US green-lights Finland’s MLRS upgrade
The M270 Multiple Launch Rocket System (MLRS). Credit: Staff Sgt Charles Butler/South Dakota National Guard Public Affairs/commons.wikimedia.org.
The US State Department has given its official approval for a potential Foreign Military Sale to the Government of Finland for a M270A2 Multiple Launch Rocket System (MLRS) upgrade, along with associated equipment in a deal worth $395m (€363m).
This decision will improve Finland’s military capabilities, upgrading a system that has proven been to be highly effective in recent conflicts, most recently where the M270 MLRS has been deployed in Ukraine, providing high-precision shoot-and-scoot volleys of rocket munitions.
These upgrades will make the M270A2 compatible with future munitions, such as the Extended-Range GMLRS and Precision Strike Missile (PrSM).
In October 2022, Finland became the first customer of the Extended-Range GMLRS, a missile designed to offer a choice of munitions with reliability and precision at longer ranges, demonstrated effectively at a distance of 135km, with claims from manufacturer Lockheed Martin to be able to reach targets at up to 150km distance.
The M270A2 MLRS can be used to strike enemy artillery, air defence concentrations, trucks, light armour and personnel carriers at range.
France welcomes arrival of second Suffren-class submarine
France’s naval capabilities have taken a step forward as the Directorate General of Armament (DGA) welcomed the Duguay-Trouin, the second of six Suffren-class nuclear attack submarines (SSNs) developed in the Barracuda programme.
With the delivery of this submarine, France continues to enhance its maritime capabilities and solidify its position as a major global naval force.
Russia, France, and the UK are the only three countries in Europe that are acquiring nuclear-powered attack submarines as replacements for existing SSNs now in service.
In a late-July release, the DGA confirmed the reception of the Duguay-Trouin, marking a significant moment in France’s naval modernisation efforts. This achievement comes after sea trials and testing conducted over several months, ensuring the functioning of the submarine’s systems and equipment.
According to GlobalData’s “France Defense Market 2023-2028” report, the French Government ordered six new Suffren-class SSN vessels from Naval Group for a total programme cost of €10.4bn ($12.4bn).
L3Harris and Team Lynx secure contract for US Army’s next-gen combat vehicle
L3Harris Technologies and its Team Lynx partners, led by American Rheinmetall Vehicles, have been awarded a contract to design and prototype the XM30 Mechanised Infantry Combat Vehicle, the centrepiece of the Optionally Manned Fighting Vehicle (OMFV) programme.
The Lynx team, comprising defence industry players such as Textron Systems, Raytheon (RTX), Allison Transmission, and Anduril Industries, will work together to deliver technology to enhance mobility, lethality, and safety for the programme.
The contracts awarded to the two groups are valued at over $700m, with the final agreement anticipated to be sealed in 2027.
Part of the Next Generation Combat Vehicle initiative replacing the M2 Bradley, the XM30 is the first ground combat vehicle for the US Army design using digital engineering tools and techniques, intended to reduce overall platform lifecycle costs.
Previous efforts to develop an M2 replacement failed to produce viable results and were cancelled in the face of increasing costs, with the latest OMFV effort taking steps to streamline the process.
USS Wichita gets new engine after just four years’ service
The US Navy’s Freedom-class Littoral Combat Ship (LCS) USS Wichita (LCS13) appears to have been saved from the chopping block as it prepares to undergo a main engine replacement just four years after being commissioned into service, having previously been recommended for removal from the active fleet.
In a contract announcement from the US Department of Defense, Lockheed Martin Rotary and Missions Systems was awarded a not-to-exceed $8.9m modification to a previously awarded contract to support the main propulsion diesel engine replacement of the USS Wichita. The programme of work will be performed in Mayport, Florida, and is expected to be completed by December 2023.
The 2022 action plan by the US Navy proposed USS Wichita to be one of nine Freedom-class LCS’ to be decommissioned in 2023, alongside USS Forth Worth, USS Milwaukee, USS Detroit, USS Little Rock, USS Sioux City, USS Billings, USS Indianapolis and USS St Louis. Based out of Naval Station Mayport, USS Wichita is assigned to Naval Surface Force Atlantic (SURFLANT).
Poland buys hundreds of military land vehicles from PGZ
The Polish Armaments Agency has acquired a wide range of military land vehicles under three contracts with companies that are part of the country’s military consortium Polska Grupa Zbrojeniowa (PGZ).
PGZ company Rosomak has agreed to supply 400 Light Reconnaissance Vehicles in a 4×4 chassis for the Polish Armed Forces. This first contract will cost 1.2bn zlotys ($292.9m) and scheduled for delivery between 2024-2030.
The second framework contract will see Huta Stalowa Wola deliver several hundred heavy infantry fighting vehicles (IFVs) in various configurations, including the use of the domestic ZSSW uncrewed turret. In addition to the vehicles themselves, the supplier will also provide logistics and training equipment.
Another framework contract signed by PGZ concerns development works on a new Wheeled Armoured Personnel Carrier (NKTO) with a Remotely Controlled Armament Module (ZSMU). In the event of a positive completion of the development works, the contract offers an optional order for nearly a thousand NKTO units equipped with ZSMU in the years 2028-2035.