IAG showcases refined Rila 8×8

by Christopher Petrov

IAG's redesigned Rila 8×8 armoured vehicle is a major improvement over the first prototype presented at IDEX 2021. (Janes/Christopher Petrov)

The Rila 8×8 armoured vehicle family was launched by the International Armored Group (IAG) at the International Defence Exhibition (IDEX) 2021 in Abu Dhabi. However, an improved model featuring a new turret and redesigned hull showcased at both HEMUS and at Eurosatory 2022 in June presented significant refinement to the vehicle's design.

This latest iteration of the design showcased the Rila 8×8 in an infantry fighting vehicle (IFV) configuration, utilising the Spanish-made Guardian 30 remotely operated weapon system armed with the MK44 Bushmaster II 30 mm cannon. The turret is equipped with 12 smoke grenade launchers, Elbit laser-warning receivers, a meteorological sensor, and a PILAR acoustic array. The gunner and commander each have a fully stabilised third-generation thermal sight with CCD TV cameras, with the commander's panoramic sight located on the turret's roof. The Guardian 30 features a laser rangefinder and is suitable for hunter-killer operations.

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USCG faces logistical and operational challenges in Alaska for Island-class patrol forces

by Michael Fabey

Older navigation and propulsion systems make it difficult for the US Coast Guard to operate and maintain Island-class patrol forces. (Michael Fabey)

To maintain its Island-class boats and continue patrolling the treacherous Alaskan coast, the US Coast Guard (USCG) must overcome logistical and operational challenges, USCG officials told Janes .

The USCG believes it can keep the 110-ft (33.5 m) Island-class boats operational as the service builds and deploys the replacement fleet of Fast Response Cutters (FRCs). The USCG commissioned its first 154-ft (46.9 m) Sentinel-class John McCormick (WPC-1121) on 14 April 2017 in Ketchikan, Alaska.

Eventually the remaining dozen Island-class vessels will be replaced by FRCs, countrywide. Alaska USCG officials are planning to keep patrols going until then.

“I'm very confident we can maintain the 110s beyond their scheduled decommissionings right now,” Commander Timothy Boettner, commander of the Ketchikan USCG base that supports the regional ship needs, told Janes in July.

He said there are three Island-class boats in Western Alaska and two FRCs supported by Ketchikan.

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Kasser II MRAP consignment seen in UAE

by Jeremy Binnie

UAE Minister of Industry and Advanced Technology Sultan bin Ahmed al-Jabr inspects Kasser II MRAPs at a facility in Tawazun Industrial Park. (WAM news agency)

A production batch of Kasser II mine-resistant ambush-protected (MRAP) vehicles was seen when the United Arab Emirates' (UAE's) minister of industry and advanced technology visited the country's defence industries on 1 August.

A short video released by the UAE's WAM news agency showed the delegation led by Sultan bin Ahmed al-Jabr inspecting at least nine Kasser IIs inside an unidentified facility during the visit to defence companies at Tawazun Industrial Park, which is located in Zayed Military City in Abu Dhabi. Two were numbered as 13 and 14, indicating that at least this many have been produced. It was unclear if they are being made at the facility or undergoing systems integration after delivery.

The Kasser II was unveiled during the IDEX defence show held in Abu Dhabi in February 2021. It has a stated combat weight of 17.2 tonnes, a 400 hp Cummins diesel engine, and can accommodate up to eleven people or nine when fitted with a weapon station.

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UK disbands armoured infantry brigade

by Tim Ripley

The British Army's 1st Deep Recce Strike BCT will integrate fires similar to those provided by the MLRS pictured with ISTAR. (UK MoD/Crown copyright 2022)

British Army chiefs have disbanded one of the service's three armoured infantry brigades as they proceed to implement their Future Soldier reorganisation plan.

The disbandment of the Tidworth-based 1st Armoured Infantry (AI) Brigade took place in early July but was not announced by the British Army or UK Ministry of Defence at the time.

Two of the brigade's armoured cavalry units, the Household Cavalry and Royal Lancers, have been transferred to the newly formed 1st Deep Recce Strike Brigade Combat Team (BCT), which has been created out of the former 1st Artillery Brigade, a British Army spokesperson told Janes on 29 July. Three former 1st AI Brigade infantry battalions and small support subunits have also been reassigned to other brigades.

Brigadier Neil Budd, commander of 1st Deep Recce Strike BCT, told Janes

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The Rila 8×8 armoured vehicle family was launched by the International Armored Group (IAG) at the In...

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