," Lesperance said.

-- Matthew Cox can be reached at matthew.cox@military.com.
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[*] posted on 28-3-2018 at 02:43 PM


Initial Prototypes for Next-Gen Combat Vehicle to Focus on Manned-Unmanned Teaming

(Source: US Army; issued March 23, 2018)

WASHINGTON --- As the Army drives toward a Next-Generation Combat Vehicle capability, leaders have outlined plans to test key features that could one day allow a Soldier to control several robotic fighting vehicles at once.

An initial set of six experimental prototypes for the NGCV -- two manned and four robotic combat vehicles -- is slated to be delivered by the end of fiscal year 2019. That delivery will kick off hands-on testing with Soldiers in early fiscal 2020.

Manned-unmanned teaming will be the major theme in the experiments, according to Col. Gerald Boston, deputy director of the Cross-Functional Team in charge of developing the vehicle.

"We believe, in the future operating environment, manned/unmanned teaming at the tactical level is how we are going to retain overmatch and deliver decisive lethality as part of combined arms maneuver. Making contact with the smallest element possible allows the maneuver commander to maintain freedom of action," he said.

Two more sets of experimental prototypes will then be delivered two years apart and build on previous findings. The process, leaders say, could accelerate the Army's fielding of a new combat vehicle in fiscal year 2028. That's something the NGCV CFT's director, Brig. Gen. David Lesperance, said can't happen soon enough.

"The character of warfare is changing and driving the need to reassess how the Army delivers, operates, and sustains future combat capabilities," Lesperance said. "The Army's current main battle tanks and infantry fighting vehicles are not optimized for future operational environments."

The general said that the vision of combat in the future, against well-equipped peer and near-peer adversaries, will require the U.S. Army to have better systems, with greater capabilities that what is available now.

"Lethality overmatch, vehicle survivability, crew effectiveness, operational and tactical mobility, and reduced logistics burden are more critical than ever before in the future operational environments," Lesperance said. "NGCV must deliver overmatch and decisive lethality in close combat against peer threats as part of a combined arms team."

Lesperance now leads the NGCV CFT, one of eight cross-functional teams that are meant to further the Army's six modernization priorities, including the Next-Gen Combat Vehicle.

The teams are designed to bring end users together with experts from science and technology, acquisition, requirements, test and evaluation, resourcing, and other specialties across the Army to reduce the timeline to procure and field new equipment.

AUTONOMOUS BEHAVIORS

Prototypes for the Next-Gen Combat Vehicle will lean on emerging technology from the Army Tank Automotive Research Development and Engineering Center.

One such TARDEC program is the "Wingman" Joint Capability Technology Demonstration. As part of it, a crew in a Humvee has been able to autonomously pilot another specially-configured Humvee and fire its 7.62 mm weapon system at targets.

For the NGCV, initial prototypes will likely have two Soldiers in control of a robotic vehicle -- one to remotely drive it and the other to operate its weapon system.

"Where we would like to go is get to one Soldier per remote combat vehicle and maybe someday one Soldier controlling multiple," said Col. Jim Schirmer, project manager for the Army's armored fighting vehicles.

In doing so, autonomous behaviors will need to be further developed throughout the incremental stages of prototyping.

Schirmer, the acquisition lead on the CFT, explained that the aviation industry has worked on this with weaponized unmanned aerial systems. Exercising that same type of control over ground-based vehicles can be harder, however, because there are many more obstacles on the ground than in the air.

A former tanker, Schirmer said he would often get his tank stuck in the mud as a young lieutenant. Over time, he learned to better identify obstacles and avoid mishaps.

In the absence of human experience, robots would need to rely on sensors to detect the same obstacles and navigate to where a Soldier has designated it to go.

"We would have to move intelligence onto the platform to free the Soldier up to do other things, and that's going to take time," he said. "That's what we call autonomous behaviors."

THREE INCREMENTS

Design teams recently began an effort to come up with six different designs for the manned fighting vehicle, one of which will be chosen for the initial set of experimental prototypes. The set will include medium-caliber weapons and light direct and indirect fire capability.

The chassis for the surrogate robotic combat vehicles will be based on the M113 armored personnel carrier, while the manned fighting vehicle will be a completely new concept platform, leaders say.

The first experiments, though, will primarily focus on making the vehicles more intuitive for those who will use them.

"We don't really care what kind of engine it has. It just has to move," Schirmer said. "We're worried about how we control it remotely and how we write the software and what works for the Soldier who's operating it."

By late fiscal 2021, additional prototypes using lessons learned are expected to be produced and delivered, followed by experimentation in fiscal 2022.

There will be about a platoon-sized set of vehicles available to enhance manned-unmanned capabilities and begin to integrate fire and maneuver tactics. The weapon system and other vehicle requirements, such as armor and sensors, will also be determined during this stage.

"The second set is going to be purpose-built," Boston said. "Both the manned and unmanned vehicles will be built from the ground up and will not use surrogates."

The final effort is potentially a company-sized set of purpose-built vehicles that will likely be delivered in late fiscal 2023 and experimented on throughout fiscal 2024.

Those vehicles would test all elements of manned-unmanned teaming and be integrated into a unit for extensive training at home and during a combat training center rotation.

"It's an ongoing campaign of learning for each set of experimental prototyping," Boston said. "What we have laid out is a [roadmap] that will give the Army's strategic leadership a range of capability choices to make in terms of fielding a next generation combat vehicle."

CHALLENGES AHEAD

Still early in the process, the Cross-Functional Team faces several hurdles in developing a new combat vehicle.

Deciding on the requirements for a specific program has previously slowed the Army's ability to rapidly field equipment. The team, as with the other CFTs, looks to prevent delays by sharing input from various stakeholders during the series of prototyping.

"By working together in an iterative fashion, the goal is we're going to ultimately arrive on a set of requirements that makes sense, helps the warfighter do what they need to do, but is also feasible and affordable," Schirmer said.

On the technology side, leaders foresee challenges to create an intuitive workspace for Soldiers who control the robotic vehicles as well as ways to collect big data in order to improve systems.

While initial tests will use a commercial radio, the Army will also need to develop a resilient network connection between the manned and unmanned vehicles.

"If you're the enemy, you want to jam that connection," Schirmer said. "If you can effectively shut that connection off, then the robots probably stop working and you've just disabled a chunk of the formation."

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[*] posted on 4-4-2018 at 09:30 PM


Turkey upgrades M60A3 in addition to M60T

Samuel Cranny-Evans, London and Lale Sariibrahimoglu, Ankara - IHS Jane's Defence Weekly

04 April 2018

Turkey is upgrading its M60A3 main battle tanks, in addition to M60Ts, Ismail Demir, Undersecretary for Defense Industries (SSM), tweeted on 1 April.

The upgraded M60Ts were first seen in a Turkish-Iraqi exercise in September 2017.

Images taken on the Turkish side of the border during Operation ‘Olive Branch’ against Kurdish fighters in the Afrin region of northwestern Syria in mid-February show M60Ts equipped with laser warning receivers, situational awareness systems, and remotely operated weapon stations forming part of an indigenous upgrade package.

An infographic accompanying Demir's tweet also shows the upgrade includes additional spall liners and an electrical system.

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[*] posted on 5-4-2018 at 09:41 AM


AMPV: Bringing Flexible, Multi-Mission Capabilities to the U.S. Army

(Source: BAE Systems; issued April 03, 2018)


BAE’s pre-production Armored Multi-Purpose Vehicles are being tested by the US Army; the next phase will focus on man / machine interface. Current plans call for the “Milestone C” decision to launch full-scale production in 2019. (BAE photo)

The Army’s primary armored fighting force is the Armored Brigade Combat Team (ABCT), which consists of layered and synchronized capabilities enabling it to carry out full spectrum operations anywhere in the world.

The Army’s new Armored Multi-Purpose Vehicle (AMPV) is a key component within the ABCT formation, delivering command and control, troop transport, mortar, medical evacuation and medical treatment to the battlefield. The AMPV accomplishes these wide-ranging missions through a flexible, agile design, and by cost effectively leveraging existing technologies and commonality across other vehicle fleets within the ABCT formation.

Testing

BAE Systems has delivered all of the AMPVs built under the Engineering and Manufacturing Design (EMD) phase to the U.S. Army to begin the testing phase of the program.

“The AMPV is essential to the future of the Armored Brigade Combat Team,” said Bill Sheehy, AMPV program director for BAE Systems. “Delivering all EMD vehicles to the Army is a proud moment for us – it means we’re another step closer to delivering the next generation of power, mobility, and survivability to our Soldiers in our combat formations.”

BAE Systems’ five variant AMPV is a fully modern, highly flexible vehicle designed to replace the Vietnam War-era M113 family of vehicles. It is a mature, cost-effective solution that leverages proven designs from the Bradley Infantry Fighting Vehicle, a key component of the ACBT, and the M109A7 Self-Propelled Howitzer. It meets the Army’s force protection and all-terrain mobility requirements, enabling the AMPV to maneuver with the rest of the ABCT. Maximizing commonality within the ABCT reduces developmental risk and streamlines maintenance, providing significant cost savings to the Army.

The goal is to deliver the best capability possible to the Army in order to assist the ABCT in maintaining combat overmatch anywhere in the world, under any conditions at all times, Sheehy said. The process to deliver the best capability is iterative.

“The next phase of testing will help us to better understand the soldier/machine relationship and identify areas we can improve upon,” Sheehy said. “Delivering the best AMPV will not end with formal testing but continue as we field the vehicles throughout the Army and we learn new things about performance and the Soldiers expectations.

Looking forward

BAE Systems was awarded a contract worth up to $1.2 billion from the Army in December 2014 for EMD and Low-Rate Initial Production (LRIP) phases of the AMPV program. The initial award of $383 million under the EMD phase was for the development and production of vehicles across all of the variants: general purpose, mission command, mortar carrier, medical evacuation, and medical treatment.

The company has further leveraged the AMPV’s adaptable design to provide a critical combat capability to Combat Engineers at Echelons Above Brigade (EAB). BAE Systems began an internally funded project in collaboration with the Army to develop an engineer variant to replace EAB M113s. The new variant would be the sixth in the AMPV family of vehicles and designated the engineer vehicle.

Developmental testing is underway. The program then goes into a “Milestone C” review to determine if the program is ready for low-rate production. The AMPV program is currently on schedule to meet the Army’s Milestone C in 2019.

“Like the venerable M113, AMPV is looking forward to a long and effective role in the Army,” Sheehy said.

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[*] posted on 5-4-2018 at 02:58 PM


New Tank Delivery for Morocco Soon

(Source: Forecast International; issued April 3, 2018)

NEWTOWN, Conn. --- Morocco will soon receive a new shipment of M1 Abrams main battle tanks.

Images reviewed by Forecast International suggest that a new shipment of main battle tanks will arrive to Morocco soon. At least 14 tanks in Moroccan camouflage could be seen onboard a train heading for the east coast of the United States, where they will be loaded and shipped to Morocco.

The date of the images is unknown, but the photos can be geolocated to Covington, Kentucky.

The tank shipment is part of an American contract to supply hundreds of Abrams tanks to Morocco, which has been ongoing for the last few years.

Deliveries began during the Obama Administration and further tanks were approved under the Trump Administration. Al-Monitor reported on April 2, 2018, that another 162 tanks had been approved for delivery to Morocco in September 2017.

Al-Monitor reported, "US government documents reviewed by Al-Monitor indicate that the delivery of the vehicles was approved in September as part of an effort to move forward with deals to outfit the North African nation with more than $115 million in US equipment the Pentagon no longer needs."

Morocco is also receiving armored vehicles and artillery from the U.S. The hardware is being supplied under the U.S.' Excess Defense Articles program.

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[*] posted on 12-4-2018 at 07:52 PM


First tests of the new M1A1-SA Abrams MBT done by the US Army

Posted On Wednesday, 11 April 2018 10:15

U.S. Army soldiers at Fort Stewart in Georgia have started field training with the new M1A1-SA Abrams tanks.


An M1A1-SA Abrams tank moves along the boundary road en route to its battle position during the gunnery qualification at Fort Stewart, Ga., March 29, 2018. (Photo by Staff Sgt. Nathan C. Berry/U.S. Army)

Soldiers with the 3rd Infantry Division's Delta Tank Company, 6th Squadron, 8th Cavalry Regiment, 2nd Armored Brigade Combat Team fired the main and support weapon systems on the M1A1 SA Abrams tanks during a field training exercise in late March. "Gunnery is beyond critical," Army Capt. Freddy Mitchell, commander of Delta Tank, said in a press release on Wednesday. "It is a necessary event to create lethal crews.

Training like this is advantageous to the unit's lethality," Mitchell said.The Army said the tank unit is training to master the ability to close in on enemy forces using fire and movement in order to destroy or capture enemy forces while engaged in sustained, large-scale combat operations.

"Today our crews are being evaluated on their proficiency to engage targets from various positions using the Abrams' weapon systems," said Army Sgt. 1st Class Jose Lopez, master gunner and platoon sergeant with Delta Tank. "Because the Abrams is a stabilized platform, it allows accurate fires even while advancing towards enemy positions."The Abrams is the most lethal land warfare platform, battle-tested in both Desert Storm and Iraq," Mitchell said. "This tank brings another long-range, direct-fire weapons system to our brigade."

The M1A1 SA is an upgrade version of the basic M1A1 model with the goal to produce older units to zero hour conditions. The M1A1 SA tanks will be configured with additional mission-critical technologies to bolster crew situational awareness (SA). This situational awareness package increases the M1A1 Abrams tank's fighting capability by providing soldiers with an electronic graphic of the battlefield with icons for friendly and enemy forces.
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[*] posted on 13-4-2018 at 09:24 AM


Turkey's M60T upgrade nears conclusion

12th April 2018 - 11:06 GMT | by Grant Turnbull in London

The Turkish Land Forces is set to complete the modernisation of its M60T ‘Fırat’ main battle tank fleet next month, officials have disclosed.

Speaking at the Future Armoured Vehicles Situational Awareness conference on 11 April, a Turkish industry official said that 120 M60Ts had now been upgraded and that the programme would likely wrap up in several weeks’ time.

The official told Shephard that on top of the 120 tanks already modernised, an additional 49 have been earmarked for upgrade work and 12 units will be used as spares. That aligns with the number of M60Ts the Turkish Army is believed to have in its inventory.

In 2002, Turkey signed a contract worth nearly $700 million with Israel Military Industries (now IMI Systems) to upgrade 170 M60A1 tanks to the M60T standard, incorporating a new 120mm gun, explosive reactive armour and updated powertrain.

The Turkish MoD contracted domestic company Aselsan for this round of upgrades, signing a contract at IDEF in Istanbul last year for $135 million.

Modifications improve overall situational awareness and crew protection and include Aselsan’s TLUS laser warning system, a SARP remote weapon station, the ‘Yamgoz’ 360° surveillance system as well as a new air conditioning unit.

The upgrades are carried out at army maintenance centres around Turkey.

The Turkish Land Forces have not wasted any time in deploying the upgraded tanks, with photos appearing online in February showing the new M60T tanks in Turkey’s Hatay province, close to the Syrian border.

It was reported they were being transported to support the army’s ‘Operation Olive Branch’ mission around Afrin, where it committed troops to fight Kurdish militants of the YPG. A major driver of the modernisation has been protection against the increased threat from anti-tank guided missiles, which have caused multiple casualties during Turkey’s incursions into Syria.

The official told Shephard that it was also expecting a serial production contract for modernising the Turkish Army’s legacy M60A3 variant sometime this year, under what is known as the Euphrates modernisation.

Photos have appeared online showing a prototype of the M60A3 modernisation, incorporating several of the technologies that have also been used for the Fırat including cameras, laser warning systems and the SARP RWS.

Additional upgrades include the addition of angled ERA plates around the turret as well as a new driver vision system, power distribution unit and fire suppression system. An active protection system, likely based on the Ukrainian Zaslon, is also in the works although the industry source said this may not be for another year or two.

Modernising the legacy M60A3 has become a more pressing requirement in recent years as progress on Turkey’s domestic Altay MBT programme has stalled.

Turkey originally received 274 A1 and 658 A3 variants from surplus US stock in the 1990s, according to the SIPRI arms transfer database.

There is also a requirement for modernising the army’s ageing Leopard 2A4, although fluctuating relations between Germany and Turkey has also slowed this effort.
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[*] posted on 16-4-2018 at 07:20 PM


Patria will deliver 4 Leopard 2L bridge layer to Finnish army

Posted On Sunday, 15 April 2018 09:15

The Finnish Minister of Defence has authorised the Defence Forces Logistics Command to sign an agreement on bridge-laying equipment systems with Patria. The Defence Forces will get four new Leopard 2L bridge tanks with ability to handle Leguan bridges of different lengths.


Leopard 2L bridgelaying tank on display during Finnish Defence Forces 2014 Flag day in Lappeenranta Rakuunanmäki. (Picture source Wikimedia)

Bridge-laying systems are to be built on the Leopard 2A4 main battle tank platforms purchased earlier. Simultaneously, bridge-laying ability of different length bridges will be provided for the earlier purchased six Leopard 2L bridge tanks and nine SISU E15TP-L bridge vehicles.

Patria carried out a bridge system project in 2004 – 2008 and delivered six bridge-laying tanks and nine bridge-laying vehicles. This authorisation will increase the amount of those tanks and update the current equipment.

The purchase total value is some EUR 28,6 million and its employment effect with options in Finland is some 55 person-years of which Patria’s employment effect is some 35 person-years.

The deliveries of new tanks and modifications of the earlier purchased bridge-laying tanks and SISU E15TP-L vehicles will take place in 2019 - 2021.
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[*] posted on 17-4-2018 at 07:38 PM


Dutch Army receives first upgraded Leopard 2s

Nicholas Fiorenza, London - IHS Jane's Defence Weekly

16 April 2018


Panzerbataillon 414’s upgraded German Leopard 2s equipped with a Dutch BMS will be able to operate with 43 Mechanised Brigade and its CV90 infantry fighting vehicles. Source: Dutch MoD

The Dutch Army received its first three Leopard 2A6MA2 main battle tanks (MBTs) from Krauss-Maffei Wegmann on 11 January, the Dutch Ministry of Defence (MoD) has announced.

A total of 18 of the upgraded Leopard 2s will be delivered by 2019, equipping the Dutch tank company of the German Army’s Panzerbataillon (Tank Battalion) 414.

The German and Dutch armies began forming Panzerbataillon 414 in 2015. The battalion comes under the command of the Dutch Army’s 43 Mechanised Brigade, which is in turn part of the German 1st Panzer Division. The parent German division will lead the NATO Response Force (NRF) starting in 2019, which will therefore include Dutch Leopard 2A6MA2s.

The Leopard 2A6MA2 is equipped with a Dutch battle management system (BMS), including blue force tracking, according to the Dutch MoD. Panzerbataillon 414’s German Leopard 2s will also be upgraded to the 2A6MA2 standard and equipped with the Dutch BMS so they can operate with 43 Mechanised Brigade, a ministry spokesman told Jane’s .

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[*] posted on 18-4-2018 at 01:57 PM


Russian MoD adopts BMPT Terminator

Dmitry Fediushko, Moscow - IHS Jane's Defence Weekly

17 April 2018


The Russian military has taken delivery of the BMPT Terminator, seen here from a UVZ video released in January. Source: UVZ

The Russia Ministry of Defence (MoD) has adopted the BMPT Terminator fire support vehicle, a source from UralVagonZavod (UVZ), its manufacturer, has told Jane's.

“The 'tank support' vehicle known as Terminator has entered service, and deliveries to the Russian military have already started. The first batch has been handed over to the military,” the source said, adding that some 10 vehicles had been delivered so far. “They will participate in the Victory Day parade on Red Square in Moscow on 9 May,” the source added. He said the BMPT Terminator made its international debut at the DefExpo 2018 exhibition in Chennai, India. “UVZ showed a mock-up of the vehicle to the Indian military.”

Unlike the BMPT-72, or Terminator-2, unveiled at the Russia Arms Expo 2013 show in Nizhny Tagil, the serial production BMPT is based on the chassis of the T-90 main battle tank (MBT). “Combining the Terminator`s chassis with that of the T-90A and T-90S MBTs substantially simplifies the use of the vehicle, reducing maintenance costs,” the source said. The Terminator`s armament suite comprises two 30 mm automatic guns, a medium machine gun, two automatic grenade launchers and four Ataka-T anti-tank guided missiles. “On the battlefield, the BMPT is equivalent to six infantry fighting vehicles and 40 soldiers. The vehicle can engage all types of targets, including small craft and low-flying helicopters,” he claimed.

The MoD acquired an unspecified number of BMPTs under a contract signed with UVZ at the Army 2017 defence show in August. “BMPT was tested under field conditions in Syria,” the source pointed out.

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