British Army soldiers receive health checks after operating Ajax vehicles

British Army soldiers are receiving health tests after they were exposed to excessive noise and vibration while operating GDLS-UK Ajax reconnaissance vehicles. (Crown Copyright)

British Army soldiers are receiving health tests after they were exposed to excessive noise and vibration while operating General Dynamics Land Systems-UK (GDLS-UK) Ajax reconnaissance vehicles, defence procurement minister Jeremy Quin said in a parliamentary written statement published on 6 September.

Quin reported that 248 out of 310 personnel being tested had been assessed for noise exposure and said a full health and safety report into the problems with the vehicle would be published once it is finalised by the Ministry of Defence's (MoD's) director of health and safety. “The army continues to identify and monitor the hearing of all personnel exposed to noise on Ajax, with additional testing put in place where required,” he explained. “The army is also in the process of identifying any health effects in those potentially exposed to vibration.”


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US Army recompetes CROWS contract, royalty fee attached for outside vendor

by Ashley Roque

A US Army Robotic Combat Vehicle-Light (RCV-L) prototype outfitted with CROWS-J. The service is currently hosting a CROWS recompete competition. (US Army)

The US Army has launched a Common Remotely Operating Weapon Station (CROWS) competition valued up to USD1.5 billion that allows companies other than the prime contractor, Kongsberg Defence & Aerospace, to vie for the deal. However, there is a caveat; other vendors must factor in a mandatory USD10,000 per system royalty fee for Kongsberg if they win.

In late August, the service issued a remote weapon station (RWS) request for procurement to cover continued support for fielded CROWS systems and for new designs. In essence, the service is asking vendors whether they can build the Norwegian company's RWS at a ‘better value' to the government.

“The programme will support new and emerging customer requirements to include RWS variants such as Abrams Low Profile, Navy Mk-50, United States Marine Corps (USMC) Amphibious Remote Weapon Station (ARWS), and Stryker,” the army wrote. Parties interested in bidding on the contract have until 22 November to submit their proposals and the service anticipates awarding a single contract worth up to USD1.5 billion.


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DSEI 2021: Hanwha Defence unveils K9 SPH developmental roadmap

by Mark Cazalet

A mockup of the K9A2 SPH shown at DSEI 2021. (Hanwha Defence)

Hanwha Defence has outlined its K9 Self-Propelled Howitzer (SPH) development roadmap, laying out plans for three new variants beyond the baseline K9 and K9A1 minor upgrade variants that are currently in service.

A Hanwha Defence representative told Janes at the 2021 DSEI exhibition, which was held in London from 14 to 17 September, the K9A2 was the first variant that the company was developing and this would be fitted within a fundamentally new turret, a fully automatic ammo loading system, and an improved fire control system to enable automatic gunlaying onto targets assigned by a command-and-control system.

The new variant will also have a higher sustained rate of fire. Yoon Young-ki, principal engineer in the K9A2 development project, said, “The development of a full-automatic ammunition handling and loading system has been very successful to increase rate of fire to 9 from 6 rds/min.”


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DSEI 2021: Rheinmetall integrates Brimstone into Mission Master UGV

by Nicholas Fiorenza

Rheinmetall unveiled a Mission Master XT UGV with an MBDA Brimstone missile launcher at DSEI 2021. (Janes/Nicholas Fiorenza)

Rheinmetall unveiled a Mission Master unmanned ground vehicle (UGV) with an MBDA Brimstone missile launcher at Defence and Security Equipment International (DSEI) 2021, being held in London from 14 to 17 September.

The four-cell missile launcher is mounted on a 4×4 Mission Master XT (Extreme Terrain) hybrid UGV, which has larger wheels than the other vehicles of the type and has a continuous tyre inflation system allowing it to operate with 2 cm holes in its tyres on ice, snow, and sub-zero weather conditions in sandy, rocky, and mountainous terrain. The fully amphibious platform can float and swim with a 1,000 kg payload, according to Rheinmetall.


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British Army soldiers are receiving health tests after they were exposed to excessive noise and vibr...

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