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Author: Subject: Australian Army, 2017 onwards
CaptainCleanoff
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[*] posted on 24-9-2019 at 08:22 PM


Something I wouldn't mind seeing is the Boxer in a similar config as a replacement for the Bushmaster in the other battalions. Would certainly be a massive increase in protection over the PMC and extend the work at MILVEHCOE for many more years.
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[*] posted on 24-9-2019 at 08:41 PM


Apart from the additional APC/IFV elements, mobile medium bridging unit, ambulance versions, ARRV and Workshop vehicles wouldn't go amiss...…….nor would the 155mm SPH if they've succeeded in making it work consistently, if not, or in addition, also include 120mm self-propelled mortar, preferably turret-mounted ala NEMO system.

You might also want to consider HIMARS, NASAMS, or other LR Missile Systems, both ground to ground and ground to air, as candidates, although armoured MAN trucks may be more applicable in some/most cases?


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[*] posted on 24-9-2019 at 11:15 PM


Quote: Originally posted by CaptainCleanoff  
Something I wouldn't mind seeing is the Boxer in a similar config as a replacement for the Bushmaster in the other battalions. Would certainly be a massive increase in protection over the PMC and extend the work at MILVEHCOE for many more years.


The cost would be horrendous...

We’re already spending $5b to acquire 211 of them...




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 24-9-2019 at 11:17 PM


Quote: Originally posted by bug2  
Apart from the additional APC/IFV elements, mobile medium bridging unit, ambulance versions, ARRV and Workshop vehicles wouldn't go amiss...…….nor would the 155mm SPH if they've succeeded in making it work consistently, if not, or in addition, also include 120mm self-propelled mortar, preferably turret-mounted ala NEMO system.

You might also want to consider HIMARS, NASAMS, or other LR Missile Systems, both ground to ground and ground to air, as candidates, although armoured MAN trucks may be more applicable in some/most cases?




I don’t think the re-engineering costs for all those variants are in our best interests...

The 120mm mortar variant maybe? Everything else beyond what we’ve already ordered?

This is one expensive vehicle...




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 25-9-2019 at 03:34 AM


Quote: Originally posted by ADMK2  
Quote: Originally posted by CaptainCleanoff  
Something I wouldn't mind seeing is the Boxer in a similar config as a replacement for the Bushmaster in the other battalions. Would certainly be a massive increase in protection over the PMC and extend the work at MILVEHCOE for many more years.


The cost would be horrendous...

We’re already spending $5b to acquire 211 of them...


While expensive, surely a decent amount could be removed from the overall price by removing the 30mm turret and all those associated systems? The APC variant could be equipped much like the Bushmaster, with an RWS, just keeping the ROSY and APS.

The question is how many would be needed to support the lift requirement for 3 battalions? Another 250-260? UK is getting 500 for roughly $5.4 billion US ($7.9b AUD), we would only need roughly half that number for 3x battalion lift.

It would be nothing more than an increased buy for a capability that will be required mid next decade to replace the Bushmaster fleet - at a projected cost of about $3-4b as stated in the 2016 DIIP. Using the same facilities etc as the CRV. All the difficult work is already done really. Plus a larger fleet size will bring it's own cost savings.

Also, how much of the $5b for the Boxer CRV is going into the acquisition of the vehicle and how much to broader program expenses like establishing MILVEHCOE etc? IIRC, I think the actual CRV acquisition is only about 2/3 of the $5b?

Anyway, it was a just thought.
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[*] posted on 25-9-2019 at 09:11 AM


Quote: Originally posted by ADMK2  

I don’t think the re-engineering costs for all those variants are in our best interests...

The 120mm mortar variant maybe? Everything else beyond what we’ve already ordered?

This is one expensive vehicle...


What re-engineering costs? The 155mm SPH exists in prototype form, and has conducted firing trials. The turret/structure for the 155mm exists, as does the gun.

The 120mm mortar is also a quick fix with existing NEMO turrets, and a clear understanding of how any 8x8 armoured vehicle would need to be fitted out.

The ambo exists, and the ARRV has just been produced in prototype form. Accept that or build another, it's hardly Star Wars technology.

The missile launcher? Meh, don't care one way or the other. Probably the MAN truck will be better OR just accept the version the USA uses already?

I would remind everyone that this is a modularised package on a running armoured chassis. You want to adapt the Boxer to multiple roles, it's made far easier by adopting the module approach they have.
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[*] posted on 25-9-2019 at 09:28 AM


Australia takes delivery of its first Boxer armoured vehicle

Julian Kerr, Sydney - Jane's Defence Weekly

24 September 2019


The first of 211 Boxer 8x8 armoured vehicles for the Australian Army was formally handed over on 24 September. Source: Commonwealth of Australia, Department of Defence

The first of 211 Rheinmetall Defence Boxer 8x8 armoured vehicles being acquired for the Australian Army at a cost of AUD5.2 billion (USD3.53 billion) was formally handed over to Defence Minister Linda Reynolds on 24 September.

In a brief ceremony at Gallipoli Barracks in Brisbane, Reynolds praised the Boxer's firepower, mobility, communications, and protection while formally accepting a multipurpose variant painted in the Australian Army's three-colour disruptive camouflage.

The turretless vehicle was the first of 25 Boxers - 13 multipurpose and 12 reconnaissance variants - that are being manufactured in Germany through to 2021 to meet an early Australian capability requirement for familiarisation and training purposes.

Prior to delivery the Boxer was modified locally with Australian-specific communications and battlefield management systems, and fitted with a Kongsberg Protector remote weapon station (RWS) previously used on Australian Light Armoured Vehicles (ASLAVs) deployed to Iraq and Afghanistan.

Production of the other 186 platforms - a mix of reconnaissance, command and control, joint fires, surveillance, ambulance, and battlefield repair and recovery variants - will begin in late 2020
at a military vehicle centre of excellence under construction by Rheinmetall at Ipswich, southwest of Brisbane. This will be the company's largest facility outside Germany.

The reconnaissance variant of the Boxer will be equipped with Rheinmetall's digital Lance turret system and armed with a 30 mm automatic cannon.

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[*] posted on 25-9-2019 at 02:59 PM


It's a big buggar






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[*] posted on 25-9-2019 at 04:09 PM


Quote: Originally posted by bug2  
Apart from the additional APC/IFV elements, mobile medium bridging unit, ambulance versions, ARRV and Workshop vehicles wouldn't go amiss...…….nor would the 155mm SPH if they've succeeded in making it work consistently, if not, or in addition, also include 120mm self-propelled mortar, preferably turret-mounted ala NEMO system.

You might also want to consider HIMARS, NASAMS, or other LR Missile Systems, both ground to ground and ground to air, as candidates, although armoured MAN trucks may be more applicable in some/most cases?




Yeah that's a good point, I forgot about the extra support vehicles, not too mention the maintenance/attrition and training vehicles. Ambulance, bridging, Rep/Rec etc would be required and would certainly add to the cost. For 3x battalions, the lift requirement would probably be around 260, with maintenance/attrition and training vehicles, the number would be well over 300. With support vehicles, probably close to 400, essentially Phase 3 numbers. I think that that might be a tough pill to swallow, especially given the other needs/requirements. The question then, is what do the other 3 battalions get for a protected vehicle?

Like ADMk2 said, the cost would be horrendous. Personally, I think it's probably a cost worth investing in though, and if more needs to be spent to get the best, then spend it. I think the days of the PMV/MRAP are done, and while it served well, a much better protected vehicle against kinetic threats is required.

Platforms like HIMARS and NASAMS, I think are better suited to the 4x4 and/or 6x6 MAN trucks or in the case of HIMARS, the FMTV, which would save integration costs.

Overall though, as nice as having a larger Boxer fleet would be, I'd say, given a better look at numbers and support requirements, the numbers needed would easily break the bank on the replacement program costs.
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[*] posted on 25-9-2019 at 05:11 PM


I think the bigger problem with replacing Bushmaster with Boxer is you would go from a 15 tonne force to a 30+ tonne force. Two thirds of the manoeuvre force will already be mounted in 35+ tonne vehicles; putting the remaining third in Boxer will significantly reduce the flexibility and agility of the Army.

My view, which is perhaps counter intuitive for an armoured corps guy, is that we are in the process of massively increasing the size, weight, complexity and logistical burden of our CS and CSS forces in a way that doesn’t increase capability, but rather actively detracts from it. Having big, heavy and capable tanks, IFVs, cavalry and engineering vehicles is necessary, but the rest of the force should be as light and agile as possible, lest the tail end up wagging the dog.

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[*] posted on 25-9-2019 at 06:38 PM


This might interest some of you, the revised and lowered 155mm howitzer turret on a Boxer chassis...……..pics via David Moyes and Nicholas Drummond at Sturgeon House...…….

Quote:

Hidden in a corner, KMW had this... a model of the revised RCH155. It carries 30 x 155 mm projectiles plus 140 charges. It has just demonstrated that it can fire 360 degrees without stabilisers. Note the turret profile is lower and total weight is 38 tonnes. Very impressive.




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[*] posted on 16-10-2019 at 09:25 PM


REDBACK from Hanwha...…..




Quote:

Redback contender for LAND 400 Phase 3 unveiled


At a ceremony this morning in the South Korean capital, the country’s Prime Minister Lee Nak-yeon watched the unveiling of Hanwha’s 42-tonne next generation Infantry Fighting Vehicle, the Redback. Built by industrial giant Hanwha, the Redback has been shortlisted for the Army’s $15 billion competition for around 450 vehicles, which will replace Vietnam era M113 armoured personnel carriers. The other contender is the Rheinmetall Lynx.

The first vehicle was completed about one month ago and has now been shown in public for the first time after a series of company maneuverability trials. This IFV plus another two will be shipped to Australia in one year from now for further tests to be conducted by the Army and the Defence Science and Technology Group for the phase of the competition known as the Risk Mitigation Activity.

‘Redback’ is different from other IFVs for several reasons, including the use of rubber tracks and independent suspension, said to make it 70% less susceptible to the shocks and vibration involved in cross country travel. If selected, Hanwha proposes to build all 450 vehicles in Australia and could use that facility, planned for Geelong, to export to other customers – including the Army of South Korea itself, which is also looking for a new generation IFV.

The South Korean requirement is very similar to Australia’s – and hence the interest of the Prime Minister in the unveiling ceremony today. At the moment, the RoK is running about a year behind the Australian program, but now there is talk – informal so far – of trying to speed up the Korean procurement so that it meshes with Canberra’s timetable.

The only major difference between the vehicle unveiled and the final version is the turret. The one on display comes from Israeli company Elbit; the one for Australia will have a turret made by EOS, based on the Elbit design.
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[*] posted on 22-10-2019 at 08:41 PM


Rheinmetall sends 3 KF41 armored vehicles for Australian Land 400 program trials

Posted On Tuesday, 22 October 2019 09:15

Rheinmetall is pleased to confirm it has signed the Risk Mitigation Activity (RMA) contract with the Commonwealth of Australia for participation in the RMA, including the delivery of three Lynx KF41 Infantry Fighting Vehicles to compete in trials for the AUD 15 billion (EUR 9.5 billion) LAND 400 Phase 3 program. The RMA contract now signed has a value of AUD 50 million (about EUR 30 million).


The KF41 Lynx Infantry Fighting Vehicle (Picture source: Rheinmetall )

Lynx KF41 is a next generation tracked, networked and highly protected IFV which meets the stringent military requirements of LAND 400 Phase 3, and offers a platform with significant growth potential. The Australian Army needs a networked, protected and enabled IFV for close combat - to close in and defeat an enemy in the most dangerous and lethal environments for Australian soldiers.

Under the LAND 400 Phase 3 RMA contract, the Commonwealth will undertake an extensive technical and programmatic assessment of the two bidders over a period of 24 months. The vehicles will be operated by Australian Army personnel and tested in Australian terrain under extreme conditions, undertaking lethality, transportability, mobility, troop assessments, blast and ballistic testing. In parallel, the Commonwealth will work with the two bidders in a structured assessment phase in order to optimise technical capability, growth, value for money and national prosperity. Rheinmetall is currently delivering 211 Boxer 8x8 Combat Reconnaissance Vehicles (CRV) to the Australian Army after the vehicle was selected by the Australian Government following 12 months of RMA trials in 2016-2017. These RMA trials were recognised globally as an exhaustive assessment of the vehicle’s capability and have equipped Rheinmetall with the experience and expertise to deliver the best outcome for LAND 400 Phase 3.

Rheinmetall Defence Australia Managing Director Gary Stewart said the three vehicles designated for RMA trials in Australia would incorporate significant Australian Industry Capability. “Development, integration and test of the Lynx KF41 vehicles will also take place during RMA at Rheinmetall’s new Military Vehicle Centre of Excellence (MILVEHCOE) in Australia from next year in support of the RMA trials,” Mr Stewart said.

Key vehicle elements of the Lynx KF41 are also being developed and manufactured in Australia by local companies including the alternator (Milspec in Albury), running gear (Supashock in Adelaide) and cables (Cablex in Melbourne). The modular Lynx KF41 vehicle includes the digital Lance turret with electronic architecture common with the Boxer 8x8 CRV. This will enable the Australian crew to access sensor systems, advanced automatic tracking & targeting capabilities and weapon-integrated battle management all in one connected and enabled platform.

“Should Rheinmetall secure a contract to deliver LAND 400 Phase 3, the Lynx KF41 fleet will be manufactured at the MILVEHCOE, located at Redbank and south west of Brisbane,” Mr Stewart said. Rheinmetall is already delivering an Australian Industry Network for LAND 400 that builds an industrial capability in Australia. This includes creating high technology enduring jobs for hundreds of Australians by localising design and manufacturing expertise in electro-optics, weapon systems, fire control and sensor systems, turret manufacturing, variant design and manufacture, integration, armour systems, simulation, training and fleet sustainment.
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[*] posted on 23-10-2019 at 08:48 AM


Risk mitigation contracts signed for Australia’s IFV programme

Julian Kerr, Sydney - Jane's Defence Weekly

21 October 2019

Contracts for risk mitigation activities have been signed with the two shortlisted contenders for the AUD10-15 billion (USD6.9-10.3 billion) project to supply the Australian Army with up to 450 modern infantry fighting vehicles (IFVs) and 17 manoeuvre support vehicles, Defence Minister Linda Reynolds announced in a 22 October statement.

The contracts involve a two year-long test and evaluation programme, including destructive testing at sites across Australia, for Rheinmetall Defence's Lynx KF41 IFV and Hanwha Defense's AS21 Redback IFV, said the minister.

The programme is expected to allow both companies to engage with the Department of Defence (DoD), as well as to clarify, refine and negotiate their respective tenders, she said.

(134 of 326 words)
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[*] posted on 23-10-2019 at 11:31 AM


Contracts Signed for Next Stage of Army’s Mounted Close Combat Capability

(Source: Australian Department of Defence; issued Oct 22, 2019)

Defence has signed contracts with two companies selected to progress to the next stage of LAND 400 Phase 3, under the Morrison Government’s multi-billion dollar upgrade to Army’s mounted close combat capability.

Hanwha Defense Australia and Rheinmetall Defence Australia will participate in risk mitigation as part of defence’s project to acquire infantry fighting vehicles.

Minister for Defence, Senator the Hon Linda Reynolds CSC said the signing of the contracts brings Army a step closer to having world class Infantry Fighting Vehicle capability.

“This program is a significant investment in Army’s capability – it will make our personnel safer, more effective on operations, and will complement our investment in Boxer Combat Reconnaissance Vehicles under LAND 400 Phase 2,” Minister Reynolds said.

The Risk Mitigation Activity phase will occur over the next two years, allowing both companies to engage with Defence, as well as clarify, refine and negotiate their tenders.

The vehicles will undertake a test and evaluation program including destructive testing at sites across Australia.

Minister for Defence Industry, the Hon Melissa Price MP encouraged Australian industry to get behind this project.

“Australian industry involvement and Australian workers will be critically important,” Minister Price said.

“Defence will work with the shortlisted tenderers to ensure small and medium enterprises across Australia have the opportunity to showcase their capabilities.”

(ends)

Rheinmetall Signs Risk Mitigation Activity Contract for Testing of Lynx KF41 for Australia's Land 400 Phase 3 Program

(Source: Rheinmetall; issued Oct. 22, 2019)

Rheinmetall is pleased to confirm it has signed the Risk Mitigation Activity (RMA) contract with the Commonwealth of Australia for participation in the RMA, including the delivery of three Lynx KF41 Infantry Fighting Vehicles to compete in trials for the AUD 15 billion (EUR 9.5 billion) LAND 400 Phase 3 program. The RMA contract now signed has a value of AUD 50 million (about EUR 30 million).

Lynx KF41 is a next-generation tracked, networked and highly protected IFV which meets the stringent military requirements of LAND 400 Phase 3, and offers a platform with significant growth potential. The Australian Army needs a networked, protected and enabled IFV for close combat - to close in and defeat an enemy in the most dangerous and lethal environments for Australian soldiers.

Under the LAND 400 Phase 3 RMA contract, the Commonwealth will undertake an extensive technical and programmatic assessment of the two bidders over a period of 24 months. The vehicles will be operated by Australian Army personnel and tested in Australian terrain under extreme conditions, undertaking lethality, transportability, mobility, troop assessments, blast and ballistic testing.

In parallel, the Commonwealth will work with the two bidders in a structured assessment phase in order to optimise technical capability, growth, value for money and national prosperity.

Rheinmetall is currently delivering 211 Boxer 8x8 Combat Reconnaissance Vehicles (CRV) to the Australian Army after the vehicle was selected by the Australian Government following 12 months of RMA trials in 2016-2017. These RMA trials were recognised globally as an exhaustive assessment of the vehicle's capability and have equipped Rheinmetall with the experience and expertise to deliver the best outcome for LAND 400 Phase 3.

Rheinmetall Defence Australia Managing Director Gary Stewart said the three vehicles designated for RMA trials in Australia would incorporate significant Australian Industry Capability. "Development, integration and test of the Lynx KF41 vehicles will also take place during RMA at Rheinmetall's new Military Vehicle Centre of Excellence (MILVEHCOE) in Australia from next year in support of the RMA trials," Mr Stewart said.

Key vehicle elements of the Lynx KF41 are also being developed and manufactured in Australia by local companies including the alternator (Milspec in Albury), running gear (Supashock in Adelaide) and cables (Cablex in Melbourne).

The modular Lynx KF41 vehicle includes the digital Lance turret with electronic architecture common with the Boxer 8x8 CRV. This will enable the Australian crew to access sensor systems, advanced automatic tracking & targeting capabilities and weapon-integrated battle management all in one connected and enabled platform.

"Should Rheinmetall secure a contract to deliver LAND 400 Phase 3, the Lynx KF41 fleet will be manufactured at the MILVEHCOE, located at Redbank and south west of Brisbane," Mr Stewart said.

Rheinmetall is already delivering an Australian Industry Network for LAND 400 that builds an industrial capability in Australia. This includes creating high technology enduring jobs for hundreds of Australians by localising design and manufacturing expertise in electro-optics, weapon systems, fire control and sensor systems, turret manufacturing, variant design and manufacture, integration, armour systems, simulation, training and fleet sustainment.

Rheinmetall sets the global standard for excellence in a wide array of disciplines and offers an extensive array of military hardware that delivers mobility, lethality, survivability of troops, reconnaissance capability and networking of national and international systems. Rheinmetall Defence Australia and New Zealand is a subsidiary of Rheinmetall AG, with offices in Adelaide, Canberra, Melbourne and Brisbane.

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[*] posted on 24-10-2019 at 08:53 AM


Australian and US forces trial UAV-dropped medical supply service

Andrew White, London - Jane's International Defence Review

23 October 2019


Zipline’s Drone Delivery Service carries fresh-whole-blood loads inside a specially designed UAV. Source: Zipline

Australian and US armed forces have evaluated an autonomous airborne delivery system capable of distributing medical supplies to forward-deployed units.

The US Marine Corps (USMC) and Australian Defence Force (ADF) relied upon Zipline's Drone Delivery Service during a series of four exercises in Australia conducted between 30 July and 5 September.

Exercises 'Bundey I', 'Bundey II', 'Crocodile Response', and 'Koolendong' 2019 used rail-launched, fixed-wing unmanned aerial vehicles (UAVs) to deliver medical supplies to forward-deployed units, including fresh whole blood (FWB) and water.

According to a spokesperson for Zipline, the exercise's goal was to illustrate how a "logistics network of autonomous delivery drones could help transform emergency medicine and critical care in conflict, as well as in humanitarian and disaster relief scenarios".

Zipline's Drone Delivery Service was developed in collaboration with the US Defense Innovation Unit (DIU) and Naval Medical Research Center's Naval Advanced Medical Development (NMRC-NAMD). The company said it demonstrated the capability to complete a 127 km round-trip delivery at speeds of up to 100 km/h.

Throughout the four exercises, "The company made over 400 deliveries, which included mock blood resupplies to forward-deployed Shock Trauma Platoons; responding to simulated mass casualty events; simultaneously responding to emergency delivery requests from three different locations; and delivering 68 kg of cargo in under three hours," an after-action review by the company disclosed on 22 October.

"The [US] DoD wanted to know if we could rapidly forward deploy, integrate with ground forces, deconflict with military aircraft and our own in real time, operate in a range of conditions, and demonstrate the capacity to swarm aid in mass casualty events," a company spokesperson told Jane's . "Over the course of our work together, we rapidly deployed; integrated with forces; navigated the airspace; flew in wind, rain, darkness, and zero visibility; and swarmed aid to simulated mass casualty sites in multiple occasions.

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[*] posted on 31-10-2019 at 07:43 AM


From the Australian

Homegrown ‘digital’ rifle makes average marksmen deadly experts


A Lithgow factory that has armed Australian Diggers from Gallipoli to Afghanistan is building the world’s most modern rifle — a “digital” gun that can lift a soldier’s accuracy of first shot by up to 400 per cent.

Dubbed the Future Soldier Weapon System, it uses a computerised sight and automated firing technology to identify targets and overcome human error, making average marksmen experts.

It is also a “networked” ­weapon, allowing Diggers to see enemy combatants identified by other soldiers, and giving commanders the ability to assign targets to specific members of a unit.

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The FSWS is the product of a five-year research and development program at the Thales-owned Lithgow Arms.

The Australian was given a ­preview of the weapon ahead of the release of a new history of the Lithgow-made Austeyr rifle, stand­ard issue for Australian soldiers­ for the past 30 years.

The new digital rifle is being designed as a next-generation weapon for Diggers, but Thales hopes to export it to friendly nations.

“This is the most significant change in small-arms technology since the introduction of the cart­ridge case,” said Thales Australia chief executive Chris Jenkins. “It’s not technology for technology’s sake — it’s technology to deliver a huge uplift in effectiveness on the battlefield for Australian soldiers. And that’s a lifesaving effect.”




The Lithgow Small Arms Factory, 150km west of Sydney, opened its doors in 1912, supplying more than 100,000 Lee-Enfield .303s to Australia’s World War I Diggers. It produced Vickers and Bren machine guns in World War II, the L1A1 SLR used by Aust­ralians in Vietnam, and the army’s current rifles, the Austrian-­designed ­Aust­eyr F88, and its ­successor, the EF88.

But the new project is unlike anything that preceded it. The rifle’s sensor suite and targeting ­algorithm can recognise human and non-human targets, such as drones, and enable a soldier to see better in all weather conditions.

The system fires the rifle at the optimum moment after a target is selected and the trigger pulled to achieve a “kill shot”.

If the system fails for any reason, it reverts to being a “dumb” weapon that operates like any other rifle.

Thales expects the futuristic weapon to be ready for sale within five years, coinciding with the Australian Defence Force’s assaul­t rifle replacement procurement in 2024-25.

The sighting and automated firing system has already shown dramatic results, lifting the probability of a soldier’s first round being a hit from 20 per cent to 80 per cent with minimal training, but the completed rifle is expected to deliver even greater performance benefits. A prototype version weighs in at just 2kg, compared with 3.44kg for the EF88.

The development of the ­weapon comes as Chief of Army Rick Burr prioritises a new “accelerated warfare” doctrine.












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[*] posted on 31-10-2019 at 08:57 AM


Interesting, BUT it really doesn't say much about the weapon apart from the possibility of Integration with other weapon systems/sensors, etc.

E.g. No mention of calibre of round, nor how many rounds it carries?
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[*] posted on 1-11-2019 at 09:56 AM


Thales Develops the Future of Soldier Weapon Systems in Lithgow

(Source: Thales; issued Oct 31, 2019)

In order to maintain a capability advantage for Australia’s Defence Forces, the soldier systems of the future will integrate disruptive digital technologies, advanced sensor and targeting equipment and networked communications.

Drawing together advanced manufacturing techniques and materials, Thales’s advanced future soldier weapon system will integrate:

-- cutting edge sensors and targeting systems;
-- biometric security safeguards;
-- tactical network links to enable collaborative engagement
-- enhanced command, control and situational awareness for both individual soldiers and commanders.

Thales’s Lithgow small arms manufacturing facility has been proudly supporting Australia’s soldiers on battlefields around the world since 1912. The future advanced individual weapon system will continue this heritage of manufacturing the world’s most advance systems as the battlespace becomes more digitised and networked.

Building on this century of sovereign capability, Thales’s development of the future soldier weapon system is undertaken in Lithgow, NSW and aligns with the Australian Government’s recognition that the research, design, development and manufacture of small arms is a priority sovereign industrial capability.

“Rapid advances in digital technology bring increasing threats as well as new capabilities. Thales’s future weapon system accelerates the development process for an era of networked warfare,” said Chris Jenkins, CEO, Thales Australia.

Thales is a global technology leader shaping the world of tomorrow today. The Group provides solutions, services and products to customers in the aeronautics, space, transport, digital identity and security, and defence markets. With 80,000 employees in 68 countries, Thales generated sales of €19 billion in 2018 (on a pro forma basis including Gemalto).

Thales in Australia is a trusted partner of the Australian Defence Force and is also present in commercial sectors ranging from air traffic management and ground transport systems to security systems and services. Employing around 3,900 people, Thales in Australia recorded revenues of more than A $1.4 billion in 2018 and export revenue of over A$1.6 billion in the past 10 years.

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[*] posted on 5-11-2019 at 01:32 PM


BAE Systems and ADF Showcase Autonomous Vehicles for Australian Army

(Source: BAE Systems; issued Nov 04, 2019)

Two fully autonomous armoured vehicles were the centrepiece of a landmark demonstration for the Australian Army this week, providing crucial insights into the capabilities of integrated autonomous technologies on future battlefields.

The ‘battlefield simulation’ demonstration was held at the Majura Training Site where the Chief of Army observed the two M113 vehicles in operation.

In a six-month project, engineers and technicians installed hardware and software in the vehicles enabling them to operate autonomously. The innovative autonomous technologies being explored could remove soldiers from future battlefields and enable a range of other applications including intelligence gathering and logistics support. The on-board systems have been designed to comply with the rules of engagement, which always require human in the decision-making loop.

BAE Systems Australia CEO Gabby Costigan said: “This project highlights our commitment to leading the development of new technologies and collaborating across industry and academia to advance autonomous capabilities.

“BAE Systems Australia’s autonomous systems capability leverages more than three decades of collaboration between BAE Systems Australia and the Commonwealth Government through Programs such as Nulka and Evolved Sea Sparrow Missile (ESSM).

“Autonomous technologies will support soldier responsiveness in an accelerating warfare environment - increasing their ability to outpace, out-manoeuvre and out-think conventional and unconventional threats.”

The BAE Systems autonomous technologies used for this project have already supported Australian and UK Autonomy programs such as Taranis, Mantis, Kingfisher UAS demonstrators as well as the multi-all-terrain vehicle (MATV) and Digger unmanned ground vehicle (UGV) demonstrators.

With the technologies now integrated into the M113 prototype, the vehicles will now be used by the Army to experiment with to better understand the opportunities to employ autonomy on the battlefield as part of its recently released Robotics and Autonomous Systems Strategy.

The vehicles will also be used as test vehicles for technology developed by the Commonwealth’s recently announced Trusted Autonomous Systems Defence Cooperative Research Centre (TAS-DCRC).

The TAS-DCRC was announced by the Australian Government in 2017 under the Next Generation Technologies Fund to deliver game-changing autonomous systems that ensure trusted, reliable and effective cooperation between people and machines during military operations.

BAE Systems is a founding member of the CRC and the industry lead for Land Autonomy, working closely with Army and with Defence Science and Technology Group to ensure soldiers have what they need to be future ready.

-ends-
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[*] posted on 5-11-2019 at 02:08 PM


World's Best Eye in the Sky for Australian Army

(Source: Australian Department of Defence; issued Nov 04, 2019)

The Morrison Government has awarded $5.2 million to a Melbourne company to develop a system capable of improving the quality of images captured by drones.

Minister for Defence Industry, the Hon Melissa Price MP announced the Defence Innovation Hub contract with AVT Australia today at the Defence Innovation Hub Industry Conference in Canberra.

“AVT Australia is committed to developing the world’s best micro gimbal system which could provide a significant capability edge in a future battlefield environment,” Minister Price said.

Under this new contract, AVT Australia is aiming to reduce the size of the technology to enable integration of multiple sensors as well as incorporating a range of autonomous tracking algorithms.

Minister Price also announced a $3.4 million contract with another Melbourne company, Textron Systems, to continue the development of their drone technology.

It follows a successful phase one contract with the Defence Innovation Hub, and demonstrates the Morrison Government’s commitment to exploring how unmanned aerial systems (UAS) can benefit the Australian Defence Force.

“Defence is Australia’s largest and most experienced UAS operator, and it’s important to remain at the cutting edge of a capability that offers superior surveillance, intelligence and force protection.”

The Morrison Government is investing approximately $640 million in Australian industry through the Defence Innovation Hub, which aims to develop innovative technology with Defence application.

The third annual Defence Innovation Hub Industry Conference acknowledged the significant potential that Australian small businesses have to deliver advanced Defence capability.

“More than 85 per cent of the almost 100 contracts so far awarded by the Defence Innovation Hub have been with small businesses,” Minister Price said.

“And since its inception, investment from the Defence Innovation Hub has resulted in the creation of over 200 new local Australian jobs.”

-ends-
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[*] posted on 7-11-2019 at 10:38 PM


Australian Army enlists SitaWare HQ for Track Management Capability

Kelvin Wong, Singapore - Jane's International Defence Review

07 November 2019


Systematic’s SitaWare HQ software has been selected by the Australian Army to support the operations of brigade-level and above headquarters. Source: Systematic

The Australian Army has selected Systematic's SitaWare Headquarters (HQ) software to enhance its deployable command-and-control (C2) capabilities, the company announced on 7 November.

The software will be used by the service as its interim Track Management Capability (TMC), which aims to support coalition interoperability by enabling blue force tracking, shared situational awareness, and communications between partners.

According to Systematic, TMC will be rolled out to the army's deployed headquarters operating at brigade-level and above. The Deployable Joint Force Headquarters (DJFHQ) - an element of the Brisbane-based 1st Division - is the first element to field TMC, which is designed to operate on a range of platforms, including the Royal Australian Navy's (RAN's) Canberra-class landing helicopter dock vessels, which are central to the Australian Defence Force's (ADF's) amphibious capability.

SitaWare HQ is designed for brigade/battalion headquarters, as well as mobile tactical headquarters-level use and includes a range of functionalities, including integrated chat, collaborative planning tools, mapping, and picture management. The software is based on the HTML5 platform and can be accessed directly using a standard web browser.

TMC will also feature SitaWare's Variable Message Format (VMF) Gateway module, which leverages its research with the Australian Army's Land Network Integration Centre (LNIC) to enhance interoperability with other communications standards, including those supporting Multilateral Interoperability Programme (MIP), NATO Friendly Force Information (NFFI), Over-The-Horizon Gold (OTH-Gold), and Link 16 formats.

The earlier work also established a Capability Technology Demonstrator (CTD) that tested compatibility with the army's systems. Trials of the VMF CTD demonstrated its ability to support 25,000 entities, a scale that is representative of a coalition and multi-national environment.

"The software is already deployed on the Mission Partner Environment (MPE). Systematic will provide TMC-specific features in our next three releases of SitaWare HQ," Systematic's Vice President for the Asia Pacific Region, David Horton, told Jane's .

(327 of 636 words)
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[*] posted on 13-11-2019 at 07:26 PM


Quote: Originally posted by bug2  
Interesting, BUT it really doesn't say much about the weapon apart from the possibility of Integration with other weapon systems/sensors, etc.

E.g. No mention of calibre of round, nor how many rounds it carries?


It will still ‘win’ the comp anyway. By ‘comp’ I mean it will be selected off the shelf without trials or competing against any other system...




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 14-11-2019 at 06:18 PM


Australia’s Amphibious Resurgence

Australia has a history of developing amphibious capability in conflict then losing it when peace returns. Recently, though, the nation has entered an amphibious renaissance.


By Lieutenant Colonel Andrew Kirby, Australian Army, and Commander Nicholas Trongale, Royal Australian Navy

November 2019 Proceedings Vol. 145/11/1,401

From their landing craft, thousands of Australian and U.S. troops surge through the surf onto a South Pacific beach. Overhead, allied aircraft fight for local air superiority, prosecute ground targets, and deliver an airborne brigade deep inland. As the difficult task of establishing logistics over the shore begins, the force faces the daunting challenge of clearing a well-equipped, well-prepared, and resolute enemy.

This scene played out time and again at places whose names are written in U.S. and Australian blood, such as Lae, Bougainville, and Borneo. But the past can serve as prologue, for although the threat has changed, the geography that defines Australia’s strategic circumstances has not.

Australia’s vital connections to the world run through some of the busiest sea lanes and densest archipelagic waters on earth. The region encompasses both rapidly developing nations and fragile states, is home to an array of terrorist groups, and experiences frequent natural disasters. It also is an area that a rising China seeks to dominate. As the U.S. National Security Strategy assesses, Chinese maritime ambitions may “endanger the free flow of trade, threaten the sovereignty of other nations, and undermine regional stability.”1

The need for a strong Australian amphibious capability would seem obvious, but for more than a century Australia’s interest in amphibious operations has ebbed and flowed. Recently, however, the nation has entered an amphibious renaissance.

A ‘Great Forgetting’

Australia’s first joint deployment as a nation was amphibious. In 1914, Germany’s East Asia Squadron threatened Allied sea lanes from Papua New Guinea, the Solomon Islands, Nauru, and numerous other bases of operation. Hastily assembling an amphibious force including 1,500 ground troops, Australia conducted a series of amphibious lodgments and raids to seize key enemy communications nodes and logistics hubs.2 These operations, in conjunction with the deployment of the Australian Fleet, secured Australian territory and supply lines.

Also taking operational lessons from the Gallipoli landings, Australia would end the war with a strong amphibious capability. Financial pressures and other strategic demands, however, drove a rapid decline in the capability, which would have to be regenerated when another major power threatened Australia’s near north some 20 years later.3

After the 1942 fall of Singapore to Japan, newly appointed South-West Pacific Commander General Douglas MacArthur planned an offensive island-hopping campaign combining land-based air power with littoral maneuver.4 His problem was a lack of an amphibious force. From 1942 through early 1944, the majority of his ground and naval forces were Australians who lacked amphibious experience or equipment.

Australia rapidly grew an array of amphibious schools, watercraft manufacturing and heavy repair facilities, and large amphibious training facilities. The Royal Australian Navy (RAN) soon would join the U.S. Navy VII Amphibious Force with the landing ships HMAS Manoora, Kanimbla, and Westralia alongside landing craft, destroyers, and support ships. The success of these developments became apparent in the New Guinea and Borneo campaigns of 1943 and 1945, respectively. With U.S. support, Australian forces would successfully plan and execute four divisional amphibious assaults, dozens of battalion landings, and countless amphibious transport operations against a well-prepared, well-equipped enemy. By 1945, the Australian Armed Forces had developed a level of amphibious and joint capability the equal of any in the world.5 But again, as the war wound down, so did Australia’s amphibious capability.

The postwar pursuit of an expeditionary strategy—the basis of Australian involvement in Korea, Vietnam, and other conflicts—eventually sapped support for amphibious forces in the nation’s Cold War policy.6 By the mid-1980s what little remained of the Australian Amphibious Squadron was disbanded, leaving only the 5,800-ton landing ship HMAS Tobruk.7 The strategic limitations this would create were revealed during the May 1987 coup against the government of Fiji.

https://www.usni.org/sites/default/files/styles/embed_large/...
Australian War Memorial
Australian troops disembark U.S. Navy landing ships prior to the assault on Lae in 1943. In 1942 Australian forces lacked amphibious experience and equipment, but the nation rapidly grew schools, manufacturing and repair facilities, and large training facilities.

With intervention or rescue of the deposed Fijian prime minister deemed unfeasible, even the evacuation of some 4,000 noncombatants challenged the Australian Defence Force (ADF). For three frustrating weeks, an ad hoc light infantry force was crammed into supply ships and destroyers off the coast of Fiji.

With almost no amphibious vessels and “inadequate doctrine, poor communications between services . . . and the absence of operating concepts, Australia was unable to even conduct non-combatant evacuation operations without permissive conditions.”8

The Fiji experience and subsequent challenges deploying to Rwanda and Somalia led to the 1994 decision to acquire two 8,500-ton tank landing ships, former U.S. Navy Newport-class vessels redesignated as landing platforms amphibious (LPAs).

Commissioned as HMAS Manoora and Kanimbla, these vessels entered service too late to support Australia’s initial intervention in East Timor in 1999. By 2000, however, the two LPAs along with Tobruk formed Australia’s first amphibious ready group (ARG) since World War II. In 2006, when the ADF had to reenter Timor without control of a port, the ARG was able to deploy a battalion across the beach in three days.

Recognizing both the utility and shortcomings of the amphibious force, the 2000 Defence White Paper set out plans to acquire two new amphibious vessels. This was the genesis of the 27,500-ton landing helicopter docks (LHDs) HMAS Canberra and Adelaide, the largest vessels the Royal Australian Navy has ever operated.

Australia has a long tradition of developing amphibious excellence in conflict, then promptly losing interest (and capability) when peace returns. As the current Chief of Defence once said, “Australian ‘amphibiousity’ suffered from a great forgetting, and so we are learning it anew.”9 Today there are indications the ADF will not repeat this mistake.

An Amphibious Renaissance

The Joint Force. The ADF is committed to becoming a truly joint force, an aspiration that began with the establishment of a Joint Operations Command in the late 1990s to unify command and control of all operations and overseas deployments. ADF officers are trained in joint academies and colleges from initial employment to War College, and recent changes to the Defence Act have transitioned the ADF from a federation of single services into a joint chain of command. These changes are reflected in the way the amphibious capability, a fundamentally joint enterprise, is commanded.

The Amphibious Task Group is an integrated headquarters with both a commander, amphibious task force, and a permanent commander, landing force (CLF), who share a fully integrated staff. As the Army’s senior amphibious commander, the CLF is under command of the Deployable Joint Force Headquarters, in which elements of the Navy’s Fleet Battle Staff also are habitually embedded. This “joint force by design” represents levels of integration previously achieved only toward the end of long campaigns.

In addition to the standing CLF and their staff, the Army has invested heavily in amphibious force elements, supported by a rotational landing force. Establishing a marine-like force was not a realistic ambition given the service’s small size; however, the Army has re-roled one of its seven conventional full-time infantry battalions into a dedicated Pre-Landing Force (PLF).10 The PLF provides specialist skills in small boat operation, littoral and riverine reconnaissance, and a myriad of ship operation skills. The core of the Amphibious Ready Element (ARE), the PLF also ensures integration of the rotational landing force.

Given that the PLF comprises only one rifle company, the Army uses a rotational approach to generating ground combat elements. Over a three-year cycle, different battalions will undertake a series of amphibious training events. Although most soldiers will experience amphibious activities just one year out of three, the majority of the Army will have some familiarity with amphibious operations. This blend of dedicated and rotational embarked forces underpins a tiered amphibious capability. The higher readiness ARE, centered on the PLF, can expand to an Amphibious Ready Unit (ARU) with up to 2,200 troops, two LHDs, the LSD, 9 LHD landing craft (LLCs), and as many as 13 helicopters.

The Platforms. The centerpieces of Australia’s amphibious force are the LHDs Canberra and Adelaide, and the RAN is in the process of providing capability assurance for the LHD scheduled for completion in 2025. This program will significantly enhance amphibious capability by improving ship survivability and integration with Australian and coalition assets (including the future frigate, air warfare destroyer, and a suite of land projects).

https://www.usni.org/sites/default/files/styles/embed_large/...
Royal Australian Navy MRH-90 helicopters and a U.S. Marine Corps V-22 Osprey on board HMAS Adelaide, a centerpiece of Australia’s amphibious force. A capability assurance program scheduled for completion in 2025 will improve ship survivability and integration with Australian and coalition assets.

In addition to six helicopter spots, each LHD carries four integral ship-to-shore connectors, LLCs originally capable of landing a 32-ton load. In response to growth in combat vehicle weights, the RAN reevaluated and tested LLC load-carrying capability to 65 metric tons. LLCs now have the capacity to carry all in-service and programmed vehicles in the Army’s inventory, including the M1A1 main battle tank.

The LHDs are complemented by the landing ship dock (LSD) HMAS Choules. A rapid acquisition in 2011 to fill a capability gap between the previous fleet and the introduction of the Canberra class, Choules has proved invaluable on regional operations and signals a realization of the indispensable nature of amphibious capability by policy makers.

Force of First Resort

The amphibious enterprise is an integral part of Australia’s strategic posture. The ARE and ARU provide the ability to project a medium-weight force deep into the region during all phases of operations. Already amphibious elements have proved their ability to provide humanitarian assistance, such as the disaster relief provided to Fiji in the wake of Cyclone Winston in 2016.

The ADF also is undertaking significant regional engagement, with the ARU at its core. This includes training exercises and port visits in Vanuatu, Fiji, Tonga, Samoa, the Solomon Islands, and Papua New Guinea. As recently as September 2018, Australia hosted 3,000 personnel and observers from 27 nations for Kakadu 2018, its largest maritime security and disaster relief exercise.

In late 2018, an LHD provided a high-profile component of Australian government support to the government of Papua New Guinea during Asia-Pacific Economic Cooperation (APEC) 2018. The LHD provided a secure base for specialist capabilities to partner with local security forces in planning, maritime and airspace security, and other niche support. Although a visible reminder of Australian support, the LHD provided a low onshore footprint while maintaining command-and-control and contingency capability. The ARU also is beginning to demonstrate its warfighting capabilities and ability for coalition integration, as evidenced in Exercise Rim of the Pacific 2018.

Canberra recently embarked on Indo-Pacific Endeavour 2019, her longest and most distant deployment to date, including visits to India, Sri Lanka, and Southeast Asia.

Australia’s amphibious capability is making significant contributions to engagement, relief, and security operations, but much remains to be done for the ADF’s ambitions to be fully realized, in particular, its high-end warfighting capability. The demand for greater protection and lethality in land material will tax the capacity of landing ships and craft. The Army’s M1A1 tanks, combat reconnaissance vehicle (under acquisition), and infantry fighting vehicle (in planning) provide world-class mobility and lethality, but the ability to deliver these assets across the shore is yet to be fully tested. Likewise, much time and expense will be required to translate the commitment to joint command and control into the complex systems that will underpin it. Greater integration with coalition partners and the Royal Australian Air Force also is vital, as is proofing against emerging threats and threat tactics. Some of these questions will be addressed during future exercises; others will take longer to resolve. However, Australia can now claim to be the premier amphibious force in the South Pacific.

1. National Security Strategy of the United States of America, December 2017.
2. See Russell Parkin, “Sailors and Seaborne Soldiers in the Defence of Australia, 1914–2001,” in John Reeve and David Stevens, The Face of Naval Battle: The Human Experience of War at Sea (Crows Nest, New South Wales: Allen and Unwin, 2003), 92–112.
3. See David Horner, “The Army, the Navy, and the Defence of Australia and the Empire, 1919–1939,” Chief of Army History Conference, Canberra, 2 October 2013.
4. “Defensive and Offensive Possibilities,” GHQ G-3 Journals & Files box 566 (no 1), April 1942–30 May 1943, Record Group 407 98-GHQ1-32, National Archives and Records Administration, College Park, Md.
5. Australian forces did serve at the Inchon landings but this was limited to naval support from HMAS Bataan and HMAS Warramunga participating in the blockade. Australian War Memorial, “Out in the Cold: Australia’s Involvement in the Korean War,” 20 March 2017.
6. Australian War Memorial, “Out in the Cold.”
7. Paul Dibb, Review of Australia’s Defence Capabilities (Canberra: Australian Government Publishing Service, 1986), 145. Michael Evans, “Unarmed Prophets: Amphibious Warfare in Australian Military Thought,” Journal of the Australian Naval Institute (January/March 1999): 14.
8. Peter J. Dean, “Amphibious Operations and the Evolution of Australian Defense Policy,” Naval War College Review 67, no. 4 (2014): 9.
9. LGEN Angus Campbell, AA, Address to the RAN’s Sea Power Conference, 6–8 October 2015.
10. See Australian Army, “Amphibious Capability.”
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[*] posted on 14-11-2019 at 06:34 PM


And yet here we are and not one of our ‘full realised’ amphibious ships can actually go into a combat zone...

Why the hell do we operate so light. Pure cheapness?




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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