Latest updates[?]: Sweden has committed to buying more Archer 155mm mobile howitzers from BAE Systems, having signed a letter of intent at the Paris-based defense exhibition Eurosatory this week. The Swedish Defence Materiel Administration and BAE Systems Bofors took the first step to establish an additional artillery battalion in line with Sweden’s defense strategy, which runs through 2025.
Bofors Archer system
BAE Systems Bofors’ Archer is a light, air-portable, and highly automated 155/52 light mobile artillery system. Archer began as a Swedish project, administered by their FMV procurement agency. Funding was provided for system development and some initial production, but the project’s future had been shadowed by anemic Swedish defense budgets.
In May 2007, however, a Memorandum of Understanding was signed with Norway’s FLO procurement agency, which evolved into a joint production venture. Just as initial production moved the Archer system from concept to imminent reality, however, Norway left the program. Why?
Latest updates[?]: The Australian Navy was tailed by the Chinese Military as it travelled towards Vietnam on the South Chinese Sea. The HMAS Canberra was ending a three-month-long tour of seven Asian nations involving three other Australian warships, aircraft and more than 1,200 defense personnel. The ships journeyed near islands controversially claimed by Beijing. Defense officials confirmed, that the ships had a "professional" and "friendly" interaction with the People's Liberation Army during Indo-Pacific Endeavour 2019, an Australian Defense Forces regional engagement mission.
In May of 2006 the Royal Australian Navy announced its decision to expand its naval expeditionary capabilities. HMAS Manoora and Kanimbla would be replaced with substantially larger and more capable modern designs, featuring strong air support. Navantia and Tenix offered a 27,000t Landing Helicopter Dock (LHD) design that resembled the Strategic Projection Ship (Buque de Proyeccion Estrategica) under construction for the Spanish Navy. The DCNS-Thales Australia team, meanwhile, proposed a variation of the 21,300t Mistral Class that is serving successfully with the French Navy.
Navantia’s larger design eventually won, giving the Spanish firm an A$ 11 billion clean sweep of Australia’s “Air Warfare Destroyer” and LHD programs. These 5 ships will be the core of Australia’s future surface navy. The future HMAS Canberra and HMAS Adelaide will be able to serve as amphibious landing ships, helicopter carriers, floating HQs and medical facilities for humanitarian assistance, and launching pads for UAVs or even short/vertical takeoff fighters.
In January 2006, the Czech Republic selected General Dynamics’ European Land Combat Systems subsidiary Steyr-Daimler-Puch Spezialfahrzeug GmbH of Austria to supply its army with 199 new eight-wheeled Pandur II armored personnel carriers (APCs) between 2007-2012. The KBVP vehicles would replace Soviet-era OT-64 SKOT APCs, and would be produced in Austria and the Czech Republic.
In 2005 the contract included an option for 35 additional vehicles for a total of 234, and had a potential value of Koruna 23.6 billion ($1-1.4 billion). Steyr’s Pandur II was a finalist, and eventually won the competition. But questions arose, the deal became a political football, and delivery issues jeopardized the deal into oblivion. Or so it seemed. Despite the economic crisis gripping Eastern Europe, the Czechs reinstated a scaled-down version of the deal in late February 2009.
In December 2009, Brazil signed a EUR 2.5 billion deal with Italy’s Iveco that aims to renew its wheeled armored personnel carrier fleet, and revive Brazil’s land vehicle defense industry in the bargain. The 6×6 Guarani Viatura Blindada Transporte de Pessoal, Media de Rodas (VBTP-MR) is envisaged as a vehicle family that can replace Engesa’s wheeled vehicles. Their EE-9 and EE-11 have suffered from age-related problems, questionable protection levels, and a shortage of ready spares since Engesa’s 1993 bankruptcy.
Iveco is best known around the world for its trucks, but its Iveco Fiat Oto Melara joint venture has designed and fielded the core of Italy’s tank, wheeled APC, and tracked IFV fleets. The firm already has the new Puma wheeled 6×6/ 4×4 APC in its offering set, but the VBTP will offer them a new market, a new joint venture, and new export opportunities.
Latest updates[?]: BAE has just delivered to the Norwegian Army the first batch of 12 vehicles under a 2012 contract. The contract calls for 144 vehicles in total; 41 new CV90s and the modernized CV90s of the Norwegian Army fleet.
Norway’s CV90-30 IFV, Afghanistan
In June 2012, Norway began a NOK 10 billion/ $1.68 billion program to upgrade and build CV90 tracked armored vehicles, and field unmanned air and ground vehicles, as part of the Army’s largest military modernization program since the Cold War. When the initial contract is done, Norway’s 103-vehicle CV90-30 fleet, which has served since the mid-1990s will become 144 vehicles serving with the Telemark and Armoured battalions: 74 modernized Infantry Fighting Vehicles, plus 21 reconnaissance, 16 multi-role (mortar carrier or cargo), 15 command & control, 16 engineering vehicles, and 2 driver training models. Delivery is expected between 2015 and 2017.
The upgraded vehicles will incorporate lessons learned from Norwegian operations in Afghanistan, and new internal and external technologies from Norway’s Kongsberg.
Swiftships’ 35-meter coastal patrol boat (CPB) contracts are part of a larger program that’s also delivering spare parts, guns, ammunition, training, naval simulators and infrastructure to the Umm Qasr Naval Base in southern Iraq. That total program for the Iraqi Navy was the country’s 3rd largest foreign military sale case, according to the Pensacola Council of the Navy League’s Bullhorn newsletter. That’s probably an appropriate priority level, as Iraq seeks to monitor and protect its southern oil export infrastructure.
Meanwhile, the US Army Corps of Engineers is partnering with Iraq by managing a $53 million pier and seawall project. This set of projects in southern Iraq will provide the Iraqi Navy with new port facilities as it continues to expand its military naval capabilities – but in the end, it all comes down to boats on the water, manned by well trained crews. The Swiftships are currently the medium tier of those capabilities.
In June 2006, the Slovenian Ministry of Defence picked Patria’s 8×8 wheeled Armored Modular Vehicle (AMV) as the preferred choice for its 135 vehicle armored personnel carrier program. The APCs would come in 4 different versions, including a variant with Patria’s new unmanned NEMO 120mm mortar turret. The deal was worth over EUR 275 million, with deliveries to take place from 2007-2013.
An ongoing bribery investigation led to the resignation of Patria’s President and CEO, and eventually to his arrest. A long-running controversy became a continuous distraction, and there were issues with sub-contractor performance along the way. In 2011, a new government cabinet unanimously voted to try and cancel the deal. In 2012, they succeeded.
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.
Evaluation of the contenders for this procurement program started in autumn 2003, but the buy was still only partly done in 2012. At which point Portugal moved to terminate the contract part-way through.
Switchblade UAVs to launch from subs? While they could retain their kamikaze capabilities, the reality is that sub-launched UAVs are going to be 1-shot items at first. Why not adapt an existing UAV designed for that?
InnoCentive offers a $15,000 reward for a concept or design of a medical transportation device that would enable a rescuer to quickly and safely transport an injured person away from an active combat site.
At least the US Navy is not facing a fire on one of its nuclear submarines, unlike its Russian counterpart yesterday.
Thursday was not a good day for the Russian military since they also had a Su-24 crash. These crashes have happened like clockwork over the years [in Russian]. Nobody died in either incident yesterday though some people appear to have been injured in the submarine fire.
Yet another cybersecurity acquisition for Raytheon: Henggeler Computer Consultants, Inc. It’s the 2nd this month and the 10th in the last 4 years.