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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Ukraine conflict: European countries approve new weapons donations

by Nicholas Fiorenza

Rheinmetall announced on 12 September that it had transferred a Role 2 containerised mobile field hospital to Ukraine, with two more to follow in late 2023 and early 2024. (Rheinmetall)

European countries announced new weapon donations to Ukraine in the lead up to or during the 15th meeting of the Ukraine Defense Contact Group at Ramstein Air Base, southwestern Germany, on 19 September.

In a press conference following the meeting, US Secretary of Defense Lloyd Austin, who chairs the Ukraine Defense Contact Group, noted announcements by Germany on 18 September of a package with ammunition, mine-clearing equipment, and “other critical capabilities”; by Denmark of an USD833 million package including ammunition and armour capabilities; and by Sweden in August of a USD300 million military aid package consisting of ammunition and spare parts. He also reported that Poland told the Ukraine Defense Contact Group meeting that it had provided Ukraine with additional mine-clearing equipment and over 100 armoured personnel carriers and tens of thousands of munitions.

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DSEI 2023: IAG eyes European market with Bulgarian factory

by Christopher Petrov & Sonny Butterworth

The 4×4 Rila Xtreme mine-resistant ambush-protected armoured vehicle was featured at DSEI 2023 alongside the 4×4 Guardian Xtreme. (Janes/Christopher Petrov)

International Armored Group (IAG) is looking to expand further into the European market with the construction of a production facility in Bulgaria.

Sally Stefova-Valliant, vice-president of sales and marketing at IAG, told Janes that the company hopes to offer potential European customers a variety of armoured vehicles by opening a new facility on the Black Sea port of Burgas. Expected to open in the summer of 2024, the Burgas facility will be the company's first manufacturing site located in a European Union (EU) country.

The company has delivered on contracts for customers in Africa, Asia, Latin America, and the Middle East. Given the ongoing conflict in Ukraine, European states are keen to update and replace legacy equipment with more modern solutions. In particular, Eastern European countries that make heavy use of Soviet-designed equipment are keen to equip their forces with NATO-standard vehicles.

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DSEI 2023: Sweden orders 48 more Archer SPHs as it delivers others to UK

by Nicholas Fiorenza

Sweden has ordered 48 Archer 8×8 SPHs (pictured at Eurosatory 2022). (Janes/Nicholas Fiorenza)

Sweden ordered 48 Archer 8×8 self-propelled howitzers (SPHs) as it delivered the first of 14 6×6 versions of the SPH to the UK. The Swedish Defence Materiel Administration (FMV) said on its website on 13 September that the contract was worth SEK5 billion (USD446.63 million) and the first Archer would be delivered in 2025. Reuters reported that the contract was finalised at the DSEI 2023 defence exhibition held in London from 12 to 15 September.

The Archers will be mounted on Rheinmetall MAN Military Vehicles (RMMV) trucks.

The FMV explained the procurement as being partly to replace the Archer 6×6 SPHs Sweden sold to the UK for donation to Ukraine and partly to develop Swedish artillery capabilities in accordance with the Nordic country's Total Defence 2021–2025 bill approved in 2020.

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