Pentagon budget 2025: Army plans to slow down Abrams, Stryker upgrades

by Meredith Roaten

On entering service, JLTV will replace a percentage of the current AM General High Mobility Multi-purpose Wheeled Vehicle fleet. (Oshkosh Defense)

While the US Army is planning a major design overhaul for its Abrams M1A2 SEPv3 main battle tank (MBT), the service wants to slow down the tempo of upgrades for its most advanced MBTs, according to budget documents released on 11 March.

The decision to slow down the rate was “financial” as well as to keep the upgrades on pace with the rest of the capabilities in the Armoured Brigade Combat Team (ABCT), Major General Joe Hilbert, director of Force Development and deputy chief of staff (G-8), told reporters on 12 March.

In the fiscal year (FY) 2024 budget request, the army's plans showed that it wanted to fund 45 upgrades in FY 2025, 49 in FY 2026, 21 in FY 2027, and 70 in FY 2028. In the recently released FY 2025 budget request, the service requested to slow procurement down to 30, 35, 35, 35, and 35 upgrades in FY 2025–29 respectively.


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Australia orders Boxers to export to Germany

by Nicholas Fiorenza

Australia ordered over 100 sWaTrg Inf heavy weapon carrier infantry vehicles from Rheinmetall on 10 April. (Rheinmetall)

The Australian government signed a production agreement with Rheinmetall Defence Australia on 10 April for over 100 Boxer Schwerer Waffenträger Infanterie (sWaTrg Inf) heavy weapon carrier infantry vehicles to export to Germany. The company said in a press release announcing the contract later the same day that it would be Australia's largest foreign military export to Germany.

The vehicles are being procured under a government-to-government letter of intent signed by Canberra and Berlin in March.

Rheinmetall's Military Vehicle Centre of Excellence (MILVEHCOE) in Redbank, Queensland, will produce the vehicles, with deliveries to the German government planned for 2026–30, the Australian Department of Defence (DoD) said in a press release on 10 April.

A Rheinmetall spokesperson told Janes that the first 20 vehicles would be produced in Rheinmetall's Kassel and Unterluess plants in Germany, with deliveries scheduled for 2025.

The sWaTrg Inf will replace the Bundeswehr's Wiesel 1 tracked tactical direct fire support weapon carrier and equip the German Army's new medium forces.


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Ukraine conflict: Lithuania sends mobile command vehicles to Ukraine

by Olivia Savage

Lithuania is providing its M577 command vehicle (pictured) to Ukraine under a military support deal. (Janes/Patrick Allen)

Lithuania has supplied an undisclosed number of M577 armoured command vehicles to the Ukrainian army.

The vehicles, provided under a military support deal, arrived in Ukraine on 5 April, according to the Lithuanian Ministry of National Defence (MND) on 6 April.

An MND spokesperson was unable to specify to Janes the number of units supplied for security reasons.

M577 is the command-and-control (C2) variant of the M113 tracked armoured personnel carrier (APC) that was first introduced to the US Army in the 1960s. Three generations exist – A1, A2, and A3 – as is the case with the M113. M577 can also be used as a fire-direction centre and mobile medical treatment facility as well as a communications vehicle.

In December 2016 Lithuania acquired 168 M577A2 vehicles from Germany at a cost of EUR1.6 million (USD1.7 million). The vehicles were suited for various purposes, including C2, artillery fire control, mortar fire control, training, and as an ambulance. This followed an earlier order for 26 M577s from Germany.


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Update: Iraq announces start of VN22 armoured vehicle production

by Jeremy Binnie

A still from a video released on 3 April 2024 shows a Norinco VN22 being demonstrated for the Iraqi minister of interior. (Defence Industry Commission of Iraq (DICI))

Iraq's state-owned defence industry has said it has begun producing Norinco VN22 6×6 armoured vehicles.

The Defence Industry Commission of Iraq (DICI) posted a video on its Facebook page on 1 April in which engineer Mustafa Ati Hassan, the president of the Military Industrialization Authority, stood next to a VN22 to announce the start of production of a 6×6 vehicle he did not name at the Al-Rabie factory, which is in southeast Baghdad. He provided no further details of the programme, with the video showing a production line for 4×4 light armoured vehicles, not the VN22.


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https://www.janes.com/defence-news/land-forces/latest/pentagon-budget-2025-army-plans-to-slow-down-abrams-stryker-upgrades

While the US Army is planning a major design overhaul for its Abrams M1A2 SEPv3 main battle tank (MB...

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