Category Archives: Ground Forces

Protected Firepower

The U.S. Army has awarded BAE Systems a contract worth up to $376 million for the Engineering, Manufacturing, and Development (EMD) phase of the Mobile Protected Firepower (MPF) program and rapid prototyping effort with low-rate initial production options.

BAE Systems awarded development contract for Mobile Protected Firepower
BAE Systems awarded development contract for Mobile Protected Firepower

BAE Systems’ solution combines new technology with proven capability to provide the Infantry Brigade Combat Team (IBCT) with a highly agile, armor-protected platform that delivers overwhelming and precise firepower for use across the spectrum of terrains and operations.

«Our offering integrates innovative technology that reduces the burden on the crew into a compact design deployable in areas that are hard to reach», said Deepak Bazaz, director of combat vehicles programs at BAE Systems. «We’re confident our design meets the requirements and the unique capabilities the IBCT needs».

Under the contract, one of two awarded ahead of the Government’s down-select to a final contractor, BAE Systems will produce 12 prototype vehicles during the EMD phase.

The BAE Systems MPF is the result of more than 30 years of research and development for an optimized, rapidly deployable, light combat vehicle designed specifically to support light infantry. The vehicle leverages investments the Army made in the M8 Armored Gun System, including its low-profile design, and proven technologies like the M35 105-mm cannon, and an auto-loading ammunition system that allows the gun to fire at a rate of 12 rounds per minute. The innovative roll-out powerpack design allows for easy access to the engine and transmission without the aid of heavy equipment.

It also integrates scalable armor and innovative survivability subsystems to protect the vehicle and crew from threats on the future battlefield. The vehicle employs situational awareness systems adding to the highest levels of survivability and crew protection. The compact design allows for multiple vehicle deployment on a C-17 Globemaster III and exceeds the Army’s transport requirement and it is sustainable within the IBCT.

Work on the EMD vehicles will take place at BAE Systems’ facilities in Aiken, South Carolina; San Jose, California; Sterling Heights, Michigan; and York, Pennsylvania.

Lithuanian Armed Forces

German enterprise FFG Flensburger Fahrzeugbau Gesellschaft mbH won the call to tender organised by the NATO Support Agency (NSPA) and upgraded 22 M577 armoured personnel carriers of the Lithuanian Armed Forces. The upgraded M577s will be used for command and control of the PzH2000 howitzers of the Lithuanian Armed Forces.

M577 command and control armoured personnel carriers of the Lithuanian Armed Forces upgraded
M577 command and control armoured personnel carriers of the Lithuanian Armed Forces upgraded

After being awarded the contract the German enterprise hired Lithuanian enterprise UAB Autokurtas to complete part of the work.

«The main work of upgrading the armoured personnel carriers was carried out on Lithuania, therefore part of the resources used to upgrade M577s was received by a Lithuanian enterprise», Director of the Defence Materiel Agency under the Ministry of National Defence Sigitas Dzekunskas said.

By agreement of the companies, the German enterprise gave the Lithuanian enterprise the maintenance technology needed to carry out the work in our country. According to Alexander Erichsen representing FFG Flensburger Fahrzeugbau Gesellschaft mbH, it was the first time the industrial M577/M113 armoured personnel carrier maintenance technology was used in Lithuania.

All the 22 upgraded M577 armoured personnel carriers are planned to be transferred to the General Romualdas Giedraitis Artillery Battalion based in Rukla in 2019.

The total value of the upgrading contract amounts to roughly Eur 1.5 million. Later a new command and control system will be integrated.

Seeking to strengthen fire support and lacking armoured personnel carrier capabilities the Lithuanian Armed Forces procured over 180 M577 armoured personnel carriers in good condition for command, indirect fire support, medical evacuation and training purposes from the German Armed Forces, alongside 21 PzH2000 howitzers and 10 BPZ2 armoured recovery vehicles, in 2015-2016.

$1.69 billion order

Oshkosh Defense, LLC, an Oshkosh Corporation company, announced that the U.S. Army has placed a $1.69 billion order for 6,107 Joint Light Tactical Vehicles (JLTV) and associated installed and packaged kits. Today’s delivery order marks the tenth order under the contract that was awarded to Oshkosh in August 2015.

Enhanced protection and extreme mobility both off-road and in dense urban terrain
Enhanced protection and extreme mobility both off-road and in dense urban terrain

«The JLTV is engineered with industry leading suspension and protection systems, as well as the ability to support a spectrum of mission kits and weapon systems required for the modern battlefield», said George Mansfield, Vice President and General Manager of Joint Programs at Oshkosh Defense. «This vehicle represents a technological leap forward that provides enhanced protection and extreme mobility both off-road and in dense urban terrain».

To date, Oshkosh has delivered more than 2,600 vehicles. Oshkosh expects a Full Rate Production (FRP) decision in December 2018, followed by first Army unit equipped in early 2019.

«The JLTV also features a Vehicle Integration for C4ISR/EW Interoperability (VICTORY) compliant modular, scalable, open architecture system to support rapidly evolving Command, Control, Communications, Computer, Intelligence, Surveillance, and Reconnaissance (C4ISR) suites», Mansfield continued. «This provides our Soldiers and Marines a vehicle that is capable of serving as a mobile command center. Today, other vehicles with this level of C4ISR capability are much larger, with little mobility».

The JLTV fills a critical capability gap for the U.S. Army and Marine Corps by replacing a large portion of the legacy uparmored High Mobility Multipurpose Wheeled Vehicle (HMMWV) fleet with a modern light protected vehicle.

Beyond Line Of Sight

EU Defence ministers have endorsed on 19 November the EU BLOS (Beyond Line Of Sight) project amongst a list of 17 defence projects aiming at being implemented in the frame of Permanent Structured Cooperation (PESCO). Proposed by France and supported by Belgium and Cyprus, the EU BLOS project is the first missile system project to benefit from this new cooperation framework.

The EU BLOS project aims at developing a family of BLOS missiles with back image and man in the loop capabilities
The EU BLOS project aims at developing a family of BLOS missiles with back image and man in the loop capabilities

Promoting a differentiating operational capability for military operations, this project will contribute to a consistent and autonomous European approach in the land combat domain whilst enhancing the qualitative contribution of European nations to the achievement of NATO’s level of ambition. The land combat domain has been recognized since June 2018 as one of the 11 European capability priorities.

The EU BLOS project aims at developing a family of BLOS missiles with back image and man in the loop capabilities. Based on the MMP missile system, this family of products will be fully mastered by European industry, which provides full autonomy of use, security of supply and future evolutions, to the benefit of the 25 PESCO member nations. One of the first priorities of this project will focus on defining a European doctrine of use and its associated concepts of operation. This project will pave the way for the creation of a European users club which will develop the growth potential of the MMP missile system in terms of missile evolutions as well as in terms of integration to a wide range of land and air platforms.

The EU BLOS project will also benefit from the CAMO (CApacité MOtorisée) bilateral strategic partnership between France and Belgium, helping build operational and capability synergies across the armies of both nations.

Carl-Gustaf M4

Saab has received an order for deliveries of the new Carl-Gustaf M4 multi-role weapon system to the Slovenian Armed Forces. Deliveries will take place during 2018-2020.

Saab Receives Order for Carl-Gustaf M4 to Slovenian Armed Forces
Saab Receives Order for Carl-Gustaf M4 to Slovenian Armed Forces

Slovenia is a new customer of the Carl-Gustaf system, and Saab’s ninth customer for the Carl-Gustaf M4 version since its launch in late 2014.

The Carl-Gustaf M4 is the latest version of the portable, shoulder-launched, multi-role weapon system. It gives users a wide range of engagement options and allows troops to remain agile and effective in any scenario. It builds on the system’s formidable capabilities, offering a higher degree of accuracy, lighter construction and compatibility with future innovations. The M4 is also compatible with future battlefield technology developments such as intelligent sighting systems and programmable ammunition.

«The Slovenian order is further proof that Carl-Gustaf M4 is the number one multi-role weapon on the market. We are happy to introduce the Slovenian Armed Forces to Saab’s Carl-Gustaf M4 with outperforming capabilities and high tactical flexibility, and we feel confident that the end user will be satisfied», says Görgen Johansson, head of Saab business area Dynamics.

The new version retains all the effectiveness and versatility of the proven Carl-Gustaf system while introducing a range of major enhancements. These include a lighter weight design (weighing less than 7 kg/15.4 lbs.), a round counter, improved safety and intelligent features, such as compatibility with future intelligent sighting systems and programmable ammunition, which collectively offer significant operational improvements for the soldier. The weapon is fully backward compatible with all ammunition types.

Camouflage Systems

Saab has received an order to deliver Ultra Lightweight Camouflage Net Systems (ULCANS) for use by the U.S. Army. The order value is approximately USD 66 million (approximately SEK 586 million). Deliveries are expected to take place in 2019-2020.

Saab to Deliver Camouflage Systems to the U.S. Army
Saab to Deliver Camouflage Systems to the U.S. Army

The new order, comprised of both woodland and desert camouflage systems, will ensure that U.S. warfighters are equipped with the most advanced signature management systems available in the world today. Production of the new systems will take place at Saab Defense and Security USA’s business unit Saab Barracuda, based in Lillington, North Carolina.

«Saab is a recognized world leader in the development and production of signature management solutions. ULCANS provides outperforming multispectral capabilities while it remains lightweight and easy-to-handle», says Görgen Johansson, Senior Vice President and head of Saab’s business area Dynamics.

Saab’s ULCANS is an all-weather, state-of-the-art, signature management concealment system designed for ease of use and high reliability for the users and is the only signature management solution designed and developed entirely in the U.S. specifically to meet the needs of the U.S. Army.

«Saab’s camouflage systems provide the U.S. Army with a state of the art signature management capability for its land forces including exceptional levels of multispectral protection against any possible sensor threat available today», concludes Erik Smith, President and CEO of Saab Defense and Security USA.

Saab draws on more than 60 years of experience designing, developing, and producing signature management solutions for the U.S. military and defense customers in more than 50 nations.

Saab’s ULCANS is an all-weather, state-of-the-art, signature management concealment system designed for ease of use and high reliability for the users and is the only signature management solution designed and developed entirely in the U.S. specifically to meet the needs of the U.S. Army
Saab’s ULCANS is an all-weather, state-of-the-art, signature management concealment system designed for ease of use and high reliability for the users and is the only signature management solution designed and developed entirely in the U.S. specifically to meet the needs of the U.S. Army

Ultra Lightweight

Indian Army celebrated receiving its first M777A2 Ultra Lightweight Howitzers (ULH) at an official handover ceremony today, a key step toward the modernizing and strengthening of the Indian Army’s artillery capabilities.

Indian Army inducts its first M777 Ultra Lightweight Howitzers
Indian Army inducts its first M777 Ultra Lightweight Howitzers

The 155-mm M777 systems will deploy to their first regiment in 2019. The gun systems, produced by BAE Systems, were accepted earlier this year, as part of a 145-gun agreement between the U.S. and Indian governments.

«The Indian Army is receiving an extremely reliable and battle-proven artillery platform», Joe Senftle, vice president and general manager of BAE Systems’ weapon systems business, said while attending the event. «The M777 brings a new level of capability to the artillery unit by offering rapid deployment and extreme accuracy. It can operate in areas that are difficult to access and is also very easy to maintain».

BAE Systems is building and delivering the first 25 M777 ULHs fully assembled, with the remaining 120 to be assembled in India by Mahindra Defence Systems Ltd. (MDSL) under an arrangement designed to support defense industrial cooperation and promote local economic growth.

«The M777 ULH is more than a very effective piece of artillery technology», said Nik Khanna, managing director India, BAE Systems. «With the M777 program, BAE Systems has made the first step of our substantive Make-in-India commitment, which includes our pledge to develop a network of Indian suppliers for our global supply chain and deepen our relationship with industry in India. We are committed to a strong and collaborative working relationship between BAE Systems, the Indian Armed Forces and Indian industry».

«This is a landmark event with the first M777s being delivered to the Indian Army. It is a product of our long-standing business partnership with BAE Systems», said SPShukla, Group President – Aerospace & Defence Sector, Mahindra Group, and Chairman – Mahindra Defence Systems. «In this program each of the M777 howitzers have value addition from Mahindra Defence. I believe that this is the first step towards Make-in-India with much bigger programs to follow».

The U.S. government recently certified that MDSL is ready to carry out the work at a purpose-built production facility created for this program to conduct the in-country Assembly and Integration of 120 of the 145 gun systems on order. The newly-handed over M777 ULHs were instrumental in establishing the new MDSL capability in India. The Mahindra team finalized these weapons by replicating the proven manufacturing processes to the highest of quality specifications, including modifications specifically tailored for the Indian Artillery, such as a unique camouflage paint scheme.

Earlier this year, BAE Systems delivered the first spares and other logistics including tooling, technical publications and training materials, to support the Indian Army as it brings these new M777 ULHs into service. The company also recently received a contract to provide 18 additional M777 systems to the U.S. Army, taking the total number of systems ordered and in service with the United States, Canada, Australia and India to more than 1,250.

Mobile Encryptor

General Dynamics Mission Systems has announced the expansion of its Tactical Local Area Network Encryption (TACLANE) portfolio, the world’s most widely deployed family of Type 1 encryptors, with the new, small form-factor mobile encryptor, the TACLANE-Nano (KG-175N). The new encryptor was shown operating this year, passing live traffic including real-time streaming video with other TACLANE (High Assurance Internet Protocol Encryptor) HAIPE encryptors. It was also integrated into several market leading deployable systems and flyaway communication kits used by government in support of mobile missions today.

TACLANE-Nano encryptor provides end-to-end HAIPE encryption in the smallest, lightest and most power-efficient form factor for classified communications at the tactical edge
TACLANE-Nano encryptor provides end-to-end HAIPE encryption in the smallest, lightest and most power-efficient form factor for classified communications at the tactical edge

TACLANE-Nano has gone from an initial concept introduced at the General Dynamics-sponsored, Dynamics Connections 2017, to a working beta product in less than a year, highlighting the rapid pace of development and achievement in bringing a new, compact Type 1 encryptor for mobile users.

Equipped with the latest in crypto modernization technology and designed to protect information classified up to Top Secret/Sensitive Compartmented Information (TS/SCI), the TACLANE-Nano has been ruggedized to withstand the rigors of any environment. It is ideal for mobile communications, integration into flyaway kits and deployable systems, dismounted tactical forward deployment, unmanned/manned Intelligence, Surveillance, and Reconnaissance (ISR) operations, covert and special operations.

«The addition of TACLANE-Nano to the TACLANE portfolio demonstrates how General Dynamics delivered a truly innovative solution that is adaptable to customer needs», said Michael Tweed-Kent, vice president and general manager of the Cyber and Electronic Warfare Systems line of business at General Dynamics Mission Systems. «We know our customers depend on TACLANE, and with this latest introduction, we continue to instill confidence in their digital world. Its size, features and performance mean the TACLANE-Nano can be deployed in a range of environments, spanning from an unmanned system, to a warfighter on the frontline, ensuring the secure encryption of highly-classified communications and information sharing that is so critical to the mission».

TACLANE-Nano is Size, Weight, Power and Cost (SWaP-C) optimized, with unmatched performance for a small form-factor, Inline Network Encryptor (INE). It supports the bandwidth needed to process voice, video and data applications, including real-time video and data analytics. The new encryptor supports crypto modernization efforts such as legacy and link encryptor replacement, Advanced Cryptographic Capabilities (ACC) and Over The Network Keying (OTNK). Other features include support for software features such as Agile VLAN and Agile TCP Performance Enhancing Proxy (PEP) for improved networking efficiency and performance, as well as remote management and configuration via the GEMÔ One encryptor manager. The TACLANE-Nano is expected to be submitted to NSA for certification in the fourth-quarter of 2018.

 

Key Features

  • Designed to protect information classified TS/SCI and Below
  • Simultaneous HAIPE v4.2.5 and (Internet Protocol Security [IPsec] Minimum Essential Interoperability Requirements) IPMEIR 1.0 compliant
  • Simultaneous Suite A/B without user intervention
  • 50 Mb/s Throughput (100 Mb/s Aggregate) Greater throughput achievable dependent upon traffic mix
  • Small size (1.2”H × 3.5”W × 2.25”D)
  • Low power (5 Watts typical)
  • Hot swappable/redundant power from USB or Power over Ethernet (POE)
  • Embedded Agile TCP Performance Enhancing Proxy (PEP) for disadvantaged networks
  • Supports Agile VLAN feature for Layer 2/Layer 3 agility and advanced networking
  • Safe keying features including Classified/Unclassified Device Generated Shared Key (DGSK) and Exclusion Keys (EKs)
  • ACC and Key Management Infrastructure Over The Network Keying (KMI OTNK) compliant
  • IPv4/6 Dual Stack
  • MIL-STD-810G ruggedized/MIL-STD-461F EMI compliant
  • Supported by GEM One Remote Encryptor Manager

Swiss army knife

The U.S. Army awarded Raytheon Company a $191 million contract for Ku-band radio frequency radars. KuRFS, an advanced electronically scanned array system, fills an immediate U.S. Army operational need for a counter-unmanned aerial vehicle radar.

Raytheon's KuRFS radar is a multi-mission radar providing detection of rocket, artillery, mortar and UAS threats by providing a critical sense and warn capability
Raytheon’s KuRFS radar is a multi-mission radar providing detection of rocket, artillery, mortar and UAS threats by providing a critical sense and warn capability

Already deployed, KuRFS delivers precision fire control as well as «sense and warn» capability for multiple missions including detection of rocket, artillery, mortar and swarming Unmanned Aircraft Systems (UAS) threats.

«Seeing threats – like swarming drones – as soon as possible on the battlefield is essential to protecting critical assets and saving soldiers’ lives», said Andrew Hajek, senior director of tactical radars at Raytheon Integrated Defense Systems. «KuRFS makes this possible by delivering a unique combination 360-degree situational awareness, precision and mobility».

KuRFS enables defense against multiple threat types through integration with the Land-Based Phalanx Weapon System (LPWS), .50-caliber/12.7-mm guns and 30-mm cannons. The radar also supports high-energy laser and the Coyote weapon system in both a ground mounted or vehicle mounted configuration.

Raytheon’ KuRFS is able to quickly address the urgent needs of the Army through a model of rapid-turn development and deployment. This reduces time to fielding, while providing enhanced flexibility to adapt to a quickly-changing threat environment in the drone space.

Mission Master

At the end of September, and for the first time, Rheinmetall took part in European Land Robot Trial (ELROB) with its unmanned multi-mission «Mission Master» vehicle. At Europe’s largest exhibition for military ground robotics, Rheinmetall’s Mission Master team entered the fray, taking on a number of competing teams.

Rheinmetall’s Mission Master unmanned ground vehicle was first unveiled at this year’s Eurosatory trade show, and has now won a competition of military «Mule» vehicles by scoring over twice as any points as the runner-up (Rheinmetall photo)
Rheinmetall’s Mission Master unmanned ground vehicle was first unveiled at this year’s Eurosatory trade show, and has now won a competition of military «Mule» vehicles by scoring over twice as any points as the runner-up (Rheinmetall photo)

Made by Rheinmetall Canada, the cargo version of this versatile vehicle turned in a particularly compelling performance in the «Mule» category.

In all, six teams took part in this competition category. Mules are essentially automated pack animals – autonomous transport vehicles capable of carrying heavy loads and equipment. They had to handle two scenarios.

The teams each had thirty minutes to cover a 1,400-meter-long route with their mule.

During the first run, Rheinmetall impressed the crowd with an impressive performance. Then, following the second, came the gratifying result; despite competing for the first time, the Rheinmetall Mission Master clearly dominated the contest, scoring 3,151 points, twice as many as the robotic vehicle that took second place (1,547 points), and way ahead of the one that came in third (167 points).

The cargo version of the Mission Master was exhibited to a large group of defence specialists for the first time at Eurosatory 2018. Rheinmetall developed this variant to reduce the combat load carried by troops in the field, contributing to faster movement and greater operational efficiency. Rheinmetall’s new robotic vehicle can operate in hazardous, difficult-to-reach terrain, in turn contributing to the survivability and protection of troops deployed in harm’s way.

Moreover, the Mission Master can be networked with advanced soldier systems such as Future Soldier – Expanded System, Gladius 2.0 or Argus. In Rheinmetall’s «System Infanterie», the Mission Master serves as a force multiplier for infantry sections or squads equipped with Rheinmetall’s Future Soldier – Expanded System technology. Fully networked with dismounted combat troops, it not only takes a weight not only off the soldiers’ shoulders, it also relieves the pressure on military leaders.

Characterized by extreme flexibility, the Rheinmetall Mission Master can be quickly configured for a multitude of different missions thanks to modular, easy-to-install build-ons. Its mission capabilities include logistics, surveillance, force protection, evacuation of wounded personnel, firefighting and Chemical, Biological, Radiological and Nuclear (CBRN) reconnaissance. It can also serve as a radio relay station. Speed, scalable autonomy and proven mobility in all types of terrain make the Mission Master a strong and dependable comrade for small combat units.