Revealed: Inside The British Defence Industry | 2017 Update

defence industry

The Defence Security Equipment International Exhibition (DSEI) is a world leading event uniting the global security and defence industry. It represents the entire supply chain unrivalled by anyone and a great place to share knowledge and ideas. London was the preferred location for the event held in September this year and provided great insight into the British defence industry.

In light of the increased global terror threat, exhibitors showcased some really innovative solutions. Some examples include land, marine and airborne Improvised Explosive Devices (IED’s) and mines but the main focus points were aviation, land combat, maritime as well as defence electronics, training simulations and cybersecurity.

Defence Industry by the Numbers

Britain is heavily invested with over £3.5 billion to equip its strike brigade with 589 new armored vehicles. The Ajax is among these where 245 will be included in the total tally. It’s an extremely versatile vehicle used for reconnaissance and strike missions. Equipped with a gun turret manned by two crewmembers and a new 40mm case telescoped cannon, the Ajax will be a welcome sight.

The British army is keeping the existing Warrior infantry vehicle but putting it through a major overhaul; upgrading the technology and armaments. This includes replacing the current main weapon with the Ajax’s new CTA 40 offering improved performance across the board.

Lockheed Martin is responsible for the upgrades and provides an opportunity to test and evaluate all the new capabilities. They also showcased an integrated system comprising of the Israeli Elbit Systems’ Active Protection Services (APS) turret and Plasan’s smart Multi-Functional Armor system. These greatly improve the situational awareness of the crew as it dynamically monitors the vehicle’s level of protection.

Mechanised Infantry Vehicles (MIV’s)

Britain is also planning to add a few hundred Mechanized Infantry units as an armored personnel carrier. A number of 8×8 foreign vehicle designs is being considered including France, Switzerland, Germany, Finland and Singapore. Some of the vehicles on display were the Piranha from GDLS Europe, The French VBCI and German Boxer from Franco-German industry KNDS.

All the 8×8 MIV vehicles aim to meet the likely requirements of the British Defence Industry which include the following:

  • remotely operated weapons system
  • mounted machine gun or cannon
  • guided missiles
  • superior mobility over all terrain
  • capable to deploy as a rapid response vehicle and for Special Forces

The Army has plans for a new breed of wheeled vehicles known as ‘multi-role vehicle – protected’ (MRVP). They are divided into two groups and set to replace part of the current fleet of tactical vehicles. The Oshkosh JLTV was selected as the common utility vehicle (MRV-P Category 1) but the jury is still out on the heavier class for ambulance, infantry and recovery vehicles.

Defence Technology for Special Forces

There are a number of combat vehicles for Special Forces including the heavy armor models like ‘MRAP’ (Mine Resistant Armor Protected). Another is the light strike vehicle designed for airmobile transportation and support Special Forces and long-range reconnaissance patrols. One of the new models is the Light Strike Air Assault 4×4 (LSA4). It weighs 2.5 tons with a payload of 3 450 kg either for troops, weapons, ammo, supplies or other cargo.

A new addition to the defence industry is Derbyshire based vehicle manufacturer, Bowler. They introduced their Rapid Intervention Vehicle (R.I.V.) concept based on their proprietary Cross Sector Platform (CSP). Even with a weight of just 2 tons, it can still carry an impressive 1 640 kg payload. Equipped with the V6 Turbo Diesel engine from the Range Rover Sport means top speed is around 100mph (160km/h) with a range of about 2 000km. The design allows for different modules to be fitted to suit different types of missions making this one of a few.

It will be interesting to see what the MOD decide to go with. We’d like to hear your thoughts on these combat vehicles or any others you would choose.

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