Rheinmetall in Germany has developed a new family of tracked armored fighting vehicles. In addition to the IFV role, the Lynx can be optimized for command, armored reconnaissance, repair and recovery and armored ambulance missions. The company has developed two configurations: the smaller KF31 that can carry up to six troops and the KF41, which has been selected by Hungary, with room for eight soldiers. The design features a common module upon which mission kits are installed. Rheinmetall has touted its Lance 2.0 turret, which can be armed with a 30-mm or 35-mm cannon, for the vehicle.
The Lynx debuted at the Eurosatory exhibition in June 2016 in its initial KF31 configuration. The larger KF41 version (at left) was first shown at June 2018. In 2020, Rheinmetall signed a contract with Hungary for 218 Lynx KF41s for US$2.1 billion, including technology transfer for domestic production of the vehicle. The German firm is also competing for the U.S. Army’s Optionally Manned Fighting Vehicle (OMFV) program with a variant of the Lynx, as well as Australian, Czech and Slovak army IFV programs.
The Indian navy is acquiring 16 anti-submarine warfare shallow water craft (ASWSWC) from domestic suppliers. The program has been divided into two variants: the Mahe class supplied by Cochin Shipyard and a design by Garden Reach Shipbuilders and Engineers in Kolkata. The two classes are based on a requirement for a displacement of around 750 metric tons and triple waterjet propulsion system providing a top speed of 25 knots and a range of 1,800 nm at 14 knots. They are designed to defeat subsurface targets in littoral areas with secondary search-and-rescue, surface warfare and minelaying capability.
The Mahe class (at right) features stealth characteristics to reduce radar cross-section, acoustic and infrared signature. It is designed to operate about 200 nm from shore to monitor for submarines. The ships are designed to sprint for short periods to maintain contact with detected subs. ASW rocket launchers, torpedo tubes, 30-mm CRN-91 main gun and mine racks are provided along with hull-mounted and variable-depth sonars. Construction began on the lead ship, Mahe, in October 2020, with delivery anticipated in October 2022.
Russia has touted its Kinzhal air-launched ballistic missile as a new hypersonic weapon. Most analysts agree that it is an air-launched variant of the Iskander short-range ballistic missile. A small number of MiG-31 long-range interceptors have been modified to carry a single Kinzhal. It is also reportedly being integrated with Tu-22M3 strategic bombers. The missile is believed to have a new guidance system including inertial and satellite navigation and a terminal seeker. The Kinzhal has a range of 620 miles from launch. Russia has touted ranges up to 1,240 miles, including the range of the launch aircraft.
The Kinzhal (at left) can reportedly reach a speed of Mach 10 when fired at an altitude of 59,000 feet. It can be armed with a conventional warhead or a 10-50 kt nuclear warhead. Development of the missile appears to have begun around 2010, when the first concept images of an Iskander missile carried by a MiG-31 circulated. First flight of a MiG-31 modified to carry the Kinzhal occurred in 2016. It reportedly began a trial period in the Southern Military District in 2017. It was first reportedly used in combat in Ukraine in March 2022. A second strike from a Tu-22M3 bomber was reported in May 2022.
Walker Bulldog Tank Soldiers On
Updates this month include the U.S. M41 Walker Bulldog light tank, which remains in service in a few countries 70 years after it was first fielded; U.S. ShotSpotter sniper-detection system; German Situational Awareness System, which equips Hungary’s Lynx infantry fighting vehicles; the venerable Swiss SkyGuard radar that supports 35-mm GDF anti-aircraft cannons; French 30-mm Giat Model 781 cannon, which equips Tiger attack helicopters; and the U.S. 30-mm M230 chain gun, which arms the AH-64 Apache attack helicopter.
There is also a new record for the yet-unnamed Garden Reach Shipbuilders and Engineers variant of the Indian navy’s Anti-Submarine Warfare Shallow Water Craft (ASWSWC).
Sahel Terrorism Spills Over
Burkina Faso has been increasingly under pressure from jihadists as the conflict in neighboring Mali spills over. Unhappiness with the government’s performance against the militants contributed to a military coup in January. The order of battle for Seychelles in the Indian Ocean has also been made current.
War in Ukraine Grinds On
Russia’s unprovoked invasion of Ukraine has revealed a number of shortcomings in the Russian armed forces. Reuben Johnson reviews the Russian army’s shortcomings, including personal observations from two weeks in Russian captivity in March, in “Russia’s Mighty Army Stumbles.” (For more on his personal experiences, please check out his piece on Breaking Defense, “Russian Troops Held Me Captive At Gunpoint For Two Weeks In Ukraine. Here’s What I Learned.”)