IAV 2022: France ramps up deliveries of SCORPION vehicles

by Nicholas Fiorenza

The French Army received its first 20 Jaguars in December 2021. (Armée de Terre)

France is ramping up deliveries of SCORPION armoured vehicles and Nexter is tripling its production capacity to keep up, Janes learnt at the International Armoured Vehicles (IAV) 2022 conference held in London from 24 to 27 January.

The first Griffon forward observer vehicle is to be delivered this year, followed by the Mortier Embarqué Pour l'Appui au Contact (MEPAC) 120 mm mortar carrier version of the 8×8 heavy armoured vehicle in 2023.

The Jaguar 6×6 armoured reconnaissance vehicle is being delivered at the rate of 20 a year starting in December 2021.

About 300 out of a total of 3,700 planned Serval 4×4 light multirole armoured vehicles have been delivered so far. Deliveries of the intelligence and reconnaissance versions are scheduled to begin in 2023.

To keep up with these delivery rates, Nexter is tripling its production capacity to 450 vehicles a year by 2025. The company expects to be supporting 5,000 SCORPION vehicles by 2030.

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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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France is ramping up deliveries of SCORPION armoured vehicles and Nexter is tripling its production ...

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