Category Archives: Ground Forces

Mjölner

BAE Systems has received a contract modification from the Swedish Defence Materiel Administration (FMV) to build 20 additional CV90 mortar vehicles. The approximately $30 million contract has been awarded to the BAE Systems Swedish joint venture HB Utveckling AB, which combines BAE Systems’ Hägglunds and Bofors manufacturing capabilities. Production will be performed at BAE Systems Hägglunds in Örnsköldsvik, Sweden.

CV90 Mjölner
This new order for 20 additional CV90 mortar systems for the Swedish Army brings the total fleet to 80 vehicles, planned to be in service by 2025

«This new contract modification for additional mortar vehicles ensures that soldiers will benefit from this critical capability in the near future», said Tommy Gustafsson-Rask, managing director of BAE Systems Hägglunds. «We look forward to continuing to support the Swedish Army’s efforts to modernize and increase its combat power».

The original contract for 40 CV90 Mjölner systems was awarded in 2016, and deliveries of the systems started in 2019 and were completed on time in 2020. In February 2022, FMV awarded the first follow-on contract for 20 additional systems, as well as the upgrade of the 40 systems already in service, to bring them all to the same standard by integrating the Swedish Army’s new Command, Control, Communications, Computers & Intelligence (C4I) Lean Six Sigma (LSS) Mark system. Both FMV and BAE Systems have heralded this program as a benchmark for collaborative development.

Once the contract modification deliveries are completed in 2025, the Swedish Army will operate 80 CV90 mortar vehicles in its fleet. The vehicles, known as Granatkastarpansarbandvagn 90, provide critical indirect firepower capabilities in the mechanized brigades.

There are approximately 1,300 CV90s, in multiple variants, in service with Denmark, Estonia, Finland, Norway, Sweden, Switzerland, and the Netherlands. The vehicle has a combat-proven track record and is designed to accommodate future growth to meet evolving missions. More recently, both Slovakia and the Czech Republic have selected CV90 to replace their legacy infantry fighting vehicle fleets.

High-Power Microwave

Epirus has landed a contract from the Army’s Rapid Capabilities and Critical Technologies Office for prototypes of its Leonidas High-Power Microwave (HPM) system that can kill drones by zapping their electronics.

Leonidas HPM
Leonidas high-power microwave system (Image courtesy of Epirus)

The award, announced by the company Monday, January 23 2023, comes as the U.S. military is on the hunt for new capabilities to address the growing threat from adversaries’ Unmanned Aerial Vehicles (UAV).

The Leonidas system will support the Army’s Indirect Fire Protection Capability-High-Power Microwave Program.

«As part of the Other Transaction Authority, Epirus collaborates with the Rapid Capabilities & Critical Technologies Office (RCCTO) to rapidly deliver several prototype systems of Leonidas for $66.1 million in 2023 with options to acquire additional support services. Epirus plans to deliver and support prototypes of integrated HPM capability and, as part of the contract’s design, work with the RCCTO to transition Leonidas into a future program of record after successful demonstration of the prototypes», according to a company press release.

The Pentagon is keen on directed energy weapons for counter-UAV missions because they are less expensive to operate than more traditional air-defense systems that fire missiles – also known as “kinetic” interceptors” – and can engage more targets because they have deeper magazines and don’t require reloading.

«Time and time again, we’ve seen that current air defense systems are ill-equipped to tackle the threat of autonomous drone swarms. This contract with the RCCTO brings new counter-swarm capability to the UAS fight with our cost-effective, modular and upgradable Leonidas systems», Epirus CEO Ken Bedingfield said in a statement. «As the threat environment continues to evolve, so, too, will our capabilities, ensuring the U.S. Army is equipped with effective countermeasures to near-term and over-the-horizon electronic threats for decades to come».

The Leonidas «counter-electronics system» has «demonstrated lethality against a broad range of UAS and electronic systems and achieved swarm defeat at multiple U.S. Government-sponsored test events, outperforming six down-selected systems», per the release.

The latest iteration was unveiled in April 2022.

The Defense Department’s Joint Counter-Small Unmanned Aircraft Systems Office (JCO) conducted demonstrations of several high-power microwave weapons at Yuma Proving Ground, Arizona, last spring.

«The Epirus system was able to defeat targets in the range that is normally associated with what is currently in the field and has the promise to be a little bit more effective in the future», Michael DiGennaro, head of the test team for the JCO’s acquisition and resourcing division, told reporters after the event concluded.

Leonidas is equipped with solid-state Gallium Nitride (GaN) power amplifiers. Artificial intelligence-enabled GaN semiconductors enable high levels of power density without special cooling tech, according to Epirus.

«The system is frequency agile and rapidly fires a barrage of unique waveforms to exploit the specific frequencies that UAS targets are most susceptible to. This enables tactically relevant counter-swarm ranges beyond small arms fire, even against diverse swarms», according to a product datasheet.

Epirus is touting the weapon’s accuracy and targeting flexibility aided by “digital beamforming.”

«Digital beamforming enables pinpoint accuracy so that operators disable threats … and nothing else», according to the datasheet, which says the technology can enable «programmable no-fly zones» where enemy drones can be targeted but friendly UAS can operate unscathed.

The system can be mounted on vehicles – including Army Strykers – or towed, and the weapon can be used “within minutes” after powering up. It also includes line-replaceable amplifier modules that can be serviced or replaced in under eight minutes, according to Epirus.

Directed Energy Interceptor

Lockheed Martin achieved first light from the Directed Energy Interceptor for Maneuver Short-Range Air Defense System (DEIMOS) system, which verifies that the laser’s optical performance parameters align with the system design parameters.

DEIMOS
Lockheed Martin Achieves First Light in Latest Laser Lab Demonstration

Lockheed Martin’s 50 kW-class DEIMOS system is a ruggedized, tactical laser weapon system that can be integrated into the Stryker combat vehicle to deliver robust directed energy capability to the U.S. Army’s challenging Maneuver-SHort Range Air Defense (M-SHORAD) mission.

«The 50 kW-class laser weapon system brings another critical piece to help ensure the U.S. Army has a layered air defense capability», said Rick Cordaro, vice president, Lockheed Martin Advanced Product Solutions. «DEIMOS has been tailored from our prior laser weapon successes to affordably meet the Army’s larger modernization strategy for air and missile defense and to improve mission success with 21st Century Security solutions».

 

Why It Matters

Lockheed Martin’s DEIMOS first light demonstration is a crucial milestone along the path to helping the Army perform its DE M-SHORAD mission, which is intended to deliver a maneuverable laser system capable of negating unmanned aerial systems, rotary-wing aircraft and rockets, artillery and mortars.

First light measures the expected beam quality of the system while testing end-to-end performance of our game-changing, low-cost Spectral Beam Combination (SBC) architecture. The key benefit of the company’s SBC is that power can be scaled while retaining the excellent beam quality of the individual fiber lasers.

In 2022, Lockheed Martin demonstrated Layered Laser Defense (LLD) capability by defeating two surrogate cruise missiles at tactically relevant ranges. This LLD capability:

  • Shares many common elements with the DEIMOS system architecture, such as allowing for a single operator to engage and destroy SHORAD targets.
  • Can be seamlessly integrated into various platforms.
  • Can fit on tactical platforms such as a Stryker vehicle because it was designed with constraints in terms of Size, Weight and Power (SWaP).

 

What’s Next

Utilizing a philosophy of «build a little, test a little, learn a lot», Lockheed Martin will expand the DEIMOS test program in 2023, culminating with field integration tests in 2024. This thorough approach is designed to reduce risk, to enable soldier touchpoints and to provide proof points of compelling mission capabilities.

The Army’s Rapid Capabilities and Critical Technologies Office (RCCTO) is leading the DE M-SHORAD prototyping effort and is expected to transition the program to the Program Executive Office (PEO) Missiles & Space in 2024.

A record year

The French and Lithuanian Defense ministers signed a technical arrangement for cooperation in the artillery field, including an order for 18 CAESAR 6X6 MkII for the Lithuanian Armed Forces.

CAESAR 6X6 MkII
A record year for CAESAR orders

The Czech Republic ordered 10 CAESAR 8X8 to complete the 52 systems ordered in 2021.

These contracts bring to 55 the number of CAESAR in all versions ordered in 2022 by 4 Nexter customers.

The CAESAR 6X6 MkII is a new version of the truck equipped with a 155-mm artillery system. The development of this version was ordered in 2021 by the French Defense Procurement Agency (DGA) for the needs of the French Army. It combines a new chassis designed by Arquus, a better protected cabin and the artillery system of the version already in service.

 

CAESAR to achieve commercial success in 2022

In 2022, the artillery system designed and manufactured by Nexter has gone through several successes: the DGA has ordered 18 CAESAR 6X6 MkI, which will replenish the French Army’s fleet following the transfers to the Ukrainian Army. The Czech Republic has acquired 10 CAESAR 8X8 to complement its 2021 order for 52 systems.

Nexter has contracted in 2022 with two new user countries: Belgium and Lithuania have ordered 9 and 18 CAESAR 6X6 MkII respectively. The development of this new version was launched in December 2021 by France. Its entry into service is planned for 2026. For its national configuration, Lithuania will actively participate in the development phase of its 18 systems.

 

A new chassis for more mobility and protection

The main improvements of the CAESAR 6X6 MkII concern crew protection and mobility. Mobility has been greatly enhanced by a more powerful engine (460 hp compared to 215 hp previously), a new automatic gearbox and a new generation chassis. This chassis is coupled with a STANAG level 2 armoured cabin against ballistic projectiles and mines and IEDs. Finally, the CAESAR MkII benefits from the same strategic mobility as the CAESAR MkI as it is air transportable in an A400M Atlas transport aircraft.

 

Combat-proven artillery

The CAESAR MkII is equipped with the same 155-mm/52 calibers gun as the CAESAR MkI, combined with new fire control software. Combat proven in multiple theatres of operation, the CAESAR allows a rate of fire of 6 rounds per minute and accurate fire at over 40 km/25 miles. Its reliability and efficiency make it the ideal tool for high-intensity warfare.

50 renovated Leclerc

On 29 December 2022, the French Defense Procurement Agency (DGA) awarded Nexter an order for 50 renovated Leclerc tanks (XLR);

  • Industrial qualification tests are continuing in close collaboration with the DGA and the French army;
  • A first prototype tank was delivered to the DGA at the end of 2022, and the first 18 operational tanks will be delivered to the Army in 2023, in accordance with the schedule of the renovation contract awarded to Nexter on 1 June 2021.
Leclerc (XLR)
Nexter has been awarded a new order for renovated Leclerc tanks

A renovated tank integrated into the SCORPION collaborative warfare system

The first objective of this renovation is to integrate the Leclerc main battle tank, known as “XLR”, into the SCORPION collaborative warfare system with a new Combat Information System (SICS). The XLR is equipped with the CONTACT radio and the vetronics common to SCORPION vehicles. In addition, its protection and aggression capabilities are raised to the highest level, thanks to:

  • Enhanced protection against mines and rockets;
  • The addition of a 7.62-mm remotely operated turret for urban combat;
  • The development of a new fire control system with the ability to fire ammunition with a programmable effect or trigger.

The Leclerc tank, operational since 1993

The Leclerc main battle tank has been deployed by the French Army in overseas operations in Lebanon, Estonia and very recently in Romania. Nexter has been maintaining it in operational condition in the Army’s training parks since the implementation of a vertical support contract in 2010.

The Leclerc tank is a 3rd generation 60-ton class tank, manufactured by Nexter in Roanne until July 2008. Its crew is composed of 3 operators: the tank commander, the gunner and the pilot. It is armed with a 120-mm smoothbore gun and a 12.7-mm coaxial machine gun. 200 Leclerc tanks will be renovated for the Army by 2029.

Amphibious Vehicles

Iveco Defence Vehicles (IDV) will be supplying 36 Amphibious Armoured Vehicles (VBA) Personnel Carrier to the Italian Navy. IDV’s state-of-the-art amphibious vehicles will reinforce the fleet of San Marco Marina Brigade (BMSM) and will effectively increase the Sea Projection National Capability.

Amphibious Armoured Vehicles (VBA)
The Italian Navy orders 36 IDV Amphibious Armoured Vehicles (VBA)

On December 22nd, the Directorate of Land Armaments signed a contract with IDV for the supply of 36 Amphibious Armoured Vehicles (VBA) to the Italian Navy. The contract comes as part of the program to renew and extend the vehicles’ fleet for National Defence, aimed at increasing the Sea Projection National Capability of the Italian Navy. The VBA is an 8×8 all-terrain vehicle, capable of being launched and recovered from an amphibious vessel in open ocean and offering at the same time excellent mobility and high-level ballistic, anti-mine and anti-IED (Improvised Explosive Devices) protection.

The 700HP/515 kW FPT Cursor 16 engine, combined with an automatic 7-speed gearbox and an H-driveline, derived from the Centauro and the VBM Freccia, provides the VBA with a maximum on-road speed of 65 mph/105 km/h, while the two rear-mounted hydraulic propellers guarantee the navigation beyond “Sea State 3” and a top speed of 6 knots/7 mph/11 km/h. The platform is equipped with a HITROLE Light remote turret, supplied by Leonardo, with a 12.7-mm calibre weapon and latest generation Command, Control, Communications and Computers (C4) systems.

The VBA for the Italian Navy is based on the SUPERAV 8×8, the amphibious vehicle platform used for the U.S. Marine Corps’ ACV (Amphibious Combat Vehicle), which is provided in partnership with BAE Systems.

Rocket Motor Production

Northrop Grumman Corporation will assume production of rocket motors for the U.S. Army’s Guided Multiple Launch Rocket System (GMLRS), fulfilling the full contract production quantity. The company recently delivered its 15,000th rocket motor and 20,000th warhead to Lockheed Martin for final assembly.

GMLRS
Northrop Grumman will assume production of rocket motors for the U.S. Army’s Guided Multiple Launch Rocket System (GMLRS) (Photo credit: Lockheed Martin)

«We are proactively investing in production facilities and technologies in support of producing even higher rates of rocket motors faster and more affordably to meet our customer’s anticipated demand», said Jim Kalberer, vice president of missile products, Northrop Grumman. «We are leveraging our capacity and modern manufacturing facilities to deliver critical military needs».

The propulsion system, once delivered to Lockheed Martin’s Camden, Arkansas, final assembly facility, will be integrated into GMLRS missiles – a ballistic rocket designed to engage targets from 15 to 70 kilometers/9.3 to 43.5 miles. Northrop Grumman’s safety enhancing insensitive munition provides the system structural integrity under extreme conditions such as heat, shock and adjacent detonations. The ignition safety device further improves the weapon system’s safety characteristics by preventing unwanted combustion.

«Northrop Grumman is a trusted supplier of GMLRS rocket motors with robust manufacturing capacity to meet the demands of our customer», said Jay Price, vice president of Precision Fires for Lockheed Martin.

Northrop Grumman designed and constructed a purpose-built manufacturing facility at the Allegany Ballistics Laboratory in Rocket Center, West Virginia, using lean manufacturing and digital engineering techniques which enables a robust and resilient Defense Industrial Base. The facility provides for the efficient design, development and production of this critical weapon system component.

Hulls for the IDF

Oshkosh Defense, a wholly-owned subsidiary of Oshkosh Corporation, announced on January 6, 2023 that the Israeli Ministry of Defense (IMOD) has selected Oshkosh Defense to produce the Armored Personnel Carrier (APC) hulls for the Israeli Defense Forces.

Eitan APC
Oshkosh Defense selected to produce Eitan Armored Personnel Carrier hulls for the Israeli Ministry of Defense

As part of this contract, valued at over $100 million, Oshkosh Defense will build hundreds of Eitan APC main hulls.

«Oshkosh Defense continues to enhance our innovative manufacturing processes to deliver world class vehicles and mobility systems», said Pat Williams, Chief Program Officer, Oshkosh Defense. «The Eitan APC contract is just another example of our ability to leverage leading edge technology to provide our customers advanced combat vehicle solutions».

The Eitan APC award expands Oshkosh’s portfolio of two recent adjacent market wins achieved by Oshkosh – the Stryker Medium Caliber Weapons System (MCWS) and Optionally Manned Fighting Vehicle (OMFV).

  • MCWS: In June 2021, Oshkosh Defense was awarded a $942.9M contract to integrate a 30-mm Medium Caliber Weapon System (MCWS) onto the Stryker Double V Hull Infantry Carrier Vehicle (ICVVA1). This upgrade will provide precision lethality capability to the Army’s Stryker Brigade Combat Team (SBCT).
  • OMFV: In July 2021, the U.S. Army selected Oshkosh Defense to participate in the Optionally Manned Fighting Vehicle (OMFV) Concept Design Phase 2 contract. In November 2022, Oshkosh submitted its proposal for Phase 3 Detail Design and Phase 4: Prototype Build and Test of the OMFV program. A down select of up to three awards is expected to occur in the second quarter of 2023.

«We are honored to have been selected by the Israeli Ministry of Defense to build the Eitan APC hull», said John Lazar, Vice President of International, Oshkosh Defense. «We’ve worked with IMOD on a multitude of programs for more than a decade, and we look forward to demonstrating our continued commitment to this partnership».

Production will begin in 2023 and the first hulls will arrive in Israel within 18 months.

Bradley Fighting Vehicle

The United States Department of Defense (DOD) will be delivering Bradley fighting vehicles to Ukraine in the near future, White House officials said on January 5, 2023.

Bradley IFV
A Bradley fighting vehicle at Fort Irwin, California, April 19, 2014

Pentagon Press Secretary Air Force Brigadier General Pat Ryder said the Bradleys are part of a larger shipment of equipment to Ukraine that will be announced later.

The Bradleys are armored vehicles that can transport infantry in combat zones. They have both offensive and defensive capabilities and provide «a level of firepower and armor that will bring advantages on the battlefield as the Ukrainian military continues to defend their homeland», Ryder said during a news conference.

Russia invaded Ukraine on February 24, 2022, expecting a quick victory against the smaller country. The Ukrainian military punched well above their weight and stopping Russian pincers aimed at Kyiv, Ukraine’s capital. The United States and partner nations have supplied the Ukrainian military with the capabilities it needs to turn back the invaders including anti-armor capabilities, air defense equipment, armored vehicles, ammunition, supplies and much, much more.

Ukrainian soldiers must learn how to use the vehicles and maintain them, and Ryder said this will be part of the training that Ukrainian soldiers receive from U.S. and partner nations.

Russian President Vladimir Putin proposed a ceasefire to celebrate Orthodox Christmas, January 7, but there is skepticism about the Russians honoring the ceasefire.

«Understandably, I think that there’s significant skepticism both here in the U.S. and around the world right now given Russia’s long track record of propaganda, disinformation and its relentless attacks against Ukrainian cities and civilians», Ryder said. «If Russia was truly interested in ceasing the violence and the bloodshed that they have brought to Ukraine’s people, they would pull out of Ukraine immediately».

«While Russia seems to be pretty good at exporting violence, they don’t seem to be pretty good at exporting the truth», Ryder said.

JLTV International

Oshkosh Defense, LLC, an Oshkosh Corporation company, announced on January 3, 2023 that the U.S. Army Contracting Command – Detroit Arsenal has placed a $102 Million order for Joint Light Tactical Vehicles (JLTVs).

JLTV International
Oshkosh Defense receives $102 million order to supply JLTVs to international allies

JLTVs will be delivered to Romania, Lithuania, North Macedonia, Brazil, and Montenegro.

NATO, Allied and Collation partners continue to leverage the JLTV’s superior mobility, proven protection, unmatched reliability, and interoperability for their Light Tactical Vehicle solution. To date, seven international customers have ordered or committed to this exceptional capability.

«We are committed to supporting our international allies in protecting their Warfighters and strengthening their capabilities while improving interoperability with the U.S. Military», said John Lazar, Vice President, International for Oshkosh Defense. «Lithuania recently received its second delivery of Oshkosh Defense JLTVs, and by the end of 2024, they will have a fleet of 500 JLTVs».