TADTE 2023: BAE Systems offers M109A7 for Taiwan's howitzer requirement

by Kapil Kajal

The M109A7 SPH, pictured above firing in an US Army exercise, can sustain a one round per minute rate of fire and a maximum rate of fire of four rounds per minute. (US Army)

BAE Systems has offered its M109A7 155 mm tracked self-propelled howitzer (SPH) to the Republic of China Army (RoCA) to meet the service's howitzer requirement, a spokesperson for BAE Systems told Janes at the Taipei Aerospace & Defense Technology Exhibition 2023 (TADTE 2023) held in Taipei from 14 to 16 September 2023.

The spokesperson said the company is in discussions with the RoCA and the service has also shown interest in procuring the SPHs.

“The RoCA operates nearly 200 M109A2s and M109A5s. The service wanted to buy [the] M109A6 for its requirement of howitzers. The US also approved the Foreign Military Sales (FMS) to Taiwan of 40 M109A6s in 2021. But the sale was cancelled due to unknown reasons,” the spokesperson added.

Now the RoCA is willing to buy the M109A7, which is equipped with a bigger chassis than the M109A6, the spokesperson said.

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Ukraine conflict: German cartel office approves Rheinmetall-Ukrainian Defence Industry joint venture

by Nicholas Fiorenza

Rheinmetall CEO Armin Papperger has spoken of setting up a plant in Ukraine to produce the KF51 Panther tank, shown at Eurosatory 2022. (Janes/Sonny Butterworth)

The Bundeskartellamt, Germany's Federal Cartel Office, approved Rheinmetall's joint venture with the Ukrainian Defence Industry (UDI) group, formerly Ukroboronprom, the office and German company announced in separate press releases on 28 September.

The Bundeskartellamt said the joint venture would repair, conduct maintenance, assemble, produce, and develop military vehicles.

It will be based in Kyiv and initially operate only in Ukraine. The Bundeskartellamt found no competitive overlaps in Germany and no indications of competition concerns and approved the merger within a month.

Rheinmetall said co-operation between it and UDI aims to strengthen Ukraine's defence sector and ultimately the country's national security by gradually building joint capabilities in defence technology in Ukraine. The German company added that Ukraine would benefit from comprehensive technology transfer, from building up its defence technology capacities at home, from additional local added value, and from prompt deliveries of military equipment from Germany.

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Partner 2023: TRB rolls out Vihor 4×4

by Christopher Petrov

The Vihor 4×4 is an 8 tonne protected mobility vehicle that is designed to provide a platform for multiple functions, such as an armoured personnel carrier or a self-propelled mortar system. (Janes/Christopher Petrov)

Tehnički Remont Bratunac (TRB) from Republika Srpska in Bosnia debuted its new Vihor 4×4 at the Partner 2023 defence exhibition in Belgrade. The multirole vehicle joins a portfolio now offered by TRB, which includes the Despot.

The Vihor has a payload capacity of 2 tonnes and is powered by a Volvo TAD 840-43VW engine that produces 320 hp at 2,200 rpm and is mated to an Allison 3000 SP gearbox. The chassis is equipped with a two-speed transfer case with a differential lock and an independent suspension system to offer improved offroad capabilities. The vehicle can reach a top speed of over 120 km/h on road and can ford to a depth of 1.4 m. STANAG 4569 Level 2 ballistic protection is provided as standard, but this can be enhanced to Level 3.

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Partner 2023: BVP M-80AB2 armed with 30 mm cannon breaks cover

by Christopher Petrov

BVP M-80AB2 upgrade introduces a new 30 mm M12 autocannon from Zastava. (Janes/Christopher Petrov)

Serbia's Military Technical Institute (MTI) rolled out the latest variant of the M-80 at the Partner 2023 exhibition in Belgrade.

The BVP M-80AB2 is armed with a new Zastava 30 mm M12 autocannon, and is equipped with a new armour package and sensor suite, among other enhancements. The vehicle has been comprehensively upgraded to extend its service in the Serbian Army.

The M12 autocannon is chambered in 30×173 mm calibre, and additional armament comes via a 7.62 mm co-axial machine gun and a 30 mm automatic grenade launcher. Side-mounted Malyutka 2T, 2F, and 2TS anti-tank guided missiles can also be fitted. A substantial application of applique steel armour plates has been introduced, with the front receiving solid plates while the sides have been fitted with perforated plates to save on weight. According to MTI the frontal armour is capable of stopping an unspecified type of 30 mm round. The rear of the vehicle is stated to be immune to rounds up to 14.5 mm, with the sides being the least protected, only having protection against 7.62 mm rounds.

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BAE Systems has offered its M109A7 155 mm tracked self-propelled howitzer (SPH) to the Republic of C...

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