September's top stories: JLTV halted as BAE seeks merger

BAE Systems and EADS announced a potentially groundbreaking merger, while the US was forced to suspend its JLTV programme. Army-technology.com wraps up the key headlines from September 2012.


US halts JLTV programme following Navistar's protest

JLTV

Less than a month after issuing new contracts, the US Army and Marine Corps was forced to place the multibillion dollar Joint Light Tactical Vehicle programme on hold after Navistar Defense lodged a protest, contesting the selection process.

Navistar was denied an engineering, manufacturing and development contract for the programme, and subsequently filed a complaint with the US Government Accountability Office, citing dissatisfaction with the evaluation criteria.

Navistar spokesperson Elissa Koc confirmed the complaint, informing Defense News: "Following our debrief with the government, the company has concerns regarding the selection process and we've requested a review."

Russia to develop ICBM by 2018, says SMF chief

"Strategic Missile Forces commander colonel general Sergei Karakayev told RIA Novosti that production was underway."

The Russian Ministry of Defence announced its intention to develop a new heavy intercontinental ballistic missile by 2018.

Strategic Missile Forces commander colonel general Sergei Karakayev told RIA Novosti that production was already underway, and the new missile would weigh 100t and possess an improved payload-launch weight ratio in comparison to solid fuel missiles.

Although the missile's production was first announced in May 2011, this was the first time specific details had been announced, with Russia intending the missile's development to form a response to Nato's intent to deploy a US-led antimissile shield in Europe.

Prophet Muhammad film riots escalate as Marines dispatched

US Marine Corps units were dispatched to Libya after riots by protestors in the nation's capital of Benghazi escalated, claiming the lives of four US embassy officials, including that of the US ambassador to Libya Christopher Stevens.

"Attacks were triggered by a controversial film that was uploaded onto YouTube."

The attacks were triggered by a controversial film that was uploaded onto YouTube, making several inflammatory allegations about Islam and insulting the Prophet Muhammad.

The US reacted strongly to the attacks, with President Barack Obama pledging to bring those responsible to justice.

"Make no mistake. Justice will be done. The United States condemns in the strongest terms this outrageous and shocking attack."

Political interference biggest risk to BAE merger with EADS

Politics

Undue political interference poses the greatest risk to a merger between British defence company BAE Systems and its European rival EADS, according to former UK defence secretary Liam Fox.

"Without clear mechanisms to preclude foreign interference, the British Government should not support the proposals," said Fox.

Any merger between the two companies would need the backing of both French and German governments, as well as the US Department of Defense.

Writing in the Sunday Telegraph, Fox claimed the merger would create a "world class" firm, adding his belief that BAE must diversify and expand into new markets if the UK is to retain a national defence industry.

US close to expanding South Korea ballistic missile ranges

The US is close to revising a bilateral agreement it shares with South Korea, enabling Seoul to develop long-range ballistic missiles to counter threats from North Korea.

"South Korea has repeatedly called upon the US to increase the ballistic missile range limit to more than 1,000km."

An unidentified military official told the Yonhap news agency that the allies were negotiating an increase of a missile range imposed on the nation, boosting missile capability from the current 300km to 800km.

South Korea has repeatedly called upon the US to increase the ballistic missile range limit to more than 1,000km, bringing a number of North Korean military targets within its striking range. Washington has until now resisted these calls, citing the potential unrest it could cause in nations including China, Russia and Japan.

Russian Army starts evaluation of future soldier system

Russian Army

A future high-tech soldier system is being evaluated by the Russian Army's 27th Guards Motor Rifle Division.

The system incorporates around 40 different elements for riflemen, scouts and mechanic-drivers, including navigation systems, life support systems, body armour and protective eye wear.

Russian Defence Ministry ground forces spokesman lieutenant colonel Nikolai Donyushkin was quoted by RIA Novosti as confirming the trials to have taken place, with test results to be thoroughly studied by an army commission.