Wednesday, December 31, 2014

K2 contract signed

Meet the New Predator in
Korea's Forests:

Black Panther

Korean K2 MBT

According to Defense Update:

The Korean automotive industrial giant Hyundai Rotem Co. has signed a contract worth US$820.29 million (901.5 billion won) with the Korean Defense Acquisition and Procurement Agency (DAPA) to deliver the first 100 'Black Panther' K2 Main Battle Tanks (MBT) to the South Korean Army.

K2 is a 55 ton combat weight MBT armed with a 120mm 55 caliber smoothbore gun. The development of the K2 MBT began in 1993. The tank has a crew of three, commander, gunner and loader made possible by the bustle located auto-loader. The turret has a coaxial 7.62mm and a pintle mounted 12.7mm machine gun.

K2 Auto Loader
K2 Tank AutoLoader

K2 MBT Firing

Copyright: Military Today

Production vehicles will have a Korean powerpack with a power of 1.500HP, the 12 cylinder diesel engine is developed by Doosan, where the transmission is developed by S&T Dynamics. Initially the tank used an German MTU 883 engine coupled to a Renk transmission. The powerpack is conventionally located at the rear as well as the drive sprockets.

The gunner is seated on the left side of the turret with the commander to his right. Gunner has a dual-axis stabilized sight with auto-tracking capability and the commander has a panoramic stabilized sight to allow hunter-killer type operation. Turret has an onboard ammunition capability of 16 120mm rounds. Additional 24 rounds are stored in the hull.

K2 Turret

Tuesday, December 30, 2014

V-22 Tanker Variant for USMC

V-22 Texaco?

V-22 Tanker Concept

According to Marine Corps Times' Dec 28 entry, USMC is going to have an aerial tanker variant of V-22 Osprey as early as 2017.

The image below shows a concept description of the Tanker V-22.

V-22 Tanker Concept

"The V-22 Osprey is getting topped-off with a new capability. An aerial refuelling system is being developed for the tilt-rotor aircraft, turning the cargo and personnel carrier into a tanker that can provide fuel to other aircraft, mid-flight.

"The aerial refueling capability is going to be the next thing," for the Osprey, Maj. Douglas Thumm, the plans officer for the V-22 at Headquarters Marine Corps, said.

The Osprey's tanker system is in the early stages of development and won't be ready until 2017, he said.

When operational, the V-22 could refuel the Corps' fleet of aircraft, including the new F-35B Lightning II. It could also rendezvous with ground vehicles, land, and fill them up, Thumm said. Many of the Corps' ground vehicles can run on aviation fuel, he said..."

The part that is interesting is the aerial-to-ground refueler concept.

Read the rest on  Marine Corps Times.

Tuesday, December 16, 2014

First Leopard 2A7's delivered to German Army

German Army has taken delivery
the First 
Leopard 2A7

Leopard 2 A7

Krauss-Maffei Wegmann (KMW) has delivered the first Leopard 2 A7 main battle tanks (MBT) to the German Army, at its facility in Munich, Germany.

The tanks are a conversion of surplus Royal Netherlands Army Leopard 2A6 NLs, which were supplied by Canada as compensation for the Leopard 2A6M MBTs it had borrowed from Germany in 2007. 

Initially Canada leased 20 Leo A6M's from Germany for operations in Afghanistan. Later, Canada bought 100 Leopard 2A4 MBTs from Netherlands and gave 20 of those tanks to Germany. KMW upgraded these to 2A7 standard and delivered them to German Army.

Canada has probably 40 Leo 2s in A6 standard and the rest will stay in A4 level.

The tanks have been fitted with features that optimise protection against asymmetrical and conventional threats while enhancing sustainment, in addition to sighting equipment for reconnaissance.

An auxiliary power unit has been installed to ensure they are fully operational even without a main running engine and to cool the turret and crew compartment.

Leopard 2 A7

Additional survivability enhancements include new a drivers hatch, all-electric gun-control equipment and a combat troops control and weapons deployment system to integrate the tanks into the control network.

Leopard 2A7
Photo: JPW

The Leopard 2 A7s have also been modified to fire fuse-programmable high-explosive ammunition, which is effective against bunkers and fortified positions. It can also fire the latest-generation Rheinmetall 120mm armour piercing fin stabilised discarding sabot - tracer DM63 round, IHS Jane's reported.

Rheinmetall 120mm DM11 round has programmable time fuse and axial and radial fragments capability combined with long range. The round can be programmed to explode on impact, impact function with delay and air burst.

DM11 can penetrate thick walls and explode inside to achieve maximum lethality which is attained by the delay function. The round have also impact fuse capability to penetrate light to medium armored targets. 


- Army Technology 

Saturday, December 13, 2014

France starts Scorpion Vehicle Programme

France starts Scorpion Vehicle Programme

Engin Blindé Multi-Rôles (EBMR) Scorpion programme  is aimed at providing Multi-Role Armored Vehicles to the French Army. The Scorpion program will transform the French Army, to allow it to meet the operational challenges of tomorrow. It also brings together all the French Army platform programs: EBRC, VBMR, modernized Leclerc heavy tank, Felin, Scorpion Combat and Information System (SIC-S) and communication means. 

On November 23rd, French Defense Minister Jean-Yves Le Drian announced the long-awaited launch of the €5 billion (US $6.1 billion) Scorpion modernization program, with partners Nexter, Renault Trucks Defense (RTD) and Thales with the first phase of €752 million  to develop two key armored vehicles.

Those two vehicles are 

VBMR Griffon

  • Véhicule Blindé Multirole (VBMR), Multi-Role Armored Vehicle,  a six-wheel troop carrier named Griffon

EBRC Jaguar

  • Engin Blindé de Reconnaissance et de Combat (EBRC), Reconnaissance and Combat Armored Vehicle, a six-wheeled combat vehicle, named Jaguar.

EBRC Jaguar is the more attention worthy of these in terms of its role and firepower. French Army will have a total of 248 Jaguar vehicles when the programme is completed. It is expected that around 110 vehicles to be delivered until 2025, started from 2020.

Jaguar is a 6x6 armored reconnaissance vehicle with a two-men turret.

Jaguar has a Combat Weight of 25 tons which is quite significant for a 6x6 vehicle and a crew of 3 of which two located in the turret.


Nexter T40 Two-Men Turret

Nexter's T40 Two Men turret forms the firepower of the Jaguar.

T40 turret is armed with 40mm CTA Anglo-French cannon, two MBDA's MMP medium range anti-tank missiles and a remotely operated 7.62mm. 

T40 has weight of 4.2 tonnes with Level 4 protection.

In addition to the gunner sight, T40 has a panoramic commander's sight to allow Hunter-Killer capability. In some sources, it is stated that the gunner's sight has an Identification Range of 3500 - 4.000 meters, which is quite  impressive, if true.


The Jaguar platform is a 6x6 wheeld vehicle with a combat weight of 25 tons. 

The vehicle is expected to have a protection level of STANAG 4569 Level IV providing a kinetic energy protection of 14.5x114mm Armor Piercing heavy machine gun rounds and a mine protection level that protects against 10kg mine blast under a wheel.

The driver is seated at the front center of the hull. He has a single-piece hatch which is provided with three day periscopes. 

The driver being in the front center indicated the powerpack might be at the rear of the vehicle.

The gunner of the Jaguar EBRC is seated on the right of the turret with the commander on the left.

French Wheeled Reconnaissance Vehicle Heritage

French has always been into the wheeled vehicles for Reconnaissance. 

Another French tradition for their wheeled reconnaissance vehicles is their tendency to provide heavy firepower.

After World War II, mainly around 1950-1960's, French has come up with a number of Armored Reconnaissance Vehicles with the lates one ERC90 entering service in 1984.

The chart below shows the chronology of the French Armored Cars for Recon.

French Armored Recon Cars

You can see that these armored cars pack a very large punch starting from of 90mm cannons up to the AMX10RC's 105mm rifled cannon.

It is astonishing to see a 105mm cannon on an armored car that only weighs 15 tons.

These led me to believe that French doctrine calls for fast and agile armored platforms to perform the reconnaissance mission. These platforms can:

  • Cover vast distances in a considerably short amount of time
  • Perform reconnaissance mission way front of the main force
  • Protect themselves even against heavily armored and armed opponents
  • Be used as fire support vehicles in low intensity conflicts such as the ones France fought in Africa.

In the near future, the Jaguar EBRC will take up the torch from his predecessors as shown in the family tree below:

French Armored Reconnaissance Heritage

In terms of firepower, French will replace the high caliber weapons such as the 90mm and 105mm with the new 40mm CT medium caliber cannon in the reconnaissance role.

I think this will give them, rapid firing capability supported by a new generation sighting system for the gunner and commander plus a modern fire-control system that will satisfy a high first round hit probability.

Coupled with the 40mm ammunition's acclaimed high penetration and the capabilities coming from the use of  programmable rounds, Jaguar will have a quite good lethality against a large range of targets.

The modern sighting equipment and data communication capability will also have an impact on the performance and success of the reconnaissance missions.

The UK's Scout SV a 40+ ton tracked vehicle with 40mm CT two-men turret and France's 6x6 25 ton wheeled vehicle with a similar weapon system show two different approaches in armored reconnaissance and only time will tell how they will perform.

Tuesday, December 9, 2014

V-22 Osprey Firing Missile

V-22 Osprey 
'Forward Firing'

V-22 firing missile

Via DefenseNews:

V-22 Osprey manufacturer Bell Boeing V-22 successfully tested its forward-firing capability last month at the US Army Proving Ground in Yuma, Arizona, it was announced Monday.

Company officials said the test showed the V-22 can be armed with a variety of forward-facing munitions and can hit targets with a high degree of reliability. That will reduce the Osprey’s reliance on forward arming and refueling points, which are sometimes necessary to supply short-range attack rotorcraft in support of V-22 operations.

Vince Tobin, vice president and program manager for the Bell Boeing V-22, said this would allow the V-22 to be launched more frequently and on shorter notice.

Forward-facing weapons and armor protection are among several quick-turnaround upgrades that US Special Operations Command is pursuing after three Air Force Special Operations Command (AFSOC) Ospreys were shot up over Juba, South Sudan, a year ago, a program official said in May.

I don't think this is the solution to provide the Osprey with a weapon system.

V-22 needs a weapon that can provide supressive fire during the approach to a Landing Zone (LZ) where the aircraft is most vulnerable.

This forward firing missile system cannot satisfy securing hot/unknown LZs. And 2-4 missiles wont make the Osprey an equivalent to a dedicated attack aircraft such as USMC AH-1Z or US Army's AH-64.

The system proposed for the V22 in the past would be a much better approach to weaponizing the Osprey.

V-22 Weapon System

Monday, December 1, 2014

M230LF Alternative for .50cal & 40mm AGL??

ATK 30mm M230LF ChainGun
An Alternative for Weapon Systems
to Replace
.50cal and 40mm AGL?

The story of the M230 30mm autocannon begins with Hughes Helicopter in early 1970's thru the effort to develop AH-64 Apache Helicopter. 

M230 ChainGun is now part of ATK's ChainGun family.

M230 30mm AH-64

AH-64 Apache M230 30mm ChainGun

M230 forms an integral part of the Apache helicopter with its 1200 round magazine. It enables he Apache crew to engage fortifications, light armor and personnel in the open.

M230 Cannon

M230 30mm ChainGun


M230 fires 30x113mm ammunition. The ammunition was first developed for British ADEN and French DEFA 550 revolver cannons in 1950s. These guns were developed for aircraft usage.

30x113 Ammunition

One common mistake about M230 gun and its ammunition is to think that it is better than the 25mm (25x137mm) and/or equal to the larger 30mm-30x173mm that is fired from Mk44/MK30 cannons.

In fact, 30x113mm ammunition can be best described as 'Light 30'. The following image shows the size comparison of 30x113mm and its big brother 30x173mm rounds.

You can see from the above image that, 30x173mm round fired from Mk44 cannon has a lot bigger punch than the M230's 30x113mm.

M230 30mm ChainGun

Three types of ammunition were developed for M230. These are:

  • M788 TP Target Practice
  • M789 HEDP High Explosive Dual Purpose
  • M799 HEI High Explosive Incendiary


For AH-64 and MH-60L Direct Action Penetrator helicopters, the preferred and widely used combat round is M789 HEDP. Some of its characteristics:

  • Weight: 350grams
  • Muzzle velocity: 805 m/s
  • Anti-personel effect: 4m lethality radius
  • Penetration: 25mm thick RHA Rolled Homogenous Armor at 50degree obliquity at a range of 500m
As comparison for lethality, 25mm APFSDS round that can be fired from a M242 Bushmaster cannon penetrates around 45mm RHA at 500m range.

The penetration for 30x173mm APFSDS round that is fired from Mk44 can easily penetrate about 55mm RHA at the same range.

So these numbers say that M230 is not a direct replacement for 25mm M242 Bushmaster, let alone Mk44 Bushmaster II 30mm.

Development of M230LF

ATK started the development of a new variant of M230 chaingun aimed at ground and naval platforms. It is called M230LF with LF stands for LinkFed.

The development effort concentrated on the following changes & improvements:

  • Link-feed ammunition to enable conventional belted ammunition usage and simple ammo cans
  • Increased barrel length to enable higher muzzle velocity
  • 24V DC electrical operation required for ground platforms
  • Hang-Fire protection to improve manned turret safety
  • Rate of fire better suited to land and naval applications

So how best M230/LF can be best employed?

Although 30x113mm ammunition is a member of the Medium Caliber Family, it is located at the lower end of the spectrum in terms of lethality.

However, M230 is a  compact, lightweight and low recoil cannon.


As you can see from the image, M230LF has a total length of around 2.2m. 
  • 25mm M242 has a total length of 2.6m
  • 30mm Mk44 has a total length of 3.4m
In terms of weight:
  • M230LF total weight: 72.6kg
  • 25mm M242 total weight: 119kg
  • 30mm Mk44 total weight: 156kg
Recoil force:
  • M230LF Recoil:  7.34kN (Naval)/ 28kN (Ground)
  • 25mm M242 Recoil: 40kN
  • 30mm Mk44 Recoil: 35.6kN
Looking at the values above, it seems M230LF can be a good alternative for light turrets and Remote Weapon Stations that are armed with:

  • 12.7mm/.50 cal M2 Heavy Machine Gun
  • 40mm Mk19/GMG Automatic Grenade Launcher

In that case, the main reasons/advantages will be:
  • M230LF's high lethality and longer range compared with M2/Mk19
  • M230LF's straight trajectory compared with Mk19's high trajectory
  • M230LF being an electric driven gun that does not need any fancy mechanisms such as trigger solenoid and cocking actuator
  • Frontal case ejection that makes it easier to integrate in a turret
  • Lower weight, smaller dimensions and lower recoil enables light turrets to be developed. This also provides light platforms packed with higher fire power.
However, M230LF also has some drawbacks when compared with M2 & Mk19
  • Apparently higher initial cost
  • Comparably higher weight that limits man portability
  • Lack of tripod operation in case of removal from the turret or platform.
The images below shows some applications of M230LF:

Mk51 Weapon System onboard LCS

M230LF would be a very good capability to upgrade the firepower of some platforms such as:

- US Marine Corps AAV7 Amphibious Assault Vehicle
- M1117 4x4 Armored Security Vehicle
- M113 to enable more firepower than the current .50cal cupolas
- M1126 Stryker 8x8

in 1-Man and remote turret designs.

Textron 1 Man Turret M230 30mm
Textron's 1 Man Turret Concept with M230 ChainGun

CMı CPWS Turret M230 ChainGun

CMI's CPWS with M230 ChainGun

Wednesday, November 12, 2014

Little Willie: Forefather of the Tank

Forefather of the Tank:

Little Willie

explained by
David Fletcher 
The Tank Museum

This year is the 100th anniversary of the beginning of World War I.

One of the outcomes of the Great War that will shape up the future of warfare forever was The Tank

And One of the very early forefathers of the tank is William Tritton and Walter Wilson's Little Willie.

Little Willie

You can find a good video on Little Willie from YouTube.

Mr. Fletcher from the Bovington Tank Museum explains not only about Little Willie also how the idea of Tank came about and why the tracks of the following tanks had rhomboidal shape.

So enjoy the video...

Monday, November 10, 2014

Azerbaijan's BRDM-2 Upgrade: ZKDM

Azerbaijan gives the venerable BRDM-2 a new breath:


BRDM-2 "Boyevaya Razvedyvatelnaya Dozornaya Mashina" when introduced in 1962, became the prime armored reconnaissance vehicle of Soviets and their allies namely the Warsaw Pact. It was also largely exported to more than 45 countries world wide.


BRDM-2 is a 7 ton 4x4 vehicle of welded steel contruction. The vehicle has a crew of 4 and a V8 gasoline engine located in the rear.

The crew enters and exits the vehicle thru the hatches above the driver and commander seats in the front of the vehicle.

The vehicle has 4 small chain driven wheels along the middle of the hull sides that can be raised and lowered to allow better traction and to lower the ground pressure on soft terrain.

A one man turret composes the fire power of the BRDM2. The turret is armed with 14.5mm KPVT heavy machinegun and a coaxial 7.62mm PKT machinegun.


Azerbaijan's ZKDM Upgrade

Azerbaijan ZKDM

Azerbaijan's Ministry of Defense led the effort for a local variant of BRDM-2 that is named ZKDM.

The layout of the vehicle was completely modified compared to the old BRDM-2, the small windows are removed and the front of the hull is fitted with new armour. The driver is seated at the front of the hull on the left with the vehicle commander to his right. The top of the hull is fitted with two roof hatches immediately behind the commander and driver. 

ZKDM Interior

One single door is available on each side of the hull. provided by the removal of the small tires on the sides of the vehicle. The single water-jet at the rear of the hull is removed.

The gasoline engine of the BRDM2 is replaced with a new diesel engine D-245.30E2 developing 150 hp to increase the maximum road speed of the vehicle to 100 km/h. 

Azerbaijan ZKDM

The ZKDM uses technology of V-hull to increase vehicle and crew survivability by deflecting an upward directed blast from a landmine (or Improvised Explosive Device) away from the vehicle. 

The body of the ZKDM provides protection level B-32 against armor-piercing incendiary full metal jacket round with a hardened steel core. 

The ZKDM has a total weight of 7,300 kg with a crew of three, including commander, driver and gunner.

The ZKDM is fitted with a new turret armed with a double-barrel, 23 mm GSh-23 cannon, one 7.62 mm PKT machine gun, one 30 mm AGS-17 grenade launchers, four 57 or 80 mm rocket launchers and two smoke grenade launchers mounted on each side of the vehicle. 


The turret is remotely controlled by the gunner and fitted with fire control system. The weapons have an elevation of +15º, a depression of -30º and the turret can be traversed through a full 360º. 

Standard equipment of the ZKDM includes BPK-2-42 day/night sight, a TV vision system with a maximum range of 1,000 m, and GPS navigation system GLONASS.

Sunday, October 26, 2014

FNSS Amphibious Assault Bridge

Amphibious Assault Bridge
from FNSS

Turkish Land Forces in the first half of 2000's decided to invest in bridging and river/lake crossing capability.

Instead of the pontoon or ribbon bridges, TLF wanted a different approach similar to Germany & UK's M3 Beaver.

Thus TLF opened up a competition for this capability and FNSS of Turkey won the tender and the contract  was signed on January 30th, 2007 for 52 vehicles.

All the vehicles have been delivered and Turkish Land Forces now have this capability in inventory.

Enter  Amphibious Assault Vehicle - Weasel:

Amphibious Assault Bridge

Copyright:  FNSS Savunma Sistemleri

The Weasel AAB is a bridge and ferry system designed for Turkish Armed Forces for fast and safe transport of land vehicles through the water obstacles such as rivers or lakes in the battlefield. 

Weasel's main difference from the M3 bridging vehicle is its 8 wheel drive capability. This enables the Weasel to have improved mobility over soft terrain conditions that are especially evident in the river banks where AAB should treat during ingress and egress phase of the river crossing.

With its diesel engine, automatic transmission, pneumatic suspension and hydraulic brake system, the AAAB system can climb up to 50% gradient and move on 30% side slope. The system, different from the similar systems in the market, has an 8x8 drive system with a central tire inflation system. 

Copyright:  FNSS Savunma Sistemleri

The Weasel AAB is self-deployable by road, operating as a 8x8 wheeled vehicle with a maximum road speed of 50 km/h. It is driven into the water for amphibious operation, for which it deploys two large aluminium pontoons, unfolding them along the length of its hull. In water, the Weasel AAB is propelled and steered by 2 fully traversable pump jets at speeds of up to 10 km/h.[FNSS]

One Weasel AAB can be used as a single ferry able to transport a 19 metric ton vehicle aboard. Or 3 of them can be joined together as a single ferry to transport a load of 76 metric tonnes.

Or 12 of the AABs can be joined together as a bridge that spans 150 meters.

Copyright:  FNSS Savunma Sistemleri

Copyright:  FNSS Savunma Sistemleri

For more information visit FNSS.

Monday, October 20, 2014

Upgunned Bradley Turrets

Upgunned Bradley Turrets
with 30mm Mk44
35mm Bushmaster III

An 'Anonymous Friend' of me left a recent comment on the upgunned Bradley Turret variants. Many thanks to him for the images.

The first one is the Bradley turret armed with Mk44 30mm autocannon. The 30mm Bradley has also been tested by Norway against CV90 in the 90s, but lost to CV90, which became the CV9030 Norway variant with 30mm Mk44 as the main armament.

 Here are some details on the 30mm Bradley:

The more interesting Bradley Turret up-arming was the Bushmaster III 35mm main gun.

Friday, October 17, 2014

Upgunned Bradley at AUSA
fresh from demonstration

Upgunned Bradley with 30mm XM813 Cannon

The Bradley that was recently demonstrated in Fort Benning meets with visitors at AUSA exhibition. 

This particular M2 Bradley has a new turret that is remotely operated and armed with a 30mm autocannon instead of the traditional M242 25mm gun.

The turret is from Kongsberg and called MCT30. this particular turret is armed with XM813 30mm cannon from ATK which is a derivative of the Mk44 30mm.

Tuesday, September 30, 2014

Bradley Demonstrated with 30mm Unmanned Turret

Are the Bradleys in for Upgunning?

Bradley with Kongsberg Remote Turret demonstrated in Fort Benning

A Bradley Fighting Vehicle mounted with an XM813 30-mm weapon system fires rounds and hits a downed helicopter from more than 1,000 meters away during a demonstration for the XM813 Sept. 10 at Fort Benning's Digital Multi-Purpose Range Complex. (Photo Credit: Markeith Horace)tion

US Army RDECOM (Army Research Institute) has been working on an initiative for researching advanced lethality and accuracy for medium caliber weapon systems. 

The subject of the initiative concentrates on the XM813 30mm cannon. XM813 is a derivative of the Mk44 chaingun from  ATK. XM813 can be described as the Stretch Mk44 with dual recoil mechanisms, closed bolt operation for first round select, linkless feed, integral mount and air burst munition capability.

XM813 30mm Cannon
Add caption

XM813 30mm ChainGun with Dual Buffers and Integral Mount

On September 10th, Capabilities and Development Integration Directorate organized an activity to demonstrate XM813's capabilities, integrated on the Kongsberg  MCT-30  Remote Turret.

The same turret has been demonstrated on Stryker 8x8 sometime ago as described in this  blog.

For the demonstration, the XM813 mounted Bradley Fighting Vehicle fired a series of three engagements at approximately 1,400 to 1,500 meters from the target.

Looking at the ARDEC effort and this demonstration, some remarks I want emphasize:

  • Is the US Army seriously evaluating upgunning Bradley?
  • The caliber seems to be the 30mm, not larger.
  • Looking at Kongsberg's marketing in US and the demonstrations, is the unmanned turret a serious candidate instead of the conventional 2-Men turret?