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AI, CUAS systems and armoured platforms set for spotlight at Eurosatory 2024

10th June 2024 - 17:12 GMT | by Damian Kemp in London


Mercedes Trucks is unveiling an eight-wheel drive version of its Zetros truck at Eurosatory. (Photo: Daimler Benz)

Many of the manufacturers at Eurosatory 2024 will focus on burgeoning demand for vehicles, tanks, and UAS and CUAS systems.

This year’s Eurosatory, the second since Russia’s invasion of Ukraine and the first of the largest land shows since the start of Israel’s war in Gaza, will be dominated by both events with requirements from Ukraine and other European countries set to be placed under the spotlight. 

The exhibition will take place in a pre-election environment after French President Emmanuel Macron dissolved the country’s parliament, the National Assembly, just one week before the event and called a snap election following a poor showing for his Renaissance Party in European Union Parliamentary elections. The absence of Israeli companies will also be notable on the exhibition floor after they were banned from participating earlier this month.

Many participating companies have placed their news either under embargo, or else literally or figuratively under cover, but indications are that procurement programmes and immediate needs will dominate. CUAS systems, UAS, and vehicles ranging from light to large tracked and related subsystems – either electronic or guns – look set to be prominent at Paris’s Villepinte Parc Des Expositions from 17–21 June.

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Last year, Defence and Security Equipment International (DSEI) in London highlighted a range of CUAS systems ranging from radars to effectors and improved vehicles, as did the World Defence Show in Saudi Arabia.

Also expected to play a prominent role at Eurosatory will be the implementation of artificial intelligence (AI) into systems and platforms as several companies announce new moves in the field or have been arranging to show improvements to their products with the inclusion of AI or a more advanced AI capability.

Programmes updates and what will be up for grabs

Mercedes-Benz Special Trucks will put its four-axle Zetros truck with all-wheel drive on show for the first time at Eurosatory. The Zetrtos family of vehicles will include eight-, six- and four-wheeled variants, and has experienced notable sales over the past 12 months.

On 29 May, the Power Team consortium consisting of Mercedes Benz, General Dynamics Land Systems-Canada (GDLS-Canada), Marshall Canada, Soframe and Manac, has been formally awarded Canada’s Logistics Vehicle Modernisation (LVM) requirement, a CA$2.8 billion (US$1.8 billion) contract for 1,500 Zetros trucks.

The first contract in the LVM project will be for vehicle acquisition to provide more than 1,000 light trucks and approximately 500 heavy trucks valued at CA$1.5 billion. There was a second contract for in-service support for a total potential value of CA$1.1 billion over 25 years.

Additionally, Germany has supplied hundreds of Zetros trucks to Ukraine, demonstrating a battlefield capability as part of a supply chain.

The UK’s Land Mobility Programme (LMP) has been eagerly watched by industry, albeit with trepidation. The programme has had its ups and downs since being announced. 

LMP has a potential value of more than £4.8 billion (US$6.1 billion) and will see the replacement of vehicles such as Land Rover, Pinzgauer and Panther MRAP-type vehicles, as well as the tracked FV432 Bulldog armoured personnel carriers and Stormer air defence vehicles.

In the face of LMP, expect to see Thales Bushmaster and Hawkei vehicles, likely to be offered for medium-protected and light mobility requirements of LMP, respectively, and Babcock’s General Logistic Vehicle, which may be offered to meet the utility requirement.

Babcock's GLV will be likely contender to replace the British Army's light vehicles and the requirement will feature at Eurosatory 2024. (Photo: Author)

Another multi-billion-dollar procurement which could be fought out on the show floor, or at least inspire a few skirmishes, will be Italy’s A2CS requirement for as many as 679 tracked IFVs to replace 200 Dardo IFVs, as well as its M113 fleet.

The companies likely going toe-to-toe will be Rheinmetall with its KF41 Lynx, BAE Systems with its CV90 and General Dynamics European Land Systems (GDELS) with its Austro-Spanish Cooperative Development (ASCOD) 42 platform.

Italy’s own CIO consortium (responsible for manufacturing the Dardo) also released a rendering of a new IFV platform armed with a 30mm cannon in September 2021. The latter may be related to previous reports concerning a Dardo 2 being under development.

BAE Systems could have two CV90s on display: the latest CV90 Mk4 version and possibly the CV90 Mk3 with a 30mm gun in a nod towards the Ukrainian forces using the latter vehicle to take out Russian tanks, with the former meeting growing demand for IFVs.

The Russia–Ukraine war has inspired a renewed interest in armoured vehicles including tank killers and main battle tanks.

Bringing out the big guns

While the UK successfully rolls along with its Challenger 3 tank procurement, a programme to upgrade its Challenger 2 vehicles, both Spain and Italy will be looking for answers in the medium term with refurbished Leopard tanks. Countries including Poland and Ukraine, meanwhile, will be looking to rebooted Abrams tanks.

Italy went from looking to upgrades its the C1 Ariete MBT to setting up a purchase of up to 125 Leopard 2A8s. Leonardo has signed an agreement with KNDS to develop MGCS, the future generation of armoured vehicle platforms.

Rheinmetall will present the new Panzerjaeger concept at the show. (Photo: Rheinmetall)

Spain has also been looking at upgrading existing or buying more Leopard tanks and it remains likely that it may also join MGCS in the future.

Interestingly, on 2 June, a sharp-eyed X (formerly Twitter) poster noted Rheinmetall vehicles on the move with “a Kodiak using the pattern of the KF-51 and KF-41 [and] a Leopard 2A4 chassis with the KF-51 turret which means a Leopard 2A4 with a 130mm gun” on a train bound for Paris.

Rheinmetall also revealed on 7 June that it would present the new Panzerjaeger concept at the show. The company describes the concept as “based on the latest technologies [providing] long-range, anti-armour capability, superior situational awareness and fire superiority, and a fully integrated system with the ability to incorporate several sensors and effectors”.

Beyond the vehicles

Several companies have also foreshadowed their new or improved UAS, CUAS and AI systems.

Some of the hot topics at last year’s DSEI were Teledyne Flir’s Black Hornet launcher, details of CUAS and technology company MARSS efforts, as well MSI Defence and Advanced Protection Systems in the same field, and Controp Precision Technologies and Adarga promoting their work in the field of AI. Some of these developments will likely feature in Paris this June.

Air defence has also been a point of focus for countries watching the Russia–Ukraine war and Saab Aerospace will unveil a new version of its venerable Giraffe radar named the Giraffe 1X Compact Radar Module.

A new version of Saab's Giraffe air defence radar will be on display at Eurosatory. (Photo: Saab)

Saab described the system as “an all-in-one solution [where] the antenna will fold with the press of a button into the compact and lightweight radar module”.

“Its small footprint and 75km search volume makes it suited to urgent operations with limited operational infrastructure,” the company said. 

Shephard's Eurosatory 2024 coverage is sponsored by:

BAE Systems
Damian Kemp


Damian Kemp

Damian Kemp has worked in the defence media for 25 years covering military aircraft, defence …

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