May's top stories: Thai military coup, missing Nigerian girls

The Royal Thai Army has taken control of the country in a non-violent coup, the US Government has sent 80 military personnel to assist the search of kidnapped Nigerian girls and Russia has started a partial withdrawal of military personnel from the regions bordering Ukraine. Army-technology.com wraps up the key headlines from May.


tiger

Thai Army declares coup and suspends constitution

The Royal Thai Army has taken control of the country in a non-violent coup and suspended the constitution, as it looks to resolve the long-running political crisis.

The military, which invoked martial law on 20 May, also announced a night-time curfew across the country, and ordered several cabinet ministers, including the ousted Prime Minister Yingluck Shinawatra, to immediately report to the new governing military commission.

Thai Army chief general Prayuth Chan-Ocha said the takeover was needed to reform political, economic and social structures.

US sends armed forces to assist search of kidnapped Nigerian girls

The US Government has sent 80 military personnel to Nigeria, in an effort to find the schoolgirls abducted by terrorist group Boko Haram last month.

In a letter to congressional leaders, US President Barack Obama said: "These personnel will support the operation of intelligence, surveillance and reconnaissance aircraft for missions over northern Nigeria and the surrounding area.

"The force will remain in Chad until its support in resolving the kidnapping situation is no longer required."

Russia starts troop pullout from Ukraine border

Russia has started a partial withdrawal of military personnel from the regions bordering Ukraine, the country's State Border Service (SBS) chief Mykola Lytvyn has confirmed.

Lytvyn was quoted by RIA Novosti as saying: "We have information that troops are being pulled away from the state border. Reconnaissance, radio communication and interception units have fallen behind."

However, Pentagon spokesperson US Army colonel Steve Warren said the movements are not significant in comparison with the large numbers of soldiers left behind, who continue to pose a credible threat to the stability of the region.

The withdrawal was ordered by Russian President Vladimir Putin last week, in a bid to help create 'favourable conditions ahead of the presidential vote in Ukraine', as reported earlier by the Associated Press.

MBDA Deutschland and Roketsan to build weapon system for German UH Tiger

German missile systems company MBDA Deutschland has collaborated with defence contractor Roketsan to manufacture and integrate a 70mm weapon system for the German Army's Eurocopter UH Tiger attack helicopter.

A memorandum of understanding (MoU) was signed by both parties during the ILA Berlin Air Show 2014.

As part of the agreement, the two manufacturers will share business and technical information to build a guided weapon system, which is based on the 70mm rocket concept.

Mexico requests M1152 HMMWVs from US

The US Defense Security Cooperation Agency (DSCA) has notified Congress of a potential foreign military sale (FMS) of the M1152 high-mobility, multi-purpose wheeled vehicles (HMMWVs) and associated equipment to Mexico.

Under the estimated $556m sale, Mexico has requested 3,335 M1152 HMMWVs, along with spare and repair parts, support and test equipment, communication equipment, publications and technical documentation, technical and logistics support services, and other related elements of logistical and programme support.

The defence articles and services are expected to be used for the modernisation of the country's armed forces and expansion of its existing army architecture to combat drug trafficking organisations.

Indian MoD issues RFI to domestic companies for L/70 replacement

bofors

The Indian Ministry of Defence (MoD) has issued a request for information (RFI) to local defence companies for participation in the $1.7bn tender to replace the army's ageing Bofors 40mm L/70 air-defence guns.

The RFI, which was sent to Tata Power SED, Larsen & Toubro, Punj Lloyd, Bharat Forge and the state-owned Ordnance Factory Board (OFB) and Bharat Earth Movers, follows a failure to attract global tenders for the guns, Defense News reported.

According to RFI terms, the guns will be acquired in the buy and make (Indian) category, which allows only local companies or their joint venture with foreign companies to compete, if 50% of the system's components are domestically manufactured.

US Army engineers develop new immersive MRAP simulator

mrap

US Army Aviation and Missile Research, Development and Engineering Center (AMRDEC) engineers have developed a new simulator to help soldiers train on mine-resistant, ambush-protected vehicles (MRAPs) for worst-case scenarios.

Called the transportable, reconfigurable, integrated, crew-trainer (TRICT) simulator, it is fully operational and can familiarise soldiers with MRAPs, which were recently added to the army inventory.

In addition to a realistic exterior and interior, including all vehicle controls for steering, gas, brakes, instrument panels, differentials and transmission control gauge, it also features a pitch-and-roll assembly that provides full motion-based training.

Selex develops lightweight antenna for military communication applications

antenna

Selex has developed a new antenna to provide robust, lightweight, on-the-move, high-performance tactical satellite communications to frontline soldiers.

The man-portable TacSat Razor Antenna weighs around 1kg, and is primarily designed for physically demanding battlefield conditions, while addressing the related radiation hazard standards.

Capable of operating in a hands-free mode, the antenna has a maximum 20W power output in the ultra-high frequency (UHF) TacSat band, and can be attached to the side of a standard military rucksack, or be installed on a standard tripod, camera spike or on a vehicle using a magnetic mount.


UK MoD awards Bowman radio logistic support contract to GD

Bowman

General Dynamics UK has received two contracts from the UK Ministry of Defence (MoD) to provide support services for the Bowman command, control, communications, computers and intelligence (C4I) system.

With a combined value of £364m, the contracts cover the provision of design, engineering and logistic support for the tactical radio system, which is widely used by personnel across the UK Army, Royal Navy and the Royal Air Force (RAF), over the next five years.

They are expected to secure 140 high-skilled engineering jobs at GD's Blackwood facility in south Wales, while safeguarding additional posts in its wider supply chain.

Raytheon moves Excalibur Ib projectile towards full-rate production

Raytheon has completed the initial operational test and evaluation (IOT&E) of the US Army's Excalibur Increment b (Ib) precision-guided, extended-range projectile during a series of tests, taking a step forward towards full-rate production.

Several Excalibur rounds were fired from the 1st Battalion, 5th Field Artillery, with several hitting their targets.

US Army Excalibur Product Manager lieutenant colonel Josh Walsh said Excalibur continues to reach new levels in every test event.