UK MOD signs Challenger 3 contract with RBSL

The UK Ministry of Defence (MOD) has awarded Rheinmetall BAE Systems Land (RBSL) an £800m contract to upgrade 148 Challenger 3 main battle tanks.

Work on the programme to upgrade the tanks will begin this year, with Challenger 3 having an expected in-service date of 2027. Full operating capability for Challenger 3 is planned for 2030.

The long-awaited upgrade will see the UK’s Challenger 2 tanks equipped with a new 120mm High-Pressure L55A1 smoothbore main gun capable of firing newer rounds and programmable ammunition.

Other upgrades will see the tank fitted with a new upgraded engine the features a new cooling system as well as suspension design to improve fire-on-the-move accuracy.

The Challenger 3 tank will also feature a target detection and tracking system and fitted with new long-range cameras as part of a day/night imaging system. The upgrades will cost roughly £5.4m per tank.

Commenting on the announcement, Defence Secretary Ben Wallace said: “This represents a huge shift in the modernisation of our land forces through the increased lethality of Challenger 3. This pioneering new technology allows us to deliver immense warfighting capabilities in battlespaces filled with a range of enemy threats.

“The £800m investment will also create hundreds of highly-skilled jobs across the country ensuring our soldiers benefit from the very best of British engineering.”

The MOD says Challenger 3 will be ‘fully digitised’ and able to travel at speeds of up to 60mph. The tank will also feature increased range and be able to carry more ammunition.

The decision to upgrade the tanks was confirmed in the UK’s recently published Defence Command Paper. The MOD has said the tank will be the ‘most lethal’ in Europe.

// Image: Challenger 3 Main Battle Tank. Credit: RBSL


Lockheed Martin delivers first PAC-3 MSE missiles to Sweden

Sweden has received its first Patriot advanced capability-3 (PAC-3) missile segment enhancement (MSE) interceptors.

Delivered by Lockheed Martin last month, the missiles are part of an agreement between Sweden and the US, which covers the supply of combat-proven interceptors and associated equipment.

With the delivery, Sweden joins the few other countries in the world that have selected the most advanced air defence missile.

Featuring hit-to-kill technology, the PAC-3 family of missiles defend against incoming threats, including tactical ballistic missiles, cruise missiles and aircraft. The increased range MSE gives the missile a more powerful rocket motor for added thrust and larger fins for increased manoeuvrability.


US approves potential sale of Aegis combat system to Canada

The US State Department has approved a $1.7bn potential foreign military sale of the Aegis combat system (ACS) to Canada, following a request from Canada to purchase four shipsets of the ACS and related equipment.

The proposed sale will also include one Aegis combat system computer program, four shipsets of AN/SPY-7 solid state radar components, four shipsets of cooperative engagement capability, and three shipsets of the MK 41 vertical launch system.

The Defense Security Cooperation Agency has notified the US Congress about the possible sale.

Lockheed Martin Rotary and Mission Systems will be the primary contractor for the deal. Several other companies are also expected to be associated with the execution of the contract.


USAF B-52 bomber conducts simulated hypersonic kill chain employment

The US Air Force’s (USAF) B-52 Stratofortress bomber has demonstrated a simulated hypersonic kill chain employment.

Carried out during the Northern Edge 21 exercise, the missile strike involved the use of targeting data from sensors positioned more than 1,000nm away.

During the nearly 13-hour sortie from Barksdale Air Force Base to Alaska and back, the B-52 was able to receive target data from sensors through the all-domain operations capability experiment.

Upon receiving the data from the ADOC-E, the B-52 took a simulated shot of the target from 600nm using an AGM-183 air launched rapid response weapon, a long-range hypersonic missile designed by Lockheed Martin for the USAF.

According to the USAF, the missile strike was a successful showcase of beyond line of sight kill chain employment.


Rheinmetall unveils new generation HX3 tactical trucks

Rheinmetall has launched the latest generation of its HX family of heavy-duty tactical trucks for military use, known as HX3.

The trucks are fully redesigned using new technologies and military off-the-shelf products.

They feature autonomous driving capability, can serve as the basis for several artillery systems, and offer improved protection, reliability and mobility, driving comfort, and digital interface architecture.

The HX family of high-mobility logistic trucks is used to carry out tactical and technical missions. It is part of the Rheinmetall MAN military vehicles family.


MOD contracts tpgroup for Project Morpheus

The UK Ministry of Defence (MOD) has awarded a £1.1m contract to digital solutions services provider tpgroup for consulting and digital services in support of the £3.2bn Morpheus programme.

The contract is part of the British Army’s wider Land Environment Tactical Communications and Information Systems Programme, which aims to overhaul the army’s communications and information management systems.

The company has been working in support of the projects since 2016, providing the MOD with guidance on ‘requirements capture’ and helping to match needs with emerging technologies.

Q1 results

Kratos' first quarter revenues up 15% to $194.2m

The company’s quarterly revenues jumped 15% on a year-on-year basis to $194.2m in Q1 2021. The figure was $168.9m in the same quarter a year ago. Operating income in the quarter stood at $4.9m, increasing from $4.7m in the first quarter of 2020. The first quarter of 2021 adjusted EBITDA was up 11% to $18.1m, primarily due to an increase in revenues.

Leidos reports 14.7% growth in first quarter revenue

Leidos Holdings has posted a 14.7% year-over-year jump in quarterly revenue, with total revenue for Q1 standing at $3.32bn. The figure was $2.89bn in Q1 2020. Operating income for the quarter was $308m, a 60.4% jump compared to $192m in Q1 2020. The operating income margin increased from 6.6% to 9.3%.

L3Harris reports 1.3% drop in quarterly revenue in Q1 2021

L3Harris Technologies reported a 1.3% year-on-year drop in revenue in Q1 2021, at $4.57bn compared to $4.63bn in Q1 2020. However, the company’s net income in the quarter jumped 140% from $194m to $466m on a year-on-year basis. Adjusted EBIT was $862m, an increase of 6.7% compared to the previous year.

Northrop Grumman reports 6% increase in first-quarter sales

Northrop Grumman has reported a 6% increase in sales in Q1 2021. The figure increased from $8.6bn to $9.2bn on a year-on-year basis. The company’s first-quarter net earnings increased by 153% from $868m, or $5.15 for each diluted share, in the first quarter of last year, to $2.2bn, or $13.43 for each diluted share. Transaction adjusted net earnings came to $1.08bn in the quarter.

General Dynamics reports 7.3% increase in Q1 revenue

General Dynamics (GD) has recorded a 7.3% increase in revenue for the first quarter of this year, on a year-on-year basis. The company’s revenue in the quarter was $9.4bn, compared to $8.75bn in the same quarter of last year. GD’s net earnings remained largely stable, increasing from $706m in the first quarter of last year to $708m in the first quarter of this year. Order backlog soared by 4.5% from a year-ago quarter to $89.6bn, while company-wide operating margin for the quarter was 10%.

Raytheon Technologies reports first-quarter sales of $15.3bn

Raytheon Technologies has posted sales of $15.3bn and adjusted earnings per share (EPS) of $0.90 for the first quarter of the year. EPS from continuing operations was $0.51, which included $0.39 of net non-recurring or significant items and acquisition accounting adjustments. Free cash flow in the quarter was $336m. The company maintained its backlog of $147.4bn, resumed its share repurchase programme and repurchased $375m of shares.

Leonardo posts strong results in Q1 2021

Leonardo recorded revenues of €2.79bn in Q1 2021, a 7.7% jump from €2.59bn recorded in Q1 2020. EBITA jumped 131.7% from €41m to €95m on a year-on-year basis; net loss declined from €59m in Q1 2020 to €2m in Q1 2021. The total value of new orders in the quarter amounted to €3.4bn, flat compared to the same quarter last year. Leonardo’s backlog fell 1.6% to €36.4bn.

Hensoldt quarterly revenue up 6.2% on strong order intake

Hensoldt has posted a 6.2% increase in quarterly revenue. The company’s revenue stood at €208.8m in Q1 2021, compared to €196.6m in Q1 2020. Total order intake was €546.2m in Q1 2021, compared to €184.6m in Q1 2020. The jump in order intake also increased order backlog to €3.77bn.


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.