1 octobre 2018 | International, Terrestre

With an increasing footprint in the Arctic, the Corps may need a new snow vehicle


The top Marine has been steadily increasing the Corps' footprint in the arctic region, preparing Marines for a fight in extreme cold-weather environments as the U.S. defense strategy shifts toward near-peer threats.

It's an oft repeated remark by Commandant Gen. Robert B. Neller that the cold weather business is something the Corps hasn't done for some time.

And it certainly shows in some of the equipment the Corps uses in Norway, like the nearly 40-year-old Cold War relic over-the-snow vehicle, the Bv206.

The Corps has been rapidly replacing its cold-weather gear to include skis, pack frames, boots and shelters. And now, a new over-the-snow vehicle could be on the horizon for the Marines.

One potential replacement for the aging Bv206 could be BAE's BvS10, which is already in use by Marines in Norway, who have been training on the British variant of the BvS10 known as the Viking.

The BvS10, while predominantly suited for the Arctic region, is actually an all-terrain vehicle that can also traverse mud, swamp, gravel or even water.

The tracked vehicle, which can carry 11 to 12 troops, has a ground pressure less than the human foot, according to Keith Klemmer, BAE's U.S. BvS10 representative. The low ground pressure spread across the tracks gives the vehicle superior mobility in a multitude of terrains, especially snow.

And for military operations, the BvS10 can mount the Ma Deuce .50 caliber machine or even the Common Remotely Operated Weapon Station, which affords troops the ability to engage targets from the protections and confines of the vehicle.

Speaking of protection, the armor plating on the BvS10 can withstand small-arms fire and the RPG-7, Klemmer said.

The Bv-S10 can operate in temperatures ranging from -50 to 120 degrees Fahrenheit and boasts an impressive range of nearly 200 miles, according to Klemmer.

While the Corps is prepping for its fourth six-month rotation to Norway, it's only been recently that the Corps and the U.S. military has once again focused on the Arctic and European theaters.

For the past twenty years, the desert terrain of the Middle East has garnered the attention of the Corps and as a result, the military's fleet of over-the-snow vehicles have taken a back seat in priority.

But with a renewed spotlight on the Arctic region, and a Marine footprint that is expected to double in Norway in the coming months, the time may be ripe to upgrade the Corps' suite of snow vehicles.

And the U.S. military is showing interest.

In early June, the Army posted a request for information, or RFI, to industry leaders for what it has dubbed the Joint All Weather All Terrain Support Vehicle, or JAASV.

According to the RFI, the Army wants its future tracked snow vehicle to operate in temperatures between -50 and 115 F. And the Army wants a multi variant vehicle that can carry troops, serve as an ambulance, or a command system.

The BvS10 fits much of that description. The main cab can serve as a command node, while the back cab can transport nearly eight troops. The rear cab also has the ability to flip up and serve as an ambulatory vehicle.

“The JAASV shall be a tracked vehicle that has excellent on and off-road mobility in extreme cold temperatures, deep snow, rugged uneven terrain, thick brush or forest, soft wet ground, rivers, streams, and lakes, and mountainous terrain,” the RFI reads.

The Army also wants the JAASV to be air mobile by CH-47, UH-60 and C-130.

And while this RFI was submitted by the Army, the Corps has a tracked record of partnering with the Army on a number of procurement projects.

The Corps hasn't made a decision yet to upgrade its snow vehicles, but the Marines are increasingly becoming focused on the Arctic domain and its forces are already learning how to operate partner forces' BvS10s in the region.


Sur le même sujet

  • General Dynamics unit wins contract to build new light tank for infantry

    30 juin 2022 | International, Terrestre

    General Dynamics unit wins contract to build new light tank for infantry

    General Dynamics Land Systems beats out BAE Systems in a competition to build and field Mobile Protected Firepower systems for the Infantry Brigade Combat Team.

  • France’s new cyber defense ‘conductor’ talks retaliation, protecting industry

    1 octobre 2019 | International, C4ISR, Sécurité

    France’s new cyber defense ‘conductor’ talks retaliation, protecting industry

    By: Christina Mackenzie PARIS — Maj. Gen. Didier Tisseyre is France's new cyber defense force commander — the “conductor” of an orchestra made up of military officials and the domestic defense industry, as he puts it. Cyber Defence Command was created in 2017 and was expanded in January when Armed Forces Minister Florence Parly announced France will develop and deploy offensive cyber weapons. Tisseyre took on the lead role Sept. 1 from his predecessor and most recently served as the deputy to that former commander. He spoke to Defense News earlier this month in a meeting room at the Armed Forces Ministry. What is your role as the head of Cyber Defence Command? I am a conductor, and my orchestra is made up of the Army, Navy and Air Force chiefs of staff, ANSSI [France's National Agency for the Security of Information Systems], and defense industry leaders. We must protect our systems, be robust, be resilient because if France's vital interests are attacked, then the armed forces must be able to react. Our weapons systems, our command systems are all computer-controlled. This makes them powerful and effective but also vulnerable, so we must be able to protect them. And today this protection must be as global and end-to-end as possible. This means that everyone in the Ministry of the Armed Forces must work together, and there must be a conductor to coordinate the protection and the defense of our interconnected networks. That is my job I have a staff and a number of specialized units who contribute to this defense and coordinate it. But within each armed force — the Navy, the Army, the Air Force — there are cyberwarriors who liaise with us to defend their systems. We work very closely with ANSSI, exchanging information so that we can anticipate future attacks. We also work closely with our fellow NATO members, our bilateral partners and other international organizations. The idea is to be able to anticipate and not just to react. What does France consider a top cyberthreat? Cyberspace is a very positive place for bringing people together and is wonderful for the economy, for arts and so on. But precisely because it brings thousands of people into contact with each other, it is also used to get money fraudulently, to influence, to destabilize, to spread ideologies. And even if we must maintain freedom of expression, there are certain things in France which cannot be said publicly — [incitement to ethnic and racial hatred, for example]. Our principle is that everything that happens in real life is transposable into cyberspace, so for France and many other countries, the law is just as applicable in cyberspace as it is in real life. But because there is a general impression that no rules apply in cyberspace, then individuals and groups use it for criminal activities, spying, destabilizing electoral processes. And the question arises as to whether these individual or groups are being backed by states. As a member of the armed forces, my duty is to be paranoid and assume that the cyber enemy may have a strong, state-backed criminal intent to prepare conflicts, and so that is what we must be prepared for. How do you anticipate the ways imaginative hackers will act? By hiring imaginative youngsters ourselves. Our cyberwarriors have to be extremely motivated to protect the ministry's systems and France, obviously. They must have very specialist IT technical or social media know-how, or be brilliant intelligence gatherers. A lot of what is said on social networks allows us to learn about our enemy, to anticipate possible attacks, or even enables us to hinder their propaganda, particularly on our theaters of operation in Africa or the Levant, for example, where part of our mission is to stop jihadist groups from recruiting. Our cyberwarriors have to have a particular frame of mind because we are not asking them to configure the network or equipment, we are really in a combat situation in cyberspace. We work on operations to defend or to undertake offensive actions to protect our systems, our freedom to act, to guarantee the sovereignty of our systems. Is France confronting specific threats that are different from those faced by other countries? Fundamentally, no, because we are all cyberattacked by people trying to block our computers, and attackers are becoming increasingly sophisticated in their ways of hacking. How does France respond? We must be prepared to react. But France considers that attributing an attack — notably where advanced persistent threats, [or APT], are concerned — is a very political, highly sensitive thing to do. APT can be the work of individuals seeking ways to make money, or being paid by others and potentially linked to intelligence services of other nations. If an organization such as NATO is attacked, then France is, by principle, against collective attribution. Each member of the organization must agree that the attacking individual or group is taking its orders from a state because attribution of blame, as I said, is highly political: You're designating a state as being responsible for attacking another one, and that has a very strong impact. You have to be able to prove it, and the state that has been blamed might not appreciate having the finger pointed at it. In the physical world when an aircraft crosses into another nation's airspace or a vehicle crosses a border, there is concrete proof: radar, photographs and so on. The difficulty in cyberspace is that it's very easy to pass oneself off as somebody else and to hide one's tracks; [just] because an APT is perpetrated by attackers physically present in one country, that [doesn't mean] they were taking their orders from that country. Here's an example to illustrate my point: They could use a server in Germany to send the data to the U.K., which then rebounds in France and finally attacks the United States. So Washington would try and work back to see where the attack came from and would eventually discover that it came from Germany, but that doesn't mean the order to attack came from Germany. In cyberspace, leads very quickly get entangled. So we really have to be extremely careful about a hack-back before thorough due diligence has been undertaken. What France wants is that each member state validates the blame before the finger is pointed. We are against the idea that just because one member blames a state for attacking it, that NATO takes it as a given and invokes Article 5 of the NATO treaty, [which calls for collective action if a member state is attacked]. What would happen if France is attacked? It depends. If France thinks that the attack came from a state and wants a collective reaction from NATO, then there'd be a whole lot of discussions about the risk of escalation, Article 5, the right to self-defend and so on. These notions involve significant commitments for countries, and so we want things to be clearly defined where cyberspace is concerned: What is an attack? Who was targeted? What are the consequences of the attack? Did it touch the physical integrity of nationals of the country? Were the operating systems of a hospital or a power station impacted? We want to take into account the economic or human impact of the attack and the nature of the attacker: Was it an individual having fun? Was it a group, and what were its motivations? Was it a jihadist group with terrorist intent, or was it outright a state pre-positioning itself for future conflicts or trying to wield influence? France wants things to be clear. We want to establish how international laws apply to cyberspace, and as I mentioned earlier, we insist on due diligence. Could you explain what you mean by “due diligence”? If, for example, France sees that it has been attacked via a server in Germany, then “due diligence” means that instead of us simply hacking Germany back, we would ask the authorities in Berlin to act to stop that server being used. So even if, within NATO, a member state is attacked, then France holds that that state is not authorized to hack back without due diligence being undertaken first. It's a bit complex, but we've listed the types of attack, the principle of digital sovereignty, the references to the Tallinn Manual — [the independent academic research product authored by an international group of about 20 experts to guide how international law applies to cyber conflicts and cyberwarfare]. And we've positioned ourselves with regards to this, and in certain particular cases have said, “Be careful, our interpretation of X is slightly different for these reasons,” and we explain why. We also explain that we consider an attack on information systems in France is an attack on our national sovereignty. That gives us the right to riposte, not necessarily in a cyber way but it could be a diplomatic response or an economic one ― it depends on the nature of the attack and the impact it has and on the attacker himself, what his motivations were and in what framework the attack took place. How does the ministry work with industry? The ministry knows how to defend itself, and we have the right, within a very strict framework, to undertake offensive cyberattacks in foreign operations. The attacker knows that a direct attack on us is thus likely to fail. So he will ruse. He'll attack the weak link: the defense industry, notably the subcontractors that may only make a small component of a weapon or an IT system. He'll put a virus or malware in that subcontractor's system, and it will progressively make its way into the major contractor's system and then into the weapon system. And as all these are interconnected, then this is how we would be attacked. So we need to have confidence in the entire supply chain, and we are on the verge of signing a convention with industry aimed at raising general awareness of this risk at every level of industry. France has allocated €1.6 billion (U.S. $1.8 billion) to cyber defense in its 2019-2025 military program law. What are the main spending priorities? To ensure that the system is protected and defendable. Until recently, we concentrated on the functionality of the system: what it was designed to do and who for (the Air Force, the Navy, the Army, etc.). And making the systems secure was an additional layer to the basic functions, so if funds ran out, then sometimes the layer would be only half done or had holes in it. Today we are aware that there is such vulnerability in computer systems that security has to be built in by design. It's part and parcel of the functionality of the system. We're also spending money on the detection of attacks. Our network has sensors in it to detect whether anyone is using the network who shouldn't be. We're working on the characterization of attacks, which means we're collecting data on malware — a bit like a laboratory that might keep a sort of library of viruses and bacteria — to be able to quickly establish what type of attack is being undertaken and therefore what the best “medicine” is for it. And of course we'll be hiring another 1,000 cyberwarriors between now and 2025. https://www.fifthdomain.com/international/2019/09/30/frances-new-cyber-defense-conductor-talks-retaliation-protecting-industry/

  • Trump memo demands new fleet of Arctic icebreakers be ready by 2029

    11 juin 2020 | International, Naval, Sécurité

    Trump memo demands new fleet of Arctic icebreakers be ready by 2029

    By: David B. Larter , Joe Gould , and Aaron Mehta WASHINGTON — U.S. President Trump ordered a review of the country's requirements for icebreaking capabilities in the Arctic and Antarctic regions, with the goal of getting a fleet in place by 2029, according to a memo released Tuesday. The memo was directed at the Defense, State, Commerce and Homeland Security departments, as well as the Office of Management and Budget. Much of it directs work already in progress — including building a fleet of at least three heavy icebreakers — but says the remaining ships not under contract should be reviewed for what can be done to maximize their utility in the frozen poles. The memo calls for “an assessment of expanded operational capabilities, with estimated associated costs, for both heavy and medium [polar security cutters] not yet contracted for, specifically including the maximum use of any such PSC with respect to its ability to support national security objectives.” That assessment is due in 60 days. Trump's directive to assess the current plan to field an Arctic maritime capability over the next decade is the latest sign that the administration is increasingly concerned about Russian and Chinese activity in the northern region, which could threaten America's interests in crucial chokepoints, such as the Greenland-Iceland-United Kingdom Gap. In April 2019, the U.S. Coast Guard announced it had signed a $746 million contract with VT Halter Marine of Pascagoula, Mississippi, for the detailed design and construction of its first polar security cutter — the first of the heavy icebreakers. And with the fiscal 2021 budget submission now before Congress, the Coast Guard says it can fully fund a second polar security cutter, according to a Congressional Research Service report. But the memo calls for a review of what the appropriate mix of ships should be for an Arctic fleet, suggesting that some changes to the three planned medium polar security cutters could be on the table. The memo asks for “use cases in the Arctic that span the full range of national and economic security missions (including the facilitation of resource exploration and exploitation and undersea cable laying and maintenance) that may be executed by a class of medium PSCs, as well as analysis of how these use cases differ with respect to the anticipated use of heavy PSCs for these same activities." “These use cases shall identify the optimal number and type of polar security icebreakers for ensuring a persistent presence in both the Arctic and, as appropriate, the Antarctic regions,” he memo continues. It also raises the possibility of nuclear-powered icebreakers, currently only operated by Russia, which would give the polar security cutter more persistent presence in the Arctic, since it would not need to refuel. The memo also calls for the study to identify two basing locations in the United States for its ice-hardened fleet, as well as two international locations. A study mandated by last year's National Defense Authorization Act mandated that the Defense Department study locations for a port in the Arctic. Furthermore, given that the Coast Guard has a lone operational heavy icebreaker, the 44-year-old Polar Star, the memo calls for the agencies to identify potential vessels that could be leased as a stop-gap measure. The 2029 date set by Trump corresponds with the year that both the Coast Guard's current ice breakers, the medium icebreaker Healy and the heavy icebreaker Polar Star are slated to be out of service. Alaska Republican Sen. Dan Sullivan, a forceful advocate on the Senate Armed Services Committee for directing more resources toward the Arctic, said the memo would “add weight” to ongoing efforts to build up America's presence in the Arctic. “Our adversaries are well ahead of the United States when it comes to Arctic infrastructure,” Sullivan said in a statement. “We have one heavy and one medium functioning Polar-class icebreakers, while Russia has more than 50. “I have fought for five years to bring Arctic issues to the forefront, including in the FY19 NDAA to authorize the building of six such icebreakers and my bill, the Strategic Arctic Naval Focus Act, to develop the capabilities and basing locations needed to support persistent presence in the Arctic.” While the president's memo appeared to catch regional observers by surprise, its content lines up with the administration's rhetoric on the region, said Erik Brattberg, director of the Europe Program at the Carnegie Endowment for International Peace. “The Trump administration has shown a greater interest in Arctic issues in recent years, driven especially by China's growing presence in the region,” Brattberg said. “While America's allies and partners in Northern Europe would welcome a greater U.S. presence in the Arctic, they are also wary of the region becoming increasingly marked by zero-sum, great power competition between the U.S., Russia and China.” Leasing icebreakers If the U.S. were to lease icebreakers for missions such as the annual breaking out of the National Science Foundation's research facility in Antarctica, McMurdo Station, three nations seem most likely to be able to fill the niche: Canada, Finland and Sweden. All three have rare excess icebreaker capacity, and all three would likely welcome the business. Finland, whose industry claims to have “designed about 80 percent of the world's icebreakers” and produced “about 60 percent” of the world's fleet, has hoped to break into the American market for years. The leasing opportunity could provide a foothold for Helsinki, although issues may arise with the U.S. Jones Act that may complicate the act of America outright buying a Finnish-made icebreaker. The law is meant to provide stability to the U.S. maritime industry by supporting domestic business. “The White House announcement will likely be music in the ears of Finland, which has been trying to sell or lease icebreakers to the U.S. for years,” Brattberg said. It is also possible that Sweden and Finland — two European Union, non-NATO states that have close relations — could try to create some form of joint offering for America's needs. The U.S. has leased icebreakers for the McMurdo mission from Sweden and Russia as late as 2012 — just prior to the souring of relations between the West and Russia over the latter's annexation of Crimea. But such an arrangement often limits how the vessel can be used under the terms of the lease. In 2017, a study by the National Academies of Science, Engineering, and Medicine mandated by Congress the year before, concluded that leasing icebreakers was not a viable path for the Coast Guard. “Chartering (an operating lease) is not a viable option,” the study found. “The availability of polar icebreakers on the open market is extremely limited. (The committee is aware of the sale of only one heavy icebreaker since 2010.) U.S. experience with chartering a polar icebreaker for the McMurdo resupply mission has been problematic on two prior charter attempts. “Chartering is workable only if the need is short term and mission specific. The committee notes that chartering may preclude USCG from performing its multiple missions.” In the Coast Guard's own 2019 environmental impact study for the Polar Security Cutter program, the service concluded that there were no vessels available to lease that would “substantially meet” the operational requirement for its icebreaking needs. Furthermore, any lease would need to be such that the Coast Guard provide the manning, training and equipping of the vessel — assuming all the costs — while still paying for the privilege of having it, making such an arrangement a financially dubious prospect. Frozen flashpoint The White House's decree comes in the context of a larger refocusing of national attention to the Arctic, as warming waters and melting ice open more time-efficient shipping routes and give nations greater access to natural resources that may have once been cost-prohibitive to reach. Russia in particular has made clear to the international community that it has core economic interests there and will defend them, even building icebreakers with cruise missiles and deck guns to patrol frozen waters. The country, with 7,000 miles of Arctic coast, sees the region as both a security liability and a key to its long-term economic success. President Vladimir Putin in 2017 put estimates of the mineral wealth in the region at $30 trillion. In a February hearing before the congressional Transportation and Maritime Security Subcommittee, the State Department's deputy assistant secretary for European and Eurasian affairs, Michael Murphy, testified that Russia's military buildup in the Arctic threatens the United States' and NATO's northern flank. Although Russia has cooperated on oil spill response and search-and-rescue missions, the U.S. views the country's moves with suspicion, especially in the establishment of an Arctic base and the installation of coastal missile batteries, early warning radars and air defenses, Murphy said in testimony. “The Russian military buildup in the Arctic has implications beyond its waters,” he said. “From a geostrategic perspective, the Arctic and the North Atlantic are inextricably linked. The Arctic provides Russian ships and submarines with access to a critical naval chokepoint: the GIUK gap that plays an outsized role in NATO's defense and deterrence strategy. Underwater trans-Atlantic cables also run through this area." “In short, NATO's northern flank must once again command the attention of the United States and its allies,” he added. Similar to its concerns for freedom of navigation in the South China Sea, which has become a flashpoint in Sino-U.S. relations, the U.S. is taking issue with Russia's attempt to force shippers to use Russian pilots and pay for use of the Northern Sea Route, which runs through Russia's exclusive economic zone. Russia has heavily invested in icebreakers to keep the Northern Sea Route open for as long as possible each year, and therefore the country views it as something of a toll road. “Russia's restrictions on the freedom of navigation in the Northern Sea Route are inconsistent with international law,” Murphy said. https://www.defensenews.com/naval/2020/06/09/trump-memo-demands-new-fleet-of-arctic-icebreakers-to-be-ready-by-2029/

Toutes les nouvelles