UMEX 2024: Edge announces large UAE order for armed UGVs

by Jeremy Binnie

The tracked RCV ordered by the UAE Armed Forces is likely to be Milrem's Type-X. (Janes/Sonny Butterworth)

The United Arab Emirates' (UAE's) Edge Group announced on 24 January during the Unmanned Systems Exhibition and Conference (UMEX) 2024 show held in Abu Dhabi that the UAE Ministry of Defence had placed an order for unmanned ground vehicles (UGVs) made by its Milrem Robotics subsidiary.

Edge said in a statement that the contract covers 20 tracked robotic combat vehicles (RCVs) that it did not identify and 40 THeMIS UGVs. It added that the RCVs will be armed with 30 mm Mk44 cannons, the combat variants of the THeMIS UGVs will have 30 mm M230LF cannons and indirect-fire systems, and the surveillance and reconnaissance THeMIS variants will have radars, cameras, and shot detectors.

Milrem will also provide training for the UGVs and lead an experimentation and trial programme to integrate them into the UAE Armed Forces.

Edge did not give a value for the contract but said this represents the world's largest combat robotics programme.

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Canadian defence plan costs increase by CAD51.5 billion, says PBO

by Jeremiah Cushman

Changes to the projected spending profile for Canada's Strong, Secure, Engaged defence policy over time. (Canadian Office of the Parliamentary Budget Officer)

Projected capital spending under Canada's Strong, Secure, Engaged (SSE) defence policy has increased by CAD51.5 billion (USD38 billion) since 2022, according to the Office of the Parliamentary Budget Officer (PBO), a nonpartisan agent of the Canadian Parliament.

The SSE policy, unveiled in June 2017, projected CAD553 billion in spending over a 20-year period ending in 2036–37. This included CAD164 billion for capital acquisitions. The PBO's report in 2022 put the capital spending envelope at CAD163.3 billion, which increased to CAD214.8 billion in the report published on 28 February.

The new report said it used updated figures from all SSE capital projects provided by the Department of National Defence (DND) as of August 2023.

The CAD51.5 billion increase is attributed to new North American Aerospace Defense Command (NORAD) modernisation projects and delays in existing projects, causing some short-term expenditures to be pushed into later years.

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US to initiate deliveries of Taiwan's M1A2 Abrams tanks, HIMARS in 2024

by Kapil Kajal

The M1A2 Abrams MBTs – pictured above from a US Army exercise – are protected by composite armours, armed with a 120 mm smoothbore gun, and powered by a bespoke gas-turbine engine. (US Army)

The Republic of China Army (RoCA) will receive 38 M1A2 Abrams main battle tanks (MBTs), 11 M142 High-Mobility Artillery Rocket Systems (HIMARS) and associated ammunition, and 81 ‘BGM‐71F tube-launched, optically tracked, wire-guided (TOW) 2B' anti-tank guided missiles (ATGMs) from the United States in 2024, a RoCA officer told Janes on 3 March.

The RoCA will receive 42 Abrams in 2025 and 28 in 2026, the officer said. “18 additional HIMARS will be delivered to the RoCA in 2026,” the officer added.

Taiwan signed a letter of offer and acceptance (LOA) with the US in December 2019 to procure 108 Abrams. Once inducted, the Abrams MBTs are expected to replace RoCA's ageing assets, including US-built M60A3 MBTs and locally built CM11 MBTs.

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Holding steady: Asia-Pacific defence spending shows signs of ‘normality'

by Andrew MacDonald

China accounted for 46% of total APAC defence spending in 2024. (Janes)

In a global geopolitical and economic context of ever-increasing uncertainty, Asia-Pacific's defence spending growth in 2024 is, at first glance at least, remarkably pedestrian – even subdued. With a significant proportion of the region's budgets published at least in draft form, military expenditure in Asia in the year is expected to have risen to USD603.9 billion.

This represents a nominal rise of 4.9% but is just 2.1% larger after the effects of inflation are taken into account. By the latter measure, spending is calculated to be USD12.1 billion higher than in 2023 – compared with an average annual expansion of almost USD22 billion over the previous five years.

This represents a significant slowdown in the rate of spending growth, which spiked to 7.5% year on year in 2023, when Asia-Pacific countries added more than USD41.5 billion to their total defence spend; the most in dollar terms than in any year on Janes record.

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The United Arab Emirates' (UAE's) Edge Group announced on 24 January during the Unmanned Systems Exh...

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