Equipping the Strike Brigades

Other programs involving land combat systems highlighted three of the leading procurement programs now underway, including the new Ajax, modernized Warrior and yet to be selected Mechanized Infantry Vehicle (or MIV).

Britain is investing over 3.5 billion pounds in the fielding of 589 new armored vehicles based on General Dynamics ASCOD 2, to equip its new strike brigades. 245 Ajax strike and reconnaissance vehicles will be included in the program. Equipped with a gun turret manned by two crewmembers, its main armament is the new 40mm case telescoped cannon and equipped with cutting-edge electronic sensors and systems, Ajax will be used both for reconnaissance and strike missions as a medium tank.

As Ajax enters service, the British Army will also keep the Warrior infantry fighting vehicle, currently in service, after it goes through a major overhaul process modernizing its armament and systems. The program includes the replacement of the current gun with the Ajax’s new CTA 40, offering increased lethality, logistics commonality, and training across the fleet.

The modernization lead by Lockheed Martin provides an opportunity to test and evaluate new capabilities, including protection, weapons, and electronic systems. At DSEI the company displayed an integrated system comprising the Elbit Systems’ COAPS optronic turret, and Plasan’s smart Multi-Functional Armor system, providing the crew with an enhanced situational awareness that dynamically monitors the vehicle’s level of protection.

Another vehicle demonstrator on site was the CV90 from BAE Systems. This medium tank is armed with 30mm cannon and two Spike multipurpose guided missiles recessed in a stowed launcher-container that is elevated prior to launch. The vehicle also showed advanced protection systems (APS) that include modular armor and the Iron Fist Active Protection System. Iron Fist has been selected by the Dutch military for integration on their CV-9035NL armored vehicles, under a contract awarded to BAE Systems is to integrate and pre-qualify the APS against the threat specification and conduct safety analysis for the entire solution. Netherlands is expected to take a final decision on the procurement of the systems by early 2018, and, if such decision is taken, the country will become the first European Army to field such capability.

Main Highlights:

The AJAX heavy infantry fighting vehicle will be the core of the new Strike Brigades. Note the many sensors places on the turret and hull, providing the vehicle enhanced situational awareness. Photo: Noam Eshel, Defense-Update
Lockheed Martin UK is upgrading the Warrior, with some of the technologies derived from the AJAX program. Photo: Noam Eshel, Defense-Update
Lockheed Martin integrated Plasan’s MultiFunctional Armor solution in its technology demonstration at DSEI. When the presenter hits the vehicle’s armor, the display inside the turret indicates the part of the armor and level of damage. Photo: Noam Eshel, Defense-Update
Nexter’s 40mm turret mounts the same CTA 40 mm cannon used in the AJAX and modernized Warrior. Photo: Noam Eshel, Defense-Update
Case Telescoped ammunition designed for the CTA 40mm cannon includes (from left to right) an armored piercing (APFSDS-T) round, point-detonated high explosive round and general purpose airburst round, effective against soft targets. The two blue rounds are practice versions. Another round, optimized against aircraft and drones, is also in development. Photo: Noam Eshel, Defense-Update
The 40mm general-purpose point defense detonating round has an impressive penetration capability. Photo: Noam Eshel, Defense-Update
The fragmentation pattern of airburst round. Photo: Noam Eshel, Defense-Update
BAE Systems displayed the CV9035 equipped with enhanced lethality, protection, and situational awareness. Photo: Noam Eshel, Defense-Update
The Orbital/ATK MK44 has become the weapon of choice for the world’s medium-caliber fighting vehicles. Featuring dual-feed Chain Gun technology it can be chambered to match 30 (right) or 40mm (left) ammunition . It can be chambered to fire 30/ 170mm or 30/ 173 (Rarden), or easily convert to fire the more powerful ‘Super-40mm’ ammo (left). Noam Eshel, Defense-Update
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