22 March 2023
by Meredith Roaten
After months of deliberations, top US Army officials have decided that sending the M1A1 Abrams tank to Ukraine is faster than sending the M1A2 as originally planned. (US Marine Corps)
The Pentagon announced on 21 March that the 31 Abrams main battle tanks (MBTs) promised to Ukraine will not be M1A2 model as initially planned.
In order to get platforms to Ukraine faster, the US will pull 31 M1A1 tanks from US Army stocks and spruce them up for battle, said Pentagon Press Secretary Brigadier General Pat Ryder on 21 March. The variant change will “significantly expedite delivery timelines” and will ensure that the tanks will arrive by “the fall timeframe”.
The funding for the assistance to Kyiv will come from Ukraine Security Assistance Initiative (USAI), which will enable the Pentagon to pay General Dynamics to modify the M1 tank hulls.
Scott Taylor, director of US business development at General Dynamics Land Systems, told Janes that the tanks will be refurbished according to the US Army's 10-20 mission capable standards.
01 June 2023
by Zach Rosenberg
A US triservice formation of the US Air Force F-35A (lead), the US Marine Corps F-35B, and the US Navy F-35C. (US Air Force)
On 30 May the US Government Accountability Office (GAO) released a report about the Lockheed Martin F-35, finding that the programme has not adequately explained a cost increase of USD13.4 billion since 2019, that the upgraded Block 4 version has run into technical snags and a USD1 billion cost increase, and that the US Department of Defense (DoD) has not fully defined requirements for an engine cooling system upgrade.
The USD13.4 billion increase is because of greater acquisition costs, the GAO wrote. “The programme attributes the increased procurement cost to additional years of costs related to airframe and engine production, along with support costs for equipment, technical data, and training,” the GAO wrote. “According to programme officials, the programme is deferring the delivery of these 215 aircraft to later years at the request of the air force.” F-35 development costs have increased by a total of USD21.1 billion between 2012 and 2021, the GAO found. The programme's total 77-year lifespan cost now hovers around USD1.7 trillion.
26 May 2023
by Kapil Kajal
In service with the Republic of Korea Army, Hyundai Rotem's K2 main battle tank, pictured above, is replacing ageing inventories of M48 Patton tanks and older models of the K1 MBT. (Janes/Kelvin Wong)
South Korea's Defense Acquisition Program Administration (DAPA) has approved the mass production of a fourth batch of the Hyundai Rotem K2 main battle tank (MBT) for the Republic of Korea Army (RoKA).
DAPA said on 25 May that the project to build the batch-four MBTs has been allocated KRW1.94 trillion (USD1.46 billion) between 2024 and 2028. It said the additional K2s will contribute to the “improvement of the mobile corps' ability to perform offensive manoeuvres”.
DAPA did not disclose how many K2s would be built in the new batch.
According to Janes Land Warfare Platforms: Armoured Fighting Vehicles, the K2 is a third-generation MBT designed to provide the RoKA with modern heavy-armour capability.
The MBT is operated by a crew of three and has a length of 10.8 m and a width of 3.6 m. It weighs 56 tonnes and has a maximum onroad speed of 70 km/h.
25 May 2023
by Michael Fabey
Electric Boat awarded Newport News Shipbuilding a contract modification for Block V attack submarines. (Newport News Shipbuilding)
General Dynamics Electric Boat awarded HII's Newport News Shipbuilding (NNS) unit a USD305.2 million contract modification to procure long-lead-time material for two additional Block V Virginia-class submarines, HII confirmed on 24 May.
The contract modification brings the overall contract value to USD10.2 billion, HII said.
“These funds are critically important to stabilising and providing predictability to the thousands of suppliers across the country,” said Jason Ward, NNS vice-president of Virginia-class submarine construction. “The submarine industrial base is crucial.”
That base has become a bit unstable recently in the wake of the Covid-19 pandemic-related effects, inflation, and supply issues. Officials at HII's NNS division said they are taking measures to stabilise their US nuclear submarine and aircraft construction programmes.
“It's a complex problem,” Ward said on 5 May at the company's Virginia shipyard in an interview before the 6 May christening of the Block IV Virginia-class attack submarine Massachusetts (SSN 798).
“The Virginia-class cadence has not executed [as planned],” Ward said. “We are working to stabilise and accelerate [construction].”
The Pentagon announced on 21 March that the 31 Abrams main battle tanks (MBTs) promised to Ukraine w...
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