UK hosts inaugural AUKUS AI trial

by Olivia Savage

The Blue Bear Ghost fixed-wing UAV tested during the inaugural AUKUS AI and autonomy trial. (Crown Copyright)

The UK hosted the first AUKUS artificial intelligence (AI) and autonomy trial in April to promote synergies between Australian, UK, and US AI-enabled assets.

Held at Upavon in Wiltshire, the exercise involved collaboratively swarming the different AI platforms to detect and track military targets in real time in a representative environment, the UK Ministry of Defence (MoD) announced on 26 May.

The trial incorporated platforms such as the Challenger 2 and the Warrior armoured vehicle, the Viking unmanned ground vehicle (UGV), an FV433 Abbot self-propelled gun, and the Eastern Bloc BMP OT-90 armoured personnel carrier alongside unmanned aerial vehicles (UAVs) – Blue Bear Ghost and Insitu CT220.

Together, the teams developed joint machine learning (ML) models for the platforms that were subsequently modified “in flight” to incorporate new targets and adapt to changing mission scenarios – a world first. This data and the AI models were shared among the three partners, the MoD said.

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Ukraine unveils Mbombe 6 with Spys ROWS

by Vishal Sengupta & Sonny Butterworth

Mbombe 6 with Spys ROWS seen in Ukraine. (General Staff of the Armed Forces of Ukraine)

A video released by the General Staff of the Armed Forces of Ukraine on 18 April shows a South African Mbombe 6 6×6 armoured vehicle equipped with a Ukrainian remotely operated weapon system (ROWS).

The video shows the Commander-in-Chief of the Armed Forces of Ukraine, Colonel General Oleksandr Syrskyi, being presented with and inspecting several armoured vehicles, including the Mbombe, at an undisclosed location.

The Mbombe 6 is a wheeled armoured personnel carrier (APC) designed and manufactured in South Africa by Paramount Group, as well as under licence in India, Jordan, and Kazakhstan. The vehicle comes with an all-welded steel armour construction providing protection against small-arms fire up to NATO Standardization Agreement (STANAG) 4569 Level 4 standards.

The vehicle features a mine-resistant honeycomb flat-bottomed hull design, which lowers its overall height and provides protection against a 10 kg anti-tank mine detonated underneath the hull or a wheel station.

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Operational testing for M10 Booker planned for July

by Meredith Roaten

M10 Booker Combat Vehicle (pictured) will be put through its paces at Fort Liberty in boreal summer 2024. (US Army photo by Bernardo Fuller)

One company in the 82nd Airborne Division will be the first unit to perform operational testing on the new M10 Booker combat vehicle in boreal summer 2024 and will then become the first unit equipped if the testing is successful, army leaders announced on 18 April.

Testing at Fort Liberty, North Carolina, will focus on making sure the platform is baseline operational, Major General Glenn Dean, programme executive officer for Ground Combat Systems, told reporters on the sidelines of an army live-fire and commemoration event. Training for soldiers will focus on logistics and new maintenance after the unit receives the vehicles in July, Captain Rachel Ledbetter, company commander of the M10 Booker test detachment, 82nd Airborne Division, told Janes on 18 April.

While the Abrams M1A2 main battle tank (MBT) and M10 Booker share many commonalities, such as the Commander's Independent Thermal Viewer (CITV) and machine guns, the logistics tail is different. This means that the test detachment, which come from armoured backgrounds, will have to practice, Capt Ledbetter said.

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Update: GDELS presents 10×10 Piranha Heavy Mission Carrier

by Nicholas Fiorenza

Flatbed version of 10×10 Piranha HMC designed for example to carry large weapon system modules. (GDELS)

General Dynamics European Land Systems (GDELS) presented its 10×10 Piranha Heavy Mission Carrier (HMC) in a press release on 15 April.

The new Piranha version has a gross vehicle weight (GVW) of up to 40 tonnes and can carry a 17 tonne payload. It features a 10×10 all-wheel-drive-power-driveline and a multi-link suspension system with 1st/2nd and 4th/5th axle steering, which according to GDELS enables minimum axle loads to comply with European road regulations, cross-country mobility, and trench crossing capabilities with a reduced turning radius of less than 18 m.

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