January’s top news stories

Shalini Nair 8 February 2018 (Last Updated February 9th, 2018 09:37)

US Army’s Airborne Calvary Scout Soldiers conducted airdrop certification testing on the light armour vehicle (LAV-25A2), and DARPA launched the Millimetre-Wave Digital Arrays (MIDAS) programme to develop the next generation of secure, user-friendly, platform-agnostic military communications. Army-technology.com wraps up key headlines from January 2018.

US Army conducts airdrop certification testing on LAV-25A2

The US Army’s Airborne Calvary Scout Soldiers conducted airdrop certification testing on the light armour vehicle (LAV-25A2).

The testing will allow the XVIII Airborne Corps’ Global Response Force to develop tactics, techniques and procedures for a light airdrop capable Mobile Protective Firepower platform.

During the test, soldiers of the 82nd’s 3rd Brigade Combat Team, 5th Squadron 73rd Cavalry Regiment rigged the LAV-25A2 for airdrop and recovery. Live-fire exercises were also carried out to ensure the vehicle was fully operational.

3rd Brigade Combat Team 5th Squadron 73rd Cavalry Regiment B Troop platoon leader 1st lieutenant William McCullum said: “Being part of a test on this scale is a real opportunity for a platoon leader.”


DARPA launches programme to improve military communication systems

DARPA launched the Millimetre-Wave Digital Arrays (MIDAS) programme to develop the next generation of secure, user-friendly, platform-agnostic military communications.

The programme seeks to create a common digital array tile that will enable multi-beam directional communications and help solve the adaptive beamforming problem.

Research efforts will focus on reducing the size and power of digital millimetre wave transceivers. This would enable phased-array technology to be used across mobile platforms. It is a computer-controlled array of antennas, which can be pointed in different directions without moving the antennas.

It would also elevate mobile communications to the less crowded millimetre wave frequencies.


MDA awards $459m contract modification for THAAD interceptors

The US Missile Defense Agency (MDA) awarded a $459m contract modification for the development and delivery of interceptors for the terminal high altitude area defence (THAAD) weapon system.

Under the contract, Lockheed Martin will supply the interceptors with support for the US Army THAAD units and increasing operational requirements.

The original $528m interceptor production and supply contract was awarded to the company in December 2015.

The current modification takes the total contract value to $1.28bn with funding offered last year and this year.


Fitness app Strava shows structure of US foreign military bases

Strava’s fitness tracking app reportedly revealed information about the location and outline of some overseas US military bases.

The company’s data visualisation map gave away the details by tracking the routes used by soldiers for running, reported The Guardian.

Pentagon spokeswoman Major Audricia Harris was quoted by the Independent as saying: “The DoD takes matters like these very seriously and is reviewing the situation to determine if any additional training or guidance is required and if any additional policy must be developed to ensure the continued safety of DoD personnel at home and abroad.”

The app is designed for use on a number of devices, such as smartphones and Fitbits. It is used to record exercise routes and share them with others.


KGL wins $690m logistics and distributions contract for US military

Kuwait & Gulf Link Transport (KGL) secured a new contract from the US Defense Logistics Agency (DLA) to carry out logistics and distribution operations for the US military troops across the Gulf region.

The total value of the contract is estimated to be $690m and is expected not to surpass $1.38bn over five years. It is the fifth of its kind awarded by the DLA.

Under the deal, the company will be responsible for procuring, importing, storing and distributing food products from the US and other local sources.


UK and France reach agreements to strengthen defence cooperation

The governments of UK and France reached a series of agreements to strengthen defence cooperation between the countries.

At the 2018 UK-France Summit held at the Royal Military Academy Sandhurst, UK Prime Minister Theresa May and French President Emmanuel Macron agreed to pursue several initiatives, building on the 2010 Lancaster House Treaties.

As part of the measures, Macron pledged additional support to the UK-led enhanced Forward Presence battlegroup in Estonia in 2019.

The mission is aimed at safeguarding the interests of Nato Allies from Russian aggression and strengthening the security of Nato’s Eastern flank.


Kongsberg and Patria support missile systems development

Under the deal, the companies will work on the development of a Missile Competence Centre in Finland, open tactical framework (OTF) core technologies and system architecture software for missile programmes in the country.

The companies will also develop international opportunities linked to these capabilities.


US State Department approves $500m military sale to Saudi Arabia

The US Defense Security Cooperation Agency (DSCA) notified Congress of a possible foreign military sale (FMS) to continue providing missile system support services in Saudi Arabia.

At an estimated cost of $500m, the possible sale was requested by the Government of the Kingdom of Saudi Arabia and has been approved by the US State Department.

The deal includes the probable delivery of continued participation, technical assistance and support in the Patriot Legacy Field Surveillance Programme (FSP), the Patriot Advanced Capability 3 (PAC-3) FSP and the Patriot Engineering Services Programme (ESP).


Viasat wins $350m communications and cybersecurity contract

Global communications company Viasat secured a new contract to deliver critical mission networking and communications equipment, as well as sustainment and support services to the US Special Operations Forces.

With an initial value of $350m, the indefinite delivery, indefinite quantity (IDIQ) contract will allow the forces to upgrade ground and air situational awareness.

Intelligence, surveillance and reconnaissance (ISR), tactical data links, terrestrial networking, satellite communications and cybersecurity are among the equipment and services that will be provided under the contract.


Iveco to supply vehicles to German and Romanian armed forces

CNH Industrial’s defence and civil protection brand Iveco Defence Vehicles signed new contracts for the delivery of major orders to German and Romanian armed forces.

The first contract signed with German company BwFuhrpark Service will provide a new fleet of military medium multipurpose 4×4 trucks for the German Army.

Under the contract, Iveco will be responsible for providing the army with a total of 280 Eurocargo trucks this year.

The current deal between Iveco Defence Vehicles and BwFuhrpark Service resulted from a two-year intensive market evaluation and comprehensive practical trials with a demonstrator vehicle.