Royal Netherlands Army commences armed robot trials in first among Western militaries
14 October 2022
by Alexander Stronell
Armed THeMIS UGVs undergoing trials with the Royal Netherlands Army in Lithuania, October 2022. (Dutch MoD)
The Royal Netherlands Army has become the first Western military to begin operational trials with armed unmanned ground vehicles (UGVs),
Four armed THeMIS UGVs were deployed with the Netherlands' 13th Light Brigade to Lithuania on 12 September, Lieutenant Colonel Sjoerd Mevissen, commander of the Royal Netherlands Army's Robotics and Autonomous Systems (RAS) unit, told
. The UGVs are currently undergoing trials with a view to developing and refining doctrine at the platoon level.
“We have deployed four weaponised [unmanned] machines within an operational experiment”, Lt Col Mevissen said. “To my knowledge, we have not seen this before in the West”.
He continued, “The machines have been handed over for experimental use in an operational unit in a military-relevant environment. These are not simply tests on a training ground. We are under the direct eyes and ears of the Russians, and as such in a semi-operational environment.”
An announcement by the Dutch Ministry of Defence (MoD) confirming the deployment was released on 14 October.
New mortar AMPV variant prototype to make exhibition debut mid-2024
05 December 2023
by Meredith Roaten
BAE Systems demonstrated its new counter unmanned aerial systems AMPV during a live fire in Kingman, Arizona. (BAE Systems)
The newly designed 120 mm mortar variant of the Armoured Multi Purpose Vehicle (AMPV) will make its debut at the Association of the United States Army's (AUSA's) Warfighter conference in July 2024, Bill Sheehy, AMPV programme director at BAE Systems
on 30 November.
BAE Systems first told
in September that it was delivering the prototype for Patria's 120 mm
New Mortar (NEMO) and Kongsberg turret programme in January 2024. The prototype is still on track for first delivery, and the army plans to perform a live-fire demonstration at the July conference to show off its progress, Sheehy said in an interview.
The prototype represents BAE System's first official foray into broadening AMPV configurations, which the company hopes will highlight the flexibility of the platform. The turret is attached to the vehicle using the Ex-MEP (Mission Equipment Package), which can accommodate most remotely operated weapons stations.
With many of its European allies, including Norway (pictured), fielding the F-35A, Portugal is now eyeing the type also. (Royal Norwegian Air Force)
The Lockheed Martin F-35A Lightning II aircraft could emerge as the next combat aircraft in the inventory of the Portuguese Air Force (FAP).
The Chief of Staff of the FAP, General João Guilherme Rosado Cartaxo Alves, described the F-35A as the preferred choice to replace the Lockheed Martin F-16AM/BM Fighting Falcon on 27 November.
Speaking at the SAE Media Group Military Airlift and Air-to-Air Refuelling conference in Lisbon, Gen Alves said the replacement process must start to prevent a loss of strategic relevance and operational credibility. He also noted that most European allies had already started the transition to the F-35.
The existing F-16AM/BM could extend its operational capability until 2030, however, with increasing levels of obsolescence, he said at the event in late November. Gen Alves confirmed that an acquisition will occur after 2030 as part of the newly established ‘Air Force 5.3' modernisation plan.
Australia test-fires AS9 Huntsman self-propelled howitzer
05 December 2023
by Kapil Kajal
An Australian Army AS9 Huntsman self-propelled howitzer test-fires a practice round at the Proof and Experimental Establishment in Port Wakefield. (Commonwealth of Australia)
The Australian Army test-fired artillery rounds from an AS9 Huntsman 155 mm/52 calibre self-propelled howitzer (SPH) at the Proof and Experimental Establishment in Port Wakefield in late November, the Australian Department of Defence (DoD) said in a press release on 5 December.
According to the DoD, this testing – overseen by the Joint Proof and Experimental Unit (JPEU) – was aimed at showcasing the AS9 Huntsman to project stakeholders.
The service fired “hundreds of 155 mm shells” in the drill to verify the ammunition and propellant types, the DoD said.
Nicholas Windridge, master gunner warrant officer from the JPEU, said in the press release that while in-service M777s had maximum ranges of 18 to 22 km, the AS9 could potentially reach up to 60 km.
Claire Chu, Janes senior China analyst joins Harry Kemsley and Sean Corbett to discuss how China's economic activity projects influence globally and what she learnt as part of the recent US Congressional staff delegation to China.