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[*] posted on 11-4-2020 at 06:46 PM


A good article on this is on UK Armed Forces Commentary blog, run by Gabriele Molinelli who is, by the way, working as a volunteer ambulance driver in Italy at the moment, not the safest of occupations during a Virus Pandemic...............:no:

Thursday, April 2, 2020

The British Combat Aviation Brigade

It has been in the works for quite some time, and will be a building site for several years still, but the UK is finally standing up its own Combat Aviation Brigade to bring some order in the convoluted and overlapping command arrangements of its helicopter forces.

I’ve known about this plan for many months, but couldn’t really talk about it before some sort of official announcement was released. This finally happened yesterday, even if, primarily because of the pandemic, it was an extremely low-key news.

I’ve been and I remain extremely critical of much of what the Army is doing and saying about its future, but for all it’s worth I can certainly say I am a big supporter of this one move. It is arguably long, long overdue and the brigading of the units involved in fielding aviation groups in support of british land forces has long featured in my recommendations for the future structures of the Army.



The Wings of what once was 24 Air Mobile Brigade have been chosen as the TRF for the new 1 star command, 1st Aviation Brigade (1st Avn Bde). Fun fact: in my proposals for the future, as far back as 2013, I had seen this coming. It has to be admitted, however, that it was a relatively easy guess: the other likely candidate was the Striking Eagle badge that used to be 16 Air Assault Brigade’s symbol until the return of Pegasus In 2018 and which has stuck around since as badge of the Attack Helicopter Force.

Back to serious matters, 1st Aviation Brigade is the main component of a wider restructuring of Army aviation (known as Project COLINDALE) which has been very, very slowly progressing ever since 2015.

Primary drivers for change are the need to generate efficiencies; the need to build a C2 construct capable to brigade aviation elements in support of a Divisional deployment, rather than penny-packet groups only suited to brigade or sub-brigade deployments; and the ongoing review of the infrastructure footprint of the Army Air Corps.

Notoriously, all three Services have had to craft a plan to divest a lot of bases, barracks and land in an effort to achieve savings and enable the modernization of the remaining infrastructure. Army Aviation is supposed to do its bit in this project, but decisions on the future footprint remain elusive. Essentially, the biggest dilemma is whether to close down Middle Wallop or Wattisham, since Yeovilton is going nowhere and there isn’t a real alternative to keeping Aldergrove for operations in Northern Ireland...........EDITED

The article can be found here, worth a read in my opinion..........

https://ukarmedforcescommentary.blogspot.com/2020/04/the-bri...
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[*] posted on 17-4-2020 at 03:34 PM


British Army orders Rheinmetall Mission Master - Cargo UGVs

POSTED ON THURSDAY, 16 APRIL 2020 13:04

The British Armed Forces have ordered four amphibious 8x8 Rheinmetall Mission Master robotic vehicles (UGVs). Configured for transporting cargo, these unmanned ground vehicles will form part of the United Kingdom's Robotic Platoon Vehicle programme. The four Mission Master – Cargo vehicles will be delivered throughout the spring of 2020.


Rheinmetall Mission Master - Cargo amphibious UGV (Picture source: Army Recognition)

This programme is designed to determine the extent to which unmanned vehicles can boost the combat effectiveness and capabilities of dismounted troops at platoon level. In addition, the scope of supply comprises two stretcher systems that can be integrated into the cargo vehicle in just 60 seconds. The order, which was placed at the end of 2019, also includes training and service support, as well as spare parts. The vehicles will be supplied by Rheinmetall Canada, with Rheinmetall BAE Land Systems providing on-location support services in its capacity as cooperation partner.

Robotics is already changing the modern battlefield. A modular unmanned ground vehicle (UGV), Rheinmetall's new Mission Master enhances the combat performance of soldiers deployed on the ground in numerous ways. The Mission Master's artificial intelligence and robotic brawn mean that it can execute a multitude of dull, dirty, and dangerous tasks that troops would otherwise have to perform themselves, letting them get on with the most important thing of all: their core mission. The Mission Master – Cargo system reduces the combat load soldiers have to carry, boosting their mobility and efficiency. Its flexible stowage concept and robust design let the Mission Master – Cargo shoulder a payload of up to half a ton of supplies, tactical kit, or medical equipment.

Ready for action, Rheinmetall’s Mission Master can operate in autonomous or semiautonomous mode as a fully-fledged member of the combat team. It is designed for maximum flexibility, and can be readily adapted to a wide variety of different missions thanks to its modular build-ons specially engineered for quick installation. Potential applications include surveillance, protection, evacuation of casualties, firefighting, and CBRN reconnaissance and detection. It can also serve as a mobile radio relay station. Speed, scalable autonomy, and proven high mobility in all types of terrain combine to make the amphibious Mission Master a powerful, highly reliable comrade of dismounted forces operating in small groups.
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[*] posted on 17-4-2020 at 03:36 PM


Part of an on-going programme that will see 3 x MIRA UGV's and 2 x TITAN tracked UGV's delivered...........
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[*] posted on 17-4-2020 at 11:53 PM


British Army orders four Rheinmetall Mission Master-Cargo UGVs

Melanie Rovery, London - Jane's Defence Weekly

16 April 2020


The United Kingdom has ordered four Rheinmetall Mission Master-Cargo UGVs. Source: Rheinmetall Canada

The United Kingdom armed forces have ordered four Mission Master-Cargo unmanned ground vehicles (UGVs) from Rheinmetall Canada for its Robotic Platoon Vehicle (RPV) programme, the company announced in a press release on 16 April.

The contract includes training, service support, and spare parts. Rheinmetall Canada is to supply the platforms, while Rheinmetall BAE Land Systems will provide on-location support services.

The Mission Master UGV is an all-terrain, multipurpose vehicle based on an 8×8 platform. It has a top speed of 40 km/h and is ruggedised and fully amphibious, with the option of being fitted with tracks or chains for additional mobility. The basic platform is 2.95 m long, weighs approximately 750 kg, and can carry a 600 kg payload (400 kg during amphibious operations). The cargo version can carry payloads for missions including logistic transport, surveillance, protection, medical evacuation, fire suppression, chemical, biological and nuclear detection, and communication relay.

The vehicle is air-transportable by external sling load or internally by a CH-53 or CH-46 heavy lift helicopter or a C-130 transport aircraft. None of the parts are subject to International Traffic in Arms Regulations (ITAR), facilitating export.

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[*] posted on 25-4-2020 at 02:40 PM


British MoD to start WCSP negotiations

Samuel Cranny-Evans, London - Jane's Defence Industry

24 April 2020

Again, I'd have to question the whole expense involved with this, and question the ability of the Warrior hull to survive in a modern battlefield, after the hard use it's been put to over the last 20+ years?

The British Ministry of Defence (MoD) has published a Voluntary Transparency Notice stating its intention to initiate negotiations for a single source contract with Lockheed Martin UK (LMUK) for the manufacture of the Warrior Capability Sustainment Programme (WCSP), according to a 24 April statement from LMUK.

In an email to Jane’s , LMUK explained that, “A Voluntary Transparency Notice is used to announce a procurement decision that the Authority intends to place a non-competitive contract under OJEU (Official Journal of the EU) procedures.”

The notice states that LMUK will upgrade the existing Warrior Infantry Fighting Vehicle (IFV) to the Warrior 2, or WCSP standard, and that the estimated total value of the procurement will be GBP800 million (USD987,532,000) excluding VAT.

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[*] posted on 29-4-2020 at 10:22 AM


General Dynamics UK has performed Reliability Growth Trials with AJAX tracked armored for British army

POSTED ON TUESDAY, 28 APRIL 2020 13:56

According to a video released by General Dynamics (GD) UK on its Twitter account on April 27, 2020, in recent months, General Dynamics UK has been undertaking a wide-range of AJAX Reliability Growth Trials. The AJAX, formerly known as the Scout SV (Specialist Vehicle), is a family of tracked armored vehicles being developed by General Dynamics UK for the British Army to replace the family of CVRT reconnaissance tracked armored.


General Dynamics UK AJAX 40mm turret tracked armored vehicle. (Picture source print screen footage General Dynamics UK)

In 2010, General Dynamics UK was selected as the winner of the Future Rapid Effect System (FRES) contract with the ASCOD Common Base Platform. The Future Rapid Effects System (FRES) program was launched to procure two classes of vehicle: a tracked armored reconnaissance 'specialist vehicle' (FRES SV) to replace the CVR(T); and a wheeled 'utility vehicle' (FRES UV) to replace a number of legacy systems including the Saxon armored personnel carrier (APC), FV432, and some elements of the CVR(T) family. The AJAX family will include six variants, AJAX with 40mm turret, ARES Protected Mobility Recce Support, APOLLO repair armored vehicle, ATHENA command post, ATLAS armored recovery vehicle and ARGUS engineer armored vehicle.

At DSEI 2015, the International Defense Exhibition in London (UK), the Scout SV has received its new official name, the AJAX. Under a contract awarded late 2014, General Dynamics UK to build a total of 589 Scout SVs for the British army, with deliveries running from 2017 through to 2024.

In September 2018 at the DVD defense exhibition in Millbrook United Kingdom, General Dynamics has displayed four variants of AJAX program including the AJAX intelligence, surveillance, target acquisition, and reconnaissance (ISTAR) vehicle, APOLLO used to tow battlefield damaged vehicles and lift heavy sub-assemblies, ATLAS tracked Armored Recovery Vehicle (ARV) and ARES formerly called PMRS Protected Mobility Reconnaissance vehicle, used to deliver and support specialist troops across the battlefield. General Dynamics Land Systems–UK has demonstrated the capabilities of the AJAX Family of Tracked Armored Vehicles at Defence and Security Equipment International (DSEI), in September 2019.


General Dynamics UK ARES reconnaissance tracked armored vehicle. (Picture source print screen footage General Dynamics UK)

The video released by General Dynamics UK shown two vehicles of the AJAX family including the AJAX fitted with a 40mm turret and the ARES, the APC version in the AJAX family.

The AJAX previously named Scout SV is fitted with a two-man turret developed by Lockheed Martin UK, armed with a 40mm automatic cannon from the Company CTA International and a 7.62mm coaxial machine gun. The Ajax has a crew of three including the driver, commander and gunner. The hull and the turret of the AJAX provide ballistic protection up to STANAG 4569 Level 4 all-around against the firing of weapons 14.5mm caliber.

The AJAX is motorized with a 600kW MTU Diesel engine coupled to an automatic transmission. The vehicle can run at a maximum road speed of 70 km with a maximum cruising range of 500 km.

Standard equipment of AJAX Scout SV includes mobile camouflage system, fire detection system, electronic countermeasure system, day/night vision and CBRN (Chemical, biological, radiological and nuclear) protection system manufactured by Smith Detection able to alert the crew in case of a chemical attack or the existence of persistent chemical agents. Day and night vision of AJAX includes LSA (Local Situational Awareness) system providing a combination of cameras and thermal imagers covering the whole spectrum of imagery needs and a full panoramic view of the situation.

The ARES previously named PMRS (Protected Mobility Recce Support) will provide safe transportation of fully-equipped soldiers in a well-protected environment. On dismount, troops will be able to more effectively conduct a variety of tasks, such as dismounted surveillance (including patrols), observation posts and close target reconnaissance.

ARES AJAX will be fitted with a Kongsberg Protector Remote Weapon Station armed with a 12.7mm machine gun. The turret is equipped with a Detached Line of Sight (DLOS) that enables the gunner to keep his sights on target, independent of ballistic solution for the weapon/ammunition in use.

The ARES can carry a total of 6 soldiers’ including driver and gunner. As for the AJAX, it offers the same level of protection and mobility.

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[*] posted on 6-5-2020 at 02:21 PM


UK joins Boxer Multi-Role Armoured Vehicle Support Partnership

POSTED ON TUESDAY, 05 MAY 2020 14:09

The United Kingdom has moved one step closer to joining the Boxer Support Partnership (SP) as it has received approval from the other Boxer partnership Member Nations (the Netherlands, Germany and Lithuania) to proceed to the next stage of fully joining the partnership.


Boxer Mechanised Infantry Vehicle (Picture source: Army Recognition)

This next stage will see the United Kingdom work alongside NSPA staff in refining the UKs support requirements such that negotiations on the UK's entry into the support partnership contract can commence later this year. In seeking to join the Boxer partnership, the UK is looking to gain the benefits of the support collaboration with its fellow Boxer user nations in taking advantage of the joint logistics support and economies of scale offered by this unique mechanism.

The NATO Support and Procurement Agency (NSPA) is the hub for Life Cycle Management and Integrated Logistics Support for Boxer armoured vehicles, relying on the expertise of the Boxer System Management Group (SMG), which comprises a dedicated team of 20 NSPA experts. Overall, the Agency will support a modern fleet of more than 1,200 Boxer armoured vehicles and is open to new NATO nations acquiring Boxer, as it can complement their national systems by offering bespoke support services.

The British Boxer armoured vehicles are currently under the production phase, managed by the Organisation for Joint Armament Cooperation (OCCAR). Subject to successful negotiations, the United Kingdom will benefit from the existing experience and support network that NSPA has put in place over several years, to provide a solid life cycle foundation for their Boxer Mechanised Infantry Vehicles (MIV). This structure will be in place by the time the first vehicles enter into service and will be gradually adapted and increased in conjunction with the delivery of different vehicle variants. Likewise, current partner nations will benefit by sharing resources and costs and exploiting commonalities and economies of scale with their new member.

The Support Partnership (SP) structure is a unique feature of NSPA’s services, providing a proven legal framework that allows two or more nations to organize common logistics support for a given weapon system. Nations provide governance and guidance whereas NSPA manages the support requested by the nations. This reduces costs and logistics footprint and provides a common and efficient logistics support structure. The concept has proven its effectiveness for more than 60 years as it improves the availability and interoperability of supported systems.

NSPA currently manages 32 support partnerships covering more than 90 weapons systems, from which Boxer is the newest.
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[*] posted on 7-5-2020 at 10:52 AM


Army Establishes Its 1st Aviation Brigade

(Source: British Army; issued May 05, 2020)


The British Army’s first-ever aviation brigade will include Gazelle and Lynx helicopters for reconnaissance and support missions, but its main strike force will consist of AW-159 Wildcat and WAH-64D Apaches, seen here during a firepower demonstration. (BA photo)

As of April 2020, the first-ever Aviation Brigade in the British Army formed up, bringing with it a new structure, new doctrine and brand-new way of fighting.

Contemporary threats elicit a contemporary response, and the world of aviation is no different. The Brigade based on a brand-new way of fighting, which is effectively summed up in its motto: “Fly, fight, lead”.

Combining the advanced reconnaissance capabilities of the Wildcat helicopter of 1st Regiment Army Air Corps (AAC), together with the attack firepower of the Apache helicopter used by 3rd and 4th Regiment AAC, 1st Aviation Brigade is designed to unite the resources previously split between the Aviation Reconnaissance Force and the Attack Helicopter Force, and as a Brigade is a capability distinct from previous airmobile and air assault brigades.

As well as the tasks conducted by 5th Regiment AAC and their Gazelle helicopters, the reservists of 6th Regiment AAC and the specialist aviation mechanical engineers of 7th Battalion Royal Electrical and Mechanical Engineers complete the lineup of Brigade units.

The environment in which the British Army and our allies are now operating in is changing and continues to evolve – at pace. The new world sees our adversaries engaging in operations that requires our soldiers to operate across a broad spectrum of operations implemented to protect our homeland, all whilst persistently engaging and constraining our adversaries abroad.

As the way of the military evolves, it places a focus on what combat aviation needs to be prepared for. To meet such challenges 1st Aviation Brigade will generate a Combat Aviation Force in order to deploy on operations, which will possess the capacity to concurrently plan, execute and sustain multiple aviation manoeuvres, and scale up and down in size and power as required.

As well as looking to the future and meeting emerging threats with world-class equipment, we must also acknowledge that the formation of 1st Aviation Brigade ties together a long history of Army aviation, particularly that of the 24th Airmobile Brigade.

The 1st Aviation Brigade flash is a pair of red Griffin Wings on a background horizontally halved on the colours of the Army Air Corps. It was in the guise of the 24th Airmobile Brigade where Army Air Corps units would first wear these Griffin Wings. These were lost from the insignia when 24th Airmobile Brigade combined with elements of 5th Airborne Brigade to become 16th Air Assault Brigade in 1999.

However, the Army Air Corps has veterans and serving soldiers alike who wore the Griffin Wings as part of the 24th Airmobile Brigade, and therefore a history that links us back to them. This resurrection of the emblem as part of the new 1st Aviation Brigade maintains this vital link to Army Air Corps history and reminds us that we cannot lead in to the future without recognising both our origins and unique capability.

As this formation begins a new chapter in Army aviation history, 1st Aviation Brigade’s antecedents and capability is clear. The Brigade’s success will be borne in the coming months and years, a Brigade that operates within an Army that thinks Aviation Manoeuvre. A Brigade that flies, fights, and leads.

-ends-
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[*] posted on 22-5-2020 at 07:43 PM


A long article from UK Armed Forces Commentary, worth a read IMHO........

Tuesday, May 19, 2020

The many weaknesses of STRIKE

An idea can only ever be as good as its execution



NOTE: this article was originally meant to appear also on uklandpower.com, since it was initially conceived specifically as a reply to one of their articles. This intention had to be abandoned since the editor and the army voices on that portal feel that this article is too long and the point it raises have already been “discussed ad infinitum”. I felt I could simply not work along the lines that were asked of me.

My criticism of STRIKE has gained me the irritation of several Army figures, so I’m now known as an Army hater as well as an RAF hater. Facts of life, I guess. I actually care deeply for both, and want only the best for them. My critique is purely due to the firm belief that in some areas the Services insist on taking the wrong paths.

There can be no doubt that the “STRIKE prophet” who has written a new pro-STRIKE article on UKLandPower.com is speaking primarily, if not only, to me. I am the one who challenged “STRIKE prophets” to provide answers, after all.

I will now have to answer, and to once more clarify the exact nature of my critiques and concerns, which again and again are reduced to the absurd rather than faced head on. My critique is a bit more complex than “BOXER has no cannon and so is useless”.

I will quote several passages of the article in question, and refer to its author as “the Author”, but of course you should first of all go and read what he has to say about the STRIKE concept. As you can tell I continue to have many reservations, but it is a more useful article than most seen so far.

I also need to point out a fact which should be obvious, but evidently is not: the STRIKE supporters that periodically try to prove me wrong have an easy time coming at me from their individual background and push forward their own idea and interpretation of STRIKE.

I’m locked in discussions with multiple people, however, and that means I am exposed to multiple interpretations of STRIKE, including those who insist that the Armoured Brigades should be sacrificed in order to go “full STRIKE” for the future. I have to answer to everyone, not just to one person, so this will require some extra space, and if it feels like I’m addressing things you haven’t said, it is because someone else has. It is also a factor in my hostility to the concept: the more STRIKE is presented as the One and Only Future for the Army, the more I tend to disagree.

The Author’s main point, in this case, is that:

In the simplest possible terms, [STRIKE] means giving a UK Division and/or Allied Corps a Screening and Exploitation Force. This has been publicly stated by the Army.

It has, and it has never been in doubt. Screening and reconnaissance have always been part of the STRIKE concept, and in truth, since building STRIKE means taking the Armoured Cavalry element out of the Armoured Infantry Brigades, it can only be so. One of the first sacrifices STRIKE has required has been the shifting of AJAX to the “new” role and new formation, and the Armoured Brigades no longer will have a recce cavalry element of their own, other than the Close Recce troops part of the constituent Battalions and Tank regiment. Clearly, the requirement has not gone away; just the vehicles have.

Screening, reconnaissance and exploitation are extremely important in high intensity warfare, and we are witnessing increasing interest in powerful formations for this role also in the USA, where more and more often the old and extremely powerful Armored Cavalry Regiment of Gulf War fame is mentioned as a kind of formation that needs to return and might in fact provide a base for the future structures.

The premise is something I don’t disagree on..............EDITED, see the rest of the article here.......... https://ukarmedforcescommentary.blogspot.com/2020/05/the-man...
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[*] posted on 4-6-2020 at 10:42 PM


General Dynamics Land Systems UK awarded contract to provide two Unmanned Ground Vehicles to British Army

POSTED ON THURSDAY, 04 JUNE 2020 10:00

General Dynamics Land Systems–UK has delivered two fully-electric 8×8 Multi-Utility Tactical Transport (MUTT) Unmanned Ground Vehicles (UGV) to the British Army.


The MUTT, which provides both wheeled and tracked variants, is a rugged, reliable small-unit force multiplier providing increased battlefield capabilities (Picture source: General Dynamics Land Systems–UK)

Alongside the delivery of these UGV’s, which took place in April 2020, General Dynamics Land Systems–UK will provide New Operator Training, Maintainer Training, In-Service Support, Maintainer Tools and Spares, including a fully-supported Helpdesk.

Carew Wilks, vice president and general manager of General Dynamics Land Systems–UK, said: “This Robotic Platoon Vehicle contract award is recognition of General Dynamics Land Systems’ extensive efforts to meet the needs of Armed Forces worldwide with innovative solutions to the changing landscape of the modern battlefield. We look forward to supporting the British Army in maximizing the outstanding capabilities that MUTT provides.”

The MUTT, which provides both wheeled and tracked variants, is a rugged, reliable small-unit force multiplier providing increased battlefield capabilities. As a controller-less small-unit robotic follower, it lightens the load across different combat operations. As a remote-controlled or teleoperated teammate, it provides stand-off from threats or increased projection of combat power. The MUTT is engineered to easily evolve to accommodate new payloads, including Intelligence, Surveillance, Target Acquisition and Reconnaissance (ISTAR) and Lethality, and proven levels of enhanced autonomy that we are already fielding elsewhere.
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[*] posted on 5-6-2020 at 01:03 AM


British Army reactivates 13th Signal Regiment, first cyber regiment in major modernisation

POSTED ON THURSDAY, 04 JUNE 2020 12:37

A new Cyber Regiment has been launched to protect frontline operations from digital attack as Defence continues its modernisation to combat the threats of tomorrow, Defence Secretary Ben Wallace on 4 June announced.


Secure communications are the foundation for any successful operation and 13th Signal Regiment will provide ‘digital armour’ around personnel operating overseas (Picture source: UnderstandingEmpire)

The British Ministry of Defence has launched 13th Signal Regiment, the UK Armed Forces’ first dedicated Cyber Regiment, which will protect vital defence networks at home and on operations overseas. The unit was formally stood up on Monday, June 1, at a ceremony at Blandford, home of the Royal Signals.

Secure communications are the foundation for any successful operation and 13th Signal Regiment will provide ‘digital armour’ around personnel operating overseas, giving commanders and their soldiers the ability to operate with confidence in their communications systems, often while working in challenging conditions. Defence Secretary Ben Wallace said: “This is a step-change in the modernisation of the UK Armed Forces for information warfare. Cyber-attacks are every bit as deadly as those faced on the physical battlefield, so we must prepare to defend ourselves from all those who would do us harm and 13th Signal Regiment is a vital addition to that defence”.

The 13th Signal Regiment is a regiment of the British Army within 1st (UK) Signal Brigade, under the command of 6th (UK) Division, responsible for conducting information manoeuvre and unconventional warfare, in support of the whole Armed Forces. The specialist unit will provide the basis of the new Army Cyber Information Security Operations Centre, focusing on the protection of Defence’s cyber domain, and it will work with the Royal Navy and Royal Air Force to provide secure networks for all military communications.

Ensuring that UK defensive cyber capabilities remain ahead of adversaries and aggressors, 13th Signal Regiment will also provide specialist technical support for a hub to test and implement next-generation information capabilities. Based at multiple key locations around a Headquarters in Blandford, Dorset, 13th Signal Regiment will be built around a core of 250 specialist servicemen and women who possess relevant high-end technical skills.

A number of existing cyber functions are being brought together from across the Army to establish the regiment, with personnel from 15 different cap badges represented in the first intake, plus specialist Royal Navy and RAF personnel. The regiment will consist of several Cyber Protection Teams as well as a technical staff who will secure the cyber domain for troops deployed on military operations.

Chief of the General Staff, General Sir Mark Carleton-Smith said: “13th Signal Regiment is the British Army’s brand new cyber regiment – matching cutting edge technology with cyber-fit soldiers to compete and win in the Information Age”.

13th Signal Regiment previously existed during WW2 as 1st Special Wireless Group, and helped to pioneer the use of wireless technology and high-frequency wireless radios. Renamed 13th (Radio) Signal Regiment in 1959, it had operators stationed in Berlin throughout the Cold War. The unit was disbanded in 1994, when its role in Germany was no longer required. The new Cyber Regiment will take on the 13th Signal Regiment name and build on its predecessor’s proud legacy of innovation and operational excellence.

Brigadier John Collyer, Commander 1st (UK) Signal Brigade, said: “The re-formation of 13th Signal Regiment is an exciting step forward as the Royal Signals, Army and wider Defence rapidly drives up their potency and resilience in the information environment and cyber domain. The stakes are high and our success is increasingly and critically reliant on focusing our brightest men and women onto the opportunities and risks that underpin our operations – both home and away”.
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[*] posted on 5-6-2020 at 08:46 PM


British Army launches its first cyberwar regiment

Andrew Chuter

14 hours ago


British defense leaders established the country's first dedicated cyber regiment in June 2020 as part of the Army’s drive to modernize its response to the growing digital threat posed by potential adversaries.

LONDON – Britain’s first dedicated cyber regiment has been officially established as part of the Army’s drive to modernize its response to the growing digital threat posed by potential adversaries.

Creation of the unit, the 13th Signals Regiment, is part of an ongoing restructuring of the British Army, known as Army 2020 Refine, which includes the creation of a division conducting cyber, electronic warfare, intelligence, information operations and unconventional warfare.

The cyber regiment is built around a core of about 250 specialists and is tasked with combating threats to Army operations overseas and domestically. The new unit will also provide technical support for a hub being set up to test and implement next-generation information capabilities.

Announcing the formation of the new unit. Defense Secretary Ben Wallace said the move was “a step-change in the modernization of the UK armed forces for information warfare. Cyber attacks are every bit as deadly as those faced on the physical battlefield, so we must prepare to defend ourselves from all those who would do us harm, and 13th Signal Regiment is a vital addition to that defense.”

The new unit is based at Blanford, southwest England, the home of Britain’s Royal Signals.

“13th Signals will provide the basis of the new Army Cyber Information Security Operations Centre, focusing on the protection of Defence’s cyber domain, and it will work with the Royal Navy and Royal Air Force to provide secure networks for all military communications,” the MoD said in a statement released June 4.

Creation of the security operation centre was announced by the MoD in May 2019.

Over £22 million ($28 million) was pledged by the MoD for investment in the new centre. Operations were expected to commence in the early 2020, the MoD said at the time of the announcement last year.

The new centre will, among other things, be responsible for providing round-the-clock information and analysis, as well as having an offensive capability.

The cyber regiment is part of the British Army’s 1st (UK) Signal Brigade, which under the command of 6th (UK) Division, is responsible for conducting information maneuver and unconventional warfare in support of the Armed Forces.

The 77th brigade, a unit made up of regular troops and reservists tasked with conducting psyops and information warfare, is also part of the 6th Division lineup.
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[*] posted on 6-6-2020 at 03:09 PM


05 JUNE 2020 00:00 GMT+0

UK to reassess Ajax programme

UK Ministry of Defence (MoD) procurement chiefs are reassessing the GBP5.3 billion (USD6.7 billion) Ajax programme after the first batch of production standard armoured fighting vehicles (AFVs) was found not to be ready for delivery.


The UK MoD is reassessing the Ajax programme after the first batch of production standard AFVs was found not to be ready for delivery.

Details of the exercise are still being worked out and the MoD’s chief civilian administrator, Stephen Lovegrove, is preparing to issue a formal notification to the UK parliament’s Public Accounts Committee about the reassessment. These notifications are only made when major cost overruns, technical glitches or programme delays are involved.

The revelation of the reassessment was made by Air Marshal Richard Knighton, Deputy Chief of the Defence Staff for Financial and Military Capability, in evidence to the committee on 28 May.

AM Knighton confirmed the Ajax vehicles made by General Dynamics Land Systems-UK (GDLS-UK) were not ready to be accepted by the British Army as planned last year.

“There was a desire to preserve [delivery] dates in order to maintain the focus and the morale of soldiers that would use the capability, but it became clear that elements of it were not going to be ready by the original date,” AM Knighton told the committee. “In due course, when we better understand the details of that, Sir Stephen [Lovegrove] will be writing to the committee with a revised assessment of the programme.”

The problems were identified by the MoD’s Major Projects Portfolio sponsor group, which monitors programme performance, said AM Knighton. He was responding to questioning from the committee on whether procurement project teams have a temptation to deliver equipment before it is ready so they can meet high-profile milestones.
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[*] posted on 6-6-2020 at 03:11 PM


Talk elsewhere is that the hulls, that are still made in Spain, are of poor quality and finish, hence need extensive and additional rectification work in GD's Wales factory prior to delivery.
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[*] posted on 6-6-2020 at 11:31 PM


This via Sturgeon House forums.............

The rumour is that the Spanish built vehicles have shocking quality control (including hull welds) resulting in the Welsh facility having to disassemble, fix, reassemble and then re-validate each unit.

Santa Bárbara recently had problems with the Piranha V-based Dragon 8x8 and a Spanish defence magazine says the VCZAP Castor (ASCOD-Pizarro engineering variant) prototype is overweight and delayed.
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[*] posted on 7-6-2020 at 03:41 PM


General Dynamics GDELS competes with Eagle 6x6 armored ambulance for British army MRV-P program

POSTED ON SATURDAY, 06 JUNE 2020 10:34

According to a Tweet released by Nicholas Drummond on June 3, 2020, GDELS (General Dynamics European Land Systems) will propose its Eagle 6x6 armored vehicle in ambulance configuration for the British army program MRV-P (Multi-Role Vehicle – Protected) Block 2.


Eagle 6x6 ambulance armored vehicle at DSEI defense exhibition in the United Kingdom. (Picture source Army Recognition)

The Multi-Role Vehicle – Protected (MRV-P) is the UK Army requirement for a lightly armored (or protected) utility vehicle to replace the Panther Command & Liaison vehicle, Husky Tactical Support Vehicle (Light), and Vector (Protected Pinzgauer) – all were purchased via UOR processes. MRV-P could also replace un-armoured LandRovers in some command and liaison roles and has the potential to replace the Foxhound LPPV in the future.

The requirement is split into groups or packagers; the Package 1 requirement is for the command & liaison and utility roles, Package 2 for an ambulance and troop transport, and Package 3 is for a light recovery vehicle.

The Eagle 6x6 is a light tactical vehicle produced by the Swiss Company Mowag now part of GDELS (General Dynamics European Land Systems). The vehicle was unveiled in June 2012 during Eurosatory, defense exhibition in Paris. The vehicle is already in service with the German army in ambulance configuration.

The Eagle 6x6 is a modular vehicle and can be easily configured as APC (armored personnel carrier), ambulance, command and control vehicle, reconnaissance, NBC detection, mortar carrier, recovery and logistics transport vehicle.

The Eagle 6x6 is made on armor steel offering protection against firing of small arms and artillery shell splinters. It can be fitted with add-on armor kits made of steel or composite material to increase the protection against RPG (Rocket Propelled Grenades) threats.

The ambulance version has a crew cabin at the front and the rear part of the vehicle team is fitted with four seats and can carry two stretches. The vehicle can also accommodate a medical team and modern medical equipment to provide intensive care of critically injured soldiers on the battlefield.
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[*] posted on 7-6-2020 at 03:42 PM


BUSHMASTER is also competing.......
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[*] posted on 19-6-2020 at 08:13 PM


British tactical vehicle procurement in ‘decline’

By George Allison - June 19, 20200



Analysts at Forecast International say that although the Ministry of Defence have signed a number of major tactical and support vehicle contracts over the past decade, the overall rate and level of tactical vehicle procurement across the British armed services have declined since 1990.

“With this shift, British tactical vehicle manufacturers and those across Europe have increasingly shifted focus to the export market as the primary outlet for their military products. The lingering effects of economic austerity measures will continue to restrain the scale of domestic tactical vehicle procurement by the U.K. Ministry of Defence. However, the MoD may make some modest modernization and procurement efforts in the coming years, extending the service life of existing vehicle stocks and bringing vehicles purchased for combat operations in Afghanistan into the Army’s peacetime force structure.”

Further, the Forecast International report advises that the British Army’s Future Support Vehicle requirement remains a top priority for the MoD.

“In the medium-vehicle market segment, the U.K. Defence Procurement Agency selected MAN ERF UK Ltd to fulfill the British Army’s FSV requirement. The British Army intends to replace its stocks of 4-, 8- and 14-tonne support inventories with the new vehicles from the FSV family. The initial contract called for the procurement of 5,165 new-build vehicles, at a cost of $1.98 billion. In 2006, the DPA exercised an option for a supplementary order of 2,000 vehicles, worth $461.3 million.

The FSV family of vehicles consists of eight variants, in 4×4, 6×6, and 8×8 configurations. According to MAN, over half of the production work on the series occurs domestically in the U.K. However, a significant portion of the chassis production for the series takes place at MAN facilities in Vienna, Austria. The cornerstone of the British light tactical vehicle market remains the renowned and ubiquitous Land Rover. Although Land Rover vehicles have faced operational challenges and criticism over their performance in the IED-laden battlefields of the 21st century, the family currently remains the backbone of the British Army’s light tactical transport inventory, with Supacat contributing a smaller, but increasingly important secondary share.”

Forecast International is a major provider of ‘Market Intelligence and Consulting in the areas of aerospace, defence, power systems and military electronics’.
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[*] posted on 19-6-2020 at 08:17 PM


As long as Field Testing goes alright, JLTV will replace a chunk of the Landie's, whilst others will be replaced once current programmes and bids are finished, which may include the introduction of Bushmaster into the British Army generally, not just in the SAS.
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[*] posted on 13-7-2020 at 09:53 PM


Rheinmetall BAE Systems Challenger 2 LEP main battle tank candidate for UK MOD'S Life Extension Project

POSTED ON MONDAY, 13 JULY 2020 09:54

The Challenger 2 "Black Night" is no longer an active bid into the UK MOD'S Life Extension Project (LEP). So, RBSL (Rheinmetall BAE Systems Land) presents the Rheinmetall MBT Combat System Solution with the latest generation, lethality, survivability and surveillance and target acquisition systems.


Challenger 2 MBT to be upgraded for the continuation of its use by the British Army, the picture taken at DSEI 2019 showed the Challenger 2 LEP. (Picture source: Army Recognition)

BAE Systems launched the Black Night demonstrator at the DVD event in September 2018. However, in July 2019, the RBSL was established. RBSL is an independent British joint venture business which was established by Rheinmetall and BAE Systems. Since then, the Black Night is no longer in use and RBSL's only proposed solution for the Challenger 2 LEP is based on the Rheinmetall solution.

RBSL presents the Rheinmetall MBT Combat System Solution with the latest generation, lethality, survivability and surveillance and target acquisition systems together with a fully digitized core architecture, enabling continued growth and future technology exploration. This leverages RBSL’s path into Leopard and other Main Battle Tank upgrade or replacement system programs.

Lethality: most modern 120mm high-pressure L55 main armament. Firing world-class temperature-independent KE tank rounds and unique programmable HE ammunition. Increased first hit capability through the latest sensor and fire control technologies.

Survivability: the new turret structure and the modular armour provide the highest standard of protection for the crew. Provisions are made for the integration of additional hard-kill (Active Defence Systems) and soft-kill (Jamming or Obscuration) Systems.

Surveillance and Target Acquisition: fully digitized, improved long-range commander and gunner primary sights with automatic target detection and tracking for enhanced lethality. Integrated enhanced local, target and battlefield situational awareness into the crew stations guarantee superior fight ability.

Future Growth: the Rheinmetall MBT Technology Solution provides significant growth potential in all combat system-related key capability areas. The new physical, electronic and electrical architecture is ready to support upgrades and new developments over the next decades.

At DSEI 2019, the Rheinmetall BAE Systems Land (RBSL) joint venture business demonstrated its expertise in the world of armoured combat vehicles. On show was RBSL’s demonstrator for the Challenger 2 Life Extension Project (LEP), which included improved fightability, survivability, surveillance & target acquisition, and lethality with the integration of DM11 programmable High Explosive (HE) tank ammunition.
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[*] posted on 14-7-2020 at 02:00 PM


British Army sheds an Afghan war legacy: blast-proof trucks

By: Andrew Chuter   8 hours ago


British then-Prime Minister David Cameron (C) chats with soldiers in front of Mastiff armored vehicles at Camp Bastion outside Lashkar Gah in Helmand Province, Afghanistan, on Dec. 20, 2012. The Army in July 2020 announced plans to sell or otherwise shed many of the blast-proof trucks bought for that war. (Stefan Wermuth/AFP via Getty Images)

LONDON – Nearly 750 armored vehicles purchased by the British Ministry of Defence to combat the threat of roadside bombs in Afghanistan are being axed from the Army’s force structure.

Mastiff, Ridgeback and Wolfhound armored fleets are to be pensioned off in the latest drawdown of vehicles under the Land Environment Fleet Optimisation Plan (LEFOP) by the British Army, MoD procurement minister Jeremy lawmakers this month.

The plan includes the complete deletion of some fleets and the reduction in size of others, as vehicle numbers are right-sized to reflect the needs of the British Army.

Some 733 of the vehicles built by US manufacturer Force Protection, subsequently acquired by General Dynamics, are to go in the latest cull of counterinsurgency-specific rides purchased by the British to provide better protection for troops against improvised explosive devices.

„The Army continues to rationalise its legacy vehicle fleets, work commenced in 2017 under the Land Environment Fleet Optimisation Plan. This work has already removed 2,831 vehicles from service and disposed of a number of legacy vehicle fleets. The next strand of this work seeks to remove several further legacy vehicle types from service, including the disposal of the Mastiff, Ridgeback and Wolfhound fleets,“ Quin said in a July 2 written answer to a question asked by a lawmaker.

The vehicles will be disposed of, possibly by sales to foreign defense departments, over the next few years.

The British purchased thousands of armored vehicles, mainly under its urgent rapid procurement scheme for meeting urgent needs, to improve protection for patrol and logistics operations.

With the end of Britain’s Afghan combat campaign in 2014 the vehicles were largely taken into the Army’s core equipment program.

In part that was to ensure the Army had the capability to respond to possible future stabilization operations, but also because the British had prevaricated for so long over buying 8x8 armored personnel carriers and other programs they were short of capability.

Now a slimmed-down British Army finds itself with more vehicles than its force structure requires.

Some of the vehicles removed from service will be replaced with a reduced number of better, modern, digitized platforms such as Boxer, which have broader utility and improved protection.

Britain has purchased 500 Artec Boxer 8x8′s with the first vehicles expected to arrive in Army units in 2023.

Britain’s top soldier, General Sir Nick Carter, the Chief of the Defence Staff, was questioned by the Parliamentary Defence Committee July 7 about whether the counter-IED fleets had a future.

His response ? It depends on your view of the world, money and what the government's upcoming integrated defense review says.

„It’s a question of how you see the world in the future. If you think it is inconceivable that there will be a stabilization operation somewhere round the world, those capabilities can be pushed to one side. The question, of course, is whether you hedge for a stabilization operation in the future and whether you feel you need platforms that are counter-IED-based platforms. A judgment needs to be made in the course of the integrated review as to whether or not you want to keep spending money on keeping them going,“ Carter told the committee.

In part that judgement is already taking place without the help of a review which is more likely to hit, rather than enhance, MoD’s already under-pressure budget.

Further reductions in Army personnel numbers are rumored to be one of the options under consideration by the review led by the Prime Minister Boris Johnson and his special advisor Dominic Cummins.

Buffalo ordnance-clearance vehicles, Talisman counter-IED system and Vixen patrol vehicles have already been removed from service, while the Navistar Defense-built Husky protected support vehicle and two versions of armed Land Rovers are in the process of being axed.

Not all the vehicle reductions are related to purchases for missions in Afghanistan and Iraq. Hundreds of MAN SV 6T trucks, a handful of BAE Systems Terrier tracked combat engineering vehicles and a number of Iveco Panther protected patrol vehicles are among other vehicle types set to be reduced in numbers as part of the Army’s plan.
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[*] posted on 14-7-2020 at 02:03 PM


No surprise here, a clear-out was overdue...........
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[*] posted on 17-7-2020 at 12:04 PM


Leonardo stays bullish on Puma replacement despite UK’s high-speed helicopter interest

By Dominic Perry

16 July 2020

Leonardo Helicopters’ UK arm believes it can still play a part in the replacement of the Royal Air Force’s Puma HC2 fleet, despite signaling that the Ministry of Defence (MoD) is keen to look at high-speed designs in the future.

With the fleet of medium-lift Puma transports due for retirement in 2025, Leonardo Helicopters has previously proposed the 9t-class AW149 as a replacement, promising final assembly would be located at its Yeovil facility in southwest England.


Source: Leonardo Helicopters
9t-class AW149 has been proposed for Puma replacement


But on 14 July, minister for the armed forces James Heapney signed a broad modernisation co-operation agreement with US secretary of state for the army Ryan McCarthy.

Included within that is confirmation of the UK’s interest in Washington’s Future Vertical Lift (FVL) programme, to create “closer affiliation in the development of helicopter capability”.

The UK was already known to be one of several nations with observer status in FVL, but this is the first time the MoD has directly referenced its interest.

Although there have been suggestions that the Puma’s out-of-service date could be extended, the first examples of the medium-class Future Long-Range Assault Aircraft (FLRAA) – one of two separate developments within FVL – are not due to enter service with the US Army until 2030 at the earliest.

Leonardo Helicopters UK, whose Westland predecessor built the Pumas, believes it would be hard to further postpone the retirement of what is already “a 50-year-old aircraft”.

The airframer says it is “aware of the UK MoD’s review of a future medium-lift capability”, but stresses that as the country’s “only onshore OEM” it is “well placed” to support the options being explored.


Source: Crown Copyright
Puma fleet is scheduled for retirement in 2025


“Leonardo is continuing to invest in future skills and technologies especially related to unmanned air systems and future fast rotorcraft,” it says, pointing to its “strategic partnering arrangement” with the MoD.

Describing the AW149 as an “established capability” within its portfolio, it says the helicopter would help address the UK’s “short- [to-] medium-term requirements for a medium multi-role platform”.

“[The AW149] could be an ideal solution for the UK – not just from a capability perspective, but also the value to UK Plc in support of ‘Build Back Better’,” – a reference to the government’s coronavirus economic recovery plan.

“The AW149 fits the bill as a cost-effective, proven single-type multi-mission medium-role helicopter,” Leonardo Helicopters says.

To date, only the Royal Thai Army has ordered the AW149, although there have been reports that Egypt is also negotiating a deal for around 20 examples.

Previously UK defence officials have evaluated the possibility of extending the Puma’s service life to 2035, to coincide with that of the Royal Navy’s AW101 Merlins in 2035, enabling both types to be replaced with a common platform.

The US Army has two active programmes under the FVL initiative, each with two contenders. FLRAA is a contest between the Bell V-280 Valor and Sikorsky-Boeing SB-1 Defiant to build a replacement for the Sikorsky UH-60 Black Hawk. Meanwhile, Bell’s 360 Invictus is competing against Sikorsky’s Raider X for the Future Attack Reconnaissance Aircraft armed scout helicopter requirement.


Source: Bell
V-280 is one of two contenders for FLRAA requirement
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[*] posted on 28-7-2020 at 10:27 AM


British army takes delivery of first six ARES APC Armored Personnel Carriers of Ajax family

POSTED ON MONDAY, 27 JULY 2020 15:12

According to a video released on the YouTube account of the British Army on July 27, 2020, last week the British army received the first six ARES, the APC (Armored Personnel Carrier) version in the Ajax family of tracked armored vehicles that will replace the fleet of CVR-T light reconnaissance tracked armored vehicles in service with the British Army for decades.


British army takes delivery of the first six ARES Armored Personnel Carriers variant in the AJAX family of tracked armored vehicles. (Picture source: British Army Youtube account)

The Ajax is a family of tracked armored vehicles being developed by General Dynamics for the British Army. In September 2014, General Dynamics was awarded a £3.5 billion contract to deliver 589 AJAX vehicles to the British Army. In July 2015, the company was awarded a additional £390 million contract to provide in-service support for the AJAX fleet until 2024.

Replacing the Combat Vehicle Reconnaissance (Tracked) (CVR(T)) platform, the AJAX program of Armoured Fighting Vehicles (AFVs) being developed by General Dynamics for the British Army includes six variants: AJAX, Ares, Apollo, Athena, Atlas and Argus.

This order included scope for 245 turreted AJAX units, 256 Protected Mobility Recce Support (PMRS) units and 88 Engineering units based on the PMRS. The 245 turreted AJAX units consist of 198 Reconnaissance and Strike vehicles, 23 Joint Fire Control vehicles and 24 Ground Based Surveillance vehicles.

The 256 PMRS units comprise 59 Armoured Personnel Carriers (Ares); 112 Command and Control vehicles (Athena); 34 Formation Reconnaissance Overwatch vehicles (Ares); and 51 Engineer Reconnaissance vehicles (Argus).

The ARES has a crew of three (driver, commander and gunner). The rear part of the vehicle can accommodate 6 infantrymen. The vehicle will be fitted with a Kongsberg Protector Remote Weapon Station armed with a 12.7mm machine gun. The turret is fitted with a Detached Line of Sight (DLOS) that enables the gunner to keep his sight on target, independently of the ballistic solution for the weapon/ammunition in use. The turret is also fitted with a thermal imager with a dual field of view and a Color Daylight camera that allows a wide field of view up to 45 degrees while observing, and more than 30 times optical magnified close-up view of the target area when identifying and engaging a long-distance target.

VIDEO: British army takes delivery of first six ARES APC Armored Personnel Carriers of Ajax family: https://youtu.be/BA55bN-cD4Q?t=160
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[*] posted on 30-7-2020 at 11:18 AM


British Army’s AS90 howitzers to stick around amid replacement delay

By: Andrew Chuter   3 hours ago


An AS90 self-propelled vehicle with a 155mm gun from Britain's 3rd Regiment Royal Horse Artillery is loaded onto the Longstone for deployment to the Arabian Gulf area from the Port of Emden, Germany, on Feb. 8, 2003. (Stuart Franklin/Getty Images)

LONDON — The program to replace the British Army’s aging AS90 self-propelled artillery has hit at least a two-year delay, with the forthcoming howitzer not expected to reach initial operating capability until the first quarter of 2029.

The decision to defer the Mobile Fires Program was taken to allow the Ministry of Defence to address key technical risks and meet requirements in the government’s integrated defense, security and foreign policy review expected around the end of the year, according to sources with knowledge of the program.

Britain’s new heavy artillery had been due to gain initial operating capability in the fourth quarter of 2026, but the MoD confirmed that has now been put back.

The howitzer procurement delay means the current date for decommissioning the AS90s has also gone back two years. A portion of the howitzer force will now remain operational until 2032.

Revised timelines for a new procurement process are currently under development by the MoD.

An initial request for information was sent to industry in April 2019. The MoD issued revised key user requirements in January 2020 with a deadline for industry responses set for Feb. 17.

Britain’s BAE Systems, South Korea’s Hanwa Defense, Israel’s Soltham Systems, France’s Nexter and Germany’s Rheinmetall are among the companies that expressed interest in the program, an industry executive told Defense News on condition of anonymity.

Late last year, the Royal United Services Institute think tank in London blasted the British military for its lack of artillery firepower compared with a country like Russia.

“The UK’s ground forces are comprehensively outgunned and outranged , leaving enemy artillery free to prosecute fire missions with impunity”, RUSI analyst Jack Watling wrote in a report. “If conventional deterrence is to remain a key component of the UK’s national security strategy, then the modernisation of its fires capabilities should be a top priority.”

The integrated review, run by Prime Minister Boris Johnson and his advisers, is expected to be announced this year. Defence Secretary Ben Wallace said in a July 26 op-ed in the Sunday Telegraph that the review would pivot the military away from conventional arms and toward space, cyber and sub-sea capabilities.

As the MoD shuffles resources to fund the change in focus, land forces are expected by some to be a target for cuts.
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