Cold Weather Vehicle

Oshkosh Defense, LLC, an Oshkosh Corporation company, announced on April 5, 2021, that the National Advanced Mobility Consortium (NAMC) has selected Oshkosh Defense and partner, ST Engineering, to participate in the prototype phase for the U.S. Army’s Cold Weather All-Terrain Vehicle (CATV).

Cold Weather All-Terrain Vehicle (CATV)
National Advanced Mobility Consortium (NAMC) selects Oshkosh Defense to produce new Cold Weather All-Terrain Vehicle (CATV) prototype

The CATV is a new program for a tracked vehicle that operates in extreme cold weather or arctic conditions and is designed to replace the Small Unit Support Vehicles (SUSVs) that have been in service since the early 1980s.

«Oshkosh Defense and ST Engineering bring together an abundance of defense industry and manufacturing expertise to address the U.S. Army’s need for a proven vehicle that can easily maneuver in arctic environments», said Pat Williams, vice president and general manager of U.S. Army and U.S. Marine Corps programs. «We are confident that the Oshkosh CATV will enable Soldiers to efficiently move personnel and supplies in the most extreme conditions, and we look forward to getting them into the hands of the end user for testing and evaluation».

The Oshkosh CATV is derived from the Bronco 3, a member of the proven, highly effective, and reliable Bronco Family of Vehicles (FoV) by ST Engineering which have been in service in various countries. The Bronco FoV has undergone more than 1,860 miles/2,993 km of performance testing in arctic conditions as well as over 200,000 miles/321,869 km in a theatre of operations on harsh desert terrain. The Oshkosh CATV prototypes will offer built-in mission modularity to accommodate a variety of configurations. A General Purpose vehicle, for example, can be used as a troop carrier, casualty evacuation (CASEVAC) or Command and Control vehicle and can be swapped from one configuration to another in the field within 30 minutes by a two-person crew.

«The new vehicle design will be built with the combined expertise of Oshkosh Defense and draws on the rich heritage of the Bronco family of vehicles, a proven, robust and versatile articulated platform which has been in operation since 2001», said Lee Shiang Long, President/Head, Land Systems, ST Engineering.

Oshkosh Defense and ST Engineering will deliver two prototypes – one General Purpose and one Cargo vehicle for testing and Soldier evaluation in Q3FY21. The prototypes will be evaluated on payload, mobility, crush resistance, swimming, and transportability. The U.S. Army has announced plans to issue a follow-on production contract for up to 200 CATVs in FY22.

ERCA project

Anniston Army Depot (ANAD) recently completed the modification of two cabs for the Army’s Extended Range Cannon Artillery (ERCA) project. The ERCA is a part of an Army modernization strategy aimed at improving combat weapons and vehicles.

Extended Range Cannon Artillery (ERCA)
Anniston Army Depot recently completed modification of two cabs for the extended range cannon artillery project. The cabs modified at ANAD will be used in final testing of the ERCA system (U.S. Army Photo by Mark Cleghorn)

According to Michael McCartney, maintenance management specialist, ANAD has been modifying cabs that will be used in the final testing for the ERCA, which is slated to be completed later this year. The project, in line with ANAD’s primary mission to support warfighters, ensures that Soldiers will have a more advanced and extensive artillery system.

«We took the M109A7 cab of the howitzer Paladin and updated it», McCartney said. «Essentially, we enlarged the area where the gun fits in order to accommodate the new, larger weapon».

ANAD’s mission to modify the equipment for the ERCA took close to 90 days per cab.

Modification involved multiple processes and several shops, including the machine shop, welding shop and paint shop. «The welding shop began the process by cutting out the cab. Then it ping-ponged between the welding and machine shop several times until the cab was ready to be blasted and painted», McCartney explained.

Precise blueprints were followed to ensure the cab met proper dimensions and specifications. Machinists also utilized a handheld coordinate measuring machine to check the dimensions of each component to verify accuracy.

«Checking these specifications is vital because each cut and weld needs to be solid in case Soldiers were to be fired upon in the field», said McCartney.

Shops were also tasked with modifying and fabricating nearly 50 subcomponents inside the cab. The components had to be reconfigured from the Paladin M109A7 cab to match the new XMR99 cab. These reconfigurations were completed by the supporting shops.

According to McCartney, ANAD’s prior experience fabricating parts and repairing paladins helped them to complete the work on the ERCA cab. «We’ve done great work on these types of vehicles in the past», McCartney said. «And when you do great work, engineers want to continue working with you».

Michael Rogers, division chief of the vehicle support division, reiterates the importance of the work. «This project not only strengthens our partnerships but it helps the Army’s mission of modernizing its fleet of combat vehicles for Soldiers», he said. «We’ve been working on the process from prototype all the way to the finished product. And our workforce has done great work».

FDI frigates

On March 29, 2021, during a visit to Lorient of the French Minister of the Armed Forces, Florence Parly, Naval Group received notification of the order for two Frégate de Défense et d’Intervention (FDI) frigates by the French Defense Procurement Agency (DGA). The acceleration of the FDI program will support the activity of the Naval Group site in Lorient where the frigates are designed and built, also ensuring the preservation of skills.

Frégate de Défense et d'Intervention (FDI)
The French Ministry of the Armed forces accelerates the FDI frigates program and supports Naval Group’s activity in Lorient

The two frigates – the second (Admiral Louzeau) and third (Admiral Castex) in a series of five – will both be delivered in 2025, whereas the original plan was to deliver them every 18 months.

The first FDI (Admiral Ronarc’h), for which construction work began in 2020, is scheduled for delivery in 2024.

Pierre Eric Pommellet, Chairman and CEO of Naval Group said: «We are honoured by the confidence of the Ministry of the Armed Forces. It is a strong message for local jobs and the preservation of our very unique skills, but also to international navies that could be interested in this frigate. We will mobilise all our industrial and technological excellence to meet the new deadlines».

With a tonnage of more than 4,200 tonnes and a length of 121 metres/397 feet, the FDI frigates are based on a digital and scalable architecture built around our SETIS 3.0 combat management system.

They can conduct all the missions of modern navies (anti-air, anti-surface, anti-submarine warfare or special forces projection) and address new threats such as cyber attacks and asymmetric threats.

The FDI also benefits from the best technologies available on the naval defence market, including the latest Thales multi-function radar with active antenna and fixed panels as well as a fully digital electronic warfare system.

Naval Group employs 2,200 people at its Lorient site, where it builds surface ships for its customers, including the FREMM multimission frigates and Gowind corvettes.

The second phase

Bell Textron Inc., a Textron Inc. company and the U.S. Army have agreed to terms on the execution of the second phase of the Competitive Demonstration and Risk Reduction (CD&RR) contract that was awarded in March 2020 for the Future Long-Range Assault Aircraft (FLRAA) program. This new contract is an important milestone and testament to the continued momentum for Army modernization. Bell’s flight-proven V-280 Valor design advances from an aircraft with transformational speed and survivability towards a low-risk weapons system ready to support joint combined arms and maneuver operations around the world.

Bell V-280 Valor
Bell is executing the second phase of a Competitive Demonstration and Risk Reduction contract to inform the imminent program of record competition for U.S. Army’s Future Long-Range Assault Aircraft (FLRAA)

«This is the next step to a program of record and Bell is proud to closely collaborate with the Army to transition our flight-proven V-280 Valor into a highly-capable and sustainable FLRAA weapons system», said Keith Flail, executive vice president, Advanced Vertical Lift Systems at Bell. «Bell and our Team Valor teammates continue to optimize our platform based on research, design, and thorough flight-testing of the aircraft to deliver an outstanding capability for the Army».

During phase one of the CD&RR, Bell provided detailed iterations on the V-280 design, data to highlight the feasibility of executing the program of record requirements, and executed trade studies using model-based systems engineering. This work will continue under phase two as the Army finalizes requirements for the program of record planned for 2022.

Bell has already safely delivered groundbreaking performance and successfully completed a rapid design, build, and test program with the V-280. Since its first flight in 2017, the V-280 team has executed a rigorous flight test program flying more than 200 hours through over 160 individual test flights that delivered critical data to validate Bell’s digital models and performance.

As the FLRAA competition moves to a program of record, Bell continues to take a holistic approach to transition the V-280 to a weapons system that ensures exceptional performance and is affordable throughout the lifecycle. From the outset, the Bell V-280 Valor was designed for efficiency – using simplified and inherently reliable designs, adhering to Army Modular Open Systems Approach (MOSA) requirements, reducing maintenance costs, and increasing reliability. Bell applied digital design and manufacturing technologies, included maintenance as part of the design process, and used emerging commercial processes to bring a comprehensive view of digital models, processing, and analysis. This methodology has reduced programmatic risk, improved lifecycle maintenance and servicing outcomes, increasing program affordability.

«This aircraft is not an engineering science project. The V-280 tiltrotor provides a critical and combat-proven capability needed to maintain our U.S. military’s ability to deter adversaries by radically improving over the current fleet’s speed, range, versatility, and sustainability. Our program has provided evidence that the V-280 is a transformational long-range assault aircraft solution for the Army and we are proud to move forward as a team to continue to mature the weapons system», said Ryan Ehinger, vice president and program director, FLRAA at Bell.

Over an 8-day period recently the Bell V-280 Valor team completed 5 hours of flight over 4 sorties; nearing 180 total flight hours and over 330 total operating hours

Submarine Hunters

The U.S. Navy today awarded Boeing a $1.6 billion production contract for the next 11 P-8A Poseidon aircraft. Nine aircraft will join the U.S. Navy fleet and two will go to the Royal Australian Air Force (RAAF), a cooperative partner in the P-8A joint program since 2009. The contract brings the total number of U.S. Navy P-8A Poseidon aircraft under contract to 128 and the RAAF total to 14.

P-8A Poseidon
A U.S. Navy P-8A Poseidon multi-mission maritime patrol aircraft flies near Mount Rainier in Washington state (Boeing photo)

«The P-8A Poseidon continues to be an invaluable asset and these additional aircraft will help deliver expanded maritime patrol and reconnaissance capabilities to the fleet», said Captain Eric Gardner, program manager for the U.S. Navy’s Maritime Patrol and Reconnaissance Program Office.

The P-8A Poseidon is a long-range anti-submarine and anti-surface warfare aircraft used by the U.S Navy. It’s vital for intelligence gathering, surveillance reconnaissance and search and rescue. Deployed around the world, with 103 aircraft in service and more than 300,000 flight-hours, the P-8’s performance and reliability delivers confidence to customers operating in an uncertain world.

«We continue to hear feedback from deployed Navy squadrons who tell us the P-8A Poseidon is exceeding expectations», said Stu Voboril, vice president and program manager for Boeing’s P-8A Poseidon program. «Our focus is on delivering the world’s best maritime patrol aircraft. That only happens when teams truly collaborate, listen and focus on customer priorities».

The P-8 Poseidon is militarized with maritime weapons, a modern open mission system architecture and commercial-like support for affordability. It’s the principal aircraft with the ability to detect and track submarines. The aircraft is modified to include a bomb bay and pylons for weapons. It has two weapons stations on each wing and can carry 129 sonobuoys. The aircraft is also fitted with an in-flight refueling system.

A military derivative of the Boeing 737 Next-Generation airplane, the P-8 Poseidon combines the most advanced weapon system in the world with the cost advantages of the most popular airliner on the planet. The P-8 Poseidon shares 86% commonality with the commercial 737NG, providing enormous supply chain economies of scale in production and support.

The P-8 Poseidon has two variants: The P-8I, flown by the Indian Navy, and the P-8A Poseidon, flown by the U.S. Navy, the Royal Australian Air Force and the United Kingdom’s Royal Air Force. The RAAF has acquired the Boeing aircraft through the Foreign Military Sales process and will receive a variant designed and produced for the U.S. Navy called the P-8A Poseidon.

 

Technical Specifications

Wing Span 123.6 feet/37.64 m
Height 42.1 feet/12.83 m
Length 129.5 feet/39.47 m
Propulsion 2 × CFM56-7B engines
27,000 lbs./12,237 kgf/120 kN thrust
Speed 490 knots/564 mph/908 km/h
Range 1,200 NM/1,381 miles/2,222 km with 4 hours on station
Ceiling 41,000 feet/12,496 m
Crew 9
Maximum Take-Off Gross Weight 189,200 lbs./85,820 kg

 

Sachsen-Anhalt

On March 30, 2021, ThyssenKrupp Marine Systems (TK MS) handed over the frigate Sachsen-Anhalt (F224) to the Federal Office of Bundeswehr Equipment, Information Technology and In-Service Support (BAAINBw) in Wilhelmshaven. It is the third of a total of four ships of the Type F125 which TK MS is building in the ARGE F125 consortium together with the Fr. Lürssen Shipyard.

Sachsen-Anhalt (F224)
ThyssenKrupp Marine Systems hands over frigate Sachsen-Anhalt (F224)

The ship was handed over to the BAAINBw, represented by the Head of the Acceptance Commission, Matthias Rohde and the responsible project manager at the BAAINBw, Marc Steffens, during a ceremony in Wilhelmshaven, which was kept small in view of the pandemic. On behalf of TK MS, Programme Manager Patrick Buggenthin signed the handover papers.

Chief Operating Officer Doctor Alexander Orellano, who was present, commented: «We have already delivered two ships that have since proven their technical capabilities. We are convinced that the third vessel, the Sachsen-Anhalt (F224), will also be successful. We wish her “fair winds and following seas”. Full operational readiness of all ships for the German Navy remains our most important goal. On behalf of all employees, I would like to express my gratitude for the trust placed in us. We look forward to continued good teamwork».

The last ship of the F125 series, the Rheinland-Pfalz (F225), is to be handed over this year.

The completely redesigned vessels of the Type F125 have highly complex systems and around 28,000 sensors that enable a very high degree of automation, making it possible to reduce the required number of crew members by about half compared to previous frigate classes. The ships can remain in the operational area for up to two years. Besides the traditional tasks of national and alliance defence, they are designed for conflict prevention and crisis management as well as for intervention and stabilization operations in an international context. In addition to the ability to engage targets both on land and on water, they are equipped with air defence systems and helicopters.

The contract for the construction of the four frigates became effective in June 2007. The concept, design and detailed design phases followed. Around 90 percent of the highly complex systems on board the F125 were developed specifically for this new type of ship.

ARGE F125 comprises ThyssenKrupp Marine Systems as the lead company together with the Bremen-based Lürssen shipyard. The pre-fitted bow sections were produced at the shipyards of the Lürssen Group in Bremen and in Wolgast on the Baltic Sea. Construction of the stern sections, the joining of the two vessel halves, further fitting-out, commissioning and testing all took place at the Lürssen location Blohm+Voss in Hamburg.

 

Principal data of the F125

Length 489 feet/149 m
Beam 59 feet/18 m
Maximum speed 26 knots/30 mph/48 km/h
Displacement approximately 7,200 t
Complement maximum 190 (of which 126 are regular crew)

 

$1 Billion Contract

Lockheed Martin received a $1.12 billion contract from the U.S. Army for Lot 16 production of Guided Multiple Launch Rocket System (GMLRS) rockets and associated equipment.

GMLRS
A Guided MLRS is fired from Lockheed Martin’s HIMARS launcher (Photo Courtesy: Lockheed Martin)

The contract calls for the production of more than 9,000 GMLRS Unitary and Alternative-Warhead (AW) rockets, more than 2,000 Low-Cost Reduced-Range Practice Rockets (RRPRs) and integrated logistics support for the U.S. Army, U.S. Marine Corps and international customers.

Work will be performed at the Lockheed Martin facilities in Camden, Arkansas; Dallas and Lufkin, Texas; and Ocala, Florida, and will be completed by September 2023.

«GMLRS’s versatile rounds provide proven capability, unmatched accuracy and are engineered for future needs in support of Joint All-Domain Operations (JADO)», said Gaylia Campbell, vice president of Precision Fires and Combat Maneuver Systems at Lockheed Martin Missiles and Fire Control. «GMLRS remains in high demand because it’s the right round for multiple types of missions. Our focus remains on producing the combat-proven, cost-effective GMLRS to meet our customers’ needs».

Recently, Lockheed Martin delivered the 50,000th GMLRS to the U.S. Army customer – a milestone that represents the unmatched legacy of precision fires excellence that continues to evolve alongside the 21st Century Warfighter.

GMLRS is an all-weather rocket designed for fast deployment that delivers precision strike beyond the reach of most conventional weapons. The munition is the primary round for the combat-proven Lockheed Martin produced High Mobility Artillery Rocket System (HIMARS) and MLRS family of launchers and features a Global Positioning System (GPS) aided inertial guidance package and small maneuvering canards on the rocket nose, which add maneuverability to enhance the accuracy of the system.

The GMLRS AW was developed to service area targets without the effects of unexploded ordinance. GMLRS unitary rockets provide precision strike for point targets, exceed the required combat reliability rate and are cost-effective. The Reduced-Range Practice Rocket allows users to train with realistic, full-motored rockets with limited flight range, making them ideal for smaller testing ranges.

Lockheed Martin is also developing the Extended Range (ER) GMLRS that will provide the same accuracy and reliability the munition is known for while significantly extending the range – reaching 150 kilometers/93 miles.

For more than 40 years, Lockheed Martin has been the leading designer and manufacturer of long-range, surface-to-surface precision strike solutions, providing highly reliable, combat-proven systems like MLRS, HIMARS, Army Tactical Missile System (ATACMS) and GMLRS to domestic and international customers.

Autonomous Vessel

The Royal Navy’s experimentation innovator NavyX has officially welcomed a new autonomous vessel into its service.

Madfox
This exciting work will help inform how systems are deployed, and employed, from future vessels of the Type 26 and Type 31 classes

Named Madfox (Maritime Demonstrator For Operational eXperimentation), it is derived from technology firm L3Harris’ Mast-13 vessel, which for the past 18 months has been operated by Defence Science and Technology Laboratory (Dstl) on a series of trials with the Royal Navy.

Since being delivered, NavyX has been working hard to get Madfox to sea and ready to begin a demanding year of testing.

Over the next few months, NavyX will carry on its work with Uncrewed Surface Vessel (USV), while also examining how these vessels can deliver across the range of military operations including surveillance and force protection.

Commander Antony Crabb, NavyX team leader, said: «With Madfox now directly in the hands of NavyX, the team will be able to explore a multitude of issues such as safety, regulatory compliance, new missions, new payloads and the role that a USV can play in complex operations and within the future fleet. Later this year NavyX will also accept an autonomous Rigid Inflatable Boat (RIB) into the inventory. This exciting work will help inform how systems are deployed, and employed, from future vessels of the Type 26 and Type 31 classes».

The investment in Madfox comes as the Royal Navy and Royal Marines look to expand their use of crewless and autonomous equipment.

Mast-13, proved the value of USVs during experimentation in Norway last year when it was successfully integrated with HMS Albion (L14) for Autonomous Advance Force 3.0. There it was controlled remotely, including for the transit in and out of the ship’s dock.

Autonomous vessel ready for operations

Multi Mission Vessel

On 25 March 2021, Damen Shipyards Cape Town (DSCT) launched the first of three Multi Mission Inshore Patrol Vessels (MMIPV) procured by ARMSCOR for the South African Navy (SAN).

Multi Mission Inshore Patrol Vessels (MMIPV)
DSCT launches SA Navy’s first Multi-Mission Inshore Patrol Vessel

The vessels will augment South Africa’s maritime security by enhancing the country’s capability to respond effectively, rapidly and cost-effectively to threats such as illegal trafficking and fishing.

DSCT Project Manager, Ian Stewart says the launch is an important milestone for the shipyard. «This is the culmination of three years of hard work by a dedicated team of people. Ultimately, more than one million man-hours of work will be invested in the construction of the three MMIPVs».

The more than 600-ton vessel was transported from the DSCT shipyard on the evening of 23 March 2021 to the Transnet National Ports Authority (TNPA) synchrolift at the Victoria & Alfred (V&A) Waterfront Basin. The move was conducted by Mammoet South Africa, using 48 axle lines of Self Propelled Mobile Transporters (SPMTs) to provide precision movement. Mammoet Project Manager, Uzayr Karimulla, says while moving the vessel at night meant less impact on traffic, the reduction in light came with its own challenges. «Through careful planning, close collaboration, and the teamwork between DSCT and Mammoet South Africa, our team made this move a success. We are very happy to have been part of the project, contributing to the advancement of safer waters in Southern Africa».

Once the vessel was raised onto the synchrolift, the team waited for high tide to come in before moving it out of the V&A Basin via TNPA tugs towards the Elliot Bason. The testing of the ship systems will now commence before the vessel will officially be delivered to ARMSCOR/SAN, before the end of the year.

The MMIPVs are built according to the patented Damen Axe Bow design, which ensures low resistance, high sustained speed in waves and superior sea keeping characteristics in the toughest conditions.

As vertical accelerations are reduced significantly and bow slamming almost eliminated, the safety of the vessel and crew increases considerably, reducing operational risks. The multi mission deck is used for supporting diving, search and rescue and anti-piracy operations.

DSCT HR & Transformation Manager, Eva Moloi, says DSCT is particularly proud of the many years it has invested in local South African skills transfer, training, and entrepreneurship development and collaboration, which have resulted in a strong South African pool of scarce trade skills and supplier partnerships.

«Our local skills transfer and Enterprise and Supplier Development (ESD) initiatives mean that we are not only contributing to the South African economy but ensuring that our local South African maritime market is less reliant on imports from international suppliers. DSCT fully supports the transfer of technology, inclusion of local companies in the execution projects, and stimulation of export transactions under the Defence Industrial Participation (DIP) programme, which particularly focuses on benefiting SMMEs, Military Veteran (MV) Owned Entities and Broad-Based Black Economic Empowerment (BBBEE) Compliant Entities. The partnerships formed during this project have led to the successful launch of the MMIPV. One can truly state that the MMIPVs have been built in South Africa, by South Africans for South Africa», she adds.

The engineering of the vessel commenced in 2018 and the keel was laid in February 2019. «Despite the COVID lockdown period, our local skills and partnerships, resilient production schedule and advanced planning capabilities of our Cape Town team, allowed the different subcontractors and teams to work on the vessel in a safe manner», notes Moloi.

Block V Tomahawk

The Navy received its first Block V configured Tomahawk missile from Raytheon March 25, paving the way to provide the fleet with an upgraded warfighting capability.

Block V Tomahawk Missile
A Block V Tomahawk off the recertification production line at Raytheon’s Camden, Arkansas facility in March 2021 (Photo courtesy of Raytheon)

These first Block V missiles are from the existing Tomahawk Block IV inventory, and have been recertified and modernized for fleet use.

«This is the next big advancement in Tomahawk capability, and a major achievement for the program», said Captain Red, program manager for the Tomahawk Weapons System program (PMA-280). «We’re focused now on delivering advanced capability to the fleet by recertifying and modernizing our Block IV inventory, and by contracting production Block V missiles».

Red spoke at a virtual ceremony March 25 to commemorate the event along with industry leaders. He noted over the last four decades the program has continued to upgrade Tomahawk’s capability and this marked the collaboration between Raytheon, supply chains, field activities and the program office.

Raytheon is conducting the mid-life recertification process at its Camden, Arkansas facility. The process replaces life-limited components in Block IV missiles to enable their remaining 15 years of service life, and provides the opportunity for the missiles to receive Block V modernizations. All Block IV missiles will undergo recertification and modernization.

Block V Tomahawk missiles feature a NAV/COMMs upgrade that maintains the capability for In-Flight Target Updates and Improved Navigation. Future Block V capabilities will add to the NAV/COMMs upgrade and include the Maritime Strike Tomahawk (MST) variant, designated as Block Va; and the Joint Multiple Effects Warhead System (JMEWS), designated as Block Vb.