British Army to train soldiers with VR under new pilot scheme

The British Army awarded a £1m contract to software developer BiSim to pilot the use of virtual reality (VR) for soldier training exercises.

BiSim develops simulation and training software for military training purposes. The company created the Virtual Reality in Land Training (VRLT) programme to enhance future British Army training using VR.

BISim’s UK head of sales Rusty Orwin told Army Technology: “BISim is using commercially available VR head-mounted displays, like the Oculus Rift and HTC Vive Pro, to study how VR hardware and our simulation software VBS3, VBS STE and VBS Control can be used in the collective training environment.

US Army to buy Israel’s Iron Dome weapons system

The US Army revealed plans to buy the Iron Dome weapons system, which is currently operational with the Israeli military.

Developed by Rafael Advanced Defense Systems, Iron Dome is a truck-towed mobile air defence system that provides protection against short-range rockets and artillery shells.

The missile defence system’s fundamental features include detection and tracking radar, battle management and weapon control system (BMC) and a missile firing unit (MFU).

US DISA awards Solers spot on $7.5bn SETI contract

The US Defense Information Systems Agency (DISA) awarded government services provider Solers a position on a $7.5bn contract for systems engineering, technology, and innovation (SETI) services.

The multi-award indefinite-delivery indefinite-quantity contract has a five-year base performance period with one five-year option period.

DISA initially announced that 14 companies had secured positions on the contract. BAE Systems, Northrop Grumman, Booz Allen Hamilton, Leidos and Perspecta are among the awardees.

US ARL and Lockheed Martin partner on bioproduction of new materials

The US Army Research Laboratory (ARL) and Lockheed Martin entered a cooperative agreement to incorporate the bioproduction of new materials.

Named Self-Assembly of Nanostructures for Tunable Materials, the $10m five-year agreement aims to study a range of capabilities, especially ones that can enhance defence optical technology and coatings.

The bioproduction agreement will use the army’s Open Campus model to bring together university, small-business, army and Lockheed Martin scientists and engineers.

BAE Systems delivers first BvS10 vehicles to Austrian Army

BAE Systems handed over the first BvS10 all-terrain vehicles (ATV) to the Austrian Army during ceremonies held in the state of Tyrol and city of Salzburg.

The company was awarded a contract in June 2016 to produce 32 BvS10 armoured personnel carrier (APC) variants for Austria under a government-to-government arrangement with Sweden.

BAE Systems Hägglunds manufactures the BvS10 in Örnsköldsvik, Sweden.

Saab to modernise WAVES equipment for Australian Army C-RAM system

The Australian Department of Defence’s (DoD) Capability Acquisition Sustainment Group awarded a contract to Saab to modernise the wireless audio visual emergency system (WAVES) equipment for the Australian Army’s counter rocket, artillery, and mortar (C-RAM) system.

Awarded on behalf of the Australian Army, the value of the order was not disclosed by the company.

A component of the C-RAM system, the WAVES equipment is designed to deliver early warning audible and visual alerts immediately on detection and identification of an incoming threat.

Lockheed Martin, Diehl and Saab unveil Falcon air defence weapon system

Lockheed Martin teamed up with Saab and Diehl Defence to deliver the Falcon air defence weapon system, which is designed to take down short and medium-range air threats.

The system was unveiled at IDEX 2019 in Abu Dhabi, UAE.

Falcon uses Lockheed Martin’s SkyKeeper command and control battle manager, with an integrated 40km range Infrared Imaging System Tail / Thrust Vector-Controlled (IRIS-T) SLM interceptor and vertical launcher developed by Diehl Defence, and Saab’s 360° AESA Giraffe 4A radar.

Harris Defence Australia awarded New Zealand Army’s radio contract

Harris Defence Australia signed a contract to deliver a mobile tactical command system for the New Zealand Army.

Under the $40m contract, the company will design and deliver a tactical communications network that will include portable radios for soldiers.

It will also be responsible for the supply of software, systems and connecting radio equipment.

Indian Army receives three Advanced Light Helicopters

The Indian Army took delivery of three Dhruv Advanced Light Helicopters (ALHs) ahead of schedule at Aero India 2019 air show.

Helicopters were delivered to the service by India-based government-owned manufacturer Hindustan Aeronautics Limited (HAL).

In September 2017, HAL signed an Rs61bn ($858.53m) contract with the Indian Ministry of Defence (MoD) to supply 41 ALHs, which comprises 40 for the army and one for the navy.

UAE selects Paramount Group Mbombe 4 armoured personnel carrier

The United Arab Emirates (UAE) Ministry of Defence selected the Mbombe 4 next-generation armoured personnel carrier (APC).

Developed by global defence and aerospace company Paramount Group, the new Mbombe 4 APC has been unveiled at IDEX 2019 defence and security expo in Abu Dhabi, UAE.

Paramount Group founder and executive chairman Ivor Ichikowitz said: “The UAE is one of the most sophisticated procurement markets of defence equipment in the world. We are very privileged that our newly launched next-generation armoured vehicle has been selected by the UAE’s Armed Forces.