According to Igor Tabak, IHS Jane’s Defence Weekly reporter, Croatia has ordered 12 Panzerhaubitze 2000 (PzH 2000) 155 mm self-propelled howitzers from ex-German military stocks. A contract for the order was signed in Zagreb on 5 December, 2014 by Viktor Koprivnjak, Croatian deputy minister of defence in charge of material resources, and by Helmut Richter from the Federal Office for Defence Technology and Procurement.
The delivery of PzH 2000 to the Croatian Armed Forces (CAF) is to be done in two tranches of six systems: the first in the second half of 2015 and the second in 2016. Germany will prepare the artillery systems for Croatian service prior to their delivery, a process that will include upgrading their communications array and weapon control software.
During the signing, Koprivnjak stated: «The weapons themselves are priced at €12 million ($15 million), while the overall project is valued at €41 million. Apart from the actual PzH 2000 howitzers, there is training, spares, and adjustment of the weaponry and their electronic systems for service in the CAF».
While this procurement is mentioned in the new CAF Long-Term Development Plan 2015-24 (still going through parliament) as a goal to be fulfilled by 2019, the new artillery systems are considered vital for the development of a CAF NATO force capability.
In order to lower the costs of the upgrades and for their operational usage, the contracting for these parts of the programme is being done by the NATO Support Agency’s Land Combat Vehicle (Project PzH 2000) effort in order to benefit from economies of scale.
Defence and Security Company Saab presented the newly developed next generation Carl Gustaf M4 at the 2014 Association of the U.S. Army exhibition in Washington D.C. The Carl Gustaf M4, known in the U.S. as M3A1 MAAWS (Multi-role Anti-armor Anti-tank Weapon System), is the latest man-portable shoulder-launched multi-role weapon system from Saab designed to provide users with flexible capability and help troops to remain agile in any scenario.
Since 1948, Carl Gustaf has been supporting dismounted infantry around the world in dealing with a full range of battlefield challenges. A marked evolution in the history of the system, the new Carl Gustaf M4 model meets the needs of modern conflict environments while offering compatibility with future innovations.
The new lightweight Carl Gustaf M4, weighing approximately 15 pounds (<7 kg, some 3 kg lighter than the earlier Carl Gustaf M3 and half the weight of the 14.2 kg M2 version), offers significant weight savings to the soldier. According to Nicholas de Larrinaga, IHS Jane’s Defence Weekly, this has been achieved by constructing the recoilless rifle’s barrel out of titanium, saving 1.1 kg (compared to the M3’s steel barrel), building its outer casing our of carbon fibre (saving 0.8 kg), and by redesigning the weapon’s venturi to save a further 0.9 kg. The redesign has also served to decrease the size of the Carl Gustaf, bringing the M4’s total length down to under 1,000 mm (M2 – 1,130 mm; M3 – 1,065 mm).
The Carl Gustaf M4’s current default sight is the same telescopic sight used on the M3 model, although it can also mount a red-dot sight or, through its integrated 1913 Picatinny rail mounts, be fitted with a variety of other sighting options.
It is also compatible with future battlefield technology such as intelligent sighting systems for programmable ammunition. With a wide variety of munitions available, it is a weapon system capable of handling multiple tactical situations, bridging the gap between full-scale operations and low intensity conflicts, and providing the modern warfighter with unprecedented flexibility and capability on the battlefield. The Carl Gustaf M4 enables soldiers to deal with any tactical situation – from neutralizing armored tanks or enemy troops in defilade, to clearing obstacles and engaging enemies in buildings.
The new generation Carl Gustaf is a further development of today’s widely deployed Carl-Gustaf M3. This «outdated» version has long been in service with the U.S. Army Rangers and has been employed by every U.S. Special Operations Force in the U.S. military. Versions of the system are in service with more than 40 nations globally.
The latest M4 design and capability enhancements were recently showcased to a select group of visitors at a ground combat systems demonstration held in Sweden. The demonstration included a comprehensive series of successful firings with a range of ammunition types against a variety of targets. The new Carl-Gustaf is attracting a high level of interest.
In addition, development does not stop here. Future complementary improvements to this new formidable system will include development of smart programmable ammunition, advanced sighting systems, and expanded confined space capabilities.
German Army begins modernizing its battle tank fleet with the Leopard 2 A7, reported Kurt Braatz, the Head of Strategy and Corporate Communications of Krauss-Maffei Wegmann. To mark the handover of the first of an initial 20 Leopard 2 A7 tanks to the German Army, Frank Haun, Chairman of the Board of Krauss-Maffei Wegmann (KMW) welcomed numerous guests from the worlds of politics, the military and business to the company’s headquarters in Munich on 10 December 2014. The German Army has ordered a total of 20 Leopard 2 A7 MBTs (Main Battle Tanks) and the last of these will soon be delivered from KMW’s Munich facility and issued to Tank Battalion 203, which currently operates 44 Leopard 2 A6s.
The new Leopard 2 A7 (the best main battle tank all over the World, I reckon) is a product of collaboration between multiple NATO partners and KMW that began seven years ago. As part of the International Security Assistance Force (ISAF) mandate, Canada decided in 2007 to borrow 20 Leopard 2 A6Ms with modern mine protection from the German Army. Adapted by KMW to Canadian requirements, the first Leopard 2 A6M CAN was available in the same year and proved itself in operation so effectively that Canada wanted to continue using it. When it was time to return the vehicles, the country acquired surplus Dutch Leopard tanks that were to be converted to the design status of the loaned German vehicles. Canada and Germany agreed that, as part of this conversion work, further modifications could be made, resulting in the Leopard 2 A7 for the German Army.
As IHS Jane’s Defence Weekly noted, the Leopard 2 A7 retains the Rheinmetall 120 mm L/55 smooth bore gun and in addition to firing the latest generation Rheinmetall 120 mm Armour Piercing Fin Stabilised Discarding Sabot – Tracer (APFSDS-T) DM63 round and can also fire the latest programmable Rheinmetall DM12 high-explosive round.
The Leopard 2 A7 not only features optimized protection against asymmetrical and conventional threats, but also has significantly enhanced sustainment. An auxiliary power unit ensures that the weapons system is fully operational even without a running main engine (!) and that turret and crew compartment are kept cool. The Leopard 2 A7 is integrated into the control network via the combat troops control and weapons deployment system. For reconnaissance, it has leading edge sighting equipment. Its range of capabilities has been adapted through the option to fire fuze-programmable high explosive ammunition. This ammunition is particularly effective against bunkers and fortified positions.
According to KMW, amongst others its features includes:
Passive all-round protection for the crew against threats such as roadside bombs, mines and bazooka fire;
Interface for attaching implements, such as a mine plow, mine roller or a dozer blade for clearing mines, booby traps or building debris blocking the roads;
Cooling system for both the turret and chassis;
Increased power-rated additional power generators for check-point missions;
Communication interface on the exterior of the vehicle for dismounted forces;
Combined driver’s night vision (thermal imager/image intensifier) for front and rear view;
Improved optoelectronics (day/night) for reconnaissance over long distances;