The Federal Office for Bundeswehr Equipment, Information Technology, and In-Service Support (BAAINBw) has awarded Krauss-Maffei Wegmann (KMW) a contract for the production of 18 new type LEOPARD 2 A8 battle tanks. The contract was signed by both parties in Koblenz. Delivery of the systems is scheduled to begin in 2025. The new LEOPARD 2 A8s will replace the German tank force’s vehicles, which were recently handed over to Ukraine as part of military support operations.
The framework agreement concluded on May 25, 2023 also includes options for the production of a further 105 LEOPARD 2 A8s and a comprehensive service package.
In addition KMW has also been commissioned to produce twelve new PzH 2000 for the German artillery force as part of the option agreement made in March 2023. In total, the option includes 18 PzH 2000 type howitzers in three lots of six systems.
The Czech Republic has successfully completed negotiations with the government of Sweden, the Swedish defense procurement organization FMV, and BAE Systems Hägglunds to buy 246 CV90 MkIV infantry fighting vehicles in seven different variants.
The contract is valued at SEK 22 billion ($2.2 billion). The agreement provides highly-capable vehicles for Czech soldiers while providing Czech industry a significant role in the program.
«As the ninth member of the CV90 User Group, the Czech Republic and its Army will benefit from this combat-proven infantry fighting vehicle with a leading combination of mobility, firepower, protection, and future growth potential», said Tommy Gustafsson-Rask, managing director of BAE Systems Hägglunds, in Örnsköldsvik, Sweden. «This contract also represents a significant win for Czech industry that will last for decades».
The CV90s will be developed and delivered through an industrial partnership with Czech industry to meet the requirements of the Czech Ministry of Defence and the intention of maintaining national sovereignty for the Czech Republic. The Czech industrial partners will be delivering 40% of the acquisition’s value in development, production and assembly contracts, not including VAT.
The program also offers future industrial opportunities that represent significant monetary value well beyond the flow down of contracts to Czech industrial partners. The contract will bolster the local defence sector, granting access to BAE Systems’ global supply chain, expanding opportunities for cooperation, and enhancing local competitiveness.
The CV90 MkIV, the latest generation of the leading infantry fighting vehicle, is an ideal, battle-proven vehicle. CV90 has been deployed around the world in coalition operations under both NATO and UN mandates. The vehicle offers superior tactical and strategic capabilities to target a wide range of ground and airborne targets, and exceptional resilience in any terrain and tactical environment.
BAE Systems Hägglunds has produced more than 1,400 CV90s in 17 variants for European countries, five of which are NATO members. Slovakia recently selected the CV90 for its armed forces, joining the Czech Republic as the eighth and ninth member countries, respectively, of the CV90 User Group.
Rheinmetall and Elbit Systems have successfully conducted a live fire demonstration of an automated 155-mm L52 (8060 mm) wheeled self-propelled howitzer. The demonstration of the new system took place in early March 2023 at the Shivta firing range in southern Israel. It was attended by high-ranking officials of the armed forces of the United Kingdom, Germany, the Netherlands and Hungary.
Rheinmetall and Elbit Systems signed a cooperation agreement last year to develop, manufacture and market an automated European 155-mm wheeled self-propelled howitzer system.
Led by Rheinmetall Landsysteme GmbH, the «Rheinmetall Elbit» team will compete for Germany’s «Future System, Indirect Fire, Medium-Range (ZukSysIndF)» programme, which will modernize and broaden the Bundeswehr’s artillery capabilities. The UK’s «Mobile Fires Platform» programme also remains a focus and additional potential customers, such as Hungary, have expressed interest.
The cooperation between Rheinmetall and Elbit builds on the fully automated wheeled self-propelled howitzer procurement programmes that Elbit has signed with Israel and additional customers. As a result, a technically mature system is already available, enabling the integration of a Rheinmetall gun into the unmanned, fully robotic artillery turret of the Elbit system. The integration is currently in an advanced phase of the verification process. This will help reduce development risks and enable faster realization of operational readiness.
Intensive bilateral technology transfer is currently underway, increasing the availability of domestic know-how and components. Rheinmetall is currently carrying out modifications to customize the system to European operational requirements and the German regulatory approval process. Furthermore, the Düsseldorf-based tech enterprise brings its tried-and-tested 155-mm L52 gun; high mobility HX 10×10 tactical truck with a well-protected cabin; and electronic components for the fire control unit and sensor suite to the solution.
Rheinmetall is already working to future-proof the solution by enhancing the range of its tube artillery. In addition to the battle-proven L52 and its advanced A1 version, the wheeled self-propelled howitzer is designed to integrate the L60 gun (9300 mm) in the future. The L60 is in development and features a significantly larger chamber and a longer 60-calibre barrel. This gun will be able to attain ranges of up to 83 km/51.6 miles with Joint Ballistics Memorandum of Understanding (JBMoU)-compliant ammunition. The Rheinmetall-Elbit wheeled self-propelled howitzer meets the specifications of the Bundeswehr for a future wheel-based, medium-range indirect fire system.
«We are proud to present the world with this advanced 155-mm artillery system», declared John Abunassar, chief of Rheinmetall’s Vehicle Systems division, and Yehuda (Udi) Vered, general manager of Elbit Systems, in a joint statement. «The successful demonstration of the automated howitzer highlights the synergies and innovative technologies of the Rheinmetall-Elbit team – a team that is uniquely positioned to supply the armed forces of Germany and other nations with an outstanding new tube artillery capability. We are convinced that this joint German-Israeli project will contribute to strengthening ties between our two nations and their armed forces».
The Air Force Research Laboratory, or AFRL, conducted a demonstration, April 5, 2023, of its high-power microwave counter drone weapon, the Tactical High-power Operational Responder, or THOR, as it engaged a swarm of multiple targets at the Chestnut Test Site, Kirtland Air Force Base.
«The THOR team flew numerous drones at the THOR system to simulate a real-world swarm attack», said Adrian Lucero, THOR program manager at AFRL’s Directed Energy Directorate. «THOR has never been tested against these types of drones before, but this did not stop the system from dropping the targets out of the sky with its non-kinetic, speed-of-light High-Power Microwave, or HPM pulses», he said.
Captain Eric Plummer, a test engineer with AFRL’s Directed Energy Directorate, operated the THOR system and has been with the THOR program for nearly two years. He was responsible for aiming the THOR system at the swarm.
«THOR was exceptionally effective at disabling the swarm with its wide beam, high peak powers and fast-moving gimbal to track and disable the targets», said Lucero.
As the dangers from drone swarms evolve, leaders from across the Department of Defense are working closely to ensure we are exploring different technologies like directed energy to support the needs of the warfighter in the future against such threats.
«THOR was extremely efficient with a near continuous firing of the system during the swarm engagement», said Captain Tylar Hanson, THOR deputy program manager. «It is an early demonstrator, and we are confident we can take this same technology and make it more effective to protect our personnel around the world».
While AFRL celebrates the success of the demonstration, leaders at Kirtland are recognizing the hard work of their team who have decades of research in high-power electromagnetic technologies.
«We couldn’t have come this far without the perseverance and professionalism of the entire THOR team», said Ken Miller, AFRL’s high power electromagnetics division chief. «Our scientists, Airmen and contractors worked early mornings and late nights to make this swarm demo…a great success. AFRL is committed to developing such advanced technologies to defend our service members on the front lines».
Lockheed Martin, through the U.S. Army, has successfully delivered an initial shipment of HIMARS launchers to Poland.
HIMARS provides immediate capability to deliver long range precision fires at distances up to 300 km/186.4 miles and is interoperable with procured defense systems. Subsequent shipments of HIMARS will be delivered this year resulting in additional capabilities for Poland.
«The combat-proven HIMARS will provide credible deterrence against aggression and significantly increase capability of the Polish Armed Forces and their NATO allies», said Jay Price, vice president of Precision Fires for Lockheed Martin Missiles and Fires Control.
The Armaments Agency of the Ministry of National Defense is expected to invite Lockheed Martin to negotiate a Framework Agreement for the Homar-A program. Under Homar-A, Lockheed Martin with Polish Industry will integrate key components of the HIMARS rocket launcher on a Jelcz 6×6 truck. The negotiations will also include discussion around Polish production of munitions.
«The development of industrial partnership under Homar-A initiative marks another major step in our engagement to strengthening Poland’s economic growth and security through partnerships with local industry base. We’re looking forward to jointly create a safer tomorrow for Poland and the entire region», said Robert Orzyłowski, Lockheed Martin director Poland, Central and East Europe.
A trusted partner for Poland’s national defense, industry, and economy, Lockheed Martin has invested $1.8 billion (USD) in Poland over the last 10 years. Today, its in-country operations sustain 6,700 high-value Polish jobs, of which 1,500 are with aircraft manufacturer PZL Mielec, a Lockheed Martin company and one of Poland’s leading defense exporters.
Lockheed Martin opened its office in central Warsaw in 1996 and partners with the Polish Ministry of Defense on a variety of defense and security programs. The company’s contribution to the missile programs is a core element of Poland’s national defense and provides vital capabilities to Polish Armed Forces.
Raytheon Technologies, announced the launch of NexGen Optix, a tactical Free-Space Optical Communications system that enables high-speed, secure data transfer in challenging environments.
NexGen Optix, developed by Raytheon Blackbird Technologies, provides greater bandwidths in a form factor that is smaller, weighs less, uses less power and costs less than conventional optical systems and can securely send more data within the same bandwidth over longer distances. The system uses lasers instead of radio frequencies as a means of communication, which makes the signal less susceptible to detection, interference and jamming.
«NexGen Optix represents a significant advancement in secure communication and shared networking technology», said Troy Smith, director of Raytheon Blackbird Technologies. «We’ve developed a solution that enables organizations to communicate effectively in challenging environments where traditional communication systems may not be reliable».
The ultra-low Size, Weight and Power-Cost (SWaP-C) communications has been optimized for peer and near-peer operational environments and provides rapid, secure communication and connectivity. Offering a tactical advantage to forces, the system has been tested and approved during U.S. government exercises.
In addition to its high-speed data transfer capabilities, NexGen Optix is lightweight and portable, making it easy to deploy in the field. The system is also designed with rugged components that can withstand harsh environmental conditions, ensuring reliability even in the most extreme situations.
The U.S. Army awarded the Javelin Joint Venture (JJV) an Indefinite-Delivery, Indefinite-Quantity (IDIQ) production contract with a total ceiling of $7.2 billion for fiscal years 2023 to 2026 for the Javelin weapon system and associated equipment and services. This award includes a base year with authorized funding to $1.02 billion and production ramp support to increase Javelin All Up Round (AUR) production to 3,960 per year by late 2026.
The production contract provides procurement of Javelin systems and support for the U.S. Army and international customers. The contract will also provide tooling, test equipment and Non-Recurring Effort (NRE) for the Javelin production ramp that will support increasing Javelin production capacity both at JJV factories and throughout the supply chain.
«We understand the importance of delivering Javelin and its proven capabilities to our customers worldwide so they’re prepared for the missions they face today and tomorrow», says Dave Pantano, JJV vice president and Lockheed Martin Javelin program director. «This contract allows us to continue to evolve with our customers’ needs, while ramping up Javelin production to support the increased international interest for this multi-purpose weapon system».
With more than 20 international customers worldwide, the contract supports Javelin’s increased global demand, including new international customer North Macedonia.
«Javelin’s continued reliability and effectiveness has only bolstered demand for this battle-proven, fire-and-forget precision anti-armor weapon», said Andy Amaro, JJV president and Raytheon’s Javelin program director. «Together with our U.S. Army customer and supplier partners, we share a singular focus – the timely delivery of this exceptional weapon system to ground forces worldwide».
Javelin is developed and produced by the JJV between Raytheon Technologies in Tucson, Arizona and Lockheed Martin in Orlando, Florida. To date, the JJV has produced more than 50,000 Javelin missiles and more than 12,000 reusable Command Launch Units. Javelin is expected to remain in the U.S. weapon arsenal until 2050.
Northrop Grumman Corporation’s Integrated Battle Command System (IBCS) has achieved initial operational capability from the U.S. Army. With this declaration, the system is now ready to be fielded to U.S. Army units to further support the development of the system’s capabilities.
IBCS is the cornerstone of the Army’s air and missile defense modernization strategy, replacing the multiple current air and missile defense command and control systems with a single system. The system has completed rigorous and demanding Initial Operational Test and Evaluation and numerous successful development and operational flight tests. During these demanding assessments, IBCS demonstrated its ability to deliver decision-quality fire control data across joint networks, increasing situational awareness and time for decision making.
«IBCS has the leading role in the Army’s air and missile defense modernization strategy because its ability to integrate multi-domain sensors to create fire quality fused data enables the warfighter to quickly decide on the best shooter to defend against incoming threats», said Rebecca Torzone, vice president and general manager, combat systems and mission readiness, Northrop Grumman. «With its mature, proven and ready capabilities, IBCS transforms and extends the battlespace for the U.S. and its allies».
This groundbreaking step toward putting multi-domain capabilities in the hands of the warfighter comes on the heels of the program’s recent approval for Full Rate Production (FRP). These milestones are the result of the successful completion of critical testing, and development of logistics, support and training. To date, IBCS has integrated, or demonstrated integration on numerous sensors and shooters from all U.S. service branches and allies. IBCS can quickly integrate additional systems given its open architecture – enabling the U.S. and its allies to move beyond interoperability to achieve the high level of multi-domain integration required today and in the future.
IBCS implements a modular, open and scalable architecture that integrates available assets in the battlespace onto a common, integrated fire control network, regardless of source, service or domain. Its architecture enables the efficient and affordable integration of current and future systems and extends the battlespace by disaggregating sensors and effectors. By enabling this high level of network integration, the warfighter is given unprecedented time to make accurate decisions. Through numerous successful developments, operational tests and demonstrations, IBCS has proven its capability to connect and fuse multi-service sensor data to multi-service weapons, demonstrating the Army’s contribution to Joint All Domain Command and Control (JADC2) capabilities.
The U.S. Army has awarded Lockheed Martin a Not-to-Exceed $4.79 billion contract to manufacture two full-rate production lots of GMLRS rockets and associated equipment.
The contract calls for the production of GMLRS Unitary and Alternative Warhead (AW) rockets and integrated logistics support for the U.S. Army and international partners.
«We are working closely with our Army customer and supply chain partners, who are moving with unprecedented speed, to ramp production capacity supporting the urgent need for this highly-reliable, combat-proven rocket», said Jay Price, vice president of Precision Fires for Lockheed Martin Missiles and Fire Control.
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 Lockheed Martin produced 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.
«We’re seeing an increase in demand for this versatile rocket because GMLRS provides strategic advantage, unmatched accuracy and it’s cost-effective», said Price. «It’s the right round for many missions».
Work will be performed at the Lockheed Martin facilities in Camden, Arkansas; Dallas and Lufkin, Texas; Archbald, Pennsylvania and Orlando, Florida, and will be completed in 2026.
Germany is investing in an additional 227 ultra-mobile, protected, all-terrain BvS10 vehicles from BAE Systems.
The German contract, worth around $400 million, follows the joint procurement by Sweden, Germany, and the United Kingdom in support of Arctic operations for the Collaborative All-Terrain Vehicle (CATV) program, with Sweden as the lead nation. This will extend the deliveries from the framework agreement, which are to begin in 2024, out to 2030.
«This framework agreement streamlines the process by allowing prospective and existing customers to acquire vehicles at previously negotiated terms, while also benefiting from the joint development», said Tommy Gustafsson-Rask, managing director of BAE Systems Hägglunds, which manufactures the vehicles in Örnsköldsvik, Sweden. «This will secure Germany’s access to these highly capable vehicles for decades to come, and demonstrates the strong relationship between BAE Systems and our customer».
BAE Systems’ military all-terrain vehicles are designed for operations in the harshest and most remote environments, and this agreement signals the company’s position as the defense industry’s leader in these capabilities. The new contract is for additional troop transport vehicles and Armored Personnel Carriers (APCs), as well as three new German BvS10 versions; Command and Control (C2), and two logistics variants that will add combat support to the German Armed Forces.
The BvS10 (and Beowulf) are world-leading all-terrain solutions. Their articulated mobility systems provide optimal maneuverability across varying terrains including snow, ice, rock, sand, mud, swamps, and steep mountain environments. The vehicles’ amphibious feature also allows them to swim in flooded areas or coastal waters. The vehicles can deliver personnel and supplies to sustain strategic, tactical, and operational mobility.
BvS10’s unprecedented mobility is based on terrain accessible North Atlantic Treaty Organization (NATO) standards. Its modular design allows it to be reconfigured for varying missions and can be delivered in multiple variants that include carrying personnel, command and control, ambulance, vehicle repair and recovery, logistics support, situational awareness, and a weapons carrier with additional mortar capability.
The vehicle is currently operated by Austria, France, the Netherlands, Sweden, and the United Kingdom. BAE Systems’ Beowulf, the unarmored variant of the BvS10, won the U.S. Army’s competition for its Cold Weather All-Terrain Vehicle (CATV) program in August. The U.S. Army will receive 110 vehicles over a five-year period.