Category Archives: Ground Forces

Norwegian Supacat

The UK high mobility vehicle specialist, Supacat, has signed a £23 million (US $34.8 million) contract with The Norwegian Defence Logistic Organisation (NDLO) to supply a new fleet of High Mobility Vehicles. Supacat is supplying the HMT Extenda vehicle, the most capable vehicle in its class with the highest levels of mobility, protection, payload and firepower.

The open vehicle is typically used for scout, patrol and special forces-type roles
The open vehicle is typically used for scout, patrol and special forces-type roles

Under the contract, the NDLO has an option for a follow-on order that would double the fleet. The award includes the provision of a comprehensive through life support package. The first «pre-series» vehicle will be delivered in late 2016 followed by full fleet delivery from 2017 to 2019. Supacat will build the rolling chassis at its Devon based facility and it is planned that final fit and integration is completed in Norway.

«Securing Norway’s High Mobility Vehicle contract is a prestigious win for Supacat. It reinforces our world lead in this niche corner of the defence industry and underlines HMT Extenda’s position as the vehicle of choice for the modern fighting forces», said Nick Ames, Managing Director, Supacat Group Ltd.

Used by special operations forces, the Extenda order for Norway comes just over eight months after Australia signed up a AUS $105 million (US $82.8 million) deal with Supacat for delivery of 89 of the high-mobility machines
Used by special operations forces, the Extenda order for Norway comes just over eight months after Australia signed up a AUS $105 million (US $82.8 million) deal with Supacat for delivery of 89 of the high-mobility machines

The NDLO will acquire the latest version of the HMT Extenda with modifications to meet Norwegian requirements.

The HMT Extenda is unique as it is convertible to a 4×4 or a 6×6 configuration by inserting or removing a self-contained third axle unit to meet different operational requirements. Like other HMT series platforms, such as «Jackal», the HMT Extenda can be supplied with optional mine blast and ballistic protection kits and with a variety of mission hampers, weapons, communications, ISTAR (Intelligence, Surveillance, Target Acquisition, and Reconnaissance) and force protection equipment to suit a wide range of operational roles.

Designed by Supacat, the HMT product is manufactured under licence from Lockheed Martin
Designed by Supacat, the HMT product is manufactured under licence from Lockheed Martin

 

Specification

Model 4×4 6×6
Gross Vehicle Weight (GVW) 7,600 kg/16,755.1 lbs 10,500 kg/23,148.5 lbs
Payload 2,100 kg/4,629.71 lbs 3,900 kg/8598.03 lbs
Kerb weight (with fuel and armour) 5,500 kg/12,125.4 lbs 6,600 kg/14,550.5 lbs
Turning circle (kerb to kerb) 13.5 m/44.29 feet 17.5 m/57.41 feet
Speed

120 km/h/75 mph

Fuel capacity

200 Litres/52.83 US gal

Maximum road range 700 km/435 miles 800 km/497 miles
Fording

1,000 mm/39.37 inch

Gradient

60%

Side slope

35°

Engine

Cummins 6.7 L, 6 cylinder Diesel, 180 hp, 700 Nm torque

Transmission

5 speed automatic

Drive

2WD/4WD, High low range

Brakes

Air over hydraulic system ABS

Differentials

Limited slip

Steering

Power assisted

Tyres

335/80 R20

Electrical system

24V DC

Suspension

Independent with air adjustable ride height

Options

Runflat tyres, locking differentials, self-recovery winch, weapon mounts, remote weapons station, smoke grenade launchers, IR lights, Right Hand Drive (RHD) or Left Hand Drive (LHD)

 

Instructors from the Specialist Training Division are pictured training members of 1st Queens Dragoon Guards to operate the Extenda vehicle during an intensive eight-day course. The course is run at the Driffield Training area in North Yorkshire, which is part of the Defence School of Transport based at Leconfield. The Extenda is the six-wheeled variant of the Jackal vehicle with a load carrying capability at the rear of the vehicle and amongst other duties is used in Afghanistan for re-supply to areas, which are difficult for other vehicles to access

 

Formula One

Engineers at BAE Systems have applied the new upgrade «Active Damping» system to current variants of the CV90 combat vehicle family; breaking speed records in rough terrain and increasing the CV90’s agility by reducing the vehicle’s pitch acceleration by approximately 40 per cent – taking a world class system to the next level, and leaving competitors behind.

In a world first, tracked military vehicles are being upgraded with technology adapted from Formula One to improve handling and speed across the battlefield
In a world first, tracked military vehicles are being upgraded with technology adapted from Formula One to improve handling and speed across the battlefield

First introduced into Formula One in the 1990s, the «Active Damping» system works by sensing the speed of the vehicle and lay-out of the terrain ahead and responding by pressurising the suspension to keep the vehicle on a level plane at all times.

This increased stability across all terrain is helping to reduce the wear and tear on the armoured vehicles and subsequently reduce through-life repair costs for each vehicle, despite seeing each able to travel 30 – 40 per cent faster on rough terrain.

For the crew of a CV90, the technology means a smoother ride and a reduction in fatigue; an important factor on the battlefield. The reduced vertical motion also increases the gunner’s probability of finding and hitting targets.

F1 technology adapted to Armoured Combat Vehicles by BAE Systems
F1 technology adapted to Armoured Combat Vehicles by BAE Systems

The suspension system usually operates on carbon fibre racing cars weighing no more than 700 kg, but engineers at BAE Systems have cleverly adapted it to use on heavy tracked vehicles, some weighing as much as 35 tonnes. In recent trials a CV90 fitted with active damping set a new speed record on a rough terrain course, beating the Main Battle Tanks (MBTs).

Dan Lindell, CV90 Platform Manager at BAE Systems, said: «Adapting the Active Damping system for the first time from a light weight car to a heavy tracked vehicle such as CV90 was a unique challenge for us, but this advanced technology will deliver results to our customers in terms of vehicle performance and savings on the through life costs, as well as providing real benefits to the front line solider».

The CV90 is designed and built by BAE Systems in Sweden and is one of the largest families of armoured combat vehicles. CV90 is currently used in countries such as Norway, Finland and Denmark and has successfully performed in global operations including UN and NATO collaborations.

CV90 Active Damping
CV90 Active Damping

 

Specifications

Top speed:                                           43.5 mph/70 km/h

Range:                                                    559 miles/900 km

Payload:                                                16 tonnes

Ballistic:                                                 > 5

Mine:                                                        > 4a/4b

Trench crossing:                                 2.6 m/8.5 feet

Step climbing:                                      1.1 m/3.6 feet

Fording:                                                   1.5 m/4.9 feet

Remote Weapon Station (RWS):      7.62 – 40 mm Automatic Grenade Launcher (AGL)

Turret:                                                        25-120 mm/0.98-4.72 inch

No. of operators:                                   3 + 7

Gradient:                                                    60 %

Power to weight ratio:                        17.1-24.2 kW/ton

Electrical power:                                     570 A

Engine:                                                           Scania V8

Operating temperature:                      C2-A1

Driveline

Steel or rubber tracks:      ≤ 28 tonnes

Steel:                                            > 28 tonnes

Semi active dampening

F1 technology adapted to CV90
F1 technology adapted to CV90

 

British Warrior

The British Army’s Warrior armoured vehicle has demonstrated its firepower and fighting capability during successful firing trials in Scotland. Pictures and video released by Lockheed Martin UK show the Warrior vehicle’s new turret and cannon successfully firing against targets while on the move.

Warrior Infantry Fighting Vehicle is the first to be armed with the French-UK 40-mm auto cannon firing caseless rounds (Lockheed photo)
Warrior Infantry Fighting Vehicle is the first to be armed with the French-UK 40-mm auto cannon firing caseless rounds (Lockheed photo)

These are the latest trials that Lockheed Martin UK are undertaking as part of the Warrior Capability Sustainment Programme to upgrade the Army’s fleet of 380 Warrior Infantry Fighting Vehicles (IFVs). Senior members of the Army and potential international customers were invited to the Ministry of Defence’s ranges in Kirkudbright to see the Warrior IFV in action and get an update on the progression of the programme.

Modified, designed and installed by engineers at Lockheed Martin UK’s Ampthill site in Bedfordshire, the infrastructure of the Warrior vehicle will be significantly improved, including fitting the new turret with the ultra-modern CT40 weapon system, an updated environmental control system to improve crew comfort, better all-round awareness cameras and driver’s night vision, along with a modular protection fitting system to the chassis to enable quick change of armour for specific threats.

Alan Lines, Vice President and Managing Director, Lockheed Martin UK’s Ampthill site said: «These successful trials demonstrate both the accuracy and lethality of the new generation Warrior IFV, which has been designed and manufactured in the UK. This is the latest in a number of trials that have increased confidence in these modifications. We remain on track for critical design review later this year where the maturity of our design and technical effort will take place».

The Warrior IFV has the speed and performance to keep up with Challenger 2 Main Battle Tanks (MBTs) over the most difficult terrain, and the firepower and armour to support infantry in the assault. The Warrior family of seven variants of armoured vehicles, which entered service in 1988, has been highly successful for armoured infantry battlegroups in the Gulf War, Bosnia and Kosovo and Iraq.

They provide excellent mobility, lethality and survivability for the infantry and have enabled key elements from the Royal Artillery and Royal Electrical and Mechanical Engineers to operate effectively within the battlegroup. A highly successful armoured fighting vehicle, Warrior can be fitted with enhanced armour and is continuously being updated – the battlegroup thermal imager was fitted to increase its night-fighting capability.

Warrior variants include artillery Observation Post Vehicle (OPV), Command Post Vehicle (CPV), and a REME recovery and repair vehicle. All variants are equipped with a 7.62-mm chain gun. Both chain gun and CT40 cannon have an anti-helicopter capability.

Warrior upgrades would proceed at a cost of one billion pounds, extending the service life of the Warrior to 2040 and beyond
Warrior upgrades would proceed at a cost of one billion pounds, extending the service life of the Warrior to 2040 and beyond

 

40 CTAS

The 40 CTAS cannon is the next generation weapon of choice for medium calibre systems within Armoured Fighting Vehicles (AFV) and Infantry Fighting Vehicles. It provides with firepower superior to any other Medium-Calibre.

The suite of ammunition developed in association with the weapon is designed to give increased effect against armoured vehicles including some Main Battle Tanks, defeat of reinforce concrete, buildings, and soft targets.

The 40 CTAS can incorporate unlimited natures of ammunition within the same ammunition handling system, which gives the end user the capability to quickly engage threats across the modern battlefield spectrum including those within urban environments through selection of the most pertinent nature of ammunition.

 

Technical characteristics:

  • 40-mm Cased Telescoped Armament System
  • Novel rotating breech mechanism
  • Up to 200 rounds per minute rate of fire, single shot, burst and continuous
  • Ability to fire over a wide range of elevation (-10° to +75°)
  • Ammunition Natures (GPR-AB-T, GPR-PD-T, APFSDS-T, TP-T and TPRR-T)
  • Ammunition Handling System (AHS) automatically handling the ammunition to be fed into the cannon

The currently available ammunition types are:

  • GPR-AB-T (General Purpose Round – Air-Burst – Tracer) programmable round to neutralize dismounted infantry and soft targets
  • GPR-PD-T (GPR – Point Detonation – Tracer) to breach or defeat reinforced concrete walls
  • APFSDS-T (Armour Piercing Fin Stabilised Discarding Sabot – Tracer) able to penetrate 140-mm of RHA (frontal arc of some first generation МВТ and all IFVs)
  • TP-T (Target Practice – Tracer) and TPRR-T (Target Practice Reduced Range – Tracer)

 

German PUMA

After extensive testing by the Bundeswehr’s Technical services, many months of testing in extreme heat and cold abroad, and several field trials by the military, another milestone has now been achieved in the project PUMA Infantry Fighting Vehicle (IFV) with the authorization for use granted by the BAAINBw defence procurement agency.

The ballistic armour is designed to provide protection against hand-held anti-tank weapons, medium calibre weapons, artillery fragments and bomblets
The ballistic armour is designed to provide protection against hand-held anti-tank weapons, medium calibre weapons, artillery fragments and bomblets

Many conditions had to be met for this, some of which key are listed below. On the basis of tests and test results, technical optimizations were repeatedly developed, qualified and continuously introduced into series production vehicles. Thereafter, the test report was finalized by the Central Military Motor Vehicles office (Zentrale Militärkraftfahrtstelle), which issued the necessary approval and made it street-legal. Finally, the Army Inspector (Inspekteur Heer) formally declared April 13 that the Schützenpanzer (SPz) PUMA was ready to enter service. This was on the same day that the BAAINBw granted the clearance for service.

Thus, operations are scheduled to begin next week with the training of instructors on the first seven armored vehicles. Others will follow in the coming months. This training period will continue until the end of the year at the training center in Munster. There, an introduction organisation PUMA eine Einführungsorganisation (EFO) was set up specifically for the PUMA, and will perform the initial training of mechanized infantry companies on IFV PUMA for three months, also at the Munster training center. The EFO will also accept delivery of the vehicles by the manufacturer, adds Bundeswehr-furnished equipment and hands them over to the trainee soldiers there. Thus, the Panzer Grenadiers will take «their» own SPz PUMA after the three-month training cycle, in order to further familiarize themselves with «their» new vehicles on their bases.

The contracts necessary for the repair and technical and logistical support have been concluded between the army and the PSM GmbH, so the support of the PUMA by industry is thus ensured.

The chassis incorporates a key PUMA concept approach, the compact, full-length crew compartment for the entire crew, i.e. driver, gunner and commander as well as the infantry squad consisting of six soldiers
The chassis incorporates a key PUMA concept approach, the compact, full-length crew compartment for the entire crew, i.e. driver, gunner and commander as well as the infantry squad consisting of six soldiers

 

PUMA Infantry Fighting Vehicle

The PUMA combines the contrary requirements for high strategic and tactical mobility on the one hand and maximum protection and maximum fire power on the other in an optimum manner in one single high-performance weapon system, capable to react adequate and flexible at any time, at any location and at any level of intensity.

Therefore, the PUMA offers with its innovative and forward-looking solutions:

  • optimum protection against any type of threat for maximum survivability of the crew;
  • optimum armament for escalation and de-escalation in all missions;
  • rapid, strategic, global deployability and high tactical mobility;
  • network centric warfare capability;
  • sustainability under extreme climatic conditions and inadequate infrastructural conditions.

Some important technical solutions improve the PUMA’s combat effectiveness significantly:

  • integration of the German Battlefield-Management-System «FüInfoSys»;
  • integration of the German Future Soldier System «IdZ»;
  • the MUltifunctional Self-protection System (MUSS), a softkill system against guided missiles, will be integrated. Integration of a launcher for two missiles for the Anti Armour/Multi-Purpose Missile System SPIKE LR (EuroSpike).
In addition to existing 30 mm full-calibre and sub-calibre fin-stabilized ammunition, it is also possible to fire the newly developed air burst ammunition with time fuzes
In addition to existing 30 mm full-calibre and sub-calibre fin-stabilized ammunition, it is also possible to fire the newly developed air burst ammunition with time fuzes

 

Available interfaces for:

  • identification friend-foe;
  • alternative active protection systems;
  • remote controlled grenade launcher.

The PUMA achieves this firepower through the interaction of different innovative elements:

  • The main armament is the fully stabilized, automatic 30-mm Mk-30-2 ABM fitted to the remote-controlled turret. This weapon designed for target engagement on great distances also on the move.
  • 200 rounds of two types of ammunition are available ready to use. Further 200 rounds are stowed in the chassis.
  • A variety of state of the art optical and optronic vision devices enables the whole crew 360° all-around surveillance, recognition and identification of targets on long distances.
  • The hunter-killer functionality, as available in the Leopard 2 main battle tank, allows the rapid engagement of several targets within a very short time
  • PUMA receives an additional weapon system with the integration of the Anti Armour/Multi-Purpose Missile System SPIKE, provided by EuroSpike. The integration of SPIKE boosts the PUMA’s lethality significantly.
Targets identified through vision blocks can immediately be displayed to the commander for further identification by operating the target allocator
Targets identified through vision blocks can immediately be displayed to the commander for further identification by operating the target allocator

 

Performance Data

Weight, level A (Air-transportable by A400M) 31.45 t/69,335 lbs
Gross Vehicle Weight (GVW) 43 t/94,799 lbs
Length 7.6 m/24.9 feet
Width 3.9 m/12.8 feet
Height 3.6 m/11.8 feet
Ground clearance 0.45 m/17.72 inch
Step climb 0.8 m/2.62 feet
Gap crossing 2.5 m/8.2 feet
Fording depth 1.2 m/3.94 feet (without preparation)
Engine power 800 kW/1,073 hp
Specific power-to-weight ratio up to 25 kW/t/33.5 hp/t
Maximum speed (road), forward 43 mph/70 km/h
Maximum speed (road), reverse 18 mph/30 km/h
Crew 9 (6+3)
Chassis decoupled running gear
Turret unmanned, remote-controlled
Main armament Mk-30-2/ABM, cal. 30-mm
Main armament rounds 200 (capacity ready bin) + 200 (stowed rounds)
Secondary armament MG 4, cal. 5.56-mm
Secondary armament rounds 1000 (capacity ready bin) + 1000 (stowed rounds)
Guided missile system SPIKE LR (EuroSpike)
Powerful 10-cylinder engine delivering 800 kW at 4250 rpm
Powerful 10-cylinder engine delivering 800 kW at 4250 rpm

Interceptors Ashore

Lockheed Martin is studying adding an Anti-Air Warfare (AAW) to Aegis Ashore Ballistic Missile Defense (BMD) sites, reported Sam LaGrone, USNI News editor. The studies are not in advance of a new program of record for modifications of the installations and are at the behest of the Missile Defense Agency, said Jim Sheridan, Director of AEGIS development for Lockheed Martin in a briefing to reporters ahead of the Navy League Sea-Air-Space Exposition 2015.

Aegis Ashore provides a proven, affordable solution to expand the protection of the Aegis Combat System to inland areas
Aegis Ashore provides a proven, affordable solution to expand the protection of the Aegis Combat System to inland areas

«There’s been some detailed discussion over the past couple of years about the possibility of reconstituting or adding an AAW capability to the Aegis Ashore configuration», Jim Sheridan told reporters. «We’ve been turned on to do some studies on what it would take to do that going forward in the future».

Aegis Ashore – created in conjunction with Missile Defense Agency (MDA) and the Navy – uses the SPY-1D radar and the Mk-41 Vertical Launch System (VLS) tubes native to the Navy’s Arleigh Burke guided missile destroyers (DDG-51) to detect and launch Standard Missile-3 (SM-3) interceptors to counter ballistic missile threats.

Since most of the hardware is the same, Jim Sheridan said it would not be difficult to reconfigure the installations in Poland and Romania: «There is no program of record to reconstitute or add AAW capabilities to the Aegis Ashore configuration, but they’re just asking in the event in the future, what it would take to do that. We think it would not be difficult because that’s the same configuration we’re delivering to destroyers today».

Aegis Ashore is the land-based component of the Ballistic Missile Defense System and will use the same components that will be used onboard the Navy’s new construction Aegis BMD Destroyers
Aegis Ashore is the land-based component of the Ballistic Missile Defense System and will use the same components that will be used onboard the Navy’s new construction Aegis BMD Destroyers

It is said in The NavyTimes that a 430-acre (174 hectare) Aegis Ashore facility will be operational by year’s end in Deveselu, Romania, and manned by about 200 U.S. service members, government civilians and support contractors. It will be armed with SM-3 IB interceptors. A second site planned for Poland, scheduled to become operational in 2018, will be armed with SM-3 IIA interceptors.

The SM-3 Cooperative Development Program focuses on joint U.S. and Japan development of a 21-inch diameter variant of the SM-3 missile, referred to as SM-3 Block IIA. Aegis BMD 5.1 will integrate the SM-3 Block IIA missile into the combat system. Data links will also be improved to enable Engage on Remote track data. Deployment begins in 2018.

SM-3 Block IIA guided missile development completed Critical Design Review and successfully conducted a Propulsion Test Vehicle (PTV) flight test. The PTV round consisted of a live booster with an inert 21-inch diameter upper-stage assembly encanisted in a Vertical Launch System canister.

The deckhouse for the Aegis Ashore system at the Pacific Missile Range Facility. This is the test asset for the Aegis Ashore system that will be emplaced in Romania and Poland (Missile Defense Agency Photo)
The deckhouse for the Aegis Ashore system at the Pacific Missile Range Facility. This is the test asset for the Aegis Ashore system that will be emplaced in Romania and Poland (Missile Defense Agency Photo)

 

Aegis Ashore

Aegis Ashore is a land-based capability of the Aegis Ballistic Missile Defense System to address the evolving ballistic missile security environment. The re-locatable deckhouse is equipped with the Aegis BMD weapon system and Standard Missile-3, with upgrades being phased during this decade. Each Aegis BMD upgrade provides increased capability for countering ballistic missile threats. In addition to Aegis BMD ships, Aegis Ashore is part of Phased Adaptive Approach (PAA) Phases II and III.

 

Development

Uses the same combat system elements (AN/SPY-1 Radar, Command, Control, Communications, Computers and Intelligence systems, Vertical Launching System, computer processors, display system, power supplies and cooling) that are used onboard the Navy’s new construction Aegis BMD Destroyers.

Conducting flight tests at the Aegis Ashore Missile Defense Test Complex at Pacific Missile Range Facility (PMRF) in Kauai, Hawaii. Each test will increase the operational realism and complexity of targets and scenarios and will be witnessed by Navy and Department of Defense test agents.

Integrates advances in sensor technology such as launch of an SM-3 missile in response to remote sensor data.

Defeats short- to intermediate-range ballistic missile threats.

Incorporates future capability upgrades in association with Aegis BMD Program of Record.

The Aegis Ashore deckhouse during a Missile Defense Agency and U.S. Navy test from Kauai, Hawaii
The Aegis Ashore deckhouse during a Missile Defense Agency and U.S. Navy test from Kauai, Hawaii

 

Aegis Ashore Missile Defense Test Complex (AAMDTC)

The AAMDTC at the PMRF is a test and evaluation center in the development of the PAA. The test complex leverages the Aegis BMD Weapon System and the new SM-3 Block IB missile for PAA Phase II deployment, as well as, supports deployment decisions and upgrades of future PAA Phase capabilities.

The AAMDTC fired the first land-based SM-3 Block IB missile in May 2014.

 

Deployment

In 2015, Aegis Ashore will be installed in Romania as part of the PAA Phase II. This deployed capability will use Aegis BMD 5.0 CU and SM-3 Block IB to provide ballistic missile coverage of southern Europe.

In 2018, Aegis Ashore will be installed in Poland, as part of the PAA Phase III. This deployed capability will use Aegis BMD 5.1 and SM-3 Blocks IB and IIA to support increased additional defense of Europe.

 

Future Capabilities

Engagement of longer range ballistic missiles.

 

Land-based Aegis Ashore, as part of Phased Adaptive Approach (PAA), will use the same components as those onboard the Navy’s new construction Aegis BMD Destroyers

 

American Paladin

According to Daniel Wasserbly, Jane’s Defence Weekly correspondent, the U.S. Army has begun receiving its first production-model M109A7 Paladin Integrated Management (called PIM) Self-Propelled Howitzers (SPHs) and held a ceremony on 9 April to mark the new system’s arrival.

Extended range: 30 km/18.6 miles with High Explosive – Rocket Assisted Projectile (HE RAP) and M203 propellant
Extended range: 30 km/18.6 miles with High Explosive – Rocket Assisted Projectile (HE RAP) and M203 propellant

The army and prime contractor BAE Systems are in the process of finalising a Low-Rate Initial Production (LRIP) plan that is expected to include 66 vehicle sets (a set is one SPH and one M992A3 CAT, Carrier, Ammunition, Tracked vehicle) plus an extra SPH for testing, Mark Signorelli, BAE Systems’ vice-president and general manager of combat vehicles, told IHS Jane’s on 8 April. The army could buy as many as 580 sets, but the actual procurement quantity could be slightly lower and depends on funding.

For fiscal year 2016 (FY 2016) the service requested Paladin PIM programme funding to support final developmental testing with $152.3 million and to buy 30 PIM LRIP systems with $273.9 million. Mark Signorelli said a full-rate production decision is expected in February 2017 after qualification and reliability testing is completed, and following an operational test slated for the second half of 2016.

PIM is to replace the legacy M109A6 Paladin howitzers and M992A2 ammunition carriers with a more advanced system, while incorporating drive train and suspension components common to the M2 Bradley Infantry Fighting Vehicle (IFV). The programme was approved to begin initial production in October 2014 following an extended testing period after the first seven prototypes were delivered in 2011.

Mark Signorelli described those prototypes as «generation one» and noted that several upgrades and capabilities were added to change the configuration over time, including new armour designs for heightened protection and design changes around the gun drives and rammer. «Very few of them were individually significant», Signorelli said, although the changes took time and added testing qualifications.

The PIM retains the legacy 155-mm Paladin’s cannon, but it is fitted on a new chassis based on the Bradley. The two vehicles share a 600 hp Cummins V903 diesel engine, a suspension, and other components.

Aside from the chassis, the PIM models also have a new electric ramming system and a 600 V on-board power system that builds on technologies developed during the Non-Line-of-Sight Cannon (NLOS-C) programme and is intended to ensure the PIM will have enough space, weight, and power-cooling growth potential for future upgrades.

Max rate of fire: 4 rounds/minute for three minutes
Max rate of fire: 4 rounds/minute for three minutes

 

Paladin Integrated Management

M109A7 Self-Propelled Howitzer

The new M109A7 Self-Propelled Howitzer and its associated M992A3 Carrier, Ammunition, Tracked (CAT) vehicle enhance their combat-proven successors’ – the M109A6 Paladin and M992A2 Field Artillery Ammunition Support Vehicle’s (FAASV) – reliability, maintainability, performance, responsiveness, and lethality. Additionally, they provide increased commonality with the Bradley Fighting Vehicle (BFV) of the Armored Brigade Combat Team (ABCT) with significant built-in growth potential in terms of available space, weight and electrical power.

 

Commonality

The M109A7 chassis features a power pack, drive train, track, and suspension components common with the BFV, improving supportability and reducing the ABCT’s logistical footprint.

 

Responsiveness

The M109A7’s «shoot and scoot» capability protects the crew from counterbattery fire by means of an onboard position navigation system and fire control system capable of executing missions digitally and via secure voice command. With an upgraded, 675 hp/503 kW electronically controlled version of the BFV standard V903 engine, coupled with an improved HMPT-800 transmission, the M109A7 has faster acceleration for rapid displacement, and the ability to keep pace with the maneuver forces it supports.

From the move, the M109A7 can receive a fire mission, compute firing data, select and occupy a firing position, transition from traveling configuration to firing configuration, and point its cannon, and fire within 60 seconds – all with first round fire-for-effect accuracy. The M109A7 operates day or night, in all weather conditions, providing timely and accurate fires with a range in excess of 30 km/18.6 miles.

 

Survivability

The M109A7 offers increased survivability, because the crew remains inside the vehicle throughout the mission. Along with the «shoot and scoot» capability, the M109A7 features an Automatic Fire Extinguishing System (AFES), Common Remote Operated Weapons System (CROWS), and enhanced applique armor.

 

Operational Availability

Hull, turret, suspension, and automotive system upgrades increase system reliability. The M109A7 incorporates an onboard computer with comprehensive diagnostics programs that rapidly pinpoint equipment issues early for ease of maintenance while improving system availability.

Sustained rate of fire: 1 round/minute (dependent on thermal warning devices)
Sustained rate of fire: 1 round/minute (dependent on thermal warning devices)

 

Specifications

Gross vehicle weight 80,000 lbs/36,288 kg
Crew 4
Engine 675 hp/503 kW
Fuel tank 143 gallons/541 liters
Speed 38 mph/61 km/h
Estimated cruising range 186 miles/300 km
Slope 60%
Side slope 40%
Trench crossing 72 inches/1.8 m
Maximum fording depth 42 inches/1.0 m
Overall length 382 inches/9.7 m
Width 154 inches/3.9 m
Height 129 inches/3.3 m
Howitzer/gun mount M284 cannon/M182A1 mount
Main generator 70 kW; 600 vdc/28 vdc
Reserve power >50%

 

Cummins VTA903

A key design consideration is the ability to operate with rapid, easy movement across almost any terrain, displaying much of the mobility of a main battle tank.

While the engine needs to be powerful and compact to meet this requirement, it also needs to offer exceptional reliability to ensure maximum availability of these high-value battlefield assets. The heavy-duty V903 engine is purpose developed by Cummins for these highly demanding applications – and during combat situations the outstanding abilities of this unique engine have been fully proven.

The V903 has also proved an ideal power solution for one of the most important elements on the battlefield – the tracked Infantry Fighting Vehicle (IFV), typified by the M2 Bradley together with derivatives such as the M3 Bradley Cavalry Fighting Vehicle (CVF).

Equipped with 600 hp (447 kW) of Cummins heavy-duty power, the Bradley can maintain progress with main battle tanks right at the forefront of the action. Very high power-toweight ratio enables these vehicles to incorporate heavier armour and more firepower, while the inherent reliability of the engine is a major advantage during high intensity operations.

 

Engine Specifications

Model V903
Cylinders V8
Capacity 14.8 L
Valves 32
Maximum Power 800 hp @ 2800 rpm/597 kW
Max Torque 2362 Nm @ 2200 rpm
Weight (dry) 1,271kg
Engine Cummins VTA903
Engine Cummins VTA903

Generation 3 HEL

General Atomics Aeronautical Systems, Inc. (GA-ASI), a leading manufacturer of Remotely Piloted Aircraft (RPA) systems, radars, and electro-optic and related mission systems solutions, announced (8 April, 2015) that an independent measurement team contracted by the U.S. Government has completed beam quality and power measurements of GA-ASI’s Generation 3 High Energy Laser System (HEL) using the Joint Technology Office (JTO) Government Diagnostic System (GDS).

The capability to shoot down tactical targets such as surface-to-air missiles and rockets will be demonstrated
The capability to shoot down tactical targets such as surface-to-air missiles and rockets will be demonstrated

«These measurements confirm the exceptional beam quality of the Generation 3 HEL, the next-generation leader in electrically-pumped lasers», said Claudio Pereida, executive vice president, Mission Systems, GA-ASI.

The new laser represents the third generation of technology originally developed under the High Energy Liquid Laser Area Defense System (HELLADS, Generation 1) program. The goal of the HELLADS program was to develop a high-energy laser weapon system (150 kW) with an order of magnitude reduction in weight compared to existing laser systems. The Generation 3 Laser employs a number of upgrades resulting in improved beam quality, increased electrical to optical efficiency, and reduced size and weight.

General Atomics’ third-generation tactical laser weapon module is sized to be carried on its Avenger unmanned aircraft
General Atomics’ third-generation tactical laser weapon module is sized to be carried on its Avenger unmanned aircraft

The recently certified Generation 3 laser assembly is very compact at only 1.3×0.4×0.5 meters. The system is powered by a compact Lithium-ion battery supply designed to demonstrate a deployable architecture for tactical platforms.

The Generation 3 HEL tested is a unit cell for the Tactical Laser Weapon Module (TLWM) currently under development. Featuring a flexible, deployable architecture, the TLWM is designed for use on land, sea, and airborne platforms and will be available in four versions at the 50, 75, 150, and 300-kilowatt laser output levels.

Enemy surface-to-air threats to manned and unmanned aircraft have become increasingly sophisticated, creating a need for rapid and effective response to this growing category of threats
Enemy surface-to-air threats to manned and unmanned aircraft have become increasingly sophisticated, creating a need for rapid and effective response to this growing category of threats

The GDS was employed by an independent measurement team to evaluate the beam quality of the Generation 3 system over a range of operating power and run time. According to JTO’s Jack Slater, «The system produced the best beam quality from a high energy laser that we have yet measured with the GDS. We were impressed to see that the beam quality remained constant with increasing output power and run-time».

With run time limited only by the magazine depth of the battery system, beam quality was constant throughout the entire run at greater than 30 seconds. These measurements confirm that the exceptional beam quality of this new generation of electrically pumped lasers is maintained above the 50-kilowatt level.

Following this evaluation, the independent team will use the GDS again to conduct beam quality measurements of the GA-ASI HELLADS Demonstrator Laser Weapon System (DLWS). The HELLADS DLWS includes a 150-kilowatt class laser with integrated power and thermal management.

Features/Benefits:

  • lightweight and compact;
  • increased engagement range;
  • counters tactical targets.
The HELLADS programme involves development of a 150 kW laser weapon system to counter ground threats such as RAM and surface-to-air missiles
The HELLADS programme involves development of a 150 kW laser weapon system to counter ground threats such as RAM and surface-to-air missiles

Armoured Vehicles

The French Army is scheduled to receive the first three of 95 up-armoured VBCI (Véhicule Blindé de Combat d’Infanterie) 8×8 armoured vehicles next month, said Victor Barreira, Jane’s Defence Weekly reporter. The vehicles will be 29-tonne VCI (Véhicule de Combat d’Infanterie) Infantry Fighting Vehicle (IFV) variants modified to a Gross Vehicle Weight (GVW) of 32 tonnes with improved protection against improvised explosive devices.

Armed with a 25-mm 25M811 automatic cannon
Armed with a 25-mm 25M811 automatic cannon

A contract for the development of the VCI configuration was awarded in December 2010 by the French Direction Générale de l´Armement (DGA) arms procurement agency to the vehicle’s manufacturers, Nexter Systems and Renault Trucks Defense, with contracts for the modification placed in June 2013 for a first batch of 48 vehicles and in September 2014 for another batch of 47 vehicles. Qualification of the prototype by the DGA was declared on 24 September 2014. Deliveries will be completed in June 2017, although further VCIs are expected to be modified.

The order for 630 VBCIs originally purchased to replace the French Army’s AMX-10P tracked vehicles was recently completed with delivery of the last vehicle on 13 March. The programme was concluded with delivery of the last of 520 VCI variants; 110 VPC (Véhicule Poste de Commandement) command post variants were inducted up to mid-2013. The first VBCI was delivered in 2008.

The VCI variant (which itself comes in two configurations: the Rang infantry-carrying version and the Eryx anti-armour missile version) features Nexter Systems’ Tarask turret armed with a 25-mm 25M811 automatic cannon, while the VPC variant is fitted out with the Airbus DS SIR (Système d’Information Régimentaire) information system and FN Herstal ARROWS 300 (Advanced Reconnaissance & Remotely Operated Weapon System) remote weapon station.

VBCI has an unrivalled overall survivability: ballistic, mines and IED protection, «Soft Kill» systems
VBCI has an unrivalled overall survivability: ballistic, mines and IED protection, «Soft Kill» systems

The VBCIs are also being fitted with an integration kit to work with the Sagem FELIN (Fantassin à Équipement et Liaisons Intégrés) soldier system, with work scheduled to be complete by late 2015.

As part of the French Army’s SCORPION (Synergie du COntact Renforcé par la Polyvalence et l’InfovalorisatiON) modernisation programme, a mid-life update of the VBCI is expected in due course with the aim of improving the vehicle’s existing functions, integrating new functions and new technologies, and managing any potential future obsolescence issues.

Current plans include integrating an anti-tank missile capability into the Tarask turret, along with adding the SICS (Système d’Information et de Combat SCORPION) information system, CONTACT (COmmunications Numérisées TACtiques et de ThéâtrE) tactical communications system, enhanced optronics, vetronics, and new ammunition.

From high-intensity combat missions to peacekeeping operations, the VBCI keeps an entire infantry section safe. VCBI is «Combat Proven» and is currently deployed in operation. VBCI represents the best balanced solution between protection, firepower, mobility and payload. VBCI has an unrivalled overall survivability: ballistic, mines and IED (Improvised Explosive Devices) protection, «Soft Kill» systems. It is fitted with CBRN (Chemical, Biological, Radiological and Nuclear) equipment. In the IFV variant, VBCI is equipped with medium caliber turrets: 20-mm RWS (Remote Weapon Station), 25-mm, 30-mm, 40-mm. With its mobility performance, its exceptional manoeuvrability and its high firepower, the VBCI is remarkably efficient in combat. VBCI is in service with the French Army.

SICS (Système d'Information et de Combat SCORPION) information system, CONTACT (COmmunications Numérisées TACtiques et de ThéâtrE) tactical communications system
SICS (Système d’Information et de Combat SCORPION) information system, CONTACT (COmmunications Numérisées TACtiques et de ThéâtrE) tactical communications system

 

Specifications

Length <8 m/<26.2 feet
Width <3 m/<9.8 feet
Height <2.5 m/<8.2 feet
Gross Vehicle Weight 32 tons
Empty Weight 19 tons
Payload 13 tons
Engine Intercooler diesel engine 6 cylinders in line
Maximum power 405 kW/550 hp
Max torque 2,450 Nm
Gearbox ZF 7HP902, fully automatic, 7 forward and 2 reverse gear
Drop box Mechanical with 3 shafts
Transfer box Mechanical with 2 shafts
Axles (×4) Interwheel differential lock, Longitudinal clutching (6×8 – 8×8)
Wheels (×8) Independent wheels, Wheel reducer, Tyres 395/90 R22 or 1400 R20, Run flat device
Suspensions Mixed oleo pneumatic, Double wishbones independent suspensions, Combined hydro-pneumatic spring and shock absorber
Brakes Full air, with 2 independent lines (EBS), Anti-lock Braking system (ABS), 8 pneumatic disc brakes, Parking brake and emergency brake, Central tires inflation system (CTIS)
Steering Hydraulic power assistance featuring 2 circuits and 2 pumps, Additional steering system (ASS)
Multiplexed electronic network Based on civilian components, Compliant with EMC Standards, CAN BUS system
Centralized dashboard Alerts management, Diagnostic system
Carrying capacity Up to 14 pax
Maximum speed >62 mph/100 km/h
Maximum range 900 km/559 miles
Gradient 60%
Side slope 30%
Step 0.7 m/2.3 feet
Trench 2 m/6.5 feet
Fording 1.7 m/5.5 feet

 

Renault Trucks Defense 8×8 driveline is designed for combat vehicles up to 32 tonnes (GVW, Gross Vehicle Weight). This high mobility solution is «Combat Proven» with the French VBCI Infantry Combat Vehicle

 

SOCOM buggy

According to Joe Gould, DefenseNews correspondent, US Special Operations Command (SOCOM) is making a sole-source purchase of 2,050 light tactical All-Terrain Vehicles (ATVs) from Polaris Industries, according to a Monday announcement.

Polaris, whose core business is recreational vehicles, has several ATVs modified for military operations
Polaris, whose core business is recreational vehicles, has several ATVs modified for military operations

The contract, to be awarded in June, includes 1,750 of the Medina, Minnesota-based company’s four-seat MRZR-4 and 300 of its two-seat MRZR-2.

SOCOM indicated it selected the vehicles because they can be transported inside the Bell Boeing V-22 Osprey, Boeing MH-47 special operations helicopter and Sikorsky MH-53 Pave Low, and that they can be dropped from the air.

The contract supersedes a five-year blanket purchase agreement SOCOM and Polaris signed in 2013, which had an estimated value of $9.5 million per year.

Polaris, whose core business is recreational vehicles, has several ATVs modified for military operations. It unveiled its first purpose-built military vehicle last year, the DAGOR, which can transport a nine-person infantry squad or carry 3,250 pounds of payload.

The contract supersedes a five-year blanket purchase agreement SOCOM and Polaris signed in 2013
The contract supersedes a five-year blanket purchase agreement SOCOM and Polaris signed in 2013

 

Specifications

MRZR-2 MRZR-4
Engine Type Polaris ProStar 900 4-Stroke DOHC Twin Cylinder Polaris ProStar 900 4-Stroke DOHC Twin Cylinder
Displacement 875cc 875cc
Fuel System Electronic Fuel Injection Electronic Fuel Injection
Horsepower 88 hp 88 hp
Top Speed 60 mph/96 km/h 60 mph/96 km/h
Transmission/Final Drive Continuous Variable Transmission (CVT): P/R/N/L/H Continuous Variable Transmission (CVT): P/R/N/L/H
Drive System On-demand True All-Wheel Drive (AWD) On-demand True All-Wheel Drive (AWD)
Engine Braking System/ Active Descent Control Standard/Standard Standard/Standard
Front Suspension Dual A-Arm with 12.5 inch/ 31.75 cm travel Dual A-Arm with 12.5 inch/ 31.75 cm travel
Rear Suspension Trailing Arm with 12.5 inch/ 31.75 cm travel Trailing Arm with 12.5 inch/ 31.75 cm travel
Shocks Fox Podium X 2.5 (comp adjust/res.) Fox Podium X 2.5 (comp adjust/res.)
Front/Rear Brakes 4-Wh eel Hydraulic Disc with Dual-Bore Front and Single-Bore Rear Calipers 4-Wh eel Hydraulic Disc with Dual-Bore Front and Single-Bore Rear Calipers
Parking Brake Park in Transmission Park in Transmission
Front Tires MOAPA AT/26 × 9-14 DWT MOAPA AT/26 × 9-14 DWT
Rear Tires MOAPA AT/26 × 9-14 DWT MOAPA AT/26 × 9-14 DWT
Wheels Bead lock Bead lock
Wheelbase 81.4 inch/206.8 cm 107.4 inch/272.8 cm
Dry Weight 1,611 lbs/730.7 kg 1,912 lbs/867.3 kg
Overall Vehicle Size (L × W × H) 115.4 × 60 × 73.6 inch/293.1 × 152.4 × 187 cm 141.5 × 60 × 73.8 inch/359.4 × 152.4 × 187.5 cm
Height w/Collapsed Roll Cage 60 inch/152.4 cm 60 inch/152.4 cm
Ground Clearance 11.2 inch/28.4 cm 11.2 inch/28.4 cm
Fuel Capacity 7.25 GAL/27.4 L 7.25 GAL/27.4 L
Bed Box Dimensions (L × W × H) 33.75 × 45.75 × 20.5 inch/ 85.73 × 116.2 × 52.1 cm 33.75 × 45.75 × 20.5 inch/ 85.73 × 116.2 × 52.1 cm
Front/Rear Rack or Box Capacity 500 lbs/226.8 kg 500 lbs/226.8 kg
Payload Capacity 1,000 lbs/453.6 kg 1,000 lbs/453.6 kg
Passengers 2 (4 with optional rearward facing seats) 4 (6 with optional rearward facing seats)
Litter Capacity 1 2
Hitch Towing Rating 1,500 lbs/680.4 kg 1,500 lbs/680.4 kg
Hitch/Type Standard/2″ Receiver Standard/2″ Receiver
Seating Modular seating with optional rearward facing seats Modular seating with optional rearward facing seats
Seatbelts Four-point harnesses with quick release latch Four-point harnesses with quick release latch
Keyless Ignition Standard Standard
Tilt Steer Wheel/Passenger Grab Bar Standard Standard
Aircraft Tie-downs Front and rear of vehicle Front and rear of vehicle
Cargo System Polaris Metal Racks with Quick Rail System Polaris Metal Racks with Quick Rail System
Winch Polaris 3,500 lbs winch Polaris 3,500 lbs winch
Lighting White LED (High/Low), blackout drive and OEM IR Light wire harness White LED (High/Low), blackout drive and OEM IR Light wire harness
Electronic Power Steering Standard Standard
Color Military Tan Military Tan
Instrumentation Digital Gauge, Speedometer, Odometer, Tachometer, Tripmeter, Hour Meter, Clock, Gear Indicator, Fuel Gauge, Hi-Temp/Low-Batt Lights, DC Outlets (2) Digital Gauge, Speedometer, Odometer, Tachometer, Tripmeter, Hour Meter, Clock, Gear Indicator, Fuel Gauge, Hi-Temp/Low-Batt Lights, DC Outlets (3)

 

Light Tactical All-Terrain Vehicles

Birth of KANT

Germany and France are going to develop the Main Battle Tank of the XXI century. According to DefenseNews, French Nexter Group and German family-controlled Krauss Maffei-Wegmann are on track to forge a cross-border link up in the land weapons sector this year. The French state-owned company said: «On July 1, 2014, the shareholders of the two French and German companies signed a memorandum of understanding for an equally owned alliance. This project is progressing and should produce concrete results in 2015».

The Leopard 2A7+ was developed and qualified for the new tasks of the German Armed Forces. The system components, optimized to protect the crew, prove their worth, currently being in use in Afghanistan with NATO's Partner Canada
The Leopard 2A7+ was developed and qualified for the new tasks of the German Armed Forces. The system components, optimized to protect the crew, prove their worth, currently being in use in Afghanistan with NATO’s Partner Canada

On the business front, the Direction Générale de l’Armement (Defence Procurement Agency, DGA) has awarded a contract worth some €330 million ($349.4 million) to Nexter Systems to upgrade 200 Leclerc tanks and 18 tank recovery vehicles with delivery from 2020, the procurement office said in a statement March 12.

Defense Minister Jean-Yves Le Drian has written into his 2015 agenda an agreement for the joint venture deal in July or August, an announcement which caught some in industry by surprise. The proposed joint holding company is named KMW and Nexter Together, or KANT. The Bode family controls KMW through the Wegmann firm.

An accord in the summer, however, seems unlikely as there is a political drag effect due to Nexter’s privatization being caught up in an attempt to liberalize the ailing French economy. There is no problem on the industrial front as Nexter and KMW opened up their books for due diligence and that detailed examination of their businesses will lead to a valuation of the two companies. That scrutiny is going ahead smoothly even if the conclusion might miss the April 1 deadline, an industry source said. The due diligence allows the two shareholders to negotiate the valuation and whether amounts must be paid to bring each side to the 50:50 share in the holding company, noted Pierre Tran, DefenseNews reporter.

The joint holding company will take charge of commercial and product launch strategy, while industrial production will stay with the operating companies and under domestic management
The joint holding company will take charge of commercial and product launch strategy, while industrial production will stay with the operating companies and under domestic management

On the political front, France must privatize Nexter to allow the company to form the planned joint holding company with KMW. However, that will likely take longer than expected as the privatization has been written into a wide-ranging draft legislation proposed by Economy Minister Emmanuel Macron, a former investment banker who seeks to inject more competition into the domestic economy. The proposed Macron law has run into strong political resistance from both the Union pour un Mouvement Populaire conservative party and left wing of the Socialist Party. That will likely delay the joint venture agreement to the autumn, the source said.

KMW Chairman Frank Haun on January 14 told the French National Assembly defense committee the alliance would work over the next five years developing a tank – whether it be called Leopard 3, Leleo or Leoclerc – and the new heavy armored vehicle could be delivered 2025-2030 to replace the Leclerc and Leopard 2.

The Russians are working hard on tank development, and Nexter and KMW could exchange their «very interesting» technology to build replacements for the Leclerc and Leopard, Frank Haun said. Fully automated artillery, smart munitions and laser weapons are among the new weapons on which the KANT alliance would work, he added.

Nexter Chairman Philippe Burtin told the committee the SCORPION (Synergie du COntact Renforcé par la Polyvalence et l’InfovalorisatiON) Army modernization program will generate an average annual €200 million of work. The companies will have five years to see if the alliance works and if not, they can back out, Macron said.

The contract to upgrade the Leclerc tank was signed March 5
The contract to upgrade the Leclerc tank was signed March 5