N° 52 • July/August 2020
MAGAZINE European Defence Review
Light armoured vehicles
Land-based multifunction 3D AESA radars
The Downing of the Drones
The UK’s armoured fist
I S S U E N° 52 2020
Publisher: Joseph Roukoz Editor-in-chief: Paolo Valpolini Aviation & Space Editor: David Oliver Naval Editor: Luca Peruzzi European Defence Review (EDR) is published by European Defence Publishing SAS www.edrmagazine.eu
Light armoured vehicles
The Downing of the Drones
Land-based multifunction 3D AESA radars
The UK’s armoured fist
Unveiled at IDEX 2019, the Ajban 447A is an evolution of the A440A, but will quite probably remain at demonstrator status, as Nimr is aiming at unveiling the new generation Ajban Mark 2 at the 2021 edition of the Abu Dhabi defence exhibition. © Nimr
By Joseph Roukoz
By Paolo Valpolini
By David Oliver
By Luca Peruzzi
By Ian Kemp
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E DITOR IAL
Economic recovery: bet on the defence sector! By Joseph Roukoz
hile our citizens are still trying to figure out how to cope with their daily lives post-Covid-19, governments are already thinking about the other plague that awaits us in the near future: The economic meltdown. However this time the blow will not only remotely affect a few countries, as it did after the 2008 crisis. Analysts agree to say dozens of millions of people will be thrown out of work across the world, thousands of companies will go bankrupt, understanding among Nations will keep eroding (as has already started between USA, China, Europe, Brazil) and civil unrest threatens the most vulnerable countries. Only in Europe, one third of the economic activity stopped abruptly, already shrinking the growth by 7.5%. The lack of preparation has already affected the relations between European countries, as Italy and Spain, the most affected countries, blamed the Netherlands, Austria and Sweden for the lack of coordinated support at European level. As budgets are being reconsidered and despite the mobilization of Defence actors to protect their sector, it is still early to know whether the European Union will follow. For example, it is still unclear whether the Union will finance the European Defence Fund, (already cut from 13 to 6 billion Euro before the crisis) that could stimulate a cross-border recovery of the R&D in the Defence sector while giving incentives to European countries to keep up with the ongoing programmes. Actually Defence should be considered a priority sector, not only because it represents a considerable amount of public investment, but also because it can open a virtuous circle with positive consequences on the global economy, whether on the short or longer run.
First, the European Defence industry employs around 2 million people, either in direct or indirect jobs covering operations, logistics or supply chains. In a country like France, the industry gravitates around 10 major contractors and 4,000 SMEs and generates 20,000 highly qualified jobs. Thirteen percent of the industrial employment is linked to the Defence sector, without mentioning the added value generated at regional level in terms of employment and wealth. It is therefore extremely important to rescue and protect companies by maintaining critical factories working, and by relaunching the industry on a concerted European level. The positive outcome of this will relieve the entire Defence Industry as previously experienced. It is not a coincidence if the USA usually relies on major accelerated Defence production programmes to overcome the economic recessions that affect them. During the early 1980â€™s recession, not only did the arms race against the USSR helped the USA overcoming the crisis, but it also helped them preserving their economic prominence at length after the end of the Cold War. Public investment in the Defence sector results in a multiplier effect that can be ultimately positive for growth, as well as a profitable social and fiscal return on investment. First, cost-efficiency is maximal on the production level. Most European countriesâ€™ Defence supply chain is mostly national, given its specific strategic nature and the high confidentiality of its components. In France, Germany or Italy, where factories are well distributed across territories, they ensure the long-term protection of an entire chain of professions, including highly qualified jobs. This helps generating wealth and development across territories for a maximal profitability at a reduced cost. EDR | July/August 2020
And despite the situation, countries like Germany, the USA, Turkey or China kept some of their key production factories functioning. Even if today’s context is different from the 2008 crisis, mainly because the lockdown has also limited our ability to move, and affected our production and logistical chain, this strategy has already been tested successfully back then, where investment in Defence programmes were speeded to safeguard jobs and economic attractivity. At the end of the day, successful export, that play a key role in the Defence sector, includes the ability to generate trust. It is therefore obvious that maintaining an operational offer and production chain is a positive incentive to international buyers, especially if the crisis shrinks the demand. Part of the political role in rebuilding the Defence industrial landscape should consist in alleviating custom or tax regulations and backup the loan payments of the industry to accelerate the delivery of ongoing contracts. This, added to the fact that the Defence sector benefits from exceptional derogations of common trade regulations, (whether European or International), should certainly help rebuilding a robust win-win dynamic in this profitable sector. European prime manufacturers count among the most dynamic in the world despite international competition. Many of their products are combatproven and these countries usually have the necessary resources to deliver. A quick glance at their trade balance over the past decade shows just how structurally important the weight of the Defence industry is in improving economic performance. Some European countries owe their favorable balance to Defence exports and other ones compensate their global deficits with a fruitful year of armament sales. “We are at war”, said French President Emmanuel Macron a few hours before announcing the lockdown. As a matter of fact, Europe is at war. Last time our continent was confronted to such a collective disaster, was during the Second World War. Only this time, the “foe” doesn’t have a human face and the “friend” is not really identified. But if our leaders remember correctly, the last European war was also the igniting point of building the European community that led to the
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Union. This is where we have a true opportunity to show our citizens that Europe is not lost. Countries should learn from their mistakes and lack of anticipation during the crisis to initiate a new way of coordinating their actions to face any given danger, including the invisible one. It was only a matter of time before pandemics become a global threat just as natural resources or the environment did before them. The Defence sector’s dynamism could not only help stabilizing the growth in Europe and reversing its deficient tendency by continuing national and cross-national programmes, but it can also be the starting point of a joint planned action to foster innovation in the medical sector. This is the path that was already taken by the French Defence Innovation Agency (DIA). The DIA, fully integrated to the Ministry of Defence structure, has recently opened a call for tenders to military and nonmilitary companies, including SME’s and startups, to help find the best technological responses to the COVID-19 crisis. Innovation in Defence is known for its ability to filter through the civilian sphere and adapt into a broader range of products that can be used by all sectors (Artificial Intelligence, medical or domestic technology, etc.). In Europe, as well as elsewhere, the armed forces contributed to the COVID-19 crisis management by mobilizing all of their efforts in the R&D as well as at operational level, displacing infectious people from overcrowded regions through, military airlift, transporting critical materiel where needed, building field hospitals, and providing military medical personnel to increase their countries capabilities. In perspective sharing those capabilities might contribute to rebuild trust among the nations. The world will probably be very different after this bad storm has passed on so many levels, whether it is social interactions or international relations, but it doesn’t mean that it must be all negative. We have a real opportunity to quickly control the damage by betting on key sectors such as the Defence one, even if they don’t seem as obvious priorities to the majority of people. They are important because they will help us enhancing relations with our partners, fostering rapid growth and innovation, preserving jobs and wealth in our nations, and giving a serious push to build the Europe of tomorrow. All it takes is political courage and vision. This is how leaders will be measured and remembered.
Light armoured vehicles By Paolo Valpolini
The demonstrator of the Scarabée seen during Arquus’ TechnoDays 2019; we can clearly see the two steering axles. © Arquus
This article was to be an appetiser to the many new vehicles of the light armoured category that we were expecting to be seen in Paris during Eurosatory. Unfortunately 2020 will see very few defence exhibitions running, so we tried to provide our readers with the latest on some well known vehicles and on some novelties that might appear soon. Among the starring Light Armoured Vehicles (LAVs) expected in Paris the Serval, the light member of the French Army Scorpion programme, under development by Nexter and Texelis,, would have certainly be among the stars, however weStrike will(IDS) all have some more time to see it in real. The Interdiction/Deep variantto of wait the Luftwaffe’s Tornado multi-role strike aircraft will be replaced from 2025. © USAF
emaining in the hexagon, Arquus, part of the Volvo Group, is definitely the main French LAV producer, its portfolio including the Dagger and Sherpa Light. In late May 2020 the company rolled-out the 1,000 Sherpa vehicle, considering Light and Medium versions. Looking at legacy products, the French Army still employs numerous Véhicule Blindé Léger (VBL). Some
800 should be refurbished/upgraded to the VBL Ultima standard, which includes among others the repair and maintenance of part of the automotive components, the replacement of others, and the upgrade of the vehicle protection with add-on kits, the programme having been designed following lessons learned during recent deployments downrange. The production chain was inaugurated in December 2019, the first four EDR | July/August 2020
Nexter and Texelis are developing the Serval, the light element of the vehicles designed within the Scorpion French Army modernisation programme; it should have been unveiled at Eurosatory 2020. © Nexter
VBL Ultima being scheduled for delivery to the Direction Générale de l’Armement (DGA) within summer 2020, Arquus aiming at producing a total of 50 vehicles before year end. Unveiled (only to selected visitors) at Eurosatory 2018, the Scarabée (beetle) innovative 4x4 hybrid vehicle is powered by a 300 hp turbodiesel engine coupled to a 75 kW electric motor, allowing for a maximum speed of 120 km/h. The Scarabée has an 8 tonnes GVW with a 2 tonnes payload and can host a crew of three plus a fourth person. The driver seats at the front, with the other crewmembers being located backwards on the sides, this layout providing maximum situational awareness. The vehicle is fitted with two stearable axles, the rear one being activated by a joystick, this architecture ensuring a 5 meters radius turning circle. According to Arquus the development of this innovative vehicle is progressing according to plans. The Scarabée will certainly be proposed to France for the VBAE (Véhicule Blindé d’Aide à l’Engagement, Armoured Vehicle for Engagement Support) programme, which should be restarted soon, no frozen requirements having yet emerged from the DGA. However the Scarabée might be launched on the export market even before than to the national customer, the first potential date being that of IDEX 2021, COVID-19 permitting. The hybrid vehicle might not be however the only vehicle that keeps Arquus R&D department busy; 8
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the successor of the Sherpa should also well be already on the engineers’ computers screens. Not much new on GDELS Eagle, if not some good news from some additional contracts. In its 4x4 version the General Dynamics European Land Systems Eagle has been successful since inception, and has now reached the fifth generation, the last two being based on the Duro chassis. The Eagle 5 has a 10 tonnes GVW, of which 30 per cent is payload, and can carry up to five soldiers. Two Cummins engines are offered, with respective outputs of 245 and 285 hp. April 2019 marked the delivery of the first of 36 Eagle 5 in patrol configuration to the Danish Army, one of the very first customers of the Eagle 1. Late 2019 saw the first contract for the 6x6 version of In May 2020 Arquus rolled out the Sherpa n. 1,000, considering both light and medium versions. © Arquus
Arquus is ready to deliver the first VBL Ultima, the assembly line in Marolles having been inaugurated in late 2019. © Arquus
the Eagle, which has a 15 tonnes GVW, with 7.3 tonnes payload and up to 14 seats for the crew and dismounts. On 18 November armasuisse, the Swiss MoD acquisition branch, signed a contract for 100 Eagle 6x6 in the reconnaissance version; these will be fitted with an L3Harris Technologies’ Wescam MX-RSTA electro-optic/infra-red sighting system installed on a telescopic mast and with an Elbit Systems C2 suite. Production should start within 2020 with deliveries planned between 2023 and 2025. In April 2020, a further deal for the Eagle 6x6 was announced by the German BAAINBw, which signed a contract for 80 armoured ambulance vehicles for the German Army. Known as mittleres geschütztes Sanitätskraftfahrzeug (mgSanKfz) they will fill the gap between the Boxer and the Eagle 4x4 ambulances; the new vehicles will transport up to two patients on stretchers with full medical assistance. The crew will be of four, the driver, two emergency paramedics and a doctor forming the medical party. Smoke grenade launchers providing a defensive smoke-screen should be installed. First deliveries are planned for 2021, the programme completion being forecasted in 2024. Some further projects are ongoing at GDELS in the LAV field, however the company declined to comment. With more than 4,000 delivered in over 17 countries Iveco DV LMV is definitely one of the main European LAVs , the main customer being
In the last few months GDELS bagged the first two orders for its Eagle 6x6 vehicle, one from Germany that acquired the vehicle in the ambulance version. © GDELS
Italy, which received over 2,000 vehicles. The original LMV evolved considerably, augmenting its GVW up to 7.1 tonnes while the increasing demand for protection coming from the field was met at the expenses of the payload, which was consequently eroded down to less than 1,000 kg. The on board power was also increased, adopting a more powerful alternator to cope with numerous subsystems, among them the powerhungry C-IED jammer. Iveco DV is answering recent export contracts providing its customers with dedicated versions obtained with the insertion of the various subsystems developed during the last years. An example is that of Brazil that selected the LMV in February 2018; an urgent operational requirement initially was answered by the Italian Army providing 16 vehicles taken from the refurbished vehicles stock, Italy having launched a programme to restore its LMVs of the first batches. Known as Lince K2, the work consists in adding a second roof hatch, replacing the alternator and part of the electric circuit, as well as some mechanical subsystems. Brazil, then filed a contract to Iveco DV for 32 new vehicles produced according to the original requirement, which includes elements of the of the latest versions. In 2013 Iveco DV started developing the wholly new LMV 2, which maintains its predecessor EDR | July/August 2020
The first generation LMV, developed by Iveco DV in the early 2000, obtained a considerable success and its latest version is still marketed by the Bolzano-based company. © Iveco DV
look. At 8.1 tonnes GVW its payload exceeds 1.5 tonnes while ensuring a much higher protection against ballistic and blast threats. Currently only Italy has ordered the LMV 2, named Lince 2, a first batch of 34 vehicles fitted as nodes for the Army digitisation programme known as Forza NEC being ready for delivery. In the mean time the Army launched a crash programme in order to put into service in short time 16 Lince 2 “Light”, the adjective referring to the C4I component. Deliveries are expected 14 months after the contract effectiveness. The 2019 pluriennial programme calls for the acquisition of 650 Lince 2, although 400 seems to be considered a more realistic number. Beside the national programme, Iveco DV is steadily promoting its LMV 2 on the international market. The last addition to the company portfolio is the 12 kN, the provisional name of the vehicle under development for the Netherlands. In November 2019 a contract for 918 vehicles was signed, the
The second generation LMV by Iveco DV is fully developed, the first vehicles awaiting delivery to the Italian Army. © Iveco DV
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prototype being expected for Q3 2020 to carry out company trials prior being delivered to the customer for trials and qualification. The 12kN will be used in operations with an intermediate level of risk, part of the fleet being protected, part fitted for protection and part unprotected. The 12kN is based on a purposely developed chassis that exploits the work done on the militarised Eurocargo series, but with much improved performances, the engine being a derivative providing an output more than twice that of the LMV. The original potential number announced was 1,275, the Netherlands aiming at acquiring at a later date the 357 remaining vehicles with follow on orders when budget will be available. The 12kN will allow Iveco DV to operate in market areas where less sophisticated vehicles than its LMV are required, widening the company opportunities. In 2013 Rheinmetall of Germany and Achleitner of Austria signed an agreement to develop the Survivor 4x4 armoured vehicle, which was then based on an MAN TGM 13.280 chassis. The two companies funded a development which led to an improved vehicle, based on the MAN 18.330 chassis, known as Survivor R in Germany and PMV Survivor II in Austria. Technical data differ as they depend very much on configuration, maximum GVW been at 17 tonnes, total axles load being 17.6 tonnes. The Rheinmetall basic vehicle has a 15 tonnes GVW and a 4.1 tonnes payload, and is powered by a 330 hp MAN engine coupled to a 12 AS 1210 TipMatic automatic transmission with a MAN G103 2-speed transfer case. The basic
The only rendering available of Iveco DV’s 12kN, the vehicle being developed for the Netherlands, which prototype should be ready in late 2020. © Iveco DV
Rheinmetall’s Survivor R is being used to develop the Skymaster Mobile Counter-UAS concept study. © Rheinmetall
armour is provided by the monocoque steel hull, add-on ceramic armour kits being available to improve protection levels, the considerable payload allowing flexibility in that area. Proposed both to military and police customers, the Survivor R has bagged contracts in the latter market area: national customers are mainly SWAT teams, such as the Austrian Einsatzkommando Cobra as well as German Spezialeinsatzkommando of two Land, Sachsen and Northrhine Westfalia. The Berlin Police also adopted the vehicle. As for export an undisclosed Asian country acquired 15 vehicles for its Border Guard. The very last application sees the 4x4 used as the platform for a Counter-UAS concept study known as Skymaster Mobile.
The Akrep 4x4 was launched in 1994, and 25 years later Otokar unveiled its successor, the Akrep II. Compared to the 3.6 tonnes GVW Akrep, the Akrep II has a combat weight of 13.5 tonnes, its main feature being the reduced height, 1.78 meters while maintaining a 400 mm ground clearance.
For Otokar, the Turkish company specialized in military and commercial vehicles belonging to the Koç Holding A, the Cobra 4x4 is definitely a best-seller, over 4,000 vehicles in 35 different configurations operating with more than 20 customers worldwide. With the latest versions at 6,300 kg GVW and a 1,100 kg payload, powered by a 190 hp engine, Otokar has launched a modernization programme and the first refurbished vehicles are ready to be tested by the customers. A much heavier vehicle, the Cobra II provides increased protection against ballistic and blast threats, while carrying the same nine military; at 12-13 tonnes GVW, it is powered by a 360 hp engine and can reach 110 km/h, its range being 700 km. Over 600 Cobra II were delivered in more than 10 variants.
At IDEF 19 the vehicle was exhibited in the allelectric version, powered by two motors providing 180 kW each, ensuring motion respectively to front and rear wheels, a pack of Li-Ion batteries providing a 200 km range. The Akrep IIe features front and rear (optional) steering wheels and is fitted with independent suspensions. Its low acoustic and thermal signatures, together with its low silhouette, make it a stealth vehicle, perfect for reconnaissance missions, its three-man crew being optimal for such duties. The Akrep II has the same baseline protection of the Cobra II, and can also be used as a fire support vehicle; exhibited with a new modular Bozok remotely controlled turret armed with a 25 mm cannon, Otokar states that the vehicle can be fitted with a one man 90 mm turret, meaning a considerable payload capacity that can also be exploited to increase baseline protection to much higher levels. The all-electric version was definitely an R&D item, qualification tests being currently in progress. Otokar designed the engine compartment to allow hosting different solutions, such as hybrid or full diesel. Both are in the design phase, the company having announced in 2019 that the diesel version should be available by 2020. EDR | July/August 2020
Over 4,000 Cobras have been sold by Otokar along the years; here a vehicle showing its amphibious capability. © Otokar
Part of the Nurol Group of Turkey, Nurol Makina is responsible for 4x4 military and paramilitary vehicles. Among LAVs, the NMS is the last born: unveiled at IDEF 2017, its development was frozen in 2019 when it was also qualified. The NMS 4x4 is based on a V-shaped monocoque hull fitted with fully independent suspensions and is powered by a 300 hp diesel engine allowing for a 140 km/h maximum speed over road and a 700 km range at cruise speed. With a maximum GVW of 12 tonnes, its payload varies from 1.5 to 3.5 tonnes, depending on the protection level that can be increased from the basic Level 1 up to Level 4, no details being available on antimine protection. The launch customer on the export market was Qatar, which Special Forces announced in 2018 the potential acquisition of 214 vehicles in five different configurations.
Heavier and more protected than its predecessor, Otokar’s Cobra II has already bagged numerous export orders. © Otokar
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The standard troop transport configuration sees the two-man crew at the front, with three more soldiers sitting in the second row of forwardlooking seats, these boarding and debussing the vehicle from the four side doors. Four more soldiers are hosted on the inside-looking seats in the rear compartment, accessible via a fifth door. Nurol Makina proposes its vehicle in numerous variants, with full cabin, as well as in pick-up configuration with single or double-cabin. Another customer is Hungary, which displayed the prototype vehicle during the 2019 National Defence Day. One more export contract adds to the two aforementioned ones, to which that with Turkey must also be added. First deliveries are awaited in 2020, the company expecting the NMS Yörük to become best-seller, exceeding the success of the Ejder Yalcin.
In 2019 Otokar unveiled the Akrep II, which was first shown in an all-electric version, hybrid and diesel versions being under development. © Otoka
The latter is a 14 tonnes GVW MRAP type vehicle also based on a monocoque V-shaped body fitted with a floating floor system and energy-absorbing seats, providing a Level 4a/3b mine protection. It can carry up to 11 soldiers, its payload being 4 tonnes, and is powered by a 375 hp engine. Beside Turkey, six other countries have adopted the Ejder Yalcin, the last being Hungary, almost 1,000 such vehicles having already been delivered and deployed in Europe, Africa, GCC and Central Asia. Nurol Makina underlines that after a first order many customers filed additional ones. The COVID-19 related crisis led to the postponement
Also known as Yörük (Nomad) in Turkey, the NMS 4x4 is the latest development by Nurol Makina, first deliveries being expected within 2020. © Nurol Makina
of contracts with at least three new countries, which remain undisclosed. Plasan, the Israeli company which name is well known for being one of the key players in the armour solutions field, has launched in the early 2000s its 4x4 light armoured vehicle, the SandCat. The vehicle has gone through a series of iterations, the one currently under production being the Mk IV. Based on a Ford 550 chassis with minor modification, the latest model has a GVW of 8,800 kg with a 2,000 kg payload capacity, considering the B6/7 protection level, the floor being protected at Level 1 against mines; part of the payload can be used to increase ballistic protection up to STANAG Level 2/3. Powered by
Nurol Makina Ejder Yalcin has obtained a considerable success, the company awaiting three more export contracts in the near future. © Nurol Makina
a Ford 6.7L V8 OHV Power-Stroke Turbo-Diesel engine, providing a power-to-weight ratio of over 35 hp/t, fitted to a Heavy duty TorqShift 6-speed automatic transmission with SelectShift and a 2-speed electronically operated transfer case, it can reach a maximum speed of 120 km/h and overcome a 60% gradient. The 135 litres fuel tank ensures an operational range of 500550 km depending on mission profile. The latest version is available in different configurations, transport with up to 11 seats in full-length cabin, utility with a shorter cabin for five occupants, and single cab, for up to three personnel with an unprotected rear payload area. An M-LPV version (Mine-resistant Light Patrol Vehicle) version is also available; slightly longer, it has a 9,300 kg GVW and a 1,100 kg payload, and ensures a much higher mine protection, Level 2a/2b and standard Level 2 ballistic all-round protection. Beside Israel, the SandCat is in use by police, paramilitary and military units in Bulgaria, Canada, Chile, Colombia, Kazakhstan, Mexico, Nigeria, Poland, South Korea, Sweden and Ukraine, however according to the latest information the number of countries using the Plasan LAV are at least 19, some of them remaining unveiled. Part of the success of the SandCat is that Plasan is ready to provided it in kits to be assembled locally. The latest add-on to the SandCat family is the StormRider: keeping the same Ford 550 powertrain, the power-to-weight ratio being reduced to 30 hp/t, the new vehicle is not based on a chassis but is of the monocoque type, featuring independent suspensions. This allows a considerable improvement in protection and mobility. While dimensions remain similar the GVW increases to 11,500 kg, payload being 1,500 kg, protection being Level 3 on the 360°, Level 2 on the roof and Level 2a/2b antimine. Off-road mobility is considerably improved thanks to the front and rear independent suspensions, with coil springs and hydraulic shock absorbers, the wheels diameter being increased the StormRider mounting 365/80 R20 150k, compared to the 285/70 R 19.5 of the SandCat, a run-flat system being available as option. The StormRider is production ready. EDR | July/August 2020
This picture sums up the evolution of Plasan’s_SandCat family, from right to left the original SandCat, the MLP-V and the StormRider, which first vehicles will be delivered in late 2020. © Plasan
Stepping from a full military vehicle to a paramilitary one, the other addition to Plasan’s LAV portfolio was announced at Eurosatory 2018 in the form of the Hyrax. Based on the Mercedes G-Wagen chassis, it can carry up to six people in an armoured cabin providing a B6 protection level as standard, which can be upgraded to B7 or STANAG Level 2. The floor provides a Level 1 blast protection, no growth potential being available. The Israeli company offers four different seats layout to cope with all possible customers requirements, the roof being able to host an RCWS armed with up to a 12.7 mm machine gun. At 4,800 kg GVW, the Hyrax has a payload of 810 kg. The Hyrax is production ready and has gone through numerous customers’ trials. Nimr is among the leading LAV players in the Middle East, and is renowned for the Ajban family of 4x4 vehicles that was developed over the last decade. Powered by a Cummins ISBe 300 6.7 litre six-cylinder, 296 hp engine, and capable of a maximum speed of 110 km/h, the 180-litre fuel tank ensures a 700 km cruising range. The vehicle is fitted with double wishbone independent suspensions with coil springs and hydraulic dampers to provide increased cross-country mobility. 14
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Unveiled in 2015, the armoured variant is known as Ajban 440A, and can carry four soldiers. Nimr does not declare the standard ballistic and mine protection, however among optional features we find ballistic packages up to Level 4 and blast packages up to Level 3a/3b. The vehicle is fitted out with a battlefield management system, central tire inflation system, run flat inserts, battery management system, and a self-recovery winch. Overall, the UAE company has produced more than 2,500 variant vehicles, most of them for the national customer or other GCC armed forces, with some vehicles also being sold to nations elsewhere. A production line was established in Algeria following an agreement signed in 2012.
Aiming mostly at the paramilitary market, Plasan’s Hyrax is based on rhe Mercedes G-Wagen chassis. © Plasan
In November 2019 Nimr became part of Edge, an advanced technology company that has consolidated the UAEâ€™s leading defence and technology companies. This allows Nimr to find synergies as far as market opportunities are concerned, and to leverage the capabilities of other group members to further advance its products. Protection, propulsion, digital architecture, and integration are all aspects currently offered. Talking recently to Nimr officials, EDR Magazine learned that a further evolution of the Ajban is The first generation Ajban family of vehicles is built on a common chassis, the already underway. While the 440A armoured variant being the 440A. ÂŠ Nimr is considered a 1.0 vehicle, the 447A is a 1.5 generation solution, unveiled At IDEX 2019, Nimr unveiled a new version, to understand market reactions and will probably the Ajban 447A MRAV (Multi-Role Armoured remain at technology demonstrator level. IDEX Vehicle). Similar in dimensions to the Ajban 2021 should see Nimr unveiling the Ajban Mark 440A, it carries two crew members and up to 2 that is likely to maintain the 447A transport five dismounts, and has a payload between capability, hosting up to seven soldiers, and 2,000-3,000 kg, which allows users to increase offering higher performances across the board. the protection level while maintaining sufficient Modularity is likely to be a further add-on. transport capacity. The baseline protection level is also higher than that of the previous version. Currently Nimr has an overall production capability of 1,500 vehicles per year. However, In addition the self-sealing tank and critical engine with an eye on the export market, the company ballistic protection, which on the 440A are optionis open to various type of cooperation schemes, al, are standard offering in the 447A. Kerb weight including joint ventures based on local production is at 9,700-11,100 kg, leading to a gross weight of for either full or kit assembly. 12,500-13,100 kg. The standard engine is 300 hp, however Nimr is also proposing a 360 hp engine that will allow maintaining the power-toweight ratio at over 27.5 hp/t. The vehicle offers mobility performances similar to the 440A, including 60% slope, 0.7 metre trench, 0.4 metre step, 1 metre fording, and higher maximum speeds of up to 120 km/h. Four side doors are available, two front-hinged for the crew and two rear-hinged for dismounts, with a rear door offered as an At IDEX the Ajban 447A was equipped with a Platt MR550 shielded ring mount armed with an M134D Dillon 7.62 mm Gatling machine gun. ÂŠ P. Valpolini optional feature. EDR | July/August 2020
A French soldier aiming a DroneGun at a vehicle-mounted UAV during the 2019 Bastille Day military parade in Paris. ÂŠ DroneShield
The Downing of the Drones By David Oliver
The proliferation of unmanned aerial vehicles (UAV) has been stunningly swift prompting governments and industry to urgently seek to develop effective defence systems against these unmanned threats. UAVs, also called remotely piloted aircraft systems (RPAS) - or drones as they are more commonly known have been introduced in increasing numbers across many nations and mainly military services. They come in various guises ranging from 4 kg quadcopters to airliner-size high-altitude long-endurance (HALE) platforms, many of which are designed or can be adapted to carry weapons.
ounter-UAV systems are equally diverse as they range from hand-held devices to anti-aircraft missile systems, segmented into laser, electronic and kinetic systems. There are at least 250 counterUAV products either on the market or under active development in 36 countries.
A leading point and shoot device manufacturer is the Australia-based DroneShield Ltd. Its DroneGun MkIII is a compact, lightweight countermeasure against a wide range of small UAV designed for one hand operation. It allows for a controlled management of UAV payload such as explosives, with no damage to common EDR | July/August 2020
UAV models or surrounding environment due to the UAV generally responding via a vertical controlled landing on the spot, or returning back to its starting point which assists in tracking the operator. Radiofrequency (RF) disruption activation will also interfere with any live video streaming (FPV, First-Person View) back to the remote controller halting the collection of video footage and intelligence by the UAV operator. DroneGun has the option to disrupt multiple RF frequency bands simultaneously including 433MHz, 915MHz, 2.4GHz and 5.8GHz and it also has an optional global navigation satellite systems (GNSS) disruption capability, including GLONASS and GPS. The system allows for an up to 2 km coverage in a wide range of environmental conditions. The battery powered highly portable single rifle style is easy to use requiring minimal technical training
for set up or use. One of its customers is France. During the Bastille Day celebrations in Paris on 14 July 2019, French troops armed with DroneGun Tactical were part of the security element deployed to protect those taking part in the military parade on the
Champs-Elysées as well as the crowds watching the celebrations. In April 2020 DroneShield released a new version of its wearable RfPatrol UAV detection device, which is smaller, lighter, and more advanced than its predecessor. Its passive receiver is designed to detect communications between the UAV and its operators, including the command signals, telemetry, location data, and video links that the UAV transmits in return. The RfPatrol MkII has “glimpse” and “stealth” modes, the latter could be particularly useful for special-forces users when they wish to hide their location. The Russian defence industry has strongly indicated its firm intention to enter the cuttingedge branch portable C-UAV development following operations in Syria. During Russia’s major ”Vostok 2018” exercise a new hand-held C-UAV weapon was used by Russian Federation airborne troops. The REX-1 is a rifle-like, manportable jammer developed by Kalashnikov Group subsidiary ZALA Aero Group that relies on the jammer’s ability to cut the UAV off from its operator, communications bearer and autonomous navigation capability to neutralise the threat.
A Russian soldier using the REX-1 C-UAS system developed by the ZALA Aero Group during exercise ‘Vostock 2018’. © Russian MoD
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Indra’s ARMS system has been developed to neutralise UAV threats using a different combination of modern technologies. © Indra
Specifications data indicate that it operates in the 2.4 GHz and 5.8 GHz ranges, which are commonly associated with wireless and mobile telephone operations, as well as GNSS such as BeiDou, Galileo, GLONASS and GPS. Suppression of GNSS signals can be made up to a 2 km radius around the system, with other communications blocked over a 30° front arc out to 500 metres. Battery and power figures claim three hours of continuous life and 36 months on standby before needing a recharge. At a reported 4.5 kg in weight, with rifle-like dimensions and a stock based on the MP-514K air rifle, it is simple to use, offering mobile and light forces a new ability to counter proliferating UAVs, which can be hard to engage with more conventional firearms.
radars, capable of detecting small UAVs over long distances. It includes an optronic system that allows the ARMS to discriminate if detection is a tangible threat and determine its precise spatial location. Once the threat is confirmed and located, the model will then make use of
Rheimetall’s new Skymaster Mobile C-UAV concept study combines reconnaissance and surveillance capabilities with tactical effectiveness, survivability and mobility all in one platform. © Rheinmetall
Several European defence contractors are offering C-UAV solutions including Indra’s whose ARMS system has been developed to neutralise UAV threats using a different combination of modern technologies. They include radar detection, RF analysis, Radio Direction finding, electro-optical detection, analysis and classification, RF datalink jamming, GNSS jamming or GNSS spoofing which are integrated in a single operation post through C4ARMS, the Command and Control unit. The basic system performs first and anticipated detection with high-resolution EDR | July/August 2020
a jamming system to disrupt the UAV’s guide. In order to guarantee the protection of larger surfaces, several ARMS can be programmed to work jointly. The countermeasures that are used in this environment must be especially precise so as not to affect security or interrupt the service. In the military environment, the same applies to its integrated use with air defense systems. Rheinmetall has long since turned its attention to the threat posed by low, slow and small aerial threats. Having developed the Oerlikon Radshield UAV detection system, its new Skymaster Mobile C-UAV concept study combines state-of-the-art reconnaissance and surveillance capabilities with tactical effectiveness, survivability and mobility all in one platform. The Skymaster Mobile concept is intended for use in tightly controlled airspace. The system enables detection, classification and where necessary interception and capture of extremely small aerial vehicles.
the air situation and command networks of local air traffic control authorities. Integration into higher-echelon unmanned traffic management systems is possible as well. The module can be installed in various vehicles, enabling the crew to operate in a protected environment. Dismounted operation is also possible. Furthermore, plans exist for outfitting an unmanned ground vehicle with the system. Thales has been developing a C-UAV concept designed to counter hostile or unauthorised UAVs penetrating airspace over borders, airports, and key infrastructure sites. The concept is focused in particular on the threat posed by Class 1 UAVs weighing less than 25 kg, including some micro and mini-UAVs that can weigh less than 2 kg and have a radar cross-section of less than 0.01 m2 that tend to fly slow, low, and among ground clutter which can be a challenge to detect. The Thales solution could be integrated into a wider Ground Based Air Defence system as well as potential to be integrated with more kinetic effectors to disrupt targeted UAVs including the company’s own Lightweight Multirole Missile (LLM) and RapidFire 40 mm gun system using
The roof module features an advanced 3D AESA search radar with 360° coverage and an electro-optical verifier. This lets the operator identify objects detected by the radar from the safety of the protected interior of the vehicle. If required, additional detection sensors such as a The CPM Elettronica Owl-48 is a multipassive emitter locator (PEL) band DJI-120-48 C-UAS jammer system adapted to be installed on top of FLIR’s and a light detection and HRC camera system. © CPM Elettronica ranging (LIDAR) system can also be integrated, as can other sensors and datalinks. If a target poses a threat, a number of effectors are at the operator’s disposal. These include various catch-and-carry interceptor UAVs as well as directional jammers. By means of data fusion and automatic generation of a local air situation picture the integrated Skymaster command system aids the operator. It also exchanges information with 20
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instantly triggers the UAV’s emergency procedure, stopping it in its tracks. The system’s sensors can be installed on buildings, in vehicles or housed in a backpack. CerbAir has been working with the Administrator of the French Armed Forces and coordinator of France’s participation in NATO, and the Colombian Air Force (FAC), one of the three institutions of the country’s Military Forces charged working to exercise and maintain control of Colombia’s airspace and to defend its territorial integrity.
The Anti-UAV Defence Systems (AUDS) mounted on a Supacat Coyote has been developed by a UK defence consortium. © David Oliver
air bursting munition. Thales is also working on a directed energy solution to disrupt UAVs. Thales has participated in a national French project for the development of a counter UAV programme known as Angelas. The Office National d’Etudes et de Recherches Aérospatiales (ONERA), the French national aerospace research centre has established and led the research, which included several companies and organisations.
The Italian-based CPM Elettronica with its Drone Jammer range of solutions offers different configured equipment against all type of RF/GPS controlled UAVs. The CPM-WATSON and CPMWILSON are light handheld multi band C-UAV jammers capable of cutting off the most common links between the UAV and the operator’s GSSN, and the new generation of possible frequencies. The CPM Owl-48 is a multi band DJI-12048 C-UAS jammer, specifically adapted to be installed on top of FLIR’s HRC camera system with the objective of creating and maintain an effective no-fly zone for remotely-controlled UAVs. It has been delivered to the Italian Army and Air Force and the French Gendarerie.
Another French company, CerbAir was created to counter the alarming increase of UAV intrusions on national territory, as well as the threat they represent. At the heart of its C-UAV solutions is its Hydra RF technology that is passive, causing no interference to surrounding networks. It works by detecting the communication between a drone and its remote control. Depending on your needs, secondary technologies, such as EO/IR, radar, etc. may be added.
The Anti-UAV Defence Systems (AUDS) has been developed by a UK defence consortium comprised of Blighter Surveillance Systems, Chess Dynamics, and Enterprise Control Systems (ECS). Primarily designed to counter small UAVs, the system features Blighter’s A400 Series Ku-band electronic scanning air security radar to detect the UAV, Chess Dynamics’ Hawkeye stabilised electro-optic director, infrared and daylight cameras, and target tracking software, and a directional RF inhibitor from ECS, which provides the disrupt element by selectively interfering with the command-and-control channels on the air vehicle.
CerbAir’s proprietary algorithms locate the UAV and its pilot and can identify an intruding UAV’s make and model in real time. Its specially designed Medusa Electronic Countermeasure
According to manufacturers, the AUDS has now reached Technology Readiness Level 9 and undergone extensive evaluation with military and government organisations, taking part in 12 EDR | July/August 2020
Elbit System’s ReDrone anti-UAV protection system is capable of detecting and neutralising several UAVs simultaneously. © Elbit Systems
overseas trials. Available data claim that the system is able to detect a target at a distance of 10 km and enact the full process of detect, track, and defeat in around 8-15 seconds enabling the operator to take control of the UAV and force it to land.
kill. In recent demonstrations conducted in Israel, the Drone Dome system performed interceptions of multiple UAVs, using its hard-kill laser beam director. The system achieved 100 percent success in all test scenarios.
A range of configurations for the AUDS system have been developed, enabling it to be deployed as a fixed, semi-permanent, a temporary asset or a vehicle.
Elbit System’s ReDrone is an anti-UAV protection system designed to detect, identify, track and neutralise different types of UAVs at a designated airspace. The system is capable of pinpointing both the air vehicle and its operator’s directions while its advanced detection system provides 360-degree perimeter protection and real-time situational awareness. It can also deal with several UAVs simultaneously. After detecting a target, the ReDrone system disrupts the UAV’s communication with its operator, blocks its radio and video signals and GPS positioning data, and sends it off track, preventing it from carrying out an attack.
Having been at the forefront of military UAV development, Israel is now offering systems for defending against them. Rafael’s proven Drone Dome C-UAV solution for securing air space from hostile UAVs is fully operational and deployed globally. Drone Dome comprises of electronic jammers and sensors, allowing effective detection, full identification and neutralization of multiple micro and mini UAV threats by employing its unique algorithms. One of its unique capabilities is integrating laser technology for hard-kill. When the C4I performs a positive identification, the system allocates the target to the laser effector, which locks and tracks the target and performs hard22
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As UAVs become more sophisticated and their acquisition and deployment proliferates, so C-UAV systems manufacturers will attempt to stay one step ahead in the detection and neutralisation of the threats they pose.
The IAI-Elta ELM-2248LB digital multi mission radar (DMMR) is the latest addition to the family of radar including the ELM-2084. The D-MMR is a fulldigital radar, performing digital beam forming by digitally sampling the signal at RF module level. @ IAI-Elta
Land-based multifunction 3D AESA radars By Luca Peruzzi The current strategic and tactical land scenarios in which armed forces are facing new threats, from tactical ballistic missiles to supersonic weapon systems, from airbreathing and unmanned air vehicles to rockets, artillery ammunition and mortar rounds (RAM), require highly-mobile, ground-based air surveillance radar systems capable to manage a wide range of targets simultaneously and to be integrated in modern GBAD (Ground Based Air Defence) systems operating in highly demanding cluttered environments. The new generation of 3D multifunctional radars centered on Active Electronically Scanned Antennas (AESA), based on Gallium Nitride (GaN) transmitter-receiver modules (TRMs), and on the latest processing hardware and software have been designed to cope with these threats and operational requirements, also offering reduced maintenance needs. European and Israeli companies cover an important percentage of the international market with in-service and new systems.
IAI-Elta Multi-Mission Radar family widespread Originally developed for the Israeli Defense Forces (IDF) requirements and improved for the
Iron Dome interception system, the IAI-Elta MMR (Multi-Mission Radar) family of radars including the ELM-2084 has grown and evolved to offer air surveillance, air defence, counter-rockets, -artillery and -mortar (C-RAM), hostile artillery weapon location, as well as friendly fire ranging EDR | July/August 2020
IAI-Elta ELM-2084 MMR (Multi-Mission Radar) has evolved to offer air surveillance, air defence, C-RAM, sense and warn, being the main sensor for Iron Dome, David’s Sling and Barak missile systems. © IAI-Elta
capabilities, for both national and worldwide international customers. In addition to being the main sensor for Rafael Iron Dome, the ELM-2084 performs the same function for Rafael David’s Sling air and missile defence system and IAI’s Barak weapon family systems. The latest addition to the S-band MMR family of multifunction AESA radars is the full-digital ELM-2248LB Digital-MMR (D-MMR). According to Elta it is a four-dimensional (4D) full phased array (both in azimuth and elevation) radar, implementing AESA technology based on Gallium Nitride (GaN) transmitter-receiver modules (TRMs) and scalable solid-state phased array. The D-MMR performs digital beam forming (DBM) by digitally sampling the signal at TRM module level, delivering high situational awareness picture and weapon support for current and emerging threats under severe environmental conditions. Characterized by high mobility and fast deployment, including air transportability with C-130 aircraft, with different power generation configurations on trailer or shelter depending on radar version and customer needs, in the air surveillance mode the ELM-2248 LB radar has an instrumental range of up to 400 km. With a sectorial 120° or 360° azimuth coverage rotating up to 30 revolutions per minute (RPM), the ELM-2248LB features an elevation coverage up to 70° with high accurate 3D measurement and up to 1,100 targets capacity. The FCR (Fire Control Radar) functionality provides midcourse guidance of active/semi-active surface24
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to-air missile systems. In the C-RAM mode, the radar has a detection range of 100 km with a 120° azimuth and up to 90° elevation coverage, with a 0.3% CEP and a tracking capability of 200 targets/min. In mid-2019, IAI Elta unveiled another radar derived from the ELM-2084 and called Multi-Sensor MMR, which adds multispectral capabilities to counter emerging threats with the addition of a higher frequency radar, an active IFF, an automatic dependent surveillancebroadcast (ADS-B) receiver, as well as passive EO/IR and signal intelligence sensors, in addition to optional passive sensors for detecting weapons being launched. Shifting to the C-band, the ELM-2311 CompactMMR (C-MMR) exploits the same architecture of the aforementioned radars and is a highly mobile and transportable all-in-one radar system featuring a reduced-sized GaN-based TRM AESA antenna, which together with the power generation unit and two operator consoles including communication equipment, can be installed on board a single vehicle for maneuvering forces. The C-MMR performs the same functions of the bigger versions with reduced ranges. In the air-defence and WLR modes, the system has respectively a 250 and 70 km range with 360° rotating or 90-120° starring antenna modes, up to 50° in elevation and over 100 targets/min. The MMR radar family found international success with over 100 systems sold
The ELM-2084 MMR (Multi-Mission Radar) comes in a family of 3D multifunction radars in both S-Band and C-Band and in different configurations such as the latest Multi-Sensor MMR or the smaller ELM-2311 highly-mobile version. © IAI-Elta
and in service with demanding disclosed and undisclosed customers including Canada, India, Singapore, Finland, Vietnam and more recently the Czech Republic and the United States. The latter’s Army is to receive two Iron Dome batteries equipped with the MMR radar within 2020.
Hensoldt’s TRML-4D readies for delivery The land-based version of Hensoldt newest 4D AESA radar family is expected to be delivered to the first customer in 2020. Designated TRML4D and based on the same overall system architecture of the well-known and already in service naval TRS-4D version, the land-based radar shares the same GaN solid-state TRMs and software-defined AESA array operating in the C-band. The TRML-4D is designed for remote-controlled air surveillance and to act as fire control sensor for short and medium range air defence weapon systems and differs from the naval TRS-4D version for a larger rotating antenna without the constraints of the ship mast-mounted installation. With an instrumented range of up to 250 km and able to reach 30,000 meters height with and elevation coverage between -2° and 70° (electronically tilt-down to -10°) and tracking up to 90°, thanks to the AESA array and multiple digitally formed beams and Doppler processing the new radar provides accurate track-whilescan function combined with high-precision 3D tracking of dedicated targets enabling the
creation of reliable air pictures with particular emphasis on small, fast, and low-flying unmanned system and/or maneuvering cruise missiles, aircraft and hovering helicopters. Thanks to the AESA-based ‘cued track’ functionality enabling to establish a track within the first rotation with an update rate of less than one second, the TRML-4D can track over 1,500 targets as well as being able to automatically trigger electronic counter-measures to prevent saturation jamming. The AESA radar antenna is integrated with an IFF system with the latest Mode S and 5, and all the system package is based on a platform transportable on high-mobility 8x8 vehicles, with
The Hensoldt TRML-4D is based on the same system architecture of the well-known and already in-service naval C-band TRS-4D version, sharing the same GaN solid-state transmitter TRMs and software-defined AESA array system. © Hensoldt
an in and out of action time of 10 minutes, and with roll-on/roll-off capability for transport by rail, ship, A400M/C-130 Hercules aircraft. As anticipated, series production has already started and the first TRML-4D is to be delivered, as part of a Diehl-provided IRIS-T SLM GBAD system package with launchers and Airbus Defence and Space Tactical Operation Centre (TOC), to an international non-NATO customer in 2020.
Leonardo’s Kronos family enlarges The first Hensoldt TRML-4D is to be delivered, as part of a Diehl-provided IRIS-T SLM GBAD system package with launchers and Airbus Defence and Space Tactical Operation Centre (TOC), to an international non-NATO customer in 2020. © Hensoldt
Exploiting the technological and operational developments carried out for the C-band fully AESA Kronos Naval MFRA (Multi-Function Radar Active), part of the SAAM ESD air defence system with MBDA Aster 30 missile family, Leonardo developed EDR | July/August 2020
the Kronos Grand Mobile and the smaller Kronos Land radars; all the aforementioned products are in production for Italy as well as for international customers. The Kronos Grand Mobile system was specifically designed for high tactical mobility and quick strategic deployment of the Kronos Grand fully AESA 3D multifunction radar with the latest signal processing developments to optimise detection, tracking, threat classification and missile guidance against multiple air and maritime highand low-speeds reduced RCS targets including TBMs, even in heavy clutter environments. With a full active phased array antenna populated by solidstate GaAs TRMs rotating at 60 rpm and capable of azimuth and elevation monopulse for high accuracy tracking, the Kronos Grand radar has optimized surveillance modes including a defensive one for fast reaction, air surveillance as well as rotating and ‘starring’ TBM modes. Capable of simultaneous multiple target tracking with update rate up to one second for highly manoeuvring dangerous threats and fast tracking initialization (one second after first detection) together with weapon cueing and engagement control of third party’s new activeguided anti-air missile-based GBAD, the radar has an air surveillance and defence instrumented range of respectively over 300 and 250 km, a 30,000 meters ceiling, an elevation coverage of respectively 70°+ and 90° in surveillance and tracking modes, together with over 1,000 tracks and 30 contemporary engaged targets. With an optional C-RAM capability, the radar comes with extended ECCMs and integrated IFF transponder
Exploiting the technological and operational developments of naval Kronos radars, Leonardo developed the land-based Kronos Grand Mobile system selected and under production for international and national customers. © Leonardo
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Leonardo offers the Kronos Land mobile multifunction radar centred on a smaller-size full active GaAs technologybased TRMs populated AESA antenna which has found international success on both naval and land applications. © Leonardo
phased array antenna with the latest military/civil modes, being capable to be connected to up to three C2 centres simultaneously. In addition to the radar system containerized module and the power generator trailer, the Kronos Grand Mobile can be supplied with an optional C3 20’ ISO module with three C2 workstations and a communications suite including Leonardo Multiple Data Link Processor (M-DLP). The Kronos family systems are the main component of the Low-Level Radar System developed for the Qatar Armed Forces. The Italian Army also selected the Kronos family to support its Integrated Air and Missile Defence (IAMD) capability. Leonardo is currently working on the Kronos Quad radar, based on four fixed faces C-band AESA system using the GaN-technology, as part of the Dual Band Radar (DBR) for the Italian Navy’s new Pattugliatore Polivalente d’Altura (PPA). According to the Programmatic Multi-Year Document (DPP, Documento Programmatico Pluriennale) 2018-2020, a programme to develop a multifunction land-based radar based on the so-called Kronos Grand Mobile High Power (HP) version for the Eurosam SAMP/T Ground-Based Air Defence (GBAD) system is part of the Italian
MoD plans. No details have been released but the new HP version is expected to be based on the more powerful GaN TRMs under development for naval applications. Leonardo also offers the Kronos Land mobile multifunction radar centred on the smaller-size full active GaAs TRMs populated AESA antenna which has found international success on both naval and land applications. Integrated in a single ISO 20’ container module together with power generation and three workstations for both radar and weapon control, the Kronos Land has been designed and proven to support both air and coastal defence tactical operations as well as to control SHORAD and VSHORAD systems with both semi-active and fully active missiles. The system is under production for both the Italian Air Force’s Sirius GBAD system, based on MBDA’s CAMM-ER effector, and for the Bangladesh air force.
Saab’s Giraffe 4A delivers Introduced to the market in 2014 and building on the technology already applied to the Saab’s Arthur weapon locating radar and Giraffe AMB medium-range surveillance radar product families, the all-new medium-long range S-band 3D multifunction Giraffe 4A radar based on the GaN AESA technology is currently under production and delivery for Sweden’s Defence Material Administration (FMV) launch customer as part of a contract awarded in late 2018 for an undisclosed number of vehicle-mounted systems. Designed according to the latest customers’ multifunction
The Kronos family systems are the main component of the Low-Level Radar System developed for the Qatar Armed Forces. The Italian Army also selected the Kronos family to support its Integrated Air and Missile Defence (IAMD) capability. © Leonardo
The all-new medium-long range S-band 3D multifunction Giraffe 4A radar based on GaN AESA technology is currently under production and delivery for Sweden’s Defence Material Administration (FMV) launch customer under a contract awarded in late 2018 for an undisclosed number of vehicle-mounted systems. © Saab
requirements, the Giraffe 4A is a stacked beam 3D radar integrating the proven functionalities from Arthur and Giraffe AMB, namely the latter Medium Pulse Doppler waveform, with a digital AESAbased GaN-TRMs populated antenna architecture, and digital beam forming and control in azimuth and elevation. The new radar is capable to offer simultaneous air surveillance and GBAD target acquisition together with weapon locating and sense and warn capacity without performance degradation, says Saab. With a 30 or 60 rpm rate, the Giraffe 4A can search in the entire volume or conduct an optimized search in a sector (40°120°) with a starring mode, in both cases with a 70° elevation. With an instrumented air surveillance and weapon locating range of respectively 280 and 100 km, and integrated with an IFF antenna, the Giraffe 4A can manage over 1,000 air tracks in the air surveillance and over 100 tracks per minute in the weapon locating modes. With a great emphasis on ECCM performances in the radar design, the latter was developed to accommodate new-software based functionalities including the Saab-proprietary Enhanced Low Small and Slow (ELSS) mode allowing the detection of very small radar cross section (RCS) targets such as drones and birds and distinguish among them, says Saab. The Giraffe 4A is integrated and self-contained with power generation into a 16’ modular pallet EDR | July/August 2020
platform and is designed to be operated locally or by remote control. Local operation is executed with a ruggedized PC in close connection to the system, but a 4’ control element can be optionally added to the system module with a twin-station operator cabin. With a mean time between critical failures of over 2,500 hours, it can be deployed by two persons in less than 10 minutes and be ready to move in less than five minutes, being transportable by a single C-130 or larger aircraft, in the latter case as drive/drive-off cargo.
Thales’ new generation Ground Fire system During Paris Air Show 2017, Thales unveiled the Ground Fire family of 3D fully digital AESA S-band radars for both air defence and surveillance against a wide range of challenging threats, among which ballistic missiles. This is the mobile single-antenna rotating land-based version of the Sea Fire four fixed-faces AESA multifunction radar currently under testing and evaluation at DGA facilities before being delivered to Naval Group to equip the French Navy Frégates de Défense et d’Intervention (FDI). In parallel to the Sea Fire naval programme, the French MoD decided to launch the development of the singlerotating antenna land-based mobile radar, featuring the same technology architecture. The
The Giraffe 4A is a stacked beam 3D radar integrating the proven functionalities from Arthur and Giraffe AMB, with a digital AESA-based GaN-TRMs populated antenna architecture, and digital beam forming and control in azimuth and elevation. © Saab
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Ground Fire 300 (GF 300) version is destined, according to Thales, to replace the Arabel radar around 2025 as part of the Eurosam SAMP/T GBAD New Generation (NG) programme together with command and control renewal and new generation MBDA Aster 30 Block 1NT ammunition to cope with more capable ballistic missiles threats. The new 3D radar antenna and its rotating and processing equipment is integrated on a standard ISO 20’ platform to be carried by a high-mobility 8x8 vehicle with the power generation on board a trailer, according to released video. The Ground Fire is a scalable, software-controlled 3D multifunction radar designed to perform various tasks including volume search, low altitude surveillance, air target tracking, environment mapping, fire control, full uplink support for Aster missile, and kill assessment. According to Thales, the fully digital radar is able to simultaneously detect and track a comprehensive range of targets such as ballistic threats, with continuous 360° coverage in azimuth, up to 90° coverage in elevation and a range of 400 km. Based on the solid-state GaN high-power amplifier technology, the Ground Fire features a modular, liquid-cooled AESA antenna design, which can be scaled according to mission needs. The GF 300 version differs from the Sea Fire version for the FDI frigates for a higher number of TRM assemblies in the larger antenna for single-face rotating operations with co-
The Thales Ground Fire is the mobile single-antenna rotating land-based version of the Sea Fire naval four fixed-faces AESA multifunction naval radar. The Ground Fire 300 version is destined to replace the Arabel radar around 2025 as part of Eurosam SAMP/T GBAD New Generation (NG) programme. © Thales
In November 2019, The Netherlands Defence Materiel Organization (DMO) awarded Thales a contract for nine MultiMission Radar (MMR) or GM200 MM/C systems specifically customized in collaboration with the DMO and the Royal Netherlands Army (RNLA). © Thales
mounted IFF antenna, allowing for autonomous ballistic defence. Maintaining the same software and hardware architecture, it allows for new software-defined functionalities to be added in response to new missions and threats, as well as reduced maintenance and support requirements.
Ground Master 200 evolution Based on the so-called 4D AESA radar developments from both Thales France and Nederland, the Group developed the latest Ground Master 200 Multi-Mission All-in-One (GM200 MM/A) system, alongside the Ground Master 200 MM Compact (GM200 MM/C), both operating Benefiting on the combat proven family predecessor, the new GM200 MM/A integrates a new fully-digital and software-defined AESA radar with a new GaN solid-state TRMs-based phased array, maintaining the same single and autonomous 20’ ISO standard container with C2. © Thales
in the S-band. Benefiting on the combat proven platform which served successfully around the world with over 100 radars in use in around 20 countries, the new GM200 MM/A integrates a new fully-digital and software-defined AESA radar with a new GaN solid-state TRMs-based phased array, IFF and processing, maintaining the same single and autonomous 20’ ISO standard container including power generator unit, antenna elevating mast for low-level air surveillance and room for two work stations with a communications suite. While offering operators 40% longer range capabilities, according to Thales, the dual-axis multi-beam technology radar can analyze between 16 and 30 separate beams, which means enhanced ability to isolate targets from the background, more time-ontarget and multiple simultaneous targets tracking including drones. The Ground Master 200 MM/C is a pallet version offering higher tactical mobility and quicker deployment as required by some specific missions like artillery counter battery and weapon locating. It also suites well VSHORAD/ SHORAD missions as its GM200 MM/A brother. In November 2019, the Netherlands Defence Materiel Organization (DMO) awarded Thales a contract for nine Multi-Mission Radar (MMR) or GM200 MM/C systems specifically customized in collaboration with the DMO and the Royal Netherlands Army (RNLA) for the latter service under the ‘C-RAM and Class 1-UAV detection capability’ project. Both versions are in advanced stage of development with first serial units’ deliveries in 2021. EDR | July/August 2020
The Rheinmetall BAE Systems Land Challenger 2 advanced technology demonstrator features a new Rheinmetall turret armed with the L55 120mm smoothbore gun. © RBSL
The UK’s armoured fist By By Ian Kemp The Royal Armoured Corps (RAC), in parallel with the British Army as a whole, is undergoing sweeping changes in organisation and equipment. The Labour government’s 1998 Strategic Defence Review reorganised the Army into two deployable divisions: the 1st (UK) Armoured Division stationed in Germany with three armoured brigades; and, the 3rd (UK) Mechanised Division with three mechanised brigades. The Conservative-led coalition government’s 2010 Strategic Defence and Security Review resulted in the new ‘Army 2020’ structure which grouped the service’s heavy units into five multi-role brigades each with one armoured regiment, one armoured reconnaissance regiment, one armoured infantry battalion, one mechanised infantry battalion and two light role infantry battalions. The structure was designed to support enduring operations at the brigade level such as those then underway in Afghanistan.
he multi-role brigade structure was never implemented, as in June 2012, the Army introduced a new Army 2020 structure optimised for warfighting. The 3rd (UK) Mechanised Division was renamed the 3rd (UK) Division and given command of three 1st, 2nd and 12th - armoured infantry brigades each consisting of a Type 56 armoured regiment, an armoured cavalry regiment, two armoured infantry battalions, and one ‘heavy protected
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mobility’ infantry battalion. The division and the Army’s 16 Air Assault Brigade would comprise the Reaction Force for rapid deployment and warfighting. The Adaptable Force, to support both warfighting and enduring operations, consists of a pool of Regular and Army Reserve units assigned to seven – later reduced to four – regionally based infantry brigades for training and administrative purposes, all grouped under the 1st (UK) Division, as the 1st Armoured Division was retitled in 2014.
The British Army’s Challenger 2 Theatre Entry Standard (CR2 TES) reference vehicle, shown here fitted with a Mobile Camouflage System, is held at the Armoured Trials and Development Unit. © UK MOD
Following SDR98, the regular component of the RAC consisted of six armoured regiments equipped with Challenger 2 main battle tanks and five armoured reconnaissance regiments equipped with the ageing Combat Vehicle Reconnaissance (Tracked) family. The new Army 2020 reduced the RAC to nine regular regiments divided into three categories: three armoured regiments; three armoured cavalry regiments, the new designation for regiments trained and equipped to provide formation reconnaissance; and, three light cavalry regiments, a new type of regiment equipped with 4x4 Jackals originally procured to provide an ‘agile, well-armed, light patrol vehicle’ for use in Afghanistan. In 2016, the Army announced the ‘Army 2020 Refine’ structure which reduced the number of armoured infantry brigades from three to two, and unveiled the formation of two medium weight ‘Strike’ brigades which would be equipped with two new vehicle families - the Ajax tracked reconnaissance vehicle and the 8x8 Mechanised Infantry Vehicle. By 2025-26, the Army is expected to be capable of generating a warfighting division consisting of the two armoured infantry brigades and a single Strike brigade, generated from the two brigades.
A Challenger 2 of the Queen’s Royal Hussars participates in exercise “Spring Storm” in Estonia in May 2020. © Estonian Defence Forces
by the Conservative government in January 1989, against the American M1A2 Abrams, the French Leclerc and the German Leopard 2 (Improved) and recommended the Leopard 2 pointing to the benefits of commonality with NATO allies and the design’s impressive performance. Unlike its NATO contemporaries which are armed with 120 mm smoothbore guns, the Challenger 2 is equipped with a 120/55 mm L30A1 tank gun, the successor to the L11 gun developed for the Chieftain and retained for the Challenger 1, which fires unique separate loading ammunition consisting of a projectile and a combustible charge. This requires the Ministry of Defence and BAE Systems, the only producer of ammunition for the Challenger 2, to fund ammunition development for British service with little opportunity to share or recoup ammunition development costs through export sales.
Toward Challenger 3
Nevertheless, in June 1991 the Ministry of Defence placed a £ 520 million order for 127 Challenger 2s and 13 driver training vehicles, and three years later ordered another 259 tanks and nine driver trainers. The Challenger 2 entered Army service in June 1998 and the last of the 386 tanks ordered was delivered in 2002. Only 38 Challenger 2s were exported, to the Royal Army of Oman.
“Challenger 2 is now teetering on the cliff edge of obsolescence,” is the assessment of Chief of the General Staff General Sir Mark CarletonSmith. The BAE Systems Challenger 2 has been in service for more than 20 years, but it was not the Army’s preferred choice to replace its Challenger 1 fleet. In 1990-91, the service evaluated the Challenger 2 demonstrator, ordered
In late 2005, under the proposed Challenger Lethality Improvement Programme (CLIP) a single Challenger 2 was fitted with a Rheinmetall L55 smoothbore gun for trials. Despite the positive results, the Army was forced to abandon the project, with an estimated cost of over £ 330 million, as funds were diverted to support operations in Afghanistan and Iraq. EDR | July/August 2020
at BAE’s existing facility in Telford, Shropshire, was formally launched on 1 July 2019. Telford will play a major role in production of the ARTEC 8x8 Boxer after the MOD awarded the ARTEC consortium, owned by Rheinmetall and Krauss-Maffei Wegmann (KMW), a 12.6 billion euro contract to produce 528 vehicles for the Mechanised Infantry Vehicle (MIV) requirement.
The British Army’s Challenger 2 now only equips three armoured regiments. © Estonian Defence Forces
Approximately 120 Challenger 2s participated in the 2003 invasion of Iraq and a number remained until April 2009 to support the stabilisation operation. These received various improvements through the urgent operational requirement process to enhance their survivability and ability to operate in urban terrain. An enhanced applique armour package was fitted, which included Chobham passive armour along the sides of the hull and turret, and Enhanced Protection Bar Armour around the rear of the turret and the engine compartment, and the Selex Enforcer remote weapon system, armed with a 7.62 mm machine gun, was installed in front of the loader’s hatch. Other improvements included: an electronic counter measure system; the Caracal Driver’s Night Vision System; and, the Barracuda Mobile Camouflage System.
When the Challenger 2 LEP was launched, the Army’s was seeking up to 227 tanks sufficient to equip three Type 56 regiments plus a pool for training in the UK and at the British Army Training Unit Suffield, Alberta, Canada. However, the Army 2020 Refine structure only requires two regiments thus freeing funds for a more extensive modernisation of the remaining fleet. Although the Challenger 2 LEP stipulated that the L30 would be retained, the Army decided in 2019 to pursue a more comprehensive CR2 LEP (Enhanced) modernisation package that as well as addressing obsolescence issues would considerably improve lethality and survivability. At the September 2019 DSEI exhibition RBSL unveiled its Challenger 2
In 2015, the MOD’s Defence Equipment and Support (DE&S) organisation invited industry participation in a life extension programme (LEP) to address obsolescence issues to extend the Challenger 2’s service life beyond 2035. After considering proposals from at least seven manufacturers, the MOD awarded separate £ 23 million contracts in December 2016 to BAE Systems and Rheinmetall Landsysteme for the assessment phase of the Challenger 2 LEP. In January 2019, Rheinmetall announced its intention to buy a 55% share of BAE Systems’ land business for £ 28.6 million. The new Rheinmetall BAE Systems Land (RBSL) joint venture, headquartered 32
EDR | July/August 2020
NATO’s Enhanced Forward Presence battlegroup in Estonia includes a squadron of British Army Challenger 2 MBTs. © Estonian Defence Forces
Armoured Cavalry 2025 The Army is finally poised to replace the remaining members of its Combat Vehicle Reconnaissance (Tracked) family as its primary reconnaissance vehicles after more than 45 years of the service.
The British Army’s Challenger 2 is the only vehicle in NATO service armed with the L30A1 120 mm rifled gun. © Estonian Defence Forces
advanced technology demonstrator which features a new Rheinmetall turret armed with the L55A1 smoothbore gun, a computerised fire control system, and all-electric gun control equipment. The turret is equipped with the same combination of sights from Thales as fitted to the Ajax reconnaissance vehicle - the Orion commander’s panoramic sight and the gunner’s DNGS T3 stabilised day/night sight. Installation of the L55 will enable the tank to fire the latest Rheinmetall ammunition including the DM63A1 APFSDS-T and the DM11 programmable air burst round. Each one-piece round is stored in an individual armoured container in the turret bustle of the turret, which is also fitted with blow out panels. Protection could be enhanced with the integration of the Elbit Systems Iron Fist Light Decoupled (IFLD) active protection system while the UK’s Defence Science and Technology Laboratory (Dstl) is leading a project to develop New Modular Armour for application on the Challenger 2 and other armoured vehicles. The MOD is expected to award RBSL a 12-month Assessment Phase 2 contract this year which is planned to lead to a production contract for the Challenger 3 in 2021-22. The Army is considering the merits of moving from the current Type 56 regiment, consisting of three armoured squadrons each with 18 tanks and two in regimental headquarters, to a Type 58 regiment with four squadrons, each equipped with 14 tanks, plus two headquarters tanks.
As far back as 1992, the service launched the technologically ambitious Tactical Reconnaissance Armoured Combat Equipment Requirement (TRACER) to develop a replacement for the CVR(T) and in 1997 the programme was merged with the US Army’s Future Scout Cavalry System project which was intended to replace its M3 Bradley Cavalry Fighting Vehicle. Two AngloAmerican industrial teams, SIKA International and Team Lancer, were awarded contracts in 1999 to develop prototype vehicles incorporating advanced technologies including: hybrid electrical drives, to offer near silent vehicle movement; ‘band track’ technology, offering lighter, quieter movement with a longer operational life; sophisticated mast-mounted sensors; and, the more lethal CTA International 40mm Cased Telescoped Armament System. The UK terminated TRACER in 2002 after the US Army withdrew from the project. The shortcomings of the 30 mm-armed Scimitar CVR(T) reconnaissance variant, especially their vulnerability to land mines and IEDs, became a challenge in Afghanistan. To improve survivability and performance, BAE Systems received an urgent operational requirement contract in 2010 which resulted in the development of the Scimitar 2 which mounted legacy turrets on new Spartan hulls. Survivability enhancements included additional protection to withstand improvised explosive device/mine blasts, ceramic armour to protect against kinetic energy attack, bar armour to disrupt rocket propelled grenades, and blast mitigation seating for all crew members in all variants. The original Scimitar weighed 8 tonnes while the Scimitar 2 weighed 12.25 tonnes, much of it being additional armour. Approximately 60 CVR(T) vehicles, including Sultan command vehicles, Spartan APCs, Samson recovery variants, and Samaritan ambulances were upgraded in 2010-11 and the first Scimitar EDR | July/August 2020
carriers; 112 Athena command and control vehicles; 51 Argus engineer reconnaissance vehicles; 38 Atlas recovery vehicles; and, 50 Apollo repair vehicles.
The British Army is cutting the number of armoured regiments equipped with the Challenger 2 tank from three to two. © Estonian Defence Forces
2s were airlifted to Afghanistan in August 2011. The Scimitar 2 is expected to be the last significant investment in the CVR(T) family as it is scheduled to be replaced by the General Dynamics UK Ajax family in the 2020-25 period. Ajax originated in the Future Rapid Effect Systems (FRES) programme to acquire two armoured vehicle families - the FRES Utility Vehicle wheeled armoured personnel carrier and the FRES Specialist Vehicle (SV) tracked reconnaissance vehicle. Although the FRES project died, the SV portion survived and in November 2008, the MoD awarded assessment-phase contracts to BAE Systems and GDUK to develop solutions based on their respective infantry fighting vehicles, the CV90 and the ASCOD 2 (Austrian Spanish Cooperative Development). In July 2010, GDUK was awarded a £ 500 million contract to develop seven prototypes of the ASCOD SV for the demonstration phase. In September 2014, the company received a £ 3.5 billion contract to deliver 589 Ajax vehicles, as the family was named, in six variants: 245 Ajax reconnaissance vehicles; 93 Ares mobility reconnaissance support variants, essentially armoured personnel
A Challenger 2 configured for the “Streetfighter 2019” demonstration. © UK MOD
EDR | July/August 2020
Compared to the 12.5 tonnes Scimitar the Ajax weighs 38 tonnes with growth potential to 42 tonnes. The main armament is CTAI’s 40mm Cased Telescoped Armament System and a remotecontrolled weapon station is mounted on the turret. The Ajax family will equip four armoured cavalry regiments, two in each of the Strike brigades, as well as the reconnaissance troops within the two armoured regiments and the reconnaissance platoons within the four Warrior-equipped armoured infantry battalions. The sensors integrated on the Ajax are intended to provide the dispersed elements of the Strike brigade with unprecedented situational awareness. In December 2015, GDUK stated that “the training establishment and first squadron will be equipped by mid-2019 to allow conversion to begin with a brigade ready to deploy from the end of 2020.” Actual progress has been slower. The first six Ares production vehicles were delivered to the Armour Centre in Bovington in February 2019 where they are being used for initial driver training in parallel with desktop training equipment and full-motion driver training simulators. On 22 January 2020, an Army crew fired the Ajax’s CT40 cannon and 7.62 mm chain gun for the first time at the start of trials on a range in Wales to valid that Ajax can conduct manned firing safely. Since 2017, the Household Cavalry Regiment, which will be the first armoured cavalry regiment to be equipped with Ajax, has been using its
General Dynamics UK will produce 245 40 mm-armed Ajax reconnaissance vehicles by 2025-26. © GDUK
was well suited for these roles and more than 500 Jackal 1/2/2A vehicles were ordered in 2007-10. Operated by a crew of three to five, the Jackal was typically armed with a 12.7 mm heavy machine gun or a Heckler & Koch 40 mm grenade GMG, and a 7.62 mm general purpose machine gun.
The General Dynamics UK Ajax reconnaissance vehicle family is at the heart of the British Army’s Strike concept. © GDUK
Scimitars to develop tactics, techniques and procedures for Ajax. The first Ajax armoured cavalry battlegroup is expected to be operational by the end of 2023 and a full Strike brigade, with two Ajax regiments, in 2025.
Light Cavalry In the transition period before the two Strike brigades are equipped, the 3 (UK) Division’s warfighting organisation will consist of an armoured infantry brigade,16 Air Assault Brigade, and a light brigade. The Army’s decision to add three light cavalry regiments to the regular order of battle followed the successful employment of the 4x4 Jackal during “Operation Herrick” in Afghanistan in 2008-15. For each rotation during this period the deployed brigade would form an ad-hoc brigade reconnaissance force (BRF) to conduct intelligence, surveillance, target acquisition, and reconnaissance (ISTAR) as well as provide fire support. The Jackal, originally developed by Supacat as the HMT 400 for Special Forces use,
General Dynamics Land Systems UK is producing the Ajax reconnaissance vehicle family at its Merthyr Tydfil factory in Wales. © GDUK
The light cavalry regiments consist of three ‘sabre’ squadrons each with three ‘find’ troops equipped with four Jackals and a support troop with four Coyotes, the Army’s designation for the Supacat 6x6 HMT 600 vehicle which carries heavier support weapons. The light cavalry regiments, like the BRFs and the armoured cavalry regiments, include soldiers trained as snipers, Javelin anti-tank guided weapon operators, forward observation officers, mortar fire controllers and Joint Terminal Attack Controllers.
The Supacat Jackal 2 equips three light cavalry regiments in the Adaptive Force. © UK MOD
The British Army began manned live fire trials of the General Dynamics UK Ajax reconnaissance vehicle family in January 2020. © GDUK
In preparation for the deployment of a light cavalry squadron to serve with the UN Multidimensional Integrated Stabilization Mission in Mali (MINUSMA) later this year the Armour Development and Trials Unit has worked with EDR | July/August 2020
what technologies are available to improve the ‘eyes’ (ISTAR), ‘ears’ (communications) and ‘teeth’ (lethality) of the light cavalry regiments.
Coronavirus and defence Less than two months after Prime Minister Boris Johnson announced the launch of an ‘Integrated Review of Security, Defence, Development and Foreign Policy’, MOD officials confirmed on 15 April 2020 that the review had been paused to allow the government to focus on the coronavirus. A Jackal 2 reconnaissance vehicle of the Light Dragoons participates in NATO Enhanced Forward Presence Battle Group training in Poland in May 2020. © US Army
Defence officials were already braced for cuts in defence spending. “The Ministry of Defence’s equipment procurement and support budget is large but does not cover its forecast costs over
several industry partners to develop sensor, communications, and environmental upgrades for the Jackal 2. Companies involved in the project include Exsel Electronics, Exsel Engineering, Petards Group, Qioptiq, RolaTube, Safran and Thales. Enhancements include a mast-mounted thermal imaging camera system, a telescopic radio mast, night vision upgrades, and a vehicle heater. Some of these improvements could become part of Project Thundercat, a conceptual study to explore BAE Systems developed and produced the Scimitar 2 upgrade in 2010-11 to improve the vehicle’s survivability and performance in Afghanistan. © UK MOD
2019–2029,” was the assessment of the UK National Audit Office published in February. The Equipment Plan 2019 to 2029 report noted that the MoD’s best-case assessment was that the £ 180.7 billion allocated for equipment over the 10-year period would be £ 2.9 billion less than needed while the worst case predicted a £ 13.0 billion. Speculation about which projects will be cancelled or delayed was rampant. The Scimitar CVR(T) series vehicles which now equip three armoured cavalry regiments will be phased out of service over the next five years. © UK MOD
EDR | July/August 2020
The defence review is now complicated by the biggest financial crisis to hit the UK government since 1945.
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