March’s top news stories

11 April 2019 (Last Updated May 28th, 2020 13:00)

The US Army awarded $1.13bn Lot 14 GMLRS production contract to Lockheed, the Australian Government to procure short-range air defence capability and the UK Ministry of Defence (MoD) has allocated £66m in funding to accelerate robotic projects for the British Army. Army-Technology.com wraps up key headlines from March 2019.

March’s top news stories
A British soldier readying to launch an unmanned aerial vehicle. Credit: Crown copyright.

US Army awards $1.13bn Lot 14 GMLRS production contract to Lockheed

The US Army awarded a $1.13bn contract to Lockheed Martin for the production of guided multiple launch rocket system (GMLRS) rockets.

The contract covers the manufacture of more than 9,500 GMLRS unitary and alternative-warhead (AW) rockets and over 300 low-cost reduced-range practice rockets (RRPRs).

It will require the company to supply GMLRS rockets for the US Army and international customers.


Australian Government to procure short-range air defence capability

The Australian Government revealed plans to procure short-range air defence (SHORAD) capability to enhance troop safety.

The new air defence capability will feature locally designed radars and be mounted on to vehicles.

Australian Defence Minister Christopher Pyne said: “This new air defence capability combines world-leading Australian radar technology with a highly effective air defence system that will contribute to the protection of our service men and women from modern airborne threats.”


UK commits £66m funding to boost military robotic projects

The UK Ministry of Defence (MoD) allocated £66m in funding to accelerate robotic projects for the British Army.

Set out by UK Defence Secretary Gavin Williamson, the grant is part of MoD’s new £160m transformation fund.

The British Army will benefit from equipment for robotic projects such as new mini-drones, autonomous logistics vehicles and systems with remote control capability for use on combat vehicles.


US Army completes PDR of Raytheon’s DeepStrike missile

The US Army completed the preliminary design review (PDR) of the new surface-to-surface missile known as DeepStrike.

Developed by Raytheon, the DeepStrike missile fulfils the US Army’s Precision Strike Missile (PrSM) requirement.

It is being developed to serve as a replacement for the current Army Tactical Missile System (ATACMS), which was designed in the 1970s and is nearing the end of its service life.


Indian Army to induct first batch of Dhanush artillery guns

The Indian Army is reportedly set to induct the first batch of its domestically developed and manufactured Dhanush artillery howitzer.

State-owned Ordnance Factory Board (OFB) is building the Indian Army’s long-range artillery gun. The company is expected to deliver five howitzers to the army’s Central Ordnance Depot in Jabalpur.

Indian Army officials were quoted by NDTV as saying: “The Dhanush guns would be inducted into the army at a ceremony to be held in Ordnance Factory Jabalpur on 26 March where senior functionaries of the army would be present.”


US Army Intelligence Center to receive training support from Jacobs

Jacobs Engineering Group’s technology division won a contract to provide training development and support to the US Army Intelligence Center of Excellence.

The contract, which includes options, will primarily support the US Army Intelligence Center of Excellence at Fort Huachuca in Arizona.

It has a ceiling value of $785m over a period of seven and a half years if all options are exercised.


Swiss Federal Council decides future of arms manufacturer RUAG

The Swiss Federal Council decided that state-owned arms manufacturer RUAG International should be developed as an aerospace technology group and entirely privatised in the medium term.

At a meeting on 15 March, the council also approved unbundling procedures for the RUAG segments that provide services to the armed forces.

In a statement, the council said: “The federal council takes the view that this approach will best meet the armed forces’ needs and take account of the confederation’s ownership interests and Switzerland’s position as a location for work and technology.”


Canada selects Viasat’s STT for army’s ASCCM project

The Canadian Department of National Defence (DND) chose global communications company Viasat’s KOR-24A small tactical terminal (STT) for the army’s Airspace Coordination Centre Modernisation (ASCCM) project.

Under the award, Viasat in partnership with MDA, a Maxar Technologies company, will work with the Canadian Armed Forces to upgrade computer suite and data link radios.

The ASCCM project will also involve the integration of the modernised systems into military and civilian airspace control systems.


Czech Army to buy Mk II missiles for RBS 70 system

Nato Support and Procurement Agency (NSPA) awarded a contract for the supply of Mk II missiles for the Czech Republic Army’s RBS 70 system.

Swedish aerospace and defence company Saab has secured the contract with NSPA, an agency that is responsible for acquisitions for its member states.

The MK II missile is compatible with RBS 70 and RBS 70 NG systems that are already integrated into the Czech Army’s existing air defence system.


US Army to delay BAE self-propelled howitzer full production decision

The US Army is reportedly set to delay its approval of the full production contract for BAE Systems’ self-propelled 155mm howitzer.

The service had already delayed its decision on a contract for the full-rate production of the howitzer, which was supposed to be announced in July.

Bloomberg reported that the decision could be postponed until November.