May 29, 2013 12:02 UTC
Latest updates[?]: More on collision avoidance, Block 40, civil certification, and AGS - incl. NGC statement.
What is it good for?
The Alliance Ground Surveillance (AGS) program began in 1995, and it has taken a very long time. Its MoU was late, its contract will be both late and smaller in scope, and it won’t meet even a revised 2012 – 2014 fielding window. At long last, however, one can be assured that it will exist. This is DID’s in-depth FOCUS Article covering the AGS program, from its platforms to its program structure to its long-awaited contracts.
The original AGS plan involved an Airbus A321 counterpart to Northrop Grumman’s E-8C Joint Surveillance Target Attack Radar System (J-STARS), a Boeing 707 derivative whose powerful ground-looking Synthetic Aperture Radar (SAR) offers American commanders combat-changing battlefield surveillance and communications. AGS would be a pooled NATO asset, adding 7 RQ-4B Global Hawk UAVs and dedicated ground stations to complement the manned planes. It has since been reduced to just 5 RQ-4 Block 40 Global Hawk UAVs and dedicated ground stations, but could expand again if countries decide to make some of their national surveillance assets part of the program.
Continue Reading… »
Apr 24, 2013 19:17 UTC
Latest updates[?]: Iron Curtain active protection system testing.
Bradley puts on wear
The US Army’s Heavy Brigade Combat Teams have relied on BAE’s 30+ ton Bradley family of M2/3/6/7 vehicles for a variety of combat functions, from armed infantry carrier and cavalry scout roles, to specialized tasks like calling artillery fire and even short-range air defense. The Bradley first entered US Army service in 1981, however, and the fleet has served through several wars. Even ongoing RESET, modernizations, and remanufacturing cannot keep them going indefinitely.
The Army’s problem is that replacing them has been a ton of trouble. Future Combat Systems’ MGV-IFV was terminated, along with the other MGV variants, by the 2010 budget. A proposal to replace it with a “Ground Combat Vehicle” (GCV) program raised concerns that the Army’s wish list would create an even less affordable solution. Now a revised GCV program is underway. Can it deliver a vehicle that will be effective on the battlefield? Just as important, can it deliver a vehicle that the US Army can afford to buy and maintain, in the midst of major national budgetary problems and swelling entitlement programs?
Continue Reading… »
Feb 19, 2013 11:04 UTC
Latest updates[?]: UAE order's amount is clear - but the announcement goes back to July 2012.
“The Government plans to acquire an MRAP All-Terrain Vehicle (M-ATV). The M-ATV is a lighter, off-road, and more maneuverable vehicle that incorporates current MRAP level [bullet and mine blast] protection. The M-ATV will require effectiveness in an off-road mission profile. The vehicle will include EFP (Explosively Formed Projectile land mine) and RPG (Rocket Propelled Grenade panzerfaust) protection (integral or removable kit). The M-ATV will maximize both protection levels and off-road mobility & maneuverability attributes, and must balance the effects of size and weight while attempting to achieve the stated requirements.”
– US government FedBizOpps, November 2008
Oshkosh Defense’s M-ATV candidate secured a long-denied MRAP win, and the firm continues to remain ahead of production targets. The initial plan expected to spend up to $3.3 billion to order 5,244 M-ATVs for the US Army (2,598), Marine Corps (1,565), Special Operations Command (643), US Air Force (280) and the Navy (65), plus 93 test vehicles. FY 2010 budgets and subsequent purchases have pushed this total even higher, and orders now stand at over 8,800 for the USA, plus another 800 for the UAE.
Continue Reading… »
Jan 15, 2013 15:18 UTC
In January 2013, the Colombian Ministry of National Defence awarded a $65.3 million contract to General Dynamics Land Systems-Canada, for 24 of the firm’s double-V hulled LAV-IIIs with add-on armor. In the USA, this LAV-III is known as the M1126 Stryker DVH, but Colombia’s new armored personnel carriers won’t have the same internal electronics fit-out. They’ll also swap in RAFAEL’s Samson RCWS weapon station up top. The contract was signed through the Government of Canada’s CCC export agency, and deliveries will be complete by May 2014.
The Ejercito Nacional de Colombia operates a very broad mix of APCs: M1117 ICVs from Textron, Russian BTR-80s, Brazilian EE-9 and EE-11s, and old US M113 tracked vehicles. None have the LAV-III DVH’s ability to survive land mine blasts. That’s becoming a bigger part of Colombia’s defense planning lately: Oshkosh’s Sand Cat vehicle was picked as a light patrol MRAP in December 2012.
Nov 26, 2012 14:11 UTC
Latest updates[?]: UK orders.
IEDed in Iraq
(click to view story)
General Dynamics is one of the biggest suppliers of land equipment to the US Army and Marines, alongside firms like BAE and Oshkosh. As IED land mines became an unmistakable trend in modern warfare, however, the company had nothing of its own to respond with. To fix that, they fell back on a focused partnership with BAE and the Canadian government, and created another limited partnership with newcomer Force Protection. Those kinds of partnerships can be preludes to an acquisition, and that was true in this case as well. In late 2011, the firm bought Force Protection, bringing all of its vehicles, technologies, and experience in house.
General Dynamics Land Systems is now a legitimate player in the global marketplace for blast-resistant vehicles. The long-term question involves competitiveness, as both the RG-31 (BAE) and Cougar (Force Protection) faded in the face of newer MRAP competitors. GDLS will reap maintenance and upgrade contracts for the RG-31s and Cougar in the US fleet, and consolidating accountability may strengthen their position if the Army decides to rationalize its MRAPs. That cash flow buys time; beyond, exports beckon. The Cougar family has a strong customer in Britain, where General Dynamics is supplanting BAE as a major land forces supplier, and it is used by several NATO and Middle Eastern countries. The Buffalo heavy mine-disposal vehicle has a unique niche, and offerings like the Ocelot and Jamma light patrol vehicles may yet pick up. Will it be enough?
Continue Reading… »