Forthcoming acquisition reform in India may in effect ease the use of imported parts and decrease offset obligations, according to the Business Standard.
Japan wants to know why a CV-22 crashed last week in Florida before getting any MV-22s on its soil. The US will share the results of its investigation of the accident but is not otherwise changing its plans.
General Dynamics Land Systems joined the contenders for US SOCOM’s Ground Mobility Vehicle (GMV 1.1) competition.
The Washington Times looks into where base closures may happen, if a 6th BRAC is indeed going to be allowed by Congress. But so far the House is not interested. Cynics may allow themselves to think that the Administration’s inclusion of a BRAC round during an election year was a red herring that they were ready to give up from the get-go.
Meanwhile Joint Base Lewis-McChord will see the reactivation of the 7th Infantry Division.
The National Defense University’s INSS(Institute for National Strategic Studies) reviews [PDF] the state of French military capabilities and explains France’s closer defense relationship with Great Britain after being disappointed by cooperation efforts with Germany that never met their stated ambition.
As the 2007 Paris Air Show drew to a close, France and Germany confirmed the rumors and signed a joint declaration of intent to set up a heavy-lift helicopter program. The French DGA procurement agency’s announcement lists an intended in-service date of around 2020. The new machines would be designed to carry personnel, light armored vehicles, and/or cargo, with good performance under a wide range of conditions including hot weather and high altitudes (both of which reduce helicopter performance due to thinner air). The project is known as Helicoptère de Transport Lourd (HTL) in France, and Future Transport Helicopter (same FTH in Deutsch) in Germany.
In terms of future force structure, these helicopters would replace Germany’s aging CH-53G Mittlerer Transporthubschrauber, and offer France a heavy-lift helicopter option for its future force that would sit above its planned NH90s and/or AS 532 Cougars. Both countries would rely on the forthcoming Airbus A400M tactical cargo plane and its 35-tonne capacity for larger loads or longer distances.
Note that some reports have stated that the new helicopter would be “capable of carrying a 30-tonne load.” Unless they’re planning to use gyrodyne technology or something similarly revolutionary, this is very, very doubtful. Meanwhile, the program may be morphing into an off-the-shelf competition, complete with international contenders:
Germany’s EC665 Tiger UHT/HAC scout and attack helicopters have traveled a long road since the initial 1984 requirement that launched the program. They were originally slated for service in 1992, but technical delays have dogged the project. Schedule slips and funding shortfalls meant that the EUR 3 billion for 80 helicopters wasn’t placed until 1998. Deliveries from Eurocopter began in 2003, but instead of having 67 helicopters in service by the end of 2009, Germany had just 11 – none of which are considered fit for operations, or even for training.
That issue came to a head in May 2010, as the German government moved to suspend the contract until these technical issues are fixed:
In October 2009, ThyssenKrupp Marine Systems (TKMS) effectively sold most of its naval and commercial surface shipbuilding assets, via a “close strategic partnership” and Memorandum of Understanding with the Abu Dhabi MAR (ADM) group in the United Arab Emirates. The proposed sale followed related purchases in Germany by Abu Dhabi MAR, and other recent shipyard sales by TKMS. The net effect was a restructuring of Germany’s naval shipbuilding industry.
The envisioned agreement involved a 50/50 joint venture to build naval surface ships, with TKMS retaining a lead role and know-how in all projects with the German Navy and NATO partners, while ADM was responsible for the Middle East and North Africa. At the same time, however, Abu Dhabi MAR would acquiring 80% of TKMS’ key surface ship firms: Blohm + Voss Shipyards, Blohm + Voss Repair, and Blohm + Voss Industries. That deal has largely fallen through in 2011, leaving TKMS naval assets in play again.
On June 16/11, the US DSCA announced Germany’s official request for base services, to support the German Air Force Tactical Training Center at Holloman Air Force Base (AFB), NM. Base services include training services, fuel, munitions, base operating support, and other related operational and/or logistics requirements. Munitions used by the German Tornado fighters on base will include 720 MK-82 500 pound bombs, 135 MK-84 2,000 pound bombs, and 5 BQM-167 Skeeter target drones. The estimated cost is up to $300 million, but that will depend on the final government-to-government agreement. Since there’s no contractor involved, it’s likely to be pretty close.
Mine-resistant vehicles are emerging as a basic requirement for international deployments, and many advanced armies are making the shift. One of the quiet hotbeds for that trend has been Germany. They were an early adopter and fielder of mine-resistant vehicles, and appear to be building up KMW’s mine-resistant Dingo-2 as an important vehicle in their future force.
Meanwhile, German firms are innovating with new mine-resistant designs for a number of future roles, presaging the widespread hardening of the German Bundeswehr against land mine threats. The German Bundeswehr continues to buy the Dingos, as that process continues.
The German Bundeswehr’s 21st century IdZ (Infanterist der Zukunft, or “Infantryman Of The Future”) project, is part of a wider global trend in advanced militaries: fully integrated sets of weapons, computing, and sighting systems for the individual soldier. As an added challenge, these systems also have to tie into the elaborate battle management systems those countries are fielding, for use by vehicles and higher levels of command.
So, what is IdZ – Enhanced System (IdZ-ES), beyond “a comprehensive equipment concept for the individual soldier”? And how is it progressing?
Latest updates: System handed from Army to Luftwaffe.
Rheinmetall’s MANTIS C-RAM (Counter Rocket, Artillery, and Mortars) system is a further development of their Skyshield system. Also known by its German initials NBS (Nachstbereichs-Schutzsystem, very short range protection system), it is intended to detect and physically intercept incoming rocket, artillery and mortar rounds, in order to protect stationary bases.
The USA and Britain have already taken similar measures, deploying and using modified Mk15 Phalanx “Centurion” land-based systems equipped with special self-destructing ammunition. While the German C-RAM system looks set to reach the field 2 years late, reports indicate that the German government has approved a purchase – and signed a pair of contracts:
The German Bundeswehr’s GFF program plans to replace the core of its wheeled and light tracked combat vehicle fleet with entries from 4 categories: the lightweight 5.3-tonne GFF 1, the 7.5-tonne GFF 2, the 12.5-tonne GFF 3 and a 25-tonne GFF 4 all-terrain utility vehicle.
In November 2008, General Dynamics’ Swiss MOWAG subsidiary announced that its Eagle IV wheeled vehicles had come out on top in one of Germany’s GFF Klasse 2 competitions for “protected Command and Function vehicles.” GFF Klasse 2 reportedly comprises over 5,000 vehicles, to go with an already-awarded contract for the Bv206S tracked all terrain vehicle from BAE and Rheinmetall. This GD MOWAG contract would be followed by additional orders.