Home' Defence Technology Review : DTR MAR 2016 Contents 35
DEFENCE TECHNOLOGY REVIEW | ISSUE 18 | MAR 2016
NORTHROP GRUMMAN, in concert
with the US Army’s Prototype Integration
Facility and prime contractor Redstone
Defense Systems, has successfully con-
ducted the Critical Design Review (CDR)
of the UH-60V Black Hawk program.
Under a contract awarded in the third
quarter of 2014, Northrop Grumman is
supplying a mission equipment package
for a digital cockpit upgrade of US Army
UH-60L Black Hawk helicopters. The
scalable, fully integrated and open archi-
tecture-based cockpit design will replace
older analogue gauges with digital elec-
tronic instrument displays in the upgrad-
ed aircraft, which carries the designation
Northrop Grumman’s design solution,
which is the first fully integrated avionics
system for a US Army utility rotorcraft,
has already been demonstrated through a
flight test on a UH-60L Black Hawk. The
system features a centralised processor
with a partitioned, modular operational
flight program with an integrated ar-
chitecture that enables new capabilities
through software-only solutions rather
than hardware additions. The architecture
maximises the performance and reliability
of the UH-60L platform while minimising
total life-cycle cost.
The new system is similar to the UH-
RHEINMETALL WILL UPGRADE 128
Polish Army Leopard 2A4 main battle
tanks (MBT) under a €220 million
(AUD$337 million) contract, the compa-
ny announced on 22 February.
In concert with local firms Polska
Grupa Zbrojeniowa (PGZ) and ZM Bu-
mar-Labedy, Rheinmetall will act as the
strategic partner and supplier of key up-
grade components including electronics
and weapons technology.
Poland is the third Leopard 2 user nation
behind Canada and Indonesia to recruit
Rheinmetall for upgrade of its MBT fleet.
Purchased by Poland in 2002 from
surplus German Army stocks, all 128
tanks will be upgraded to the Leopard 2
PL standard, which corresponds to the
German Leopard 2 A5/A6 standard.
Led by prime contractor PGZ with ZM
Bumar-Labedy as systems integrator, the
consortium is due to roll-out the first
Leopard 2 PL prototype by the end of 2017.
Once Polish armed forces grant author-
isation for series production, Rheinmetall
will deliver a further five upgraded tanks
starting in 2018. The next 12 tanks will
receive the upgrade at ZM Bumar-Labedy
under Rheinmetall supervision. From this
point onwards, the Polish team mem-
bers will take control of the project and
CDR on UH-60V cockpit complete
Gotland-class enters MLU
Poland to modernise
Leopard 2 fleet
undertake retrofitting and shipping of the
remaining 110 tanks.
Technically, the upgrade to the PL
standard focuses on improving the tank’s
main armament and fire control system
(FCS) technology, state-of-the-art elec-
tronics and protection.
The existing FCS software will be adapt-
ed to suit new 120mm ammunition types,
while the sensor suite will be expanded to
include a latest-generation thermal imag-
The existing Rheinmetall L44 main ar-
mament will be modified to fire two new
ammunition natures: the DM11 HE (a
time-delay shaped charge round) and the
DM63 KE (a sabot round with tempera-
Improved protection against kinetic
energy and high explosive ammunition
will be provided by the IBD Deisenroth
composites-based Advanced Modular Ar-
mour Protection (AMAP) system. Whilst
no details about the AMAP fit-out were
available, the accompanying rendering
indicates additional protection elements
installed on selected sections of the hull
and turret front and flanks.
Additionally, crew survivability is
enhanced via the installation of new
blast-resistant seating and an automatic
fire extinguisher and suppression system.
New electric turret drives will also reduce
the risk to the crew, whilst a video cam-
era to the rear of the vehicle will enhance
situational awareness and assist the driver.
Rheinmetall will also supply a new
in-vehicle system for controlling and
monitoring the vehicle components as
well as data distribution.
Separately, Rheinmetall is working with
PGZ and research and development or-
ganisation OBRUM to design and produce
prototypes of a new wheeled amphibious
6x6 light armoured reconnaissance vehi-
cle to meet a Polish Army requirement to
replace its obsolete Soviet-era BRDM-2
4x4 reconnaissance vehicles.
The new vehicle will have a payload of at
least 3.5 tonnes and gross vehicle mass of
less than 20 tonnes.
See also ‘Poland-Germany to develop amphibi-
ous 6x6’ in the August 2015 issue of DTR.
– Ian Bostock
ABOVE: Concept rendering of the Polish
Leopard 2 PL MBT to be produced
as a result of the joint upgrade by
Rheinmetall and Polish industry.
60M pilot-vehicle interface, providing
common training and operational em-
ployment, and is also smaller in size, lower
in weight and requires less power than
legacy processing systems.
The next generation avionics system is
aligned with the Future Airborne Capa-
bility Environment standard and supports
integration of off-the-shelf software and
hardware, enabling rapid insertion of
capabilities while reducing cost and risk
for system integration and upgrades over
remaining life-of-type. Northrop Grum-
man is providing full, unlimited govern-
ment purpose rights to technical data and
software, providing the customer with
future flexibility while eliminating vendor
lock and mitigating obsolescence issues.
An estimated 700 to 900 aircraft are ex-
pected to be modified under the UH 60V
digital cockpit upgrade, with debut flight
of the first UH-60V aircraft anticipated in
– Matthew Mendenhall
ABOVE: Northrop Grumman’s digital
cockpit upgrade replaces analogue
gauges in UH-60L helicopters with
digital electronic instrument displays.
Image: US Army
THE FIRST GOTLAND-CLASS subma-
rine to be modernised under a mid-life
upgrade (MLU) for the Swedish Nav y was
recently received at the Saab Kockums
shipyard in Karlskrona, Sweden.
The MLU work will be carried out over
approximately two years and ensure that
the submarines will maintain full opera-
tional capability for the remainder of their
ser vice life.
Some onboard systems will be replaced
entirely while others will be refurbished
or modernised. Modifications include a
new-generation Stirling air independent
propulsion (AIP) system for each boat,
masts, antennas, optronic sensors and an
enhanced ability to support special oper-
Work also includes the addition of a
new hull section to increase endurance
and for incorporation of new systems that
augment operational effectiveness.
The MLU is also aligned to achieve
commonality with the Swedish Nav y’s
new A26 submarine. To this end, a num-
ber of systems to be used in the A26 boats
will first be installed in the 1,600 tonne
Gotland-class. This will permit early test-
ing of the systems and crew training prior
to transitioning to the A26 in due course.
The first submarine in the world to be
equipped with an AIP system as part of
its original design, the Gotland-class and
Australia’s Collins-class submarines are, in
fact, ‘cousins’ based on the same Swedish
design philosophy and submarine design
standard. The Collins-class, having been
tailored for unique Australian operating
conditions such as long range, large weap-
on payload and a more extensive sensor
suite, is necessarily twice the displacement
and accommodates a larger crew.
– Staff Reporters
ABOVE: Work has commenced on
the MLU for the Swedish Navy’s
three Gotland-class diesel-electric
submarines. Image: Saab
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