Dutch 45th Armoured Infantry Battalion declared combat-ready for NATO Response Force

by Nicholas Fiorenza

The Dutch 45th Armoured Infantry Battalion was declared combat-ready for the NRF on 13 September following exercise ‘Vigourous Bison' held in eastern Germany the previous two weeks. (Dutch MoD)

The Dutch 45th Armoured Infantry Battalion is combat-ready for the NATO Response Force (NRF), the Netherlands informed the alliance on 13 September. The declaration followed two years of preparations culminating in the battalion exercising in the Gefechtsübungszentrum Heer (GÜZ), the German Army's combat training centre in Altmark, eastern Germany, the previous week.

A Dutch Ministry of Defence (MoD) spokesperson told Janes on 19 September that the battalion would be kept at combat readiness for several years but would not specify how many days readiness it was at or if it was part of the NRF Very High Readiness Joint Task Force (VJTF). The Netherlands will support the VJTF with 1,500 troops in 2023, according to the Bundeswehr website, which gives a readiness level of two to seven days for the VJTF.

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USMC clears Amphibious Combat Vehicles for open-water training, caps breaker height

by Ashley Roque

A USMC Amphibious Combat Vehicle heads into the water. US marines can again train with the vehicles in open-water areas and surf zones since a July 2022 accident with two vehicles. (BAE Systems)

US marines are once again allowed to train with Amphibious Combat Vehicles (ACVs) in open water and surf zones but they can only operate the vehicles when the breaker height is less than four feet.

The US Marine Corps (USMC) ACV fleet has been sidelined from open-water operations since July when two vehicles were involved in an accident during a morning training exercise at Marine Corps Base Camp Pendleton in Southern California. During the event, one ACV personnel carrier (ACV-P) tipped onto its side in the surf zone and a second ACV-P became “disabled”, the 1st Marine Division announced that day. All marines inside the vehicles “safely” returned to the shore, but one ACV-P sank and the other one was towed to the shore, the division added.

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Bulgarian T-72 upgrade expected to be completed in 2023

by Nicholas Fiorenza

Bulgarian Defence Minister Dimitar Stoyanov expects the modernisation of Bulgaria's T-72 tanks to be completed by the end of April 2023 (photo of upgraded T-72 unveiled at the HEMUS 2022 defence exhibition in June). (Janes/Christopher Petrov)

Bulgarian Defence Minister Dimitar Stoyanov said during a visit to the Novo Selo training ground that the modernisation of Bulgaria's T-72 main battle tanks will be completed by the end of April 2023, his ministry reported on its website on 20 September. He expected the command and information systems for the upgrade to be delivered soon.

Bulgarian Ground Forces Deputy Commander Brigadier General Nikolay Karaivanov gave a briefing on the upgrade and the new capabilities it entails. The systems being installed were presented, including the battle management system, laser warning receivers, ‘autonomy enhancement system', and tank monitoring and control system.

At the Novo Selo training ground, military personnel from the Specialist Training Center in Sliven conducted firings of the tank gun with various ammunitions at different ranges and with the co-axial machine gun when the vehicle was stationary and on the move. The capabilities of the upgraded tank's thermal imaging camera at night and in poor visibility were also demonstrated.

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DE&S to review strategy in response to Ukraine

by Olivia Savage

Andy Start, the new CEO of DE&S, pictured at DE&S Ashchurch – the primary vehicle storage and distribution site for all types of armoured and soft-skinned vehicles. (Crown Copyright 2022)

Defence Equipment & Support (DE&S) – the procurement arm of the UK Ministry of Defence (MoD) – will review and refresh its strategy in light of Russia's invasion of Ukraine and evolving geopolitical threats.

In an exclusive first interview since taking over as the CEO of DE&S in September, Andy Start informed Janes that he will renew the strategy to recognise the changing global landscape since DE&S 2025 was published in May 2021.

Its updated objectives will also reflect and learn from the UK's response to Ukraine to extrapolate methodology and good practice across the defence enterprise. For instance, in response to the Ukraine crisis, DE&S has awarded 89 contracts, some in as little as 48 hours, and helped to procure approximately GBP1.1 billion (USD1.2 billion) worth of weapons, equipment, and supplies, either from existing defence stockpiles or as part of a procurement programme.

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The Dutch 45th Armoured Infantry Battalion is combat-ready for the NATO Response Force (NRF), the Ne...

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