Hanwha Defense in talks with UK suppliers to offer K9 Howitzer

Hanwha Defense is engaged in talks with UK partners as it prepares to participate in the UK’s Mobile Fires Platform (MFP) programme.

Hanwha Defense is engaged in talks with UK partners as it prepares to participate in the UK’s Mobile Fires Platform (MFP) programme.

The company has proposed an advanced version of its K9 self-propelled howitzer for the British Army to help enhance its artillery capabilities. The discussions with UK suppliers are intended to arrange a ‘Made in the UK’ K9 variant.

The UK K9 version will be equipped with advanced technologies, such as an unmanned turret, mine protection kits and composite rubber tracks.

The K9 Thunder is a 155mm / 52 calibre self-propelled howitzer developed by Samsung Techwin, which was acquired by Hanwha in 2017.

Hanwha Defense is already in talks with Lockheed Martin UK, Pearson Engineering, Horstman Defence Systems and Soucy Defense, alongside other UK defence industry partners.

Hanwha Defense International vice-president Oh Kyea hwan said: “Building on the developing relationship between the UK and South Korea we are delighted to invite the UK to join the K9 global family.

“By working together with nations around the world Hanwha is able to offer a cost effective and modular approach. Ultimately this makes us all more resilient and allows us to integrate more easily when it matters most. We are looking forward to engaging with the UK Mobile Fires Platform team to explore how we can bring the maximum amount of industrial benefit to the UK.”

The newest version of K9 is known as the ‘K9A2’. Currently, tests and other evaluations are being paced up to increase the key capabilities of the artillery.

Hanwha Defense stated that the request for proposal (RFP) for MFP is due to be released next year.

The company will confirm its team for this programme at Defence and Security Equipment International (DSEI) and other shows.


Rheinmetall begins production of UK’s Boxer MIVs

Welding work began on 7 June at Rheinmetall’s Kassel plant for the production of the UK’s first prototype Boxer Mechanised Infantry Vehicles (MIV). Series production of the vehicles will begin in Germany before transitioning the bulk of production work to the UK in 2023.

The prototype vehicles will include content made by UK suppliers, including the remotely-controlled weapons station, generic vehicle architecture components, situational awareness and vehicle emergency lighting systems.

Future vehicles will be produced in the UK by WFEL – a subsidiary of Krauss-Maffei Wegmann (KMW) – at its Stockport plant and Rheinmetall BAE Systems Land (RBSL) – a consortium of Rheinmetall and BAE Systems – at its Telford facility.

Rheinmetall’s plant in Kassel is actively transferring production knowledge, including welding expertise, to UK colleagues.

The UK has ordered over 500 Boxer MIVs across four variants, including an infantry carrying vehicle, command and control variant, field ambulance and specialist carrier. Deliveries to the British Army are slated to begin before the end of 2022.


USSOCOM selects MAG MC-208 for Armed Overwatch

US Special Operations Command (USSOCOM) has selected MAG Aerospace’s proposed MC-208 Guardian fighter for its Armed Overwatch programme.

The production-ready solution will join the other four prototypes selected by the command for the programme. They are Leidos’ Bronco II, Textron Aviation Defense’s AT-6E Wolverine, L-3 Communications Integrated Systems’ AT-802U Sky Warden and Sierra Nevada Corporation’s MC-145B Wily Coyote.

In May last year, Leidos, Paramount Group and Vertex Aerospace partnered for the Armed Overwatch programme.

The USSOCOM’s Armed Overwatch aircraft programme seeks to provide manned aircraft systems that will be capable of meeting close air support (CAS), precision strike, and intelligence, surveillance and reconnaissance (ISR) needs.

The five awardees will demonstrate their prototype systems that will be assessed against defined criteria. The demonstration will take place at Eglin Air Force Base, Florida, US, and is expected to be completed by March 2022.


US 6th Fleet-led Exercise At Sea Demo/Formidable Shield concludes

The US Sixth Fleet-led live-fire integrated air and missile defence (IAMD) exercise, At Sea Demo/Formidable Shield 2021 (ASD/FS21), has successfully concluded.

Belgium, Denmark, France, Germany, Italy, the Netherlands, Norway, Spain, the UK, and the US participated in the exercise.

Conducted by Naval Striking and Support Forces Nato (STRIKFORNATO), the exercise was held at the Hebrides range off Scotland and the Andoya training site off Norway.

STRIKFORNATO deputy commander and Royal Navy rear admiral James Morley said: “It has been a privilege to lead the team here in Portugal responsible for the planning and conduct of At-Sea Demonstration / Formidable Shield 21, one of the most complex and intensive integrated Air and Missile Defense events ever undertaken in the European theatre.


Luxembourg considering joining French Scorpion programme

Luxembourg has budgeted a maximum of €367m (£315m) to cover the cost of the vehicles, weapons and communication subsystems, as well as logistical support to cover an estimated 15 to 20-year service life.

A document released by the country’s defence ministry highlighted neighbouring France’s Scorpion programme as a potential solution to the requirement and would see Luxembourg follow in the footsteps of another neighbour Belgium which has also bought into the Scorpion programme.

The acquisition programme is being supported by NATO’s Support and Procurement Agency based in Capellen, Luxembourg.

The country currently operates US-made Humvees and German Dingo 2s. The Humvees have been in service since 1996, and the vehicles armour package is seen as not suitable for protection against explosive devices used in operating environments like Mali.

The Humvees unprotected gunner station is also a point of concern, and the vehicles are seen as obsolete.

The Dingo 2 has been in service since 2010 and is generally seen as protected enough to operate in areas like Mali and Afghanistan; however, its remote weapons station is seen as obsolete.


Saab to integrate Varjo XR-3 headsets into all Gripen E/F simulators

Saab and Finnish virtual reality (VR) technology provider Varjo Technologies have partnered to integrate XR-3 headsets into all Gripen E/F fighter simulators.

Varjo has developed a human eye resolution mixed reality (XR) technology that recreates the precise feeling and conditions of real life.

The XR-3 headset features 12-megapixel, low-latency video pass-through technology, human-eye resolution Bionic Display, pixel-perfect depth awareness, integrated eye tracking (200 Hz) and built-in Ultraleap (v5) hand tracking and inside-out tracking (beta).

It offers the industry’s highest resolution of 70ppd and widest field of view of 115°.

Saab Tactical Environment Simulation and Visualisation head Stefan Furenbäck said: “When we did our first experiments with commercial devices, we received feedback from the pilots that they were unable to read text in virtual reality because the resolution was not sufficiently high. This was not a problem with Varjo’s technology.”


US Navy awards contract to General Dynamics to retrofit Knifefish UUVs

The US Navy has awarded a contract worth $72.8m to General Dynamics Mission Systems to retrofit five of the Block 0 Knifefish surface mine countermeasure unmanned underwater vehicle systems.

These systems consist of ten Knifefish vehicles. General Dynamics Mission Systems serves as prime contractor for the Knifefish programme.

Bombardier’s Learjet wins USAF contract for up to six Global 6000 aircraft

The US Air Force’s (USAF) Hanscom Air Force Base team has awarded a $464.8m contract to Bombardier’s Specialized Aircraft Division US subsidiary Learjet. The indefinite-delivery, indefinite-quantity contract has been awarded in support of the Battlefield Airborne Communications Node programme.

The contract comes with an immediate firm order for one Global 6000 aircraft and funds for five additional Global 6000 aircraft. The contract has a delivery period of five years.

Oshkosh to equip Double V Hull Stryker vehicles with 30mm MCWS

Oshkosh Defense has won a contract to equip the US Army’s Stryker Double V Hull Infantry Carrier Vehicle (ICVVA1) with its 30mm medium calibre weapons systems (MCWS).

The $942.9m contract has been awarded by US Army Contracting Command – Detroit Arsenal. The 30mm gun is based on Rafael’s SAMSON family of turrets.

Elbit Systems wins contracts to supply SPECTRO XR EO system

Elbit Systems has secured a contract worth approximately $80m from an undisclosed Asia-Pacific country for the supply of SPECTRO XR multi-spectral long range electro-optic (EO) system for maritime forces. Valid for over a period of four years, the contract was awarded following competitive technical evaluation.

The SPECTRO XR EO system will be integrated onboard a variety of maritime platforms. The system offers enhanced intelligence, surveillance, target acquisition and reconnaissance capabilities to naval, air and land forces, both during day and night and under low visibility conditions, such as fog, humidity, smoke, haze and dust.

UltraCell contracted to advance wearable fuel cell for US Army integration

Advent Technologies subsidiary UltraCell has been awarded a contract to advance its 50W Reformed Methanol Wearable Fuel Cell Power System (Honey Badger) for US Army integration.

The US Army DEVCOM C5ISR Center signed the contract with the company. It is being funded via the Project Manager Integrated Visual Augmentation System.

The US Department of Defense contract is focused on obtaining the complete military standard certification. It also allows to reach a confirmation on integrated filtration for Cleaning Compound, Windshield NSN 9850-00-926-2275. This will enable ‘logistically sound materials’ to be used as the main source of fuel.

USSOCOM contracts Palantir for enterprise data management software

The United States Special Operations Command (USSOCOM) has selected software company Palantir Technologies to continue work as its enterprise data management and AI-enabled mission command artificial intelligence platform.

The contract falls under the Mission Command System/Common Operational Picture programme.

It is valued at about $111m and includes a base year and one option year, with $52.5m executed upon award of the task order. 

The software company’s platform has been used by USSOCOM in real-time mission operations.


US Navy plans to use UAS for cargo transport

The US Navy is assessing the feasibility of using uncrewed aerial systems (UAS) for cargo transport between vessels or from ship to shore. The Naval Air Warfare Center Aircraft Division has acquired a logistics UAS prototype to demonstrate the transfer of cargo over long ranges. The vehicle will be tested and upgraded for military sealift requirements.

Naval Group delivers first Suffren-class submarine to French Navy 

French shipbuilder Naval Group has delivered the first of six Suffren-class nuclear attack submarines for the French Navy. This delivery marks an important milestone in the Barracuda programme, which upgrades the submarine component of France's nuclear deterrent.

Iran unveils domestic ballistic missile launcher

Iran’s Islamic Revolution Guards Corps has reportedly unveiled a domestically built ballistic missile launching system. Tasnim news agency reported that the air force manufactured thdine automated system, which is used for launching long-range ballistic missiles.


Australian Navy tests robots for counter-disaster operation

The Royal Australian Navy has tested robots in a simulated counter-disaster operation. As part of exercise Autonomous Warrior Genesis, the navy tested uncrewed land, air and sea vehicles in response to a simulated humanitarian relief scenario.

US and Japan complete exercise Keen Sword 21 

US Indo-Pacific Command units and the Japan Self-Defense Force have completed exercise Keen Sword 21, a joint-bilateral field training exercise in Japan. It involved maritime and air operations, amphibious landings, missile defence exercises, resupply, cyber and space operations.

Royal Air Force concludes Exercise Crimson Warrior 

The Royal Air Force has concluded Exercise Crimson Warrior, a three-week training operation involving fast jets, helicopters and unmanned air systems with involvement from the British Army, US Air Force and US Marines. Exercise Crimson Warrior has been adapted from Cobra Warrior with missiodinns being added to support the F-35B and helicopters that form part of the Carrier Strike Group Air Wing.

In brief

Fabri-Kal launches Recycleware Containers to expand sustainability

Food packaging solutions provider Fabri-Kal has expanded its sustainable product offerings with the launch of its new Recycleware Containers. Manufactured in the US, the products contain a minimum of 20-50% post-consumer recycled PET material and are recyclable.

Burger King and TerraCycle’s Loop to pilot new reusable packaging 

Fast-food chain Burger King has partnered with TerraCycle’s circular packaging service, Loop, to pilot new reusable packaging. The partnership is part of the brand’s Restaurant Brands for Good framework to help reduce packaging waste.

Stora Enso launches take-away bowls for food service packaging 

Pulp and paper manufacturer Stora Enso has partnered with wholesale company Tingstad to market its new food service take-away bowls, PureFiber. The packaging is designed to replace plastic on-the-go food packaging. It is free from plastic and PFAS.

H&M presents new Looop garment-to-garment recycling system

Swedish clothing-retail company H&M is introducing a garment-to-garment recycling system that helps transform old textiles into new ones. Known as Looop, the container-sized machine promotes circularity in fashion and keeps unwanted garments from turning into waste.