By David Oliver
A DVD is a key event for all those involved in UK Land Forces equipment and support. The well-established two-day event was held on 7 – 8 September at Millbrook Proving Ground jointly sponsored by Army Headquarters and the Defence Equipment & Support (Land Equipment) organisation – the section of the MOD responsible for equipping and supporting the UK’s Armed Forces for current and future operations.
The defence vehicle demonstrations are an important event enabling this coordinated engagement through informal discussion, briefings, demonstrations and displays. Other stakeholders from across the MOD are also welcome to attend to broaden perspectives and encourage innovation. More than 200 exhibitors attended the event this year.
The aim of the DVD 2016 is to showcase the equipment and technology that can support a British Army which is fit to meet future challenges and embraces the need for continuous adaptation.
All the main competitors for two upcoming high value programmes, the British Army’s 8 x 8 Mechanised Infantry Vehicle (MIV) requirement, and the Challenger 2 main battle tank (MBT) life extension programme (LEP), were showing their capabilities at DVD 2016.
They included BAE Systems, General Dynamics UK (GDUK), CMI Defence, Krauss Maffei Wegman (KMW), Lockheed Martin, Nexter, Rheinmetall, and RUAG.
MIV will be an off-the-shelf vehicle procurement equipped with some UK sourced sub-systems such as remote weapon station, communications, and a battle management system.
Among the MIV contenders that were demonstrated at DVD 2016 was the French Nexter VBCI which, following the Lancaster house agreement between the United Kingdom and France, Nexter modified the latest version of the VBCI-2 to enable the removal of the engine in the field which is a British Army requirement but not a French one. British Army troops have also trained on the VBCI in France. Nexter was also promoting its wheeled self-propelled 155mm gun CAESAR that it is proposing as a solution for the British Army’s future strike brigade.
The Finnish Patria Armoured Modular Vehicle (AMV) with a Lockheed Martin turret for the 40mm Case Telescope Armament (CTA) system developed by BAE Systems and Nexter for the Warrior IFV Capability Sustainment Programme, and the latest AMV XP variant with a Kongsberg Protector remote weapons system (RWS), were both on display.
General Dynamics UK (GDUK) is offering the Piranha 5 for the MIF programme which is being developed with Mowag of Switzerland, part of the General Dynamics European Land Combat Systems group. The manufacture of the first Piranha V prototype was completed by the end of 2008. General Dynamics Land Systems also showed the latest version of its Light Armoured Vehicle (LAV).
Another MIV contender may be the ARTEC 8 x 8 Boxer APC which is in service with the German and Netherlands Armies. Singapore Technologies Kinetics Terrex 3 made its European debut at DVD 2016, which a development of the version downselected for the US Marine Corps Amphibious Combat Vehicle (ACV) 1.1 programme and Australia’s Land 400 Phase 2 programme. The Terrex 3 is a heavier variant with a higher payload and enhanced protection.
Among the companies bidding for the £624 million Challenger 2 LEP to increase the British Army’s 227 MBTs service life until 2035 are BAE Systems, the Challenger 2’s manufacturer, partnered with GDUK, Ricardo UK partnered with CMI Defence, Krauss Maffei Wegman (KMW), Lockheed Martin partnered with Elbit Systems, Rheinmetall with Supercat, Thales UK and BMT, and RUAG.
Although the Challenger 2 LEP is limited to upgrading its armour protection, thermal imaging, commander’s primary sight, fire and gun-control systems, the BAE Systems bid consortium comprises Leonardo-Finmeccanica, Moog and Safran Electronics as well as GDUK.
Rheinmetall Land Systems displayed its MBT Advanced Technology Demonstrator at DVD 2016 which features a digital sensor turret core system and commander’s periscope and a command and control system with fully integrated battle management and fire control systems using augmented reality and database technology.
Ricardo UK, which has been involved in the creation of the first battle tanks used by the British Army in World War One, has teamed up with Cockerill Maintenance & Ingeniere (CMI) Defence, a Belgium-based technological leader in multifunctional, high-effect weapon systems for armoured vehicles.
RUAG Defence of Switzerland proposes to team up with several UK-based industrial partners and at DVD 2016 the company was showcasing its fully digital MBT turret that combines the latest digital components with proven MBT technology to structure a formidable and reliable system. The open architecture ond OEM independent nature of the turret ensures that the user is optimally prepared for their mission and supports sustainable through-life integrated logistics support.