Category Archives: Ground Forces

Tank upgrade

World-leading thermal imaging technology is being offered to the British Army as part of Team Challenger 2’s bid to upgrade the Army’s Main Battle Tank.

Team Challenger 2 offers world-leading, thermal imaging technology for Challenger 2 tank upgrade
Team Challenger 2 offers world-leading, thermal imaging technology for Challenger 2 tank upgrade

The technology, developed by Leonardo in the UK, forms part of the BAE Systems led bid to upgrade the tank and would for the first time bring independent night vision for both the gunner and the commander.

Also known as «electro-optic technology», the thermal imaging system will help British troops identify potential threats and move undetected in hostile situations, while also shaving valuable seconds off reaction times, which can make the difference between mission success and failure.

Instead of sensing light like a standard digital camera, Leonardo’s infrared camera senses heat emitted by all objects with temperatures greater than absolute zero (-273°C). The hundreds-of-thousands of individual pixels in the camera, each one-twelfth the thickness of a human hair, can detect temperature differences as small as one-fiftieth of a centigrade, allowing for extremely sharp images.

Simon Jackson, Campaign leader for Team Challenger 2 at BAE Systems said: «Leonardo’s sight brings to Team Challenger 2 the most capable night vision available. Combined with our engineering skills and knowledge of Challenger 2 – which we designed and built – we will work together to integrate Leonardo’s technology seamlessly into the tank, sharing data across crew stations and with battle management computers. Sighting is a vital element of a battle tank’s role and Leonardo’s sight will provide our troops with unparalleled 24-hour night-and-day visibility, giving them a long-range threat identification system that really makes the most of the tank’s firepower».

Mike Gilbert, SVP Optronics Systems UK at Leonardo, said: «Our thermal cameras – designed and built in the UK – can «see» in total darkness as far as the horizon, and the applications for this technology are endless – from helping improve our understanding of the natural world to improving the operational capabilities of the British Army’s Challenger 2 Main Battle Tank. Our infra-red technology plays a crucial role in supporting British troops in the most challenging environments and we’re pleased to be working alongside BAE Systems to offer this technology for Challenger 2, helping extend its life to 2035 and beyond».

The technology is already proven on other military platforms – such as the Royal Navy’s Queen Elizabeth Aircraft Carrier and the Royal Air Force’s Chinook fleet – but has wider applications, including being used by leading broadcasters to capture some of the most difficult shots possible for television.

In David Attenborough’s Planet Earth II documentary, cameras equipped with Leonardo’s technology allowed the filmmakers to capture the most detailed film ever seen of a leopard’s nocturnal hunt, down to the movement of individual hairs on its body. While in the fast-paced world of sport, the Hot Spot system used in international cricket incorporates Leonardo’s thermal imaging technology, helping umpires see whether a ball has struck the batsman, pad or ball, by looking for a temperature change caused by the friction of impact.

From a military standpoint, the thermal imaging system was previously used in Afghanistan to allow Chinook Helicopters to fly undetected through mountain valleys, even in poor weather conditions. It also brought the ability to detect, recognise and identify coalition troops or vehicles at a safe standoff range prior to entry into drop or landing zones.

Armored Truck

With its latest generation of tactical military trucks, CNH Industrial subsidiary Iveco Defence Vehicles is reconfirmed as a privileged supplier for the German Armed Forces.

Iveco Defence Vehicles delivers the hundredth Trakker GTF 8×8 to the Bundeswehr
Iveco Defence Vehicles delivers the hundredth Trakker GTF 8×8 to the Bundeswehr

The 100th Trakker of a total order of some 133 tactical military trucks has been delivered by Iveco Defence Vehicles to the German Bundeswehr, the German Armed Forces – represented by BAAINBw (Federal Office of Bundeswehr Equipment, Information Technology and In-Service Support). The handover ceremony was held at the Iveco Defence Vehicles’ site in Germany, Ulm, attended by military and Ministry of Defence representatives as well as industrial partners.

The 133 tactical military trucks, which are renowned for their high mobility capabilities and outstanding protection level, belong to a contract signed in 2015 as part of the German Army GTF (Geschützte Transportfahrzeuge) procurement programme, with delivery over four years.

The vehicles are equipped with a protected cab, which currently offers the highest levels of ballistic, mine and IED protection in five different configurations, including various types of ISO-containertransport body work, some with hydraulic crane and winch systems.

«This 100th vehicle seals the already strong relationship between Iveco Defence Vehicles and the German MoD, one of our most important customers», commented Vincenzo Giannelli, President & CEO of Iveco Defence Vehicles. «We are proud to continue providing best-in-class solutions to current and future requirements of the German Armed Forces, on the basis of a solid mutual trust and satisfaction built over the years through our German branch, which continues to stand out for the quality of services rendered to the customer».

Over the last decade, the company has delivered nearly 1,000 vehicles to the German Army from its wide product range, which have already been extensively fielded in operational areas such as Afghanistan and Mali. Recent contract awards with the Bundeswehr also include 280 Eurocargo 4×4 trucks to be delivered in 2018.

Latvian Carl Gustav

To strengthen the combat capabilities and ensure sufficient ammunition stock in the National Armed Forces, including the National Guard, Ministry of Defence ordered EUR 16.2 million worth of 84-mm calibre ammunition for Carl Gustav rocket launchers on 29 August.

Ministry of Defence orders Carl Gustav anti-tank recoilless rifle ammunition
Ministry of Defence orders Carl Gustav anti-tank recoilless rifle ammunition

First batches of ammunition will arrive in 2019.

According to an agreement signed by Ministry of Defence and Swedish Defence Procurement Agency (Swedish Defence Materiel Administration) earlier this year, Latvia has become a part of joint procurement of Carl Gustav anti-tank ammunition from SAAB Dynamics AB.

The agreement on Joint Carl Gustav anti-tank ammunition purchase is signed between Sweden, Estonia and Latvia for 7 years. The agreement enables National Armed Forces to purchase different Carl Gustav ammunition for its 84-mm anti-tank weapons. According to plans, additional procurements of ammunition will be implemented in future to improve combat capabilities and training efficiency of land force.

This procurement is the first cooperation initiative of defence procurement cooperation agreement concluded by Swedish and Latvian ministries of defence in January of 2017. Agreement forms the basis for joint defence procurements and other activities.

Until now, National Armed Forces procured necessary articles in scope of a five-year agreement, with optional two-year extension, concluded between SAAB Dynamics AB, European Defence Agency, Estonia, Latvia, Lithuania, Czech Republic and Poland in 2014. According to the agreement, European Defence Agency coordinated procurement activities and acted as the lead partner in procurement projects.

Carl Gustav anti-tank recoilless rifle, or grenade launcher, is a crucial asset of land forces. It is a vital element of anti-tank and anti-infantry defence, widely used by a number of NATO member states, including the USA and the Baltic States.

Sharp spikes

The Hon. Christopher Pyne MP, Minister for Defence Industry and Senator the Hon. Marise Payne, Minister for Defence, today confirmed that the Rafael Spike LR2 missile will be the anti-tank guided missile that will arm the Boxer combat reconnaissance vehicle.

A Rheinmetall Lance turret, seen here fitted to a Puma IFV but which will also be fitted to Australia’s Boxer Combat Reconnaissance Vehicle, fires a Spike LR anti-tank missile during German army trials (Rafael photo)
A Rheinmetall Lance turret, seen here fitted to a Puma IFV but which will also be fitted to Australia’s Boxer Combat Reconnaissance Vehicle, fires a Spike LR anti-tank missile during German army trials (Rafael photo)

Under project Land 400 Phase 2, Defence will acquire 211 Rheinmetall Boxer combat reconnaissance vehicles which will provide vital mobility, lethality and protection for the Australian Army. The Boxer will be manufactured in Queensland, creating up to 1450 jobs across the supply chain.

The Spike was selected after an independent comparative evaluation of potential missile options for the vehicle was conducted by the Defence Science and Technology Group. The missile will offer long range, light weight, high resistance to countermeasures and higher technical maturity in the anti-tank role.

«The Spike missile is the best anti-tank guided missile for the Boxer», said Minister Payne. «It will give the Boxer the range and lethality it needs to fight and win the land battle».

Varley Rafael Australia has committed to building the Spike LR2 in Australia, employing up to 70 Australians directly with hundreds more in the supply chain.

«This commitment by Varley Rafael Australia is a great vote of confidence in Australian industry, and will bring jobs and high-tech knowledge to Australia’s defence industry», said Minister Pyne.

Coming soon after the contract signing with Rheinmetall for the acquisition of the Boxer, this is the next step in delivering Australia’s future land combat capability.

Combat Vehicle

The Australian Government has announced that the next generation of Army’s combat reconnaissance vehicles will be built by Rheinmetall.

An Australian Army Rheinmetall Boxer Combat Reconnaissance Vehicle on display during Exercise Chong Ju at Puckapunyal training area, Victoria, on 16 May 2018
An Australian Army Rheinmetall Boxer Combat Reconnaissance Vehicle on display during Exercise Chong Ju at Puckapunyal training area, Victoria, on 16 May 2018

The armoured vehicles will deliver improved firepower, protection, mobility and communication systems to ensure our soldiers can fight, win and survive while operating in an ever-changing threat environment.

Army’s next generation of fighting vehicle will be more capable than any other vehicle Army has operated. These vehicles will have digital warfare and information networking capabilities that will provide operational commanders with advanced knowledge and understanding of the battlefield.

This bigger and better protected armoured fighting vehicle will provide Australian troops with increased firepower and protection on the battlefield in the decades ahead.

The Department of Defence completed a comprehensive tender process over three years, during which the vehicles were rigorously and extensively tested across Australia.

The process was designed to secure the best outcome for Defence. Rheinmetall’s Boxer was assessed as the most capable vehicle for Australia.

As part of the LAND 400 Phase 2 project Rheinmetall will deliver 211 Combat Reconnaissance Vehicles with the first vehicles ready for training in 2020.

Rheinmetall’s Boxer will replace Army’s current reconnaissance vehicle, the Australian Light Armoured Vehicle (ASLAV) that has been in service since 1996 and seen extensive operational service.

Electronic Warfare

The Army’s Rapid Equipping Force (REF) will equip United States Army Forces Command (FORSCOM) with Electronic Warfare Tactical Vehicles (EWTVs) this Fall as part of ongoing efforts to advance Army capabilities in the area of electronic warfare.

As part of ongoing efforts to advance Army capabilities in the area of electronic warfare, the Army’s Rapid Equipping Force will equip United States Army Forces Command with Electronic Warfare Tactical Vehicles this Fall (U.S. Army photo)
As part of ongoing efforts to advance Army capabilities in the area of electronic warfare, the Army’s Rapid Equipping Force will equip United States Army Forces Command with Electronic Warfare Tactical Vehicles this Fall (U.S. Army photo)

The EWTVs were developed in response to an operational requirement to sense and jam enemy communications and networks. The vehicles are designed to be self-contained and independent, operated by Electronic Warfare Soldiers within the vehicle. The EWTV includes an advanced EW system mounted on the Mine-Resistant Ambush Protected (MRAP) vehicle platform.

«This is an advanced EW technology that can provide the Army new offensive and defensive capabilities», said Lieutenant Colonel Scott Schumacher, REF solutions team chief.

The Department of the Army directed REF to equip the EWTVs to FORSCOM due to its close proximity to training areas, operational alignment for deployment to both Korea and Europe, and the ease of platform integration.

EWTVs enable training opportunities that would refine tactics, techniques and procedures for EW employment as well as provide lessons learned to the entire operational force.

«This effort will allow the ability for EW Soldiers to influence future vehicle improvements and grow their knowledge», Schumacher said. «Simultaneously, FORSCOM will have an EW tool for contingency operations».

Throughout the development of the EWTVs, REF partnered with several organizations across the materiel enterprise, as well as United States Army Cyber Command (ARCYBER) and the Army Test and Evaluation Command to provide contracting, testing, equipment and subject matter expertise.

The vehicles are expected to complete the final stages of development and testing in August and be delivered to FORSCOM later this year.

The Rapid Equipping Force provides innovative materiel solutions to meet the urgent requirements of U.S. Army forces employed globally, informs materiel development for the future force, and on order expands to meet operational demands.

The REF supports priority equipping efforts including solutions for Subterranean Operations, Electronic Warfare, Unmanned Aerial Systems, Counter Unmanned Aerial Systems, Persistent ISR, and Expeditionary Force Protection. Because of its unique flexibility and speed, the REF has also been directed to support Headquarters, Department of the Army with select projects such as Patriot Cooling System, Commercial Heavy Armored Vehicle, and Electronic Warfare Tactical Vehicle.

High Energy Laser

The U.S. Army awarded Dynetics, Lockheed Martin and its partners a $10 million contract to continue development for the next phase of the High Energy Laser Tactical Vehicle Demonstrator (HEL TVD) program, a 100-kilowatt class laser weapon system.

Team Dynetics Receives Contract for Next Phase of 100 kW-Class Laser Weapon System for U.S. Army
Team Dynetics Receives Contract for Next Phase of 100 kW-Class Laser Weapon System for U.S. Army

Laser weapons are ideally suited to address high volume, low cost threats because of their inexpensive cost per shot and deep magazine. Team Dynetics HEL TVD system incorporates highly reliable subsystems to withstand the expected rugged operation conditions.

The team recently completed a System Requirements Review and technical baseline update. The next step in the program will be the preliminary design review in January 2019.

«The HEL TVD program will be pivotal for the warfighters while they are protecting our country. Dynetics, Lockheed Martin and our partners are providing a safe and simple high energy laser weapon system that crews can operate for years to come and across various terrains», said Ronnie Chronister, Dynetics vice president of contracts. «We pulled together a cross-industry leading team, which has the expertise and knowledge to understand exactly what is needed. We believe that our solution will be straightforward and will be the type of system that will preferred by the Army».

Dynetics is drawing on the experience of systems engineering, manufacturing, test and vehicle modifications for integration on the Family of Medium Tactical Vehicles (FMTV).

Lockheed Martin provides the laser subsystem, as well as other key subsystems. The spectral beam-combined fiber laser subsystem strongly leverages Lockheed Martin’s experience from ground vehicle integration gained as part of the Army’s Robust Electric Laser Initiative (RELI) program.

«The proliferation of hostile unmanned aerial systems and rockets, artillery and mortars present an increasing threat to deployed U.S. troops. Laser weapons offer a deep magazine and very low cost per shot making them ideally suited to complement existing kinetic energy weapons to address intense UAS swarms and RAM raids», said Iain McKinnie, Lockheed Martin business development lead for Advanced Laser Solutions and Strategy. «The Army’s HEL TVD program is a critical step toward realizing this potential, culminating in 2022 testing of a mobile 100 kW-class laser weapon system fully integrated with an Army FMTV truck».

Lockheed Martin has more than 40 years of experience developing laser weapon systems. The HEL TVD award leverages technology building blocks from internal research and development projects, including the ATHENA system and ALADIN laser, as well as contract experience gained from programs such as the U.S. Army’s RELI program, the U.S. Air Force LANCE program and the U.S. Navy HELIOS and HEFL programs.

Team Dynetics is one of two remaining contractors competing to build the demonstrator that will be tested in 2022. The winning contractor will be awarded a contract option to finish the design, build and integrate the laser weapon system onto an Army FMTV platform and conduct field testing at White Sands Missile Range in New Mexico.

The Israeli tiger

The Israel Defense Forces (IDF) has released new details of its next-generation armored vehicle Namer (Tiger), saying it is considered one of the safest vehicles in the world.

The next generation of armored vehicles
The next generation of armored vehicles

The Namer armored vehicle is capable of overcoming almost any obstacle in the field, and thanks to its high-quality armor, is considered one of the safest vehicles in the world. Additionally, it’s able to move on a wide variety of terrain and can target objects from a great distance. This powerful vehicle transports soldiers during operations in enemy territory and expands the capabilities of the IDF Ground Forces.

Terrorist organizations in the Middle East challenge Israel’s existence on a constant basis with bombs, rockets, and underground warfare. The IDF is using the latest technology to combat those who seek to harm Israeli civilians or sovereignty. One of the crucial aspects of creating this technology is ensuring that it is both safe and powerful.

In order to combat enemy forces, combat engineering soldiers use unique Armored Personnel Carriers (APCs). Previously, IDF soldiers used the Puma, a combat engineering vehicle and APC. However, in 2016, the IDF got the advanced Namer armored vehicle, which significantly expanded the army’s operational capabilities.

The 603rd Battalion has been training with the machine and works on fully comprehending everything it’s capable of doing. Lieutenant Koren, the Company’s Deputy Commander in the Battalion said, «We know how important what we’re doing is and so we make sure we train constantly. We prepare for the second we receive an order and need to carry it out in the best possible way».

The Namer armored vehicle protects soldiers, while transporting them through complex and dangerous places. «We know where the enemy will hide their weapons and even place rocket launchers. Additionally, our soldiers are experts in underground warfare and we have the means to defeat Israel’s enemies and destroy the terror tunnels», Lieutenant Koren emphasized.

According to Armored Vehicles, the hull is based from the Merkava Mk. IV; thus, making this vehicle heavily armoured due to the amount of protection this 60 tonne vehicle carries. The weapons on this vehicle utilizes the Samson Remote Controlled Weapon Station (RCWS). This type of weapons station can house the M2 Browning machine gun (50 cal./12.7-mm) and also the Mk. 19 belt fed grenade launcher. However, the vehicle can also carry on top weapons which utilize the 7.62-mm machine gun and other variants of this vehicle include a 60-mm mortar system. The Namer is also armed with 12 smoke grenade launchers.

The Namer is powered by a 1200 hp/895 kW turbo-charged engine, the same engine seen on earlier models of the Merkava, namely the Merkava III which has a power to weight ratio of 20 hp/tonne. The vehicle itself is able to carry an additional 9 fully equipped infantry along with the 3 crewman, gunner, driver and RCWS operator. The Namer has a V shaped hull to withstand blasts from Improvised Explosive Devices (IEDs) and can also survive in nuclear conditions as it has an NBC protection system installed to combat Chemical, Biological, Radiological, and Nuclear (CBRN) conditions.

Upgrade 100 Abrams

The U.S. Army has signed a delivery order for General Dynamics Land Systems to upgrade 100 more M1A1 Abrams Main Battle Tanks to the state-of-the-art M1A2 System Enhancement Package Version 3 (SEPv3) configuration.

General Dynamics Receives Delivery Order to Upgrade 100 Abrams Main Battle Tanks
General Dynamics Receives Delivery Order to Upgrade 100 Abrams Main Battle Tanks

The delivery order is part of an Army Requirements Contract signed in December 2017 through which the Army can upgrade up to 435 M1A1 Abrams tanks to the M1A2 SEPv3 configuration. The M1A2 SEPv3 configuration features technological advancements in communications, reliability, sustainment and fuel efficiency, plus upgraded armor.

Work on this delivery order will be performed at Land Systems locations in Scranton, Pa., and Tallahassee, Fla., and at the Joint Systems Manufacturing Center in Lima, Ohio, the only operational tank plant in the country.

Initial pilot M1A2 SEPv3 Abrams tanks were delivered to the Army in October 2017.

Land Systems is a business unit of General Dynamics (GD). General Dynamics Land Systems provides innovative design, engineering, technology, production and full life-cycle support for land combat vehicles around the globe. The company’s extensive experience, customer-first focus and seasoned supply chain network provide unmatched capabilities to the U.S. military and its allies.

Initial production

Northrop Grumman Corporation has delivered the first AN/TPS-80 Ground/Air Task-Oriented Radar (G/ATOR) that incorporates advanced high power and high efficiency Gallium Nitride (GaN) antenna technology, further improving the system’s operational capabilities. This system was delivered ahead of schedule and is the seventh G/ATOR system delivered in the Low Rate Initial Production (LRIP) phase of the program.

Four G/ATOR systems preparing for fielding located at Northrop Grumman’s Stoney Run test range in Baltimore, Maryland
Four G/ATOR systems preparing for fielding located at Northrop Grumman’s Stoney Run test range in Baltimore, Maryland

GaN technology provides cost savings and multiple performance benefits including enhanced system sensitivity and increased reliability. All subsequent G/ATOR LRIP and full rate production systems will now incorporate this advanced GaN technology.

Delivery of the first GaN G/ATOR system follows the delivery of six LRIP systems to the Marines that began in early 2017. Utilizing two of those six systems, the Marine Corps achieved G/ATOR Initial Operational Capability (IOC) of the air surveillance mission in February of this year. The remaining four systems will establish IOC for the counter-battery mission later this year. As a result, G/ATOR systems, trained Marines and associated logistics support are now in operational service with Marines.

«The Marine Corps are the first to take delivery of a production ground based multi mission AESA radar that incorporates this advanced GaN technology», said Roshan Roeder, vice president, land & avionics Command, Control, Communications, Computers, Intelligence, Surveillance and Reconnaissance (C4ISR) division, Northrop Grumman. «The incorporation of this advanced technology in production radars is unique to the Marine Corps and enables G/ATOR to provide additional mission capability to the warfighter at an affordable cost».

Both the Marine Corps and Northrop Grumman continue to make detailed preparations to successfully execute the full rate production program, which is scheduled to begin in early 2019.

Additionally, given the AN/TPS-80’s open architecture design, Northrop Grumman was awarded a contract through the Office of Secretary of Defense Strategic Capabilities Office in 2016 to support the addition of a fire control mission.

The AN/TPS-80 G/ATOR is an advanced Active Electronically Scanned Array (AESA) multi-mission radar that provides comprehensive real time, 360-degree situational awareness against a broad array of threats including fixed wing aircraft, helicopters, cruise missiles, Unmanned Autonomous Systems (UAS), and rockets, artillery and mortar. It is rapidly deployable worldwide to meet United State Marine Corps (USMC) needs and includes the latest cyber and digital beam forming technology that enables the radar to perform multi-mission tasks at significantly lower operation and maintenance costs compared to existing USMC radar systems.