Category Archives: Ground Forces

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».

$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.

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.

Arctic strategy

The Army is currently conducting a gap analysis as part of its new Arctic strategy to identify if any new equipment or training sites will be needed or expanded to prepare Soldiers for upcoming missions in extreme cold weather.

509th Parachute Infantry Regiment
Paratroopers from the 509th Parachute Infantry Regiment attack the Combined Arms Collective Training Facility in the Donnelly Training Area, Alaska, February 11, 2021, as part of the Arctic Warrior exercise. The Army is currently conducting a gap analysis as part of its new Arctic strategy to identify if any new equipment or training sites will be needed or expanded to prepare Soldiers for upcoming missions in extreme cold weather (John Pennell)

Army leaders recently announced the release of an Arctic strategy, which outlines how the service will support the Defense Department’s Arctic strategy published in 2019. It also discusses how Soldiers and units will be able to regain cold weather capabilities after years of counterinsurgency operations in the Middle East.

Last month, Army officials carried out a gap analysis during the Arctic Warrior exercise in Alaska that examined any shortfalls of equipment required for the harsh region, said Colonel J.P. Clark, chief of the strategy division within the Army G-3/5/7.

Some equipment needs may be addressed in the next presidential budget, while long-term efforts, such as creating a multi-domain task force for the region, may take years to manifest, he said Wednesday during a media roundtable.

While there are no current plans to station more Soldiers in Alaska, a decision on that could occur within a year. About 11,600 Soldiers now serve in Alaska, which has the majority of permanent Army forces in the Arctic and sub-Arctic areas.

«Those options are being worked for the Army senior leaders and we expect there will be an announcement for that probably later this year or even next», he said.

The strategy will also dig deeper on if training sites in Alaska, including the Northern Warfare Training Center, should be modified to meet requirements.

«There are a number of training areas that provide a great opportunity to do this training in Alaska», said Elizabeth Felling, a strategic planner in the Army G-3/5/7. «The Northern Warfare Training Center is the proponent for cold region training for the Army. How we utilize those training areas is something we’re really going to be looking at».

Much of the training will be based on survival skills and being able to operate in one of the most extreme climates in the world, Clark said.

«We want every Soldier who is assigned to an arctic-capable unit to have those basic capabilities», he said.

The Army can also lean on its partnerships to better prepare its units for this type of warfare.

«This is where we can gain a lot from our allies and partners», Clark said. The «Canadians, Norwegians and Swedes have very impressive capabilities on how they build a unit to fight and win in this region».

While subzero temperatures may impact operations, Soldiers can also face other challenges during missions.

«We tend to kind of gravitate towards the extreme cold weather, but actually a lot of what we hear, in terms of mobility, it’s the summer months that are actually the most difficult», Clark said.

When frozen, waterways can be used as logistical routes for ground vehicles, especially due to the lack of roads in remote parts of Alaska. Those routes can then disappear when the weather warms up.

The high latitudes of the region can also affect satellite coverage. «That is an underserved area for some of the space support that we depend on», he said.

The north magnetic pole could even limit certain electronic items that may otherwise work elsewhere, he said, adding the Army plans to work with other military branches to find solutions.

Arctic-capable formations could also train with partners in mountainous parts of the world, Felling said.

«When they’re properly trained and equipped, we can ensure an arctic-capable formation is ready to meet the demands of our geographic combatant commanders around the globe, wherever those may be», she said.

Artillery systems

The 405th Army Field Support Brigade’s (AFSB’s) Army Field Support Battalion-Mannheim received about three dozen next-generation M109A7 Paladin Artillery Systems and M992A3 Field Artillery Ammunition Support Vehicles by railhead at Coleman Barracks, March 4.

Paladin M109A7
Unloading the three dozen next-generation M109A7 Paladin Artillery Systems and M992A3 Field Artillery Ammunition Support Vehicles from the trains and moving them to the Army Prepositioned Stock-2 Coleman worksite was a joint effort between multiple teams, led by the 405th Army Field Support Brigade’s Army Field Support Battalion-Mannheim (Photo Credit: U.S. Army courtesy photo)

These new armored vehicles, now a part of the 405th AFSB’s Army Prepositioned Stock-2 Program at Coleman worksite, will enhance U.S. Army Europe and Africa’s readiness and capability to support the warfighter while simultaneously promoting stability and security in the region.

These enhanced self-propelled artillery systems offer key fire-support for a variety of combat missions conducted by the Army’s Armored Brigade Combat Teams in conventional, hybrid, irregular and counterinsurgency combat environments.

Jason Todd, a logistics management specialist at Coleman worksite, AFSBn-Mannheim, said the work of unloading the new self-propelled howitzers from the trains and moving them to the APS-2 site was a joint effort between multiple teams at Coleman Barracks.

«The railhead operation successfully moved the newly acquired pieces and subsequent containers in a joint effort, smoothly and effectively», Todd said, «Project Management Self-Propelled Howitzer System personnel driving the vehicles, Amentum providing command of the railhead and support personnel for ground guiding, staging and refueling, with oversight from the AFSBn-Mannheim Coleman worksite team».

The APS-2 site at Mannheim could not support USAREUR-AF’s (U.S. Army Europe and Africa) readiness mission without the total team – more than 800 dedicated and highly-skilled maintainers, mechanics and staff personnel, said Thomas Esposito, the director of Coleman worksite, AFSBn-Mannheim.

Here at the Coleman worksite, AFSBn-Mannheim’s primary mission is the storage and maintenance of one ABCT’s (Armored Brigade Combat Team) worth of vehicles and equipment – over 500 pieces, such as M1 Abrams tanks, M2 Bradley fighting vehicles, self-propelled howitzers, staff tracked vehicles, armored personnel carriers and more, Esposito said.

«Our regular business is the maintenance and storage and accountability, thereof», said Esposito. «We maintain this ABCT – forward – ready to issue to an active duty unit in the event of a requirement here in theater. We are also able to issue forward, as we demonstrated during DEFENDER-Europe 20».

The 405th AFSB is assigned to U.S. Army Sustainment Command and under the operational control of the 21st Theater Sustainment Command, USAREUR-AF. The brigade is headquartered in Kaiserslautern, Germany, and provides materiel enterprise support to U.S. Forces throughout Europe and Africa – providing theater sustainment logistics; synchronizing acquisition, logistics and technology; and leveraging the U.S. Army Materiel Command materiel enterprise to support joint forces.

Command variant ACV

BAE Systems has handed over the first of a new variant of the Amphibious Combat Vehicle to the U.S. Marine Corps for testing.

First Command Variant for ACV program delivered to Marines for testing

The Command variant (ACV-C) is designed to provide the highest levels of communications, coordination, and analysis on the battlefield to support command and control.

BAE Systems is under contract to deliver two variants to the Marine Corps under the ACV Family of Vehicles program: the ACV Personnel carrier (ACV-P) and the ACV-C. A 30-mm cannon (ACV-30) is currently under contract for design and development and a recovery variant (ACV-R) is also planned.

The ACV-C employs multiple work stations for Marines to maintain and manage situational awareness in the battle space. The work stations access independent networks for advanced digital communications while on the move. This capability supports immediate information synchronization in the application of combat power.

«This ACV’s base design for payload makes it a uniquely adaptable platform for the integration of numerous mission capability sets», said John Swift, director of amphibious programs at BAE Systems. «The delivery of the first ACV-C for testing is significant as it provides Marines with advanced operational control for defeating adversaries. Marines will be able to quickly receive and analyze data, coordinate battlefield functions, and transmit information to provide terminal mission control rapidly from the mobile protected ACV-C».

The ACV platform was designed to grow and adapt to mission needs, allowing space for new capabilities as technology evolves such as turreted, reconnaissance, electronic warfare, anti-air, and Unmanned Aircraft Systems (UAS) systems integration.

The Marine Corps and BAE Systems entered full-rate production on the ACV program with a contract award in December, achieving its most significant milestone to date along with the Marine Corps’ decision to declare Initial Operational Capability (IOC). Work is currently underway on the ACV-30 variant.

ACV production and support is taking place at BAE Systems locations in Stafford, Virginia; San Jose, California; Sterling Heights, Michigan; Aiken, South Carolina; and York, Pennsylvania.

Protection System

Lockheed Martin will soon begin supporting formal integration and testing of the U.S. Army’s combat vehicle protection system intended to keep warfighters safer and more secure from battlefield threats.

Modular Active Protection System (MAPS)
U.S. Army Selects Lockheed Martin To Integrate and Test Combat Vehicle Protection System

Under the terms of a recent contract, the company will provide its Modular Active Protection System (MAPS) base kit, which includes an open-architecture processor that integrates vehicle sensors and countermeasures in a common framework to detect, track and defeat rocket-propelled grenades and anti-tank guided missiles.

«Lockheed Martin partnered with the U.S. Army in 2014 to develop MAPS as a safe and secure vehicle defense system that protects warfighters from a variety of anti-armor threats», said David Rohall, program manager for Advanced Ground Vehicle Systems at Lockheed Martin. «Since then, the MAPS base kit has proven itself in multiple live-fire demonstrations. We’re ready to support integration and testing on a variety of Army combat vehicles, the final step before the Army makes a formal decision on fielding this capability».

Under the 36-month contract, Lockheed Martin will deliver five production-ready base kits with an option for up to 20, and support Army integration and testing on Abrams, Armored Multi-Purpose Vehicle, Bradley and Stryker vehicles. The contract also covers developing base kit support for vehicle protection capabilities beyond active protection, such as underbelly blast protection.

Lockheed Martin’s MAPS base kit supports the rapid integration of MAPS-compliant sensors and countermeasures. It is designed to protect current combat vehicles and support future vehicle protection system capabilities.

10,000th JLTV

Oshkosh Defense, LLC, an Oshkosh Corporation company, announced on February 9, 2021 that the company recently produced the 10,000th Joint Light Tactical Vehicle (JLTV).

Oshkosh Defense Celebrates Production of the 10,000th JLTV

This significant milestone represents over a decade of proprietary experience in designing, building, and delivering the world’s most capable light tactical vehicle. Since the program was awarded to Oshkosh Defense in August 2015, the company has built a robust, dependable supply chain; optimized its manufacturing process and maximized efficiencies; and provided JLTVs at a contractual price substantially lower than the Government cost estimate.

«This milestone is a true testament to the pride and dedication that our team members have in the JLTV program which has become a central piece of the U.S. military’s ground force», said George Mansfield, Vice President and General Manager of Joint Programs for Oshkosh Defense. «Producing the 10,000th JLTV in under five years is further evidence of our ability to meet the demands of our domestic and international customers by providing the world’s most capable light tactical vehicle at a great price. We’re excited to continue working with our military customer to further refine and expand the platform».

To date, Oshkosh Defense has received orders for 18,126 JLTVs for a total contract value over $6 Billion. Over 6,500 of those vehicles have been fielded with Warfighters around the globe, including over 30 U.S. and international military installations.

International interest in the Oshkosh Defense JLTV also continues to grow. Oshkosh Defense has received orders or commitments from seven NATO and non-NATO allies including United Kingdom, Belgium, Montenegro, Slovenia, Lithuania, Brazil, and North Macedonia.

Evolution to Austria

The Austrian Ministry of Defense awarded a contract on October 30, 2020 to General Dynamics European Land Systems-Steyr (GDELS-Steyr) for the delivery of 30 Pandur 6×6 Evolution (Evo) wheeled armored vehicles. The new vehicles are designed as Armored Personnel Carriers (APCs) and can be quickly converted into other roles such as CASEVAC (casualty evacuation) due to their modular design.

Pandur 6×6 Evolution
GDELS awarded a contract for the delivery of Pandur 6×6 Evolution to Austria

In addition to the 34 vehicles purchased in 2016 and based in the center of excellence at the Jägerbataillon 17 in Straß/Styria, the Austrian Armed Forces will operate a fleet of 64 new Pandur 6×6 Evo. Deliveries will be made in 2022 and 2023.

Since 1996, the Pandur has successfully served in domestic and international peacekeeping missions. The significantly modernized version of the Pandur MTPzUN, the Pandur Evo, offers an unmatched compact vehicle design with a crew of 11 soldiers, superior mobility, and a significantly increased level of protection against mines and IED threats. The vehicles will be completely manufactured in Austria benefiting the local economy and securing hundreds of skilled jobs. More than 200 suppliers, mainly SMEs, are involved in this program.

«We are very proud that we have been awarded this important contract. The cooperation with the Austrian Armed Forces is excellent and underlines the great satisfaction with our products. In addition, this order secures hundreds of high-tech jobs due to the Austrian added value», explains Martin Reischer, Managing Director of GDELS-Steyr. «We would like to thank the Austrian Armed Forces very much for their high confidence in us and our vehicle systems. Austria is one of our home-markets and as a reliable partner, we are fully committed to deliver these vehicles on cost, quality, and schedule», Dr. Thomas Kauffmann, GDELS Vice President for International Business & Services, added.

OpFires Phase 3b

DARPA’s (Defense Advanced Research Projects Agency) Operational Fires (OpFires) program, which is developing a ground-launched intermediate-range hypersonic weapons system, is advancing to a new phase. Phase 3b will involve full-scale missile fabrication, assembly, and flight testing from a launch vehicle. Lockheed Martin Missiles and Fire Control was awarded this new contract modification after leading a successful Phase 3a integrated system preliminary design review that resulted in a comprehensive design and test plan.

Computer model of OpFires missile

«The objectives of DARPA’s OpFires program remain unchanged. The system design that Lockheed is developing continues to achieve the desired tactical mobility and system performance in line with the Department of Defense’s push to deliver an intermediate-range surface-to-surface missile», said Lieutenant Colonel Joshua Stults, the DARPA program manager for OpFires in DARPA’s Tactical Technology Office.

OpFires aims to demonstrate a novel system enabling hypersonic boost glide weapons to rapidly and precisely engage critical, time-sensitive targets while penetrating modern enemy air defenses. The program is developing an advanced booster capable of delivering a variety of payloads at multiple ranges and compatible mobile ground launch platforms that can be rapidly deployed.