Ukraine conflict: Defence contact group meeting fails to agree to send Leopard 2 tanks to Kyiv

by Nicholas Fiorenza

The Ukraine Defense Contact Group meeting at Ramstein Air Base on 20 January failed to agree to send Leopard 2 tanks to Kyiv (photo of Polish Leopard 2PL). (PGZ)

The Ukraine Defense Contact Group met at Ramstein Air Base, Germany, on 20 January but failed to come to an agreement on sending Leopard 2 tanks to Kyiv.

The new German Defence Minister, Boris Pistorius, said that Berlin had not reached a decision on supplying Ukraine with Leopard 2 tanks. However, he ordered his ministry to conduct an inventory of the different versions of Leopard 2s available in case there is a decision.

German news magazine Der Spiegel reported on 22 January that the German Ministry of Defence had already made an inventory of German Leopard 2s in mid-2022, which numbered 312 in Bundeswehr and 99 in industry stocks, with one tank being phased out. Nineteen of these tanks being used for training purposes could be sent to Ukraine, according to Der Spiegel.

He stated Berlin's position that a decision on whether or not to supply Leopard 2 tanks to Ukraine was still open but had to be carefully weighed.

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Germany and Israel sign joint declaration of intent on Arrow

by Nicholas Fiorenza

Germany and Israel signed a joint declaration of intent on 28 September on the procurement of the Arrow Weapon System for the Luftwaffe. (IAI)

German Defence Minister Boris Pistorius and his Israeli counterpart, Yoav Gallant, signed a joint declaration of intent in Berlin on 28 September on Germany's procurement of the Arrow Weapon System (AWS) for the Luftwaffe.

Pistorius said afterwards in a joint press conference with Gallant that “the Arrow system will prepare German air defence for the future”, with the system defending Germany from ballistic missiles. He added that the system would be part of NATO Integrated Air and Missile Defence, offering Germany's neighbours protection.

Pistorius described the signing of the joint declaration of intent with Israel as a first step in the procurement of the AWS, which together with the approval by the budget committee of the Bundestag, Germany's parliament, in June would allow the system to begin to be used starting by the end of 2025. The first system elements will be available to the Luftwaffe in 2025, with the initial operational capability planned by the fourth quarter of that year, according to the German Ministry of Defence (MoD).

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Northrop Grumman awarded US Air Force contract to build Stand-in Attack Weapon

by Zach Rosenberg

Northrop Grumman's Stand-in Attack Weapon. (Northrop Grumman)

The US Air Force (USAF) has awarded Northrop Grumman a USD705 million contract to develop and test the Stand-in Attack Weapon (SiAW), an air-to-ground missile intended to strike high-priority targets, the company announced on 25 September.

SiAW is designed to be carried internally by the Lockheed Martin F-35, which cannot employ ground attack missiles currently in the arsenal. The missile will also be integrated with other USAF platforms, although the F-35 is scheduled to be the first aircraft with which it is set to be integrated.

“To adapt to ever-changing threats, the missile design features open architecture interfaces that will allow for rapid subsystem upgrades,” Northrop Grumman said in a statement.

Northrop Grumman is to conduct at least four test flights of SiAW in advance of the USAF's desired 2026 initial operational capability (IOC), according to the company. The missile reportedly leverages ongoing work with a similar US Navy programme, the Advanced Anti-Radiation Guided Missile – Extended Range (AARGM-ER).

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Partner 2023: Serbia modernises 2S1 Gvozdika

by Christopher Petrov

The upgrade by Srboauto modernises the legacy 2S1 self-propelled artillery system for the Serbian Armed Forces. (Janes/Christopher Petrov)

Serbia's Srboauto has begun modernising the Serbian Army's 2S1 Gvozdika self-propelled artillery systems. The upgrade includes the ability to fire extended-range munitions, a defensive 7.62 mm machine gun for the commander, and a new fire-control system (FCS). An example of the upgrade was displayed at the Partner 2023 defence exhibition in Belgrade.

The 2S1 retains its 122 mm main armament, but with the development of extended-range munitions it can now engage targets at just over 20 km. The new FCS generates targeting data more quickly and enables the operators to act faster and more accurately than with the 2S1's standard FCS. The upgrade also introduces an uncooled thermal camera for the driver, which is mounted on the front of the hull, with daytime cameras fitted on the front and rear of the vehicle. The 2S1 also receives an open-top turret for a 7.62 mm machine gun that can be used for defensive purposes.

The vehicle has also received a new heating, ventilation, and cooling system to maximise crew comfort.

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