Ukraine conflict: Germany orders 10 PzH 2000 SPHs to replace those sent to Kyiv

by Nicholas Fiorenza

Germany is procuring 10 new PzH 2000s for delivery in 2025–26 to replace the SPHs supplied to Ukraine in 2022. (KMW)

Germany's Federal Office of Bundeswehr Equipment, Information Technology, and In-Service Support (Bundesamt für Ausrüstung, Informationstechnik und Nutzung der Bundeswehr: BAAINBw) awarded Krauss-Maffei Wegmann (KMW) a contract for 10 new Panzerhaubitze (PzH) 2000 155 mm self-propelled howitzers (SPHs) on 30 March, the German company announced in a press release on the same day. The contract includes options for three batches of six PzH 2000s each.

On 29 March, the German Federal Ministry of Defence announced on its website that the budget committee of the Bundestag, Germany's parliament, had approved the contract valued at EUR184 million (around USD200 million). The ministry said the PzH 2000s would be delivered to the Bundeswehr in 2025–26.

The Bundestag budget committee's approval is required for procurements exceeding EUR25 million. The EUR184 million contract for the 10 PzH 2000s is financed by the Ertüchtigungsinitiative training initiative fund for Ukraine, valued at EUR2.2 billion in 2023, as the SPHs being procured are replacing the ones donated to Kyiv.

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Qatar displays upgraded VAB APCs

by Jeremy Binnie

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.

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South Korea to upgrade K9A1 howitzers

by Kapil Kajal

South Korea has announced plans to upgrade the RoKA's K9A1 self-propelled howitzers. (Hanwha Defense)

South Korea's Defense Acquisition Program Administration (DAPA) has announced plans to upgrade K9A1 Thunder 155 mm/52 calibre self-propelled howitzers (SPHs) and 120 mm self-propelled mortars (SPMs) in service with the Republic of Korea Army (RoKA).

A DAPA spokesperson told Janes on 31 May that a visit by the agency earlier that month to the RoKA's Capital Mechanized Infantry Division in Gapyeong had identified about 15 upgrade requirements.

The spokesperson said that these upgrades include “installing additional footrests for the K9A1 SPHs and preparing a plan to shorten the alignment time of the 120 mm self-propelled mortar inertial navigation system”. The spokesperson added, “Most of [the upgrades] are tasks that can improve the safety, convenience, and operational efficiency for operators.”

These upgrades are newly identified based on input from the operating RoKA unit, the spokesperson added. However, DAPA is “still internally looking into whether or not to execute the identified tasks to applicable weapon systems, how much funds are required, and how long it would take to finish [the] upgrades”, the spokesperson said.

According to Janes World Armies,

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Parting shot: Combatant craft large

by Ridzwan Rahmat

The Republic of Singapore Navy's combatant craft large. (Janes/Ridzwan Rahmat)

The combatant craft large (CCL) was first unveiled by Singapore's Ministry of Defence (MINDEF) in 2021. It was conceived by the Republic of Singapore Navy (RSN) for the service's special forces formation known as the Naval Diving Unit (NDU) and jointly developed with the country's Defence Science & Technology Agency (DSTA).

MINDEF has since confirmed to Janes that as of April 2023 the combatant craft is fully operational with the NDU, which is responsible for operations such as underwater explosive ordnance disposal, counter-terrorism, and other special forces missions.

MINDEF has also indicated that the vessels were built locally but did not elaborate. Presumably, the builder is the marine division of state-affiliated defence company, ST Engineering.

The combatant craft is designed to be highly manoeuvrable, with the ability to achieve high speeds even within congested environments, said MINDEF.

The combatant craft features an aluminium hull and it has an overall length of 26 m and a breadth of 5 m. The vessel can accommodate a crew of four including a boat commander, a coxswain, a navigator, and an engineer.

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