More on the General Dynamics Griffin Technology Demonstrator

Yesterday we did a quick post on the Griffin “technology demonstrator” on display by General Dynamics Land Systems at AUSA 2016.  More information on this particular vehicle has become available, including an article from Jane’s IHS and a video from Breaking Defense.

Jane’s IHS 360 – AUSA 2016: GDLS unveils demonstrator for new army light tank

News from around the web

Here are some news stories pertaining to AFVs from the last week.  Click on the headline to read the full article.

IHS Jane’s: British Army ditches Warthog armored vehicle

1650413_-_mainThe British Army has retired is ST Kinetics Warthog articulated tracked armored vehicles from service, IHS Jane’s can reveal.

In total, 115 Warthogs (an improved version of the ST Kinetics Bronco) were purchased by the United Kingdom as an urgent operational requirement (UOR) for use in Afghanistan instead of the less-well protected BvS 10 Viking articulated tracked vehicle.


Defense News: Poland Eyes $21B Program To Replace Fighting Vehicles

635936545856285476-DFN-Poland-armored-vehiclesThe Polish government is planning to spend up to 80 billion zloty (US $21 billion) to replace its military’s Soviet-designed BWP-1 and BWP-2 infantry fighting vehicles (IFVs) with new tracked vehicles, Deputy Defense Minister Bartosz Kownacki told local news agency PAP.

“This is a major undertaking for the next dozen years which, according to various estimates, will generate a cost of between 20 and 80 billion zloty if we decide to acquire two types of infantry fighting vehicles, lighter and heavier units,” Kownacki said.


IHS Jane’s: USMC receives first upgraded Assault Amphibious Vehicle

aav-outside-5-750xx3264-1836-0-306The US Marine Corps (USMC) in early March received the first of 10 initial redesigned Assault Amphibious Vehicles-Survivability Upgrade (AAV-SU) platforms from contractor SAIC.

AAV-SU is “just one of the paths that the marine corps has chosen to upgrade the capability of the current AAV”, John Garner, USMC programme manager for advanced amphibious assault, told IHS Jane’s on 15 March.

The AAVs have long been due for replacement, but the USMC is slowly fielding a new amphibious tractor capability with its emerging Amphibious Combat Vehicle 1.1 (ACV 1.1) programme, so meanwhile the AAV upgrade will commence.


Motley Fool: General Dynamics Tank Rival Wins a Big Contract in Poland

t72-poland_largeWith nearly 600 units in service, the Soviet T-72 main battle tank serves as the backbone of the Polish Army today. There’s just one problem: These tanks, built by Russia and requiring Russian spare parts to maintain them, are currently pointing their guns at Russia — which became an increasingly urgent threat after its 2014 invasion of Poland’s eastern neighbor, Ukraine.

Now, Poland does have some tanks of its own manufacture — more than 230 homegrown PT-91 tanks in various derivations. But in an effort to further integrate itself into NATO’s self-defense forces, Poland’s recently been turning to the West to supply an increasing number of its heavy weapons.


Morocco purchases 150 M1A1 tanks

The U.S. Army has contracted General Dynamics Land Systems for a $358 million Foreign Military Sales contract to upgrade 150 M1A1 Abrams tanks for the Kingdom of Morocco.  The tanks will be completely disassembled and brought to zero-mile condition. Each tank will be upgraded to the M1A1 SA, or situational awareness, configuration, which includes enhanced armor.  This follows a 28 August announcement that GDLS had received a USD17.2 million contract covering the “removal and disposal of 50 M1A1 frontal turret armor packages and installation of M1A1 situation awareness frontal armor packages” for Morocco.  Deliveries are scheduled to begin in January 2017, and end in February 2018.

Crain’s Business article on M1 Abrams tank

t1larg.tank.plant.cnnCrain’s Detroit Business recently posted an article about the past and future of the M1 Abrams tank.  As can be expected, the article focuses primarily on the business end of things, giving a brief history of M1 production and discussing challenges faced by the Lima Army Tank Plant in the era of sequestration.  Also mentioned are the M1 tanks sold or given as aid to foreign countries.

Article excerpt:

The former Detroit Arsenal Tank Plant in Warren, which had produced the M1 Abrams since its early days, discontinued new tank assembly in late 1991 and closed down completely in late 1996. Since then, General Dynamics Land Systems has housed all Abrams production and equipment upgrades for the Abrams at the government-owned Lima Army Tank Plant.

That plant, which was refurbishing about 2 1/2 tanks per day in early 2009, is handling a small fraction of that volume today. At issue at least since sequestration began affecting defense budgets in 2012 is whether the Lima plant can remain operational on a mix of foreign military sales and some limited production orders until M1A3 production begins in two years.

“The Army’s notion was they could mothball the plant and reopen in three years, but as GDLS can attest, you can mothball equipment but not people,” said Loren Thompson, a defense industry analyst and COO of the Arlington, Va.-based Lexington Institute.

Full article here.

Morocco to purchase Abrams Tanks

According to local TV news in the Lima OH area, Morocco has agreed to purchase 222 M1A1 Abrams tanks. This purchase was announced at the Joint Systems Manufacturing Center in Lima by Senator Rob Portman. According to the article, Morocco has committed to the purchase of 222 M1A1 Abrams Tanks from the JSMC under the foreign military sales program. Portman also announced that the initial contract for upgrading turrets has been awarded. The Moroccan ambassador to the U.S. and the Royal Moroccan Armed Forces were recently urged by Portman to move forward with the foreign military sales program.

British Scout SV to be built in Wales

1578572_-_mainJane’s is reporting that the British Army’s new Scout SV tracked reconnaissance vehicle will be built in the UK.  Originally slated to be built at a General Dynamics facility in Spain, the article notes that General Dynamics will be building a new facility in South Wales where the majority of assembly of these vehicles will take place.  The British vehicles are an updated version of the ASCOD armored machines built for the Spanish armed forces by Santa Barbara Sistemas. General Dynamics has been working on the British vehicles since 2010 when the company signed a £500 million development contract with the MoD.  According to the GDUK spokesperson, the first 100 of the 589 Scout SVs will still be built in Spain. Once the new facility is up and running, the company will then transfer the “assembly, integration and test work of the remaining 489 vehicles” to Wales.

Full article here.

Video: ASCOD APC demonstration and test drive

This video appeared on DefenseWebTV last month featuring the ASCOD APC variant.

Vehicle description:

The ASCOD is a new generation of tracked armored vehicle designed and developed jointly by the companies Santa Bárbara Sistemas (Pizarro) from Spain and Steyr from Austria which are now business units of General Dynamics European Land Systems. Survivability, mobility and reliability are the main features of this modular medium weight armored vehicle. ASCOD stands for speed, optimal protection and immediate performance day and night regardless of weather conditions. The ASCOD can be easily transported by military transport aircraft. The first version of the vehicle is in service in Austria under the name of Ulan and in Spain under the name of Pizarro. The latest variant of the ASCOD was selected in September 2014 by the British army to replace the old CVRT family under the name of Scout SV. The SCOUT SV of British Army program includes six variants: Scout Reconnaissance, Protected Mobility Reconnaissance Support (PMRS), Command and Control, Engineering Reconnaissance, Repair, and Recovery. Each SCOUT SV platform variant will be a highly-agile, tracked, medium-weight armored fighting vehicle, providing British troops with state-of-the-art best-in-class protection.

Army awards contracts for FFV (Future Fighting Vehicle) designs

the-pentagon-wars-1014407-tDefense News is reporting that the Pentagon has awarded contracts worth more than $28 million each to BAE Systems Land and Armaments and General Dynamics Land Systems as part of the FFV (Future Fighting Vehicle.)  The article describes the FFV program as a design contract that could yield a Bradley replacement or technology spin-outs to upgrade the Bradley.  The FFV program is being described as a more pragmatic approach, as opposed to the failed Ground Combat Vehicle and the Future Combat Systems programs of the last two decades.  Commented Army Chief of Staff Gen. Ray Odiemo, “One of the problems we’ve had in the past with our major programs is that we tried to build the perfect vehicle.  The requirements were so high they were difficult, they took a lot of time, they were over-budget, and we couldn’t meet them.”  The article notes that the work is due Nov. 28, 2016.

Full article here.

Stryker upgrade budget increased to $371million

Breaking is reporting that funding to upgun the Army’s General Dynamics-built Stryker armored vehicle has grown 350 percent in three weeks.  The article lists reasons for this budget increase as fear of Russia and the situation in the Ukraine as well as lobbying from General Dynamics.  In mid-May, the House approved a $79.5 million addition to the administration’s budget request. Yesterday, the Senate, not to be outdone, voted $371 million — four and a half times more. The House Appropriations Committee has actually approved $411 million on Tuesday, but that hasn’t passed the full chamber yet. The upgrade in question is called the Medium Caliber Remote Weapons Station (MCRWS), a remotely controlled turret containing a 30mm quick-firing cannon. Containing only the gun and ammo, the system takes up less room than a manned turret, so the Stryker can still carry the same number of troops, which was a critical consideration for the Army.

Full article available here.

Strykers possibly to be upgunned to 30mm

photo-5Breaking Defense has posted an article stating that the 2nd Cavalry Regiment in Europe wants 81 of its eight-wheel-drive Stryker infantry carrier vehicles fitted with 30 millimeter automatic cannons.  The article notes that the 2nd Cavalry wants the weapons because it’s the Army’s frontline force in Europe. There are only two US combat brigades still based on the continent, the 2nd Cav in Vilseck, Germany and the 173rd Airborne in Vicenza, Italy, a light infantry formation with very few vehicles of any kind and nothing as heavy as a Stryker.  Since Russia seized Crimea, both the 2nd Cavalry and the 173rd Airborne have deployed to the Baltic States. Currently the Stryker is armed with a .50 caliber heavy machine gun.  The Defense Department has been reportedly testing the 30mm “medium caliber remote weapons station” developed by Kongsberg Protech Systems and General Dynamics Land Systems since 2013.

Read the full article from Breaking Defense here.