General Dynamics expects Ajax payments to resume soon

by Marc Selinger

General Dynamics is developing the Ajax armoured fighting vehicle for the British Army. (Crown Copyright)

General Dynamics believes it has resolved noise and vibration problems with its Ajax armoured fighting vehicle and that the UK Ministry of Defence (MoD) will resume making payments for the programme by the end of March, according to officials at the US-based defence contractor.

“We anticipate, given the maturity of the vehicle and where it is in its test programme, that payments will begin to flow again,” General Dynamics chairman and CEO Phebe Novakovic told the Cowen 44th Annual Aerospace/Defense & Industrials Conference on 15 February near Washington, DC. “But we're not going to be real specific about that other than we anticipate this largely this quarter.”

Since the MoD stopped making payments in 2021, the unpaid balance has grown to USD1.7 billion, General Dynamics wrote in a 7 February filing with the US Securities and Exchange Commission.

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IDET 2023: Ukrainians waiting for CV90 IFVs for spring offensive

by Nicholas Fiorenza

Sweden is donating 50 CV90s to Ukraine. (Alvis Hägglunds)

Ukraine is waiting for the CV90 infantry fighting vehicles (IFVs) Sweden is donating, to launch its anticipated spring offensive, an attendee of the International Defence and Security Technology Fair (IDET) 2023 held in Brno, Czech Republic, from 24 to 26 May, told Janes on the second day of the exhibition.

UK and Swedish media reported on 18–19 May that 3,000–5,000 Ukrainian soldiers had been trained in Sweden on the CV90, Leopard 2 main battle tank, and Archer self-propelled howitzer. Images of 25 CV9040s being railed through Slovakia 100 km from Ukraine were posted on social media on 25 May. The Swedish version of the IFV is armed with a 40 mm gun.

Sweden is supplying 50 CV90s, up to 10 Leopard 2A5s, and reportedly 8–12 Archers to Ukraine.

Oleksiy Danilov, secretary of the National Security and Defense Council of Ukraine, told the BBC on 27 May that the Ukrainian counteroffensive would begin “tomorrow, the day after tomorrow, or in a week”.

Janes understands that Ukraine is interested in buying CV90s in addition to the 50 donated by Sweden.

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IDET 2023: Arquus and VTU team up to offer Czech special forces vehicle

by Nicholas Fiorenza

Arquus and VTU are offering the Light European Vehicle for a long-standing Czech special forces requirement. (Janes/Nicholas Fiorenza)

Arquus and the Czech Military Technical Institute (VTU) displayed the Light European Vehicle (LEV) at the International Defence and Security Technology Fair (IDET) held in Brno, Czech Republic, from 24 to 26 May.

Arquus and VTU representatives told Janes that 169 LEVs had been offered to the Czech Republic under a tender for vehicles for the 601st Special Forces Group.

The LEV is based on Arquus's Sabre special forces 4×4 vehicle, which can be crewed by up to five soldiers. The vehicle has an automatic transmission and a top speed of 110 km/h. It has a minimum payload of 2,000 kg and a combat weight of up to 9,500 kg. The LEV has a maximum length of 6,500 mm, a width of 2,300 mm, and a height of 2,600 mm, and can be transported by A400M and C-130 transport aircraft, as well as CH-47 helicopter.

It is armed with a 50 calibre machine gun and has weapon stations for up to five 7.62 mm machine guns.

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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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General Dynamics believes it has resolved noise and vibration problems with its Ajax armoured fighti...

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