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Land 400 Phase 3: Australian IFV

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2 hours ago, Mighty_Zuk said:

So what about the Lance turret? Is that not a requirement? Or are they gonna let them compete as they are and only give an integration contract when the winner is selected or the competition is down to 2?

 

Im going to pull apart the draft requirements today #goodtimes 

 

Looks like Land 400 Phase 3 is continuing Phase 2’s complete lack of specificity.  As per my first post, Defence’s attempts to get Rheinmetall to discount the Lance turret so that it could be used as GFE was unsuccessful. Plus there’s the question of who would own the technical risk for the integration of a third-party platform onto a hull. 

 

We know (discussions with bidders) as part of the Phase 2 negotiations/BAFO that both competitors were asked to price their Phase 2 vehicles in a configuration that would meet Phase 3 requirements, mainly the number of dismounts. So, despite having pricing for a 100% 8x8 fleet, common to both phases, the Commonwealth wanted to explore additional (presumably tracked) options. 

 

Also, as the Commonwealth wanted a signed contract for Phase 2 prior to release of the Phase 3 RFT (actual, not draft), we can expect a Phase 2 contract signature announcement soonish, I guess. 

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Defence’s selection will also be informed by the opportunities to reduce whole of life costs by means of commonality of sub-systems, consumables and training across Phases 2 and 3 of the LAND 400 Program. Accordingly, the RFT will require tenderer responses on specific elements of commonality with the Phase 2 fleet and will seek options for further commonality, but it will also allow responses on alternative sub-systems, consumables and training if they represent better value for money and provide through-life cost savings. This includes the possibility of retrofitting of the Phase 2 fleet with items from the Phase 3 system.” 

Could a Phase 3 turret be dropped on a Phase 2 Hull? Seems unlikely. 

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20 minutes ago, Kal said:

2 vehicles to be shortlisted

 

(Because 3 is too many to understand and explain)

 

But having two German vehicles (Lynx & Puma) in the race would confuse the black hats that simply *know* German engineering is superior to all others. 

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On 6/18/2018 at 4:45 PM, David Moyes said:

Who knows where the Intellectual Property rights of ASCOD end and Ajax begin?

 

I wonder if the UK actually holds any intelelctual property rights on the Ajax. Usually IP is related to funding the development of a complete vehicle, the FRES Scout SV program however only considered only variants of already existing vehicles that were in service with at least one user country. The new turret is largely based on Rheinmetall's design. Basically this whole program looks rather similar to the LAND 400 project, with the exception of the UK wanting a greater amount of special modifications to their platform.

 

On 6/18/2018 at 4:45 PM, David Moyes said:

It would not be the first time a company has up-rated an engine and overloaded the vehicle. GD have shown a habit of re-using ASCOD prototypes and giving them new names.
First Scout SV mock-up was a Pizzaro PT3 with a lance turret, the Griffin was probably using the exact same hull.
ASCOD PSO is just the Scout SV Mobile Test Rig:

 

The image showing that they ASCOD 2 PSO is indeed just a Scout SV MTR, where the sign was removed using photoshop, which is quite damning. However I remember having read somewhere that there also was a real PSO variant; maybe they simply decided to use it later as MTR for the Scout SV program? How much has to be changed to raise the weight limit of an ASCOD 2 from 35 to 42 tonnes? The CV90 Mk III was tested a weight of 40.4 tonnes, despite even the current CV90 Mk IV having a maximum gross vehicle weight of just 37 tonnes, in so far the Scout SV MTR (and the Ajax) could very well be overloaded vehicles with some changes to transmission, final drives and tracks only.

 

General Dynamics hasn't really been strict with the nomenclature of the ASCOD family. Steyr SSF (the Austrian part of GDELS) described the Ulan as an ASCOD 2 variant, because it has a larger engine than the Pizarro - but it doesn't support the full weight of 35 tonnes. Also all Ulan IFVs were delivered before the ASCOD 2 was officially announced.

 

There also is the curious case of the Donar self-propelled gun. This vehicle has a combat weight of 35 tonnes, which would mean that there was/is zero growth potential left given that it is based on the ASCOD 35 chassis...

 

15 hours ago, 2805662 said:

Could a Phase 3 turret be dropped on a Phase 2 Hull? Seems unlikely. 

 

Why not? In the end the Boxer's modularity makes this extremely easy. I'd expect that Rheinmetall already has a LANCE 2.0 turret integrated into a Boxer module (at least as CAD data); the Puma's turret has been offered on the Boxer since quite a few years. The real question for the Lynx KF41 is how many components of the LANCE 2.0 turret are interchangable with the original variant.

 

 

 

 

 

 

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To clarify: could a turret from another OEM (i.e. not Rheinmetall & if selected for Phase 3) be dropped onto Boxer? Functionally, sure. But contractually? The Lance turret was a major cost driver for Phase 2, swapping it out for something cheaper could be a thing. 

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Lithuanian boxers use Raphael unmanned weapon station.

 

So thats a solution.

 

Poland is not even allowed to add it own excellent ceramic ERA to its second hand leo 2.  We had issues upgrading the leo 1.   I expect the modular nature of the boxer makes 3rd party components more contracturally OK when limited to just the module, but the Germans are aggressively possessive about vehicles they "sell"

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On 6/20/2018 at 12:56 PM, SH_MM said:

 

I wonder if the UK actually holds any intelelctual property rights on the Ajax. Usually IP is related to funding the development of a complete vehicle, the FRES Scout SV program however only considered only variants of already existing vehicles that were in service with at least one user country. The new turret is largely based on Rheinmetall's design. Basically this whole program looks rather similar to the LAND 400 project, with the exception of the UK wanting a greater amount of special modifications to their platform.


From what I've heard ASCOD FRES was initially chosen as a "Military off the shelf" project but as development went on UK requirements resulted in it becoming an effectively new platform along with years-long delay.
Development budget was £500m.

2009: jG4JPPy.jpg 2012:dLPuLfZ.jpg
2014:ss0LpmT.jpg

The boss of GD UK has talked about export potential several times. The impression I get is the Ajax platform is GD's premium AFV/IFV offering.

 

 

On 6/20/2018 at 12:56 PM, SH_MM said:


The image showing that they ASCOD 2 PSO is indeed just a Scout SV MTR, where the sign was removed using photoshop, which is quite damning. However I remember having read somewhere that there also was a real PSO variant; maybe they simply decided to use it later as MTR for the Scout SV program? How much has to be changed to raise the weight limit of an ASCOD 2 from 35 to 42 tonnes? The CV90 Mk III was tested a weight of 40.4 tonnes, despite even the current CV90 Mk IV having a maximum gross vehicle weight of just 37 tonnes, in so far the Scout SV MTR (and the Ajax) could very well be overloaded vehicles with some changes to transmission, final drives and tracks only.


The Test Rig showed up in late 2012: https://www.army-technology.com/news/newsgdels-tests-mobile-test-rig-uk-army-specialist-vehicle/
First reference to the PSO seems to be 2013.

Ajax/Ascod 42 seem to be much larger than the 32:

NQ2q9DX.jpg

MMBT: ascod_eurosatory_00013.jpg

35: ascod_eurosatory_00019.jpg

Ares: 2014_bbc_interior_6.jpg

 

 

On 6/20/2018 at 12:56 PM, SH_MM said:


General Dynamics hasn't really been strict with the nomenclature of the ASCOD family. Steyr SSF (the Austrian part of GDELS) described the Ulan as an ASCOD 2 variant, because it has a larger engine than the Pizarro - but it doesn't support the full weight of 35 tonnes. Also all Ulan IFVs were delivered before the ASCOD 2 was officially announced.


Ulan PT5:
ascod_2.jpg

Used as the ASCOD 2 demonstrator. I'm pretty sure it was used in the FRES SV trials.
Ulan 2 offered around 2004:
ulan2_owiqeo1.jpg

 

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Some feedback on the KF41 is that it’s “not the right truck”, citing the lack of capacity (not enough room for nine pax to live out of), immature status of the design (the 2016 KF31 was perceived as “better”, KF41 “no better than a prototype at best”), lack of parts interchangeablity with Phase 2 (“different engine?! Wtf?”), and general “yeah, nah.”

 

Some interesting takes on the Puma, too. 

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On 6/21/2018 at 7:15 PM, 2805662 said:

Primary sources are good, right? 

 

http://www.defence.gov.au/dmo/equippingdefence/land400

 

I think the Puma might have worse chances than previously expected given the requirements. Wanting all vehicles to be based on the same hull is going to be more costly in case of the Puma, as the hull is already very expensive and highly optimized for a specific set of requirements (lower internal volume to fit into the weight and size envelope of an A400M aircraft). While PSM has told several potential customers (including Australia and the Czech Republic), that they can easily create a number of Puma-derived variants (and have already designed some using CAD programs), I think the ASCOD 2, CV90 and Lynx all have advantages in this regard.

 

Given that Australia seems to be prefer the 30 x 173 mm calibre and the Spike-LR (II) missiles, I don't see much reasons to doubt that the Puma IFV might outperform the competitors based on its technical specifications and the great performance achieved in the Czech trials (most mobile vehicle, hit twice as much rounds as the others, only vehicle that didn't have to repeat a test due to reliability issues). But it is not really designed to be a good ARV or ambulance vehicle.

 

It would be much easier for the Puma, if the US had funded SAIC's offer for the GCV program instead of the paper designs by BAE Systems and General Dynamics. While the program was canceled, the initial funds would probably have been enough to create a demonstrator (i.e. stretched Puma hull with seven roadwheel pairs), which then could have been used for other purposes.

 

20 hours ago, David Moyes said:

The boss of GD UK has talked about export potential several times. The impression I get is the Ajax platform is GD's premium AFV/IFV offering.

 

Obviously the boss of GD UK will say good things about the Ajax, just like the boss of General Dynamics European Land Systems Santa Bárbara Sistemas (GDELS SBS) will say good things about the Pizarro. The Ajax - or rather the decision of British politicians to pay an hefty extra for the local production of the ASCOD 2 hulls - is the only reason why GD UK has the option to even consider exporting vehicles. The Ajax as it is will never be exported; you can see that by looking at the vehicles offered to the Czech Republic, which were highly modified.

 

I know that you want to imply that the "Ajax" should be used as a synonym for the ASCOD 42 chassis, but I don't see a reason to do that. Not only is the name "Ajax" only used for three very specific variants for the British army (so calling it "hull for the fromer Scout SV program" would be more appropriate), but it also pretends that the vehicle would be a British design and undercuts the development efforts made in Austria and Spain. None of the ASCOD-SV prototypes was made in the UK, only very little development work was done locally, with the actual ASCOD 42 hull being pretty much designed in Austria and Spain only. They added a new engine, transmission, tracks and final drive (all components happen to be made by German contractors), while modifying the Spanish-made suspension, The ASCOD 42 hull prototype was made by Steyr SF and blast testing was done in January and early February 2010 at GDELS' facility in Austria. At the 18th Feburary 2010, the company also announced that the ASCOD prototype was capabable of supporting a gross vehicle weight of 42 metric tons, four days before being awarded the Scout-SV contract and years before the British army opted for the name "Ajax" - this means that 42 metric tons GVW is not a result of British changes to the platform afer winning the contract and are not exclusive to the "Ajax".

 

The name "Ajax" is a local designation for an UK-made version, but potential customers such as the Czech Republic and Australia want local production and adopt their own names. Then there is also the fact that the Ajax hull makes use of an add-on mine protection kit from a third-party manufacturer, but GDELS SBS has been developing its own anti-mine plating for the Spanish VCZAP,  which can be directly integrated into the vehicle base structure and might be more attractive to potential customers (and more lucrative for General Dynamics). There are numerous components that were added to the Ajax (and other British ASCOD variants), which will probably never be used on models for other countries.

 

20 hours ago, David Moyes said:

Ajax/Ascod 42 seem to be much larger than the 32:

 

I disagree. That's a result of the different armor packages and different angles at which the photos were taken. The interior photo of the Ares (which is based on the ASCOD 42 platform) and the ASCOD 35 prototype from Eurosatory 2018 show comparable amount of interior space. The photo of the ASCOD 42's interior seems to be taken at a different angle and with a different focal length, hence distorting the image compared to the other photos.

Here is the interior of the Ulan, which has the same width and length than the interior compartment available in an Ajax, ASCOD 35 and ASCOD 42. Note that the different angle, focal length and seats make it seem as if there was much more legroom available than in the other vehicles.

 

1920px-SPZ_Ulan_Kampfraum.jpg

 

The ASCOD MMBT is bulkier due to its thicker armor; the hull however isn't as tall as the ASCOD 35's one (due to the raised roof of the later) and the length is also identical. It's just a question of perspective:

ext-1024x684.jpg

ascod_eurosatory_00021.jpg

 

The width of the usable hull interior for the crew is also the same (note the distance between the headlights):

DfZ8_dQWsAEafbc.jpgp1693453.jpg

 

3 hours ago, 2805662 said:

Some feedback on the KF41 is that it’s “not the right truck”, citing the lack of capacity (not enough room for nine pax to live out of), immature status of the design (the 2016 KF31 was perceived as “better”, KF41 “no better than a prototype at best”), lack of parts interchangeablity with Phase 2 (“different engine?! Wtf?”), and general “yeah, nah.”

 

Some interesting takes on the Puma, too. 

 

I really hope that the people who provided this feedback have nothing to say in the procurement process. Wishing for a MTU 8V199 TE20 engine (or even the uprated TE21 variant) on a vehicle with a gross vehicle weight of 50 metric tons seems to be a joke. 720 hp or (or 815 hp) are nowhere enough for such a heavy vehicle. The Liebherr engine is proven, off-the-shelf and much more powerful. The lack of capacity also seems to be a questionable point of critique, as pretty much all modern IFVs make use of external storages boxes for at least some parts of the equipment, but the Lynx KF41 has not yet been showcased with such (although it was also not showcased with the seating arrangement for nine dismounts).

The KF31 obviously seems to be more mature, given that it apparently is a reskin of the Marder hull with new internal components + LANCE 1.0 turret.

 

IMO the ASCOD 42 is unlikely to be offered, given that no IFV variant of this vehicle exists (if the version presented at IDET 2017 is indeed an overloaded ASCOD 35 hull). That would also mean that the ASCOD 2 could be offered with a "decent" power-to-weight ratio of more than 20 hp per metric ton at gross vehicle weight. This would still be much below the automotive performance of Puma (25 hp/tonne at GVW), Lynx KF41 (23 hp/tonne at GVW) and CV90 Mk IV (27 hp/tonne at GVW), but still somewhat competitive. It also would avoid going up against the heavily armored Puma and KF41 Lynx, which due to their greater supported weight and/or their more weight efficient manufacturing techniques (in case of the Puma) have clear advantages over the ASCOD 42.

This however could mean that for General Dynamics the problems of the LAND 400 Phase 2 repeat themselves again: offering a less costly, but less competitive solution with no manned turret (as the LANCE turret apparently isn't available through GFE and the Steyr plant where the SP-30 turret of the Pizarro and Ulan was made has been downsized to near non-existence after winning the Scout-SV contract with a LANCE-based turret)...

 

 

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On 6/25/2018 at 3:10 PM, SH_MM said:

I know that you want to imply that the "Ajax" should be used as a synonym for the ASCOD 42 chassis...


You seem to be under the impression that I'm claiming that ASCOD 2/42 is a British invention? I'm not. Nor am I denying Spanish, Austrian or any other foreign companies involvement.
My point is Ajax/Scout SV started off as a modified version of ASCOD 2/42, where the UK would hold IP rights over that specific platform.
 


As development went on the design had to deviate further from the standard ASCOD 2 to meet requirements.

Spoiler

 


The other major part of Ajax/Scout SV is the UK specific software package (GVA) and data-sharing integration which I imagine is why GD would base their Australia/US offers on it rather than a conventional ASCOD 2/42 like they have with Poland/Czech Rep.
 

On 6/25/2018 at 3:10 PM, SH_MM said:

The ASCOD 42 hull prototype was made by Steyr SF and blast testing was done in January and early February 2010 at GDELS' facility in Austria. At the 18th Feburary 2010, the company also announced that the ASCOD prototype was capabable of supporting a gross vehicle weight of 42 metric tons


Right, but they called it ASCOD SV: http://www.army-guide.com/eng/article/article.php?forumID=1566&printmode=1
Once again, not claiming that ASCOD 42 is exclusive to UK just that GD seemingly never made a non-Ajax related example until the MMBT.
I suspect that GD thought the Czechs would want a lighter IFV then when they found out otherwise it was too late to make a 42t. version so simply claimed the already built ASCOD 35 was a 42 but restricted by the rubber band tracks.
 

On 6/25/2018 at 3:10 PM, SH_MM said:

Not only is the name "Ajax" only used for three very specific variants for the British army (so calling it "hull for the fromer Scout SV program" would be more appropriate)


1BPZpqe.jpg
 

On 6/25/2018 at 3:10 PM, SH_MM said:

The Ajax - or rather the decision of British politicians to pay an hefty extra for the local production of the ASCOD 2 hulls


Not true.
The hulls were meant to be made and vehicles assembled in the UK at a Defence Support Group facility however when the Government sold the company GD were left without a UK manufacturing base. The Gov/MOD then told GD to build them in Spain to save money.
When this news broke the MOD blamed GD and EU competition laws claiming they had nothing to do with it (a story they still persist with). It was GD who came back with a new offer (as part of a larger maintenance contract) where all the Hulls and first 100 vehicles would be made in Spain but they would establish (largely at their own cost) a new plant in Wales to assemble the other 489 vehicles. They did this with the belief that it would secure them the MIV and MRV-P contracts.

 

On 6/25/2018 at 3:10 PM, SH_MM said:

They added a new engine, transmission, tracks and final drive (all components happen to be made by German contractors)


http://www.cookdefencesystems.co.uk/images/pdf/SCOUT SV TR40 407 Double Pin.pdf
https://www.contracts.mod.uk/do-features-and-articles/ajax-boosting-uk-land-capabilities/

 

On 6/25/2018 at 3:10 PM, SH_MM said:

I disagree. That's a result of the different armor packages and different angles at which the photos were taken. The interior photo of the Ares (which is based on the ASCOD 42 platform) and the ASCOD 35 prototype from Eurosatory 2018 show comparable amount of interior space. The photo of the ASCOD 42's interior seems to be taken at a different angle and with a different focal length, hence distorting the image compared to the other photos.

Here is the interior of the Ulan, which has the same width and length than the interior compartment available in an Ajax, ASCOD 35 and ASCOD 42. Note that the different angle, focal length and seats make it seem as if there was much more legroom available than in the other vehicles.

 


Sure but I still believe that later ASCODs are at least longer.
Supposed measurements for Pizarro/Ulan:
dGbEVm3.gif

ASCOD 35:
"The IFV’s hull, in its basic variant, has the following dimensions: length - 6430 mm, width - 2990 mm, height - 1970 mm (without the turret), ground clearance - 512 mm."
https://www.defence24.com/ascod-vehicle-presented-in-kielce

Ajax:
"6.6m"
https://des.mod.uk/what-we-do/navy-procurement-support/ajax/?portfolioCats=119
ThinkDefence lists it as 7.62m (I assume this includes rear storage)
 

 

On 6/25/2018 at 3:10 PM, SH_MM said:

IMO the ASCOD 42 is unlikely to be offered, given that no IFV variant of this vehicle exists (if the version presented at IDET 2017 is indeed an overloaded ASCOD 35 hull). That would also mean that the ASCOD 2 could be offered with a "decent" power-to-weight ratio of more than 20 hp per metric ton at gross vehicle weight. This would still be much below the automotive performance of Puma (25 hp/tonne at GVW), Lynx KF41 (23 hp/tonne at GVW) and CV90 Mk IV (27 hp/tonne at GVW), but still somewhat competitive. It also would avoid going up against the heavily armored Puma and KF41 Lynx, which due to their greater supported weight and/or their more weight efficient manufacturing techniques (in case of the Puma) have clear advantages over the ASCOD 42.

This however could mean that for General Dynamics the problems of the LAND 400 Phase 2 repeat themselves again: offering a less costly, but less competitive solution with no manned turret (as the LANCE turret apparently isn't available through GFE and the Steyr plant where the SP-30 turret of the Pizarro and Ulan was made has been downsized to near non-existence after winning the Scout-SV contract with a LANCE-based turret)...


In the case of Ajax the engine can be uprated to 800kw.
It's also worth remembering that Australia just selected the Type-26 as their new frigate, so UK-AUS defence relations are quite high at the moment. Both have recently chosen Boxer, GD could play up interoperability between the two militaries.

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There seems to be some unresolved tension within the Land 400 program. Army has been bitten by “sub-system* optimisation” in the recent past, and seems to want to avoid it...at the same time that the procurement guys want to maximise competition by reducing requirements criticality (no requirements are “essential”, for example)...but aren’t resourced to evaluate more than a specific number of tender responses.

 

*The “sub-system” in this case being the IFV. No point having the (most) “optimised” (i.e. best) IFV if it doesn’t fit into the broader organisation without breaking it. Army learned this lesson in the tactical C4I space between 2009-2014. 

 

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There are issues with Puma and Lynx that will impact what is offered.  KMW and Rheinmetall have stakes in Puma.  Lynx is pure Rheinmetall.  KMW and Rheinmetall were partners but KMW got into bed with the French and begat KNDS.  Lynx is the first of a complete new product range from Rheinmetall designed to free the company from commercial/strategic shackles inherent in legacy products.

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According to this spokesman at Eurosatory the ASCOD 'IFV' has a GVW of 35 tons with a 530 kW engine while the ASCOD 'MMBT' has a GVW of 45 tons with a 800 kW engine.

 

 

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6 hours ago, Kal said:

Any update?

 

Industry feedback on the draft timeline is due this month, with an industry brief the day before Land Forces 2018 (first week of September). RFT is due last quarter of this year. Rumour has it there may be a sub-Phase that incorporates an amphibious vehicle in the offing. 

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