Defense Issues

Military and general security

Archive for April, 2018

The return of a light tank

Posted by Picard578 on April 25, 2018

Adapted from https://hrvatski-vojnik.hr/menu-2018-godina/item/4067-povratak-lakog-tenka.html

US Army is seeking a new light tank. Mobile Protected Firepower (MPF) is a new vehicle which will significantly strenghten US Army infantry brigades. The vehicle will be component part of Infantry Brigade Combat Team, and will provide direct fire support. Tank will be used in conditions where distance, terrain or time constraints prevent deployment of heavy armour, essentially fulfilling the role of Stryker MGS.

Light tank will provide infantry with ability to counter enemy armour, fortifications, and to provide freedom of maneuver. Previous concept of light tank, M551 Sheridan, was a failure because of a low-pressure gun intended to fire guided missiles, which turned out too unreliable.

New tank has to be air mobile, with at least C-17 and if possible C-130 being able to carry it. As such, it has to have mass of no more than 32 tonnes. Main armament will be gun of either 105 or 120 mm calibre, capable of destroying armoured vehicles from motion, in all weather conditions. MPF must also be able to traverse obstacles, particularly in urban terrain; as such vehicle will be tracked. Vehicles within ICBT have to be able to operate for 24 hours without refuelling, and armour has to protect against small arms fire and shrapnel. As there are no existing vehicles fulfilling the requirements, new vehicle will have to be developed.

After prototypes are tested, two final choices will enter EMD (Engineering and Manufacturing Development). Each manufacturer will deliver 12 preserial production vehicles, and production should begin in 2022. Production is planned at 26 vehicles in 2022., 28 in 2023., and 50 vehicles per year from 2024. to 2032. First operational unit should receive MPFs in 2025. Price should not be above 6,4 million USD per vehicle.

Candidates are BAE Systems, General Dynamics Land Systems (GDLS) and Science Applications International Corp. (SAIC). BAE Systems is going forward with modernized M8 AGS. Basic vehicle has aluminum armour and, with combat weight of 19,5 tonnes, could be parachute-deployed from aircraft, and 3 to 4 can fit into C-17. Level 2 protection against light cannons mass is 23 tonnes, and with protection against calibres up to 30 mm mass is 25,5 tonnes. General Dynamics will likely base vehicle on Griffin demonstrator, with 120 mm gun and ASCOD / Ajax chassis. SAIC vehicle is based on chassis from Singaporean NGAFV IFV and turret from Belgian CMI Defence company. NGAFV in IFV variant has mass of 29 tonnes, and remotely controlled turret with 30 mm Bushmaster cannon and 7,62 mm coaxial machine gun. Crew is 3 plus 8 infantry, with 70 kph top speed, 24,5 HP/t. MPF would have 105 mm turret Cockerill 3105 with protection up to STANAG 5 level. NGAFV with Cockerill turret would weight 32,5 tonnes.

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Croatia Buys F-16 Barak

Posted by Picard578 on April 6, 2018

Adapted from Hrvatski Vojnik, 30.3.2018. I hope I didn’t screw up translation too much.
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In a session of 29.3.2018., Croatian Government had made a decision about replacement of antique MiG-21 fighters with new multirole aircraft. Aircraft chosen is Israeli F-16C/D Block 30 Barak.
Croatian Air Force played important role in Homeland War. It used MiG-21 fighters for air superiority and precision strikes against enemy C4ISR elements, while Mi-24 helicopters provided close air support and troop transport. In current conditions, main focus of Croatian Air Force is air policing, maintaining Croatian sovereignity in the air. But current MiG-21 fighter jets are old, worn out and technologically limited. They will have to be withdrawn from use by 2024. at the latest, unless we are to hang them from helium baloons to keep them in the air – only four are flight-capable right now. Yet Croatian politicians delayed the decision about procurement of new fighter jet for full 15 years, until 2017.
On 20.5.2017., Croatian Ministry of Defense sent a Request for Proposal to five coutries: Greece (F-16), Israel (F-16), South Korea (FA-50), Sweden (JAS-39) and United States (F-16). RfP defined total package for 100 hours of flight per year per aircraft: 12 aircraft (of which 10 single-seaters and 2 two–seaters), flight simulator, personnel training, initial weapons package, spare parts, technical support, support/maintenance tools, adaptation of infrastructure and parts transport. Response deadline was 75 days, and by 3.10.2017., responses were received from Greece, Israel, Sweden and United States. South Korea did not respond due to aircraft’s inability to fulfill requirements.
Main parameters for selection were aircraft capabilities and characteristics, state agreement, price and cooperation package. By November 30, received offers had been evaluated and validated. On December 14., Croatian Parliament gave a green light for procurement of new fighter aircraft. On a Council for Defense session of 27.3.2018. opinion of expert team was accepted that offer from Israel is most favourable, and on 29.3.2018. the Government of Republic of Croatia made a decision on procurement of multirole fighter aircraft. Accepted offer was one of Israel for F-16C/D Block 30 Barak.
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Compared to basic F-16C/D models, Barak has improved avionics, self-defense systems, radar and advanced Israeli weapons such as Python 4 and 5 Air-to-Air missiles. It has wide assortment of air-to-air and air-to-ground weapons, including IR and RF missiles for air-to-air as well as unguided, GPS and laser guided bombs, unguided, laser and TV guided rockets and cruise missiles. Payment will start in 2020., when first aircraft will arrive. However, United States have placed restrictions on some of the equipment of F-16 Barak, so aircraft received will be substandard for the type. Before arrival, fighters will undergo life extension programme, giving them additional 3.000 hours per airframe.

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