Latest News

12 April

Royal Navy ships to fit DragonFire laser weapon system soon

Photograph of the DragonFire laser weapon system. Credit: QinetiQ

Following the successful demonstration of the UK’s new DragonFire laser directed energy weapon system earlier this year, the Ministry of Defence (MoD) announced that the programme will accelerate to be installed on Royal Navy (RN) ships.

The next stages of this development will include further live firings and the manufacture and installation of weapon systems onto RN platforms.

DragonFire was manufactured by a trilateral industrial partnership of Britain’s foremost defence suppliers: MBDA UK, Leonardo UK and QinetiQ.

“The specifics of which ships and where onboard is being worked on. However, investment will see LDEW capability across multiple vessels,” an MoD spokesperson told Global Defence Technology.

“Significant re-design is not anticipated – the system will have minimal integration to allow for rapid deployment,” the spokesperson added. “The location requires careful assessment and will depend on the platform type, which has yet to be confirmed.”

The first successful demonstration took place at the MoD’s Hebrides range off the north-west coast of Scotland in January, a significant milestone since the programme’s start in 2017.

25 March

BAE Systems to bolster Danish military with CV90 fleet upgrade

Denmark’s Ministry of Defence Acquisition and Logistics Organisation has signed a contract with BAE Systems for the mid-life upgrade of the Danish CV90 fleet.

With the agreement solidified, BAE Systems is poised to integrate the latest D-series turret into the Danish CV90 infantry fighting vehicles, improving their design and functionality.

Denmark has unveiled plans to allocate $5.9bn (DKr40.6bn) to key military capabilities from 2024 to 2029. This initiative includes strengthening the Danish Army’s 1st Brigade and upgrading main battle tanks and infantry fighting vehicles.

In March 2024, BAE Systems secured a 15-year support deal with the Danish Ministry of Defence Acquisition and Logistics Organisation worth approximately $400m to provide repair and maintenance services for Denmark’s 44 CV90 infantry fighting vehicles fleet.

This move is part of a broader European effort to bolster military readiness in response to Russia’s ongoing conflict in Ukraine. Denmark pledging DKr1.8bn ($27m) to procure CV90s for Ukraine, in collaboration with Sweden, in December 2023. 

1 March

Lockheed Martin hands over new Slovakian F-16 Block 70 fighters

US defence prime Lockheed Martin handed over the first two F-16 Block 70 multirole fighters to Slovakia at a ceremony at its Greenville facility on 29 February 2024, with the aircraft set to remain in the US for maintenance training.

The ceremonial delivery of the aircraft, a single-seat C-model and a two-seat D-model, is a significant milestone in the planned acquisition of 14 F-16 fighters, with the first group of aircraft anticipated to arrive in Slovakia by mid-2024. Additional aircraft are scheduled for completion in 2025.

The replacement of the Air Force’s MiG-29s with Lockheed Martin F-16 Block 70 fighters makes military-fixed wing Slovakia’s second largest defence procurement sector, according to GlobalData’s intelligence on the Slovakian defence market.

The F-16 Block 70 jets are equipped with the Northrop Grumman APG-83 AESA radar, improved avionics, an extended structural service life of 12,000 hours, and among others.

Lockheed Martin has a backlog of 133 F-16 Block 70/72 jets to be produced in Greenville, with seven total jets delivered to-date for international customers.

8 April

GDLS awarded five-year US Army Stryker support package

General Dynamics Land Systems has been awarded a $518.8m cost-plus-fixed-fee contract for Stryker system technical support from the US Army’s Contracting Command, with an estimated completion date of 31 March 2029.

The Stryker 8×8 armoured combat vehicle (ACV) is one of the US Army’s central armoured mobility capabilities, with more than 2,400 units delivered by General Dynamics between 2005-2021, according to GlobalData.

The Stryker is also undergoing a lethality upgrade programme to provide increased firepower on the battlefield.

However, in mid-March, a US Government Accountability Office (GAO) report stated the US Army’s bid to upgrade the firepower of its Stryker 8×8 combat vehicle in response to increased competition from Russia resulted in hardware and software issues impacting the platform.

Published on 20 March, the GAO report stated that as the US Army sought to upgrade its existing Stryker vehicles with more firepower, it did so without “fully analysing and addressing potential production risks”, resulting in issues arising during the programme.

18 March

Naval Group to supply Barracuda-class submarines to the Netherlands

The Netherlands has awarded Naval Group the contract to build four new submarines that will succeed the Walrus-class vessel in the Replacement Netherlands Submarine Capability project.

The names of the new submarines are HNLMS Orka, HNLMS Zwaardvis, HNLMS Barracuda, and HNLMS Tijgerhaai.

The Barracuda family of submarines are used in missions that include anti-surface and fast deep anti-submarine warfare, land attack using stealthy long-range cruise missiles, surveillance and intelligence gathering, crisis management and special operations.

The new Barracuda-class submarines will offer considerable improvements for the capabilities of the Royal Netherlands Navy, offering the combination of a vessel that is small enough to operate in shallow waters, while still being large enough to operate independently in distant waters for extended periods of time.

For this combination of qualities, stated the Netherlands Ministry of Defence, the submarine is highly regarded by Nato, with Naval Group separately also highlighting the strategic autonomy requirement as a key factor within the project.