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17 November

UK estimates indicate Russia has lost 15% of its tanks

A Ukrainian military press officer looks at a destroyed Russian tank in Novodarivka village, Zaporizhzhia Region. Credit: Photo by Ukrinform/NurPhoto via Getty Images

The UK Ministry of Defence has estimated the Russian invasion of Ukraine to have cost Moscow more than 2,400 main battle tanks (MBTs) – equivalent to around 15% of its pre-war inventory.

According to GlobalData, Russia’s land inventory prior to its invasion of Ukraine indicate a potential fleet of 16,970 tanks, comprised of 550 1990s era T-90s, 3,450 T-80s and 8,950 T-72s from the 1970s, with a further 2,000 T-64s and 2,400 T-62s, originating from the 1960s.

Of the new T-14 Armata MBTs, Russia was thought to hold around 20 in its order of battle.

As a percentage, Russia’s supposed 2,475 MBTs destroyed in Ukraine constitute around 15% of its pre-war inventory. However, a greater proportion of the losses will be from the more advanced T-90s, T-80s, and T-72s, with a significant amount of backfilling being done through the use of Soviet-era equipment.

GlobalData research in December 2022 calculated that Russia’s equipment loss in the first ten months of the war in Ukraine had cost Moscow more materiel than was seen in both Chechen wars combined.

1 December

Hanwha to offer KSS III submarines to Poland

South Korean naval defence prime Hanwha Ocean will offer the KSS III conventionally powered diesel-electric submarine (SSK) for Poland’s long-running Orka programme, which will see the acquisition of a new fleet of SSKs for its navy.

The Orka programme, first launched in 2014, was reconfigured in May this year as new requirements were outlined for industry, which had already put forward platforms such as Sweden’s A26 Blekinge class, the German Type 212CD, and the French Scorpene SSK.

Poland currently operates a single 1980s Russian-origin Kilo-class SSK and is likely planning to acquire up to four new submarines under the Orka programme. 

The move from Hanwha Ocean, formerly known as Daewoo Shipbuilding and Marine Engineering, could extend the country’s burgeoning defence relationship with Poland, which already includes the provision of K9 155mm howitzers, K239 Chunmoo multiple launch rocket systems, and K2 main battle tanks on land, and KA-50 light attack fighters in the air domain. 

29 November

Boeing secures $2.3bn contract for 15 additional KC-46A tankers

US aerospace company Boeing has clinched a $2.3bn deal for the production of 15 additional KC-46A Pegasus tankers, which will be operated by the US Air Force.

The award, falling under Lot 10 of the ongoing project, marks a milestone in bringing the total number of KC-46A aerial refuelers on contract globally to 153.

In February 2011, the USAF selected the tanker as the winner in the KC-X tanker competition to replace older Boeing KC-135 Stratotankers. The KC-46As are manufactured on the existing 767 production lines and are then militarised at the Everett Modification Center, according to GlobalData research.

To date, Boeing has delivered 76 KC-46As to the US Air Force and two to the Japan Air Self-Defense Force.

Earlier this year, the US Air Force recognised the KC-46A’s potential by awarding Boeing a Block 1 upgrade contract. This upgrade enhances the aircraft’s communications capabilities, improving data connectivity and situational awareness. 

14 November

MBDA plans full-scale production of Enforcer before end of 2023

Senior officials from MBDA Germany have confirmed that the Enforcer missile system is due to enter full-scale production for the Bundeswehr before the end of the year.

Initially, the Bundeswehr awarded the company a contract for the acquisition for some of these fire-and-forget missile systems in December 2019 to fulfil the procurement agency’s requirement for a lightweight, precision-guided, shoulder-launched weapon system with an effective range of more than 1,800m.

Currently, the Enforcer operates within the first capability field – meaning that the system is primarily used as an anti-drone missile system.

Now that the programme is due to enter full-scale production, the milestone also marks the company’s plans to set-up an Enforcer family of systems by adapting the weapon to meet air and sea applications as well as land.

As part of its adaption approach, MBDA confirmed that it has successfully completed flight tests for an air-launched version but have yet to develop the product. 

21 November

Type 31 programme dispute resolution process paused

A dispute resolution process (DRP) between Babcock and the UK Ministry of Defence (MoD) on the profitability of the Royal Navy’s Type 31 frigate procurement has been paused, with the company seeking to determine the programme’s actual construction cost.

Providing its half-year results for 2023 on 14 November, Babcock revealed the DRP with the UK MoD on the Type 31 programme had been paused “following customer discussions”, with both parties “working towards a collaborative solution”.

In April this year, Babcock initiated a DRP with the UK MoD to determine liability for increased costs being sustained on the Type 31 frigate programme, with up to £100m ($125m) in additional funds needed.

Earlier, providing a 2023 financial year and Type 31 update on 20 April, Babcock said it recognised more than £600m in revenue on the programme, which remained on schedule and due to conclude in 2028.

However, the programme’s production plan was described at the time as “demanding”, and had seen an increase in actual and projected costs.