Military science students man the SARP weapon stations fitted to Qatar's upgraded VAB armoured personnel carriers during Exercise ‘Lebsair'. (Qatar Ministry of Defense)
Qatar unveiled its modernised 6×6 Véhicule de l'Avant Blindé (VAB) armoured personnel carriers (APCs) on 31 May, when its Ministry of Defense released a video showing several being used in a training exercise.
The video showed students from the Military Sciences Diploma course using three VABs to simulate an assault at a coastal training facility north of Dukhan as part of Exercise ‘Lebsair'. The APCs have been fitted with the Aselsan SARP remotely operated weapon stations with .50 calibre machine guns and close-range surveillance cameras to provide 360° situational awareness.
Serhan Özsoy, Aselsan Land and Weapon Systems programme director, told a conference in November 2022 that his company had also fitted Qatari VABs with new radios and internal communications systems. He said that 50 VABs were upgraded and delivered four months before the 2022 FIFAWorld Cup that began in Doha that month.
The M12 (top) is a 30×173 mm calibre autocannon that is already being fitted to Serbian armoured fighting vehicles. (Janes)
Serbia's Zastava has developed a new 30 mm autocannon that can fire NATO-standard munitions.
The company debuted its M12 autocannon at the Partner 2023 defence exhibition in Belgrade, and is already delivering the system for upgrades to in-service Serbian military armoured fighting vehicles, including the BVP M-80AB2.
The gas-operated autocannon has a dual-feed capability. This enables the operator to fire two types of ammunition natures without having to reload. The M12 is being offered with locally produced ammunition, currently limited to armour-piercing and high-explosive rounds.
A Zastava representative told Janes that the company hopes the M12 will offer an indigenous production capability for the autocannon for use on armoured fighting vehicles. With the M12 already selected for upgrading the BVP M-80s, there may be other upgrade opportunities for Serbian military vehicles.
The gun is reported to have a length of 3.2 m, and it is likely that used casings are ejected forwards after firing, given the dual-feed capability.
Ukraine conflict: European countries approve new weapons donations
21 September 2023
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.
DSEI 2023: IAG eyes European market with Bulgarian factory
19 September 2023
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
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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