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MILITARY TECHNOLOGY (MILTECH) is the world's leading international tri-service defence monthly magazine in the English language. MILITARY TECHNOLOGY is "Required Reading for Defence Professionals". Follow us on Twitter: MILTECH1

22 August 2016

88 Lithuanian Army BOXER Vehicles Commissioned

The European Organisation for Joint Armament Cooperation (OCCAR) and the Lithuanian Ministry of Defence (MoD) have commissioned ARTEC, a joint venture between Krauss-Maffei Wegmann (KMW) and Rheinmetall, to supply 88 BOXER armoured vehicles to the Lithuanian army starting in 2017. Worth a total of around €390 million, this important export order is set to run to 2021.

Lithuania boosts army with 88 BOXER vehicles. (Photo: ARTEC)

On 11 December 2015, ARTEC has been declared preferred bidder by the Lithuanian State Defence Council for the Lithuanian Infantry Fighting Vehicle (IFV) programme. From 2017 to 2020 in total 88 vehicles with a medium calibre (30mm) remote-controlled turret (RWS) are requested by the Lithuanian Army. ARTEC, will deliver the vehicles, extending the BOXER family by an IFV variant. Production will be carried out by ARTEC's two parent companies. 53 vehicles will be manufactured by KMW and 35 by Rheinmetall.

For the demonstration in Lithuania, the BOXER was fitted with Rafael's SAMSON Mk-2 turret, armed with a 30mm automatic cannon and 7.62mm coaxial machine gun, also armed with SPIKE anti-tank guided missiles. A number of photographs from the trials of a BOXER with Rafael's SAMSON Mk II RWS have been released by the Lithuanian MoD. Rafael declines to comment on this at the moment.

Lithuanian MoD artist rendering of their VILKAS. (Graphic: Lithuanian MoD)

Among other factors, positive tactical outcomes and the compelling results of Lithuanian field trials strongly influenced the Baltic nation’s decision to choose the BOXER. The Lithuanian military will call the vehicle the VILKAS (Wolf).

The German Armed Forces already have more than 400 BOXER vehicles in different variants in use or in the procurement process, and the Netherlands (NL) Armed Forces have 200 vehicles. Together with the Lithuanian vehicles, just short of 700 vehicles therefore have been contracted by three user nations.

Earlier this year, on 8 March 2016, the first BOXER Cargo Version has been delivered to the NL Army. The Cargo version is the fourth out of five BOXER versions for the NL Army. So far the Driver Training Vehicle, the Ambulance and the Command Post version have been delivered. Deliveries will last until 2018.

US Army Seeks Wide Area Sensors for Airborne Applications

The US Army Communications-Electronics Research, Development and Engineering Center (CERDEC) Night Vision and Electronic Sensors Directorate (NVESD) at Fort Belvoir, VA/USA, has launched a request for information from industry to determine the state-of-the-art in Wide Area Motion Imagery (WAMI) and Wide Area Airborne Surveillance (WAAS) sensor technologies for airborne applications on both manned and unmanned platforms. Army Contracting Command issued a ‘sources sought’ notice in mid-August, with initial responses required by 8 September.

The Army seeks a medium resolution persistent surveillance electro-optical (EO) imaging sensor to provide day/night detection of vehicles and individuals over large areas, and an associated storage and processing unit. The sensor should consist of a stabilised turret housing optics, focal planes and supporting electronics. The storage and processing unit is to host the sensor command, control and status software as well as a computer to run processing and exploitation algorithms.

Gap-free ground coverage from a nominal operating altitude of 18,000 feet at speeds of 100-1200 knots is required, with every point in the coverage circle imaged once per frame. Provisions for forward motion and image rotation compensation as well as non-uniformity correction of EO and infra red (IR) imagery are required, as are calibration sources for the IR sensor and a near lossless compression capability for the storage and processing unit.

Flight Simulation Upgrades for US Navy Anti-Submarine Warfare Aircraft

In late July, the US Naval Air Warfare Training Center in Orlando, FL/USA, announced the awards of a contract valued at U$13.8 million to Advanced Acoustic Concepts to upgrade flight simulators for the US Navy P-8A POSEIDON and MH-60R SEAHAWK anti-submarine warfare (ASW) aircraft.

Advanced Acoustic Concepts to upgrade flight simulators for the US Navy P-8A POSEIDON and MH-60R SEAHAWK (shown) anti-submarine warfare (ASW) aircraft.

The Common Acoustic Simulation Environment Fidelity Implementation (CASE-FI) upgrades will enhance the realism of the Tactical Operational Flight Trainers (TOFT) and Weapons Tactical Trainers (WTT) for both aircraft, enabling flight crews to train in an environment as close as possible to the operational conditions they are likely to face. Physics-based modelling will replicate a realistic ocean environment, targets and sensors as well as emulating the propagation and reverberation of acoustic energy.

Advanced Acoustics is the original equipment manufacturer for CASE and the only company able to undertake the required enhancements, according to the USN, which awarded the contract on a sole source basis. Work is scheduled to be completed by February 2022.

Leidos Wins AIE-3 Contract

Leidos has been awarded a two year contract with two one year options to provide Automated Installation Entry (AIE-3) solutions to the US Army Product Manager, Force Protection Systems (PdM-FPS). Contract value if the options are exercised is U$99 million.

PdM-FPS is part of the Program Executive Office Intelligence, Electronic Warfare and Sensors (PEO IEW&S) and is responsible for integrated base defence and force protection capabilities for the Army. Leidos will implement automated entry hardware and software solutions at 35 military installations to provide and enhance detect/assess/warn capabilities through automated personnel verification and validation.

AIE-3 will provide a single standardised, interoperable and integrated system for installation access control, resulting in better situational awareness, information sharing and resource optimisation, the company says.

MBDA Wins £184 Million for ASRAAM

MBDA on 16 August announced a contract valued at £184 million from the UK Ministry of Defence (MoD) for ASRAAM missiles to equip the Royal Air Force’s F-35B LIGHTNING II combat aircraft. The number of missiles covered by the contract remains classified.

MBDA’s ASRAAM will be carried on the external pylons of the F-35B whilst design and space provision is preserved for internal integration fit within the internal weapons bay and thus remains an option for the future. The missile has both lock-on-before launch and a lock-on-after launch mode to carry out engagements on targets that are outside the missile’s field of view at launch. (Photo: MBDA)

The highly capable infra-red (IR) guided air to air missile will be the first British designed missile to enter service on the F-35. MBDA is currently under contract for an ASRAAM capability sustainment programme for the Eurofighter TYPHOON in British service, which will assure the benefits accruing to deploying a single IR missile across the combat fleet.

ASRAAM is in service with the RAF on the TORNADO and TYPHOON and, in time, the F-35B serving both the Fleet Air Arm and the RAF. Overseas users include the Royal Australian Air Force on the F/A-18 HORNET and it is on order for the Indian Air Force’s JAGUARs.

Japan Seeks Record Defence Budget Increase, New Equipment

Reflecting concerns over Chinese and North Korean military developments as well as increasing tensions in the East China Sea, Japan’s defence ministry has requested Y5.16 trillion (U$ 51.7 billion) in its initial budget submissions for FY2017. The largest budget request in recorded history, the submission represents 2.3% growth over FY2016 and is the fifth consecutive annual increase.

Y14.7 billion has been allocated to the procurement of the Raytheon Standard Missile 3 (SM-3) Block 2A, a co-development between the Japanese and US governments which will enhanced defence together with the standard AEGIS-equipped vessels of both nations’ navies. Production of the new missiles is scheduled to commence in 2017.

An additional Y105.6 billion is allocated to upgrading the PATRIOT Advanced Capability 3 (PAC-3) missile defence system, roughly doubling the system coverage to 30 kilometres.

Funds are being requested for development of a new surface to surface anti-ship missile with a 300km range and an initial operating capability envisaged for 2023-2024.

In a technology strategy that seeks to engage the private sector in areas such as weapons systems, communications, and advanced lasers, Japan also intends to develop an indigenous unmanned surveillance aircraft within the next decade and an unmanned combat aerial system (UCAS) with a further decade, according to sources close to the budget submissions.

Y76 billion is being requested for development of a new submarine with advanced detection capabilities to counter the growing Chinese naval threat and a further Y74.6 billion will be used to strengthen coast guard units in Okinawa and Kagoshima Prefectures – specifically on the islands of Miyakojima and Amami Oshima respectively – in response to increasing Chinese presence in the East China Sea.

Sources also indicate that budget requests are being made for procurement of an upgraded version of the Lockheed Martin F-35 LIGHTNING II.

For more on Japan's new defence posture, please see MILITARY TECHNOLOGY 10/2016, out soon, with a large Sportlight on Japan.

Bolivian Military Academy Fights “US Imperial Oppression”

A new military academy has been established in the Bolivian town of Warnes, with a mandate to combat US, “imperial oppression,” in the words of the nation’s president.

Inaugurating the academy, President Evo Morales said, “while the empire’s military schools teach how to dominate the world, this school will help us learn to free ourselves from imperial oppression. We will be a school for the defence of the people, and not the empire,” consistently referring to the US as an ‘empire.’

Bolivian President Evo Morales wants to free his country from imperial oppression.

Local press reports indicate the government’s intention is that graduation from the new academy and possession of its ‘anti-imperialism’ degree will be an essential prerequisite for promotion to the rank of captain in the Bolivian Armed Forces.

Former Venezuelan president Hugo Chavez originated the idea of such an academy and allocated funds to its building prior to his death in 2013. The new Bolivian school would appear to be intended to rival the US School of the Americas in Ft. Benning, GA/USA, which provides military training for personnel in US-friendly Latin American nations. “The School of Anti-Imperialism is a school that seeks to preserve life, unlike the School of the Americas, which brainwashed military officers into believing that the enemy was our people,” Defence Minister Reymi Ferreira said during the opening ceremony.

The school will commence operations with approx. 100 students, and will be open to officers from other Latin American countries.